Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Lets get ready for Xmas

Things are quite civilised here at Penole, Xmas is coming and eBay has come to our aid as a flurry of sales boosted my pay pal account which the management was able to find various ways of emptying. All in all though we are ready for Xmas.

One last thing remained Television, now, this house has been TV free for quite a few years. We gave up on it a little while back. Reception out here has always been poor, we ended up putting in a satellite, obviously not a subscription to SKY Mr Murdoch can clear off, we had the channels that were free.

When the dish broke, we simply did not bother. We can watch anything we want online and in fact, when laptop is combined with projector we can have a whole wall of TV for anything important (like international rugby).

But of course mine is not to reason why and if truth were told recent watchathons have been eating into our broadband allowance, so, one day, the management announced we were going to have telly for Xmas.

This was, of course not going to be simple The old dish being long gone we had to get a new one, over to eBay, then a sat box, from a mate, then some cards - we were in business.

First of all put up a post serious amounts of digging by  myself and the management and we had a hole, dug in the biting cold wind.

Next the post, that was simple, we had a bit of telegraph pole which could be fine in the hole with a concrete plug. Taliesin and I worked away batching concrete and soon despite the rain the pole as in.

A quick session with the chainsaw created a flat surface to which the mounting bracket was bolted, I was surprised at how quickly I managed to  get the bracket attached the dish mounted and cable run into the living room. The cable supplied was exactly the right length - how good was that!!!

So this afternoon,  began the serious technical stuff. Equipped with an Ipad and an app we soon worked out where the satellite was located. Connected up the meter and  the box - nothing.

Several hours of increasing frustration  and rain, oh yes did I mention the rain.  A steady cold drizzling precipitation Made even worse by the signal meters reluctance to recognise anything. No matter how many twists turns or other things were tried.

When, eventually, hypothermia called a halt to proceedings, Branwen and I staggered back inside in a soaking sogg of wet clothes

I should have said that the main beneficiary of this project would have been big D who is a great fan of television and live sport. So of course he felt now would be a good time to contribute to the project. He came out of his room to see if it was working, saw it wasn't then went back in again.

 Could not have done it without  him. 



Monday, 1 December 2014

Da man and the dog

From the point of view of this blog, da man has not been around too much recently, then again, neither have I. Live has been a bit full on.

Da man though has stopped being a kitten and he is now an fully adult master of his human hutch. We have sort of tried to make allowances for his missing leg which is a hell of a lot more than he has, being seen up trees and on one memorable occasion hunting cows in the field next door.

There has however been a fly in the ointment in the form of a new addition to the house called Kennie. Now Kennie is a rescue dog about 2 years old a bundle of energy a collie and labrador cross - a colliedoor.

None of the cats have taken to Kennie, da man in particular. Da man is probably about a fifth of his size. The first time they met Da Man didn't like the look of him so he was very still hoping he would not be seen. Kennie didn't go for that and ran at him barking and snarling. Da Man decided this was an "out of here" moment and legged it out of the kitchen into the living room. Sadly the door at the end of the living room was closed and Da Man was cornered. "Dinner"  thought Kennie "Really? You think so?" thought Da Man.

I had been upstairs for the few moments this took to happen so by the time I got downstairs, the dog was running round  into the kitchen closely pursued by a black and white three legged ball of evil and fury. I think what was really annoying Da Man was the fact that this dog had started a fight and then refused to have one.

You have to admire him a bit.


Sunday, 16 November 2014

Sunday sunday....

Fostering can be a long slog sometimes. Quite often you work away at something for years then nothing happens. Sometimes the result of lots of work is seen a long time after you did it thinking nothing was going on.

Then something very special happens. Today our latest fosling, having turned 16 went off her own back, to help out in a local pub that does some ferociously good cooking. By the sounds of it she had a great time and the punters and owners were very impressed with her.  

Contrast that with some of our other fosling who are very strong believers in work. They believe everyone should work and work hard, otherwise where would the money for their dole come from??

G is a little bit of s success story, so far, 18 months ago she arrived with an expectation she might last a few weeks. Her ambition was to have a tent in the grounds of a homeless hostel, she is now thinking about university.

Things like this can collapse overnight, now she is 16, she is under loads of pressure to jump on a train and go back to Daycastle. We are not supposed to know this of course, but she has been exploring the issues in an indirect way.

Do we think she would be strong enough to cope back there, and not get drawn into the family dramas. This is where you have to be properly skilled, it would be dead easy to say "no", very appealing even. But then you are giving  your answer. The truth is, they need to work this one out for themselves. We're not the expert on them: they are.

That too is proper empowerment, not steaming in and making the call, letting them decide.

My gut feeling, especially after a esteem building day like today is that she might stay.

Then again......



Sunday, 26 October 2014

Rayburn and she's happy

Some of our colonial friends won't know what a rayburn is so,  for them.

A rayburn is about 250 kg of cast iron and fire brick that can be used to heat your house, heat your water and heat your food. Ours only heats the kitchen and serves as a cooker.

the idea is that you use a small amount of fuel, the heat goes into the heavy casting and fire brick and takes a long time to cool.

We acquired ours off a free website about 2 years ago and  with a great deal of swearing it was installed in the kitchen

So anyway, couple of days ago we lit the rayburn and made use of one of it's properties, the one about staying warm for a long time.  A big joint of beef went in and was cooked very slowly over about 8 hours. The result was a near perfect joint, you really cannot beat a Rayburn oven. Cooking that involved about a bucket of fire wood, you really cannot go wrong. 

The Rayburn has been getting to stay on rather more this last week, i think the late summer is giving way to a winter blast. Rain and wind have hammered the window in my bedroom, there is something rather nice about wind and rain. So long as you are sat in a room that is at about 23 C with a big log stove blazing away in the fireplace.    

Maybe winter is not so bad after all.


The life exotic

Living out here in the wilds is often interesting and sometimes exhilarating and sometimes a downright pane in the glass.

We do of course have weather; when it's a bit sunny in town, out here it's glorious. When it's a bit breezy in town, out here it's biblical.

So a good few weeks ago when it was a bit thundery in town it was nuclear war level electromagnetic pulse out here. The phone system got blown to bits.

Modem, line filter, even the wire from the socket all got it. \

Also the underground cable on top of the mountain got fried.

This was our cue to log out electronically.

The BT Engineers were really good, it was the work of moments to work out that something was wrong.

Several days passed and an engineer came down the drive, he had been draughted in from away, we quickly established that I knew more about the local hardware than he did.

More than that, I was able to pinpoint where the fault was located. We have had so many faults at that point over the years it was a bit of a no brainer really.

Now,  lets do some history, over the last few years connectivity has been a bit of an issue. The underground link here was put in some time in the early 60's. This in turn meant that between ploughing and fencing and digging of slurry pits it had more joints than a Bob Marley concert.

A few years back BT caved in and agreed to renew the whole run, great news, they would of course do it in fibre so we would have super fast broadband. No, it does not work like that.

So anyway the cable was new so there would not be much to do. Except the fault was underground and this engineer had not done the how to use a shovel course so he could not dig.

I wondered how such a new cable was proving so faulty. He said no, the cable to the distribution box on the mountain had obviously been changed but the run from there, 10 M or so till it was running overground was the original stuff.

So BT had run new cable till the point where it split to serve lots of other households. Then not bothered to renew the last few metres as it only served 3 phone numbers.

At this point I might chuck into the mix some young people.

People have told me there is nothing worse than a room full of young people all absorbed in their electronic devices. There is a point there, and they have totally missed it.

Hell is a bunch of young people clattering away to devices that tell them; no internet

Day one is a bit hard.

By the end of the week they distraught, they were even contemplating talking to each other...

DVD's had to be watched, they even played chess a few times, this was crisis.

On top of this, it was showtime in university, i was delivering a new module for the first time and none of the notes could go on the students web page, problem all round then.

It was a long time before BT turned up with it's shovel by which time half the house was stir crazy.

Now, of course, we have half term. Fortunately it's half term with internet, the other possibility does not bear thinking about... 




Friday, 24 October 2014

Whose work is valued

It's been a long few months with a lot going on.

But we have arrived at a dark place really, the chief exec of Pembrokeshire has presided over a series of disasters, he has dealt with most of them by pretending they were nothing to do with him.

Now either he knew about them, so he should be sacked. Or it all went on under his nose and he did nothing about it so, well, he should be sacked.

Sacked means to me, up the road with a minimum of pay. Not a tearful goodbye with nearly 2 years pay in your bin plus your pension intact.

Especially when it's known you have already had a job created for you somewhere else.

For myself, 20 years as a foster carer and probably 10 years before that as a residential worker entitles me to the state pension with a bit chucked on top because it's likely I will be poor, is what I get as a reward for fighting the sorts who should be making sure services deliver but who spend their lives finding excuses for why they don't.

There is a logic in there somewhere - sadly i don't get it.


Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Happy holidays...

Every so often we go off on manoeuvres to our little house in Brittany. In previous years these would have been an extended month long jaunt with the whole tribe, now with childer working and such like we haven't spend an extended time out there in many years. It's not that we could not have gone, the kids were quite happy for us to leave them in the house here for a month - yeah right as if.....

So anyway off to Plymouth we raced in the VW van, on to the ferry end ended a grueling 10 am till midnight traveling day. Next morning bright and early it was time to set about the task in hand. Said talks being rendering the place suitable for friends to visit in the next week or so. Significant strimming and mowing went on till we got to mid afternoon by which time temperatures were uncomfortably into the mid 30's, not mowing weather then.

Plan A had been a hard working day on the house then three days off. So anyway 3 days later.......

We had a broadly lovely time but the hard work and heat left us exhausted, the super powerful shower was getting used lots and lots of times. Often two showers a day per person.

We decided, one evening, it was time to have a moment and, later next month when G goes off on manoeuvres for a week, so we are off for a week where the two of us will do nothing. I can really see that happening too..

So on day the last there we were all loaded up, everything looking good for the early morning trip home when into the house came the Gwion. Best go and look at the van he suggested, a quick trip outside and the side door was hanging off. Just what we needed for the M5 on the way home. This was clearly a very technical re hanging job so I set about it armed with a block of wood and a a 10 lb sledge hammer!!

The trip home was uneventful but killing, 6 am start and rolled up the drive here at 8 pm. The trip leaving me wishing I really had got round to fitting that sunroof I promised myself a  good while back.  I have also become a bit of a fan of aircon, that would be a proper plus on the comfort front.

So anyway we are at home and catapulted into a new series of dramas around the mess big D is intent on making of his life. There is only so much you can do, when someone is determined not to help themselves it gets quite difficult. Because he has not returned the paperwork and forms, all his benefits have been suspended. He has no money to pay his rent but still expects to stay here and live here, it's like he expects everyone else to work so he does not have to.

The leaving care team are champing at the bit to pull his placement and drag him back to Daycastle and stick him in a hostel. He seems to think that if he pretends it's not happening then it won't.




Friday, 18 July 2014

What a day today was

Today was quite a day, donning a suit, an come on now,  how often have I been seen in a suit??

Then it was off up the coast to a university, where a Bruce was getting her degree.

Of course this was after her morning teaching, newly graduated, she has been chosen to be course moderator on a unit in the summer school. The other units have two moderators, usually PHd students, hers has one - the Bruce. It's a school aimed at showing young people in danger of not doing well at school, that they have the potential to succeed, many of them in care. You can sort of see why people in care might not see university is for them after the couple of days we have had this week and Bruce is the very person to work with them.

She turned up to teach this morning in her academic gown did the session then off this afternoon to graduate.

Being a parent is quite something, I'm pretty proud of all my children but today was something else. I was unprepared for the emotional maelstrom sitting there and watching your daughter graduate unleashes in you.

I was thrown back through all of her childhood, all the little things, the times the places that lead to this place.

I was awash with delight.

I was soo proud as her name was called out and she walked on to the stage with self assurance to graduate.

Then as your Brain does my mind cast forward to another place  a place where G walked on to the stage and she collected her degree.

Except her "parents" the ones who took her into care for her own good, do not have that hope, that expectation, that aspiration for her.

If they get to 4.30 and nothing has gone too pear shaped, that's a productive day.

So what has she benefited from being in care?  

The anger inside me went up like a rocket.

I went from being proud and happy to being totally enraged in an instant.

That was the emotion of the moment.

 G might well not chose the life course that leads to a degree, but at least we will do everything we can to make sure that's her choice.

And do feel free to stand in the way......

And finally, how many of the students who graduated today, graduated in wellington boots?

She does make me proud - sort of..



Thursday, 17 July 2014

100 years ago

In some town no one had any idea about this Archduke who did not count for much got his head blown off by a guy who got lucky - pure fluke.

A few months later the whole world was at war.

Actually it wasn't, the whole world some self important states were having a bit of a competition about how gullible their populations were. In terms of exposing themselves to being massacred, and massacred they were marching bravely into the machine guns of mechanised death. .

Today it went off in Ukraine

It's going off in Iraq

It's going off in Syria

There's genocide in Gaza with some Zionists  saying that people who oppose their illegal actions are the problem - not their illegal actions.

It's funny how for the last 100 years the causes of each major war can be located in the incomplete resolution of issues at the end of the last one. 

It's 1914 again we will be at war within the year.


Things can only get better......

There is an old song - things can only get better, sadly, just after that was an anthem we had Tony Blair leading us into Genocide...

I digress though, today things managed to get worse.

Now, G gawd bless her summed the situation up well.

"I got there it looked like a school, it smelled like a school and it was built like a school. It has classrooms with desks like a school and a whiteboard like a school. It had a cwtch like a little kids school.  That makes it a school, if I could cope with a school I would be going to one."  

Lovely summing up of the situation. She then went on to say she wanted to continue with her current educational arrangement. She said she would try to go to school but was not sure she could.

Soo back to the possibilities there has been significant vagueness over what she would be doing at this new facility.

A couple of days ago the position was, she was doing GCSE's in English Lang & Litt, she was being entered with 2 others to do GCSE Maths in November this year.

As of this moment we have been told of GCSE's she might be doing.  No guarantees.

From the best I can work out

English language is taught by someone with an impressive academic CV, who is not a teacher.

Here in Wales, unlike Goveland we have these quaint ideas, to work  as a doctor you actually have to be a registered and qualified doctor. To be a teacher you need to be a registered and qualified teacher, and this person is not.

English Literature might be taught by her current tutor, but it might not .

She might also get GCSE Science, would be a plus, taught by a qualified primary school teacher.

Who is going to be teaching maths is a great mystery, her current maths tutor has been told he is not allowed to enter his three students for the November exam.  Whether he gets to work in the unit is not clear. We were told yesterday he might be too busy.  Maybe the caretaker is at a lose end for a couple of hours a day.

To be fair, they did pick up on her interest in horses and they promised she would get her some work in a famed local stable - but actually they didn't, what they really did was say they knew about the stables.

G - good on her spotted that one too.

We do have a plan though  - it will be a suprise - and we all like suprises don't we.



Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Somtimes life bewilders you

Many years ago when I was younger and possibly even more foolish than I am now, I did a degree in Behavioural science that is still recognised by the BPS as a basis for further training to call yourself a psycho err I mean psychologist.

 In my first year, as of course it is a very basic thing and quite easy to relate to psychological theories around learning and reinforcement so we did a thing about phobia.

 Soo lets tell you a little story, a young person lets call her G shall we? G has developed over a little while a fairly intense social phobia around going to a mainstream school. Just the thought is enough to give her anxiety attacks. She has been getting educated and engaging with education in a number of settings including a community learning centre which is actually located in a library. Obviously this is not at all suitable so the powers that be have decided to create a special learning environment so they can offer these young people a better set of facilities, there are a few kids who are phobic in this way. This new dedicated site, is going to open in September, with me so far?

So today, the student, G and I were given an individual tour of this place. Having driven the distance G would be sat in a taxi being driven in a few months time. We pulled into a car park, not any sort of car park, this was very obviously a school car park. Because of course the building in the car park was very obviously a school built sometime in the 60's / 70's. So up the steps we went and through the front doors, well not any sort of front doors, last use this building had was as a semi secure unit for young people with serious problems around behaviour and violence. So these were a bit more than normal doors everything was wired and alarmed. The unit itself was closed after a huge scandal and the site has a terrible name by association across the whole region.

Into what was obviously the vestibule and well, it was a school vestibule plain as the nose on my face. Towards the "room", and to get to the "room" you had to go down a corridor that was very obviously a school corridor next to what was very obviously the school football field. On the way we passed the CCTV room which was linked to cameras all over the place. At last we got to the "room" not any sort of room though Rodney, oh yes it had pretty curtains on the windows but the white painted walls and desks and tables and chairs and bookshelves told you this was a school room. Alphabet on the wall, projector on the ceiling whiteboard at the front of the "room" laptops on the corner desks just in case you were not sure.

G by this stage had gone very oddly quiet, she didn't seem to say a lot even though they proudly told her they were sorting her transport for her individually and it would like her education be based on her needs she was coming in by taxi. Now hang on didn't we say something in the Ed R yesterday about her having a phobia about taxis too.

All she had to do for them was make sure she didn't do anything silly with her hair like dye it bright green or purple. I'm not sure if it was related but G asked to stop at Morrisons on the way home to buy some hair colourant. She would not go in the shop while we were in the fuel station, it was if it was too much for her. I have not looked to see what colour her hair is, probably best not to.

They haven't asked me yet, but I'm just asking you really, can anyone spot any minor issues that might emerge and offer a view on whether she is likely to get in the taxi next term. To precis their approach, they have decided that the best option for those who will not do school - is school.

There are only two options and for the betting sorts I will offer very good odds on bets, but only on one of the options, I'm not taking bets on the other. Since a lot of you will have no grasp of year one undergraduate psychology, you might wish to take a bet.

This idea came from a group of specialists and experts in the education of children outside of mainstream education, voting one way should be a bit of a cert really..

Since I have not posted in a while I will emphasise for any newbies I am not making any of this up.

R __,_._,

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Lets go to Glasto

Despite it being an ongoing event for - ohhh for ever, I have never been.

That all came to an end today, today I went to Glasto.

Of course today the only Metalicca was in the form of empty beer cans all over the site.

Historically all my vaguely green mates would wander down there to talk to the trees and such like but I never went.

We pointed the T4 at the problem and headed down with the squawk box issuing instructions in French (that's what comes of letting Branwen play with it) till we landed on site.

Now,  we were there for the clear up day on the campsite. When I first drove on I thought the campsite was still live - but it wasn't. Field after field of nearly new if not brand new tents - all abandoned.

The waste was obscene  Glasto is supposed to be the fest for the connected greenish person, this was consumerism gone wild. We have collected in a few hours camping gear that really surprises.

Some of the tents it turns out were 30 pounds a go several it turns out would have cost 150 pounds, and someone just dumped them.

We have  made a community resource for round here which will give access to equipment that people might not otherwise have.

But it has all  been on the back of unbelievable waste.

The organisers were brilliant, they were pleased to see stuff not going for scrap - embarrassed also by the monster they seem to have created.

The original green festival is taken over by consumerism and hedonism. 




Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Yesterday was yesterday, today is today

In this game it's weird how fast things change.

Yesterday everything looked like it was going one way.

Today, himself took himself off to see housing. I'm not sure what he was expecting, I suspect he thought he could move and have less expectations placed on him than he has here. Maybe he has been reading too much Daily Mail and UKIP propaganda. Whatever they offered him, seems like doing what he had to do to stay was the better option.  

He came from the housing office and sorted himself out some volunteer work within the hour and he has now got a progression course for next academic year in college.

Whether  this will keep the leaving care team happy, after all they were looking at a big drop in the cost of supporting him, remains to be seen.

The emails I sent might be their worst case outcome - have to carry on supporting him. 



Fin de siecle

20 - 7 isn't a big number. Well not when you first look at it. Make it 20 years take away 7 when those 20 years are your whole life then living somewhere from 7 is a big bit of your life. Big D arrived at age 7 and he is now 20. Long time.

We have watched him grow, stood there with him through the tough times, been there for the fun times, watched him grow. Of course with all kids there comes a point where they have to make that big leap into the unknown and a less than certain future. Branwen went 3 years ago, off to university announcing she was off forever. That's why she has just moved back into her bedroom expending lots of effort on shelves and constructing a monster cabin bed which means she does not always sleep with her nose against the ceiling and she can sit up in bed providing she is under the attic hatch at the time....

I digress, the last few years have been tough, D is determined to hold on to childhood. Others have holiday jobs, he has holidays. He is a determined Peter Pan trawling the college list of introductory courses. So far he has tried carpentry (twice) countryside management and bricklaying. None of them leading to any work, well they might have except he has been avoiding jobs.

Xmas was a bit of a watershed. It's a time for everyone to give and to take, everyone gave and D took. 

It was time for a bit of tough love and way back in January his worker came down, we had a meeting setting out    an agenda for change, everyone had something to do, everyone did their something except D.

He has taken to going out or hiding in his room. It's so sad when you have invested a lot in someone to see that wasted. Wasted, there's a word, he seems to do that too. It really is watching someone you spent a lot of time trying to help unravelling.

It would be really easy if he was just bone idle but no he has worked really hard at a music festival and, when the builders here needed a labourer he pitched in and worked hard for three weeks. He loved being paid, he liked the money. But when it comes to getting a regular job there is a cog not yet in place, he isn't ready. 

This week a lot of airtime has been given to the problems over young people not being taken into care when they should be. There is a back story too of serial taking kids into care when helping their parents was what was needed.

The other end of the story is when the care industry has to own the results of it's serial failures to meet needs. The young person gets to 20 and they have none of the skills they need. The response apparently is to dump them into the world and walk away. 

In a few years time when he is a hopeless parent the system will be there to take his children away.....



Monday, 16 June 2014

Time of our lives

Today is of course the day of the fathers.

Which is great. No one son gave me a model Bedford, no two daughter bought me a set of bits for my cordless that she is borrowing to put up shelves in her room, mainly i suspect because she needs them.

No one daughter phoned me from the festival she is at to say she loves her daddy.

That was nice as, this week has been a bit of a quiet one.

Monday was a review meeting with social services where we got offered a bit basically to keep us quiet I suspect.

Tuesday was a meeting in university could be some work from that, then another meeting straight after - 120 mile round trip. Home and pick up Bethan then a mad run for Plymouth and ferry. Another 250 miles.

Some roadworks, Bethan great company but tired. On to the ship and a lovely old night, decent meal and off to an early night.

Next morning and a tough old one from Roscoff to Lanvallay .  A great time with Peter and Mina then truck up and off to our house. Another 180 miles.

Of course, I haven't mentioned the management who bought a new bed settee for the house.

This was no way going in through the door so window it was then.  Heavy? Did we mention heavy?  It weighed a lot and it went in with much heaving and swearing through the front window just after it's pre decessor went out the back one.

Much running round and shopping then a walk into town for a crepe or 4.

Morning and a drive up to Roscoff, Brittany ferries really wanted me to know they had rescheduled the departure time for trip home. 1 email 3 texts and a phone call!  The run up to Roscoff 80 miles was pretty uneventful and being in Brittany we popped into the Vietnamese for lunch.

On the appointed time, the ship sailed and we settled to a calm sea crossing with the van parked virtually touching the bow door. I don't know how it happens but whenever we do the crossing from Plymouth to Roscoff we always seem to end up being one of the first off the ship.

This whole break had gone well suspiciously well, time to make things more normal. Off the ferry and quickly through immigration - all well with the world. Then the A38 or  rather not the A 38, it was closed for repairs so there followed an epic diversion across country. Still that was a lot of Devon visited I had never seen before, and the M5. Not to be outdone the people in charge of the M5 joined in, closing several lanes so they could do work on them during the day. At night of course all was quiet, just the average speed cameras to keep everyone at a steady 50 for mile after mile.

Eventually gone midnight I mads it home, could have been quite tricky, the last few miles I was very sleepy. That does not bear thinking about, last time i fell asleep at the wheel was the Olympics.




Monday, 19 May 2014

Bath time

So anyway, today I got up and did things that needed to be done like kids to school and college.

Bit of housework then into town to pick up Bethan.

Light the fire before I go so I can have a bath in a little while.

Bethan all urgency and need to get to work, obviously a bath needed first, lucky i lit the fire really.

Bath for Bethan and lift to work keep the fire in bath for me later.

Came home and Dai turns up with the new door, not a problem keep the fire in sit and chat with Dai.

Dai's gone, Taliesin and Chantelle walk past with towels, better keep the fire in.

Deal with tea and collect Bethan from work

Back home and time for a bath.

Hang on who's  that striding towards the bathroom with towels?

It's the management.

Better keep the fire in then...


Sunday, 11 May 2014


I don't think there has ever been a gap like this in my blog.

We are sitting here waiting for the contractors to insulate the house from the outside. Our lovely old stone walls will disappear under insulation. It will be a loss but in actuality this house gets very cold when the wind blows and the wind blows all the time!

This is also why we are debating if we want to gamble on going for planing for a serious wind turbine here, one that would guarantee our life here for the next ten years, except herself fancies moving sometime not too soon. It would still make the house worth more though, a guaranteed income for the future.

Trying to future proof is a big thing for anyone really, I can see the appeal of moving for herself, the house really is far too big for us if we don't have lots of kids bouncing off the walls.

Herself has had a major gardening buzz this year, we are well on our way to self sufficiency in   veggies and we should be up to our knees in soft fruit next year. Though unlike the last time we did serious gardening there is a restaurant in town which will take anything we have left over.

This year too I have managed to bring more of the fields here under control. We have about 4 acres mowed, well we would have if the weather had not turned all non temperate. Mowing operations are suspended with the ground wet and the wind blowing.

Time to get the fire going again.



Sunday, 19 January 2014

Of cats and dogs

You have to recognize Cats and Dogs are very different psychological entities. The cat being a bit of a self contained individual hunter and dogs being pack animals working in a pack whit a definite hierarchy.

Lez Barker very wisely noted that cats like this master servant thing, just not that way round.

Dogs on the other hand can be shown who is boss and they damn well need to be too.

The reason for these observations is the recent arrival of Kenny, a cross between a collie and Labrador, a colliedoor. He's a rescue dog, about 18 months of limitless energy needing endless walks and capable of major soft furnishing destruction if bored and left on his own.

His arrival has not passed unnoticed amongst the other furry citizens of this household and the response has been interesting. The cats seem to want to avoid him, which is good all round. But he is hell bent on seeking them out and shows no evidence of learning. Da man walked away up until the point when he was cornered, the dog kept coming which was in retrospect a serious mistake. Out of the corner exploded a snarling biting scramming 3 legged ball of fury. The dog beat an increasingly hasty retreat which ended with a cat chasing the dog round the living room

You might have expected to see some learning, but no, next time out he decided to try his luck with Deimund. That ended no better with a cat demonstrating bearback dog riding as they went round and round the living room too.

He does have some endearing features, next doors sheep who considered our fields an extension of their terrain, Kenny, who seems to have a instinct for herding sheep into corners seems to have put them right off.

A fox who had started to make our place a part of his regular round has also thought better, since he broke cover right in front of Kenny and he nearly yanked the managements arm out it's socket in the wild pursuit that followed.

Bethan has invented a new sport, I'm sure you have heard of Bog snorkeling, Bethan has indulged in some wet field Dog log surfing, this involves getting yanked flying off your feet by the dog then dragged a selected route round the field. It's better not to scream.....

He has eaten 3 pairs of wellies so far,  consequently the field is paved with dog logs and shards of undigested rubber.     

Deimund and him have a sort of impasse, Deimund sits on the settee pretending the dog is not there and all is well so long as the dog does not try and approach the master being. Even then a hiss and growl is now usually enough.