Thursday, August 31, 2006

60 things I love

On the advice of Natalie I have written a list of 60 things I love. (She does 100 but quite frankly I have neither the time or inclination to think of any more things to bore you with.) They are in no particular order - I just wrote what came to mind:

1) Nick

2) Maggie (that's my cat)

3) My Family

4) Omelet, Scramble and Margo. (new entries in the top 100)

5) Going downstairs in the middle of the night and drinking a glass of milk by the light of the fridge.

6) Cocktail nights with Jane.

7) Long afternoon naps at the weekends.

8) Pretending I despise gossip magazines but sneaking a peek whilst in the spar shop.

9) Looking at my bathroom just after I've cleaned it.

10) MSN messaging with Roz during work.

11) Ruined Castles.

12) Imagining I'm a princess living in the olden days in afore-mentioned castle.

13) Being in New York.

14) When inspiration strikes.

15) The smell of Nick's breath when it comes out his nose. (that's a bit weird I know)

16) My cashmere lined leather gloves from Florence.

17)Putting squirty cream on top of hot chocolate myself. I only fill the mug half full so that more cream can fit in. I sometimes go back for a cream top-up too. It's disgusting I know...

18) The fact that I still have friends, even though I always forget their birthdays.

19) Pulling up a carrot, washing it and eating it immediately.

20) Baileys Ice cream

21) Taking my trousers off when I get home.

22) Scuba diving with Nick as my buddy.

23) REALLY stong wind that makes it hard to breathe. (not farting type wind, weather type wind you wallies)

24) Flying a kite

25) Knee high boots

26) The English Patient - God I cried and cried.

27) Having my feet stroked.

28) Indestructible house plants

29) Family reunions.

30) Sine Nomine weekends away. (that's my choir)

31) Belly laughing

32) Cream buns on someone's birthday

33) Radio 4

34) When people ask my professional advice, I give it, and they take it. It still amazes me, that.

35) Browsing through the Evening Class brochure for the Edinburgh College of art. So many possibilities!

36) Reading your comments on this blog - leave more, I love them!

37) Victoria Wood

38) My wedding photos

39) Fresh sheets on the bed

40) Shrieking. I'm good at that.

41) Granny's shepherds pie

42) Being in bed when it's pouring with rain.

43) Having a cold head out of the duvet, but a warm body under it. That's not meant to sound rude.

44) Topiary

45) tweezers. Couldn't be without them.

46) The sounds of echoing whispers in Lincoln Cathedreal. Quite distinct to other cathedrals oddly enough.

47) Garden in the Hills, by Elizabeth West. I've read it 100 times. The pages are falling out.

48) Miss Smilla's Feeling for Snow by Peter Hoeg. Wonderful book. (I've leant it to someone and I've forgotten who. Can I have it back please?)

49) The little hollow bit in Nick's collar bone. My head fits there perfectly for a cuddle.

50) 2 hour phone conversations with Janie when we haven't spoken for a few months. It's like the gap never existed.

51) Memories of my Grandmother.

52) when some says 'ooh I like your necklace' and I say 'thanks, I made it myself' and they look suitable impressed.

53) The long silence that happens when my choirs finishes a quiet song and no-one in the audience dares to clap in case they break the magic.

54) Eleanor's hilarious accents

55) Washing my hair when it really needs it - ooh it feels good

56) Buying a new lip gloss - my only cosmetic indulgence

57) Stationary shops, especially the posh Swedish design one in Guildford.

58) When a tape measure winds itself back up perfectly without whipping back on your fingers.

59) Friends and family visiting for the weekend.

60) Friends and family going home at the end of a weekend and it's just me and Nick again. (You know what they say about guests and fish: both stink after 3 days!)

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Omelet makes a play for the leadership

Margo: I'm the boss.
Omelet: (takes a little peck at Margo) No, I'm the boss.
Margo: Look, there is one pecking order around here, and I'm top of it.
Omelet: oh yeah?
Margo: Yeah. Oooh look, I've found a really interesting stick.
Omelet: (happily pecks at stick)
Margo: (happily pecks at stick)
Omelet: anyway, where were we?
Margo: Dunno. I'm going over here to peck now.
Scramble: Can I come?

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Is taller better?

Apparently, statistics show that taller people do better in life than shorter people. I learned this from the fount of all knowledge, Radio 4, during a show called Am I normal.

80% of American presidential elections were won by the taller candidate.

If I was Chris I would follow this fact by a witty and well constructed gag about the state of America and their voting decisions, but I'm not that clever. Chris, will you oblige?

More chicken pictures

Apparently chickens like a strict routine, so this is the one we are trying to instill into our 3 girls.

7.15am - Nick lets girls out of hen house into the run for breakfast. Gives them fresh water and 'grower's pellets' (They'll move onto 'layer's pellets' in a month) They can then free range in the garden until...

8.20am - I bribe them with mixed grain to get them back in the run before I go to work.

5.30pm - I arrive home from work, let them back out into the garden, and give girls their afternoon treat of corn and maize (an egg cup full for each bird). We are currently obsessed with watching the hens; it's like having your own pantomime going on in your back garden, so we are spending all evening sitting on the patio, drinking tea and watching the antics.

7.00pm - cook tea (for humans) and give chickens any veg peelings, and left over pasta, rice etc)

8.00 - by now the chickens have put themselves to roost in the hen house, so we just have to shut the pop hole to guard against foxes, and that's it for the day!

Margo looking a bit scary
Scramble looking petrified

Chickens are sooooo thick.

Margo: (peering out the door of the hen house) Now lets see... I like corn... I can see corn...but it's outside.
Omelet: (tilts head on one side) ???
Margo: Hang on a minute...If I go outside... I can eat corn!
Scramble: are you sure?
Omelet: Is it safe?
Margo: Yes! look! I'm eating corn!
Omelet: ooh , can we come?
Margo: (peck peck)
Omelet: (peck peck)
Scramble: (peck peck)
Margo: Think I'll go back inside now. Outside is not all it's cracked up to be. Besides, there are two humans over there grinning insanely. I don't trust them.
Omelet: ...If you're going in then I'm going in...
Scramble: don't leave me out here....
Margo: (back in the hen house.) Come on girls, time for a nap. Up your perch now, I'll guard the door.

Monday, August 28, 2006


May I present:

Omelet, Scramble and Margo

Omelet is a Cream Legbar. She will lay beautiful pale blue eggs. She is apparently a rare breed. Scramble is a Leghorn (as in Foghorn) She will lay pure white eggs. Margo is a Cuckoo Maran. She will lay lovely dark brown eggs.
Here they are in the traveling box, just before we put them into their new house.

We have had them for 24 hours now, and they are still settling in. They are just 12 weeks old, which is why they don't have their combs and wattles yet, and look a bit skinny. They can't cluck yet, they still cheep like chicks which is very cute! It will be about 3 months until we get an egg but hopefully by then they will be tame instead of running away from us!

More pics to come soon. In the mean time Nick has some more snaps to keep you satisfied

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Edinburgh Fringe

One of the many reasons we moved to this part of the world was the Edinburgh Festival. The last 2 years we saw loads of shows, sometimes 4 a day.

This year, because Nick has been down south a lot with his Father, we virtually missed the entire thing - until last night. It was the penultimate day of the fringe so we met up with Roz and caught a play followed by a comedian.

The play was, I'm told, very brilliant, but it was far too intellectual me the likes of me. It charted the life of a poet called Holub who's freedom of speech was repressed during the war. I found the words soon washing over me in a glorious mish mash, prodding me every now and then with the guilt stick and saying 'hey you, you're supposed to be educated, concentrate.'

After the play we went down to the Pleasance Courtyard for a beer and a lowest common denominator stand-up show. Just what we needed.

It was great to see Roz. Here's a snap taken just after she lost her ticket to the play. They still let her in though.

This is not the best photo of Roz. She'll hate me for posting it, but it ewas the only one I took. She is actually very pretty and has eyes.

Busy weekend!

We have worked very hard this weekend to make sure we are prepared for the arrival of our chickens.

The hens had better be grateful for their Architect-designed residence, complete with the patented 'chicken bridge' which links the house and the run. It took hours of sweat and blood (literally) and at least one marital row over whose turn it was to drive to B&Q again to fetch more screws.

We are collecting the hens in 2 hours and I am dizzy with excitement. So, with out further ado, I present to you 'Palais Poulet':

Here is the over all contraption - the house with bridge to the feeding and dustbath area.

sleeping quarters and nestboxes

Thought I'd better take some pictures now, before it gets covered in bird crap.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Snakes on a Plane

'I have had enough of these mother-fucking snakes on this mother-fucking plane.'

A classic quote from this must-see movie. Oh yes.


I had a horrible nightmare last night. I dreamt we went to collect our chickens and there were none left. The man was trying to fob us off with a couple of enourmous turkeys instead.

As long as this dream does not come true we should be chicken owners by Saturday.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Tea time

I had Claire round for tea yesterday, and very pleasant it was too.

We dug up some fresh potatoes and carrots from the veg patch, and had them with Cajun chicken breasts. Then we had chocolate cake.

After that Claire went above and beyond the call of duty and helped me to print, fold and glue 70 Order of Service sheets in preparation for Nick's Dad's funeral.

The funeral is tomorrow and I'm flying down south this evening. On behalf of Nick can I say thank you for all your kind cards and letters he has received this week. It sounds a cliche but they have meant alot to him.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Conspiracy theory

I went to get my lunch at Tesco today and was browsing along the 'lunch shelf'. You know; sarnies, tubs of pasta salads, sushi, mini cartons of juice etc etc. These days the calories and fat are displayed clearly in the front label and I couldn't help but notice that all the pre-packaged food was high in calories and really high in fat.

I decided against buying any of them on the grounds of my expanding waistline and moved down the aisle to see what healthier alternative I could find. About 5 metres along there was another display of pasta salads, in amongst the normal salady type stuff. I checked these labels and virtually all of them were half the calories, half the fat and half the price of the ones displayed in the 'lunch' section. No mini plastic fork wedged in the lid though.

It brings home yet again how susceptible we humans are to the power of marketing, product placement and consumerism in general. It makes me feel a bit ashamed.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006


Tim has this link on his blog, along with a boast that he is winning, with his blog valued at $3173.

I would just like to point out that I am actually winning hands down, with my blog valued at $12,454.72

The rest of you are valued as below:

Beancounting - $6,547.58 - $3,173.86 - $3,688.67
HotPhil's Blog - $1.969.97
Just Faffing - $1,000.00

I may be boasting about this but I have no idea how it is supposed to work. Can anyone explain it to me?


With Nick away down south I have been at home alone for quite a while now. I am learning a few things.

The main advantage of living alone is that things you put down stay in the same place, like the car keys for example.

The main disadvantage of living alone is that things you put down stay in the same place, like the washing up.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Cosmetic review

I don't often feel compelled to do cosmetic reviews - I'm not a very girly girl - I don't wear much makeup or lather my self in expensive creams, unlike some people I could mention...

However I recently panic-bought some 'Pretty Quik' nail varnish remover when I was away. I realised I was looking like a 14 year old teenager with horrible chipped nails so nipped into Superdrug to remedy the situation.

The thing is, this nail varnish remover is in a pot with a sponge. You put your finger in the pot and into a hole in the sponge. You then twist you finger about a bit in the sponge, and when you pull it out it's all nice and clean. Perfect! (although it did leave me with the slight feeling that I'd committed a weird perverted act.)

Nick suggested there could be little bristles in the bottom of the pot for cleaning under your nails, but I poo-pooed this suggestion. I get the junk out with my teeth. Much more satisfying.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

I have had a fairly heavy weekend as you can imagine. I travelled down to Guildford to be with Nick while he made a start on all the necessary jobs that need doing when someone has died.

He was feeling in a very nostalgic mood so we went on a mammoth walk of Guildford to show me all his old haunts. I was proudly shown his childhood house, the best sledging slopes in the town, sites of old dens, favourite cycling routes over the downs, and I also learned the names of most of the people on his old paper-round. (Tim, I was even shown your smoking hiding place up by the castle.)

We got rained on quite alot but it didn't really matter. Nick was too engrossed in telling me stories about his Dad and other memories he had from living in Guildford.

For some escapism we went to see 'My Super Ex-girlfriend' at the cinema. I must say, that film was much better than it had any right to be. Obviously it was ridiculous, but funny all the same. The tone was set in the first scene as the leading man asks his side kick 'if you were a super hero, what powers would you want?' To which his friend looked thoughtful for a second and then replied 'To be able to blow myself.'

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Nick has asked me to convey to you all some sad news.

Nick's Dad passed away at about 1 o'clock this morning.

As many of you know, he had been suffering with cancer for some time and recently had been very ill in hospital. Nick tells me he died very gently and peacefully in his sleep. Although he had had difficulty breathing in the last few days he was not in too much pain.

Nick, his sister and 2 brothers have been with their Dad almost constantly since he became ill, and have shown great strength of courage and loyalty to their father. It was by chance that all 4 of them were there tonight, so are able to give each other support at this sad time.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

New Friends

Thanks everyone for being such good friends, but I shan't be needing you any more. I've got new chicken friends now.

(I hope you know I'm kidding)

Yesterday's Site Meeting

Builder: (gesturing) Does that back wall go straight across there?
Me: No, if you look on the drawing you'll see it steps back in the middle.
Builder: OK...Are we having suspended tiled ceilings or plasterboard ceilings.
Me: It says on the drawing. We are having plasterboard.
Builder: Oh. I thought we were having tiled. I've fitted tiles upstairs.
Me: Well no. I want plasterboard please, like it says on the original drawing.
Builder: (After quick phone call to supplier of ceiling things) right. How does the main signage fix to the ceiling.
Me: It says on the drawing! The very same drawing I issued to you 4 weeks ago and you signed. Do you ever read the information I give to you?
Builder: Of course not. Only when things go wrong. You should know that by now.
Me: Yeah? well next time I'm going to come on site wearing a blindfold and stand here asking you daft questions all morning.
Builder: very funny.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006


Nick: You are such a wally
Me: You're the wally
Nick: No, I think you'll find you're the wally
Me: If there is one wally in this house then it is definitely you.
Nick: You are sadly mistaken, proof if proof were needed that you are indeed a wally.
Me: I have done a poll of all the non-wallys in this house and the result was returned with a 100% of voters agreeing that YOU are the wally.
Nick: my independent survey concludes only wallys would undertake such a ridiculous survey in the first place, thus proving unanimously the undoubtable truth that YOU are a wally of the highest order. All wallys are therefore disqualified from participating in any survey, independent or otherwise, that might determine the status of a new wally. This is to avoid the potential unpleasant situation that a non-wally such as myself may be falsely accused.
Me: ?
Nick: I'm sorry - I don't make the rules...

Monday, August 07, 2006

More chicken news

Thank you all for your suggestions! There are 2 names that are out in the lead currently, Nick favours one and I favour the other, so we'll see who is the most stubborn, or which name suits the hen better when it arrives home.

News on the chicken acquisition front:

We went off the meet the rather eccentric Chicken Man on Saturday to choose our hens. We had hoped to get them home that day but the hen house still hasn't arrived :-( We went anyway and he has reserved them for us. Here is his website, with the birds he sells that are good egg layers.

We are getting an Amber rocket, a Partridge brown (lays white eggs which is Nicks main priority) and a speckled one. Apparently these 3 hybrid breeds are very placid and non-flighty, so should be good for us novices to deal with. They are about 20 weeks old so are just beginning to lay.

A slight mishap occurred on the way to the Chicken man. Nick filled our diesel car up with unleaded petrol. He realised quite quickly as the car began jerking and he pulled over. We had to be towed away by the AA and have the engine pumped out at garage.

It was quite an expensive morning as you can imagine. All I can say is I'm glad it wasn't me that did it. I was very understanding and forgiving, but have stored it away as ammunition for the next time I do something stupid. He he he.

Thursday, August 03, 2006


At the request of my loyal readers I am launching a new competition.


We are getting 3 hens. We have chosen 2 names already (a closley guarded secret) but need a third name.

Leave your suggestions in the comment window. The judges decision is final. Should no suitable name be proposed the hen will be named Mother Clucker. Please, save her from this fate.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Chicken news

1) West Lothian Council have no bye-laws to prevent the keeping of poultry at domestic properties, provided they are not for business use. (Just the neighbours to placate now.)

2) New coop, feed, dust bath, mite powder, feed and water dispenser, grit and fake rubber egg have been purchased on t'internet and were dispatched this morning.

3) Local Animal Feed Merchant has been sourced.

4) Local chicken breeder has been located (but yet to be contacted.)

5) All 4 books in the library on poultry keeping have been read cover to cover in the pursuit of absolute knowledge.

5) The names of our potential chickens have been chosen. However, names will not be revealed until such time as the chicken have been purchased and formally introduced.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Demise of the plotter

Jenny: (popping her head round the door) Would anyone like a cup of tea?
Us: yes please!
Jenny: (rather too calmly) By the way, will someone come and look at the plotter?
Us: Why?
Jenny: There is smoke and flames coming out the side of it
Us: (scrambling to the print room)....aarrrrrghhhhhh.....
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