Friday, 31 August 2007

Few other bits and pieces

Over the past two weeks I've been an avid watcher of Monkey Life on C5 at 6.30 pm. I can't remember when I've enjoyed a tv show more. I have loved it all, and if I could be granted one wish it would be to go and work there with those beautiful monkeys, especially the Orang Utans, I've long been a lover of these particular primates. So tonight, although I knew it was coming, the final show announced the death of the founder of Monkey World, Jim Cronin. I wept buckets. Life sure is a bitch, so unfair that a decent, lovely caring guy like him was taken from this world so young, when there are other bastards roaming free and doing evil things to animals and other people. RIP Jim, bless you mate, for all you did in your twenty years at the centre.

Closer to home, it looks like I've completely fallen out with the old lady next door. Yesterday morning, there was an awful lot of banging and a loud crash from her bathroom area. Next thing I heard her dog baying and howling like something out of Hound of the Baskervilles, sounding very distressed and upset. So I opened my front door to see if I could see anything, I thought maybe the old girl had fallen or something and was trying to attract my attention. Turned out she was outside in the front garden, raking up some grass! So I said, your dog, is something wrong, it's making an awful noise? To which she just said "eh?" and then grunted, and carried on raking. So I shut the door. No more happened, then today she had a visitor and walked down the front path to go out with her, and I looked up and smiled and she completely blanked me, looked at me like I was a piece of shit. Oh lovely. Anyone remember the song by the Small Faces? "Wouldn't it be nice, to get on wiv me neighbours....."

Weather forecast good for tomorrow, we've got the book sale at the local car boot tomorrow, for the Wind Farm Protest group, so hopefully may do a bit better than last time, and also tomorrow is the annual Llandysul Show, which I hope to go to, never been before, so looking forward to that. Saw the marquees going up today. Not sure what to expect, it's mainly agricultural stuff I think, but I believe they have a dog show and stuff.

Well best go and do the washing up and shut the birds in. Nights drawing in now, how depressing, only 8 oclock and it's getting dim out there.

Mostly bees

Loads of them around the garden today, one in particular, not seen before. I have been trying to find out what it is, appears to be a red-tailed bumble, but they give the size of it as 30mm for a Queen, and 20mm for the male. Well the male has a white bar on it, which mine clearly doesn't, and it was tiny, tiny, only 10mm. Also a pair of really ugly flies, never seen these before, and the strange bee again, which I can find no id on. Saw lots of these at the park today too.

Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Where does the time go???

I can't believe it's now a week since I did my blog. I just have been so busy of late, coupled with feeling so exhausted because of it, that I just haven't had the energy to write about my exciting time!

Well as briefly as possible, I spent the best part of Friday and Saturday sorting out my stuff for the two-day car boot sale at the Vintage Rally which was Sunday and Monday. I had so much stuff, dotted around, some in the sheds, some in the loft, and various cupboards. In the end, there was so much that Barry and Christine took a lot of it in their camper for me on Saturday, as they were camping up at the site for the two days.

The rally itself was great as always, lots to see and do, but this is the fourth year running I've been, so really, I've seen and done it all before, I blogged about it last year with a few photos of birds of prey, vintage cars, and some of the scenery that I took from my helicopter flight three years ago, so this time I didn't bother with any photos, not that I left my stall very often anyway. Had lots of laughs though, and sold lots of things, and woo hoo, it didn't rain. Sunday was boiling and got a bit sun burnt, Monday was overcast and a cold wind, so we went from t-shirts to jumpers and coats. Most nights got home exhausted and went to bed after doing the bare essentials. Great fun, roll on next year!

Yesterday was spent putting all the stuff that I didn't sell back in the loft, after I sorted it out up there, everything was just thrown in before, now it's all neat and tidy and I know where to put my hand on everything when I need it. Did my back in bent over double and stepping carefully on the roof trusses of course, nearly stuck my foot through the ceiling once, lol.

Last night, had hog wars here. I've now got 5 hedgehogs coming, although little Titch hasn't been for a few nights, but I have a new hog, and he is very bossy, he chased poor Colin away from the dish. Later on, there was much bumping and barging going on, and I went out to save poor Speedy too. This time it was the one that I'd marked with a spot on the side/middle that was doing the barging. I'd best call this one Middy. I use Humbrol model paint to mark them for those that are interested, so that I know who is who. Colin is marked on the rear end, Speedy above his face, Middy, and NoSpots are the four regulars, I may mark NoSpots though, incase I have more than one of them! I found a lot of poo round the back garden today, so I think I will put a handful of food at the back door again, although with going away up to mums shortly, I don't really want them to get dependant on it, I can't expect my neighbour to do more than the basic dish of food really.

I was sitting outside eating my lunch yesterday, and a young wren landed in the hollybush right next to me, not three feet away, very cute, I don't often get to see a wren, and that close was fantastic.

Erm that's about it really, today I just went to Tesco and took Emma round the lakes, and then came back and cut the grass. Weather was supposed to be "the best day of the week" I don't know where they get their info, I really despair. It's been grey all day and a strong cold wind, until about 6 oclock, then the skies cleared. Saturday, Sunday and yesterday were all boiling. I really don't know why I listen to weather forecasts, they just piss me right off!

Wednesday, 22 August 2007

Yay, Colin's ok

Been so busy today, nothing exciting, just stuff in the garden, re-covered the top shed roof AGAIN, leaking like a sieve, everything inside was soaked, and I need to use the bloody thing. Anyway, beautiful day, sunny, dry, and warm, even though it was windy.

So now, very knackered and going to have an early night, but just to say Colin just came and had a feed, so relieved, he hadn't been whilst I had the cam on since Sunday, and was beginning to worry about him. No sign of Titch tonight though, funny how they seem to come and then don't come, you'd think they would know the food is there and be pacing up and down waiting for it to get dark so they could come and feast. Or maybe not..

Edit, just about to switch off, and Speedy turned up. :)




Tuesday, 21 August 2007

Butterflies, Birds and Bees

Yay, the sun shone all day today and my mood lightened accordingly. I have been feeling very achy with all the damp and cold weather, but felt quite fit today for a change and took the opportunity to clean out my aviary! The grass badly needs cutting, but it's way too wet underfoot, really soggy, so that will have to wait. We have a good forecast for the next few days, so hopefully will get it done before the weekend. I seem to have so much to do lately though, I've done lots in the garden today, including painting over all the patches where the cavity wall insulation was squirted in last week, clearing out the front gutting, and some pruning of dead plants, moving tubs around and sweeping up the dust. Also did washing, took Emma out, chased the sparrowhawk and the cat out of the garden, erm, and took some photos! I have a long list of things to be done before Saturday though, because I shall be at the Bank Holiday Steam rally for two days again this year, and I have to sort out all my stuff for the car boot sale, which is going to take me a day at least to do.

The sun brought out the butterflies and bees in force, and I took a few photos this morning whilst I was pottering. The only annoyance of the day (well there always has to be something doesn't there?) was the fact that the boy behind must have had a day off work, and he had his stereo going in the garden, I think from his car which was parked round the front and all I could hear for about 4 hours was boom boom boom, even in the front of my place, with the doors and windows shut. God help us, why is all music these days that the youngsters listen to all boom boom bloody boom? Oh, and somewhere not too far away there is a new dog that was barking virtually all day too. (Not next door, further away than that) I just hope it's because someone is at home because of the school holidays or something, because it was irritating enough from here, pity the poor people who live right next to it.

What's that strange thing up in the sky - oh it's the sun...

Strange sort of bee - anyone know?

One of my tame baby Blackbirds. This one calls as soon as it sees me and comes down to my feet, hope to god it avoids the hawk.

Monday, 20 August 2007

Other stuff from today

... well and last night. Speedy and Colin both arrived at the dish around the same time last night, but Colin is very scared and kept coming up to the dish, in which Speedy was sitting, but then kind of hopping backwards. He waited until Speedy had finished, had a drink, and gone off before he took his turn at the dish. Nice there are no hostilities, I'd hate to have to go out and break up a fight!

My lovely Songthrush was around again today, eating a huge juicy slug by my garden seat. I came in and got the camera, and just as I got back with it, she had swallowed it almost whole. Yuck yuck yuck.

Took Emma to Newcastle Emlyn as the rain finally stopped around lunchtime today and the sun came out - hooray. Bit of a chilly wind but it wasn't too bad. The river was horrendous though, can't believe it for this time of the year, brown, raging, and almost up to the level where it will flood across the park and rugby pitches. What a truly awful summer we've had. I was speaking to a lady at the cheese and wine do the other night, who has lived here for 40 years, and she can't remember us having a worse summer than this one, with so much rain, and so cool.

There was a great sunset tonight and I caught the moon rising in amongst the blues and reds, and alongside my oak tree, thought it came out quite well really, the moon was kind of blurry, hazy almost, quite a nice effect.

And finally, little Titch, the hoggy that I inadvertently trod on last Sunday has just been to the dish! Yay, he managed to find it. I thought maybe I'd got a new one again because I couldn't see any marks but when I went out I could see the white T on his bum. Awwww bless him (or her) :)

Colin and Speedy

Bloody evil Sparrowhawk

For the past few days, the bastard thing has been swooping around my garden, and hiding in various places, I always know when its around because of the warning noises, emanating from either of the holly bushes, that the sparrows and tits make, or the fact that not a single bird can be seen at any of the feeding places dotted around my garden. I've chased it off successfully at least half a dozen times, once I didn't even know it was there and it shot out of my willow tree and almost flew into me to get away. So this morning, I just happened to be passing the bedroom window, and I saw something shoot past towards my porch. Went to the door and there was a huge pool of blood. I walked down the path thinking it had got a poor little bluetit from my hogs dish, and it had got one of my adult male blackbirds. It's one of the worst things ever that has upset me in nature, and there have been a few I can tell you. He was still alive, I mean about 3 or 4 minutes had passed since it had been caught, the hawk was ripping its feathers out on the lawn behind a bush. The blackbird looked at me and screamed and screamed - it was one of the two tame males, I could almost hand feed him. The hawk saw me and flew off with my bird. I tell you now, I cried and sobbed for around 15 minutes. If only I had gone straight to the front door, I may have been able to save him. Why oh why didn't I? That noise is going to haunt me for a long time, and the pleading look that poor bloody bird gave me, it was crying to me to help it. I have made myself ill today because I cried so hard. I've had a splitting headache ever since. Why do those bloody hawks get birds that you only have a few of? If it was blue tit or a sparrow, a jackdaw (why don't they take jackdaws - there are dozens of them around, and they don't take any notice of them at all) then it wouldn't be quite so upsetting as a bird you have become attached to and even named. I thought at first it was Jake, the one with the broken foot, but it wasn't, he appeared later, so it was probably the one who nested with my very tame hen in the hedge of the garden behind. I bloody hate sparrowhawks, I really do. Can you imagine the fear and pain that poor bird went through before it died? I read that a collared dove, which seem to be their first choice of dinner, takes up to 20 minutes to die as they are being torn apart alive. Can you imagine how it must feel? Like being got by a Lion or Tiger, and knowing that you've had it, and being mauled and torn to pieces? Nature is a bastard.

So now I am not going to feed birds in the front porch anymore, I shall only put the dish out for the hogs and bring anything that's left over in first thing in the morning, they are trapped there obviously, didn't see it coming and no chance of escape. At least the other places they may have half a chance. I still feel sick. Sorry about this post, and no doubt I'll get all the comments about oh it has to eat, it's nature, but I don't want to know. It can piss off and get hit by a car as it swoops to kill something else, sooner the better. And that goes for the evil black cat that is lurking here every bloody time I look out too.

Sunday, 19 August 2007

Now I remember why I don't go out drinking at night

Last night we had our Cheese and Wine "do" down at the village hall. It was to raise funds for our Wind Farm protest group. I was on the door, taking the entrance money. We had about 50 people come, which was more than I was expecting, but still very disappointing really, but we raised I guess somewhere in the region of £300 towards the cause, with the raffle being the highlight of the night. There was a massive spread of food, and lots got left sadly, most of which I brought home to give to the birds, I don't think I'm going to be able to use it all before it goes off though. Depends how much birds like sausage rolls, cold pizza, ham sandwiches and scotch eggs really. I've also got about 30 bags of crisps and a huge bag of twiglets which went untouched, which was my contribution, still they will keep till the next thing hopefully, I don't think I'll be tempted to eat the crisps, but the twiglets are opened so will have to dispose of those I suppose. Good job it wasn't a cake party, else I would be putting on another two stone, sod the birds!

I enjoyed it mostly, although as I didn't really socialise a lot until it was obvious that nobody else was coming, I felt a bit out of it, and slightly bored and would gladly have come home at 9 oclock! But I had to stick around until the end to help with the clearing up, at least it was something to do and I felt useful. Got home about 11 oclock, dirty stop-out. First time I've had to get the car in the garage in the dark, but managed without scraping the side along the wall, which is something I often do in daylight.

Anyway, the title of this post. Well I don't drink, but at the same time, sitting around and scoffing cheese and biscuits etc. and attempting to be social means having some kind of liquid, just to look the part, so I actually had during the course of the evening, three cups of coffee and two small glasses of coke. Result? I had to get up three sodding times in the night to go to the loo. So now I feel absolutely wrecked. That's why I don't go out. What a nightmare. It was always the same. When I used to go and drink lager - for every half pint I had, used to have to wee twice. So during the course of a night, say 4 or 5 halves, you work it out. Just not worth the aggro.

Friday, 17 August 2007

Hog No. 5

Tonight I have had visits from Colin, first as usual. As soon as he went, Front Spot turned up, and I have now named him Speedy. This was because last night I went out to renew the marking with proper Humbrol paint, and after I'd finished, he took off down the path like a rocket! And tonight I saw for sure that he is a him, if you get my drift.... Anyway, carried on watching and another hog came, and I couldn't see any markings. Waited till he/she had finished eating and was about to leave and went out and it's another newby. Have just done a blob on its left side. In theory it could be the one I marked on the middle of the back I guess if the tippex has worn off, but I think there would still have been something remaining. So I wonder if Titch, the little one I trod on last Sunday will ever find its way to the front.

The newby


Started decorating the bedroom yesterday. Had a minor disaster. I bought some "funky" pink paint, which means it is sort of luminous and sparkly - I think there may be a spelling mistake, change the "n" for a "c" and it may be nearer the mark. I wanted to do one of the wardrobes (which I had painted chocolate last year and have hated ever since) This turned out okay thankfully, apart from having to do three coats (yawn) but the wall needed doing as well. It didn't like that very much at all unfortunately. Also three coats (and I only painted round the wardrobes, no way could I move them out of the way without taking all my stuff out. (I am such a bodger!) Anyway, it looked bloody terrible, went all patchy with mauve streaks. So today went in search of some posters. I had seen some online, but as usual I can't wait and wanted to buy something to cover the ugly mess asap. Woolies came to my rescue, although they mainly only had childrens ones, managed to find a couple of cute doggy ones, and a map of the world which will be useful, I am hopeless with geographical locations of countries. I still need one other though, so may resort to buying online, best be another dog one I suppose. I was wanting something like tropical beaches or paradise, or sunsets but still the dogs are more in keeping with the other stuff in my room like about 50 soft toy dogs and pictures of Emma and other CKCs all over the other wall!

Other than that, took some pics of bumble bees on the teasels and a friendly Starling on the holly this morning, don't often see Starlings here this time of year, but a couple of pairs did stay to breed this year, the majority of them go off in March and then return in their droves in late October.

Found Diddy boy hiding under a clump of grass!

Almost sorted

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

A quickie....

May do some more later, see what exciting things I do today, but I wanted to do this now whilst the iron is hot so to speak.

Yesterday they came to do my cavity wall insulation. Two really nice guys, all went well, plenty of mess for me to clear up though, but of course I was expecting that. Bits of brick, loads of black dust (this place is constructed from breeze blocks and render) Anyhow I digress. If any of you have seen the Nimble Bread advert which is often on the tv, then you will know where I am coming from. It features a builder whose wife is making his sarnies with Nimble, and his jeans keep falling down. Well I can watch it over and over, and it's quite the funniest advert ever, and I have tears of laughter every time I see it. Well the guy who did the drilling in my walls looked very much like the man in the advert, and I kept getting this mental picture of him drilling and having to keep pulling his jeans up! Not that I saw of course, I wasn't standing out in the rain watching him! Anyhow, I managed to find it on YouTube, heh. Enjoy.

Thanks Pete. :)

Monday, 13 August 2007

Just a bit about last night

I went outside more or less as soon as it was dark because last night there was the most spectacular night in the sky with the Perseids meteor showers, which was basically loads of shooting stars, and I wanted to see as many as possible. I also saw the International Space Station going over again just after 10pm, plus a couple of other satellites. I saw more than 10 meteors/shooting stars, it was fantastic. We had the best night for ages here, completely clear skies, warm, no wind. So I got a bit of neck ache, and decided to come in and grab a drink about 10.30 and take a look from the front garden instead of the back. As I came past my shed heading to the back door, I trod on something. I knew instantly what it was, and in order to avoid falling arse over tit, I stumbled, and then kicked it as well. It was a hedgehog. God I was gutted. I ran in and got the torch and a towel, and picked it up, and it was a small one, not one of my normal three, no markings. It had rolled into a ball of course and I didn't know if I'd injured it. I got a dish of food and put the poor little devil in my guinea pig run outside, because I wanted to make sure it could walk okay before I just let it go. I kept checking about every 5 minutes and after about 20 mins, he or she was moving freely round, looking for an escape route! Phew! I put him back where I got him from, and he legged it very quickly back up the garden. I marked it on the rear end with a kinda t-shape mark, and I shall call it Titch, but I doubt I shall see it again anyway!

I ended up staying out till about 12.40 am but then had to call it a night, my neck was agony from looking upright. A lot of folk on the forum I go on actually were laying out on loungers, which would have been a better idea. They were still out at 5 am some of them!

Another busy day

Decided I'd better get the grass all cut this morning, because we are forecast a lot of bad weather the next couple of days. So having got that done, along with strimming with my new strimmer, and having cursed and sworn at that yet again, oh how I hate those sodding things. They do not, I repeat do not, auto feed the line. The line breaks when you hit a stone, or wire or anything other than a blade of grass, and it snaps off and you have to remove the spool and pull the bastard line out by hand. After having done this about 6 times in ten minutes, I went and got some line that is three times thicker and wound that on, and at least it only broke once. Anyway it was then lunchtime, and I decided that after all I would go and get my exhaust done in town. I phoned National and was quoted £130 for the back box, and £220 if it needed the complete system. I get tesco clubcard points though. Whoopee. So I thought I'd go to Kwik fit, who I'd already rung on Saturday morning and get another quote from them, they had said £185 for the lot, and I get 10% discount because of being insured through them. I got there, and the guy said he wouldn't even be able to get it on the ramp to look at it for an hour, then I would have to wait around and hour and a half to have it done because they have to get the exhaust sent to them. So I went next door to ATS. Well, what can I say. They were fantastic. The manager in the reception went out straight away, even though all their ramps appeared to be full, but there was one round the back, he put it up, had a look, and unfortunately it did need the entire system. I had thought as much but at least I could see for myself and they weren't stitching me up. He went back, looked it up, and it was £145, giving me a 30% discount, for the lot! He could have it done in just over an hour. So I was well chuffed. I think it would have cost me as much to get my local mechanic to do it frankly, if not more, and I wouldn't have been able to get it done until about Thursday I don't think.

Anyway, this gave me the opportunity to have a wander round Carmarthen to kill some time with Emma. I have lived in this area for over 13 years, and although I was aware of the ruins of the castle, I'd never been in that part of the town to take a close look. How ashamed am I! Took some photos with the Nokia as I didn't have the camera on me. Also went across the new footbridge that was opened last year, which was fun, it was a bit springy and wobbly, lol, but nice to do anyway. Emma was a bit hot and bothered and I guess we probably walked about three miles altogether. But I really enjoyed myself. We had a cake and a take-away tea and sat on a bench at the castle, it's been a lovely warm day.

Here is a little bit about the castle if you are interested in the history of it, there's lots of boards dotted around the place which tell you stuff about it -

"The ruined Norman castle overlooks the town and the River Tywi which was founded in the 11th century. Rebuilding in stone was fully completed in the 13th century. The curtain wall was added later in that century, and a gatehouse and south-west tower in the 14th century. It was badly damaged by Owain Glyndwr in the 15th century before being strengthened during the civil war. Most of the structure, apart from the gatehouse, was demolished in the 18th century. Carmarthen Castle was converted to use as a prison in the late 18th century.

Carmarthen Castle has undergone a restoration and consolidation program recent years. An excavation was undertaken outside the twin-towered gatehouse that represented the main entry into the castle from the town. The excavation revealed evidence of the bridge that originally crossed a wide defensive ditch that separated the gatehouse from Nott Square."

Saturday, 11 August 2007

Trial Bike Training

What can I say, another slight disaster really, not for me but for poor Barry. His bike played up and he hardly got to ride over any of the obstacles. Cylene played up, and wanted to ride the bike her way and wasn't prepared to listen to the instructor so gave up because she was "bored" The people running it today offered Barry his money back, but he reluctantly took only a third of it back. Nice of them to offer though. Well I still enjoyed what bits of it I saw, and it was nice to be out in the sunshine all day. Emma had a great time too, had to keep her on a lead of course, but a long lead, and she got to go in the water a few times, and was awake for such a long time today, she is now well and truly knackered. Barry was so gutted that he gave up after lunch, the bike just wouldn't start and on the few occasions he did get it going by changing the spark plug (it kept oiling up) it wouldn't stay running at the slow speeds necessary for this type of riding. He is threatening to give up now, and never do it again. Such a shame.

I managed to bodge up my exhaust on the car because it couldn't be done till Monday, so I shall still be able to go out with them tomorrow to the car boot sale. I crawled under and wrapped a lot of cooking foil and wire round the break, it wont fall off I don't think and it's silenced it a bit, it only sounds like the boy racers cars anyway so not bothered. I will get my normal mechanic to look at it early in the week I think, I'm not going to one of the big exhaust places, who will no doubt tell me I need an entire new system, when it may be just the back box or middle section which needs doing.

Cylene having some tuition