Thursday, 18 December 2008

Blue - show your support

Some of you may remember the old horse that lives in the field next to our house for those who do and those who don't here is an insight into her life;

Blue's Story.

Blue was once a well cared for and loved horse who was placed at shows and won rossettes for her owners' children. The children have since grown up and left home, so Blue is retired.

I first called the RSPCA out last summer when I noticed that she was very unsteady on her feet and on closer inspection noticed blood oozing from her coronets (top of the hoof) and mud and pus in her feet. The RSPCA eventually responded after about 5 weeks and a barrage of phone calls from both me and my neighbours. The RSPCA inspector had a look round her, never lifted her feet and recommended she see a farrier, that was it. They never even returned to make sure it was done.

A few months ago the owners of this horse were evicted from their property so effectively the horse was abandoned. No one came to check on her and as the weather deteriorated and the grass disappeared we became concerned. Again the RSPCA were notified and eventually turned up many weeks later. This time the Inspector was very unhappy with the horse's conditions and as by this time the owners had returned left a list of criteria which had to be fulfilled. This was several weeks ago and the RSPCA have as yet not returned to ensure the requirements have been fulfilled.

To give you a better idea of her conditions read on;

Blue has an open fronted 'shed' to shelter in. It is full of LAST years cow muck. To get to it she has to wade through mud and stones.

Until a couple of weeks ago she had no rug. She now has a non waterproof rug which is too small. Considering the weather we have been having she has been drenched during the day and frozen at night. It also slips to one side causing the straps on the other side to dig into her belly and leg. No one comes to straighten it.

Her water trough has been freezing, no one comes to break the ice.

The grass is long gone. There is hay in the barn but no one gives to her and besides a horse left out over winter, especially of this age needs far more to eat than poor quality hay.

She repeatedly collapses and spends hours on the ground struggling to get to her feet. Last Sunday morning she spent at least five hours down in a very hard frost. Our neighbours thought she was dead.

We have done what we can for Blue, we groomed out her moulting summer coat in the warmer months, straightened her rug, given her water, and hay. The RSPCA have now told us to stop so they can see that she isn't being cared for, which makes sense........ if they ever bother to come back.

Merry Christmas!

I now have Lembit Opik's office fighting for Blue, they have contacted the RSPCA and asked that they come back to see Blue asap. Next step the papers!

If any of you have Facebook please join the following group

If not then please just show your support for Blue by leaving messages here.

Anyone who wants to link to this post, please do - I want as many people as possible to read it.

Thank you.

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Happy Birthday to Me!

What a funny day! I've had the girls home for a couple of days, there is an awful tummy bug going round the school and both girls have been low with awful colds, so I decided to keep them home for a few days. Half the school is absent anyway! My dad turned up unexpectedly this morning, he'd come up to view the bungalow in the village. It was only a flying visit but a lovely one!

Then Hubby rang to say that he had been temporarily laid off! For some reason they hadn't got all the planning permission they needed and the job has been stopped. So nice news that Hubby was on his way home for my birthday but not great circumstances just before Christmas. Luckily he has managed to get a bit of work with my cousin so it should just about tide us over.

Then off to work. I have a ridiculous dry tickly cough which of course raises it's head when I am taking phone calls. I have been drinking cough medicine straight from the bottle all day but it doesn't seem to help much!

Then back home where I had to cook tea! Hubby can be a bit useless with things like that. Oh he can cook, he just doesn't much! And he'd brought a mate with him so I had to make a vast Shepherds Pie for them all. Jedi had made me a cup of coffee though, which was very much appreciated.

Anyway, not the most exciting birthday I have ever had, but I guess that happens as you get older! At least I have a nice warm body to snuggle up with tonight.

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Very proud mum!

Well, even though we have all had dodgy colds we made it to the school Christmas show. Because it's not a church school, they have a slightly different take on the nativity and this year was the Xmas Factor. Trouble was an angel of all things and Jedi was Mary. They both did a fabulous job and Jedi's solo brought a tear of sheer pride to her mummy's eye. The infants and junior are split and do their own little show and I have to say the standard was incredible. Those teachers must put so much time and effort in to get all those little ones doing and saying what they are meant to. And some of the juniors definately have an acting career ahead of them!!

Jedi's foot is much improved, her chest is fine and the troublesome child has been removed from the school, so things are definately improving for her.

I am still getting no eggs from my chickens, which is very frustrating but apparently I am not the only one! There was a young fox loitering around the house this morning so I must be vigilant. We have hardly thawed at all over the last few days but we have had no snow. The Bengal Brothers are spending most nights under my duvet and will wake me up, patting my face until I let them in.

I am slowly getting through the Christmas shopping but have disappointed myself by giving in to the kids and putting the Christmas tree up yesterday. Christmas never starts this early in this house! We usually put the tree up the weekend after my birthday, which isn't until Wednesday. I think we just all needed a bit of a boost, and I have to admit that seeing it twinkling by the window have lifted us all. Jedi has been madly wrapping everything in sight, I love wrapping presents but I haven't had a look in, she even offered to write my Christmas cards! The tree brings much joy to the cats of course and Clay has been climbing it every five minutes since it went up! Hubby would hate it but he's not here so up yours with ya humbugs!

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Does it ever end?

Jedi was so pleased to get the part of Mary in the school Christmas production, but it looks as though it could be under threat! She has developed a terrible cough and we are desperately hoping it won't get onto her chest like it usually does. She saw the doc today who said she had the start of a crackle on the usual lung, but thinks she should clear it on her own. He has, however, prescribed antibiotics to take in a couple of days if it hasn't cleared.

The dress rehearsal/grandparents production is tomorrow. My parents are coming up to view a bungalow in the village and are hoping to combine the two. Then there are two further evening productions on Thursday and Friday. Hopefully the girls' dad is coming up for Friday night, so all in all I hope Jedi can hold out until the end of the week.

I broke a tooth on my lunch at work yesterday. It's quite bad as half of my tooth is now gone! Luckily it's the inside that has come away so I don't look like I've been fighting, but what a time of year for major dentistry!!!

On the other hand I am loving my new job. Although by Christmas I will be twenty stone! The boss sends out lots of goodies to customers at this time of year, including tins of chocolates and biscuits. Because he is of a generous nature he opens them for us too. Trouble is as soon as one is gone he opens another. This has been going on for two weeks now and there is still another couple to go. When I got into work today there was; a tin of Quality Street, a box of fancy biscuits, a box of After Eights, a chocolate orange and a white chocolate orange, all sat on my desk! Every time I reach for my tray my hand falls into one of them!! I could do with putting on a bit of weight but all this chocolate can't be healthy! Oh! the trials of life.

Sunday, 30 November 2008

Beautiful Day

Well Grandad had a beautiful send off. The church service was a wonderful blend of traditional English and Cypriot. It started as any other British funeral, Hubby and his father and male cousins carried the coffin. We sang hymns and listened to tributes and readings. Then he was blessed by the Cypriot Papa. At the grave olive oil was poured over the coffin and food thrown in to see him through to the other side.

It was a very emotional day, but I think he would have been very happy with it. Nan coped amazingly well, I think she knew it was time. It was wonderful to get the family together and a few unsteady bridges were reinforced. It really couldn't have gone any better.

Thank to everyone who has left kind messages, you are all so lovely.

In other news, Jedi has now had her cast off and was STILL in quite a bit of pain. So she went to see my cousin the chiropractor. Turns out she had a slight dislocation in the side of her foot and torn ligaments. The doctors had obviously missed it on the x-rays!! Anyway the ligaments weren't healing because of the dislocation. My cousin has put it right and the difference was almost immediate. The ligaments will still take a while to heal but at least they can now. I'm glad she went, imagine how much trouble she would have had if we hadn't. My cousin also had to adjust her back where she had been walking funny for so long. It's seven weeks since the original incident!

Apart from that not much to report apart from the fact it is too bloody cold! At least I'm not in Scotland like my poor hubby!

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

For Grandad

Grandad is on the right, with his father, who he looked so much like in later life

Grandad was born in Kaimakli, Cyprus in November 1916. He worked as a stonemason and if you go to the Post Office in Nicosia you can see his work standing proud. Grandad fought for Britain in World War II and came to London after the war. Here he met Nan, fell in love and stayed.

Grandad worked in various posh hotels and restaurants as a chef and has even cooked for the queen! Grandad and Nan started a family and after living for a time in Cyprus settled back in the UK. (Nan couldn't cope very well with the climate in Cyprus).

They had four children one of which was my father in law. When my husband was growing up he embraced his Cypriot heritage and was extremely close to his Grandfather. He learned the language and spent as much time with him as possible. When he was about ten Grandad took him to Cyprus for three months and had him confirmed in the Greek Orthodox church.

Grandad was a very heavy smoker when he was younger and was finaly diagnosed with emphysema when he was in his early seventies. He battled on and led a fairly resonable life. The last time he went back to Cyprus was in 2002, he wanted to go again last year but his health had deteriorated too much and doctors would not let him fly.

He was a very strong man, and very tall for a Greek. But he was also very much in charge of his family. He was very much the head. He kept the family in line and was always the one to sort out any arguements. What Grandad said - was. Even as his health failed him, he was respected and revered.

Back at the beginning of November Grandad ended up in hospital with a chest infection. He was up and down for a couple of weeks. One minute we were told he only had a few days to live, the next he was getting stronger again. He finally, drifted away peacefully 6 days after his 92nd birthday.

I have worried about this time ever since I met my husband and grew to realise how much his Grandad meant to him. I have dreaded the aftermath. We both thought he would fall apart but my husband is so far coping remarkably well. The time Grandad spent in hospital, I guess, has given us all time to adjust and get used to the idea. The funeral will be down in Somerset on Friday, that is going to be the hardest, that's when it really hits you most. The worst thing is that my husband is now working up in Dumfries a million miles from everyone. He has to fly down for the funeral then fly straight back again. I will meet him there but it is hard not being able to be with him and support him the rest of the time.

Grandad was a great man and will leave a very big hole behind. I just hope everyone can be grateful for the many years we had him for and celebrate them.

Rest In Peace Grandad 16/11/1916 - 21/11/2008

Saturday, 22 November 2008

R.I.P. Grandad

After celebrating his 92nd birthday last weekend Grandad finally decided enough was enough. He passed away peacefully this morning.

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Ups and Downs

Where do I start? What an odd week!! Late last Saturday night we were told that Grandad had grown increasingly weak and that his meds were no longer any benefit to him. We were told that he only had a few days to live. Nan was rushed over from one hospital to the other, Hubby dashed back to Somerset, but he his a determind old man and has decided he is not finished yet! All this week he has improved and strengthened. But of course there are no guarantees but he may just prove them wrong. Grandad turns 92 on Saturday.

Nan has now been discharged. An infection broke out on her ward and they decided she would be safer out of it. She is staying with one of the aunts until alternative arrangements can be made. I am really glad she is out, she will be much happier and she will be able to spend more time with Grandad.

I have started my new job, and am loving it. My colleagues seem like a good bunch, and the work is challenging and variable. It is nice to be in the company of adults again too.

I have had a broody hen for a while, and as she was the only hen laying I have had no eggs! I really hate buying eggs now but I guess I will have to give in, as Hubby was complaining about their abscence last weekend!

I think that's about it for now!!

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Sexy's back!!

Hi folks, I'm back. Phew, been a bit manic I guess. Thanks to everyone who left kind comments and best wishes. We got down to Somerset and saw Nan. Thankfully she has improved hugely over the last week or so, but is adamant that she will be home soon and taking care of Grandad. Unfortunately, Grandad is now also in hospital. He came down with a chest infection which, of course, on top of emphysema was pretty serious. He is doing well though and at least Nan can stop fretting that he isn't being looked after properly.

They will both now stay in hospital until suitable care is arranged and the house adapted for them. Hopefully, they will both be tranferred to the community hospital a bit nearer to home. It has been a very worrying time but things are looking brighter.

The foot that Jedi hurt nearly a month ago has been getting worse not better. I took her to the doctor and he referred her to a consultant at the fracture clinic in Shrewsbury hospital. The hospital is an hour away and we spent a further three and a half hours there getting nowhere fast. They don't really know what she has done, nothing shows up on her x-rays but poor Jedi is still in a lot of pain. They have decided to immobilise her foot by casting it for three weeks. Hopefully this will give whatever has been damaged time to heal.

On yet another note, I finally have a job. I'm feeling pretty pleased with myself for getting through the lengthy application/interview process. The job is not the classroom assistant post I had hoped for, but an admin post which promises to be a challenge. The company provides supplies for schools and closes during school holidays so will fit well around the children. I first had to pass a numeracy and literacy test, which wasn't too difficult but focused on attention to detail and accuracy. Those that passed these tests got an interview. At the time of my interview I was told there had been a lot of applicants and that they would narrow it down and then interview again. I had my second this morning. It was between me and one other person. They told me I would hear in a couple of days but by lunchtime I had been offered the job!! I wonder if the other person didn't turn up! Anyway, yay for me and as I will get paid monthly there will be a nice bundle in the bank just in time for Christmas. :)

Monday, 20 October 2008

Worrying times

The last few days have been very worrying. My husband's 81 year old Grandmother was taken into hospital on Friday. She had been suffering with a bladder infection that had got out of control. She had become so poorly that sickness was causing her not to keep the antibiotics down.

Initially on Saturday she appeared to improve a little but on Sunday she developed Septicemia which in turn caused problems with her heart. My husband is very close to both his Grandparents and because he is in Liverpool has been feeling the distance. It would be at least a five hour drive to get back to see her. He has been on standby all weekend.

Not only are we extremely worried about her, but Grandad also. He is in his 90's and has suffered from Emphacemia for 20 years and needs a lot of support. It's quite amazing really, both of them have health problems and alone stuggle to cope, but together as a team they cope very nicely. Grandad is unable to visit Nan in hospital and is undoubtedly very concerned.

Today we received the new that Nan is on the up and is now stable. But it looks like she will be staying in hospital for around a month and when she does get home will not be able to care for Grandad anymore. It looks like they are going to need full time help.

Hubby's contract in Liverpool comes to an end this week, so he is going to come home on Wednesday and spend a bit of time with the family before he goes off to his next job, which unfortunately is in Dumfries! So Thursday the kids are going to stay with my sister and we are heading back to Somerset to see both Nan and Grandad.

I do hope Nan recovers quickly, I really am unsure how Grandad is going to cope without her, and it is awful to see them apart.


Things are a bit crap at the moment, and I will fill you all in a bit later on but for now I leave you with some photos that I took of the autumn colours the other day.

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

ABC Wednesday - M

M is for Mum

Maybe a popular post for this ABC Wednesday, but this is my little tribute to the special mums I know.

I never appreciated my mother until I had my own children, probably a common story. I believe mums are very important and I feel terribly sorry for people who have to do without their mums for whatever reason. Like bringing up your own children, whether you agree with how they did it or not, the way your mum brought you up always has a bearing on what you do. And you can't beat you mum when you're feeling rough, even to this day I seek comfort from mine when I'm ill, even if it's only a whinging phone call! My mum turned seventy last Saturday, and is a wise and interesting woman who I hope to have with me for many years yet. Thanks mum!

Another mention has to go to a good friend of mine back in Somerset. She got pregnant very soon after starting to see her partner, and still very young, was panicked when she found out. She wasn't sure if she was going to keep the baby and wrestled with it for a long time. She decided to keep it and March last year gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. She is a wonderful mother, who has glided from a young and free girl who loved partying, to a mature woman who always puts her boy first. She is still with her partner and they are expecting their second child early spring.

Her sister is next. I have to mention her. Her and her partner had wanted to have a baby for a long time but due to health reasons had to keep putting it off. Finally they got the all clear and were trying to get pregnant for ages, way before her sister got pregnant, which was difficult for her. Anyway their first baby, also a boy is due tomorrow. So my thoughts are with them and we are all hoping for a smooth birth as she still has health issues. These are the times when I really miss my friends.

Finally I would like to mention another friend who sadly had her impending motherhood snatched away, when just a week before she was due, she was told that her baby had died.

So everyone that was lucky enough to have a good mother, please take a moment to think of her. For those of you who didn't (my husband being one of them, she did far more harm than good) I am sorry. For those of you that are mothers, be the best you can, they will thank you for it....... eventually!

Sunday, 12 October 2008

Adventures without my camera!

Can't believe I was so stupid as to forget to take my camera!! Because we were blessed with such a beautiful day today we decided to make the most of it. I spoke to one of the local farmers the other day and he agreed that it was ok for us to walk through his fields. I thought it would be, but it's polite to check isn't it. He told us it was fine as long as we respected the country code, which of course we would anyway.

So off we went today. Jedi's foot has recovered remarkably and she was determind to come. She still can't flex it fully but if she's careful she can put weight on it now. We headed up the field directly behind the cow sheds which sit behind the house. We soon came across a large stream which runs down between the two large hills. It was quite a long way down and we had to carefully pick our path. When we got down there it was so beautiful. This is why I wish we had the camera. It tumbles down from the hills through a slate lined valley, dotted with little waterfalls.

It was cool and green and beautiful. We followed the stream up hill, weaving from side to side, choosing the best route. Some parts were a real problem solving session, where the stream was too deep, or the slate too slippery. There were awkward parts where the gorse was too thick or a ledge to narrow. It was exciting, adventurous and challenging. The girls enjoyed sips of the cold, fresh water and marvelled at the strange fungus and moss we found.

We got a bit wet and a bit dirty, but that's half the fun right? We had quite a steep climb to get out of the valley and then had to follow the sheep trails back around the hill towards home. We all had a fantastic time and even though some of the walk was tricky the girls learnt about all sorts of things, like wet slate is slippy, the edges of the bank aren't always solid, and tree branches that look like good hand holds are sometimes rotten!! Good things to know if you're going adventuring!!

I just wish I'd had that camera, but I promise that next time we go adventuring I will take it with me. This place is too gorgeous not to share with you.

On another note Jedi has decided she wants to blog too, so please pop over and say hi to her here.

Thursday, 9 October 2008

A pain in the .....foot.

I am sure my kids were sent to try me. I mean Trouble is getting so much better behaviour wise, we still have the odd battle but we enjoy eachothers company more and more. And Jedi is such a great kid but these last couple of weeks have been such hard work. Not through any fault of her own, of course, but stressful none the less.

There was another incident at school yesterday with the Devil child. Only a minor one in comparison to what has been happening, but still an incident, and one that should not have been allowed to happen. For some reason in the last lesson of the day DC (as he shall now be known) was moved to the table next to Jedi. Usually he is at the other side of the room. He then spent quite some time pinching Jedi at every opportunity. This on it's own is probably quite a common occurence in schools all over the world, but why on earth, when they know Jedi has a problem with DC was it allowed to happen? It was a supply teacher but I don't think that is anything like an excuse. So I had to kick off at school again this morning.

This whole issue is proving to be quite a drain on us. Jedi has started having dreams about it, which shows that she is not dealing with it quite as well as she makes out. And every day I take her to school it makes me feel like I am taking a lamb to slaughter, and I end up worrying about her all day. It just proves her love of school though that she still wants to go. I have now written to the Chair of Govenors and told them that the next substantial attack will result in me pulling Jedi from school. Personally I don't think home schooling is good for children, but as she has only been at the school for just under a year and it is her final year of juniors, I don't really want to move her, so it may be my only option.

Anyway, aside from all that she's had the recent chest infection that we had been hoping to avoid. She's off the antibiotics and is much improved, but it has been a worry again. Then, just to ice the cake, yesterday evening when demonstrating her dancefloor 'shapes', she rather over enthusiastically leaps into the air and comes down on the outside edge of her foot and falls to the floor in agony. My first thought is that she has broken it again! She has previously broken bones in both of her feet, but that's another story! Living where we do the nearest 24hr emergency department is Lord knows where and I didn't think it was quite bad enough for an ambulance. So I dosed her up with pain killers and put a bag of frozen peas on it.

She slept downstairs on the sofa last night, because she has a bunk bed and there was no way I was heaving her up there. Today we spent all morning in town going between the MIU at the surgery and the hospital x-ray department. Luckily, however, it is not broken. Instead she has torn the tendon that runs along the outside of her foot and pulled it away from the bone a bit by her little toe. Excuse me, but fucking ouch!! Poor thing, (I was going to say little, but after carrying her around all day, I can tell you she's not bloody little!) She is in a lot of pain and feeling very sorry for herself. I now have even more to worry about when I take her to school. She wants to go but she is going to be twice as vunerable. And I am worn out. Yes tired from carrying her but also pretty emotional drained. Roll on Saturday when Hubby is home and I can have a nice big, protective, manly cuddle.

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Cooking up a storm

On Saturday evening Jedi decided she wanted to make pasta bake for tea. Simple enough, but she wanted to make sure she got it right, after all she is only eleven. So she comes into the lounge where me and hubby were watching a bit of telly. Jedi was asking a few questions on the best dish to cook it in and how to go about it. Then she asked;

"Should I cook the pasta first?"

"What did you just say?" says Hubby in a shocked and rather angry voice. Me and Jedi looked at eachother, puzzled.

"I said; should I cook the pasta first?"

"Oh" replies Hubby, sheepishly.

"What on earth did you think she said" I asked

"Should I cook the bastard first?!"he muttered.

I don't think I have been laughing enough lately because this kept me going all night. Every so often I would remember the conversation and burst into childish and uncontrollable giggles. It is still making me snigger now!

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

ABC Wednesday - L

L is for Lory

Lories are beautiful birds which come in a variety of colours. My favourite has to be the Duyvenbode Lory, and the reason for this is because I once owned one.

This is Caleb.

I think Duyvenbode Lories are often overlooked because they are not immediately eye catching. But I fell in love with Caleb as soon as I saw him. As you can see in the photos he was mostly a rich chocolate brown with flashes of an amazingly bright yellow/orange. This bright colouring was most obvious in flight as it is most prominent beneath the wings and tail. You can also see a blue tinge to his tail which was most obvious when the sun caught it.

Caleb on his specially adapted poo catcher!

Lories have a very soft diet of mostly fruit and in the wild nectar. They have specially adapted tongues, which are somewhat like a feathery tube, which they would use to get nectar from plants. Caleb was fed a special Lory mixture that was a bit like packet baby food, fed fairly wet, and also fruit and a runny honey mixture. Because of this runny diet you can imagine what his poo was like!! He had an amazing habit of shooting it at someone if they weren't to his liking. So a special perpex sheild was attached to his cage to protect everyone and everything.

Caleb and his toys

Caleb loved to come out and play, this bell was one of his favourites probably because it was noisy. He would sometimes lie on his back and kick his toys like a cat.

Unfortunately Duyvenbodes can be very noisy. Caleb was a real mummy's boy and took a dislike to my, then, husband. As soon as he walked in the door Caleb would start this awful shreeching noise and wouldn't stop until my husband left again. The time came when I received an ultimatum, him or the bird. So unfortunately I had to sell Caleb. Probably the wrong decision as he is now my ex husband but that's life!!

One of the funniest things about owning one of these birds is trying to get insurance for them. I phoned pet insurance companies then got told surely I wanted motor insurance for my Lorry!!!

I found this amazing picture of a Duyvenbode Lory in flight at Warren Photographic.

Beautiful aren't they?

Poor Little Birdies!!

As if it wasn't enough that the poor birds that do venture into my garden to feed, get constant and relentless harrassment from my beastly Bengals, they appear to have another problem. Now, I am a huge fan of birds of prey but what I witnessed up close and personal today was something completely new!

There I was in the garden, after bringing the girls back from school, having a look at my chickens. I heard a fuss in the tree where I hang the bird feeders, and looked up to see a Sparrowhawk fly out of the tree and right in front of me with a blue tit in it's talons! Now, I know this is what Sparrowhawks do, and I have seen them in the fields darting along the hedgerows, but never quite like this. I was actually quite shocked.

Then about twenty minutes later I was stood quite close to said tree on the phone to my mother. The Sparrowhawk came back for another go, and flew within a couple of feet of my face, I actually ducked! It was lovely to see, I really enjoy seeing more and more wildlife, especially when the kids get to see it too, (they saw the hawk through the lounge window) but I wish it would leave my poor little birds alone. The fact that it was so brazen and was totally unbothered by me standing there just amazed me.

Speaking of local wildlife, me and the girls were lucky enough to see a badger a couple of evenings ago. We were coming home from the high school visit, it was dark of course because it gets dark so early now. As we came up the drive there was a badger badgering about. The girls loved seeing it. Animals like this must seem like a myth to some people who never get the chance to see them.

Funny day today, the weather couldn't decide whether to be sunny or raining, so I'll leave you with these pics of the hill this afternoon.

Sunday, 5 October 2008

Art Attack!

Hey all, been busy again. But doing what I'm not actually sure! I know the kids have been monopolising the laptop and I haven't had much of a look in! Bad news on the bunny front I'm afraid, there was only one more in the nest and when I checked the following day it too had died. It's such a shame, she is such a good mother when she's got passed the first few days. I promised the kids we will try again in the spring, and I will just have to be more vigilant.

Jedi has had a bad chest again this week, and has ended up on antibiotics yet again. It is difficult to know whether she is better than she would have been if she hadn't been seeing my cousin. I guess putting the rib back in place doesn't neccessarily mean that the pocket that had formed in her lung will disappear too. She hasn't been that ill though so hopefully it is working.

Anyway, a few days ago we popped into town. Jedi is now old enough to have a bank account with a cash point card, and as she is pretty responsible for her age, I agreed to open a bank account for her. Both the girls received cheques from their nan for their birthdays so they have to go somewhere. They both now have a bank account but Trouble can't access her money without me. She can have a card when she is 11. Of course, Jedi is feeling very grown up and superior and can't wait until her card arrives in the post. The good thing is we live about four miles from town anyway and neither of them can get there without me, so their money is pretty safe for a while at least!

While Jedi and I were in town setting up the bank accounts we visited the local gallery. There are two very talented artists based there. One, who I believe is the owner, draws the most wonderful birds of prey, and the other is wildlife photographer and film maker Dee Doody. Apparantly he hasn't been painting all that long but I find his work very beautiful and captivating. He is also the nicest man you could meet. If he is at the gallery when you visit you can watch him paint and he is always happy to chat.

On Wednesday when Jedi and I popped in to say hello, Jedi bought herself a new sketch book and a nice soft pencil. When we got home she decided she wanted to sketch one of Dee's paintings. After six and a half hours, a little coaching on composition and shading, this is what she produced.

As a comparison, here is the painting by Dee that she copied;

It's not a perfect copy, but I think you'll agree that the sketch is really rather good! Dee thought so when we took it in to show him. Jedi gave him a copy and he put it up near his own work in the gallery! He also gave Jedi a print of his own and a wildlife DVD for more inspiration. We ended up chatting to him for about an hour that day! He does a lot of work with Gigrin Farm, that I mentioned in my ABC Wednesday post. He helps out with the marking of eggs and ringing of chicks, and mentioned that there appears to be a nest very close to our house. I'm hoping that I may be able to get involved next spring.

Anyway, if your are ever in the town of Llanidloes, North Powys, pop into the Nature Gallery and check out some of the amazing art work of both artists, and who knows maybe one day, some of Jedi's work too!

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Trouble is nine!

I dedicated a post or two to Jedi so now I am doing one for Trouble. I should have done it on Tuesday but I didn't get the chance.!!

Trouble was born in Somerset at 1.17pm on the 30th September 1999. My pregnancy had been pretty hard work. I had morning sickness for 7 months and severe pelvic pain. I am a small person and have always had a small bump, I don't put on much weight either, which is great but makes midwives think my bump is too small. When I had my 20 week scan they told me Trouble had stopped growing. I had put more weight on that week than at any other time so I just couldn't see how she could have stopped growing. From then on I had weekly scans and had to be monitored every other day. It was a difficult time with a toddler already running round.

They say you should feel a healthy baby kick at least ten times a day, when I was being monitored she would kick 80 times in 20 minutes! Does that sound like a unhealthy, unhappy baby? I took everything with a pinch of salt, I think we know deep down when everything is ok. Trouble was finally induced two weeks early, because my consultant was convinced that my placenta was failing again and this was causing Trouble not to grow properly. I was told she would weigh four pounds.

Wednesday morning I had to ring the hospital and check if they had a bed for me. They didn't, so I took Jedi to the local fair! Later that day the hospital had a bed free so I was taken in and given a pessary about 8pm. The next morning I woke to a few twingey pains which soon developed into contractions. I had a bath, which was amazing and really took the edge off. When Jedi was born they had broken my waters and although I had ended up with a caersarean it had definately sped up proceedings. I mentioned this to the ward staff and promised them if they took me to the labour ward and broke my waters I would get on with it!

So that's what happened, I was moved down to the labour ward and my waters were broken. Because I had been induced I had to be monitored constantly and couldn't move around but this was one of the only times Trouble wasn't any trouble. She popped out with out too much effort and I only had gas and air. She weighed in at a surprising 6lb 11oz (not 4lb!) and the official labour time was four hours.

I'm glad that we are looked after and monitored and checked out, but this time I think they had it wrong. Although, a friend of mine recently went for her 20 week scan only to be told that her baby was dead. How does that happen? How do they miss it when there is something wrong but seem to make up problems when there aren't any.

Anyway, Trouble was a wonderful baby, she was quiet and content. Everyone told me how hard it would be to have two children now, but it wasn't. In fact I hardly noticed her at all! That was until she hit 7 months and started to crawl, then she appeared to make it her life work to annoy Jedi and cause as much 'Trouble' as possible. You know how everyone has a story about something they did when they were a child, like putting toast in the video, cutting their hair, or drawing somewhere that they shouldn't? Well that was Trouble everyday, all day. When her dad got home from work there was always a list of five or six things she had sone that day. I couldn't leave her alone, and only relaxed when she was asleep.

She's still hard work now, but since we have moved to the country, she has less opportunity to disappear like she was, and is improving. Trouble may have been a nuisance, but she is a loving, happy child, who had a great determination and knows what she wants. She has a lot of traits which in future will no doubt take her a long way but at the moment tend to get her into trouble. She does quite well at school but needs to concentrate and maybe work a little harder.

Trouble doesn't know yet what she wants to be when she grows up, but with her stubborness and determination I am sure that she will do what ever she wants!!

Happy 9th Birthday Trouble!

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

ABC Wednesday - K

I promised a lighter ABC Wednesday after my heavy duty 'I', unfortunately I missed J all together so here is this week's contribution;

K is for Red Kite

Red Kites are a very distinctive bird of prey because of their tails, which often, from below, appear to be forked. They are a beautiful bright chestnut colour and have a wing span of nearly two metres, but with a relatively small body weight of around 2-3lbs. A few years ago red kites were incredibly rare in the UK. A couple of places were then set up to try and reintroduce a healthy population. I am extremely lucky to live pretty close to one such centre, Gigrin Farm. Other red kite centres imported the birds from Europe but Wales is home to the only native birds in the UK. It was all started by the late Mr Powell who would feed the kites that nested on his farm when he had spare rabbit meat.

In the early 90's the Powells were approached by the RSPB and asked to be an official kite centre and to open to the public. The Powells, thankfully, agreed and the result is an amazing place where we can all go to get a better look at these beautiful birds.

I visited Gigrin Farm back in August, the weather was fine and as I arrived the anticipation was huge. When you first get there, there are a series of buildings containing displays and lots of information. You then walk down a short track to the purpose built hides. There are four public hides and a couple of specialised hides for photographers and film makers. Get there early to ensure you get a good view, but I have to admit all of the hides give you an amazing view anyway. A tractor comes out with meat, which is beef, all fit for human consumption. It is spread out over the area just a few metres from the hides.

You need a little patience as the birds will not come in to feed until they know it is safe. First the crows come. Because Kites are such a small bodied bird, they do not have the strength to lift large pieces of meat, the crows help to break it up a bit, and also show the kites it is safe to feed. Kites don't land to feed as a buzzard might, they swoop down and snatch meat from the ground.

They then head up to clear airspace and feed on the wing. The sight from the hide is amazing. Even if you are not a kite fan you cannot fail to be impressed by the birds swooping just in front of you.

In the winter months around 400 kites visit Gigrin Farm every day, they come down to feed in groups. While one group feeds another circles waiting for their turn. Just driving passed the feeding centre at the right time of day, provides the amazing spectacle of clouds of Red Kites in the sky above the road. If you do get the opportunity to visit, please go along, the money we pay to see these amazing birds ensures that the Powells can keep affording the meat to feed them and keep these birds from dying out.

Saturday, 27 September 2008


Well what a disappointing start to my weekend. Trouble has had some friends over for a sleep over for her upcoming 9th birthday. It's her first proper sleep over here and it went well. Jedi chose the sensible option and spent the night with a friend! Anyway the girls went out to see the rabbits and Trouble came running back in to say that Butterfly had 'popped'! I asked her how she knew and she told me she could see them. Oh dear, that is definately not a good sign. If you can see them it means that she hasn't covered them properly and they will get too cold and die.

I am a bit annoyed to be honest, this is her sixth litter and she should by now know what she is doing!! She did leave one out once before but I managed to return it to the nest. The other thing is that she normally has them around eleven in the morning so I can be at hand. I even witnessed one of the last litter being born.

So I rush out quick to see if they are still warm. Luckily Butterfly is quite sensible about letting me look at her babies. There were three lying well out of the nest and they were all really cold. If you have never seen a new born bunny this is how they look.

Sorry, not really the kind of bunnies you wanted to see, but not many people get to see them like that!!

Anyway, right at the back of her box is a big pile of fur, and there is something moving in there, so fingers crossed there are one or two that have survived. If they have made it this far then they should be ok. Once Butterfly has got them this far she is a pretty good mum. Hopefully I will soon have pictures of live bunnies for you, but for a while she has to be left well alone.

Thursday, 25 September 2008

Roll on Year 7

Bloody well slow down will you? I spent ages on here this afternoon, trying to catch up with you all, and what happens? I go to the local high school for the new intake evening and loads of you have been posting again!! How on earth am I meant to get anything done?

Had a good evening though. The high school is great, it gets some of the best results in the whole of the UK. Jedi loved it there and can't wait to go. She is really excited about all the new subjects. I don't know how she will ever choose her GCSEs, she wants to do everything!

She had more trouble with that damn boy again today. During P.E. he jumped on her back, knocking her to the floor and landing on top of her. She has handled it all remarkably well but I think it is really starting to get her down. I do hope my letter has made an impact in the review. That's four attacks in the four weeks they have been back at school. What must it be like for her, wondering what the hell is coming next? Going to see the head again tomorrow.

Hmmmm, just noticed that Google ads are advertising rabbits of the Rampant kind on my blog! Not quite what I expected and I'm not even allowed to click on it!! Nevermind.

All things - updated!!


Right well, feeling a little less stressed now. I've got all my little bugs on the website ironed out. ALL the links work properly now!! I posted about my website on my Facebook and I have just had a very kind offer from an old school friend, who it turns out is a whizz at this kind of stuff. I only wish I knew that three days ago! The last friend who I asked for help wanted to charge me, some friend. Anyway, I'm pretty pleased with myself know, and I am starting to get interest from B&B's too. So fingers crossed.


I have two apologies to make, firstly to all my blogging friends. I have been too busy to read all your posts in the last few days and I seem to be following half of Blogger! I will read them all because I want to!! I just may not comment.

Second apology is to my Hubby and kids. I have been a raging, hormonal stress head in the last few days and have had a very short fuse. That should be easing any time soon, so sorry folks I will try to be nicer to you from now on. I have heard that Evening Primrose is especially good for PMT so I am going to give it a go and maybe next month I can be loving, caring, nice mummy/wife!!

Children, chickens
and rabbits.

As for the goings on around home, garden and school, these are the updates;

Jedi's problem child has taken to ignoring her, which I have to say is far better than what was happening before. The only time he takes any notice of her is when she plays her guitar. So that's what he needed, some music to sooth his soul! The letter I wrote to the school has been welcomed by the Head and will be handed in at the boy's review today.

My poorly chicken has really surprised me. After being really low for a week, she has started to pick up and looks stronger and stronger every day. I was beginning to think her time was up and that I'd have to do the kindest thing. She must have read my thoughts. I gave them some live yoghurt, whether this helped or not I'm not sure. She is not 100% but she is improving so fingers crossed there too, that she makes a full recovery.

And in bunny news, I seem to have forgotten my pregnant bunny knowledge from a couple of years ago!! I had convinced myself that the gestation period for rabbits is three weeks, so had calculated their arrival to be last weekend. Dumbo!! Its actually 28-32 days. I have no idea where I got 21 from! Anyway, I was beginning to wonder if she was just a bit fat, so I picked her up today to have a feel of her tummy and got the loveliest surprise. Her tummy was just rippling with tiny kicks a wriggles! I have never felt that before on a rabbit, I guess because I have always been a bit more sure of the pregnancy and have left her alone. So there we go, she isn't just fat, and she is actually due this weekend or shortly after! I'm just hoping she doesn't go and have a dozen of them!

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

New Website

Well I just haven't had time to do ABC Wednesday this week. :( I was going to do about how Jones is the most popular surname in Wales yet there is no J in the Welsh alphabet!! Nevermind, maybe next time round!!

Anyway the website is finally on line. I never realised how much time it would take to set up, but what website designers tell you about it being very complicated and difficult is a load of rubbish just meant to get you to pay loads of money to have then do it for you. I just went online and taught myself about HMTL and FTP and got on with. Ok it may not be the flashiest site on the web but I did it all myself and I'm pretty pleased with it.

The website is probably not very exciting for most of you because it is aimed at contractors who work away from home, like my other half. It is not fully operational yet as I need to fill my databases but soon, hopefully, contractors will be able to use it to search for suitable and affordable accommodation all over the UK. I decided to start the site because I find it a long drawn out process to find Hubby somewhere to stay.

So if anyone is letting a flat or owns a pub or B&B and thinks they would be suitable for contractor accommodation then check out the website. Especially looking for digs in Kilmarnock as that is where Hubby is off to next for a major Tesco build, and he won't be the only one!!Advertising rates are ridiculous cheap at the moment so get in quick!!

Any contractors or wives/friends/parents of contractors please bear us in mind and keep checking back for our fully searchable database of properties.

Check It Out Here!!

Oh and btw, rabbit hasn't popped yet but Cinnamon chicken is feeling a little better.

Too busy!!

I have been so busy designing and uploading my new website I haven't had time to blog and my vision is all ablur! So I will have to do my ABC Wednesday post and catch up with you all tomorrow later!

See? I've been practising my HTML!


Monday, 22 September 2008

Raring to go!

Well I'm back, refreshed (kinda) and full of ideas!! We had a great weekend. I left an essay for the neighbour all about off colour chickens and pregnant rabbits! Hubby got home about lunchtime with the guy who's wedding we went to back in June, they work together. Said friend lives in Somerset so we agreed to give him a lift. I made them both bacon (from the baconry almost next door) and egg (from the garden) sandwichs and then we headed down to Somerset.

It was about half four when we got there and we headed straight for our old local. I made a few phone calls and got some of our old friends to meet us there and we sat in the garden in the sun and had a good old catch up. One of my best friends was there with her son. He's 18 months now and I so wish I could see more of him, he's growing up so fast and I'm missing it all! Her sister, also a close friend was there with her MASSIVE baby bump which must be holding the world's largest baby. She only has about three weeks to go and I will miss that too. It was so great to see everyone but it makes me realise what I am missing out on.

We then headed to our hotel, checked in and I put on my killer jeans which hubby approved of! Unfortunately the food at dinner left a little to be desired. I guess it's probably difficult to do specialised food like Greek in a small town. We had our wedding dinner at that restaraunt three years ago and I have to say it seems to have gone down hill. They are always busy and the English food is great, but I was disappointed with the standard of the Greek food that we had. Nevermind.

We then headed into town, caught up with more people and went to our old haunts. It was fab! I did get drunkety drunk drunk and when we got back to the hotel in the early hours I promptly fell straight to sleep. So hubby didn't get his much coveted Saturday night usual. When he's away all week you have to make up for it when you get the chance, but he had to wait 'til morning!

Sunday we headed over to hubby's grandparents place and spent most of the day there. His grandparents are very old now but really appreciate the visits. Grandad has had emphysema for many years now and really struggles. Our visits to see him are very important. And I know when the day comes Hubby is going to be a wreck.

After picking the kids up we headed home finally arriving back at half eight last night. As it was dark I didn't have the chance to check on the chickens or bunnies last night. This morning I find the rabbit hasn't had her babies yet, I still have a poorly chicken and the neighbours have cut the knee length grass!! I love my neighbours!!

Not sure what's up with the chicken. It's one of the ex-batts, and she has been miserable for a couple of days. Her poo is lurid green and I read somewhere this can be a sign of liver failure, so I think I have one of THOSE descisions to make. :(

The cut grass revealed a host of feathers and small animal body parts, obviously abandoned by the cats. I thought I'd better clear up the shrews and mice before the kids get home from school. After putting one shrew in the compost I went to pick up a mouse which it turns out must have been there for some time. I tried to pick up it's tail, but the fur came off!!! Yuk!! Disgusting. Note to self; use hutch cleaning scoop next time.

On another note, I had a flash of inspiration this morning and am now planning a new website which will hopefully be of interest to contractors like my husband all over the country. It's a secret at the moment though, so you'll all have to wait!!

Nice to be back :)

Friday, 19 September 2008

A Change of Plans

Well the guy who invited us to go to Newcastle this weekend has pulled out. No idea why, probably fallen out with his wife or something!! Hmph! I was looking forward to being a grown up, spending time with adults and going out. I had even bought myself some killer black jeans which make my bum look great, and a new top. So hubby says, 'Lets just enjoy a peaceful weekend with no kids and get a takeaway'. Are you kidding? There is no way on earth I am staying in this weekend. So with a bit of quick thinking and a little luck I have changed our plans.

Dad came up today and took the kids back down to Somerset as planned. Hubby is working first thing in the morning and then should be back here about twelve. We are then also going to Somerset! We will go down to our old local and do some catching up, then we have a table booked at a fab Greek restaurant. Then it's into town for some more catching up and finally I have a 'superior double' booked at a really nice hotel. Sunday will be spent visiting hubby's elderly grandparents and a few others, then pick up the girls and off home. Not quite what I expected to be doing this weekend, but, boy am I going to enjoy it! I just hope I am able to enjoy my 'superior' room and not just crash out drunkety drunk drunk!!

Thursday, 18 September 2008

The New Maids

When we got our Bengals I had no idea just how handy they would be to have around the house.

They help with the laundry....

they make the beds.......

they wash up......

they help make tea.......

they tidy up......

they even provide soothing background music, but....

it can be very tiring!

Who knew?

A Better Day Today

Firstly, I want to thank you all for your kind comments and words of advice regarding Jedi's awful problem at school. I managed to grab the head today and we had a most reassuring chat. Like I thought, he hadn't heard the whole story and was actually horrified at some of the attacks. He told me that the boy had a review coming up, so I asked him if he thought me writing an official letter of complaint might acutally be quite useful. He agreed quite enthusiastically that it would. To be honest, although the school does what they can for children with problems, I just don't think they can cope with this child any longer. He told me that although the people who control inclusions are aware of the situation they do not see the real affect it has on the rest of the pupils and in fact the whole school. The boy currently has one to one support during lesson times but the school has no funding to cover breaks, so it places further strain on staff.

So, I have written my letter and sent it to my dad! He has a wonderful way with words and has promised to look it over and edit it if need be. And then it will be handed to the head for the review next week. Fingers crossed we will have a good result, for Jedi and the rest of the school. I do feel very sorry for this lad, I mean, what kind of an upbringing is he getting if he thinks pinning girls to walls by their throats is acceptable? And, like Eve ( pointed out in my comments, what kind of a person is this young lad going to grow into?

That aside, as promised I was a good girl and went for my smear test today. The nurse I had was so lovely. We talked about the HPV vaccine and she admitted that her daughter probably would not be having it!! She did make me giggle though. There I was in that God awful, undignified position, relentlessly chatting away to help take my mind off what was going on and she says 'Where has your cervix gone?' Lordy, I don't know, it was there last time! (I was going to say 'last time I looked' but that would be impossible). So I said 'Why? Is it in a funny place or something?' 'No', she says 'You just have extremely good pelvic floor muscles!' Ok then, at least that's one thing I still have going for me after two kids, a cracking scar and the disappearance of my boobs!

It's been such a nice sunny day today too, and I am feeling quite pleased with myself and my pelvic floor!

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

An Awkward Dilemma

There is a boy at my daughters' school who is a huge problem. He was excluded once, but the local authority made the school take him back. He is rude, disruptive and violent. He has one on one support and is mostly taught outside of the classroom, only allowed to join the others when his behaviour shows improvement. At the end of last term he was doing quite well and had started to spend quite a bit of time with the rest of his class. Since the summer holidays, however, his behaviour is worse than ever.

Because the school is relatively small, each class has two years groups in it. This boy is now in Jedi's class. Although he is not being taught in the classroom at the moment, they come into contact much more than before. Although this boy is generally pretty disrespectful of just about anyone, he appears to have developed a dislike for Jedi. You have to know at this point that Jedi is a very kind, thoughtful child and would never knowingly hurt or upset someone, in fact if she does, she gets as upset about it as the person affected.

The first week back at school, Jedi accidentally bumped into the boy outside the toilets, she apologised immediately, as she would to anyone. The boy grabbed her by the throat and pinned her to the wall! This happened at lunch time and Jedi still had the boy's fingers marks on her neck when I picked her up after school. The incident was reported and the boy was made to apologise to Jedi. To me the forced apology was pretty pointless and meaningless but there you go. I didn't act any further because I believe the school is doing it's best in a difficult situation.

The second week back at school the boy tried to take Jedi's skipping rope from her. When she refused to let it go and pulled it back, he head butted her in the stomach. When Jedi told me about this incident I promised her that if anything else happened I would speak to her teacher. Yesterday the boy approached Jedi and offered her 'a fight' and then promptly started to try and punch her. My husband happens to have been an undefeated boxer in his younger days and has not only taught the girls to punch but to block. Luckily Jedi chose the blocking option. As promised, when she told me I went to have a word with her teacher. I also spoke to the school secretary, as the head was unavailable.

I find this a really difficult situation. I volunteer at the school and am more aware of the issues with this boy than a lot of the parents. I know that the school has been put in a very difficult position by the local authority but how can I allow this to continue. Jedi is in her last year in junior school and is doing extremely well. I really don't want this year to be a misery for her. The school has promised to monitor the situation but if it continues I really don't know what my next step will be.

On a different note I am off for my smear tomorrow. I am a real baby when it comes to smears. I am highly sensitive in this area and really hate the procedure. But as yesterday's ABC Wednesday post pointed out, it is one of great importance, so I will 'wince and bear it'.

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

ABC Wednesday - I

I apologise now for the grave nature of this post but it is something that weighs heavy on me.

I is for Injection.

Specifically the new jab for HPV that is currently being offered to our children.

Now, I am not a scientist, a doctor or a chemical expert, so the things I write in this post are from research and my own opinion, so please make up your own mind.

There are over a 100 different kinds of Human Papillomavirus (HPV). Some cause the common warts we experience on our hands and others can cause genital warts. It is thought that a few strains of the virus are responsible for around 70% of cases of cervical cancer. These strains are obviously sexually transmitted and are carried by men and women. The virus can stay in the body for some time, some will cause cell abnormalities, some will lead on to cancer, the majority will have no affect at all and will be cleared away by the body.

Two drugs have been developed in the hope of vaccinating against some of the strains that cause cervical cancer. Gardasil, which has been used in America, and Cervarix which is due to be introduced shortly in the UK. There are 15 strains of high risk, sexually transmitted HPVs, but strains 16 and 18 together are the ones most thought to cause cervical cancer. Gardasil protects against strains 16, 18, 6 and 11. (6 and 11 are thought to be the cause of genital warts). Cervarix protects against 16, 18, 31 and 45. Neither of the vaccines protect against ALL of the potentially cancer causing strains of the virus and they don't even protect against the same strains.
Apparantly trials have shown 100% effectiveness, although I'm not quite sure how they can prove that. Trials have been very short term and they are not yet even sure how long the vaccine will last. This to me raises huge questions about the safety of the vaccines. There have already been widely reported cases of serious side effects from the use of Gardasil in America, including some, possibly unproved, deaths. Aside from short term side effects no one has any idea what long term issues could be caused. The Uk has opted to use Cevarix, not, I discovered during my research, because it was more effective or because it was safer, but because it is cheaper.
I have two daughters one of which has just two years before she will be offered the vaccine. She will NOT be having it. I myself have experienced having abnormal cells on my cervix and had to undergo a very traumatic colpolscopy to remove them. Whether they were caused by HPV I was never told. She still isn't having it. The vaccine doesn't cover all HPV strains that are potentially dangerous, and neither does it safeguard against other sexually transmitted infections and diseases. The NHS has already raised the age of Smear tests to 25 and I believe this vaccine is an excuse to do so. I had my stage 3 abnormal cells removed at 24, after having a normal smear test result just two years previous, and I have friends who have also been through it that were younger.
I personally believe the way to tackle the problem is to re-inforce the message of safe sex. I am open with my children in regards to love, sex and relationships. I have already spoken to my eldest daughter, who is just 11, about the repercussions of irresponsible attitudes to sex and how condoms, apart from abstinence, are the only way to protect yourself. I can't guarantee that this approach will work, but at least my children will have had all the facts and been able to make decisions for themselves. There would be no guarantees if they had the vaccine either, so I am happy for them not to be filled with potentially dangerous drugs.
As I said at the beginning of this post, I want you to make up your own minds as to whether the drug is a good idea or not, this is just my opinion. I just think that sometimes the truth about these things is not quite as open as we are led to believe and we are not necessarily given all the facts. I offer you these websites, from which I got some of my information;
As a final note to this post I would like to also bring to everyone's attention that the British government is proposing to make all vaccines compulsary for school admission. Which would mean that if you declined ANY vaccine your child would not be allowed into school. Whether you believe vaccines are right or not you have to agree that this proposal is a complete abuse of Human Rights. I have written about this previously but I will again post the link to sign an official petition to get this proposal stopped.
That's it! I'm finished!! I promise next weeks ABC Wednesday will be more light hearted! Thanks for reading.
P.S. It looks like my spacing has gone all dodgy AGAIN, I do apologise!

Monday, 15 September 2008

What a lovely weekend! We actually had some sunshine. The hills disappeared behind a beautiful, misty layer of low cloud just briefly, then the sun shone. We didn't get up to much, just pottering and doing little chores. I got lots of washing done and actually dried it in the garden. The kids climbed the trees and we all watched the chickens.

We've confirmed who was laying the perfect little pale eggs in the youngsters house, when she came out announcing the egg's arrival. I boiled some eggs up and fed them back to them yesterday, it's meant to be a good source of protein for them. All I know is that they love it!! I put the bowls down and was met with excited peeps and the sound of their beaks tapping against the bowls as they pecked frantically. Within five minutes there wasn't a single crumb left. I love to watch them tucking into treats, especially the ex-batts. Quite often Bella and Cinnamon won't eat treats, I just don't think they know what the hell it is and whether it's edible. I guess living on just mush for most of your life removes some of the more adventurous instinct. They love veg but it has to be cooked up, they won't touch anything raw really. I gave both groups raw apple too, the youngsters hollowed out the skin in minutes whereas the ex-batts just vaguely pecked at it.

I'm not sure the weekend was actually very productive, I mean I haven't found my borders in the garden yet. Although I did convince Trouble to tidy her bedroom, but that just gave me more washing to do. It's a wonder she actually had any clothes to wear! We are going to have to be a lot more organised this week, as we are all going away next weekend.

My dad is coming up from Somerset for the day on Friday and taking the girls back with him. They will spend a night at my parents' and then on to their dads'. In the mean time I am driving up to Liverpool to meet Hubby from work and then we are going on to Newcastle for the weekend. We have been invited up there by a couple of the lads Hubby works with. It will be four couples painting Newcastle red. Lord knows what I will wear, I don't get out much anymore, and no doubt I will be very Drunkety Drunk Drunk like my blog friend Auntie Gwen

The cat/rabbit/chicken sitters (the neighbours) have been booked and given the heads-up on Psycho bunny. I have an awful feeling that she will have her babies that weekend so I just hope she doesn't stress at having someone new doing the chores. She's normally quite laid back when she has actually had the babies so I have my fingers crossed that she won't do anything hideous like eat the babies, or better yet that she'll hang on 'til I get back.

So I have a bit of planning to do to make sure everyone has what they need for the weekend and that the kids will go back to school on Monday with clothes on and homework done!

Thursday, 11 September 2008

New things

I am a real animal person, my husband is not. I grew up in a farming environment and have always been surrounded by animals of one kind or another. When I first left home I lived in a bedsit and we weren't allowed pets of course, so I smuggled a hamster in. It just didn't feel right to not have any animals round me. I got found out though and the hamster was evicted, he had to go and live at mum and dad's!
My husband however, is a townie and isn't keen on animals at all really. He is really soft on his cats though, but don't tell anyone, it would ruin his image!! The kids aren't allowed any more pets in the house, but he doesn't seem to mind the things we have outside. So the rabbits don't bother him too much, except for when they create sunrooves for their hutches and I need his expert D.I.Y. skills. He isn't really that interested in the chickens, but he does enjoy their eggs and he did build their house for them.

So I'm thinking maybe some quail would be nice, you know, just a trio, maybe. They won't take up much space and Hubby loves quail eggs too, although it would probably take about 20 to feed him once! So I have been looking around and finding out about them. I found this nice blog here; Allotment lady has quails and has some lovely pics of them.

I also took the girls to see some locally yesterday. The lady was a bit wary of us wanting to sell eggs and compete with her 13 year old son, who's venture they were, not likely, I will be stuffing them down faster than they will lay!! They had four Japenese and one Italian. Very cute and smaller than I expected.

I'm still undecided on the best housing and also a tad confused about their diet, so if anyone has any expert quail wrangling advice I would be very grateful.

As for the brood of chickens I still only have one ex-batt laying, I was hoping that after their vague moult Cinnamon would decide to lay again, but nothing yet bless her. It looks like I only have one youngster laying too, as I have had five tiny eggs from them since Saturday. Mind you, I'm not sure if they lay every day at the beginning or whether they build up to it. Anyone know the answer to that one?

The youngsters (duck-chickens) - all grown up!

A valiant effort. 3 'first eggs' and 1 ex-batt egg

I must start thinking about combining the two pens too. The ex-batts are still separate from the youngsters at the moment, but I want to combine the runs for winter. The ex-batts only have cat box beds right now and I really want them in the main house before it starts getting really cold. They range together (kind of) when they are all out and their pens are right next to eachother, so I'm hoping they will integrate well. I just need to connect the two pens together, then they will all have the run of both. The ex-batts pen is completely covered so it will be better for all of them to have a bit more dry area.

The current set-up. I want to link the two.
Speaking of youngsters, this is one of my bunnies - Butterfly (!!?)
And judging by her current mood swings (eek, psycho bunny) I think she may be pregnant! So we will have some more youngsters in the fold. Should be in about a week and a half, so i'll keep you updated and hopefully have some pics to post.
I apologise if the spacing in this post is all messed up, it seems to do that when I mess about and post photos!

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Wow! And thank you

Little did I realise quite how much response I would get to joining in ABC Wednesday. I just thought it would be a bit of fun and a little challenge to come up with something interesting for each letter. I went through all kinds of H's, Harley (my cat), Husband, Happiness, Home, but they all seemed to be a bit 'easy' and not very imaginative. I wanted to do something intersting and hopefully informative. I appear to have achieved that with my Hogweed! I'm glad that I have raised a bit of awareness about the awful stuff.

Thanks to everyone who left comments, and to all that joined in with ABC Wednesday. The posts are so varied and intersting and come from all around the world. There are some lovely insights into other countries and cultures. Here are a couple of my favorites; Lots of Hs from around our Hostess' village. Some amazing shots taken in the Highlands of Scotland. Piccies from Jerusalem.

And this one, I will definately keep an eye on, all based around a lifeboat. I will be interested to see how each letter pans out;

Apologies to those I haven't got round to yet, I will try!

I am already planning next weeks letter - I- and have come up with something else that I like to shout about, and which may prove controversial, so watch this space!!

I would also like to thank those who have left kind comments on Jedi's Story part II. It has been quite a journey but with an amazing ending and she is very well now. She is still sensitive to cats but improving. I read that it is the cat's saliva on the fur, not the fur itself that causes the allergic reaction. I have seen this reaction occur when the cats have got TOO friendly with Jedi, and have been loving her a little too much! But for some reason Bengal cat saliva doesn't seem to be as bad as normal cat saliva. That is why, at great expense, we got Bengals.

I have also heard that bad colic in babies can be caused by difficult births, and can be relieved by visiting a Chiropractor! Jedi also had some pretty awful colic. So if anyone out there had a difficult birth and has a very miserable baby it is worth having a consultation, it could well bring some peace to your home!

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

ABC Wednesday - H

H is for Hogweed, particularly the giant version.

Until quite recently I didn't really know anything about giant Hogweed, so I guess there may be a few other people who don't either.

Giant Hogweed was introduced into this country as a 'filler' for large gardens but has since spread agressively. It is most commonly found along riverbanks and this is where I came across it. Your average Hogweed plant can cause skin rashes but the thing about Giant Hogweed is that it's sap can cause quite serious skin problems.

Giant Hogweed has spread along the river bank where I like to take the kids. Someone had been out there cutting it down before it seeded. My sister managed to brush against one of the severed stalks. Now, we knew that it could cause burning on the skin but didn't realise quite how it worked, so my sister assumed it was a temporary affect and that it would wear off. When she looked it up on the internet we discovered there's a whole 'other story' to this evil weed.

The sap destroys the skin's natural sun protection which means that every time the affected area is exposed to the sun it continues to burn. The area on my sister's hand rapidly developed into blisters even though she began covering the area when we had read up on it.

The blisters in this picture aren't a patch on what my sister had on her hand, I think her's will probably scar.

Can you imagine the implications of children using the stalks as swords or worse still telescopes? The thought horrifies me. I can't believe we aren't more aware of the problem and have even considered asking the head at my kids' school to talk to the kids about it.

For more information (and credit for the photos) visit

And to join in with ABC Wednesday go here

Monday, 8 September 2008

House of Jedi

I thought you might like to see some more of Jedi's new creations;

And a card she made for a friend who's in hospital

Jedi's Story Part II

Well, what a nice day. Ok so the sun isn't actually shining brightly, but at least the rain has stopped, for now. I managed to do some chores outside this morning without drowning, and it was rather pleasant to be enjoying being out in the garden again.
My garden is rather overgrown......

And I appear to have my own wheat supply growing by the house, just in case.....

But that's all beside the point because I was going to tell you more of Jedi's story.

The Jedi has had many health problems for a very long time. It first started when she was about 7 months old. I had been living in Devon but when Jedi was born we decided to move back to Somerset to be closer to our families. The previous occupants of our new house had done a marvellous job of hiding a multitude of sins on the days of our viewings, because we had fallen in love with the house, only to find when we moved in, that it was disgusting! They had had many cats and obviously weren't to fussy about where they did their business. We had to pull up most of the carpets because of cat urine, and even found cat poo in the bedrooms. The previous owners hadn't even bothered to clean, they had just taken their stuff and left! How they had managed to mask the smell I just don't know, we had to leave the windows open and disinfect everything.

Shortly after we moved in Jedi became very ill. We took her to the doctor and he said she had a virus (don't they always?) and that it was probably due to the cats and the condition the house had been in. Jedi was very ill for about a week and lost rather a lot if weight. I had a set of portraits done of her about two weeks after she recovered and she was still painfully thin, poor baby.

Since that time Jedi has been allergic to cats and has suffered from reacurrent chest infections. The winter of 2001 Jedi completely missed Christmas. She came down with Bronchitis about two weeks before Christmas, and then developed an ear infection on top. She was very poorly and the doctors had to try a few different antibiotics to try and combat the infections. She spent three weeks in bed and couldn't remember anything about Christmas at all. She didn't recover until into the New Year.

Every time Jedi caught a cold, which didn't take much doing, she would have awful coughs that she couldn't shake. She had many boughts of Bronchitis and Bronchillitis. Whenever she caught one of these colds I would make regular trips to my local surgery to have her chest examined in the hope of catching any infections early. At the end of 2005 she had one of these colds. I had made an appointment for her to be checked out. When the day came she seemed to have improved and I nearly cancelled the apointment, but I thought I'd better take her, just to be on the safe side.

Jedi fell asleep in the car on the way to the doctors, she always sleeps a lot when she's ill so I took no notice. When we arrived she didn't wake up, so I carried her in. We were called in to see the Practise Nurse and she still didn't wake up. In fact we couldn't wake her up. The doctor was called in, he pinched her and pricked her, but she still didn't wake. An ambulance was called. Jedi did come round in the surgery, eventually, but it was like she was stoned. She was very spaced out and didn't know where she was or what was happening. We were whisked off to hospital in Taunton where it was found she had Pneumonia. There was fluid on her left lung.

Jedi also had quite a severe allergy to artificial food colourings. When we first realised it when she was around two she used to have extreme tantrums, banging her head on the floor and ripping her fingernails. These tantrums used to last for anything up to 2 hours. When she was a little older she once described the feeling as being 'itchy on the inside'. When Jedi had Pneumonia she obviously needed to have antibiotics. The only thing the hospital could offer her were the wonderful kids liquid antibiotics that are usually bright yellow, you know the ones. I had a blazing row with one of the doctors. There was no way on earth I was going to give my little girl, who was lying in bed with an oxygen mask on, the evil 'itchy' stuff. The last thing she needed was that stuff coursing through her body. The hospital couldn't offer her anything else, which amazed me. So I had to make the toughest descision of my life. I had the doctor insisting that she needed the antibiotics now and that my only other option was to wait until morning and go to my local pharmacy for an alternative!

Jedi came home that night, but I didn't sleep. I stayed awake all night, watching her and making sure she was breathing ok. The next morning we ended up having to get adult capsules of the antibiotics and breaking them open and mixing the powder with yoghurt. How are they allowed to even make medicines with such evil ingredients?

Anyway, Jedi recovered from that episode but has continued to have problems. She has been to hospital a few other times with asthma attacks. I wouldn't say she is necassarily asthmatic, it's just when she gets a cough she gets very wheezy. When we moved up to Wales in November last year she had yet another chest infection that she couldn't shift. She ended up having 3 courses of anitbiotics for that. She had yet another rough winter.

I have a cousin who lives not far from us who is a Chiropractor, she told me she may be able to help. I was very dubious, I couldn't see how she could help something that was on the inside, Jedi's problem was nothing to do with bones but her lungs. I was wrong. My cousin discovered that Jedi's ribcage wasn't quite right and that she had some ribs out of line. She believes it is due to the way Jedi didn't complete the whole compression and release of a natural birth (see previous post). The said ribs were causing a pocket to form on Jedi's left lung, which was retaining fluid and causing the repeat infections.

Jedi has had 3 sessions with my cousin since the beginning of this year. Her lung capacity according to her peak flow meter has improved by 80%, she has had one cough (which she got over in a few days) and no longer needs to use her inhaler. She is a different child. Healthier and happier. She did so well at sports day this year, a couple of years ago it never would have happened. I guess this winter will be the real test but I just wish that I had known 10 years ago what could have been done for her and then I could have spared her the misery and discomfort of all those infections.