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Archive for March, 2012

Friday 30 March 2012

My new phone has a very decent camera on it unlike my old phone which was so awkward to use that by the time I’d sorted out what I was supposed to do to get it on the screen, the moment had passed.

Whilst fetching the cows today I tried to turn in the last one (her name is Blackhorns), but she was having none of it.  She’d been the farthest away from the water trough and was obviously intent on topping-up.  When I got too close to her with the camera, this was the result.

There’s a hint of my finger at the top due to the fact that I haven’t quite worked out where the lens is yet, but I was very impressed with the quality of the photo.

Blackhorns was not so impressed with having her photo taken!

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The Early Bird

Thursday 29 March 2012

Although not quite an early bird as this was taken around teatime.  He definitely caught the worm despite the lateness of the hour.

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Wednesday 28 March 2012

Well, here we are again, catching up.  Where does the time go?  I’ve been busy gardening/farming/socialising/shopping!

The garden is now pretty much ready to start planting things in, although I’ve yet to devise a way of stopping the cats crapping in all that lovely prepared soil as if it was a giant litter tray.  I thought large electric fences might work, but I’m sure that would come under some kind of animal cruelty law so am trying the netting from around large bales of hay.  One layer doesn’t work and two layers is struggling as they’re still digging through it.  Yelling at them isn’t working either.  Last year you may recall they scurried around enough in it to displace a percentage of the seedlings I’d taken the time to plant so once again I’m open to suggestions.

I’ve just signed my life away to a mobile phone contract for the first time ever.  I wanted a smart phone so I could connect easily to the internet when I was out and about, having coveted the ones belonging to the girls, so am now the proud owner of a Samsung Galaxy Ace.  It’s very shiny and fast especially when compared to the one I was using before.  I switched providers, which was traumatic enough in the first place, but having trawled up and down the high street in Bridgwater, most of which is mobile phone shops or charity shops the new provider offered the best deal.  Of course, when I phoned O2 to ask for a PAC code (important, apparently) in order to transfer my old number they were adamant they could have provided me with a better deal.  I explained that perhaps they should tell that to the guy in the O2 shop who assured me ‘yes madam, that is our cheapest pay monthly tariff’.  As it turned out, their cheapest tariff was about £6.50 dearer than that of Three so that’s who I’m with now even though the guy on the phone tried really hard to persuade me to stay with them since I’ve been one of their most loyal customers.  “Bit late now” I told him.

We have sixteen heifer calves so far and they’re all doing well, growing as they’re supposed to.  The cows are finally out in the sunshine, enjoying the grass and the warmth on their backs.  They were very excited to be out on their first day, but have already got very casual about it.  Ferdinand is up to his old tricks of blocking their way in then refusing to let them out into the fields after milking, but he gets bored with that eventually and they push past him.  As long as he doesn’t get aggressive we should be all right.

A week or so ago a group of us went to the Manor House Hotel near Okehampton.  You may recall I went there last year around the same time of year and came home with handmade goodies.  This time there weren’t as many activities available but I did falconry on the lawn with my friend Chris and took some photos, as well as archery on my own.  I silk-painted and did a small ‘creative’ embroidery, both of which were passable and may yet be framed, so I’ll post photos of those if I ever decide to do that.

This is Ethan, the Harris Hawk

This one is of Jasper, the Eagle Owl (yes, I know I called him Oscar, but on reading it again I realised that was wrong).  Apparently owls that hunt during the day usually have orange eyes.

The little American Kestrel was called Fidget and was the smallest bird in the group.  We held out our suitably gauntleted hands with delicacies such as chicks’ legs and chunks of meat and the birds swooped in to grab it up, posed for photographs for a minute then flew back to their handler.

This little robin was not quite hand-tamed, but definitely wasn’t bothered as it went about its business collecting worms.

Oh, and my internet is rubbish again, dropping constantly and irritating me half to death.  Gordon thinks this might be it now for the rest of the summer!  Ever the pessimist!

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Colston Hall

Saturday 10 March 2012

Last night I went to the Colston Hall in Bristol with a group of friends to see the Osmonds.  I grew up in a time when they were popular then it became uncool to admit to liking them, but they’re currently doing a farewell tour and retiring after fifty-four years in ‘show-business’.  It was weird to see them because whilst I realise I’m not the young slip of a thing I was, neither are they, by a long way.  One of them wasn’t on the stage due to having a stroke – pretty sad you have to agree, but kind of expected as you get older, so there were only three: Merrill, Jay and Jimmy.

Having said all of that, they were the absolute height of professionalism and skill.  They’ve lost nothing as they’ve all got older (other than maybe their figures, but haven’t we all) and can still harmonise to perfection.  Even their ‘dance routines’ were perfectly synchronised.  I enjoyed the music a lot.  What I didn’t enjoy was my view of the woman’s head in front which for most of the time was smack-bang in line with the middle of the stage.  When I leaned to the right to see around her she started bopping, swinging her head from side to side so I gave up, sat back and just listened.  When I told Alex this morning she suggested a quick smack on the back of said-woman’s head might have helped, but I suppose you have to expect that sort of thing at a concert (I hesitate to say pop concert – is that a term even used anymore?).   I was surprised at how many apparently obsessional fans were there throwing roses and things on the stage – honestly, these women were definitely old enough to know better.  Jimmy Osmond laughed when someone threw a packet of tissues on stage and pointed out this was probably a sign of old-age considering girls used to throw underwear at them.  They kept their good humour throughout, picking the tissues up, handing them out to members of the band so they could all mop their sweaty brows, but thankfully not then throwing them back into the audience.

We took a taxi there and paid for it between us so even getting there was straightforward.  I had a great time, despite the woman’s head.

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What Words?

Tuesday 7 March 2012

Am I the only person who has real problems with the ‘words’ you’re asked to copy in order to verify you’re not a robot on various websites?  I tried long and hard to leave a comment on my friend Julie’s website today and after ten or so attempts of duplicating what was written there I gave up!  Sorry Julie!  Time after time it told me I’d entered them incorrectly until I was so frustrated, but if they weren’t quite so mangled they’d be an awful lot easier to understand.

It’s my baby’s birthday today – well, she’s twenty, but those of you with daughters will know where I’m coming from.  As far as I’m concerned the leaving-behind of teenage years is a big step so she’s now officially a grown-up.  Of course, both the girls have been acting like grown-ups for a while and it’s only me that has a problem with the concept.  It’s my dad’s birthday too since they share the day, but he’s off in Cardiff for a few days on a city-break with Kate.  I organised a gathering on Sunday during which birthday cakes were eaten.  I found an American recipe online for the stickiest looking chocolate cake which I’ve now made twice; once for Alex’s birthday in January and again for Steph.  My friend Vivien suffered a migraine after a slice of Alex’s cake so I’d planned to avoid giving her any this time, but she told me it would be worth it.  Kate made a lemon cake for dad’s birthday and fortunately I had appropriate candles for both of them.

Steph went back to uni on Monday afternoon, taking portions of this cake with her for Alex, Mike and Carl so they could feel queasy and chocolated-out too, no doubt!  It looks small in the photo but according to the recipe it serves 25 people.  I’d hazard a guess that we got even more than that out of it.

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