Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Let it snow....

I think the student has just about had enough. Getting out of the house is a struggle, the drive remains a serious obstacle. At least today everyone was in school and college. A run into town followed by a hair raising trip to Gwions school. Peace at last, just two goes at the Cresta run from here to the main road, met one of the neighbours coming the other way, never mind the ABS we used a drift as a brake.. 

 Today, the student had enough, the house got seriously tidied and the van filled with stuff for the tip.

This was not as simple as it seems another  white knuckle run to the main road.

Deliver the   rubbish to the recycling yard, then struggle uphill home.

Taliesin had decided he needed to get out, so that was his Saxo stuck on the drive....

Remove that and get a text that there is more snow (I has sort of noticed this)  and college is closing.

Down the Cresta run so Tallie can meet his mate and go into town, coming the other way a 4x4, who was in the passenger seat? Gwion, his school had closed at 1 PM and no one thought to tell us, so here he was on his way home.

Back up the Cresta run to drop him off then down it again to meet the college bus.

This weather seems in for ever, will it ever end. Will my nerves take much more?

The trip down taken at snails pace keeping the speed down and some semblance of control on the ice, the trip up taken at a pace to keep the traction control working and enough speed to slide over the bits where there is no grip at all.

The Green Goddess is no advantage on this, 4 wheel drive is only useful if there is something to "drive" against - just 4 spinning wheels instead of two.



Tuesday, 22 January 2013


 "I'll fight you for the seat next to  the fire"
"I'm not here really"
"Back away from the meat human and no one gets hurt."

Ever since I left home my household has always included at least one cat. They have come in all shapes and sizes and ferocity and cunning and clever and downright stupid.

In 1998 we rehoused an adult tom that somone else had named Adam. He was a big cat even then and soon aquired a second name of "Pogo". When I was dishing out food to our colony of cats, many of whoom were his sons and daughters, Adam was like a cat on a pogo stick bouncing up and down trying to grab the food. Several times I collected scratches and scrams as he tried to  get the food before I could get it out of the tin.

He lived inside the house, regardless of what any human thought, he knew he did. No one ever let him in he was just there. He did need to be outside some times and he would just go and sit looking meaningfully at the door or window.

He would crouch against the outside of the front door tight against it so you would not notice he was there until you opened the door and in one huge bound he would be in and gone. you would see something vaguely black fly past and off up the stairs.

His other name was "pirate" cooking anything required a detailed check of the kitchen first, to see if he was lurking somewhere. Even then that was no guarantee: there he is just before our Xmas dinner - poised to go in for the kill. Pretending not to be there, 100 % focused on the meat that has his name on it.....

Sitting at the table this head would appear somewhere, green eyes looking at the layout and spying out his chances. not the whole head of course, just two steely green eyes and alert ears, the rest of him hidden,  the head would go down and pop up somewhere else close enough to that unsupervised plate to strike.

Giving some of the other cats treats is easy, Deimund will delicately take the proffered titbit from your hand. Adam, would take a lightening lunge with a real chance he might take your fingers as well.  

Gwion and him were firm friends he often went to Gwions room to spend the night.

A  great big muscular cat, when the vet prescribed tablets for him I recoiled in horror. Giving Adam pills was going to cost limbs never mind fingers. Showing standard cat contrariness, Adam liked his pills!!!

The years didn't really seem to touch him, his back legs got a bit arthritic sometimes but last week he spent a while with me chasing and catching a lump of string. These were high risk games though as Adam didn't really believe in taking prisoners, anything moving was a legitimate target..

He'd been a bit out of sorts for a couple of days. But yesterday I was commenting to Bethan how sleek and shiny his coat was, how alert he was and how bright his eyes, not looking like an elderly cat at all.

Then this morning, he went out to be fed with the others, all seemed well in his world.  I was going out the front door, checked through the glass, sure enough there was that familiar black and white face looking at me. It's damn cold,  so I let him in and he made for his familiar upstairs haunts. Then he just seemed to trip or slip, fell on his side twitched and writhed, gave a few pathetic mews and he was gone.

In a way I am happy, I have seen a few cats die, fall ill and linger for days getting weaker and less happy.

For Adam it was all over in moments, whatever took him he died a he lived lean, mean and decisive.

I just went upstairs noting the vague dark shape on my bed  "damn cat" I thought, but it wasn't it was a T shirt.

Feeding time tonight was odd, no huge cat bouncing off the floor and racing round cramming in as much food as he could grab. Everything was a lot calmer and quieter, there was a big gap where a cat who was big in every way had been. 

Poor old Adam - what a cat, going to miss you mate.


Monday, 21 January 2013


Resilience, the ability to bounce back. One of the things that sruck me when Katrina hit the levees and everywhere flooded. Lots of people sat down and waited to be rescued. We were snowed in Friday morning. By yesterday we had had enough so bright and early out with the digger and up the drive.

It took a good few hours to clear the drive, that is no small pile of snow. Then when we got to the top of the drive. The council road crews had not been through. Undaunted we just turned left and started digging again. The council JCB road crew were visibly suprised to round a corner and find a digger and half a dozen people with sholvels coming the other way.

It has been a day of driving interest though. Canning up the hill in the Citroen in the groove between huge drifts, litterally bouncing between them. It was great fun actually.....


Friday, 18 January 2013

Snow joke......

We were both quite excited yesterday. A nice weekend away in prospect. Now anyone opening the windows or looking online would know the weather for this weekend was not ideal. A look out the window this morning and nothing much was going to make it up the drive.

Need to use the fire engine to clear then, except the gales had blown the door slightly open annd the cab was a block of snow.

Off Taliesin went in his Discovery then, off he went and he went and this long figure came tramping down the drive. So, equiped with a selection of tools we set off, four of us, four hours later....... i was back in the house in the early stages of hypothermia.

So anyway we needed to get out so next door could get food. This time of year we try and keep the larder pretty full. Tallie and Dan went off in the disco and shogun heading for the main road over the fields. The road is sunken so there was no way they would get down that through the mounds of snow deposited there by the howling winds.

They had a great time too.

We called Brittany Ferries and cancelled, just as well, the Ouest France is full of stories and photos of French vehicles stuck and snow in places you would never normally see it.

With a bit of luck we should get away soon - just not this weekend.



Monday, 14 January 2013

Mice in the well

I think living in the countryside leaves you open to experiences outside of the ordinary, well today had been nicely outside of the ordinary.

Pump man arrived and investigations commenced. Checking the top of the well and the control box was tripping out instantly. Something amiss then.

So. much sweating heaving and swearing, out came the pump. Checks revealed two dead mice one of whoom was jammed in the pump mechanism. Put it all back together and jammed stuff into the well head to stop anything else going down there.

This was all managed on  my part by swearing and freezing outside in the wind.

The student took the strategic approach and directed matters from upstairs in bed whilst watching iplayer....


Sunday, 13 January 2013

in never rains but it SNOWS

Things have horrid habits and it's doing one of those again.

Everything tripped out here earlier in the week for which I could find no obvious cause, until yesterday when the water stopped flowing out of the taps.

An investigation revealed nothing obvious (leaks) but it did turn out the pump was not working.

Naturally, I wasn't here but was 50 miles away sorting university stuff with the student.

So anyway, home and some detailed investigations plus a call to the pump companies out of hours line.

Being nice, I agreed they could leave coming out till Monday and we would use the in house sweating and swearing team to lift the pump some time today.

Of course that was before I looked at the weather forecast which was none too good.  And featured things like snow and minus 6 temperature weathers into the week to come. 

Ahh the joys of country life, I can't see anyone being in school or college tomorrow and the student, who has an exam on Tuesday might not be going either.


Monday, 7 January 2013

Riding the roller coaster

Now as things go i think we live a pretty stress free life, except that which we create for ourselves.

The student has been creating stress with great diligence, essays she said she would have finished by Xmas were not done yesterday morning with the cliff hanging over her that they had to be in by midday today.

I positively demanded to be allowed to take Branwen back to university yesterday and was delighted to be stuck behind a truck virtually the whole way home. Something that took it out of me so much I had to go down the pub.....

When i left everyone was hiding from the student who was holed up in her office bashing away on the keyboard of her computer. 

It's a sign of her increasing academic competence that she had not asked me to read either essay. Indeed when I eventually sneaked a look last night they were both quite polished bits of work.

Hysteria and stress had abounded when I left, things did not seem to have improved   when I got home - but they had.

Herself, having driven herself into a total lather and viewing another 3 am finish on the cards, noted the essays were actually due in - Wednesday.

She called a halt to frenzied writing and called for a bottle of wine.

She chilled all night had a good nights sleep and is currently enjoying finishing the first of her essays at leisure.  She has all day tomorrow to finish the second

I wonder if she will take this as a learning experience. Next essays will be written more than a day before they are due? 

Today has been a lot more relaxed - Wednesday i get to drive her to uni and drop off the scripts, then she has promised lunch. 


Friday, 4 January 2013

A day of days

The student has been locked in combat with essay all day. Looking good 1500 words down, then she slipped in that she might change her mind and answer another question.

Then she added that the essay is due in on Monday as is another she has not even started yet.

This was a real hint to go into hiding.

Hells teeth, she is still writing but this could be a long weekend.



Thursday, 3 January 2013

Promoting progress

Today has been a bit of interest.

Our lovely foslings have had their place completed at huge expense to us, and the  the fridge and microwave are on site.

Next they need to be filled with food.

This has been a bit of an eye opener for our two foslings - how little their likely future weekly food budget will actually get them.

Even more of a shock the realisation that this is not theirs "as well as" the contents of our fridge.

"No milk" means "no milk" not "go next door and take theirs"

It's a very tough world 

Could be a few interesting months in store.


Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Technical litteracy

Now, unlike herself the student , I am a technical incompetent. I really like using computers but the further you go from the turn it on button the less likely i am to know what to do.

So anyway to deal with a spate of all night computerism, doing stuff online that was munching our download allocation and at the same time meaning people were staying in bed all day, I put in a filter that closes the wifi at midnight and re opens it  in the morning.

For me, that was seriously high tech stuff. 

Now really I have only myself to blame, for trying to over step the mark.

The first thing we noticed was; it didn't work. They were still on the net half the night, that was dealt with by pulling the power lead when we went to bed. The distant groans assured   me that worked.

But it took me a while to get my head round why, every day, 1 PM the wireless internet switched itself off.

Getting it work work again required LAN connection and a deal of messing about.

Today, one of my beloved daughters made some off hand quip that made me think, so anyway I opened the routers operating settings  which was the point that i noted that it's internal clock was set to somewhere in the Southern hemisphere where, as good as gold on the stroke of midnight it was turning the  WiFi off. 

I thought it best not to tell anyone this so I have just corrected things and said nothing.

The afternoon - mad stuff, off to get Bethan from work, she who had sensibly decided to meet us in the pub, we could not leave because Taliesin was out there with the digger, pulling the  front axle off his discovery, something with health and safety were very fortunate not to witness.

Now Branwen has gone baby sitting, Bethan and Taliesin to work and I am sitting here with herself alternating between university essay work and political rants. 

Hey ho - peace on earth.