Archive for the ‘Freecycle’ Category

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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In Harmony?

Monday 15 July 2013

Yesterday my sister and I decided to visit Secret World for a day of their Healing Weekend.  This event is in its fifth year and although it isn’t very far from either of us, we’ve never been.  This year, partly due to the glorious weather, we thought it was about time so after milking in the morning I went to her house and we walked from there.  It was …. interesting.  We had our chakras aligned in a pyramid tent, sat through a demonstration of mediumship (fortunately nobody came through for us), had reflexology (which I love) and I had my aura massaged with star essences sent by higher spiritual beings from the stars.  Other than feeling quite relaxed and sleeping well last night – probably as a result of the reflexology – I feel exactly the same even though I’m now apparently protected from harm by a squirt of something or other in a pretty blue bottle.

I’ve finally given up struggling with my old computer (well, it must be at least SIX years old) and ordered a new one.  I thought long and hard about it, and for a while I thought I might just update this one to a new operating system, but Windows 8 would cost somewhere in the region of £100 so I might as well get a new one.  My current one is running Vista and frequently stops for a little break during which time I go for a cup of tea or something, plus it occasionally smells hot.  Gordon thinks it’s probably just dust at the back and it may well be, but I’ve had lots of use from it.  I may reformat it anyway just to wipe everything off but the newest operating system I have is Vista so that will go back on.  I’m not sure what I’m going to do with it then – maybe freecycle it if I can’t find a friend who’d like it.

We’re up bright and early this morning.  Gordon’s not sleeping particularly well in this heat and once he’s awake that usually wakes me.  It’s another beautiful morning.  Even though I don’t do well in this heat it’s better than constant rain.

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Tuesday 10 January 2012

This is our baby Alexandra, born on the first day of the year.  When I checked the records we had an Alexandra born on the first day of last year too, followed by another on the 18th – the red one.

We had another heifer born this morning out of a Blackhorns and this one will be Blackhorns 22.  Her mother is mostly white and so is the calf.  As Daniel pointed out, a twofer.  Two born, two heifers.  It is a good start to the year.

Gordon’s been working on the tractor and fitting a new engine so is spending a lot of time in the workshop.

In the meantime, I’ve been freecycling and listing stuff on ebay in an effort to declutter once again.  I go through phases, as you might have noticed.  So much rubbish relocated this week!

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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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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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Monday 31 May 2010

I can’t believe tomorrow will be the first day of June.  Month Six.  Very nearly halfway through the year already.  We spent the day as we usually do on public holidays: we worked.  Daniel took a long weekend so I’ve milked for the past three mornings and helped in the afternoon by fetching the cows, feeding the calves, etc.  Gordon has been getting out of bed long before I even wake up at six o’clock.  He says he can’t sleep in the heat and the light of the mornings, but I believe his internal clock is so out of sync that it isn’t aware of the correct time any more.  When he comes in from work he sits in front of the television and almost immediately falls asleep, snoring so loudly that I leave the room.  I wake him to go to bed but by then he may already have been asleep for three hours so it’s hardly surprising he wakes so early.  This morning he was outside before I got downstairs and at 6.15 I heard the milk pumps start.  I drank the cup of tea he’d left on the Aga, thinking to myself that if he wanted to start that early he’d just have to carry on.  By the time I got outside at 6.30 he’d already milked thirty-two cows so was halfway there!  I milked the other thirty-two fairly quickly and was finished by about 7.15, knocking about an hour off our usual finishing time.

We’ve been doing a little work together in the garden, me planting things and him mowing/strimming.  All my seeds are now in the ground (yes, I know they’re late) and other than replanting the onion sets every time a cat decides to visit the freshly-dug soil for a poop, something that’s irritating the hell out of me, we’ve left it all to its own devices.

Gordon is making ominous mutterings about starting the silage making this week “if the weather holds”.  The forecast is for rain tomorrow then brighter weather later in the week so it could be Wednesday or Thursday.  He’s been toiling away in his revamped workshop, oiling and repairing things including the not-quite-right clutch in the forager that gave me trouble when we cut the maize in the autumn.  Despite telling him at the time that there was something not-quite-right with the drive clutch (it kept ‘kicking’ out so I propped my toe against it to keep the lever forward), it’s taken him this long to get around to giving it the once-over.  I’m not sure he even believed me when I told him, but fortunately he’s found things like ‘cracked plates’ and ‘missing split-pins’ or something.  As you know, when he starts rambling on about tractors and engines my brain dozes off so all I really hear is blah-blah-blah, so I can’t be absolutely sure what was wrong with it.  Sometimes I let him carry on, but if I’m feeling particularly snippy (it happens now-and-again – gasp of horror), I tell him I don’t have a clue what he’s going on about.  All I care about is that he found something wrong and mended it.  What more do I need to know?

My printer died on Saturday in a singularly unspectacular manner which is a bit insulting actually.  If it had gone bang or even if there’d been smoke, I could have accepted that and moved on.  It was in the middle of printing something, it stopped and flashed up an error message, which refused to go away and which could not be overcome.  Dead printer.  We mourned for about five minutes and after laughing cynically at the error message which said something like ‘contact your nearest service centre to request a call-out’, we browsed online and found a replacement for less than fifty quid.  How much d’ya reckon a call-out would be?  No wonder everything is so disposable.  The ‘new’ printer, which obviously hasn’t arrived yet due to the Bank Holiday (Amazon are pretty quick, but I’m not sure they work over bank holidays or even at the weekend) has a fax facility which kills two birds with one stone as Gordon has insisted that we NEED a fax machine, even though we’ve owned one forever and we get (on average) a fax every two months.  The fax we have is large (modern-speak: it has a large footprint) and has occupied an entire shelf all to itself, but doesn’t work properly unless we pull it forward to put the paper tray in the right position so it’s been a pain anyway.  Before Gordon could change his mind I offered both the dead printer and the fax machine on Freecycle and someone says they’re coming to pick them up tomorrow.  We shall see.

We finally got planning permission for EDF to erect a meteorological mast to gather data about the wind and weather conditions here so that’s going up on Wednesday.  It’s very tall at 60 metres but only measures six inches across and has a navigational light on the top to warn off low-flying aircraft.  There were many protest letters from the locals who are determined to object to everything related to the possibility of wind turbines here, but the district council approved it anyway.  I’ll take a photo and post it once it’s up.

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Friday 19 March 2010

Since I last wrote I’ve done the following:

Transferred data from an old computer to a new one for a friend, an all-afternoon job because the old computer was pretty old and downloaded at the slowest rate I’ve seen for a long time.  3.5 Gbs of data and about four hours later when I took the flash drive out and inserted it into the new laptop we were both fairly weary and wary of how long it would take to transfer into the new computer.  About five minutes, was the answer!  It whirred and clicked smoothly and made short work of that much data.

Had a massage as a thank-you for the above from said friend, a qualified masseuse.  It was lovely.

Went to find a freecycler only to get hopelessly lost and give up, flying home in a bit of a panic that the freecycler would think ill of me for not turning up when I said I would.  Thankfully this was sorted by way of e-mails and the freecycled item was picked up eventually.  There’s now a man in Cannington who probably thinks I’m several bricks short of a load!

Attended a Parish Council meeting so that I could stay in the room when Gordon was exiled.  Due to the fact that he’s a Parish Councillor with a prejudicial interest in the proposed wind turbines every time it’s discussed he has to leave the room.  Oddly enough they can’t ask me to leave so I just tell him what was discussed when we get home.  This week they approved the planning application for the test mast, a 60m high stick-mast which tests wind speed, etc.  There was more heated discussion.  I’m starting to get used to it, but was still shocked by the discovery of a poster with our name on it suggesting we should be ‘stopped now’.  The local folk are of the opinion that wind turbines chop up birds among their many other sins.  I’ve visited the RSPB site to see if this is true and it isn’t.  Apparently the greatest cause of bird fatality is the house cat who is responsible for the death of 55,000,000 birds a year – that’s not just ONE cat you understand, but all of them in the UK.  And yes, that is 55 million!  The RSPB are of the opinion that the bird population can easily withstand this loss because …. well, there are just so many of them.  They also reckon that climate change is responsible for more wildlife/bird/environmental damage and the only way to prevent that is for us all to embrace green energy – the sooner, the better, they say.  Love it or hate it, they do have a point.

Then it was Tuesday and during the day I waited in for my new camera which was due to be delivered somewhere between 7.00 am and 5.30 pm.  No commitment then!  It didn’t come.  I ordered it online during the weekend after receiving £80 of Amazon vouchers from what used to be Gordon’s airmiles.  We thought we’d better cash them in before they mutated into something else or ceased to be altogether and after a little bit of online research I decided on a dinky little red Panasonic Lumix.  I do have several digital cameras already but two of them are large SLRs and the third is an older large compact (oxymoron for you there).  The compact takes adequate photos, but nothing special and doesn’t really do macro at all.  I may not have mentioned this before, but I’m going to New York at the beginning of May so a good (small) camera is essential.

In the evening I went to the Weston Playhouse to see the Moscow State Circus.  There were no elephants but apart from that little disappointment the rest of it was pretty phenomenal.  The acrobats were so good that on several occasions we were stunned into silence and forgot to clap, sitting with our mouths open instead wondering how on earth they did that.  Lots of practice, obviously!

On Wednesday my camera arrived.  “Weren’t you supposed to deliver this yesterday?” I asked.  “Yeah, we had a bit of trouble” was the reply.  They really could have let me know, but I don’t suppose it occurred to them.  I charged up the battery then wandered around the place giving it a test run.  What do you think (bearing in mind that this camera is tiny)?

I liked the texture of this.

Pretty good macro and automatic too.  Since this is my favourite style of photography it was important this bit worked well.

Our weather-cock on the shed in the garden.  Unfortunately he’s not accurate as I think there’s a touch of rust there somewhere so he doesn’t swing round with the wind.  It looks nice though.

Spring must be coming – the fish are hungry.

In the evening on Wednesday I went out for a meal with friends then yesterday I drove to Cheltenham to spend the day with Alexandra.  We had a lovely day doing lunch at Nando’s, her favourite place to eat and wandering around the shops.  I didn’t think much of the traffic on the way home though and finally made it through at about 7.00 pm.

Today I’ve been catching up on work here, invoices again, the bane of my life.  Tonight I’ve been invited to a hen party for a friend who’s getting married at the beginning of April.  And I have to milk this weekend.  Plus I bought a couple more gooseberry bushes which need planting and some blackcurrants.

Phew!  I’m exhausted!

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