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Archive for January, 2011

Thursday 27 January 2011

I’m sure there are those who know exactly how to spend lots of money, but most of the time that’s assuming they have money to spend in the first place.  I can spend lots of money without any forward planning at all.  Here’s how:

1 – Get your husband to arrange an MOT for your car at a time suitable to him, rather than when finances allow.  Despite the fact that it passed first time, an MOT costs a lot of money nowadays.  I’m still living in the time when it cost about a tenner!

2 – Arrange a dentist’s appointment for both you and your husband and then develop painful toothache.  Gordon contributed here by cracking a tooth two days before we went.  Therefore, he needs a crown and some work done.  I don’t have an abscess but I do have a dying tooth that needs to be removed, plus a neighbouring tooth that’s been affected, so that needs to be removed too.  Expensive.

3 – The following day, arrange for an eye-test.  Of course, my eyesight has worsened which I was aware of, but I’d given no thought whatsoever to the fact that I now need different glasses.  Even more expensive, but hey… they’re buy one pair get another free.  I don’t really want another pair, free or not, but of course you have to get them otherwise all that freeness goes to waste.  Gordon suggested I tell them I only want one pair so can I have them for half-price, but they weren’t going for it!  Why not, I want to know?

Oh, and my road tax is due at the end of the month!

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Toothache

Saturday 22 January 2011

Yesterday my number one daughter Alex had her birthday.  Both the girls came home from Cheltenham on Wednesday evening so we shopped and socialised until they went back on Friday afternoon.  We all visited Mrs Ellis in hospital on Thursday and made some sense of her ramblings but had already decided prior to going in that we would agree with what she said rather than try to correct her.  This only confuses her temporarily as she isn’t retaining very much in her memory at the moment.  We found it oddly difficult to walk into the hospital together mainly due to the fact that the last time we did it was to visit mum in the cancer unit.  Mr Ellis brought me lilies that had been delivered for Mrs Ellis as the hospital ‘discourages’ flowers nowadays and he didn’t know what else to do with them.  It was the hugest bouquet I’ve ever seen and the smell was strong, but caused Terri to shudder as she said it reminded her of the hospice.  It seems we’re all laden with bad memories.

Several weeks ago I arranged a dental check-up for next Tuesday and then at the beginning of this week I developed toothache!  Why do you suppose that is?  Do my teeth know we’re going?  It’s got progressively worse and is at the stage where I’m convinced it’s an abcess under the root rather than a problem with the tooth, but when I rang to see if I could be fitted in as an emergency I was given a very definite no even when I explained that I was in danger of overdosing on painkillers.  Today the pain has moved from my tooth and is nestling somewhere to the left of my nose which is odd, although I think that’s where my sinuses are so perhaps the problem is there.  Years ago I had a similar problem and vividly remember the dentist tapping each tooth to see where it hurt the most.  If I tap the tooth (even with my fingernail) the pain is excruiating and the gum above feels squishy when I poke it with my tongue so I’m trying not to do that.  Almost impossible!  How perverse.

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Happy Accident

Tuesday 18 January 2011

When I came home from visiting Mrs Ellis today Gordon met me in front the house.  He was beckoning me down the yard to see something.  You never quite know with Gordon whether it’s good or bad, but in this case it turned out to be something good.

Apparently, nine months ago, Ferdinand managed to get in with our heifers at the back of the farm when a gate wasn’t latched properly and he followed his nose.  They weren’t very old at the time so Gordon wasn’t particularly concerned about their welfare, but it seems that one of the heifers managed to get pregnant despite the fact that she was only nine months old.  This morning while the vet was here testing another batch of cows to see whether they were pregnant she gave birth and this is the result.

Not only is she female, not only is she red (and will be the only red cow in our future herd unless we get lucky), but she’s an Alexandra!  The mother was born unexpectedly to one of our ‘retired’ cows that was stuck out the back, and this new calf was unexpected too.  It looks like it might turn into a family tradition.

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Monday 17 January 2011

We spent the day at dad’s sorting out more of mum’s things, having given up on hoarding them.  I listed some stuff on Freecycle and a lady left this morning having acquired a knitting machine and everything she could possibly want to go with it.  She was subjected to a ‘show-and-tell’ from dad which involved him extracting jumpers from the wardrobe to demonstrate how good mum was with a knitting machine, but we managed to distract him before he talked himself into a tearful, nostalgic state.  The signs were there so afterwards we took him out to lunch – he paid!  Well, it’s the least he could do after we’d cleared so much accumulated flotsam and jetsam.

Mrs Ellis floats in and out of a confused state in the hospital.  Last week she seemed back to normal, albeit weak, but this week she’s slipped back to hallucinating most of the time.  It must be so confusing for her and I’d hate to be like that.  I’m visiting again tomorrow so will be able to see for myself how she fares.

The girls are coming home on Wednesday as it’s Alex’s 22nd birthday on Friday.  Both of them are free until the weekend so are spending some time with us.  I’m looking forward to it even though I haven’t got a clue what to buy her for her birthday.  As Gordon says, we’re no longer in a position to know what she needs or wants, but a shopping expedition on Thursday should resolve that.

Our calves are doing very well although the little one born on Christmas Day (Jenny) still causes us concern.  Yesterday morning I was convinced she was dying, but moments later she was up and running about.  She seems to sleep more deeply than any calf we’ve had before and is practically impossible to wake, even when poked.  When all the others are on their feet bawling for milk, she snoozes on, stretched out in her pen and comes round very slowly.  Usually the expression ‘stretched out’ when applied to a cow is pretty bad.  It’s almost like the final stage before they pop their clogs so to see a calf sleeping like this is disturbing.  They’re usually so much neater, curled around with their heads on their back feet.

Floyd flourishes and has revealed a nice personality even though he’s a latecomer to the group.  He seems very gentle and so obliging.  Let’s hope he stays like that as he gets older.  One of these days I’ll get round to taking a photo of him so you can see what a gorgeous boy he is.  We let the younger calves out into a much larger pen during the day so they can run and in theory strengthen their muscles, but getting them back into their own pens in the evening can be tricky.  All except for Floyd.  He saunters across to his pen and steps inside, then looks hopefully at his bucket to see if there’s any milk in it yet.

One of our older cats has taken to using our hallway (still a work in progress) as a litter box, particularly when the weather is cold or wet, much to our annoyance as you can imagine.  After some discussion Alex suggested we reintroduce a proper litter box even though we did away with it years ago.  On Saturday morning I bought some cat litter, cleaned up the old box and tucked it back into the corner.  The cat was asleep on the chair but I picked her up and took her to see it.  She looked at it for a moment then carefully climbed in.  “This is encouraging” I thought to myself.  She obviously remembered what it was and intended to use it straight away.  Instead she turned around a few times, settled down and spent the rest of that day and all day Sunday asleep in it, only climbing out to go to the hall for a poo!  Bloody cat.

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Who Knew?

Saturday 8 January 2011

After milking this morning Gordon and I trailed into Bridgwater to see about getting me a new phone.  We went from place to place looking at the deals and the various phones available, starting with the O2 shop, working our way through the town then back again to the O2 shop.  It turns out that their phones have a two-year warranty.  This means of course that both the faulty phones I have been fiddling with and stressing over for ages are actually still guaranteed!  I could have let O2 do all the stressing for me.

Now all I have to do is find the receipts.  Where the heck have I put them?

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Announcing ….

Friday 7 January 2011

Well, the wait is over!  The new bull-calf is officially called Floyd.  That’s the name Alex liked so that’s what he’s been known as since she informed us.  He will of course have a slightly posher name once he’s been confirmed as pedigree and his daughters will be known as Withyend Floyd followed by their line name.  This is getting ahead of ourselves just a bit, but we weren’t quick enough off the mark with Ferdinand and by the time we tried to prove his pedigree his mother had gone to the great pasture in the sky along with all known relatives.  Bull-calves have to be DNA tested to prove they’re from the right dam and DNA from further relatives is encouraged such as a grandmother or sisters.  According to the farmer his mother and grandmother are still in perfect health, so we need to get on with that.  He seems huge in comparison to the other young calves and despite being four weeks old is the same size as those born in September/October.  He’s less nervous and easier to handle than Ferdinand was as a calf and has taken to bucket-feeding without any fuss at all even though we took him straight off his mother.  Aren’t we cruel?  Actually, we rescued him from going off to market which is where he was destined, probably to be castrated and raised for beef.  This way he’ll have a much happier life we hope.

I’ve spent some of my week hospital visiting my friend Mrs Ellis who has good days and bad.  She’s 86 so they are concerned about dementia, but following a blood transfusion in the week she seemed much improved.  At one stage she was convinced all the other women in the ward for actresses pretending to be ill.  When I visited on Thursday the nurses had reached desperation point with her.  They couldn’t get her to eat or drink and when they tried to feed her through a nasal tube she simply pulled it out again.  Because she hadn’t eaten they couldn’t give her medication so she was getting worse by the hour.  The first thing I did was to tell them that the strengthening mousse they’d been trying to feed her was banana and she loathes bananas!  Once that had been changed for summer fruits I managed to get her to eat a tub of it by spoon feeding her a little at a time.  The nurses hovered and occasionally slipped a tablet onto the spoon, but by the end of the mousse she still had a mouthful of tablets.  I helped her to drink some water in an effort to swallow them but they were like horse-tablets!  Eventually she drifted off to sleep with them in her mouth and the nurse decided that was close enough as they were dispersible and would dissolve eventually.

I know I’ve had experience of hospital wards before, but it seemed like we had to ask constantly for things to be done for her.  When I visited last Monday her bed was in disarray and she was in a hospital gown soaked with dried blood where she’d pulled out a canula the day before.  Mr Ellis and I both asked for her to be straightened up, a couple of nurses arrived about twenty minutes later and she was washed, dressed in a clean gown and the bedclothes were changed.  If we hadn’t made a fuss would they have just left her?  There just aren’t enough nurses in the ward for them to devote time to a single patient.  Mr Ellis is looking into the possibility of moving her into a care home.

Do you remember a while ago I mentioned I was having trouble with my phone?  Stephanie gave me her old phone for Christmas since she’d replaced it with a much snazzier model and I was really pleased, but within a few days that had started playing up too.  She did say it wasn’t as efficient as it had once been, but it was freezing up and refusing to do anything at all.  She suggested I take the battery out and tap it a couple of times, but that didn’t work either.  I went back to my older phone; today that froze up and refused to work so I fished my very ancient, basic, no-camera-or-anything phone out of the drawer, charged it up, and it works fine.  Gordon always says that the more there is on a thing, then the more there is to go wrong.

He might be right.

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What to call him?

Sunday 2 January 2010

I took the Christmas tree and decorations down today.  I can understand why people with no children say they don’t bother to decorate for Christmas.  Stephanie put ours up but there seemed little point once they’d gone back to Cheltenham so it’s packed away now till next Christmas.

Gordon made a phone call this morning then came to get me and we drove to a neighbouring farm to look at a British Friesian bull calf to replace Ferdinand when the time comes, ie before he starts breeding with his own daughters in about two years time.  He’s about a month old and a very handsome chap indeed, so we agreed to collect him tomorrow.  Stephanie named Ferdinand so we’ve offered the honour to Alex this time and told her it has to be a name beginning with either B or F.  This tradition started years ago when bulls here were always called something like Harry the Hereford or Charlie the Charolais.  Ferdinand is obviously ‘Ferdinand the Friesian’ but there’s no reason why this one can’t be ‘Billy the British Friesian’ or something.  I’ll let you know what she decides.

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