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Sunday, 29 May 2011


First girlie puppy now reserved. Eek, only 11 days old. Her new family will keep coming to visit until she is old enough to go home with them.

Saturday, 28 May 2011

bingo belles!

I am lucky to have a very large family. Among my relatives my brother has three beautiful and lovely daughters of whom I am very fond. I also have a younger sister who is equally fond of these young ladies. The beautiful young ladies aforementioned wanted to mark the memory of their Nan's birthday, today, in a special way. Their Nan used to go to Bingo with my own mother once a week. At Bingo their Nan and my mother would drink brandy, smoke endless cigarettes and also mark their bingo cards. Multi-tasking as it were. The girls thought it would be nice to go to the same Bingo Emporium to celebrate the Nan's birthday memory this evening. They thought it might also be nice to share the experience with two of their fond Aunties. You can see where this is heading. Therefore, 7pm found me rushing to the metropolis of Skegness, to a place called North Shore Bingo (?) and paying £20 for a few bits of paper with numbers on them. Before I could blink a DOBBER was pressed into my sweating hand, and the numbers were being called out at the speed of light by a man with a speech impediment! I couldn't make it up. Brandy and cigarettes did not feature in my evening's entertainment. By the time I had adjusted my ears to the timbre and pattern of the Caller's impeded diction the first game was over! Two of the nieces and my own sister had some experience in these matters and found the sight of myself and the third niece struggling with paper, dobber, hearing and technique absolutely hilarious. No talking seemed to be permitted, and the air was thick with the scent of body odour. Several people had actually brought their dogs 'to the Bingo' for the evening. My eyes were on stalks. One niece fell prey to a fit of the giggles, and it looked momentarily as if we would be ejected for causing a stir! About 3o game cards were eventually completed by our party, with mixed success, as some of us (who shall remain anonymous) were not able to catch all the numbers for every game, so frankly stood absolutely no chance of winning anything anyway. It was a very interesting experience, not for the faint hearted, though I think next year we should try to think of another way to help the girls mark their Nan's birthday memory..... On the strength of this experience, and the advice of the Landlady at the Countryman Pub, Ingoldmells, I have actually volunteered to experience an evening at the GALA BINGO in Boston. Honestly. I can hardly wait.

the piglets grow on

Not piglets, but certainly bearing a close resemblance, the tiny dogs grow before your very eyes! Like a magician's trick. Their mother is much recovered from the delivery and her appetite has picked up nicely. She is not sharing the care with her sister yet. The first week saw her frantically digging holes in the garden at every opportunity. No idea why. Wonder if it was an urge to make a new cave for her babies? Whatever, her sister was permitted to assist with the endeavours, and its her sister in one of the larger holes on the photograph. I have pushed most of the soil back into most of the holes now, but the grassed area looks more like the surface of the moon. Good job I'm no gardener!

The Big Boy and The Scot have arrived in New Zealand this very morning, and been collected from the airport by family friends. How lucky is that! Worry levels are dramatically reduced, and they have a safe haven in case of difficulties. Thank you to Robert and Sharon, and their family. The Scot is hoping to stay in NZ for at least a year, we are hoping that the Big Boy comes home in 10 weeks time. Anyone's guess if we will all get what we want!

Thank the gods that a small amount of rain has fallen, at last, and would be absolutely delighted to see quite a bit more. Its like the Arizona plains here in windy Lincolnshire. More rain please Vicar!

Thursday, 19 May 2011

cocker-cocker-cocker -DOODLES!

We sat up for three nights with her. We are all absolutely cream crackered. When they finally started to arrive, the pups came at 3 hour intervals! Think they are all here now. Total of five, three girls and two boys. Their dad is a pedigree miniature poodle and their mum is a pedigree working cocker. There's just the one colour choice (again) this year it's jet black.... a few white toes/noses/bellies to differentiate! They should be compact, cheery and with a wavy/curly coat. Fingers crossed. They are smaller than the cocker pups last year. They are feeding very well. I am so ready for a full night in my own bed instead of curled up on the kitchen sofa. Can't want for bedtime.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

ups and downs

Coming back from Nottingham the other night I failed to capture the true drama and brilliance of this rainbow. I tried. Presently sitting here watching the little brown dog, who has had a restless night (likewise), a nap this morning (likewise) and looks like pupping some time today. Fingers crossed. Her sister knows that something is going on - she is giving the pregnant one a wide berth, and looking puzzled. For an eternal virgin (see earlier posts describing the sister's reluctance with the opposite sex)I guess that's not surprising.

Yesterday brought quite a major disappointment for me. The college where I have a place to do a Foundation Art qualification telephoned. Sadly they advise that owing to funding cuts (yawn) and lack of student numbers to balance the books (alarm) the course I had been accepted onto has been cancelled (tears). There is no other suitable course locally, and the Farmer doesn't want me to travel half-way across the county on a daily basis during the winter months to another provider base. Neither does he want me camping in a student squat on week nights. A rock and a hard place then. Having waited 34 years to learn more about the mysteries of producing 3D models, soldering, photography, ceramics, and screen printing etc I am thwarted at the final fence by bloomin' national funding. About typical. Its difficult to express my disappointment, even today, after an evening spent wallowing in self-pity, and a night's sleep.

The good old Open University doesn't offer practical fine art, and currently I am fresh out of ideas. Perhaps something else will suggest itself but on this occasion 'it was meant to be' doesn't cut it for me!!!

Big boy cutting it fine with his return to the farm prior to departure for New Zealand. Looks like he will, more or less, drive into the farmyard, throw out his bags from Scotland, and then drive onwards to the airport. Oh, to be young.

Monday, 9 May 2011

new residents

The farm has acquired a peahen from somewhere. She goes to bed with the chickens, though sleeps on the highest rafter away from the cluckers, and hangs in the garden all day like a pet. She is a bit of a runt, and seems to have a crooked leg, which has perhaps been broken and healed badly in the past. I also think she has slightly defective eyesight, as she can't see anything smaller than a peanut to eat. She fits right in. Also featured is a trio of pedigree LEMON SABLEPOOTS (honestly). Brought home from market by the big boy (obviously) with strict instructions to care for them and hatch all eggs that are laid. Hence, a spare room now clicking and whirring with an incubator full of tiny white eggs. And I swore I wouldn't do this! The tiny sablepoot cockerel is absolutely savage, and would fight anything that comes close (including my arm and hand). Therefore, he is staying safely in the pen until he can learn some respect. The very much larger cockerel is one of the two replacements for Cocky (who was eaten recently: see earlier post). He is very polite, and moves away from humans, and is also kind to his girlfriends. His colleague in the mating game is a rich brown feathered and bearded bantam cockerel, who avoided the camera lens more skillfully than the Head of MI6! These two cockerels live peacefully together, and have shared out the girls nicely, so their stay at the farm may be a long and successful one. The farmer has dug, and continues to dig, lots of trenches to bring power water and drains to my new studio (the old Egg Shed). He's been as busy as a bee, and ably assisted by the hens, who have gobbled up each and every worm that has been exposed by the sharp blade of the spade. Many were rescued before the feathery predators could pounce, but many, many more have gone into egg production (think about it). The hens were running around yesterday with half of a baby rat in their beaks, falling out about the remains like lions over a zebra. So pleased with themselves. Just think. All that protien straight into the eggs. Yum.....

The little brown girl is one week from pupping, and is perhaps slowing down, just slightly. Our first litter of COCKERPOOS. So excited. Hoping they will be in an array of colours. Typically, yesterday, there was an enquiry about another litter of pedigree working cockers.... giving the farmer the opportunity to say 'I told you so'. He isn't keen on the prospect of cockerpoos. So I'm hoping they prove popular, and I can say 'I told you so' to him too.

Took baby boy back to University yesterday, so house empty, beds clean and changed, carpets vacuumed, fridge full and beer staying in fridge. Its not all bad! Big boy coming home in two weeks time, with a friend, for 5 nights, then they both require a lift to Heathrow as they set off on their Big Adventure. Returning in late August poorer and wiser. With regret, they are not taking any laptops or valuable mobiles with them in case of theft, so news of their progress will be sparse. Dreading it already!

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Rowing Regatta results....

Its a regatta, not a competition (oops). 72 Universities gathered their finest rowing teams in Nottingham yesterday. 42 craft made it through the preliminaries (including the youngest's Leicester team). And then. And then. All further races were cancelled owing to high winds! He's gutted. He worked out the total cost for him to attend was £70. He feels cheated. And for those teams who travelled from Scotland and Southern England what a huge disappointment. A great big pat on the back to whoever organises these gigantic events (its never going to be me) and deepest sympathy to all the students who turned up and didn't get a stab at the finals. Next year?