Tuesday, October 31, 2017

The Last Night of October

They walk among us. But you'd never know it. Unless...

Unless their lack of enthusiasm for the Hallowe'en Festival should give them away. No hollowed out pumpkins on their doorstep, no costumes, no nuts or apple-bobbing. No evil witches. No parties. No candy at the door for trick-or-treaters. Of course, I'm talking about evangelical Christians.

Mind you, I don't know what I'd do if a trick-or-treater ventured up this lane. There are two small Bounty bars in a drawer that I'm trying very hard to save for Bert seeing as I've finished the Häagen-Dazs Salted Caramel Ice Cream. Failing that I might be able to run to half a dozen free-range eggs or perhaps a bottle of blackcurrant wine that is far too sweet for my taste.

Not a witch but might consort with one.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Wrens and Stuff

Sometimes, when I don't blog it's because there is far too much going on and I don't know where to start. Right now I'm perturbed by racist attitudes that some people believe are acceptable now. That kept me awake last night. Thank you, Brexit and Trumpism.

Then there is this the book I'm currently reading, Profound Simplicity by Will Schott. It's from the olden days (1979) but still very thought-provoking. I'm applying some of its principles to my everyday life. So far I'm doing in several areas - less hole-scratching, more positivity and a huge reduction in feelings of guilt. Take that Catholic upbringing!

The other thing is the wrens. The sweet, brown, sneaky wrens that live in the polytunnels. Impossible to photograph so I just watch them. They delight me. Here's someone else's picture.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Retro Blogging

Whilst messing around with the design feature on Blogger I have accidentally reverted to something referred to as 'classic'. I was warned that some design features might be lost, instead, I find that my Flickr links have come back. So I'll stick with it for a while as it reminds me of my youth. The following paragraphs were first posted in 2004.  So was the picture which has no connection with the post.

Drumkeeran Road

The Toome Incident

Yesterday I was driving through Toome village at between 15-18mph. I was intending to turn left into a supermarket car park. Ahead I spotted three young boys aged about six to seven looking as if they might run out in front of the car. My mother cried, “watch!” just as I started to brake and two of them darted out. Then the third that had hesitated took off. My feet went to the floor and I actually closed my eyes (a first while driving), as I did not want to see his little body hit by the car. He made it and Mother who had kept her eyes open said the car stopped with an inch to spare.

Then I was angry. I wanted to turn the car and give chase to the little bastards and have a word with them. Sensibly Mum advised me against this. We stopped in the car park outside the supermarket where I started to shake and cry. If I had been travelling just the smallest bit faster I would have hit that child.

So if in the future, anyone spots a white Astra driving through Toome like a snail, it will probably be Nelly. 

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Curly Baps

It has taken me a little while to get back in the swing of things since my sojourn in England and London. I learned while I was away, that the capital and the country are actually different places* or, at least, so says LS who declared to me that she could 'never live in England' despite having lived in London ever since she graduated. Myself, I couldn't live in London but I very much love to visit it.

But first, there was Norfolk where I stayed with my daughter Katkin and her family. Master James was a delight, utterly obsessed with trains and other modes of transport but mainly trains. Unfortunately, he wasn't entirely well when I was with him - treated us all to a spot of projectile vomiting, a skill he has inherited from his mother. If it were an Olympic sport she could have been a gold medallist. Thankfully, she grew out of it and so will James.

And, like his mama, he has lovely curly hair. Apparently, it had been due for a trim but his parents decided to postpone it so I could enjoy his curls. I was reminded of my old friend Sheena who doted on children with curly hair and would often snip a keepsake lock with or without parental consent. It seemed a harmless hobby back then. No doubt, these days,  she'd have been prosecuted. Sheena would have adored our James.

Katy and James at Brancaster

*This might explain the Brexit vote in London where 59.9% voted to remain. Very much at odds with England as a whole.

Monday, October 09, 2017

The Night Before Norfolk

Well, here we are - the night before I leave for deepest Norfolk. I didn't plant the daffodil bulbs or rack the wine. I think it's safe to assume that both of these tasks can be postponed for ten days or so.

I did plant the garlic though it wasn't a straightforward task. You see there is this little white hen who can escape her enclosure even though the surrounds are more than eight foot high. I think she flies onto the branch of a tree and from there launches herself over the fence. From then on she does fun things like root through the compost heap, lay eggs in secret, private places, nibble Nelly's chard and uproot her leeks.

Evie finds the secret nest (photo by Zoe)

So I planted about half the garlic and went back to the house for more cloves and a wee coffee. And when I got back there was the little white hen who had unplanted it. So a job that should have taken an hour took nearer two for then I had to build an intricate cage around the bed to prevent further incursions. The little white hen tried to blame the damage on the polytunnel robin but I knew that was a lie. Little robins couldn't do that much mischief in so short a time.

Today I started packing and when I got bored with that the girls and I went out to pick damsons. I thought they were over but the Wee came round (just back from four weeks in Vietnam) and informed us that he'd spent the morning making damson jam. Of course, I'll not be making jam as wine is far nicer. We got about six pounds from the tree. Enough for twelve bottles of wine.

Martha picking damsons

From tomorrow I'll be away from the keyboard. I haven't decided if I'm going to take my iPad. Maybe not. A week away from the internet might be good.

Thursday, October 05, 2017

Garlic and Sourdough

There is a trip planned for next week and I have an awful lot to do before I leave.

  • Plant garlic.
  • Rack wine.
  • Plant daffodils.
  • Turn up new black trousers.
  • Buy toiletries.
  • Organise spending money.
  • Buy presents.
  • Wrap presents.
  • Sort clothes for packing.

Today I made a list - not the one above. And collected my big suitcase from the attic. I put my long list on top of it and smiled a satisfied smile. That'll do. For today.

I also had this conversation with Bert.

I'll be wanting you to keep my sourdough mother alive when I'm away.
What! Can't you get Hannah to do that?
It's not hard.
I'll never remember.
I'll also be expecting you to put the recycling out on Wednesday night.
But if you don't do that it's not the end of the world. However, that sourdough has been going for seven months now. I'd hate it to die just because no-one was able to give it a spoonful of flour, a dribble of water and a wee stir.
Can't you take it with you? If I forget you'll yell at me and if Hannah's responsible for it you won't yell at her.
This is true. But Hannah's got enough on her plate. I'll get Les to remind you.

Last year's garlic

I'm definitely not taking that sourdough mother with me. Imagine trying to explain that to airport security.

Sunday, October 01, 2017

Bonnie's Stuff

Bonnie, March 2009

Bonnie came to us as a neglected and unloved dog who had lived her life on the end of a chain. Her collar, a stiff, cracked old thing, had chafed all the fur from underneath her chin. She was matted and smelly and very timid. The first thing we did when we knew we would be keeping her was to give her a bath. Afterwards, I wrapped her in old towels and covered her with a woolen blanket. She seemed baffled by the attention but not unhappy. As soon as I could I bought her a new collar, soft leather, and bright red. She seemed pleased with it and wore it the entire time she was with us. I kept it for a long time after she died but eventually disposed of it.

That was her first possession. She never 'got' balls. Her thing was squeaky toys. She loved them even after she had carefully detached squeaker and eyes. I kept her stuff in a straw basket and every night she'd take them all out item by item. And the first thing out of the basket was always the plastic Santa Claus. Bonnie really did like her stuff.

Bonnie, in January 2012.