Archive for May, 2009


Saturday 30 May 2009

The last couple of days have been spent visiting mum in hospital where’s she’s been now for about three weeks.  She had another operation to check out why she was unable to eat but other than being told she had ‘kinks’ in her small intestine, we don’t know much else.  Yesterday she was moved from the hospital to St Margaret’s Hospice and Terri, Steph, dad and I visited in the afternoon.  It’s beautiful there and couldn’t be further removed from hospital treatment.  There are more staff per person and the room mum was put into is much smaller with just three other patients.  She looks out over the garden which is quite soothing for her.  We were offered a cup of tea and dad couldn’t get over the fact we didn’t have to pay to park!  A somewhat controversial subject at the best of time it was costing us a lot of money to visit every day.  Even a short stay of no longer than two hours cost almost £3 and if we’d wanted to stay for the whole afternoon it would have cost over £7.  Add that to the cost of petrol to Taunton everyday and it was mounting up.  Of course, despite the cost we still wanted to visit, so it just gets written off.  Such is life.  It is nice to be able to park for free though.

Whilst we were at the hospice yesterday Gordon and Dan made a tentative start on the silage-making to see what the conditions are like.  We’re all chomping at the bit to get going so today Gordon will start mowing.  The forecast is good and if we have a couple of dry days it would help.  I’m not sure how this will fit in with visiting mum, but we’ll worry about that on a daily basis, as usual.  Long term plans are difficult at the moment, so one day at a time.

If I disappear for a bit at least you’ll know why.


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Monday 25 May 2009

Following on from the flies in the office and a discontented grumble to Gordon about how his rubbish at the end of the room was taking over, possibly concealing anything dead, he decided to ‘tidy-up’ yesterday.  His things that have resided in the corners of the room since we moved in thirteen years ago were turfed out and the majority was instantly binned.  The cry of ‘freecycle this’ has rung out all this morning with an accumulation of things behind me now waiting to see if anyone wants them before they’re disposed of.  He also keeps suggesting I list things on Ebay, but after examination I decided that I wouldn’t buy it even though I know its history, so why would anyone else?

Not content with concentrating on one room at a time he then spread to the spare room upstairs and the end of the hall, supposedly to look for shelf-brackets, but flinging things at me with reckless abandon!  The girls watched with bemused expressions and Alex asked what exactly I’d said to him to start him on this flurry of activity in the house.  I’m not too sure myself, but it’s most unlike him.  Fortunately, he seems to have purged his system of the tidying bug for the rest of the day and has assumed his normal position when not outside working in front of the television.

So far, a most strange Bank Holiday!

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Saturday 23 May 2009

Some of you may remember my comments about flies here at the farm, particularly the biting ones that invade the house every year which was the reason I bought fly screens last summer.  They’re up again and working nicely, so how come my office currently looks, feels and sounds like something from a gothic-type horror film, and is literally swarming with flies?  I think something died in here – or was brought in dead then abandoned by one of the cats, somewhere not immediately visible to the naked eye.  In old houses such as this that could be anywhere really.  There are lots of corners, nooks and crannies where dead things can be stuffed by the resourceful cat and left to become breeding grounds for flies.  You may also remember that cleaning is not my most favourite thing to do, but I do have standards (albeit reasonably low ones) and try to keep the place at least non-toxic, so I’m surprised I haven’t smelt whatever it was.  Thank goodness for fly-spray, that’s all I can say.  I’m off to bed now, but not before giving the room a jolly good squirting with Raid and shutting the door.  By the morning the current horror of flies on every surface should be restricted to flies on the floor with their little leggies in the air.  That way I can get out the vacuum and suck the little devils up.

Ugh, I hate flies.

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Hunters in the Grass

Thursday 21 May 2009

The grass at the front of the house hasn’t been cut this year as Gordon was planning to dig it up and redo the pipework underneath.  Not surprisingly, it’s a work in progress which could continue for an indeterminate length of time.  I’m used to things taking this long.  As Gordon says, you can’t rush a good job.  Personally I sometimes think he abuses that privilege, but there are lots of other things that need doing too.

The cats love it as it brings out their hunting nature.  I wonder if they imagine they’re ferocious beasts on the trail of something a bit larger than mice and insects?

This is Thomas


and this is Gizmo.


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Busy, busy …

Wednesday 20 May 2009

On Saturday mum was admitted to hospital for rehydration following a bad week when she was either unable to eat or to keep anything down.  Consequently the time since has been spent visiting, co-ordinating visits or trying to fit other things in between so here’s a quick update.

I was kicked in the arm by the freshly-calved cow on Saturday morning.  Gordon thinks she was mobbed by the other calves in the pen overnight and had decided by milking time that she never wanted to be touched again!  I dodged the first half-a-dozen swings, but she got me in the elbow eventually.  After I’d checked nothing was broken (with visions of joining mum in the plastered-arm department) I found I was able to carry on.  The skin above the elbow was numb anyway and didn’t really start to ache until later, but even now there’s little bruising, just tenderness.  The faint bruise showing has spread up my arm, presumably along the muscle, but unless you poke it, it’s fine.

Alex came home from uni on Monday afternoon.  Sadly, I think she already wishes she was back in Cheltenham!  She has an active social life there (sometimes to my horror when I see the photos on Facebook), but is isolated in the countryside here.  Gordon and I enjoy the isolation and quietness but it’s our choice whereas the girls were born to it and often wish they lived somewhere with more ….. what?  Nightlife?  Friends?  Unfortunately there’s not much we can do about it.  This is where we live and where we work.

Stephanie passed her driving theory test yesterday even though she was convinced she wouldn’t.  I was very proud of her and it means she can move on now to the practical when her instructor feels she’s ready.  She has another lesson later and has reached the stage where she’s enjoying it rather than dreading the very idea.

Gordon is working on the new forager in preparation for silage-making.  With the constant rain we’ve had this week there doesn’t seem much chance of starting any time soon.  The soil here is heavy clay and will hold the water for at least a week, sticking to wheels and tracking into the silage-clamp contaminating the silage, so we’ll have to allow it a little longer to dry out.  He’s found lots of bits that need repairing anyway as well as years of accumulated grass/oil/mud underneath.  As someone who meticulously services the agricultural machines this ‘blatent neglect’ shocks him, and if you knew him personally you’d be able to imagine him ranting about it, but give him a couple more days and the machine will be running better than it has for a while.

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Friday 15 May 2009

Reality is for those who lack imagination.

It says so on my keyring, so it must be true.  Enough said, really.

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Wednesday 13 May 2009

Terri and I flew up to Glasgow last Thursday on a very early flight. When we arrived it was raining so we hopped on a bus (OK, this is a novelty for us country girls) and went into the city centre.  We’d taken overnight bags which at that stage weren’t particularly heavy, but got heavier during the two days due to an abundance of shopping in Glasgow.  We roamed the streets on Thursday with the aid of a trusty map Terri’d picked up on the bus until such time as we’d had enough of shopping and set off to find our hotel.  Due to our lack of knowledge of the city it took us a little bit longer than we expected, but once we’d found it we checked in and deposited our bags.

Later that evening Lorraine and her partner picked us up from the hotel for a guided tour of the area.  Terri mentioned that she’d like to see the cathedral and it turned out that neither of them had ever visited it, but Andrew knew the way well enough and we arrived there during a dry spell!  We strolled around the cathedral to the Necropolis which Lorraine had heard of, but also never visited.


This is a close-up of the emblem you can see in the first picture:


and it’s Glasgow’s Coat Of Arms.  The story is here.

Unfortunately we were starting to lose the light by then as well as being unsure whether the gates were locked at night so moved on to the nearest pub for a drink.


I think Doctor Who might have been visiting as we spotted this on the way to the cathedral.


I’d already seen a lot of police boxes in Edinburgh, but this was the first one in Glasgow.  No doubt there are others scattered around the city.

As we were walking back to the car it started hailing very heavily and by the time we got in we were soaked through.  We then drove past the church where the wedding will be in September, the town hall where we stopped to look inside and Lorraine’s apartment to show Terri where she lived.

The following day after breakfast we checked out of the hotel and again walked to the city where I bought a pair of Long Tall Sally boots reduced from £70 to £5 – a real bargain I thought.  We later met up with Lorraine, her sister and niece for the dress fitting.  Satisfyingly my dress needed a little more alteration around the waist, as did the younger bridesmaids’ dresses which hadn’t been fitted before.

Once the fitting was done we went for something to eat, deciding it was better to try on the dresses before eating a huge meal!  Andrew picked us up later and drove us back to the airport.  We arrived home about 11.15 pm, absolutely worn out!

On Saturday after milking, Gordon’s mother arrived after visiting the doctor who’d referred her to the hospital in Taunton, but she didn’t think she’d bother “as it was a long way to drive on a Saturday afternoon”.  After a little persuasion and an offer to take her in my car she agreed to go; after all, if it was nothing important the doctor probably wouldn’t have referred her.  At the hospital we waited for several hours for results of blood tests and they showed there was the possibility she had a blood clot in her leg which was swelling and what prompted her to go to the doctor in the first place.  She was given blood thinning injections over the weekend and went back again on Monday where they scanned her affected leg.  It turns out it isn’t a clot, but they don’t know what it is, so further tests are necessary.

I visited my mother on Monday to find her tired but out of bed watching the television from the sofa.  Her broken arm has stopped hurting but she has to go to the hospital next Monday.  At this rate I shall get to know all departments of the hospital.  Today I took mother-in-law to Cardiology (same hospital) for tests totally unrelated to the whole leg thing, but following on from tests she had last Tuesday, when I also drove her to the hospital!  My car will know the way on it’s own before long.  I wouldn’t mind, but the parking fee is horrendous!  Every time I drive either my mum or Gordon’s to the hospital they insist on paying for it.

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