Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Pack of thieves...

Today I shall mainly be wearing a black arm band, in memory of the twenty four carrot seedlings which some lop eared thief pilfered out of my allotment last night.  For a brief time yesterday afternoon, as I fought with a piece of netting in a stiff wind, I had some serious sympathy for Mr McGregor.  But you know, this is the 'joy' of having an allotment in the middle of the countryside.  All the time you're there, you admire the view, marvel at the birdsong, and whistle happily at being one with nature.  But overnight, it becomes a drive through greengrocers, with the carrot thieving rabbits, onion stealing rats and even the pigeons, who are rather partial to sweetcorn. (I haven't grown any this year purely because of this).

But the carrots are now protected with some netting and some plastic hoops and I'll let you know if my cunning plan works.  I expect that you're wondering why I didn't net the blooming things in the first place.  This can be fully blamed on the husband who claimed that my allotment, fully surrounded by a chain fence was 'completely rabbit proof'.  Based on this statement, I am assuming that they needed to use a complicated system of winches and pulleys to get over the fence, or maybe, heaven forbid, they burrowed under the fence, popping up in my allotment with their carrier bags ready to do their weekly shop.  

I predict an ongoing battle with wildlife in general as the summer progresses.  Once the rabbits realise that there's nothing nickable, the white-fly will move in.  Will they care that I'm not growing any broccoli this year?  Of course they won't.  This will mean that as I open the gate to go in each day, a large white cloud will arise from the vegetable beds, totally eclipsing me and most of southern Oxfordshire.  Despite this, white-fly still make me laugh.  Purely for the reason that on a trip to the garden centre a couple of years ago looking for something I could spray on them, the very helpful chap exclaimed how 'no one likes white-fly on their brassicas madam'.  Still makes me giggle even now.

Now that we are up and running, there will be no free time for yours truly between now and September.  I am also skint, having worked out yesterday morning that the money spent on bunting would have kept me in beetroot for at least three months.

Hey ho....



Tuesday, 22 May 2018

So special...

Poor old Reg had a trip to the vet yesterday.  For the last month or so he has been doing a pretty impressive impersonation of Thumper, the rabbit from Bambi.  Despite being bombarded with flea treatments, medicated shampoo and antihistamine tablets, he has continued with the thump-thump-thump at any given time.  Add into this an attack of worms, and you have a poor pup with quite a lot on his plate.  I can't say that he's been poorly, as he's not been any different to his normal loopy self, but after a particularly annoying evening of thumping, the husband pleaded with me to take the beggar to the vet.

After the last debacle with the two of them, I decided to take Reg alone this time, and left Percy at home with Monday's copy of the Times and his knitting.  Although initially miffed not to be going in the car with Reg, when the penny finally dropped that he was going to have the house to himself, Percy was seen to give a small paw punch as he shuffled off to the lounge whistling.

We were first in the waiting room much to my relief, and once the walk of shame to the scales had been done, and a weight (never the real one, I hasten to add) shouted out to the receptionist, we settled down with Reg on my lap happily snaffling biscuits from my handbag.

As the minutes ticked by, dog after dog joined us in the waiting room, and apart from a very minor contretemps with a Wheaten Terrier, everything was fine, and Reg behaved himself. And then we were called in.

Having told the vet as much as I could remember, she gave him a thorough examination, culminating at the rear end where a red patch was evident. 'Looks like it may be his anal gland that's causing him to scratch', suggested the vet.  'Hold him tight while I take a look'.

For any of you who have had the misfortune to be in the same county when your dog has this procedure, you'll understand my horror at being in a 6' square room with one small (closed) window when she did the anal probe.  A small note here.  When you say the word 'probe', please say it in a 1950's Scottish voice and make sure you roll the 'r's.  Actually, talking of rolling 'r's,  this is pretty much what Reg did when he saw the vet reach for the latex gloves and Vaseline....

Anyway, it turned out that the vet was right after all (good to know that my £126 was money well spent), so suitably sorted, we came back out into the waiting room to pay.

The Wheaten Terrier was still there, and I kept a stern eye on Reg as he has a propensity to cock his leg up any vertical surface in the waiting room.  All was going well till I took my eye off the prize and handed the receptionist my bank card.  The giggles from the Wheaten Terrier's owner told me all I needed to know, and I entered my PIN number while keeping an eye on the ever increasing puddle to my left.

'Your dog's a bit special', said the Wheaten Terrier's owner.

Madam, you don't know the half of it...


Monday, 21 May 2018

I'm broken...

So after Saturday's celebrations, Sunday took a more sinister turn.

The husband, who makes procrastination an art form, finally agreed that if the vegetable seedlings I'd been nurturing weren't planted out yesterday, then we might as well lock up our allotment and have a year off from it.  Now attractive as this may seem at 8.00am on a Sunday morning, I'm not too good at quitting at anything which I have started, so we hauled our sorry carcasses over to the allotment armed with everything we needed.

Within ten minutes of arriving at the patch of dirt, the husband had broken both the strimmer and the rotivator.  The sky was not the only thing which was a  beautiful shade of blue for the next half an hour, as the husband relegated the strimmer to the shed, and changed the fan belt on the rotivator.

Once that was all done, it was all steam ahead for weed pulling, stone removal, planting and watering, and by 2.00 we were done.  Literally.  I had managed to rake my left leg, so had what looked like a shark bite on my shin, and two impressive bruises were colouring up quite nicely where I had hit some bolts which stood out on the raised bed.  The husband was covered in nettle stings (apparently, 'real' men don't wear gardening gloves) and had burnt the top of his head having forgotten to put his hat back on again after we stopped for a cup of tea.

But everything is now in, and every evening going forward will see me schlepping over there to water the plants.  And here's another thing, the hosepipe attachment broke over the winter, and now does a passable impression of a Crazy Daisy.  This meant that when we walked back from the allotment yesterday, both of us were soaked.

I never have this problem when buying my vegetables in Tesco...


Sunday, 20 May 2018

Saturday night...

Well ladies, I very almost didn't make it this morning.  You know that particular moment on a Big Night Out, when your sister says, 'Just stay at mine, and have a bloody drink'?  Well that happened at around 6.00 last night in the FA Cup Final half time.

Luckily for me, and all the others at the table, I remained on the road of sobriety, and was able to scoop the husband up at the end of the evening and transport his broken weeping body back home from the pub.  He's a Manchester United fan, which explained the moaning and wailing across the county border as we drove home.  He'll probably sulk till at least Tuesday.

But of course, we had the wedding to watch for the first part of Saturday.  As a complete traditionalist, I was glued to the television and sat there so long, that two meals were necessary.  I didn't want to miss a second of it, so deployed daughter number one to make the bacon rolls.  It was the least she could do having brought round a 4" tall sausage dog to 'play' with the boys.  Who would have thought such a small creature would create so much havoc in a relatively short space of time.  Over the course of the two hours he was here he managed the following:

'Christened' every room downstairs
Humped Reg's head
Moved on upstairs where a refilled water tank was put to use around the bedrooms
Got humped by Percy (that boy is often confused)

But the most impressive thing he did was to be able to jump up and down off the sofa....many, many times.  To see this four legged chipolata spring like a gazelle to get to Reg (who thought the height would give him a small advantage and deter the head-humping) was hilarious, and almost made the post-visit clear up worthwhile.  You'll see I used the word 'almost' here...

Anyway, the wedding was fabulous, bride looked beautiful, crowds happy, sun shone.  A perfect start to a very special lifetime of Saturdays.

If only those eleven overpaid divas in red could have remembered what they were paid to do yesterday afternoon, instead of prancing around the field like a group of middle aged Morris Dancers, my day would have been complete.

Unfortunately, Miss R and Woody were heavily supporting Chelsea (and the wine growing area of Alsace) so there was a lot of ribbing through the match.  As the second half droned on, Miss R had switched alliance and was shouting, 'Come on Tottenham!' much to Woody's disgust, and when the game finally drew to an end, Miss R had resorted to talking to anyone in the pub who would listen and wasn't even watching the television.

Woody turned to Miss R and told her how disappointed he was that she hadn't even congratulated him on winning.

Men are strange creatures, aren't they?  Especially when football is concerned.

Luckily, the husband won't be mentioning it at all today, in case it starts his weeping off again...

Saturday, 19 May 2018

Party queen...

Bloody hell, I'm all caked out...

Yesterday was one of my colleague's birthdays, and as I was baking for my Pink Ladies tea party, I just did a couple extra to take into Binland.  The carrot cake which I'd made for 'the boys' disappeared in about four minutes - this is what happens when you walk into the canteen just as the drivers are finishing off their sandwiches.  I barely got out of there alive, throwing the cake onto the nearest table and running as fast as I could to the door, waving my security pass frantically.

The black cherry and vanilla sponge lasted a little longer, and when I left Binland yesterday, there were just a couple of slices left.  I had abstained from all cake at Binland (before you start applauding my mid-diet self control, hear me out) because I knew I would be eating the same cakes three hours later when the Pink Ladies arrived.  No one likes to peak too soon, do they.

So fast forward to 4.00, and there are nine ladies in my garden, necking Pimms and fizzy stuff in between cake, scones and sandwiches.  I peaked too soon (good intentions evaporated as quickly as the Pimms in my glass) and spent the rest of the evening mourning the loss of my waistline while the cake settled over the top of my now too-tight jeans.  

But today is another day.  A day to undo the bad work of yesterday.

Oh, who am I kidding.  I've got Miss R and a few others coming over to watch the wedding later this morning with the promise of bacon rolls and a celebratory glass of something (tea, in my case, as I have offered to drive the husband back from the pub after the footie this afternoon).

Sunday will have to be spent eating food's food (green stuff) and drinking water if I am to stand any chance of getting on and off the scales on Monday morning without the scales shouting, 'For heaven's sake woman! Have pity!'

But you know, not every weekend has a Royal Wedding, an FA Cup Final and a whole load of sunshine, so sod the diet, and bring on the celebrations...

Friday, 18 May 2018

Tea party...

Normal life has returned with the departure of daughter number two last night.  

My poorly little chick has had a rotten second week of recuperation having had her tonsils removed, and there have been a couple of darker times when I considered sticking them back in.  I'd probably have to have used an alternative as her tonsils are long gone, and having considered a couple of Pizza Express dough balls, two satsumas or a pair of rolled up socks, we eventually agreed that she'd just have to ride out the storm.

She's been a very good patient, and I've been a very good nurse apparently (flowers delivered yesterday as proof) but as I said to her as she left, 'There's no need to buy me flowers sweetie.  As a mum, it's in my job description to be Mumma Nurse when required'.

So she's gone.  In a whirl of washed and folded clean clothes, an emergency food parcel and seven packs of painkillers for those 'just in case' moments.  The house has reverted back to its tranquil self, and I can revel in the fact that I won't be folding my sofa throws every morning when I come down to the lounge.

But this peace and quiet won't last long...

Later today, I have several of my neighbours (the female variety) coming round for afternoon tea.  If ever the Trades Description folk get whiff of what these gatherings are called, they would sue the socks off me.  Yes, there are sandwiches, cake and scones, but tea?  Not a chance.  It's fizzy stuff and Pimms all the way, and if previous experience tells me anything, the tougher ladies (always the two Mrs B's and Mrs H) will still be here as the sun goes down, while their children remain unfed and their dogs unwalked.  

I am just hoping that I can show enough restraint and not have to sleep it off tomorrow morning,  missing firstly the royal wedding, and then the FA CUP final.  I'm really excited about both, and it's really going to be a Saturday of two halves tomorrow.

Flags in the morning.  Scarf in the afternoon.

I shall be waving both over zealously in gay abandon...



Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Neighbours...

I had great plans for yesterday afternoon.  These involved a deckchair, some factor 20, my latest copy of Grazia and a cup of tea.  Did I manage any of these yesterday?  Did I 'eck as like...

Instead, I was a good neighbour.  On the way back from a short pre-deckchair walk with the fuzzballs, one of my neighbours was sweeping his drive.  I stopped to talk because I knew he'd had a tough time recently, and as I left his drive half an hour later, another neighbour was waiting at the end of my drive.  She really needed a cuddle and a cuppa, so having supplied both, we chatted all afternoon and put the world to rights.  And then the husband came home.

There was a close call as he dropped his trousers in the hall, and I was relieved that my neighbour had left her glasses at home (not as glad as she would have been had she seen him scuttle across the hall and up the stairs in his pants) and once suitably attired, he joined the two of us for a bit more chat.  

Well it turned out that the husband frequented all of the local pubs which my neighbour had worked in when she was a blonde bombshell of a twenty five year old.  The husband would have been seventeen or so then, so probably easily impressed by an ample bosom, and I waited nervously while they played tennis with questions such as 'Do you remember that Spanish looking guy?' and, 'Whatever happened to that woman who lost her arm and married the chap who got caught in bed with another man?' (He worked the cruise ships apparently).

Anyway, they took a rather ramshackle amble down Memory Lane, and it was a much happier neighbour who left my house at 6.15.

Although being a good neighbour makes you feel all warm and fuzzy, I shall be locking the gate this afternoon and donning my shorts to make the most of the afternoon heatwave.

I may even get the dogs to patrol the drive...