Archive for Nov, 2010


Sunday 28 November 2010

The cow that had a Caesarian last week (her name is Milly) is still being kept in seclusion but making regular forays to the milking parlour to relieve her of the burden of a full udder with no calf.  She’s a bit of a wimp at the best of times, being practically hand-reared by the girls some nine or so years ago, but she does tend to get picked on.  This is quite usual in any herd where the most dominant cow comes into the parlour first and each cow has ‘her’ place, refusing to give way to any other that wants to take it from her.  Milly was much spoiled as a baby because she had a bad eye which needed regular treatment and although I’m not sure she’s completely blind on that side I think she must have some impairment.  The last cow to enter the parlour took umbrage yesterday when Milly lumbered up behind her and gave her a hard shove to the icy side of the collecting yard, causing us concern that she would slip over and burst her stitches but fortunately she kept her footing and wisely dropped back out-of-the-way, following at a safer distance.  We left her to her own devices this morning because it was so icy and we don’t like to rush any cow over icy concrete, and were pleased to see her safely back in her pen once we’d finished milking.  She’d taken her time getting there but did it without a slip, wandered in, had a mouthful or two of silage and was lying down in the straw.  Once we’re sure her stitches are properly healed and she can look out for herself she can rejoin the herd as I’m sure she’s getting a bit lonely now.  Cows are very sociable animals and don’t care much for solitary confinement.

Ferdinand is also away from the herd at the moment due to a problem with his front foot.  The vet says it looks as if he bruised his hoof and he’s limping quite badly so has been treated with anti-biotics and shut away in the company of one of our older cows.  Until yesterday she was heavily pregnant but presented Ferdie with a beautiful son (oh well, can’t have everything) some time during the night.  We’ve decided that since the mother is called Annie, the son will be Andrew.  She has the biggest udder we’ve ever seen and Gordon was beginning to joke that if she didn’t calve soon it would pop!  We call it ‘springing up’ when the udder starts to fill but poor old Annie can barely walk.  It’s now about three inches off the ground and at least two feet across.  She’s walking in a very bow-legged way.

Hasn’t it got cold?  My arms this morning got redder and redder whilst I was milking and I could barely feel my fingers.  The weatherman says it’s set to get worse, but I’m hoping it’ll hold off until Wednesday.  Alex’s graduation is on Tuesday in Cheltenham and I shall be bitterly disappointed if we can’t make it.  I’m so proud of her for even going to university so one way or the other on Tuesday I’m sure there’ll be tears – of pride if we’re able to go, but of real disappointment if we’re not.  Gordon is now muttering that November is a stupid time to have a graduation ceremony anyway since she left university in June, but I’m sure they didn’t anticipate the awful weather this early in the year.  According to the news this morning it’s the coldest November for seventeen years.

I’ve booked a flight to Glasgow on 7 December to visit my friend there.  It’s been an astonishing fourteen months since her wedding and the last time I saw her so I thought I’d pop up before Christmas.  Let’s hope the airports are operating as I’ve heard it said this cold weather might last for at least a fortnight.  The ironic thing is I’ve been thinking about visiting for a while and decided that now would be a good time.  Typical.


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A New Experience

Saturday 20 November 2010

Yesterday we all had a new experience here at the farm.  We had a cow that needed an emergency caesarian!  Gordon suggested I take photos to show you all how it went, but I declined, so be grateful for small mercies.  I went from feeling a bit tearful when the vet said she needed it, to queasy when he started tugging and pulling the dead calf out (the noises were horrible), to fascinated when asked to ‘assist’ by getting the catgut out of the container for the vet to cut.  Up until that point I’d stayed carefully out of viewing distance but when I had no choice but to stand beside the cow it wasn’t as awful as I’d anticipated.

The cow is on her feet and munching away at silage as if nothing is wrong and will probably be milked tomorrow morning.  It took me eight weeks to get over mine and I wasn’t allowed to drive for months.

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How Weird

Wednesday 10 November 2010

Today I cut a mountboard for my sister, something I’ve been putting off for ages as it needed six apertures cut which seemed very complicated.  It was more complicated than usual, but to be honest it wasn’t that complicated.  Once it was done and I went to put my mountboard cutting kit away in one of our two walk-in cupboards – something quite common in old houses I believe – I realised how cluttered it had become, mostly with empty boxes being stored in case something needed to go back to the shop.  Of course, nowadays nobody insists on things being returned in their original boxes anyway, but it’s a habit we’ve got into.  I pulled everything out, gave the inside a quick vacuum and put back about an eighth of what was in there.  The rest has gone for rubbish, recycling or freecycling.

I’ve just now read my horoscope, something I rarely do, but I was browsing around and came across it.  It said I have to let go of my past and declutter my life if I want to move on today.

How’d you suppose it knew?  Or does this mean that Scorpios the world over have been up to their necks in empty boxes and dusty cupboards all day?

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Tuesday 9 November 2010

Opening my post this morning I came across a statement for a credit card.  It said I had a late payment fee of £12, which confused me slightly for a while since I don’t remember NOT paying it.  Then I remembered why.  The damn thing is set up on direct debit.  I rang the number and after being on hold for approximately fifteen minutes listening to what I refer to as ‘galloping’ music (imagine the Lloyds Bank horse on clifftops, Black Beauty or Follyfoot if you can remember that far back) I found myself speaking to someone who I think was called Gupta.  I explained the situation to him and after struggling to remember my password (for added security) he put me on hold (back to galloping music) while he investigated.  When he returned five minutes later he thanked me for being on hold and told me “that would be an error” and that it would now be removed from my account, which means I spent more than twenty minutes on the phone, most of it listening to music until he told me something I already knew but they apparently didn’t.  I thought setting up a direct debit would make things less complicated, but I was obviously wrong.

On a lighter note, a little ditty my dad recited yesterday – I had heard it before, but forgotten all about it:

Twas in a restaurant that they met

Romeo and Juliet

And when it came to pay the debt

Romy owed what Julie ate

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Wednesday 3 November 2010

I’m gradually getting used to the idea of only posting once or twice a month even though I’d like to do more so please excuse my long absences.  I have taken lots of photographs and have lots to tell you, but haven’t had much time to sit and just write.

Do you remember way back in June when I talked about decorating our hall?  Despite stripping the wallpaper and large sections of paint I just couldn’t get Gordon interested in helping and to be honest there are some things I need his expertise for.  He liked what I’d done with the door and after a visit to a cousin who’d had all her doors ‘dipped’ I was able to talk him into sending our’s off for similar treatment especially when he found out that the guy who did it only lived down the road from us.  When it came back we were delighted, but it currently lives in the garage where it’s ‘drying-out’ (apparently).  It’s been drying-out for about four weeks and I’m of the opinion that once the damp weather arrives with a vengeance it’ll stop drying-out and get wet again.  According to him it has to be done slowly, a bit like everything else around here.  When it finally makes it back into the house I have wood-filler and brushing wax at the ready.

Before I started stripping wallpaper a friend gave us three unopened packs and about eight loose pieces of sawn-elm laminate flooring which I had visions of laying in the hallway so that it could be kept clean and tidy.  Gordon has a strange dislike of laminate flooring and mutters things like “the floors here are too uneven” or “it’ll never lie flat”, but I gave him notice and he gradually got used to the idea.  The final decider came on Monday when my friend Vivien dropped in to say her husband was laying laminate in the lounge and would I like to take Gordon up to have a look – there was freshly made coffee cake and coffee involved.  To say he was impressed was an understatement: he got down on his hands and knees and looked at it from floor-level (men do this, have you noticed?), then had a long man-to-man discussion with Greg about how complicated it was to put down (or not), the best way of doing it, etc.  I must admit, the lounge does look lovely with its new flooring.  Viv then took him upstairs to see the tile-effect laminate flooring in their bathroom which looks like slate but isn’t.  That was it – he was converted.  He came straight home and measured up, then reported back to me in disappointment – “we don’t have enough to do the hall”, but redeemed himself straight away by adding (with something approaching enthusiasm) “we’ll just have to buy some more”.  I looked it up online only to find that this particular design has been discontinued.  How typical is that?  Never mind, a trip to Wickes was arranged after Viv told us all their laminate flooring was on special offer and we agreed on Farmhouse Oak, which was brought home along with underlay, skirting board, paint, base coat, filler …. the list goes on, but even as I write Gordon’s ‘tinkering’ in the hall!  Hooray, he’s enthused!  We talked it over and decided that one doorway can be blocked as it’s hardly used which will give us more wall space in both rooms and he’s putting up framework to attach plasterboard to already.  The skirting board had to go after we discovered it was almost paper-thin with dry-rot!  For a while there our hall smelled like an old church.

Stripped but before the skirting board came off

I haven’t been far or seen anyone for a while.  I have been to two funerals in the past couple of weeks, which is always sad.  Terri took me out for another ramble – this time a ‘beach ramble’ to Kilve, which is about thirty minutes’ drive away and well known for its fossils as the beach is comprised of many layers of rock.  We forgot it was half-term so tried hard to ignore screaming kids on the rocky beach and had a lovely day, walking from Kilve to East Quantoxhead along the beach then back to Kilve through fields.  We went around both village churches and stopped for a cream tea at East Quantoxhead.

Broken cliff, showing the layers of rock

Fossil! I love fossils - I got quite excited at this point

This fossil is on the underside of the layer and is bigger than a dinner plate

Walking back through fields planted with spring wheat

My sister Terri

Doves on the wall of the Chantry at Kilve

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