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Tuesday, 30 April 2013

The washing machine blues......

So, I put a load in the washing machine 2 days ago. This morning, pretty sure that it should have finished by now, I attempted to open the door. No go. Dusting the grime from the Perspex window, I could see that water remained in the drum, about half way up the glass. Hmmmmm. I pushed a few buttons. A little red light flashed. I waited. And waited. Nothing happened. Absolutely nothing. So, I merrily turned the dial and selected about 10 programmes, then pushed a few more buttons. Still.....nothing. Hmmmmmmm. I had a cup of tea. I made a complaint about lack of longevity in washing machines to the Farmer. He had a cup of tea. Then...... I had a brainwave. Something I absolutely promised myself I would do, without fail, every week for this new machine. Check the FILTER. I undid the little, grey pull out pipe which you can hook into a bowl. The tiniest trickle of water emerged. Not promising. So, I unscrewed  Big Bertha, the main filter thingy. Water began to seep around the edges of the screw plug. I kept undoing it. Suddenly, in a great, grey gush, all the water which had been trapped inside the machine and its pumping system flooded out onto the utility floor carrying with it the biggest clump of horse/dog/human hair and a single shirt collar stiffener for good measure. Pretty embarrassing. So, let that be several lessons to you:

1. Don't wash horse kit in your machine
2. Don't wash dog stuff in your machine.
3. Remove the collar stiffeners in dress shirts prior to washing
4. Check your washer filters regularly.
5. And finally. When installing a utility facility in your home, make the floor slope to a drain point, so that all the flood water DOES NOT rush behind the bloody washing machine.

However, machine now functioning A1, spinning clothes almost dry and generally being well behaved. It even looks grateful.

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Super Skipper, Duper Daisy & Jumpin' James

 Lovely D. drove the little yellow horse around the enormous XC course again today, in company with Wonder Bobbi & young Harriet. We arrived in a terrible hail-storm, followed by driving rain. The sun then emerged and the afternoon proved to be a galloping success.
Big lump in my throat, look how much clearance he's giving the fence! Fell like a proud Momma.
After a long day at college we took the dogs to the beach for a blow-through. Lovely D. the baby boy, the Farmer and I searched for treasures in the tide line whilst the dogs canoodled in the sand (literally). D. found the most extraordinary (and slightly alive) sea monster which gave us all a scare.

The sartorial elegance of my baby boy never ceases to amaze. Looking as astonishing from the front as he does from the back, he should be on the catwalk (or perhaps the cat-litter).
If you look really, really closely beside this lovely little Jack Russell you will see 4 teeny weeny, black jack-a-poo puppies. James strikes again! We can't wait to see what they look like when they are a little older.
As ever it has been a full week, with excellent news, tension, highs and blippy lows. The baby boy has ALMOST conjured all 10000 of his dissertation words (again), and it will be something of a relief to all of us when the dratted thing is bound and handed in. He has been invited to row at British University & College Nationals, and hopes to be 'match fit' to do so within a week or two. Just a few History exams between him and his oar.
Big Boy has pushed off back to Harper Adams, and is much missed already. He arrived to find that the Water Board were going to cut off the house water supply as the meter had stopped working, and an ENORMOUS gas bill. The trials of student life.
My own student experience is equally turbulent for slightly different reasons. The lead tutor at College listened carefully to my plans for my next body of work. I told you about them. Lady-parts are the main feature. Beauty, delicacy and a celebration of all things feminist. She used the word 'fetishist' which absolutely astonished me, and has referred the work to the Ethics Board of the University. I have spent an evening wading through the Ethics advice, and completing the (extensive) application for permission to make the work. I have been ably supported in this endeavour by Mrs P and I owe her my grateful thanks. I am still in shock that the work is considered so edgy that Ethics are brought into question. If it is turned down I will be appealing, and I will have a whole heap of stuff to say to them in further support of the endeavour. I could launch into a bit of a rant at this juncture, however, I will wait to see what the outcome of the Board is. You never know, they may 'get it', and support the planned series, and methodology unconditionally. I can hope.
Lovely D. needs a small (and cheap) car to provide transport around hospitals when she recommences her medical degree in August. If you have, or know anyone who has, a tidy and reliable small vehicle for under £1000 we would dearly like to know about it too! A big ask, but, you never know.
James has had an exhausting week. The eternal virgin is in season, and he has been dragging around with his nose under her tail all week. Leaping on her as well as he can every time she stops moving has provided him with constant entertainment, and although coitus has, as far as we know, NOT taken place, it's not for want of trying. Visitors this week have mostly had to avert their eyes from his energetic attempts to corner his victim and it has provided us with much entertainment and hilarity. Maybe next time little fellow.
A cork has popped on a bottle of seductive and delicious pink, pink fizz, and so, for now, its Cheers to all. X

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Proposal envelopes

Almost all of the 'proposal' envelopes have been sent out or handed to ladies. If you received one, and it offended you, please, please, chuck it in the bin. If you haven't received one, so far, and might be interested in supporting my third and final year at University (and you are a lady....) drop me a hint. I can print off more, of course, and would be absolutely delighted to.

I have christened my first model photograph 'Gloriana'. Looking for more celebratory, exciting names in case I receive any pics. Thinking about 'Regina', 'Queen of the South', and 'A room with a view'. Any other suggestions very gratefully received. Just in case there are more submissions!

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Madeira, Microsoft & marvellous mates

Madeira - a smallish rock in a very large, blue ocean. Living here seems to be akin to a mountain goat's existence.

The views are spectacular, the roads heart-stopping, the sky is bright blue and the temperature an extremely pleasant 20 degrees during our visit
The hotel had quite a glamorous infinity pool in the gardens, which was enjoyed every single morning by this seagull. He took his morning bath, then meandered down the garden paths looking for crumbs.

Ooooh, look at me, holding in my belly....
 More blue sea and sky. Hardly any beach, just a perpendicular drop straight into the ocean.
The farmer, who was stopped and breathalysed by the local Policia. Luckily, though unsurprisingly, his score was a big, fat zero. Even the policewoman was a bit surprised.


We had a lovely short break in Madeira, the weather was kind and so early in the season we were welcome everywhere. The dogs missed us, not so the sons, who very kindly stayed home and cared for the farm and the critters. The baby boy suffered an IT disaster in our absence, and lost more than half of his dissertation into the unfathomable depths of Windows. Despite the generous help of two IT whizzes the document stayed stubbornly lost, and the student has now resigned himself to re-writing, and also SAVING the work elsewhere as a backup. Let this be a lesson to us all, again. Back up your stuff. Print it off. Keep it safe. It has been a truly horrible experience for all concerned, especially the almost-graduate.
The big boy bought more chickens whilst we were away, on a "whilst the cat's away the mouse will play" basis. #sigh#. More beaks to feed, and shit to sweep.... However, he also cooked a full Sunday lunch for himself, his brother and the Old Peeps! What a treat for the grandparents that was! Jolly well done I say. And if he wants to come home every Sunday and repeat the experience I shall be perfectly pleased to hand over the dubious honour of being head chef.
And my marvellous mates. Oh my goodness. Let me explain. Provided my art work is up to scratch, and I pass my second year of the Fine Art degree, I have begun to plan a set of work for my 3rd year which begins in September 2013. I have self addressed 40 envelopes and put stamps on them. Into the envelopes I have placed a request for an anonymous photograph to be sent to me. Only for ladies. You might guess what photography subject only a lady can provide might be. Oh yes, you've got it. I provide specific instructions for the view wanted, and I guarantee anonymity through the provision of the envelopes. I have begun to hand out the envelopes, and today I received the first one back. I opened it in the presence of a very supportive University Tutor. The perfect contents/image contained inside the envelope made me quite emotional. I have no idea who sent me the photo, of course, so cannot thank her (and it is most definitely a her) but goodness, I am grateful. Even just one or two more photos will be enough for me to work with next year.
I want to draw the images contained therein to the very best of my ability. Large (maybe 6ft tall) and beautifully rendered, it is my aim to get "lady-parts" into the light, and central to discussion! I see the work as extremely feminist, empowering to women and a declaration of pride and ownership. My dissertation, probably, will also have the vagina as its heart. Its going to be a busy (and radical) year.
Life seems very full of ups, and rather more difficult downs, and the house is full of dust and cobwebs. Nothing new there then. Now popping out to have a look at four tiny puppies just born today, James the SUPER-STUD having once more done his duty.....
Mwhaaa X

Saturday, 6 April 2013

madiera medley

The farmer and I are off! On our blocks, bags packed and Madeira bound tomorrow afternoon. The farm is sooooo busy with young people I shall be delighted to shake its dust from my feet and ascend the aircraft steps. I believe there will be approximately 8 of them sleeping here tonight, and eating breakfast tomorrow........ I shall hardly have them out of the door before feeding the old people. The moment we put down our Sunday lunchtime cutlery we are off. They can do their own washing up!

The baby boy has the beautiful D staying here with him, and the big boy is also home. I took D and the yellow horse to Hallington Cross Country course today. The poor yellow horse was quaking when he climbed out of his horse trailer and saw the 50 or 60 jumps across the countryside in front of him. She skilfully negotiated a handful of low hazards, and enjoyed a scenic gallop over the hills. Lovely weather made it a well spent afternoon.

I have now had time to throw some clothes into a bag, locate the passports and I await departure time. Dogs, cats et al will be at the tender mercy of the sons. Good luck with that!

Speak soon - X

Monday, 1 April 2013

girls grow beards too

The big boy permitted the Farmer and me to go and buy a trio of salmon faverolles on Sunday morning. We had to travel to Norfolk, and were under strict instructions NOT to pay the extortionate price if they were not perfect in every way.........

Obviously, upon arrival home, the big boy fished them out of the cardboard box in which they had been entombed by the seller and uttered the fateful words... 'Mum, these are absolutely rubbish'. Fifty pounds, and we shall be eating the cockerel when he has put a bit of weight on. Apparently, he has a hunchback (sigh) and even I can see that he has an extra, monster claw on one toe (sigh). The poor hens may be slightly better. They are thin and anaemic, and their combs were almost white (a very bad sign). Their plumage, however, is much more correct than the cockerel's, and their beards are quite, quite lovely. I love the girls already, and the cockerel is heading for the oven just as soon as we can fatten him, and find a replacement.

So much for the pedigree poultry buying skills of the farmer and his wife. Needless to say, it is unlikely that we shall be trusted with the task again. Old people. You just can't get the parents these days. I would add, however, that these faverolles, are mine, for me, all mine, mine, mine. Under supervision, of course.

A migraine has put paid to any energetic Easter outings, however, I am feeling a bit more 'the thing' today.  The arrival of second son and the lovely little D is eagerly anticipated this evening so that we can have a day or two en famille (I can hardly wait).

No summer job has yet turned up for me, I continue the search.......!