Archive for Nov, 2013

Le Corsaire

For my birthday a few weeks ago Terri bought me a ticket to see a ballet called Le Corsaire at the Bristol Hippodrome.  She and some of her co-workers had arranged to go and thought it would be nice if I went too.  We went to Bristol in the afternoon and did a little bit of shopping, had a late lunch/early tea in Cabot Circus then made our way back to the Hippodrome where we met a friend who was taking her parents to see it.  We went to the Colston Hall for a glass of wine in their cosy bar then walked around the corner to the Hippodrome.

As Terri has now pointed out, that’s probably ruined future trips to see ballet.  It was truly superb!  It was performed by the English National Ballet with a live orchestra which was all very exciting and we enjoyed it so much.  This is only the second ballet I’ve ever been to, the first being Coppelia at the Weston Playhouse on a noisy, too-small stage which resulted in the dancers occasionally leaping into scenery whilst sounding like a herd of elephants – not their fault at all, but disappointing all the same.  The stage at the Hippodrome is much larger and certainly quieter, but the music was rousing and the dancers just so talented.  It was a wonderful present.

On a different note, I just came in from working outside to find one of our cats dragging tonight’s tea (steak) off the cupboard!  We usually defrost stuff by keeping it in the microwave but Gordon rarely follows the rules and often leaves it beside the Aga where he’s convinced it defrosts quicker.  I’m sure it does too although I’m slightly worried about the bacteria growth of such warmth.  Hopefully he will now realise that nothing is safe if left on the cupboard, especially after Scamp had a little lick of our best t-bone steak!  Fortunately it was still inside the plastic bag, but I suspect it wouldn’t have been for much longer if I hadn’t come in at that stage.  I consider this one of the worst things about it being so cold outside: all the cats refuse to leave the house and lie about making everything hairy.


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Many years ago when I first moved into the farmhouse, Gordon disappeared to Mole Valley Farmers and came back with a birthday present for me – a Dyson vacuum cleaner.  To be honest, a vacuum isn’t my idea of a good present to give a girlie, even if it is a Dyson and at the time, state of the art, but it sucked the equivalent of a beach out of the carpet the first time it was used and continued to give good service for a while after that.  Then it lost the suction.  Yes, yes, I know the adverts say it never does that, but believe me, it does.  Big time.  Gordon extracted (painfully in some instances) the permanent filters and blasted the dust of out of them with the same air-hose he uses to clean out the grass from the back of the forager on a windy day.  Once again, the suction was good and so it went.  After several years the motor was struggling so I offered it on Freecycle – rather amusingly I thought – as a dead animal since that was the name of it – a Dyson Animal.  Of course, I had a few strange replies even though I explained that it was in fact a dead vacuum cleaner and not an actual animal.  One of the replies advised me that for a small amount (in comparison to buying a new one) I could get it overhauled by a qualified Dyson expert and after tracking down a nearby service centre, that’s what I did.  He came promptly and stripped it down in record time, replacing bits as he put it back together again.  In about half an hour I had a ‘new’ vacuum.

The intervening years have not been kind to my Dyson and it’s taken a few knocks, but the worse thing to happen is that the hose split so I’ve been answering Freecycle ads for broken Dysons with a yes please.  Unfortunately I now have my own that vacuums the ceiling beautifully if I hold the hose together with my hand, but is rubbish at vacuuming the floor, a very early model that was ‘not picking up anything’ but is now Gordon’s blown the air filters out but has a broken end on its hose so you can’t attach anything to it and one aquired today that I thought would solve my problems.  Sadly, and I have to say, really disappointingly, it doesn’t.  Its hose is broken even worse than mine and the motor is as dead as a post.  Gordon rather sarcastically asked if I intended to keep collecting broken Dysons and suggested that perhaps I should cut my losses, freecycle them all and buy a new one.  Have you seen how much Dysons cost?  My sister recommends the Vax.

I think I might go for it.  Dyson anyone?

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Calf Overload!

Our last few calves of the year have decided to arrive at the rate of about two a day.  Today we had a bull calf and a heifer, yesterday a bull and the day before two bulls!  We’re quickly running out of places to put them and for some strange reason none of them are interested in feeding from their mothers.  The heifer born today and one of the bulIs two days ago are out of cows called Alexandra and they both have udders so big that l doubt the calves can get down that far so we’re feeding them all ourselves.  We picked up two and put them in individual pens, but in some cases we are putting four calves on two cows just to maximise what space we have.

I’ve been tinkering with my tablet and have discovered a couple of cool apps including one called Paper Artist.  I don’t know whether this app is exclusive to Samsung, but it lets me ‘modify’ my photos. As you know, anything to do with photography is sure to interest me but this is so easy to use. This is the robin I took a photo of a couple of years ago when l went to the Manor House Hotel in Okehampton.


I’m toying with the idea of using something like this for my Christmas cards.  Actually, I’m also debating whether to send Christmas cards at all this year or buy a chicken to send to an African village via Oxfam with the money.  l kind of feel that social media like Facebook as well as email and mobile phones have done away with the need to reinforce the fact that you want to wish your friends peace and goodwill in the form of a ‘hard copy’ (card) that will be disposed of as soon as Christmas is over.  I’m also sending cards to people that I haven’t actually seen in the flesh for decades. Am I being mean?  What do you think?

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Today is my birthday so I’m now officially quite old. Not really old, it has to said, but old enough! Fortunately for me, not too old for new technology! My present from Gordon this year is a shiny Galaxy Note which I’m sure will bring me hours of pleasure especially since I’ve just discovered I can write my blog with my fingertip in proper writing. You may even see more of me so blessing or curse for you – you decide! I always tend to disappear a little in the winter, but draughty (or is that drafty) old houses have that effect and my office can be very cold. My overproduction-of-thyroxin-induced warmth has gone and the layers of clothing are going on in an effort to keep warm. Daniel worked this morning so apart from feeding the calves and washing down the milking parlour I wasn’t needed which gave me more time to spend with the girls, both of whom were able to come home for the weekend with their boyfriends.  They gave me some fantastic presents which I opened once breakfast was over with. Stephanie and Carl gave me some long thermal socks, a case for my new  tablet which matches my phone case, a boxed set of One Foot In The Grave, a Boots advent calendar for grown-up girls (cosmetics in each window) as well as a selection of home-made truffles. Alex made me a book called The Story Of Me And My Mum which involved photos of her favourite times and little personal memories, some Lindor chocolates as well as giving me an Amazon voucher so l can buy some kindle books I’ve been hankering for.  l must admit I am impressed with both of them for buying such welcome pressies.

Earlier this month Gordon, Terri and l went to Cheltenham for Stephanie’s graduation. She is now a Bachelor of Science (Hons) and to say we were proud of her is a bit of an understatement. She looked extremely grown-up in her cap and gown and l took some good photos which are on my computer. Since this is the first time I’ve written a blog post like this, that may have to wait for another time. Alex was there despite telling us she couldn’t get the day off -they do like surprises, my two.

Life on the farm continues on as normal – births and deaths – well only one death following a difficult calving, but that’s still more than we care for.  We’ve had a lot of bull calves in the past few weeks including a set of twins, one of which has three nostrils – something I’ve never seen before.  l took this photo on my phone and have bluetoothed it across so am able to post that.

Weird, huh?

Now l have to find the right button to post this! If it disappears you’ll never know it existed so as long as you can read it then l found the right one.

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