Archive for Jul, 2011

What? Again?

Wednesday 27 July 2011

Last year on 31 August I wrote a post entitled ‘Ferdinand’s Firstborn’ (you can find it here) about our first new British Friesian heifer whose name is Nancy.  Her mother, number 38, gave us no clue as to her due date and so surprised us with a little bundle whilst still in the milking herd.  This year we had no date for her either but as she got fatter and her milk yield dropped Daniel dried her off to be on the safe side and she retired to the canal bank with all the other ladies-in-waiting.  This morning she went for a swim in the dreaded ditch but clambered out on the other side away from the rest of the cows and continued to wait until this afternoon when Gordon brought her back to the farm.  Apparently there were back feet protruding where there should have been front ones and a nose, so Gordon and Daniel drew the backwards calf to speed up the process.  She’s now the proud mother of another little heifer called Nancy 19.

This is the fifth heifer we’ve had in July, four of which were born this week.  The others are Whitesocks, Heather, Milly and Grace.  Heather and Grace (the mothers) are the only ones of that name left in the herd, so the birth of daughters will keep the line going.  It brings the total number of surviving heifers to twenty-seven since the end of August 2010.  We had two in at the beginning of 2010, and two in 2009 so you can see why this would cause excitement.


Read Full Post »

Farewell Nettle

Monday 25 July 2011

Our eldest cat Nettle died yesterday.  It was the first time in the eighteen years of her life she’d ever done anything quietly since she was, as people liked to tell me, a vocal cat.  She had a series of different meows, all of them very loud and distinctive: one for when she was hungry, another for asking for lap space and so on.  She followed me into the garden in the morning and went straight into the summer house where she’d move from bench to bench so she was always lying in the sun and I left her there while I went about my chores.  After milking I went back into the garden and spoke to her as I passed, but for once she didn’t reply with her usual howl and on closer inspection I could see something was wrong.  I called Gordon who came and touched her because we thought she was already dead, but she just moved a little so we left her alone after saying our goodbyes.  It was really sad, but she passed away in the place she loved the best.  Gordon buried her in the garden this morning.

We’ve had many cats and lost many cats since we’ve lived at the farm, but it never gets any easier.  Each one is missed and mourned.  I tell people I don’t even like cats, but they all have their own individual characters and are good company.  We got Nettle from the Cats’ Protection League after asking for a friendly cat; instead we got her, nervous and jumpy, obviously mistreated at some stage, but after three weeks behind the sofa she eventually ventured out.  She always played hard-to-get but as soon as she was picked up she became loving and trusting.  She had a good life here.  She could have done a lot worse.

Read Full Post »

Tuesday 19 July 2011

Just a quick warning – this post has the makings of being very photo heavy!  I took my biggest camera and although it weighs a ton, it does take the best photographs.  Consequently I took nearly five hundred photos, but don’t worry, they won’t all be on here …. well, maybe gradually, but certainly not all in one go!

We left home early on Wednesday morning and arrived at our destination around midday.  I’ve decided my sat nav really is pants as it took us down the remotest roads and really, where our friends live has some pretty remote ones.  We’re talking grass down the middle here.  As soon as we arrived we were swept up in an itinerary of activity, all carefully planned for our entertainment.

This is the view from the bottom of the garden.  They live in Pembrokeshire, well-known for beautiful hills and castles.  Nearly all the locals speak Welsh as a first language.

I was already enjoying myself!  Photo heaven with wildflowers, mountains in the background and lovely weather to boot.

We were taken alongside the nearby estuary to the sea which was a lovely walk passing a lime kiln on the way.

We took the dogs, Rruff and Rosie (Rruff’s the collie) who romped all over the beach.

and then our friend Lesley took them along the shore.

Alongside the estuary was a semi-ruined castle and a family still live in the good bit.

Everything was written in Welsh first and English second.  Our friend Richard is very interested in history and was able to explain everything as we went along.

The following day we went for a walk with the dogs in a nearby wood and I saw wild orchids.  That’s a first for me I think.

We went to Haverfordwest to visit an Art Gallery and this swan was on the sea.

There were lobster pots, ropes and buoys all along the harbour.

On the way back we detoured to Llawhaden Castle where this pigeon sat in the middle of the ruin and desperately called for his parents.  He looks a bit young to have left the nest, so probably fell/was pushed out.

The arched gateway to Llawhaden Castle.

On the last day we were taken to Pwllgwaelod for lunch in a restaurant on the edge of the beach called The Sailor, then we walked across the headland and reached sea on the other side.  This village was devastated by a storm in 1859.

and this is all that’s left of the church.

We drove home again on Saturday evening.

While we were gone the dreaded courgettes attempted to take over the garden, so by the end of the week there will be chutney.  Why do these things seem to grow quicker when we’re not here?

Stephanie and I are off to see the final Harry Potter tomorrow.  She’s already seen it and apparently cried all the way through!  Our neighbour Pippa also cried and told me she’d had a rotten headache afterwards from all the crying!  I’ve already booked our seats because it’s Orange Wednesday and it gets pretty busy I’m told.  I don’t subscribe to Orange although if this going-to-the-cinema thing becomes regular I might have to consider it.

Read Full Post »

Catching Up

Tuesday 12 July 2011

Since I last wrote I’ve been fiddling about with this and that, which has taken up time and energy that would have been better spent elsewhere.

I had a good sort-out of stuff I’ve been promising for months to stick on Ebay and finally did it.  The majority of it sold well with only a few hiccups including a winning bid from someone who then e-mailed me to say she’d bid on it by mistake and could I cancel the whole thing.  If you’ve ever done this on Ebay you’ll know it isn’t the most straightforward thing to do, but I got there in the end.  The only problem now is it won’t allow me to post the item again for another twenty days, but I figure it’s been sitting around long enough and another couple of weeks won’t hurt.

I’ve also had an ongoing battle with the internet and have given notice to Virgin that I wish to leave.  When they asked why I explained that the service was rubbish and my router was dying, and they immediately said I should have let them know.  Of course, I told them that actually I had let them know on several occasions but had seen little improvement in the service and been turned down when I asked for a new router, which they’re quite happy to hand out like sweeties to new customers but don’t give to existing customers who’ve been with them for years.  They offered me one then and there, but it’s too late, I’ve signed with BT.

My logic behind signing with them is that they’re always telling me it’s not their fault when I phone to complain about the service.  This way, they won’t be able to pass the buck to my service provider but will have to sort it out themselves.  Besides which, we got a business package that includes 500 free UK minutes a month (way more than we’ll need) and we’ll hopefully save money in the long-run.  It hasn’t been smooth sailing though as they initially signed me up on the wrong (recommended by them) package that included an additional new phone line.  Once I’d realised this I was back on the phone trying to sort it out and we eventually came to an agreement which suited us.  In the confusion however I’ve changed order numbers, log-in details and even addresses as they put my address in wrong the second time, but despite being told my new package did not include a free router I’ve subsequently been sent two!  The first one is a result of the first incorrect contract and the second is because I notified them of the wrong address!  I’m sure that over time this will all be resolved.

Alex came home for a long weekend to chill but spent most of Sunday in a cleaning frenzy!  She has far more energy and enthusiasm for this sort of thing but as she now lives in a very small room in a shared house, cleanliness is important to her.  What she fails to grasp is that when you’ve lived in a rambling farmhouse for fifteen years with the accumulated rubbish of not just you, but family on both sides, things are going to get a little cluttered.  Apparently, when I die it’s all going in a skip.  Like I care!  She did enjoy a little raid into my craftroom though and relieved me of several items of accumulated prettiness in the way of craft items which have gone back to live in Cheltenham with her.

Steph is also home from her holiday and kicking around with various hobbies to stop herself getting bored.  Unfortunately for us all, cleaning and housework isn’t high on her list of priorities either (like mother, like daughter), but she decided she’d like a sewing machine so I gave her my Nectar card with a huge amount of points and she made a trip to Argos, picking up a machine which didn’t cost us any cash at all.  On Saturday afternoon she started on a project she’d had in her mind for a while and today she’s finished it.

When you realise this is double-bed size then you can see what a huge amount of work has gone into it.  I’m slightly concerned that she may have worn-out the new sewing machine already, but on the plus side it is guaranteed for a year so if it dies of exhaustion any time soon it can go back to Argos.

Gordon and I are off for a short break to Wales tomorrow to stay with friends who live in Pembrokeshire.  I’m very much looking forward to it but Gordon’s feelings on the subject are less obvious, mainly because it’ll mean leaving the farm!  Daniel has promised to contact us if anything goes badly wrong, but I’m sure he can manage on his own.  The poor boy has been given instructions from all directions so he won’t be sitting around idle while we’re away.  My camera will be coming with me (of course) and I’ll post photos when I get back on Sunday.  It’s a long time since I went to Wales and only remember it vaguely, so let’s hope it’s all I remember!

Read Full Post »

Lucky Day?

Friday 1 July 2011

I just had an e-mail to tell me I’d won a prize draw on a craft website I visit, which gives me a selection of Maya Road products.  To be honest, I’m not even sure what that is, but I’ll accept it anyway as I’m sure I can find a use for it.

Now all I want is an e-mail to tell me I’ve won the EuroMillions, which is £136 million this evening.  As my grandad used to say “what could you do with that much money?”  My answer would be “whatever the hell you wanted!”

He also used to drop in little gems like “you’d never be able to spend that much” – answer: “no, but it would be fun trying” and “that much money won’t buy you happiness” to which I would reply “no, but at least I could be miserable in comfort”.

Dream on.  Sigh!

Read Full Post »