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Tuesday, 28 April 2009

sleepy horse and leaping youth

Right then! Top photo, baby boy and two mates putting Skipper's jump to good use. Second photo, Lincolnshire sartorial elegance modelled by a mate, who shall remain nameless for his own protection! This was not the outfit he wore to go clubbing.... Third and fourth photos: I got up at 6am on Sunday and we had quite a sharp frost on the ground briefly. I walked over to the mares in my dressing gown, with the horrible black dog, to enjoy the view, the stillness, the birdsong and the peace. It was lovely. A few moments of quiet and tranquility. There was a new foal born, but the mare wouldn't let me near enough to get a photo. It has now gone home with its mum and several other mares who looked fit to burst. Remaining mares off within the week before their foals arrive too.
Finally, the Skipper horse was very, very disobedient late last night. He refused to come in to his barn for Hugh. It was nearly midnight, and I was asleep, so Hugh kindly went to put the horse away, but he planted his hooves in the corner near the mares and would not move! All the excitement of mares and foal being moved/loaded/coralled/dispersed meant he needed to stake out the locale in case of more interesting action. Rather than a prolonged argument Hugh left him. It was the horse's first night out alone in the field. I think he regretted it! This morning he could hardly keep his eyes open, and when we went for a ride he could barely pick up his feet to do 3 miles. After the hack and back in the field the horse lay down for a long nap. Hugh sat with him for quite a long time, amused at Skipper's indifference. Horse too tired to even look up. As a result Skipper is going to have a few more nights out in the field. Certainly took the wind out of his sails. Have bought him a fly coat as he is attracting all the winged pests in the locality to land on his face and sheath (I'm afraid so) and also purchased some fly repellent to wipe all over him. Also some chemical fly traps. Hoping all this shopping will help keep the flying biters off his tender bits. Since the spring grass came horse has been a bit full of himself so its a happy change to see him tired and relaxed. Long may it continue.

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

bathing ladies & silver bird

Especially for Janet: the black and white bird is the silver cock pheasant who so hates being handled that he uses his spurs, which can just be seen, to defend himself against all comers. He was unwilling to strike a pose in case it was a trick to move him again! Chicks are now in huge blue crate in the porch of the house - so looks like we live in a shed. They make a nice background noise though, and will soon be on the table in quite a different form - roasted and crispy.... Official photographer forgot to take a snap of Skipper and his very, very smart dressage companion yesterday. Skipper disgraced himself by spinning around in the road and running away from an old hay bale left at the edge of a field (you would have thought it was a crouching tiger judging by the speed of Skipper's retreat). He was persuaded to pass the moster eventually, but didn't cover himself in glory. The dressage horse only napped once at some traffic warning ribbon/signs, so all in all we considered this a successful educational outing. We pottered around about 4 miles of lanes and tracks making just one or two hesitation quite acceptable overall, and no-one fell off - always a bonus. In absence of photo of yellow and brown horses together I just managed to snap lorry containing smart visitor as it disappeared out of yard. Better luck next time. Final photo (or first, depending which order they load up) is right outside house porch door (same porch with chicks inside). Ladies bathing with friends, lawn akin to ploughed field, so visitors beware, poultry staging massive takeover bid for whole house. Probably find us in hen-house by next week.

Monday, 20 April 2009

mansfield trekking

Have taken the red Skoda (youngest boy's) back to Mansfield dealership as something has come loose in engine and is affecting gear changing capability. It was a long trip after work today, and collecting later in week when recovered from shock of busy roads and multiple roundabouts. Also when repair completed under warranty. Troubled guest and family left today. Bit of a damp squib in the end. He has complained every day, including the alleged loss of £300 in post, (an absolute fib I am sure), and we expected the unit to be left like a bombsite. However, life is full of surprises, and, apart from a vacuum cleaner with a broken 3 pin plug, and the handle snapped off a washer/spinner, and a bit of dirt, it wasn't too bad! It cleaned up nicely, new plug fitted in 2 minutes, and spinner sent to spinner heaven (wherever that is). All in all, considering he seemed really unstable, a good result. Weather glorious (making journey after work to Nottinghamshire particularly sticky and unpleasant) and day off tomorrow. Friend bringing her very smart dressage horse over for a potter round the countryside with scruffy friend...that's Skipper, of course. Internet problems solved tonight with help of very nice Indian man courtesy of ISP helpline. I was last in queue for patience when it comes to computer helplines, and my computer knowledge is even less than my car engine knowledge, but we brushed through particularly well after he promised to stay on the phone until I was happy that everything was working normally! Marvellous. I thanked him about 100 times, and he still deserved more. I'd like to explain the problem but I simply have no idea what it was....Hey-ho. A mountain of ironing, and a ton of washing, a shopping list as long as my arm and a grubby kitchen floor await, though if the weather stays like this it can all wait a bit longer.

Saturday, 18 April 2009

mamma mia marvellous

I stood with everyone else at the end of the show. AFter a 10 year run, still sold out, so, in common with the rest of the theatre going public, I enjoyed the show. London rainy and cold for 2 solid days of visit, extraordinarily expensive, and as usual, grubby and charmless. Redeemed by kindness and company of friends on trip. Back at salt mines have a very troubled person going home on Monday - more about him in another posting. Every day, in every way, he has something to complain about, we shall be glad to wave him goodbye. The chair buster, incidentally, was thrilled with every aspect of his stay, and will be back...can't wait!

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

rubbish service at salt mines

Previous guest confirms notable absence of vacuum cleaner in unit. Therefore, vacuum not stolen by nefarious travellers, but carelessly omitted from equipment by Management of Mines when setting up in March. Also missing, one heater for living area. So, obviously we were hoping for guests to freeze to death upon a rubbish strewn floor whilst trying to enjoy their holiday....

Replacement set of chairs purchased today, I haven't seen them yet, and busy, busy at counter with 'got anything for the night' passers-by. All welcome here in these tight times!

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

nearly time for london town

worrying about sharing a room, worrying about time off work, worrying about terrorist attacks. So, looks like I'm ready for my tiny break in the big city. Horse performed some excellent dressage moves during schooling tonight, quite by chance as far as I can tell, but absolutely momentous collected trot, collected canter, walk to canter, trot to halt, walk on long rein and even willing to jump...must have been taking lessons whilst I'm at work is all I can assume. Made me feel like a bobby-dazzler of a rider anyway, which doesn't happen very often! Boys both had first day of pool life-guard course - 6 day course to achieve qualification if they can pass. Fingers crossed for them, they seem to be working hard towards it anyway. They feel a bit cheated to be studying during the Easter hols. Might have had a vacuum cleaner stolen from a unit today, obviously it was a brand new one with no miles on clock. Can't be absolutely sure until tomorrow morning, and if they took it home they will be receiving a bill shortly. Just helped big boy to move his silver pheasants from garden into a pen in the orchard. The cock bird is a fearsome avian, and his spurs have gouged a hole in John's palm. Nevertheless they will be much happier in the bigger aviary, which has been vacated by golden pheasants who have now gone to market to find a new home. The silvers are so very handsome they look like they have permanent residence. So, only birds now left are about 20 laying hens, 8 or so bronze turkeylurkeys, these 4 silver pheasants and the 24 chicks bought for the salt mines - hmm, that seems to still add up to quite a lot of feathery garden ornaments - more disposal necessary I fear!

Saturday, 11 April 2009

guest gambols

this morning a guest came into Reception to ask for more heat (curently at 21 degrees) as he was 'frozen'! I went to turn it up - I was absolutely cooked in there. AT the same time he confessed that he has had an accident the consequences of which were a broken china plate (no problem sir) and a slightly damaged dining chair... see above. How? Why? So, as it is a mahogany chair, part of a set of 6, which match the very nice extending polished mahogany dining table, we shall have to replace the lot this week - as the joiner says unsurprisingly, its not repairable. Otherwise, doddling through this holiday weekend quite nicely, not many other problems, but be pleased when Tuesday is here. Thursday will find me on way to London with 3 lady friends, for Mamma Mia show, day in The Sancuary Spa, night in hotel, and window shopping in Knightsbridge. Whoopeee.

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

easter chix

Every year big boy has provided a hen with chicks, or just a batch of chicks out of an incubator to display in Salt Mines Reception for the visitors to look at, squeeze, and generally drool over. Today a Grandma brought in her two young grandchildren to look at the Easter chicks, only there aren't any... Big boy not permitted to hatch this summer, only sell birds as he may well be going to Uni in September and I don't want to be left with 100 chickens to look after. Guests suitably disappointed at lack of chick stroking facility, so emergency telephone calls have resulted in the purchase, at a princely 40 pence each, of two dozen 'table bird chicks' from a local hatchery. How lovely are they! Day olds, collected this afternoon, and presently sitting in a big box on top of the Aga to keep warm. Tomorrow they are coming to the coast with me in the car to be admired at the salt mines, then after Easter weekend back here to grow and fatten. We shall, I suppose, have to eat all the cockerels, who should be ready in 12 weeks, but will at least have missed the horrors of the battery shed. The hens we will keep, as they will lay eggs, so long as they don't get so big that they can't live a normal chicken kind of life in the yard. THese are the hybrid birds you see on TV in huge battery sheds pecking each other and growing so huge they can't walk. These little fellas should have a much nicer time with us. The biggest of the 24 weighed in at 48 grams 5pm today, and the smallest 28 grams. Will be interesting to see what they weigh in 12 weeks time.

Campers beginning to pour in, hoping the rain holds off over the weekend, it snowed last Easter so they deserve a bit of sunshine this year.

The Skipster a very polite horse tonight, nearly dark when we got in from riding. Oops.

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Been having dreadful water problems at home! Leaking pipe somewhere under tiled kitchen floor. The back garden has been completely excavated to locate the main, which has been replaced, but did not cure the audible leak (two cubic metres of water per day). Finally found leak under crockery cupboard, and pipe replaced. At the same time, and whilst a live plumber was trapped in the building, he also replaced the header tank in the attic (a grim, grim job, as attic access is only fit for 2 year old sized person) which meant a lack of hot water for a day or two, as well as a dry cold tap..... Almost better now, no cold over kitchen sink, no water in outside toilet, but apparently these deficiencies will be sorted out next week...can't wait.

Weather today absolutely glorious, so took the Skipster for a 4 mile hack with biggest boy on bike. This boy now using humane traps to reduce population of rabbits on farm - absolutely over-run with the things, they are everywhere, and eating all the young crops. Sadly, after being fished out of the humane trap, quickly knocked on the head, and delivered to local man who has a hunting hawk. Everyone's happy (except the poor rabbits).

Skipper has new friend in form of neighbour's little black cob, who has come to live here for the time being. Seems placid enough, and means Skip will have company when the mares go home in a few weeks to foal.

Salt mines very busy now kids have broken up for Easter hols. One complete disaster on a set of bed linen already....need I say more?