Saturday, 31 January 2009

What to do?

The garden is in desperate need of attention. I still haven't raked up all the leaves from the Autumn. That's how far behind I am.

The chicken coop needs cleaning out. That's a must.

I need to go shopping. The cupboards are bare.

I need to clean my house. Goddamn I only did it last week how can it need doing again!?

The bed needs changing.

The dog beds need washing.

Paperwork needs sorting.

Or I could just sit here and have my ass whipped at Lexulous on Facebook by Janet and RC.

Decisions decisions.

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

One for the girls!!

My blog buddy, Janet, is having a giveaway on her planet.

And it is some giveaway so get over there girls!!

Fun Monday 2nd February - Your Assignment!

OK, I know that pretty much all of you out there are bookworms.

So for Fun Monday on 2nd February, firstly tell me what book you are reading now. What's it about? Are you enjoying it and why? If not, why not?

And secondly, if you were to be stranded on a desert island, what one book would you take with you.

Let me know in the comments if you want to sign up.

Monday, 26 January 2009

Fun Monday - Diets

Grace is our hostess this week and this is our assignment:

Many people make resolutions during the month of January and they usually include diets/eating healthy/losing weight and all that good stuff. I myself decided to try the Weight Watchers this time round. My assignment is to tell us about a diet or two (Atkins, Sonoma, Weight Watchers, South Beach, the You on a Diet, Best Life, The Abs Diet, The Zone, Cabbage Soup, E-Diets, Dr Phil, Jenny Craig, The Meditteranean Diet, Nutrisystem, Slim-Fast, Suzzane Sommers or No Name diet etc etc) that you have tried and what you liked or did not like about it. You can tell us about one diet that you had so much success with, or another that was a torture to follow or both.

Photo assignment: post a photo of something/someone that makes you feel good about yourself. It could be your loved one, your pet, your part of the world, anything goes.

Dieting. Oh yes. Been there done that. Many, many times. Although to be honest, I don't usually do fad diets. The last two years I've been to Weight Watchers. It really does help and I managed to get down to my target weight both times. The problem I have is keeping there. By the time I reach my target weight I am bored silly of dieting and slowly but surely go back to where I was before. I just can't seem to manage the maintenance.

That said, Weight Watchers is the only diet that I've followed that I have actually managed to stick to. It's pretty easy to do, at least, I did the Core Plan and I found that easier than Points. I tried the points but that just made me obsess about food because you have to be constantly thinking about it.

But the weight is sneaking up again and I really need to crack down and eat sensibly. My biggest problem is my sweet tooth. It overrides everything, and my willpower is not very strong at the best of times.

I was also going to include a feel-good photo but someone has done something so incredibly, mind-bendingly stupid that has hit me hard in the pocket that I am struggling to feel good about anything right now.

Sunday, 25 January 2009

Tuesday Challenge #2

Stu's second Tuesday challenge is "Water". We've had a fair bit of that around this week that's for sure. However, instead of the rain, I had another go at capturing water drops. I first did this a while ago but as Stu's challenge requires us to take new shots, I spent another evening being terribly amused by a dripping tap!

I'm a bit late getting this shot up but I've been sitting on four shots since Thursday because I couldn't decide which one to choose. But this is the one I've finally gone for

Thursday, 22 January 2009

A birthday treat

This morning my friend and I took ourselves off for my birthday treat - a De-Stress Full Body Massage at a local salon, the Ark Spa. I've never had a proper massage before so this was one to knock off the bucket-list.

But last night something occurred to me.

Having a massage means getting butt-naked. Don't ask why that only just occurred to me.

Now don't get me wrong, personal hygiene is way up there as a number one priority in my life but, people, it's winter. The time of heavy jeans, boots, lots of layers, thick jumpers...... and infrequent depilation. Yep, the legs, the armpits and the bikini line were in need of some desperate attention if I was going to save any face.

And, AND...underwear!!? How could I go to a spa that no less an august newspaper as the Sunday Times describes as being frequented by the "Well-heeled Wimbledonites and the racket weary top-seeded tennis players and their beautiful other halves during Wimbledon Fortnight" with grey knickers and a well-worn, if comfortable, bra? Well I couldn't could I? Cue a rapid emptying of the underwear draw to find bra and knickers that were at least the same colour.

And what was really funny was that as we were driving there, my friend confided that she had gone through exactly the same routine that morning!

But despite this being a top-end salon, the staff were not in the least bit snooty, made us incredibly welcome and were very friendly and relaxed. The massage was amazing and I'm going back in 10 days time for a facial. I could get used to this sort of life.

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Happy Birthday to me!

Last week I was thinking about what to post today. With a birthday looming, I was feeling a bit introspective and wondering just how the hell I got to this age. Where has the last 44 years gone for heaven's sake?

And what had I achieved in those 44 years? At first, I thought "not a lot".

When I was an idealistic teenager I, probably like everyone else, wanted to leave my mark on the world. I wanted to be known for something, anything. I looked back and thought well, life's been pretty mediocre really. But today I, I know, that we are not all cut out to achieve greatness and to change the world. Most of us do live normal, ordinary lives and it's the greatness within our own little worlds that is important.

Today I can see that I have achieved my own greatness. I have a job that I love, a home that I love, a family that I love and love me, friends that I trust, can turn to and depend on and, most importantly, three hounds that I love more than life itself and who love me back unconditionally. Today I have stopped wondering when life is going to happen. Life is here right now and I am living it. Not necessarily to the full, but to do as little or as much with as I want.

Am I happy and content with my lot? You know what? I am.

Tuesday, 20 January 2009


Weightwatchers sticky toffee pudding is very good.

Particulary good when smothered in extra thick double cream.

Oh wait.......


Monday, 19 January 2009

Fun Monday - 2nd Anniversary Edition

Wow..I can't believe another year has gone by already! The first FM anniversary feels like it was just yesterday. I mean, obviously it wasn't, it was a year ago but where has the time gone?

Our Hostess for this week is Julie over at Another Chance Ranch and this is our assignment:

This week is the 2nd Anniversary of Fun Monday. Fun Monday began by everyone showing photos of their view out their front door. For the 1st Anniversary, we did it again. This time I wanted to change it up a bit. I asked everyone to take a photo from their front door facing the interior of their home instead of the exterior.

This is going to be a pretty boring post from me because you can't see very much from my front door. It opens up into a narrow hallway and you can just see through into the office/dining room/library/everything else room. But what you do get to see from my front door is the welcoming committee, who bring you toys!!

I can't think of much I'd prefer to come home to.

Thursday, 15 January 2009

Tuesday Challenge #1

A couple of years ago, one of my blog pals, Stu, started a Tuesday Photography Challenge. Every Tuesday he would set a challenge to stretch the boundaries of a few novice blogging photographers and jolly good fun it was too.

Stu has now resurrected this and is pushing our boundaries out even further this time.

Yes, I realise tha today is Thursday and not Tuesday, but Stu gave us all week to come up with an image of "People at Work", to be interpreted as we see fit. This is my interpretation....

Farrier at Work

Clicky to make biggy!

Monday, 12 January 2009

Fun Monday - Sneaking in under the radar

OK, so I've left this a little late, but it is still Monday. Just.

Our host for this week is my lovely blogging buddy Jan over at The Prytz Family and this is our assignment

What is the quirkiest thing in your home that you will never give away?

Before we moved into this cottage, the ex-Himself and I had lots of quirky things. Many of them had to go as there simply wasn't the room. Many of the quirky things that did come, went when he left. But I do have one quirky thing left. A clock.

This was my Mum's clock and she gave it to me about 12 years ago because she had nowhere to put it when she moved and my step-father wasn't too enamoured of the chimes. Oh chimes. A real ding dong chime. And it's loud. I grew up with this clock and fell asleep to it's rhythmic tick tocking, because it really tick tocks as well.

My Mum scrimped and saved to buy this clock. Mum was a single parent and there wasn't much money spare for non-essentials but a jewellery and clock shop in the town where we lived let you pay an amount every week and then when you'd paid the full amount, whatever you were saving for was yours. And Mum did just that. And because of that, it holds a special place in my heart. It's not an antique, it's just a reproduction, but it is probably about 20 odd years old now.

So what's quirky about a clock?

You see that it says 8 o'clock? Well, it's said 8 o'clock for as long as I can remember! When I lived in the flat, ex-Himself wasn't too keen on the chimes either. So it stopped at 8' o'clock one day and there it stayed. You can wind it up so that the chimes don't sound but I never figured out how to do it. So it came to the cottage, was hung on the wall and still says 8 o'clock! I would love to get it going again but the problem I have here is that it hangs right next to the wall that divides this room from my neighbours bedroom and the walls are not that thick. I can't see the neighbours being very keen on the chimes at 2am somehow. And there's nowhere else to hang it.

At least it tells the right time twice a day!

Saturday, 10 January 2009

What do you do with a dead chicken?

Indeed. What DO you do with a dead chicken?

One of my chook chooks headed off to the great chicken run in the sky last week. She'd been a little quiet for a few days but was still eating fine so I wasn't unduly concerned but I came out one morning to find she had died in the night. It happens when you keep animals and you have to deal with it.

But what do I do with her? Someone said I should have plucked her and put her in the pot. Someone with an even harder heart than mine might have been able to do that. Not me. That's why I keep chickens for eggs and not for the pot. How can you eat an animal you have given a name? A little hypocritical of me as a meat eater perhaps but there you go.

I buried the first chicken that died and she's now doing her bit fertilising my garden. That's not an option here at the moment. It's -2 out there at the moment, and has been as low as -9 overnight this past week, so the ground is frozen solid. I could leave her out for the foxes, they need to eat too, but she may well be picked up by a dog and give their owner the fright of their lives when they re-appear out of the undergrowth with a chicken in their mouths. Or I could throw her in the skip to be taken away with the rubbish. But both those options seem a little undignified.

So at the moment, Cora is resting in state in my shed. Which is fine whilst it remains cold but might cause a few problems as the temperature rises. I'm just hoping the ground thaws out pretty quickl because I can't think what else to do.

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

The Great British Weather

The British are renowned for their pre-occupation with the weather and I wouldn't normally want to bore you with details of what the weather is doing over here, particularly when many of you experience weather a lot more than we do.

But given that the weather here is a bit more extreme than we usually experience, it would be wrong of me not to mention in it in my blog. When I'm reading back through this in years to come and sitting with my cronies, we can ask each other whether we remember that weather we had in 2009.

So let me just say for the record.....


Sunday, 4 January 2009

So there I was, up in the attic.....

....but let me start at the beginning.

I took the Christmas tree down today and carefully stored the decorations in the big plastic storage box. Because I have so little space here, I needed to get it up into the attic. Not the easiest thing in the world to do because I have a very narrow hallway and it's all a bit of a squeeze. I brought the ladder in and put it safely in place. Now I'm not good with ladders at the best of times. Heights are fine but it's having to climb a ladder to get there that gives me the willies. But, I got the damn box down, so I would get it up again. Getting the box of decorations down was fine because it was quite close to the hatch and I could reach it without getting off the ladder. And ditto putting it back up. It actually turned out to be an easier task than I anticipated.

But, and there's always a but isn't there? The weather over here is cold. And I don't mean the normal UK cold which is usually a degree or two above freezing. According to the forecast, it's barely going to get above freezing this week and at night it's heading down towards -9. So it occurred to me that whilst I was up in the attic I would get down the big faux fur throw that I have stored up there.

Except the throw is in a big bag, right across the other side of the attic. Now, the attic, whilst quite big, doesn't have a lot of headroom. 4 foot at most. So getting to the other side requires crawling along on hands and knees. I've never had to go all the way in before. Ex-himself always did that. The attic is boarded out, but only just. Put your knee on the corner of the wrong board and the other side will tilt up to slap you in the face.

So I get myself to the top of the ladder....and bottle it. I climb down again. Then I tell myself not to be so bloody silly and get my butt up there. Did I mention there are no lights up there? I got myself to the top of the ladder again and strategically place the torch so I can see where I need to go. I climb through the hatch and start crawling. Realising I'm going to block the light from what was obviously not such a strategically placed torch, I grab it and move it.

I get the bag with the throw in it then start to crawl backwards dragging it with me. I'm half way back across the attic when the torch goes out. It's dark up there. Very very dark. And I can't see a thing. I very carefully keep crawling backwards with visions of me falling either through the ceiling or down the hatch. After what feels like a lifetime, I reach the hatch and gingerly put my foot through it and start feeling blindly for the ladder. It's not there. Except it is there but I'm too far to the right and my leg won't bend that far to the left. I bring my foot up again to swap legs. Put my knee down and the previously mentioned wrong board tilts up to meet me head on.

Be still my beating heart.

I took a few deep breaths to calm myself and tried again, and found the ladder this time. Ripped the bag open, got the throw out and dropped it behind me. Right on top of The Lurchers and The Greyhound who are standing at the bottom of the ladder wondering what all the noise is about.

It's been an eventful afternoon.

Saturday, 3 January 2009

Shhhhh......they've all gone home!

My parents arrived on Wednesday, complete with their two Whippets. My brother and his girlfriend arrived on Thursday and apart from me, the Lurchers and The Greyhound (who were already here of course), I've also had The Neighbour's labrador staying.

That's a lot of people and a lot of dogs in one very small house.

But everyone was on best behaviour. At least, the dogs all were. Mothers, bless their hearts, only want to help and I did appreciate it, really I did, but I'm just not used to having that many people in my house and unfortunate timing meant my very irregular period chose to arrive and I was a little, erm....tense, shall we say. But once that passed it was fun and nice to have most of the family together.

But today it feels a bit like a whirlwind descended, did it's stuff, and then moved on. Now everyone has gone home and it's quiet. Bliss. I have my house back.

And just for Patience, a little mini Whippet Waggle

Friday, 2 January 2009

Blog 365

I guess I shouldn't get too far into this year without mentioning Blog 365.

I did it. I blogged every day in 2008. I set myself the challenge and I made it.

Am I doing it again this year?

Not a snowball's chance in hell!

Thursday, 1 January 2009

New Year Resolutions

I'm not usually one for new Year resolutions. I make them, I fail. What is the point in setting yourself up for a fall?

But with the coming of this New Year I feel the need to make some changes. A lot has happened in the last few months and it's time for me to make a few emotional leaps and what better time?

I have had several difficult conversations with ex-Himself over the last few weeks, the last of which found me telling him in no uncertain terms that he had to move on, there was simply no point in him ringing me every two weeks with the "You're the best thing that happened to me/I shouldn't have left/now I know what I've lost" routine. It's not helping him and it certainly isn't helping me.

But I've realised that I too need to move on. I need to move myself out of the adjustment stage, think positively and step forward and embrace my new life.

Which leads me to my second resolution.

I am having comfort zone issues. There. I've said it.

I can get out of the house and walk the hounds, go to work and go to the supermarket with no problem. They are all well within my comfort zone. But going out anywhere different has started to give me pangs of anxiety and I need to nip this in the bud before it really takes hold. I don't mean that I need to go partying every night of the week but I do need to push myself a little. It has been all too easy to come home and shut the door and lock the world away.

Now where is that switch that I need to flick?