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.

Sunday, 7 September 2008

Retail Therapy

I was meant to take the kids horseriding yesterday, for Jedi's birthday, but considering we are lucky not to have been washed away altogether we decided to postpone it until the weather improves. (If it ever does). We opted to go shopping instead. Jedi has firm ideas of what she wants now and enjoys shopping for herself, so with birthday money pooled, and armed with £60, we headed into town for some retail therapy.

We looked at clothes first and Jedi found lots she liked but was very reluctant to part with her money! We went from shop to shop and I was quite disappointed with her lack of ability to spend!! She really ought to be commended for it, I know, but it just amazed me, that all that money wasn't burning a huge, hot hole in her pocket!

Anyway, after quite some time she settled on a new top, a shoulder bag and a rather nice butterfly necklace. We then popped down to Argos, we are quite limited on shops in our local town so Argos provides a convenient 'allsorts' kind of place. We had a quick look through the catalogue and she found an Mp3 player for just £14.99, so she also bought that.

We returned home with plenty of money still in Jedi's purse, which I am quite proud of, if it was her sister shopping it would have been gone almost immediately, and set about getting some music on Jedi's new Mp3 player. After spending ten minutes or so on my laptop she now has a variety of tunes to listen to, which vary from Fergie to Led Zeppelin, and for the last 24 hours she has been doing everything with her bag over her shoulder with the Mp3 player in it and has become destinctly deaf to the outside world! My brother bought her a rather cute craft kit with which you can design minature clothes and hand them on dinky little hangers, so between that and the Mp3 player she has been very quiet.

Isn't it cute?
On another note, out in the garden, my baby chickens are evidently now all grown up, as when I was cleaning out their house during a rare break in the weather, I found a tiny, but perfectly formed egg in the nest box! And this morning Jedi found another. I have finally decided that they are all girls, because surely if they have come into lay, it would be obvious by now if I had a cock out there! Hubby loves a few poached eggs when he is home at the weekends so this morning he tested them. I had to put both eggs in one poacher because they were so small! He reports that they were eggcellent, so we are looking forward to many more.
Poor things though, I think they may be turning into ducks, as their run is so muddy!! Their little dust bath hole, which they scratched out in the 'summer', has filled with water, and I swear I heard one quack earlier!

Friday, 5 September 2008

Jedi's Story Part I

Well today is all about J. Or Jedi as she likes to be known!! 11 today! How quickly have those eleven years passed? I still remember quite clearly that day (funnily enough, a Friday) when I woke to find myself bleeding to death at half five in the morning! I had a placental abruption the day before she was due, I still remember every last detail, like it was this morning!!

When I woke I thought my water's had broken, but after going to the loo to investigate, I discovered I was bleeding heavily. My husband (at the time) was away due to work, but luckily my mum was with me. Mum doesn't drive so off I went to North Devon District Hospital by ambulance. I was taken straight to delivery and poked and prodded in all the usual ways. My labour started and they broke my waters. Before long however Jedi's heart rate began to dive. The mad rush that followed maybe should be a blur but isn't! I was shaved, had a catheter put in, had to remove all my jewellery, and had an IV put in by a student who was totally incapable and made me lose even more blood. I remember them reading the consent form to me and just desperately wanting to sign it, I didn't care what it said! I was in considerable pain but was only allowed oxygen.

Jedi was on her way but they didn't want to risk it so I was whisked off to theatre. Poor baby had to be dragged back up the birth canal (which later caused huge problems that I will write about another day) and was born at 7.19 am on the 5th September 1997. Jedi only scored 3 out of 10 on the Apgar scale when she arrived and was whisked off pretty quick. For those that don't know the Apgar scale gives a score of 0 to 2 on five different things, i.e. breathing and muscle tone. So Jedi must have scored 0 on a couple of things. I knew nothing about it of course, as I was completely out.

I had always wanted a boy and was convinced that she was. I was a bit worried that if she was a girl I wouldn't bond with her. But when I came round from the anaesthetic and they showed me a polaroid of her in special care do you think I gave a toss? Of course not, I asked if she was ok, and when told she was, I went back to sleep!!

Anyway, Jedi is a tough cookie and after only 7 hours in special care we were reunited for the first time!! And after four days (!!!) I had the staples removed from my stomach and we were allowed home. Four days? Staples out?? I was afraid to laugh or sneeze or anything!!

So here we are, 11 years on, and I have the most amazing daughter anyone could wish for. And for those of you that say you forget the pain and trauma of childbirth you are lying!! But it was worth it. (And I did do it again!!)

Happy Birthday Jedi!!

Thursday, 4 September 2008

The blabber returns

Well, hello all, I'm back! I am now going to be extremely busy, catching up with all your blogs, thanks to BT. So I do apologise for lack of input from me over the last couple of weeks but BT decided to connect my phone line to someone else's house and left me without! We've had lots of problems with the lines and lightning lately so they decided to update the lines but then managed to reconnected them all up wrong!! I then had to wait for ages to get it sorted because they had such a mess to sort out. I bet someone's head rolled!

Anyway, I'm back. Hubby celebrated his 30th on Monday, I've had a job offer that I don't know whether to take or not, kids have gone back to school and J's 11th birthday is tomorrow, (A's is in a couple of weeks). All is peaceful, just for the moment, so I am going to catch up with you all.