Tuesday 29 January 2019

Z is old and sensible

I've made all the marmalade we'll need for the year and it's nicely tucked away on the larder shelf.  There are still half a dozen pots from last year, which have been brought into the kitchen.  I've also frozen a few oranges in case I want to cook with Seville oranges during the next year.  I'm more efficient than I used to be, in some respects, which feels a bit boring; but hey ho.  It's bound to catch up in the end and it seems that I've finally grown up, chiz chiz.

I don't think I mentioned, last time LT and I were in Reading, we went to Ikea to look at wardrobes.  I know.  I know, darlings, I've avoided this sort of stuff for so many years, but I have finally entered the stage of my life when I want a dressing room.  So bookcases will be shifted in favour of wardrobes.  The books will be kept, of course, I haven't changed fundamentally.  Anyway, we were so enervated by the job of circumnavigating the Ikea showroom that we couldn't quite face ordering anything to be delivered 160 miles away, so just wrote it all down and haven't glanced at it since.

But tonight I want Tim to cheer me up because I'm feeling old and dull, so he's playing Fats Domino. Hooray.  The Fat Man Rules!

Sunday 27 January 2019

Snooze and chips and sealing rats. And a happy blog day.

I slept soundly for three nights*.  I said to Tim yesterday that I mustn't read anything into that - neither that it was too good to last, nor that this was a breakthrough and that I'd sleep better in future.  As it happened, I didn't do too well last night - 9 o'clock now and I won't last until 10, I don't think.  Getting old is fine, but it can be a bit tedious on occasion.

It's still all Man (in the mankind sense) against Rat in the henhouse.  After the last disaster, I put a layer of chicken wire on the base and coming well up the walls of the shed, then concrete slabs on top as far as I could, because they didn't fit exactly and I didn't have quite enough anyway, and filled in with bricks and there were still a few gaps where I put in big stones.  Then I covered the whole lot with a piece of vinyl floor covering offcut and some chipboard.  And, on Thursday evening, I noticed that it had been nibbled.  I panicked a bit, covered any possible areas with bricks and had to leave for London the next morning.  On Saturday morning, I found another newly nibbled area.

We searched and puzzled, took out all the moveable bits, including nest boxes, and really couldn't work out how the little buggers were getting in.  It made no sense - until Tim spotted a tiny gap at the side where they'd nibbled through the corner of the shed and slipped through the edge of the wire.  So he jammed a stone in the hole and staple-gunned the wire and I've filled in every gap, one way and another.  I have to have a sheet of tin in front of the door because they are eating their way through there.  They do no harm to the chickens, but other rodents - I suspect stoats - do.

The rat-proof feeder isn't, so I have to block that off every night too.  Then I leave the door open to the greenhouse so that the cats get in during the night and worry the rats a bit.  I haven't tonight though, it's very blowy out there.  It's not actually that cold, but it feels as if it is.  Snow is due, apparently, in the next couple of days, so I rather hope that the wind has died down by that time, as it tends to form a three-foot drift in the drive if it's windy.  I'd call it a metre deep, to encourage the young, but it would be an exaggeration.  But many's the time I've dug our way out to the road, all 100 yards or possibly metres of it.

Talking of cats - as I did, briefly - even the shyest lets me stroke him now.  Not for long and I don't meet his eyes, as it's too challenging for him.  But there is a pleasure in having a wild creature trust you.

I've had an update from Tessa about Tim the hedgehog (for he's a boy, so we're doomed to confusion. Eloise cat is one thing, but Tim hedgehog takes far too long to say).  He's getting better and put on 100 grams in the first couple of days.  Tessa reckons that he'd have died by now without help.  She's going to check his teeth to be sure he can catch food in future - though if he can't, he can just join the throng down in the barn.  I"m sure the cats won't be at all bothered.

It's my 13th blogging anniversary.  Gosh,

* I was awake in the intervening days, of course.

Saturday 26 January 2019

Z writes a thank-you letter

I went to London yesterday to meet my builder at the flat and, afterwards, a friend for lunch.  He was slightly disconcerted by the restaurant I'd chosen - simply because it's next door to the flat - but spicy Louisiana food was a bit outside his comfort zone, I think.  I hope he did enjoy it though.

I've just been on the Greater Anglia train website, to send feedback about the return journey.  I got to the station in good time - I'd had a really easy time of it all day, journey-wise - and the announcer said that my train was delayed.  An incoming passenger had been taken ill and was being helped - I think they used a different train in the end - anyway, it was actually only delayed by about 15 minutes, but the guard explained that, as we'd missed our time slot, there would be a further delay as we went along.  It ended up as about 18 minutes.

After that, the driver really put his foot down, though the train didn't feel rocky in the least.  By the time we got to Ipswich, the guard was able to announce that ongoing connections could be caught after all, if people would go promptly to the platforms, which he told them.

I'd been amused for a while by the woman and her son in the seats behind us.  He was a textbook petulant teenager.  At one point he was whingeing about his phone - it was useless, it was reeealy old and embarrassing and she didn't care at all... - and she answered with slightly amused patience.  Then she told him they'd have to be ready to leave quickly, so he needed to get ready - "Whyyyy???" - and she told him about the connection that had been announced, if he hadn't been so busy complaining.  I noted him as they left - about 14, neat school blazer, I'm sure he's a nice boy really!

The guard had said we'd be at Diss at 17.58 but we were actually there at 17.48, which was pretty impressive.  The driver was trying to get to Norwich on time for passengers to make their connection to Great Yarmouth - don't know if he did so.  The guard quipped "Please close the doors behind you so that we can get going as quickly as possible - those doors don't close themselves" and "We've just crossed the border from Suffolk too Norfolk.  If you're leaving the train at Diss, please have your passport ready."  No one had been cross about the late departure of course, it was no one's fault, but the odd chuckle never does any harm.

So the feedback I sent was appreciative, and I've sent my thanks.  I hope that the message is passed on.

Thursday 24 January 2019

Z drops in again

A small hiatus on the razorbladeoflife.co.uk front, darlings.  It's gone down and I have to get on to support.  Yeah.  I know.  I thought I was going to do it after dinner this evening and then we went out to the hen house because of my anxiety over rats - I'm not coming over all Room 101, this is perfectly reasonable of me - and now I don't feel like a conversation with a helpline.  I'll be in London tomorrow and so the odds are that I'll be hors de combat for a couple more days at least - or anyway, the Z part of me.  And then, I trust, all will be well and we can start talking about this year's blog party, if such a thing is destined to take place.  All is willing and able at this end, so it's up to you lovely people to come along and join us.