Sunday, 31 May 2009

Holiday week

The weather took everyone by surprise by turning suddenly glorious again - people are burnt and sore and very inclined to sit outside drinking and not do much of anything else if they can possibly avoid it. Temperatures in the 20's and brilliant blue skies.
A distinct lack of mud makes a pleasant change as well.
The kids have been off all week for half term and Asti has spent most of her time out in the garden or greenhouse being green fingered - she even made a start on Andy's huge and very overgrown garden when she ran out of things to do in ours. She is one of the slightly burned ones !
Simon is flat-out silaging for Phil and the post knocker never turned up as I think it got forgotten with him being so busy - 13 hour days tend to do that to people . Actually I think the horses are currently too hot to be bothered with breaking any fences but I probably spoke too soon and will find them somewhere weird tomorrow.

Starr has been working hard at riding Holly despite the heat and all horses are getting very used to being hosed off on a daily basis ( love the smell of wet horse and hot concrete).
The repairs to the car are happening at last - at the moment it's propped up on logs in Andy's back drive and currently without any rear wheels. The "good" calliper is now consigned to the scrap pile as the magical screw extractor ( bought solely for the job) snapped off whilst attempting to remove the bleed nipple. New calliper should arrive Tuesday.
Tomorrow we are shopping and the list is even stranger than usual as it involves weed killer, brake pipes, underseal and hair colour.
The horses get a day off and the kids go back to exams, assessments and all that happy stuff they have been so looking forward to !
John's temperamental computer finally gave up the ghost early in the week so, after some diy fiddling, we admitted defeat and it's now at Wattshop for repairs, hopefully we should know more about that situation on Tuesday too although I'm not holding my breath on that - if it was a simple repair we could have done it ourselves - this is something strange and unusual - I suspect either processor or motherboard myself ( can't be anything cheap can it ?)
At the moment my computer is working overtime as everyone is taking turns at it - just as well that I have been pretty busy with horses and all - queuing up to use my own computer is something I don't take very well.
I somehow managed to break the nosepiece on my everyday glasses so I'm stuck in the shades till I can get to the optician's (tomorrow with any luck) but at the moment that's really no hardship at all.
Neo is due back to the Vet's tomorrow and we shall see what they have to say then. He's certainly a lot happier and livelier now he's had 2 weeks worth of antibiotics shoved down his throat and I'd be happy to see an end to him wearing that awful cone as well.

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Bank Holiday Weekend...

It's a funny thing but I did say there was some sort of unnatural attraction between fence repairing and bad weather - it's been a glorious weekend ( unusual because it rather goes against tradition to have a Bank Holiday when it doesn't rain) anyway it was forecast to break last night with the usual dramatics (thunderstorms etc) and, of course I got the phone call from Simon to tell me that Harvey had broken through the fence and got into the 10 acre field. Not a major disaster - Harv is a big wuss and Mr Really Easy-to-Catch under these circumstances - ie - he's jumped over and no-one else has bothered to followed him - by the time we arrived Simon had got him back into the field and was preparing for a repairing session. It would have been a different story altogether if they'd all got in there. Anyhow, a good part of yesterday evening was spent messing about with posts and wire in the rain and being harassed by about 3 bazillion flying bloodsuckers who all seemed to want to be in my hair.
Obviously attempts to limit Harvey's grass intake need to be backed up with a bit more than Victorian railings and barbed wire ( yes, I know and it's not my fencing of choice - just of necessity - not everything can be replaced in one fell swoop but we are working on it)
Post knocker ordered for later this week !
On a brighter note we managed to ride out a couple of times with the weather being so nice and to get through the rather horrendous roadworks where the new bridge is being put in on our favourite ( and usually safest ) route. I was so pleased with the horses for going through that mess of cones, tarps and roadsigns - I took pictures !
Starr rode Holly on the lunge with some very pleasing results and we finally managed to buy most of the parts needed for my car repairs ( parts department was closed over the holiday weekend)
WE have decided to crown Gemma D the spontaneous BBQ Queen after her amazing short notice performance which actually included going out to buy a BBQ -
Round of applause for Gemma !

Friday, 22 May 2009


I don't why it is that it has to rain whenever I need to fix fences and not just rain once - oh no it has to be the whole preceding week so I end up wading through mud and sliding about in wet grass.
Also the funnest thing about electric fencing is certainly NOT that they decide to give up the ghost when it's cold,, raining, muddy and DARK.
This has been yet another week of nasty, miserable weather. The lunge area looks like a mud slick - I'm avoiding walking on it never mind asking Holly to do anything in there. The ramp is spewing sand all over the yard and the drains are backing up again. The fire is on and my car is still awaiting "real" repairs.
Cats are driving us mental - wanting to go out and then crying to come in when they find out what the weather is doing - then they give us accusing looks like we did it on purpose.
For some reason it's tending to stop raining and go rather nice just when it's too late to actually do anything, I did ride late one evening and a couple of times during brief spells of not-rain although the second of those started dry and ended up with me squelching ( sleeveless of course) and Fally drying out in the stable. Admitted I did stay out longer than I'd intended, lack of work makes him spooky and he was well into spooking at stupid stuff so obviously determination and more work was the answer - shame I wasn't wearing waterproofs and I don't know if the saddle's dried out yet.
On the tedious subject of the car - well, the kids are off this week coming and, as 3 of them are technically inclined ( and educated) when it comes to vehicles, the plan is to get it sorted then. At the moment it's unusable as I took it to a local garage to get the seized bolts released and there is now no grip on them at all - driving around with a swinging brake caliper doesn't seem like an especially clever idea. So I'm back to driving John's classic car and getting whined at for dog hair on his seat cover ( oops - last time it took him 3 hours to vacuum the hair from the door lining). Think I may need to get it valeted this time.
The dog himself is miserable and wearing a cone - the only time he is cone-free is when he's in the car or out in the fields. I can't imagine what the horses' reaction to Neo the cone head bouncing around would be but with all the mud we have at the moment I don't think it's a good idea to try to find out.
I did get my camera fixed so at least I get to use pictures this time !

Friday, 15 May 2009

Vets, pets and lots of wets

Neo has another vets appointment on Monday - they were talking about blood tests, biopsies, scrapes etc - seems a bit late for that since they've been treating him for the same problem for the last 3 years. Anyway, Monday will be second opinion time and hopefully make some headway with it.
We finally got the results from the lab for the tests on Asti's lizard poo and that was a waste of time too - they couldn't find anything wrong with it and suggested taking it to a specialist vet in Cheshire. The really funny thing that happened was that she had been complaining about the tank and wanting to change it and I went and fetched her a cabinet at the weekend which she set to and converted. Put the lizards in there and the skinny one ( who has not voluntarily eaten for 3 months - she got so skinny that she was re-named Victoria Beckham ) decided that the new house made her hungry and went on a binge. Three days later and she already has a fatter tail and is looking good so it seems that all she really needed was a new penthouse !
Fally managed to bite Asti the other day - first time he's got anyone in quite a while. She was fastening his rug and he swung and grabbed her by the arm - her entire upper arm. Praise to Asti as she responded by yelling, swinging and chasing him up the ramp before dragging him back and sorting the rug out. Her coat is ripped and her arm is purple - funny that she called him exactly the same thing as the vet did when he got bit !
The weather has been somewhat unsettled -thunderstorms, wind and rain and I've been off colour for a couple of days as well so doing little with horses and rather a lot of sleeping.The horses are fresh and looking for trouble.The couple of times I have been able to ride I've had the silly performance of parked cars being so scary and grids that have to be jumped over. Bucking seems very likely if we actually get to go for a run at the weekend.

Wednesday, 13 May 2009


Andy is back off his holiday and totally worn out having driven around 14,000 miles up and down mountains etc. I think he needs a holiday to get over it !
My car is back on the road with a kind of it'll do for now repair ( new pads) but needs some serious work to make it right and, unfortunately, that's dependent on getting 2 seized solid nuts to come off without breaking a chunk off the axle. Hopefully heat will provide the answer to that otherwise I'll be looking for a new car fairly soon.
Not really a great deal to write about - a lot of time has been spent in moving furniture about and Spring cleaning, some gardening and rather a lot of rearranging stuff.
The horses are now living out 24/7 and the stables need clearing out, jetwashing and painting but there are only so many hours in the day !
My poor dog is not looking so good - more skin lesions and bald patches. He seems totally depressed and not really interested in anything. Vet appointment is scheduled for this afternoon - hopefully they'll fix him up with some steroids and stuff and make him feel better.
My youngest has her Leaver's Prom today and John has agreed to drive her there and back ( best bet really as his car is far cleaner than mine !) but I've dropped for running folks to the college disco on Thursday and picking them up - usually means I'll get to bed at about 2 am.
The weather is hotting up, the greenhouse has been fixed and half the plants promptly wilted from the heat yesterday which really upset Asti - hopefully they will recuperate now that the door has been left open ( although we are now guaranteed to get cats sunbathing in there too !
I have wine ready to bottle and a kitchen that has far too much "stuff" in it - time for a serious rearrangement there. I think it calls for extra cupboards - should please John no end !!

Sunday, 3 May 2009

Tales of the Unexpected

The usual performance when Andy goes away is that the magical clean-up-fairies arrive and sort out his house. It's a shame it never works like that for me - I go out and leave a mess and i know darn well that when I get back the mess will have increased - usually exponentially.
Things have been a bit odd, what with the plumber and all and by Tuesday night I had an interesting little list to give him when he phoned to see if everything was okay.
The ceiling was half down in one room ( plumber did it so he's fixing it too) both Dysons had expired and, during the afternoon, the house had been struck by lightning !
That was really interesting I can tell you - Flash, Bang and I saw sparks shoot out of the fuse box. There was a crash from upstairs like something heavy falling so I went running to check that the tiler was okay - he was, I still have no idea what went crash. I went running all round the house looking for damage or fire or something and found nothing except that the power had tripped out on the sockets. It went back on with no problem and apparently everything still works.
Simon got sent out to plough a big field and managed to upset a nest scattering the occupants. and brought 2 baby birds back to us - we had no idea what they were but Google helped and we thought probably lapwings. We didn't have a clue what to do with them so Asti took them to Uni with her the next morning to hand them into the specialists there - apparently this happens quite frequently. It turned out that they were lapwings and a protected species ( just as well she took them in) Uni called the RSPCA who then phoned Si for directions about where he'd found them then turned up at his boss's farm to reunite them with mother bird and the other babies. They were, apparently, quite snarky and snotty with him. Shame really - you'd think people in that sort of a job would have better "people" skills. Obviously upsetting nests etc is something that's going to happen fairly often when you are working a large farm and if it causes too much trouble - well you can see where I'm going with that. I did have a similar experience last year with a local cat rescue; we found some kittens while we were hacking and phoned people to arrange cat carrier and collection ( too far to bring them inside a jacket) and got them home. Ended up fostering them for a couple of weeks and finally ( when John was in hospital having heart surgery) getting a visit from a lady who'd come to collect them on behalf of the rescue. Yes she was very pleasant and practically accused me of thoughtlessly breeding cats then dumping them off on people - if it hadn't been for the situation with John and the fact that we already have 13 cats I would have told her to sod off and kept the kits. As it was I made a rather loud and public complaint to the charity and received a very sincere apology.
How charities can possibly expect to get people working with them when their front-line people have such nasty attitudes is beyond me; I suppose it is understandable that they will get jaded and sick of people but not all people are the baddies, treating everyone as such will just cause alienation.
Anyway, enough rant about that - there is also the strange matter of the clock.
It's an oak mantel clock which was brought up from his Mum's house after she died last year. It had not been wound for some years and apparently Gemma wound it when it was moved but it wouldn't start. The key was put away "safe". Well anyway about a week before Andy went away it started chiming, I commented on it to Andy thinking that he'd managed to start it - he said he hadn't touched it. When he went away he asked me to try to keep it wound - well you remember that the key was put safe ? it's a big house with a lot of places to put stuff. The clock stopped at 12.15 on Monday and it took me till Wednesday to find the key. I wound, started and then went to put the time right and it was a bit weird that I didn't have to - I'd found the key and done it all at the right time to start the clock. Strange but true.
Aside from all that the week has been rather dull, the weather was bad up until Friday, the ground was slippy and the horses have done practically nothing. I managed to take Fally out a couple of times but he was really spooky and silly both times. My brake parts have finally turned up so I should be able to book my car in for it's repairs next week.
It also looks like we will spend some time tomorrow ( May Day) in finally putting up the insulators and tape on the new fence posts. This had been delayed in order to make life easier for the weed-spraying guy to get around. Well he's not coming until he does the farmland next door and there's no sign of when that will be.
I'n on the very edge of turning the horses out 24/7 - they stayed out last night ( rugged) but are in tonight as it's dropped to 4 degrees again.