Friday, 29 June 2012

Weather to laugh or cry

The fostering service have, once a year to turn up on the doorstep without announcing their arrival. This usually happens when you are in the middle of something like rebuilding the AGA and there are bits everywhere

Of course form their point of view this could turn all complex also, they could chose to turn up on a day when we are off to some auction somewhere so all they get is a unanounced opertunity to bang on the door of a empty house. 

The last few years we have developed our inteligence system. So today we had been tipped the wink that our worker was on the lose with her mannager and likely to call in. I was a bit doubtfull as we are currently locked in combat with a district team of it's  total non management of issues around one of the young people here.

A manager would have a pretty warm reception and our worker does not like it when we ask why she is unable  to get anything done.

Sure enough the manager got here and seemed pretty bemused by some of the recent goings on. We got the impression that a lot of this was news to her. Making me wonder just how much of the stuff we tell our link worker gets through.

But of course that was not the only thing - it's nearly July and we have the heating on.

I hate to think what it would be like if we were still on oil.

The student though is not happy, despite the fire being in full on furnace mode, when she filled the bath it was full of water not steam, nothing less than scalding does for her.   


Thursday, 28 June 2012

Huge day

Yet again chainsaw and axe have been big features of the day. After a morning given over to paperwork, all well over due. 

So we started on lots of sawing and the saw gave out - air filter blocked and fuel gone off.

Dealt with but we have a really good looking and growing woodpile

We have a social work day tomorrow so i might be a bit annoyed.


Wednesday, 27 June 2012

A diference of days.....

 Yesterday was a day of cerebralism. I was doing a small presentation at a seminar, something I agreed to do a while back. It was only when the days agenda arrived that I realised that I was going to share the stage as it were with some full on academic heavyweights in the social work world and a director of social services who has been involved in my career for about 20 years and who I think is beyond extremly bright.

A bit daunted then, no beyond daunted, one of those "how am i going to live in that company" moments.

It was a really intersting day, then of course I had to do my bit which was a bit awquard, I am never really strong on writing speaches. I tend to manage a few ideas, throw them around in my head and see what happens on the day, go with the flow as it were.
So there I was about to go on and everything i had wanted to say had already been said.

Anyway i winged it and no one actually threw chairs.   Which was a bit OK.

Today was another day.

Bright an early Gwion to school.

Then back and down to the woodyard and some wood.

Drop that off then into action helping lay a couple of metre concrete pad for Taliesins  Caravan.

Off to town for 15 bags of cement then home.

Get another 4 cords  of wood.

Loading wood involves borrowing the woodmans tippiing trailer putting one cord on the trailer on skids then pushing it further on to the trailer with the second.

All fine unless the skids slide forward and sit there like a pair of lances on the front of the trailer.  This of course will only really become apparant on the first corner when said "lance" spears the back lights of the car.....   

Lay even more concrete.

After all the builders went home, out came the chainsaw.

A whole cord got cut  then out came the axe.

I would love to be on my knees, I am way beyond that.

Tomorrow is another day, more of the pad to lay and more wood to cut

It might kill me


Sunday, 24 June 2012

A delivery...

Following a day of great excitement in which much time was spent landing in bookers the wholesaler just as everything was going on to clearance. Wholegrain Loaves for 50p and 12 litres of milk for a pound...

Ham (yes that was cheap too) quiche is being produced in quantities that verge on mass production  

The student has also been sitting in the bottom field with a respectable red talking to her chickens who have just presented her with their first egg.

There was less fuss and elation when she became a grandma.

Of course there is also much excitement amongst the foslings who were the ones who made the discovery.

This is eggsactly what she has been waiting for.



Saturday, 23 June 2012

Technological tantrums

This week has been one of those where technology makes you a bit mad.

First off a reminder that the tax on our car and the fire engines had run out. This was accompanied by an invitation to sort out the deed on line.

Great, way to go, so i duly found the website, clicked on some links and our Citroen Estate was taxed for another year. Then things unravelled, 30 minutes blundering about the website and it was flat refusing to tax the fire engine. Try the automated phone service and still no go, it told me it could not tax a fire engine as it did not have a valid MOT test. This was of course quite true, Fire engines are except testing so quite right it wasn't tested.

This was all to much for the DVLA's computer so i suppose i will have to go to  the post office and see a human.

Next on, the environment agency, they are registering all properties that do not use mains drainage and it has to be done by next month. The suggested method they recommend is to do it on line, what could be simpler. Input our address into their computer and it says - no such place. Type in a grid reference from another government website that has a lovely aerial photo of our house, and it does not recognise that either. So I have to register a place that they refuse to agree exists.

Hmmm, talk your way out of that one.


More chickenology

Apparently the chickens are about to start production. They have proved a source of endless fascination for lots of people here. I think everyone in my family is a bit touched, I mean, sitting in a field making chicken noises to encourage the birds out of their hutch.

Not right in the head - any of them.


Thursday, 21 June 2012

Clucking expensive

I don'tbegrudge the student a penny, but.....

One of her 4 psychotic chickens was not at all well today, so this meant an urgent trip to the vet and a bill for nearly twice what we paid for the damn bird.

Just for good measure another two of them are looking unwell. Desr God these egge are turning very expensive. Well when I say eggs, there havn't actually been any yet .

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

CLucking bonkers.

The student can be fairly easy to please - sometimes.

She is a happy person today, she had 4 chickens on Monday. These have duly been installed in their new shed where they seem quite happy. They have spent all their lives so far in a shed, this has been a bit of a culture shock for them as they now have a very small shed, small patch of ground and occasionally a whole field to themselves. They seem to be really relishing being able to scratch, run around, pick grass and other sort of natural chickeny things to do.

The student is happy, she sits in the field clucking at the chickens who sometimes cluck back at her. I was going to get some film footage and post it on you tube, but my love of life is too great.

Greater perhaps than Da Man the cat who, confronted with 4 chickens really had to go and have a look. I think he learnt quite quickly that a cat, especially a three legged one really should not mess with a chicken, several of whom seem to have a bit of attitude. The other cats pretty much worked that one out unaided, not da man, oh no, he was in their coop like a shot and out of it even quicker....       

Friday, 15 June 2012

Just a drizzle day

Poor no one son Taliesin, out working in this miserable downpour.

The rain is horrid today, can harly call this June.

More worrying is the continued use of the wood stove, this time of year it should be seriously off.

Also some serious wood cutting should be taking place. 

The student, is off on a tanngent, she knows her family are prussian on her fathers side. She has had a bit of a geniological leap, she is back to 1830 and the Netherlands, reckons her relatives were mates to some blokes called Marx and Engels and got themselves banged up in the Netherlands.

She is about to pay €9.90 for copies of some record or other, lucky my paypal is in funds.


Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Where do I even start

A broad hint might have hit the ground running on Thursday that weather might have been an issue.

It turned out  far more than that

I refuse to believe that Tias mate who was off camping is not currently half way up a tree in the Midlands.

We set off from here and it was a bit breezy, crossed the Severn with some really difficult conditions then moved South down the M5 through periodically Noah level biblical with a constant strong wind throwing us about.

Further down the M5 and I could not really believe that Brittany Ferries would even dream of sailing, through  stuff like this  . The van was flying round the lanes and visibility was full on optional, at times I was navigating using the force as  outside it was just a mess of water and spray.

Fairly impressed that we had arrived and very glad we had allowed an extra hour for the trip,  we drove on to the Pont Aven amazed it was even going to sail into what was billed as a force 10. The meal was as ever very good and the cabin a welcome retreat as the vessel began to give us a course in aerobics. It began as glasses flew past me in the bar - time for bed then. This was more fairground ride than ferry crossing, the only thing that ship didn't do was loop the loop, though, as I spent some of the night asleep I might just have missed that bit.

Thankfully we had upgraded to a four berth cabin which meant the three of us could strap ourselves in for the bumpy ride to follow. 

Early morning and away, we have been on a bit of a lucky streak of late, the VW had been parked right next to the bow doors so we were amongst the first off. There is something really nice about roads in Brittany that encourages enthusiastic driving, or whimpering from the passenger seat.

We had some stuff to deliver to a friend of the students sister. A very interesting and unique  group of people. This family seems to attract those outside of the mainstream, it's not just the student.

So onwards and Southwards to our house. Or the jungle as it seems to have become. I wielded the hedge trimmer out front as the student set to with the strimmer, subduing the mass of foliage out the back, A trip to the Intermarche dealt with lunch then it was into town for a superb supper of Crepes.

Gwion had majored on the unlimited prawns on offer on the Pont Aven and was paying the price, looking a bit grey.  He still managed a Banana split for desert though!!

Back to the house and of course the acid test, in the past the big open fire in our living room has been a bit of a problem, I would consider that room ideal for the production of kippers!! Would the modifications to the chimney make things better? At first the answer seemed to be no. Having all the windows open sort of takes away the point of a fire. But, no after a while it settled and it seems to burn reasonably well and send the smoke up the chimney.   That just leaves installing a log burner in the other room where the chimney we dropped a flue down is really sucking air, that will work well.

So all in all not too bad. Next morning it was up the Intermarche and do a big shop before heading for Roscoff and the ferry.  Originally we had planned to leave on the Sunday morning but a bit of thought and we decided to take the Saturday night ferry instead. This proved to be wise, it was the last Sunday of half term and taking the Sunday morning ferry would have put us on the M 5 just as everyone headed for home and it would most likely have been like a car park.

Of course overnight ferry was totally packed so it was sleep on the deck for us, again. No worries, we would just head into town for a meal, well maybe not, with the ferry overfull the town was also, we tried just about every resto in town the answer was the same - complet. Full up, things were not looking good and the clock was ticking so a split decision saw us in the van and heading for St Pol de Leon where we found a lovely little back street brasserie. Explaining to le patron that we were on the next ferry resulted in three meals in record time for us and a good tip for him!

With time ticking I clicked the buttons on the squawk  box, sure enough it went into wobble mode and proceeded to take us round in a huge circle till we arrived back at the car park we had just left. Spotting a sign for Roscoff I decided to ignore it's idiotic ranting and soon we were in the terminal waiting for the ferry.

Again our luck held and we were positioned to be one of the very first off the ship.  

The trip back was mill pond smooth so after a whole  5 hours sleep it was out on to a fairly quiet M5 M4 and home. Home, ahh how nice and rest full. I wish.

An ominous looking collection of boxes were outside the door which turned out to be the chicken shed. A pile of bits of wood and fencing none of which looked anything like the ones in the pictures in the instructions, now, when i say "instructions" I mean the phrase on the broadest possible sense. it was basically an improbable collection of drawings that invited you to guess how it all went together. We only had to pull it all apart twice before we managed to get it all to fit. Well when I say "We" the student kindly volunteered to get Gwion from the school bus and was not seen for a very long time thereafter.   

With her out of the way i was tempted to make everything fit with a hammer but managed to retain my sanity long enough for something vaguely resembling a chicken run to sit in the field. 

Of course things were not just about us, Bethan god bless  her,  had gone to the download festival in Donnington. Proving we are not the only people to whom catastrophe pays a call, the people next tent had left their fly sheet home and the people the other side had forgotten most of their poles. This would not have been an issue had the weather not been biblical. We had a series of texts over the weekend keeping us up to speed, Bethan poor dab went down with Tonsilitis and spent most of the festival in her sleeping bag shivering.   She came home last night and seems much improved.  You cannot help but feel sorry for her though.

This morning, Gwion to school and it was mow on dude.  The bottom field got treated to a trim as did a big bit of the drive.  The weather forecast was an excuse to wander into town this afternoon and do a bit of shopping, this consisted, in the main, of buying chicken things. She is on line now spending even more money on feeder machines.     



Thursday, 7 June 2012

an eventfull time

Life for us rarely veers towards the mundane, some time back i took advantage of one of Britanny Ferries special offers to book us a couple of days away.

Today sees me the student and Gwion heading towards Plymouth and a ferry. Right on cue the weather has broken and emergency warnings of heavy rain and gales for the South West have been given. As I write rain lashes down outside the house and questions are being asked about the ferry and will it sail at all.

This is normal our house drama.


Wednesday, 6 June 2012

How much do eggs cost?

 We are of course about to go into chickens, this requires some sort of shed which has just been ordered at great expense.

Also some sort of electric fence so that we can have chicken Guantanamo with chicks on the inside and mt Foxt Woxy on the outside. Our old pig fencer is not suitable so money has to be thrown at the problem again.

All this before we buy the wretched birds themselves.

Just how much are eggs at Tesco anyway????


We like weather...

 We like weather, weather makes for a nicer life.

Perhaps I should set the scene, this weekend it was the folk festival and in a moment of madness the student decided she would let me lose in town for an afternoon "so I could see a few bands".   When she eventually found me, sitting in a bar that had a sign saying "folk free zone" outside I was pretty relaxed, far too relaxed - well according to her.

This generated a manic Sunday of log chopping, 1 acre field  mowing and digging footings for Taliesin's caravan that left me, frankly on my knees. That said she was little better.

Fortunately the weather intervened and put a stop on things by raining, rain is good for the garden but even better for the gardener, well this one anyway.

To put the crowning glory, yesterday was a dismal day. Meaning that, as a republican I did not have to pee on the parade of the sycophantic royalists who had a big party in the village yesterday - God did the job himself.  


Sunday, 3 June 2012

Ducking the issue

A good while back herself decided that we wanted to start keeping poultry. With the speedboat sold we are now "in funds" and she is in the process of ordering a chicken shed.

She has also subscribed to "poultry world" and is inviting me to say how a "Plymouth Rock" ( I don't know what it is either)  is a very good looking bird.

And people look at me strange because I like green goddesses!!!

They don't know what they are guano on about 

Friday, 1 June 2012

The student gets her man.

The student, not the young one, the errr mature one, has been doing things today.

It has been a full on day for both of us with tenants moving in and social services planed stuff, with a full on crisis intervention this afternoon after some intel from the Police.

Means this weekend we go up a notch, need to be on top of an issue.

We are used to having to work with  cutting edge teenies, we are not used to working with them when they are not ours. I can  see how some people might have been unimpressed with us in the past. 

Then tonight we gave ourselves an hour off and went to the folk festival,  lovely night great music, and of course....

The student has this talent for attracting the, err eccentric, the err unusual, ok then the downright weird.

And once again she set new standards, I would guess this was a Canadian and he was properly odd.

We did a proper discussion of the nature of West Wales, it's relation with the rest of western Europe and the roots of language in Europe. The guy was full on odd.

Not the oddest she has found, but up there with them.