Tuesday, 27 March 2007

Breakfasts,Birthdays and Buttocks

A truly beautiful day here in Argyll, wall to wall blue skies and sunshine. The dogs are out doing that relaxing in the sun thing that only they can do. An upbeat kinda day. We had great guests, a German couple and a chap from Islay fast approaching his 80th year (it’s okay to say I think as he told us all at breakfast time) who was on his way back to the Island after a day in Glasgow when he stumbled across us. Having set off from home at 2am he was shattered by the time he reached here. I think he went to bed at 8pm and we never heard another thing. With Howard and Myrna, our winter regulars making up the table it was very pleasant although a little sad. With the end of winter now over we have had to give our horses back and we will not see quite so much of them over the next few months.The Germans especially pleased Toby by ordering rolls to go with their continental (includes Hot cross Buns as an Easter Special!),if I make a batch for guests the children get them too. This was especially apt as it is Garrets birthday today and he was forced from his bed at 7.30 to enjoy a lovely family breakfast...such a treat on one's special day.
After the guests had gone I went to visit pal Liz for her professional, physiotherapists opinion on the strained tendon at the top of my leg, which is preventing any running. This is making me very grumpy and as she is my running partner I shamelessly employed emotional blackmail by pointing out that it is her interests to get me back to running health. After diagnosising (I will draw a veil over the undignified diagnostic procedure itself, suffice to say that had the postman passed by Liz’s kitchen window at the right/wrong moment he would have seen more of me than he bargained for) a lack of muscle in my right lower back (knew about that) and right buttock (didn’t know about that one, I have obviously concealed this by subconsciously but cleverly laying down layers of fat to match it up to the other side) she has given me exercises to do. A life without running..Urghhh AND Lucy is putting on weight as fast as I am!

Friday, 23 March 2007

Not an epidural in sight

Today was crystal clear and gorgeous, who could want to live anywhere else in the whole wide world (as we used to put it when we were nobbut young uns).The sky was clear blue for miles and miles and the loch flat and smooth. A perfect day to be the dutiful parent and accompany Freya’s class on a trip to a local farm, Brenechollie just up the road from us. On such a lovely day it was breathtaking, perched on the hillside and still existing as a small farm with sheep and cows, a rare thing indeed. Best of all we were so privileged to see the birth of a bull calf from the very start of the hoofs poking out whilst the mother was still munching on straw (puts all us girls to shame with our calls for epidurals and pethedine, I can tell you!) to the final heave as this perfect calf plopped out on the straw. Of course there was the bit in between with the farmer heaving and pulling on a metal ratchet device thingy (if you have ever watched “All Creatures Great and Small” you will be well up on bovine midwifery equipment) whilst he filled us in on how important it was for this one to survive as she had lost her calf last year (lost it Miss…how did she do that Miss?…Did it wander off Miss?). There was a special moment as she pushed and heaved rather gracefully, I thought, ejecting another small part of her offspring (Oooh look Miss…she poohed on its head), and then the finale that we had all been waiting for (Errr, yeuk look at all that blood Miss). However all were quiet as the eternal circle was completed and Mother began to lick her calf’s head and began that worrisome parental thing. At least she will not have to go through the Kevin Phase of teenagedom, whoever saw a medium sized bull fling itself across the field with the equivalent body language of “ no one ever understands in this family…I think I will run away, no one cares what I think” Mind you, on reflection they are probably gracing someone’s Sunday lunch table well before then so perhaps we should draw a veil and leave Mother and son together for now!! Anyhow we all got to go and get Pancakes with the farmer’s wife so we were fine.

Saturday, 17 March 2007

Goosy,Goosey, Gander.

It is a policy of ours after the excruciating losses of first, King Duck and then the pretty little Henny Penny many years ago not to name the poultry, as it is hard enough to know that they are feeding the local predators without having a name to metaphorically hang on that pathetically empty perch. Therefore,it was not without due consideration that I have named one particular duck Mr, (or Mrs to be fair) No Brain, this is the affectionate shortening, his full title is Mr No Bloody Brain At All. This was after chasing him round the runs last night attempting to get him into safety with very little luck. While I was creeping around the back of the runs attempting to take him by surprise he was wildly running around quacking “Quick!! Escape, all of you…she is out to get you, flee, flee whilst you can” advice taken not by his fellow ducks (too busy stuffing their beaks with grain) but by the geese, they now are locked up at night since we found a “late” one, as Mma Ramotswe would say, last week. They listened and listened good to the demented duck and made immediate plans for their escape. I had manage to chivvy them in the general direction of their abode before becoming distracted by Mr NBBAA but now off they squawked round and round the hen huts in a jolly game through the mud, dark and driving rain. This time, as I was in a hurry to get them away (bad idea) I had forgotten to put my welly boots on and had a nice pair of totally smooth bottomed boots for maximum amusement and minimum grip....plenty of comedic scope there. In a flash of unusual, uncharacteristic ingenuity I managed to build a superb barricade to stop them slipping between the huts and hence guide/chivvy them into theirs. This was a really, really good plan brilliantly conceived, or it was once I had stopped up the all holes in the netting that were invisible in the dark to human eyes but not to goose ones. Three times round the trees and huts later I was locking them all in…victorious. As you may have noticed I was not helped in this endeavour at all by Lucy the border collie, a breed renowned for its herding abilities. No, she was elsewhere in the field eating something horrid that I had no wish to investigate at that time of night and only rejoined me once the work was done. I then re-entered the house to wash the red dye out of the girls’ hair but that is another story. Anyway Rain, Rain and more Rain (and muddy dogs) today. How lucky are we to live in a green, verdant landscape with none of the global water shortages that bedevil so many of the worlds’ populations? See, I can look on the bright side sometimes!
NB Totally inconsequental side note:-These events took place on Thursday, was unable to access Blogger yesterday...but it is still raining!!

Saturday, 3 March 2007

Frisky,Crispy Ducks

As I have noted before spring seems to have arrived here but nowhere more obviously than amongst the Corner domestic fowls (no jokes please). Here is the spicy bit, the geese and ducks have entered Planet Bonk big time and are very averse to being locked up at night. This is fair enough when one is a heavyweight goose with a hiss that puts fear into, well, into me and Lucy….actually, not into me but definatly into Lucy but when one masquerades around the field as a tasty fox fast food crispy duck type snack it is a little foolish to be reluctant at locking up time. Tonight as I slid around in the very, very nearly dark trying to herd the virtually invisible ducks (hens are far too sensible and go off to roost at a respectably early hour) into their pens I reflected upon this stupidity and was very tempted to let them take their chances. Picture the scene, if you can, there I am stumbling over tree roots and mud-sliding towards the stream (and twice into it) as they are flapping and protesting around the place about unfair herding rights. Obviously most of the mud in the field adheres to the bottom of my boots so shortly I am stomping around with large, no, make that huge wads of the stuff under each foot, increasing the weight and size of my boots by threefold. Eventually with a sort of shambling, sliding frankenstein-like gait I get them into the pens only to find the goats shamelessly raiding the bird food from the old freezer that we keep it in. After dragging Poppy off I leave the field happy in the knowledge that all are safely away for the night aka The Good Life and skip happily (despite the dragging weight of my boots) homeward bound whistling a happy tune…only to have to slink back to double check that I have actually closed the old freezer in case of rain drenching the food even though I KNOW that I have definatly shut it five minutes earlier…ahhh the ravages of declining memory. On the up side I have painted the dining room and the walls up the stairs this week. The former was completed approximately 10 minutes before some guests (nice folk from Australia:-Claudette and Cameron) drove in. The pictures had just been rehung on still damp walls and the smell was tangibly hanging in the air but all went well, mainly because neither of them thought to casually lean against the walls whilst having their tea and scones. There’s a book in there somewhere.

2nd Memo to self...(see First post) NEVER,NEVER wash white Karate suits with orange karate belts...result attractive but apparently immovable tie died yellow stains on the karate suits that does not really add to the traditional image. Any tips gratefully recieved. Tried so far in order of application
· Stain remover of several types
· Fairy liquid
· 40’wash
· soak in thin bleach
· more fairy liquid
· 95’wash
· thick industrial strength bleach (what did I have to lose?)
· more washing in desperation
On the up side orange belts totally undamaged.....