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Friday, 31 December 2010

Happy New Year

That's all! Have a wonderful 2010/2011 weekend, then its back to the daily grind. Enjoy. X

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Ugly Christmas outfits cause a stir!!!

Christmas tea at my brother's house was the first outing for our own Ugly Outfits. Then, on the 27th 50 guests gathered at the farm wearing their own creations! What a success! So proud of all the guests for making so much effort. They look so fine. Regret, not a single photo of me in mine! How could that happen? Saving it for next year. Wishing one and all a very HAPPY NEW YEAR. Big boy shooting today, youngest muscling up at the gym. Farmer having a couple of hours nap after exertions preparing and clearing party, and I am battling a migraine (result of too much wine and not enough sleep so only self to blame).

Sunday, 19 December 2010

troublous times!

The farmer and I slid a vehicle over to Leicester to collect the youngest and all his belongings from University for his Christmas break on Friday morning. AFter a long night out in his home town on Friday he has simply slept. There have been brief periods of wakefulness during which he has taken in calories and conspired with the in-house plumbing, but otherwise he has just stacked up the Zzzzzs. It would seem that he was a tiny bit short of rest, and burning the candle at both ends does mean that eventually the wick meets itself in the middle and the flame puffs out! Am hoping that another day or two of sleep will rid him of his horrible chesty cough and allow him to function for an entire day!

Big boy drove down (up?) from Scotland yesterday, stopping at his Aunt's for food and succour before he got home! This almost makes her a child stealer!!! We were at a formal dinner, which we left when he arrived home. He is full of flu, and really unwell, so I am nursing him kindly, and delighted to have the opportunity to do so. hopefully the next 48 hrs will bring some improvement for him too.

So, boys home and needing as much care as when they were small. Lovely! Bring on the beef tea. The farmer has been flat out working which is quite an unusual state of affairs. What a challenge. We are short of heating oil, but owing to the enormously inflated cost of this necessity just now, we have turned down the heating to minimum and enjoying plenty of sitting room fires instead.

Looking forward to a family Christmas complete with ugly sweaters, bring on the healthy children!!!!!

Friday, 10 December 2010

wine flu

My brother in law has explained the condition'wine flu' to me, and I was so amazed I am taking the opportunity to share the description of this debilitating condition with you too.

Wine Flu: the condition shows itself after a variable period of alcoholic sampling. Some of the symptoms might be: the room becoming unstable, a queasy feeling in the digestive area, an undeniable urge to make a complete fool of yourself, the necessity to sprint to the loo to re-inspect the contents of your stomach and an inability to arrive home with any kind of dignity. If you suffer any of these symptoms I can pretty certainly diagnose that you are suffering from wine flu, which is prevalent during the festive season, and other celebratory occasions.

The flu may sometimes last throughout the following day, necessitating much holding of the head, and horizontal moaning. Do not despair. The symptoms will pass, given time, and possibly a 'hair of the dog'.

The spread of the disease is still being researched,there seems to be no single infecting agent, so keep your eyes peeled. Pretty sure that drinking Christmas spirits will keep the bug at bay. worth a try anyway. Have a Merry One!

Thursday, 9 December 2010

from the depths of ICE WORLD - Merry Christmas!

wicked Grandchildren

Glittering party guests

Da boyz in Budapest

hands full of trouble!

Fun and games at the wild 18th!

My Dad and me at the 50th PARTAAAYYY!

And so, another year has almost slipped by. 2010 has seen the eldest working hard, in a large local factory and as an assistant Chartered Surveyor. He has accepted a place at Harper Adams to study Rural Chartered Surveying in 2011, and headed off quite happily in August 2010 for a one year HNC Fish Farm Management course in Scotland. He is enjoying freezing his ass off on fish farms north of the border so much that completing a degree in Aquaculture at Stirling University (which will take 2 further years of study) is now also an option. He is flying off to New Zealand to do the Work Experience portion of his HNC next summer, and there is also a chance that he might stay there. He has been warned that his mother will be joining him if he even hints at staying so far away from home long term!! He has celebrated his 19th birthday and seems to be thriving in the freezing climate that is Scotland this winter. I am looking forward to his return for the Christmas holiday. Very much.

The youngest celebrated his 18th birthday in hilarious style in the heat of the summer, surrounded by friends and family in the garden. Hardly a sober person on the premises, and egg and spoon racing, water fights and 'horsey, horsey' were the order of the day (and night). He went on to celebrate the end of his A levels with a 'boys only' holiday to Budapest. This was their first foray into parentless travelling, and they all survived, indeed enjoyed themselves very much. He worked all summer for a large holiday provider locally and celebrated yet again when his A level results came through. Two 'A' grades in Maths and History, and a 'B' in Biology. Off he went to the University of Leicester in September to read History where he is having a fine old time. We have only been graced with his presence for one night since his departure. He was kind enough to drag himself away from the high life of an Undergraduate to help me celebrate my 50th birthday. I am looking forward to gathering him home for Christmas too. He is rowing for Leicester University, which has proved to be a chilly pass-time during the cold snap the country is enduring.

We had a litter of 4 pups from one of our cocker bitches. All have moved on to fine homes and we are delighted to receive periodic updates.

I celebrated my 50th. As we awaited the arrival of some of our smartest friends prior to the event one of my sons (who shall remain anonymous for his own protection) set the sitting room chimney alight. There followed ten minutes of utter panic as he endeavoured to safely extinguish both the grate fire, and the inferno halfway up the chimney. A large fall of soot ensued. I left to greet my first guests at the party venue closing the door on a scene of chaos. Some sort of fairy must have descended, because when we all returned home at 2am every sign of the catastrophe had been expunged from hearth and home. Thank goodness. A jolly time seemed to be had by all at the party, and £921 was raised for Macmillan Nurses in the process. I am closing my year without my usual bob hairstyle, and have chosen instead to have all my hair cut off short. Its a change!

The farmer has taken up ploughing and is perfecting his 'straight furrow' technique. His wheat cropped very well, and he is settling into life as a professional arable farmer with enthusiasm. It seems to mostly involve a morning lie in, plenty of tea during the day, and much tinkering with farm machinery.

We have only managed a few days in the North of England with friends as our holiday this year, the cost of two sons in Higher Education meaning that our button collection is under pressure. We hope to save enough for a holiday to celebrate the farmer's 50th in the New Year. Fingers crossed.

Its been a hard year, with all the usual ups and downs, but hope springs eternal for 2011! We shall become accustomed to our empty nest and continue to look for new challenges to keep us busy.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

coming soon!

Having written my Christmas cards today (yyyeeeeeessssss!!!) I am thinking about my Christmas letter, which is going on Skipper's blog instead of in all those envelopes. Just waiting for a bit of inspiration...

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

50, 50, 50

50th birthday photos @ - absolutely hilarious!

Thursday, 7 October 2010

dog walking & warthogs

It was a beautiful morning today. A band of mist hung in the air giving the landscape a haunting, ethereal gauziness. The dogs, however, couldn't give a monkey's cuss. It was all I could do to capture these snaps with a moderately steady hand, whilst being pulled with the combined might of two cocker spaniels in the direction of the next interesting aroma.

Is the large yellowish creature a giant pig? A Hippo? A warthog? No. Its Skipper. Enjoying the balmy morning, and absolutely covered in mud from his daily bath. He seems to be as fat, and happy as he looks, and only being ridden once a week, or even once a fortnight doesn't seem to make any difference to him whatsoever. My hero.

Looking forward to the brief return of eldest son for college break. Is driving down (or up?) from Scotland 'sometime this weekend' - oooohhhhh, can hardly wait! The house is tidy, the bedrooms are tidy, the washing is done, the ironing all complete. The fridge has vacant shelves, the fruitbowl keeps its contents for more than 48 hours, and all the rooms are empty, empty, empty. I HATE it! Doubtless, like all empty-nesters, I will become accustomed, but for now the WELCOME mat will be firmly outside the door all weekend!

The America travellers have returned today. This means I can have my day off at the weekend, (oh, joy!) and look forward to spending most of November at home, napping, shopping, riding, dog walking and visiting. There's no sunshine holiday for us this year. The expense of two young men at University, and the prospect of a new shower room, means we are guarding our buttons a bit more carefully this winter.

Art night-class begins tonight, I feel like I can hardly pick up a pencil, never mind a case full of painting materials, but hopefully some enthusiasm will bubble forth after work.

Monday, 4 October 2010

university ho!

The luxury of University accommodation! Took my baby chick yesterday.... easier than I was expecting, and he pushed us out of his room door before I could get a snap! His room was like a comedy set from the 1960s. Cupboard door fell off into my hand, cracked tiles and peeling ceiling. Carpet embedded with black grime. He thought it was wonderful. The kitchen facility I did manage to snap (just) and as you can see it is less than impressive for between 8 and 12 students. Nevertheless, he has optimistically taken possession and is now, no doubt, completely exhausted from his own freshers first night.

The nest is now empty. Rattling around and tidying up. I have never, ever had such a tidy home. Quite a surreal feeling. Big boy coming home for half term in two weeks, which should be just in time to prevent the farmer and me descending into a complete pit of despair, or alternatively, civil war!!! I have a builder coming to overhaul shower room and exterior, a plumber for a price for a replumb and later a kitchen company. Poor old farmer.

The salt mines still lacking any other guiding hand but mine, whilst sis and her husband gadding around the Carolinas. I am very ready for a day or two off, and its been a long, hard and demanding slog for September. However, the end IS in sight, in more ways than one, and should be welcoming other Salt Mine detainees back into the compound this weekend coming. Salt Mine Housekeeping Supervisor finished today to enjoy a holiday prior to her statutory maternity leave so staff levels are at an all time low.

The wonderhorse looks more like a yellow hippo with each passing day, and our quick scurries around the block together, racing the sunset are not satisfying anyone - least of all him.

Central heaing ON, fat duvet for the bed ON, chimneys swept and logs in stock. Autumn racing in and I am ready!

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Lincolnshire Skies

This morning I thought I would take a peak at the coast, as the weather has been really grim and stormy. The sea was turbulent and dark, and the sky? Well, I think its brooding. I am a rubbish photographer, but these images took themselves! Even the old Salt Mines look desolate under the lowering clouds. Obviously the Salt Mine visitors are all cold and miserable. The Mines themselves are now closed to vehicles, which adds to the general air of depression and hard-done-to-ness. Still another 5 weeks of open season, so can only hope for a mild and balmy October. Please.

The Big Boy remains incommunicado in bonnie Scotland. A few brief notes through Facebook are all his doting mother has received. Today it is my intention to call him... He seems very happy, settled and upbeat, though I have no details of his experiences whatsoever!

The youngest is counting down the final 7 days before his own departure. No more bar work now, and only 5 more days at the Holiday Park Reception checking Touring Caravans in and out. He has never complained about all the hours he has worked this summer, and has a wallet full of buttons for beer as a result of his endeavours. If his University experience proves to be only half as satisfactory as he is anticipating he will still have a unforgettable time! Almost all his friends have departed to their various seats of learning now, and all are texting madly to say how wonderful it is. Beer talk so far I fear!

The farmer is 'ploughed up' (a technical term I believe), and awaiting access to more of his land when a tenant departs in November. He will then return to the yoke (or tractor) and whizz around another 30 acres - unless the rain doesn't stop, in which case he will be ploughing off the back of a boat!!!

A builder has been to price up repairs to the exterior of the house.... which will need scaffolding all round whilst new guttering is fixed, and the chimney stacks are repaired. I know its going to be painful. More buttons please.

The youngest had a contratemps with an established hawthorne hedge beside a country lane last week, the hedge came out of the ordeal in much better condition than the Skoda he was driving at the time. Still awaiting the return of the car from the body shop. As I result I have been driving the Salt Mines landrover for a week. Horrible instrument of torture. Be thankful to return to the seat of my old Ford. And I have now heard every one of the jokes regarding the pointlessness of sending a Skoda in for repairs.

My burned and scalded foot is now improving rapidly, and I can get most footwear on with care and dressings. This is a relief as for the past two days it has proved to be necessary to wear wellies. All the time. COME ON WEATHER - IMPROVE.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

feisty arachnid

I am sorry to say that the fate of the HUGE spider was the vacuum cleaner. It deserved better, but the clatter and rattle as he stomped up the kitchen wall, then squatted there threatening me was too much to tolerate. I couldn't get the saddle and bridle on him, so the vacuum hose was waved in his vicinity, and he succumbed. Thankfully. The other photo shows my sister performing a very classy piece of furniture moving at the salt mines! It raised a few eyebrows, and smattering of chuckles, and was much, much easier than man-handling the mattress from one end of the Mines to the other. A departing guest commented that her accommodation double bed was too uncomfortable to sleep on, so we thought it was probably time for a change. Mission accomplished.

And now for home news. Ploughing continues apace despite inclement weather. New bedroom carpet fitted in big boy's bedroom. Slight oversight when I ordered luscious, plump and comfortable underlay. It wouldn't fit under the bedroom door. Door is about 200 years old. As are the screws, and hinges. Removing the door was HUGE task, and regrettably the lower hinge was broken in the process. Obviously this means that the door is still propped against the bedroom wall, waiting hopefully for a miracle. Could be some time I fear, though by the end of the week I might phone a joiner! Had a new bathroom carpet too, the fitting of which was a piece of cake by comparison.

All friends of youngest chick packing their bags and baggage for their first forays into University life, they are so excited and its such a pleasure to be part of it. First one is off his blocks and on his way this Sunday. We have about three weeks to go. Bags are standing open on bedroom floor, and clothing etc is beginning to creep out of cupboards into the capacious interiors of the luggage. Inside I am crying.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

A level news

The baby boy achieved two A grades and a C grade. The C grade was almost a B, just one mark off. He would receive a £1000 bursary from University with AAB, therefore the school advised that the paper should be re-marked. There is a small charge for this, and the risk is that some more marks are deducted. Nevertheless, he paid the £30 and the paper was duly submitted for reassessment. Today the school telephoned. They said they had never had such a large differential in marks - he has received another 5 marks for his Biology paper, taking him from a C grade well into B territory! There is also no charge for the service as the error was on the part of the exam marker. He is ABSOLUTELY DELIGHTED! And the University confirm that he will now receive the Bursary. Hooray. Every little helps!! He is feeling on top of the world as an AAB student rather than an AAC student. Good for him!

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

no photos, just news!

Big boy has gone, disappeared into darkest reaches of Scotland to get wet and learn about fish. Missing him. Hoping we might glimpse him during Scottish half term in October. Otherwise, the farmer and I are taking a weekend break in the Lowlands and embarrassing him by calling in..... He seems to be settling into his accommodation well, and learning the art of serious drinking from Scots and Irish co-habitees. Its good to turn to professionals at a time like this!!!

Youngest is now busting a gut to be off to his own Ivory Tower, in his case Leicester University, to read History. We have been shopping for some slightly less raggedy clothes and shoes in preparation for his departure, though he had no information about duvet, pillow and linen requirements. Therefore these will have to come from his budget, not mine. My University expenses account is now officially closed!! He is working three extra weeks at the day job for additional funds, and also his bar job in the evenings stretches until his departure. He has proved to be extremely hardworking and determined during this summer break and will leave the nest with plenty of beer money in his pockets. This is a good thing, as there is no beer money to be had from my University fund account (the same one that has now closed...)

With no pups left the kitchen has returned to its usual state of only slight disarray. In presence of pups it turned into a whirlwind of chewed paper, nipped toes & ankles and nibbled shoes and slippers. Routine also re-established for pup Mum and Auntie, and I get an extra 30 minutes in bed. Yippee!

September at Salt Mines peaceful and calm with the madness that is the children's school holidays behind us. Holiday units full until well into October, but it seems that guests are all more sensible, and much less demanding. Some time now available to make plans for my own empty nest activities, and marking the special birthday that I shall celebrate in October. Its a sobering thought to have reached my half-century with so much still to do, but have every intention of rectifying that in the coming few years! I shall be that dangerous old lady with a determined gleam in her eye driving erratically all over the region, talking to strangers in the street, and happily drawing attention to rude and snooty service industry employees. These are some of the things that I shall look forward to as old age creeps up!

Yellow horse fat and happy, much like his pilot, though there is the promise of more exercise for both of us now that the silly season is drawing to a close. He has had a couple of outings with a 10 year old pilot in the saddle, and he has been very kind to her. So much so that she is now looking for her own trusty steed! Poor parents. Skipper must take the blame for this.

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society by M A Shaffer and A Barrows

My sis lent me this book the other day. It has quite an uninspiring cover. However, owing to the lack of any alternative I picked it up last night to give it a go. I crept upstairs after everyone else, still clutching the book to my greedy eyes. I lay awake until the small hours to finish it. Tears poured down my face sometimes, and soaked my pillow. On occasion I smothered hysterical laughter. To round off this emotional roller-coaster I read on the dust jacket that one of the co-authors, for whom this was a first work, died upon its completion. I hope she knew what an absolute masterpiece she has written. It is one of the cleverest, most poignant little publications I have ever had the pleasure of perusing. A joy. Spend a few pounds and steal a few hours. Read it.

Sunday, 29 August 2010

stormy weather!

What a weekend! Only one pup left, which is causing some canine management problems! The infant is unceasing in his efforts to suckle, therefore he has to be seperate from his mother all the time, but doesn't like it in the shed on his own.... so, his aunt is reluctantly babysitting, but she doesn't think much to that either. In the middle of all pup and aunt complaints the mother is voicing her concerns that her sister might be murdering the youngster. Can't wait for him to go, and he's a very lovely little chap, but he needs a family!

Last night the farmer disappeared after dark for one or two more rows of ploughing. I sauntered off upstairs to cleanse and pamper, don my night attire and dressing gown and swan downstairs all warm and clean to enjoy my gin and tonic. At 9.30pm a bedraggled farmer turned up at the door requesting emergency assistance. He had got his plough stuck in a 'wet patch' (for this, read shallow lake) and needed a tractor and plough driver whilst he towed it out of the mud with the teleporter. 'What now?' I cried. But the answer was yes. So, I donned a pair of odd socks, my pink wellingtons and headed off into the dark and drizzle to drive a tractor in my nightie and dressing gown. Thankfully, after 30 minutes of complicated backwards and forwards stuff involving chains and pneumatics, the tractor emerged from the sticky depths of the ruts complete with plough and none the worse. The same cannot be said for me. Crabby, cold, argumentative and even possibly unreasonable, I left the farmer to tidy up and headed back over the ploughed land in the dark, to the warmth of the house.

Today's stormy weather has brought down a silver birch tree, not much of a loss except it was the woodpecker's home. Shall miss seeing him popping in and out of a hole in the trunk, though that may be a contributory factor to the death of the tree. Well, that and the gale force wind which is currently blowing.

My sis and her husband are about to head off to sunnier climes for 4 weeks so I am moving swiftly into super-crabby state of mind. A busy month down at te salt mines, during September, and I never enjoy sole charge. Hoping no awful difficulties arise, though just now most likely to tell them all to go home, and come back next year!

And to round off quite a difficult Bank Holiday weekend, had to light a fire this afternoon, as its so bloody cold here it could be mid-winter!

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

a morning to remember

This morning the dogs put up, among many other feathery things, a WOODPECKER! That was a first. The first puppy departs this morning with his new owners. He is going to be known as Bertie and seems to have an over-active greedy gland, which I hope will settle as he gets older. The first son also leaves home this morning. Luckily I had to depart for work prior to his leave-taking, and managed to remove myself from the house with my dignity intact, tricky though. He is soooooo excited, and the little Skoda packed to the rafters with stuff for cold weather, wet weather, snowy weather, and icy weather. Also fishing equipment, shooting licence (just in case) smart clothes (also just in case) and plenty of wellies, waterproof leggings and the like for his Fish Farming HNC. Its a big week, with two more puppy collections on Saturday morning early. Thankfully we still have one son and one puppy left for a little longer, and the yawning gap is only at half size....

Sunday, 22 August 2010

unexpected visitor!

Hiding behind the muddy, wet wellingtons this morning, and hoping no-one noticed him sheltering from the torrential rain was this rather handsome, but shy visitor! He was carefully evicted into the dyke. We had torrential, scary rain last night, somewhat prolonged, and the drain outside the back door blocked.... quite wet in the porch, though today's sunshine assisting with the drying. Eldest got up at 5am and collected a friend to head off to V Festival, tickets courtesy of some extremely thoughtful and generous friends known as Mr & Mrs B. More of their news at BlackLOG. Big boy so excited he couldn't sleep last night so by 8pm this evening he won't be able to keep his eyes open. Youngest calming down slightly after A level results, and University place confirmation. He spent yesterday evening trawling UTube for Leicester Uni student micro-films, and researching his own soon-to-be halls of residence. Forms to fill in, ID photos to send, and most importantly cheques to write and funds to find. Its going to be an expensive few years ahead for all of us!

Big boy leaving next Wednesday morning, so has produced a mountain of washing which needs to be done and packed in next 72 hours, despite his absence at the Festival! Well done mother. Pups now on countdown to departure too. Their bags packed and ready. They are a complete handful, chewing, biting, barking and fighting! Absolutely gorgeous, in some else's house!

Thursday, 19 August 2010

delicious donkey babe!

This gorgeous little fella was born 2 weeks ago, just around the corner from where my sis lives. I have stolen her photograph of the beast to blog! What a happy snap!

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

chinese lanterns

Did a chinese lantern fuel cell which had not been attached to the bag properly set fire to the skylight on this caravan? We think so. And so does the Fire Officer. Thankfully the couple who were staying in the caravan were awoken by the smell of smoke, and put out the fire before they were overcome with fumes. Sometimes we are lucky, and this was certainly one of those times. It is causing us a bit of extra work dealing with the after-effects, but absolutely nothng in comparison to what might have been. I need to thank a black cat or touch wood or something!

Only 10 more days of puppies, (Hooray), they are 4 bundles of work and attention! Loved having them, will love to see them go! Yellow horse has a new pilot, a ten year old neighbour, and is behaving very nicely for her. Puppies having id chips injected under their skins tonight which I am dreading. (Squeamish or what).

Harvesting any day for the farmer, who is biting his nails with anxiety and muttering things like 'percentage dryness', 'storage charges per ton', 'yield per hectare', and 'ploughing'. All double dutch to me. Tiny cottage next door finally getting a stab at a new life. Plans now being considered by District Council. I won't hold my breath but am delighted to see drawings on the table at last.

At Melton Mowbray market yesterday I told the big boy that the only way we could bring home some pigs was if there was a litter of very pretty, very spotty, rare breed piglets who would grow up to be deliciously good eating. Unfortunately I must have had a case of foresight, because in the first pen was a litter of 8 piglets who must have been put there in answer to my description! Luckily they were accompanied by a bloody great big sow who would not fit into the back of the SKODA!!!!! Another lucky escape!

Thursday, 12 August 2010


ALL OUR PUPPIES ARE RESERVED!! Pippip. All lovely homes, so delighted.

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

here's the homeless one....

Its this wee girlie who hasn't succeeded in attracting anyone's attention yet! I am so surprised as she has more personality that all the rest added together. Fingers crossed that she can find a lovely home for herself. Its double hard because she is the one we all pick up and cuddle - because she has no owners, and there's no doubt that we like her best. Come on new home - before we can't part with her!!!

Monday, 9 August 2010

just one left!!!!

Another pup reserved! Last man standing is the bigger 'more white' girl with the white half moustache, she is bold and cheeky and has something to say for herself. She is also youngest's favourite and he won't mind if we keep her..... its a thought.

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Pic of the day

How cute is that? One girl missing, probably putting her lipstick on, or something.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

sale of puppies

Both of the boy pups have now been spoken for and deposits left with us. One to a Notts Fireman & his lovely family, and one to two sisters and their father in Stilton (like the cheese). Such lucky little fellows. It is customary for the bitch pups to go first apparently, but no-one has been to view our girls. Hoping that this weekend might bring a new family for one of our girls at least. Its pretty terrible, I feel like a slave trader selling my own family. Their little faces..... We still have them for another three weeks though, so plenty of time for more cuddling and petting. What is it about puppies that makes them so very attractive to the human psyche? Almost, nearly, as lovely as a new baby human! (But not quite).

All quiet on the western front of the Salt Mines today possibly due to some heavy sporadic showers today keeping the campers inside their units. Forecast poor for the rest of the week. Sadly this does mean that the wheat, which is about ready, is now getting wetter and wetter in the ears, and will take ages to dry out. Probably also grow heaps of fungi (or something else alarming like soft stems or droopy ears) and get knocked onto the floor by big raindrops. Hoping very much that the weather warms again so that the farmer can bring in a successful harvest and stop pacing the floor worrying about his grain harvest.

The yellow horse really enjoying the rain. It has banished the flies which trouble him so much, and has provided him with his mud bath so that the hippo look can return with style! Puppy lookers preventing horse outings just now, maybe tomorrow night?

It was Grandma's birthday tea today. How much cake can I eat at one sitting? An awful lot.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

lunnon town

A tired racing pigeon flapped down into the yard yesterday, so the big boy caught it and phoned its owner. He only lives in Bourne. By an astonishing coincidence we were off to London today, so we gave the (now well-fed and rested) pigeon a lift in the back of the car as far as Spalding, and released it from a layby to find its way the few remaining miles home. We watched with bated breathe as it rose into the air, and landed in an adjacent bush!!!! Doubtless it's still there! Perhaps not cut out for racing?

Up and off for 6.30am to be in the queue for Victoria & Albert's private art collection at 11am. £30 to park all day within the £8 congestion zone. The Gallery was packed to the gunnels but the collection was very touching. Indeed, they loved each other with passion, it seems. We moved on to the Royal Mews, though all the horses but two were on their summer hols! Carriages in situ though, and I was very envious of the Royal riding arena. Wouldn't half mind one of those at home! Our final ticket, for the Royal Day Out, was for the formal rooms of the Palace itself, and they were, indeed, glamorous, awesome and fab. Toilets in short supply, also cups of tea scarce so comfort a bit of an issue. The press of visitors was a real shock though the staff and crowd management techniques were really excellent. On departure we walked through Hyde Park and paused for a very late lunch in the cafe in the park. Frighteningly expensive. The Serpentine was busy and there were hordes of sunbathers enjoying the cloudy sky! Closer inspection revealed that the lake desperately needed cleaning up, the rubbish was horrible. The city was scruffy, jam packed with all nationalities, busy, noisy, crowded, rammed with traffic, smelly and a bit scary in parts. Our route out took us through North London, some areas of which seem to have been abandoned by anything even vaguely english in shopping and catering. These are ghetto areas as far as I can see. Our day out was certainly a change from rural life, and a timely reminder that perhaps we are luckier than we realise. Its good to be home!