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Tuesday, 29 December 2009

ugly christmas sweaters

Here's my family Christmas Day, blessedly missing my own fashionable and highly desirable UGLY Christmas sweater. There were 20 of us for tea at my brother's house, and we all wore these magnificent, pre-owned and home-made garments. It was just hilarious. An arguementative and shouting time was had by all. We followed up with our own party on Sunday night, I don't believe there is a photographic record, for which I am grateful. We pushed out the final drunken relatives and guests at midnight, who had sunk to random salad item throwing, and loud, good humoured disputing.
We have had a full family Christmas week, and look forward to a slightly quieter New Year Celebration with a bottle of bubbly and the TV. Big boy working New Years Eve at pub, and youngest hitting town in team fancy dress. Only expecting about 6 teenage sleepers after hours. Buckets will be at the ready. Can't wait.
Happy, happy New Year.

Sunday, 20 December 2009

snow, snow and more snow

Can't resist posting these photos, us two glad ragged up for a dinner last week some trace of suntan still discernable, and also some fat bellies, and the first snow. Today the wicked small dogs ran away for an hour and I was ready to call the police. They came back, cheerful as you like, having been rabbiting in the snow to their hearts' content, covered in balls of ice from head to toe. More walking on the lead, I had begun to trust them to be off the lead across the farm, but any distraction and they are away like greyhounds into the wide blue yonder. The snow is half way up my wellies now, and difficult to get about, either on legs or in a vehicle. Ice below the snow making roads deadly. The outflow on the upstairs hand basin and bath now frozen solid, so full bath will remain in the tub until the sun melts the pipes tomorrow. Luckily downstairs shower-room, though cold as a freezer, has underground in and out for water, so maintaining functionality so far. Coal and log fires in both sitting rooms downstairs (damn the expense) just taking the chill off the living areas. Dear God its a cold house at the best of times, but we are wearing A LOT of clothes this week! I have taken to wearing not only a thick flanelette gent's night-shirt at bed time, but also socks and a zipped up quilted fleece. Despite looking like a monster I am warm and snug throughout the night, so worth the embarrassment! Boy do I look a fright every morning....

just want to also say THANK YOU to Janet for the marvellous e-card. Must be Spot in the cartoon?
And Mr B - WICKED photos, great blogging, awards? Let's have a look then

Monday, 30 November 2009

xmas newletter and annual roundup

Lanzarote - November 2009

Alec - June 2009

John, his Grandad (my Dad), Jack (Elizabeth's youngest), and me February 2009

Lanzarote landscape (volcanoscape) - November 2009

Treacle and Fudge wishing you a merry christmas

Strange Skipper Reindeer creature celebrating Christmas.
Hello campers! And wishing you a Merry Christmas for 2009 and a great New Year for 2010. We are hoping for New Year cheer for 2010. In February John had a huge 18th celebration in Friskney Village Hall, photo shows me, Dad, John and Elizabeth's son Jack at the party. Good time had by all. Photo of Alec taken by a friend during the summer. Photo of Hugh in Lanzarote last week enjoying 80 degree sunshine. Black landscape was also Lanzarote which turned out to be entirely comprised of volcanic ash and rock - a tiny bit difficult to stray off the beaten track, your shoes would be torn to pieces! Yellow horse sporting thick winter coat, mud up to his eyeballs, and strange pair of red antlers especially for Christmas. Small dogs modelling bespoke santa hats, which didn't impress them much, but provided a photo opportunity for Christmas cards this year.
Its been a funny year, up and down with family health, and John dropping out of University. He's now living at home, hoping to find part time work (bar work or similar) and have another go at Higher Education in 2010, same year as Alec. Hopefully he will find a course more suited to his character than Mathematics. Perhaps Agricultural College? Who knows. He's busy choosing even as I type. Alec has chosen History for his degree, and has a few offers of places in hand. I think two further offers will come in during January 2010 then he must make a shortlist of 2 and do his best for his A levels. John was pleased to get a double distinction in his business studies at A level, and a B in his Maths A level. Quite a relief on the day they came through, a sleepless night was had by all of us the night before results! He liked East Anglia University but found degree level maths terribly dull and knew almost immediately he had made a mistake. So here he is at home again keeping us all entertained!
Much camping was done by endless teenagers during the summer months, out in the field with the fire pit, and all behaviour creditable. Sadly, the fire pit has now gone (for sheep to graze the area) so I don't know if we can offer the facility next summer. We shall have to see.
Horrible black dog has gone to a better place. Her heart gave out during the hot summer months, so she didn't suffer and surprised us with her passing. She was quickly replaced by the two cocker spaniel pups photographed - which are turning out to be a lot of work! We easily forget how much attention pups need to grow into balanced canines (these two probably won't make the grade...). They are bought to breed with, so hoping for puppies next year.
After much dithering I am keeping Skipper the yellow horse. During the Spring and Summer he got a bit lively on the spring grass, and a friend had to come and help me be a braver rider. He has returned to his usual quiet character with the disappearance of the lush spring grazing. After two years of owning him we are becoming accustomed to his foibles and I could sell him and buy another horse with much worse problems. So, he's staying. He has learned to live out in the field day and night. And to grow a thick winter coat. And to enjoy mud. Right at home then.
Alec still playing hockey for Boston Men's, and football for UVI school team. He fills the house with friends almost every weekend, which means lots of bacon roll consumption on Sunday mornings. It could be much worse!
Hugh and I have just come back from a week of R&R in Lanzarote. Gorgeous weather, but bit short on landscape (unless you like volcanic rock). Much of interest, but probably don't need to go back again. We came home wider than we went, hotel deal was 'all in' including wine and beer. Sadly making the most of this offer has meant that we cast quite large shadows in the winter sunshine.. ...
Its been a difficult year for visiting and travelling, there has been much to keep us occupied around work and home, but hoping for a bit more flexibility next year. With both boys now driving themselves and no longer needing one of us to pilot them around it might mean we can give ourselves a bit more time for friends.
As ever, kettle on, and new teapot always full in kitchen. Call in anytime!

Monday, 2 November 2009

skipper's new coat

As promised, a photo of the new coat, which includes neck coverage for extra comfort! I like this fabric so much I have ordered a matching sweatshirt for me! Everyone else thinks the horse ensemble is absolutely appalling, and seriously unmacho, but I LOVE it! Poor Skipper.

Friday, 30 October 2009

Big boy returns from Uni

Eldest boy has given up his Uni place and come home. Has had doubts about the maths from week 2 of the course. Has not enjoyed pure maths, nor found it as interesting as he had hoped. He tried to change to another course, or add another subject to the maths, but it wasn't possible at UEA. So, was collected with all his goods and chattels last night, and is 'considering his options'. Hopefully cost of leaving won't be too bad (rent, tuition fees etc) and he is going to look for a different course to begin in September again, or find a job, whichever happens first. Every cloud has a silver lining though, and this does mean that the old man and I can go away for a bit of a holiday leaving big boy in charge of dogs, horse, house and brother....

Horse ready for new shoes, had his first outing accompanied by pups on Wednesday. Brown dog kept swinging on horse's tail, but apart from that it all went relatively well, with the dogs not straying too far from the horse, and Skipper being pack leader - now there's an alien position for him

Sunday, 25 October 2009

salt mines closing today...

At last, end of season has arrived. Salt mines closing at 2pm. Still have guests in brick buildings (cottages, apartments etc) but all caravan dwellers making their merry way back to their winter homes in distant counties.

Youngest has passed his driving test (I am shuddering with fear even as I type) and obviously knows everything. Eldest seems to have forgotten how to use a telephone so can only assume University is going just fine.

Small dogs are eating the spines off all my books on the shelf they can reach, they will have reference libraries of knowledge within them if they carry on at this rate. A shed is being prepared for them outside, until we get through this toothsome, nibbly stage.

Skipper the Wonderhorse standing idle in field and chillin' as I seem to have been flat out with other stuff and haven't ridden him for 2 weeks! What a long holiday for him.... hoping next week will bring me a little spare time to devote to him. I have found time however to buy him a new field rug, pink spots on a cappuchino brown background! Everyone else truly appalled at this girly outfit, but I think its marvellous. Photo to follows.

Monday, 19 October 2009

Wot a Weekend!

Big boy collected from train station at 10.30pm Friday night. So lovely to see him. AFter work on Saturday boys prepared for Young Farmer's ball and we donned our glad rags for Round Table Area Ball at Kenwick Park. I offered to collect my boys from their event, so that they could have a beer without worrying. At 11pm our boys texted to ask if we were nearly ready. Shortly after another text asking for us to come ASAP. Thought it was a bit funny. Turned out that big boy was absolutely paralytic. Had said 'yes' to every drink he had been bought. He was 'launched' into my car by a group of burly farmers who thought it was absolutely hysterical. He got jammed between the back seat and the front seats. Within one mile he was sick everywhere. He fell out of the car onto the road whilst we tried to clean him up. On arrival at home he couldn't walk at all. He finally collapsed onto the stone kitchen floor at midnight, in an unresponsive, clammy and comatose condition. We rang an ambulance. He was admitted to our local cottage hospital, and made a good recovery by 4am. By this time he was just drunk, not comatose. Frightened me almost to death, and his younger brother, who found it all very distressing. No sleep at all. Sunday we had a big family lunch planned, and I was baking and roasting all morning. Drunkard managed half a plate-ful, disappeared to speak to the great white telephone, returned to the table looking a bit less green, and ate a few more mouthfuls before giving up. His Grandmother thought he looked very peaky and perhaps he wasn't eating well at University? We didn't grass him up, though the temptation was almost irresistable. There are some photos, which I took to be unkind, and to remind him of his condition, but he doesn't want them posted for public entertainment. He is mortified. He has never previously done such a stupid thing, and it has shocked him very much.

AFter lunch his brother drove us all to University to drop off the drunkard, and we made our weary way back home to complete our weekend finally putting our feet up at 8.30pm. Dogs not impressed, particularly as they were not allowed to lick the drunkard whilst he was prostrate, nor were they allowed to greet the ambulance service-men as they deserved.

The vomit, incidentally, covered the entire rear area of my car, a new dinner suit, a new dinner shirt, a blanket I keep in the car, my own ball gown and the kitchen floor. Sadly the drunkard was too unwell to be able to clean it all up himself, and it fell to me to wield the scrubbing brush and the bin bag.

Delighted to be back at work, and beginning to see the funny side, though I am extra-ordinarily grateful to the very kind ambulance men, and the staff at our local cottage hospital. Unbelievably my son was the only A&E customer in the early hours of Sunday morning, and he was treated with far more kindness and consideration than his condition deserved. He thanked everyone, and apologised profusely for the duration of his occupation of a hospital trolley!

Hoping day off tomorrow can be spent relaxing and 'putting it all behind me'.

Big boy has just texted to say he's still far from well. Serves him right. I thank all gods listening that it is a funny story and not a tragedy. The plonker.

Friday, 16 October 2009

dirty girls

Last night the brown girl leapt into a filthy, black and sludgy dyke. Her excellent sister stayed well away. Therefore, I had to catch stinky, filthy brown dog, lassoo her, drag her home, hose off the worst outside, then lift her into the outside sink for a full shampoo. She did not appreciate any of this. The smell was terrible and made its way onto my skin. Terrible creature. They are growing and eating, eating and growing. And biting. And chewing.

Sunday, 11 October 2009

down, but not out...

Life proving a bit crinkly at the moment. Without the whole story we were TURNED DOWN at Panel for fostering last week. This simply never happens, after 10 months preparation, and endless interviews it should be a technicality. But, for us, there was a row over TVs and playstations in bedrooms, and they didn't think we were fit to be considered without MUCH more training! Incidentally, we don't do TVs in bedrooms, and the fostering panel felt very strongly that our age range of boy children (4years old to 10years old) must have these things in their room.....We now no longer wish to foster and have withdrawn our application, but after all that training and trouble it seems a bit of a shame.

Went to Sheffield (actually a beautiful place called Eyam) for dinner last night, but it has left me a bit weary at work today. Its a long way to go for a mediocre feed, but the company was excellent!

Puppies have grown tall enough to steal shoes off the counter top, and therefore we have even less un-nibbled shoes in the house than yesterday

Sunday, 27 September 2009

new router solves many problems

The internet access and functionality at home deteriorated to such an extent that youngest boy had to visit a relative to complete his homeork on Thursday evening. Therefore, after an hour on the telephone to the internet service provider I acted on the Advisor's recommendation and purchased a new router last night after work. It took approximately two minutes to set it up, and astonishingly the internet speed and access is now A1! hOORAY. I did buy a new router 6 months ago, but went for the same make as previously, which meant that the problems were not solved (or another faulty router which seems unlikely). This time I have a different make (recommended by computer advisor) and it has made all the difference. Thanks Netgear.

Fabulous weather. Yellow horse did 4 miles last night, sound and lively, he's so much happier on his feet with the anti-inflams. Dosage is cut down to half a dose per day from tomorrow. So will be watching closely to see if his pain comes back. Working towards no medication at all. Fingers crossed.

6 boys ate and slept at home on Friday night, all going to an 18th birthday party together in town. They proceeded through the food in the fridge like locusts. They descend every weekend to keep youngest company and me entertained. Now leaving spare beds made up for them (saves washing, and it's same occupants every weekend). Except for staggering quantity of food they consume its lovely to still have house-full of huge young men, despite absence of eldest at Uni. Can't imagine how horrible it will be when youngest goes and all beds empty. Probably fill them with puppies.

Thursday, 24 September 2009

sunshine and clouds

Gorgeous weather, hardly any guests at saltmines until the weekend, those that are here out walking and enjoying the sun, not bothering me in Reception. Clouds are my own, but working through them... missing eldest, youngest came home with a throat bug or similar last night, and black pup piddled in the kitchen last night and this morning, at exactly the same time as I was celebrating the fact that both pups now seem to be reliably house trained! Art night-class tonight, girly meal tomorrow night, meal with New Zealand distant relatives who are travelling through on Saturday evening. I'll need a wheelbarrow to carry my fat-belly around with me......

Youngest visiting York, St Andrews and Hull Universities shortly looking for place to study History happily. Has already inspected Nottingham and Sheffield. Its a long task.

Yellow horse keen as mustard last night, still taking the anti-inflammatories, which seem to be suiting him! Lively as a cricket.

Saturday, 19 September 2009

key fairy success story

Number 1. At 8.30am this morning I found the keys! The fairy had placed them in a plastic filing wallet, between mountains of property documents. I'm sure she had a good reason.
Number 2. Turkey butchery. The blasted stag turkey was as big as a house, so had to have his legs seperated from the body. Not satisfied with this piece of surgery, I went on to bone out the carcass as it was so huge, and frankly, a bit old. The body meat was great eating. Legs frozen until I have enthusiasm. The leg meat is as dark as fillet steak.
Number 3. The luggage. Enough said.

Friday, 18 September 2009


I parked my car at home yesterday afternoon, removed myself from the driver's seat, took a couple of mobile phone calls in the garden, and came inside. At 6.45pm when it was time for my Art nightclass it emerged that my car keys were lost. Aaarrgghhhh. Been looking now for about 4 hours, and no sign, despite the fact that they are attached to 2ft of blue ribbon to prevent this very situation. Its driving me MMMAAAAAADDDDDD. Please let them turn up... I have a spare set, but am so miserable to have misplaced something so important to me. And, if my car is now stolen no-one will believe that I lost the keys and didn't leave them in the ignition. So pissed off I can't express myself.

More cheerfully, yellow horse absolutely lovely tonight, and very sound indeed. He's just a banana coloured star. Big boy has brought all his university luggage into the kitchen today (Friday) despite the fact that his departure for University is not until Sunday morning. Crying inside already.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

calorie off-setting

My husband says, like carbon off-setting, if you eat a bagful of calories, but put a small donation into a famine relief charity box, your calorie intake won't count. This is so heartless I am embarrassed to write it, but he was quite pleased with the idea...perhaps he could try politics as a full time career. With ideas like this he could go a long way. Oh, wait a minute, our own Politicians got there before him with world stuff.

Yellow horse enjoyed the anti-inflammatories, though didn't seem to make a deal of difference. As a result, he's got some more! He will be thrilled. He's so very slightly not right that we only notice because we know him so well. Don't want you to think he's suffering. He's fat and fine. Would benefit from losing 75kg. He weighted in at the Vet's at 615kg, a huge amount for a small horse. He doesn't look fat, just full of muscle, but its heavy for those tiny hooves.

Enjoyed my day shopping with my big boy today. It made us laugh when we noticed quite a few other large teenage boys also shuffling around Next and TKMaxx with their mothers, intent on the same purpose, and not wanting anyone to notice this final raid on the family purse! Purchased a £40 bit of tat jewellery on a whim whilst out today (highly unusual behaviour) with which I am surprisingly pleased - but feeling very slightly guilty. Pass the lash when you've finished with it please....

Thursday, 10 September 2009

leaky water pipes

Monday viewed Sheffield Uni with youngest boy & friend. Tuesday took yellow horse to Vet 40 miles away. Inconclusive, treating with anti-inflammatory for 5 days then must phone (doubtless this means a further journey with him). Wednesday national Caravan Show in Hull (about 60 miles) and tour round to look at a small horse lorry (what an extravagance that would be...). Thursday and unsurprisingly have migraine, tired eyes and struggling to stay awake at work.

Rode the yellow horse last night after two doses of medication and he seems sound, will try again tonight. Had to bring the pups to work today so that they are not home alone. They are a nightmare in the car, just want to sit on your knee, but penned in the back they are sick everywhere. So, choice of battling to keep them in passenger footwell, or clearing up little piles of sick in boot.

Water is leaking on the car park at the salt mines. Poor Hugh is pick-axing through the road surface to try and find the guilty pipe, every time he thinks he's closer the flow of water shifts further under the tarmac. Problems, problems.

Big boy now counting down to departure (20th September). Dentist tomorrow, rail card has arrived, Student Union application came today. He has consented to shop with me on my next day off (Tuesday) so that I can enjoy a coffee and lunch with him (just the two of us) before he goes, and he can, in exchange, enjoy spending my money on new shoes and trainers for Uni. Some powerful blackmailing techniques were utilised to achieve this projected day out, the Armed Forces could learn much from me!

Sunday, 6 September 2009

girls, girls, girls

who is chewing all the shoes and wellies in this house? It's hard to catch the perpetrators in the act....
Youngest boy has a doodah on his dashboard that tells him many things, one of which is his average mpg. As a learner this figure can be a bit up and down, but driving to the swimming pool this morning he achieved a creditable 56.2 with which he was very pleased. The tiny red Skoda Fabia done good!

Every day on his way to the swimming pool lifeguarding summer job, youngest drives past a tiny sign saying "thatched church this way". Yesterday I co-erced him to stop the little red Skoda (thereby affecting his average miles per gallon figure sadly), and had a look at this lovely little church. It has been in its present form since the early 1600s and is one of the very few remaining thatched churches in the country, and the only one in Lincolnshire. It was built from the remains of Markby Priory, and its roof was thatched by the churchwarden in 1672, because he wanted the tiles which were its original covering! Its a real gem and I'm so glad we stopped to look.

Particularly for Mr and Mrs Black, I also submit a few photos of Sutton on Sea beach chalets, the wind shelters at Trusthorpe, and more chalets 2 miles further on at Trusthorpe/Mablethorpe. Tonight am going for more beach chalet photos at Chapel St Leonards, as they turn out to be exceedingly photogenic (if only I had a beast camera...)

All quiet at the salt-mines today. Thought you might be amused to hear that a review of our customer surveys yesterday revealed that the more demanding of our guests would like: free access to bottled water whilst on holiday here, and also hospital beds (WTF?). Would also like tarmac park roads as the gravel can be noisy at night, and a flexible departure time, though at no added cost. Some would like softer beds, some would like their beds to be firmer, and some don't like any of the pillows supplied. More water pressure, more environmental lighting, more net curtains, towels (which are available on request if they would just read their paperwork), more shops, longer arcade opening hours, more recycling, and, to round off, one optimist would like to receive all inclusive drinks at the bar, and topless bar maids! Obviously, 99% of respondents had a very happy holiday, but there's always one....

Thursday, 3 September 2009

calorie negative food, and navicular

Local Vet came to vaccinate the yellow horse yesterday, and we mentioned that the horse is stumbling quite often when he is being ridden. He is also a tiny bit unsound this week, which we attributed to galloping round the field in excitement during youngest boy's weekend party. Local Vet suggests that poor Skipper go in for investigation for navicular syndrome. Have now looked this up on internet and feeling very apprehensive. Need to book the horse in for overnighter at bigger, less local Vet, for Xrays and other procedures. Keep you posted.

On a lighter note, and following the claim I made in an earlier post that the stuffed cooking apples are calorie negative, would like to confirm the following:

if your food containes anything grown at home or picked by you, its calorific value is nil, or sometimes negative. For instance, sloe gin, bramble wine, elderberry champagne. Apple crumble or cake if you grew the apples yourself, all jams and preserves made by yourself. Continuing this theme, rest assured that anything you eat whilst you are standing up has no calorific value, also anything you have to eat in a hurry (something to do with metabolism speed?).
ABsolutely any edible item which you steal from someone else (their hand, their plate etc) doesn't count.

Does anyone else have any other suggestions of methods to keep the calories out of foods? Do try my tips. I can almost guarantee chocolate will taste better, and will not rest on the hips, if you eat it whilst walking (slowly). Pass me the biscuit tin dear....

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

big boy baking

Eldest boy, the one going to Uni in three weeks, has started to take an unholy interest in all things happening in the kitchen. Now focussed on the fact that he will need to feed himself in three weeks time. As a result, and also because all the trees in the orchard are absolutely laden with fruit, he brought in some cooking apples last night and threw this 'stuffed apple' dessert together! How impressed am I. With a little verbal prompting he shows great promise. He may not starve, or end up in MacDonald's every day after all!

Day off, not that you would notice. Rode horse at 7.30am, youngest needed to be delivered to gym at 8.45am, collected at 12 noon, delivered to maths tutor at 3.30pm, and delivered also to hockey practice at 7pm. Around this I tried to squeeze a bit of R&R, remarkably unsuccessfully. Had a Grumpy Old Woman moment in the Bank this morning as I attempted to change £40 of pennies, two pences, etc for notes (I'm afraid we don't really handle change at this counter, or this counter etc, etc), and it has left me feeling grumpy all day. Riding Club Social evening later tonight which may brighten my outlook. Be a good job when youngest passes his driving test. Has already managed the theory test pass (nothing short of a miracle as he didn't even look at the Highway Code), and should try for practical on the road in the next month or so. If he would only use his mirrors he's actually ready now, though I can't tell him that.

Blowing a gale here (again) today, and got caught in a rain squall that drenched me completely. Typical.

Monday, 31 August 2009

in the summer of 09

Final camping/fire party for youngest boy, high excitement as they return to last school year as upper 6th students on Thursday this week. Not too much drinking, or smoking, appears to have taken place, but loud singing, hugging, and possibly other close personal contact over which we old people can draw a veil. Not my responsibility.....! All alive and well (even could be described as cheery) on Sunday morning, and cooking up beefburgers for breakfast. Somewhere between 25 and 30 17 & 18 year olds off the streets for one evening anyway, deafening the neighbours with top 20 chart hits in the dark.

I would like all readers to know that we purchased our first Christmas 2009 gift yesterday during a trip to Lincoln. Be afraid, so organised its scary....

Saturday, 29 August 2009

excellent guests

Today all Guests left their units really clean and lovely. The cleaning team skipped round, no-one got cross and hot, everyone happy and smiling, what a marvellous Saturday morning. Yippee! This is a rare event, and as such, even more appreciated.

Yellow horse being extremely good, and pups not eaten any shoes in last few days.

All this adds up to making me cheerful.

Youngest having about 30 for camping night outside tonight. I am thinking that by tomorrow morning 8am my habitual grumpy demeanor will have returned.....

Sunday, 23 August 2009

who did that?

This puppy has no idea how my flip flop moved itself into the garden, nor how all the damage happened in the microsecond that my back was turned. Does that look like a guilty face?

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

a level results

sitting up 'til midnight with biggest boy for on line indication of a level results (the Uni of choice marks your application confirmed at one minute past midnight if results are good enough). Heading off with him to school in morning for results proper. Its all a bit tense....

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

my day off

Today, I leapt from my very comfortable bed at 4.55am to get youngest to a swimming pool for a swimming club assessment at 6am. We struggled into the car at 5.15am for the 45 minute drive. Assessment complete we headed home at 7am, cup of tea at 7.45am. Tiny lay down until 8.30am. Get car and horse trailer. Collect friends at 9.30am. Drive to Oakham (about 2 1/2 hrs dragging horse trailer). Watch her prospective purchase being vetted (1 1/2 hours). Get vile cup of machine coffee, and have a toilet break. Load new horse and drive him back for them from Oakham to Spilsby. Unload horse. Admire him. Pack up trailer and return 4.10pm. Get quick cup of tea, half a bag of potato crisps, change cars and go to fetch youngest from maths tutor. Deliver bridle which I am lending to a friend on way back. Arrive home at 5.35pm. Tired, thirsty and hungry, and needing loo. 2 lovely nieces and my own father visiting. One niece cuts my two boys hair and other niece has a ride on Skipper. Turns out she complete novice and needs lovely Aunt to run around and around helping her learn to ride. Other niece, having successfully cut all hair in her path, turns up outside in field and also learns to ride yellow horse. More running around for red faced Aunt. Pack away yellow horse plaything to prevent Aunt collapsing with thirst, hunger and exhaustion, but before time for sustenance for Aunt (me), release niece's two cocker spaniels to play with and run with our two new puppies. Another 30 minutes elapse whilst we all enjoy their antics. Staggering now, make my way into kitchen to demand food. Youngest pushes off with two nieces/cousins to a party. Eldest comments that he too is hungry. Load myself into yet another vehicle and drive to nearest village for fast chinese takeaway. Its closed. Rush to fish and chip shop, it is closed but has few remains left on hot plate. Scoop up all in sight. Bring it home and consume it with unhealthy enthusiasm with biggest boy. Now 9pm. Finally made it to a loo break, got a gin in hand, and in approx 2 minutes will either fall off chair into deep coma, or totter up stairs for well earned rest. Looking forward to work tomorrow for the rest.

Thursday, 13 August 2009

growing girls

Here are the pups, now about 14/15 weeks old (already stopped counting). Still biting and chewing, making muddy footprints all over and generally getting under everyone's feet. Nevertheless, great fun, very affectionate, and still proving a popular draw with visitors. Eating for England, obviously growing and learning that a sad eyed stare can bring most things that you want right to your nose.... Other photos are the screen on my lovely, and not very old, laptop. It will only start up in safe mode, normal starts bring a variety of screen, all involving many colours, sometimes looking like an inkblot, sometimes straight lines, but no discernable information. I took it to PC World where it started up like a dream (why, why?) and received a bit of advice. As a result I went home and mistakenly took it back to factory settings (oops) thereby losing EVERYTHING! This has not cured the problem. Still only starts in safe mode. THese snaps of the screen are for the next time I can drag up enthusiasm to visit PC World (or hell freezes over). I have bought a new laptop, but it doesn't seem able to load the photos onto the blog (why, why?) and is sssllllooow. AGain, I have no idea why, its a perfectly standard, new machine with normal drives and memory quota. Its like it is being strangled. I have spent some time on the phone to the internet provider but it hasn't improved matters. Once again I feel like a caveman wandering about in a dark and cobweb strewn cave, with no light glimmering through. Hoping for a miracle for both laptops (or my technical know-how - that really would be miraculous).
Back to the salt mine. This week have at least 4 units occupied by the grubbiest, stickiest, dirtiest guests you could ever wish had avoided your establishment. They have all booked again for next season (deepest joy) but I shall be delighted to cancel those holidays and send back the deposit if the units are left in the condition we are anticipating. Dreading Saturday changeover, and have recruited all able bodied men, women and children to be on standby in case extra help needed with those glorious toilets and wet mattresses. Weather being kind (mostly) guests all happy in sunshine, and not long until children return to school, so not all bad!

Monday, 3 August 2009

Family get-together

here's John, at family BBQ on Sunday evening. We were going to have a huge, social evening, but it seemed too hard, tired after Saturday and Sunday, and wanted to go to local Revesby show. Therefore, settled for lovely nieces, nephews, brother and sisters etc and all got thoroughly cheerful around fire. Still tired, but recovering. Photos don't seem to be loading properly, don.t know why, will try again tomorrow.

Sunday, 26 July 2009

all-star cast attend opening night of garden shed!

Things still civilised - shed just after official opening

Things getting a bit 'messy'. New shed owner and friends (though not this friend...) demonstrating that shed can double as Sydney Opera House with showgirls...

Saturday night found us all responding to an 'official engagement' invitation to a star studded bring-a-bottle opening ceremony (incuding fish and chip supper rounded off with chocolate cake - who could resist). My friend's newly installed garden shed complete with toilet paper ribbon was officially opened by the town's mayor (in an unofficial capacity, and wearing a paper chain of office) who made a lovely, if slightly slurred, speech before wielding the scissors. Such was his condition, and the tone of the evening, it was nothing short of a miracle that only the paper ribbon was severed! We all crowded inside for a photograph or two to record the happy event (surprisingly roomy for a shed) and after consuming their fair share of bubbly stuff, stuff with fruit floating in it, and amber liquid in exploding cans, I drove my very cheerful family home before things got really messy. (Bet there are some headaches this morning, and not just my family...) It was a lovely evening, and what a novel idea - pass me the cheque book, because I really want one now!
Now into week 4 of raw food and bone diet for new puppies. What a success! Small poo, no odour, easy pick up consistency (omg) enthusiasm at mealtimes and excellent weight gain and coat condition. So far they have consumed masses of minced beef and chicken, whole raw chicken necks, whole, raw chicken thighs, minced raw tripe, whisked egg in a little milk, endless supply of beef rib bones for chewing and gnawing. They are devouring all the small RAW bones they can get their jaws round (and its mostly safe as the bones are uncooked). Wouldn't have believed it if we hadn't tried it ourselves. Its the difference in the pooh that is so surprising. Processed/cooked food all seems to have lots of stuff added, that comes out the other end. Not much left to come out with the raw, though meat & bones not quite so easy to handle as kibble of course. Will keep you posted.

Thursday, 23 July 2009

midnight walking

Last Saturday night, 10.30pm. 180 women (including me, my sis and my lovely niece) warmed up with a few aerobics in local sports hall, then set off to walk 6 miles around the town. Sponsorship money totalled approximately £11000 for the local Hospice. It was a great evening, we walked on bubble power, and I was a bit tipsy by the time we finished the walk. Quite proud to have been part of such a successful fundraising effort, and will be joining again next year.
Skipper the wonderhorse still having luxurious and restful time in field as small puppies are taking up an enormous amount of the day with feeding, walking, cuddling and collecting all the things they have stolen out of the kitchen. It can only get better.
Having new road surface put down at the salt mines. Can only lay the tar when it doesn't rain (difficult), and they need all vehicles off the roads and car parks when they are working. As we are paying for all this, and the stress of it has been and continues to be very high, hoping they get almost finished today so that we can wave goodbye to them tomorrow at the latest. If the rain holds off. All guests and caravan owners a bit tired moving their cars I suspect. All I can hear as I sit at Reception today is the peep, peep, peep of reversing lorries, the rustle of the grit falling onto the wet tar, and the shouts of the men in hard hats. Please let it be over soon.....
Big boys working flat out at the poolside being yellow shirted Lifeguards. Even getting customers through the gates when its not raining. Hoping very much that they do not have to try and save a swimmer this summer as we have all realised that its all a bit serious really, despite the sunglasses and the sitting about in deck-chairs. They worry about it!

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

biting, digging & chasing chickens

Two small puppies can shift a lot of lawn when they set their minds to point in worrying, a few shovels of soil will sort it all out in a month or two. Hugh and the baby boy went to Woburn last weekend to help Mr B celebrate his 44th birthday at GoApe, on the zip wires and platforms. Big boy and I were labouring at the salt face, of course. The two fun-seekers had a very exciting, and hair-raising time, after which the baby boy was at pains to show me the above photo. Apparently it looks so like me he had to check it wasn't his mother on the jolly to the Safari Park. Words fail me. I do hope he was joking! They were both tired and road weary when they returned to Lincolnshire, but proud of their high wire abilities.
Skipper the wonder horse not getting out as much as he would like, and he has noticed the addition of the two small bundles of fur, which are taking up lots of time, and also being exercised in HIS area. Given the chance I am pretty sure he will stamp on them, so trying to keep them out of his way until they are bigger, and can run faster. The Skipper did get out today (my day off) and ambled around the block like a pro, only proving to be afraid of one fallen 'for sale' board which was crouching in the long grass menacingly. Pleasingly blind to huge lorry unloading a tipper truck which we had to squeeze past in the road, and local Library lorry, which roared past us on a narrow country lane. He's an odd-bod!
Most puppy puddles now being produced outside which is marvellous, but very sharp teeth being put to good use on any exposed flesh of likely victims. So easy to forget what terrors small dogs are before they learn some civilised manners.
Doing sponsored midnight walk on Saturday night in aid of local Hospice, all donations gratefully received, and attending 70th birthday celebration prior. A busy night. Following weekend invited to a 'shed-warming' fish and chip supper. My friend has a new garden summer house installed which calls for plentiful supplies of fizz, fish & chips and ice cream into the night to celebrate. Any excuse and proud of it. Cheers!

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

not a dead puppy!

So you can see what a hard life the puppies have, shut outside in the cold and wet, underfed and mistreated - oh, not these puppies, these are sitting on my sofa all day, and on knees during the evening.... putting on weight nicely, and getting the hang of making poo outside. Sadly still making tiny puddles occasionally, but we are working on it aren't we girls! Cats have resigned themselves to the presence of these foul fiends, and returned to the warmth of the kitchen during the evenings. Also decided that eating at home in the morning is, on the whole, worthwhile, despite presence of spawn of satan in puppy form. Puppies attracting more visitors than I ever could, now thinking that with enough pups in the house I could have visitors every day for ever more!
Baby boy had 17th birthday today. We were out driving this morning at 7.30am. He's quite competent, just needs some road experience. All cousins and aunts and uncles came for tea and cake tonight (that's a lot of visitors) and most went out for a drive with the birthday boy. Scary.

Sunday, 5 July 2009

beautiful wrapping

It turns out that puppies are just beautifully presented bags of pooh, (think icing bags on legs) who are capable of an astonishing amount of poo for such small parcels. No more photos so far, too busy scooping that poop, but they are entertaining. Whether that's enough to balance the small puddles that are appearing every time my back is turned remains to be seen. Suffering also with 'fat' throat and horrible cough, also migraine weekend - nothing stops the pooper scooping though. Their tails are waggy and their teeth are sharp. Trying the BARF diet with the pups. Seems its a bit radical. They are eating raw tripe very finely minced. And bones. No more packaged dog food (which smells horrible) just raw meat. Will see how they grow and progress. They certainly prefer the raw tripe, leaving high quality processed food aside for the raw.

Horse did 6 miles early this morning before it was too hot. Flies still eating his nether regions, but some of the water retention has subsided so he looks more comfortable.

Must go, puppies pulling at my trousers.

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

a long few days

The loss of the stinky little black dog left such a hole in our day to day activities that we have had to fill the gap with two small cocker spaniels! They took a week to find, and several pups were inspected throughout the county. However, yesterday big boy and I made our way to Cambridgeshire (a 2 hour drive) and brought home two sisters. We were lucky and had pick of the litter, 5 girls and 1 boy, and it was very hard turning down all the others. We only went for one, but two of the critters seemed to find their way into our hearts. Seem to be settling in fine, and have had first jabs and health check at vets today. All fine. Been wormed too, so its a tough day for small dogs
The heat is keeping all visitors to salt mines very, very happy, and big boy enjoyed a great 'leaving school forever' camping party in glorious sunshine last Thursday evening. No photos, all went well. Mini Glastonbury once again in field.
Strange photo of arm probably needs some explanation. Baby boy's school house is called Lumley. Today was Sports Day. Lumley prefects drew L on their cheeks with greasepaint, and also wrote 'Lumley' down their arms. It was a hot day. The evidence is clearly burned onto his skin. He thinks its funny....
Yellow horse is standing in the shade of the walnut tree during this hot weather, and saving his energy not moving about too much. The uncomfortable effect of this lack of action is water retention in his external sheath. It must be painful. Its full and warm to touch. After exercise tonight looked much better, so lets hope it cools slightly and he walks about more, or he may need some sort of water reduction treatment. He is very patient about having his bits pulled about I must say!

More puppy pics to follow.