Silence is(n't) Golden

Superglue on my tongue.
Not one of the greatest sensations in my life.


The Queen Turns up Trumps

With all the hoo ha about THAT wedding later this week, I thought I should do a Royal blog. This is in spite of the great personal risk that I am taking of being thrown into the Tower for the rest of my natural days for revealing this exclusive on Her Majesty, The Queen, (my apologies Ma'am).

The run up to this exclusive began when I was a young child. I have never forgotten my beloved dad once telling me that the Queen, when out on royal visits, has a very special member of her household who always accompanies her and always walks just a little behind Her Majesty. My dad then went on to tell me that, should the Queen ever "do a frump", (his word for fart), she would never have to be embarrassed by it as this chap had the job of apologising loudly and claiming that it was him what did it.

Extending on his theme, my dad also told the gullible daughter, (me), that there was, employed at Buckingham Palace, an official, (trying to be delicate here), Royal "botty wiper" to the Queen. In other words, (in case you didn't catch on), Her Majesty didn't have to do this base task herself.

Skip to years later and I remained always totally uncertain as to whether my dad had been telling the truth, or whether he had simply been winding me up. So, when last year I had a chance encounter with "a source close to the Queen", of all the things I could have asked, guess what were my burning questions???

This is the answer I was given :

My dad lied to me about there being a Royal Botty Wiper. I have to say that I was strangely "relieved" to hear this! Now onto burning issue "number two", (sorry, I just can't help myself), the chap who walks behind the Queen just in case.

Guess what? Apparently my dad lied to me again. In fact, now I'm thinking about it, isn't Prince Phillip the chap who always walks behind the Queen???? Anyway, there's more..............
Much to my absolute delight, my inner circle source went on to share the following, s/he alleged that the Queen often "frumps" at the dinner table!

Since this revelation I have found myself viewing Her Majesty with much greater affection, knowing that we both have something in common.....

As a small additional insight into my life I thought I would just add that although I have never been to Buckingham Palace, I have been to a social gathering at Number 10 when Tony Blair was P.M. During the evening Cherie Blair came over to tell me how much she liked my frock (I was pleased, the damn thing cost a fortune). The first thing that struck me was what an attractive woman she is in real life, stunning!. Anyway, we got chatting and, me being me, I told her that my mum had asked me to report back on what colour the curtains were. Whilst I thought my mum's request was totally bizarre, Cherie immediately seemed to understand my mother's need and happily told me to wander around various rooms which we were using that evening and also advised me to get hold of the curtains and feel the weight of them! She also identified which windows in what room looked out over the garden and apologised for the mess created by the children's garden play things, she also told me where to look to see the snowman Tony had built for his youngest that day. I really think that this delightful and vivacious lady would have got on fabulously with my mum!


My Apologies To Paris

First let me clarify, I mean Paris the place not Paris the person. As I sit typing, Paris is currently under invasion and I would like to make it clear to the residents that neither myself nor the hubby had anything what-so-ever to do with it.

Assuming she hasn't already be deported back to England, my mother is in Paris. She will be easy to recognise by any Parisian, she is accompanied by my amazingly tolerant step-father who I can honestly say is one of the most naturally intelligent people I have met (yet he still married my mum???!!?). With them is my sister-in-law and my brother.

Mum is in her early 70's and is the one speaking the world's worst French and being absolutely certain it is just the people of Paris who are being bloody minded when they act as though they don't understand a word. My brother is the caveman with the broad Yorkshire accent which has quite likely become even broader just for the sheer hell of it. My sister-in-law is that woman who keeps trying to walk off in the other direction without them noticing and my step-father is the one who is simply nodding and smiling at mostly everything due to the fact that he won't admit he is deaf. Either that or he and my mum will be engaged in bickering and arguing but neither really listening to the other due to the fact that my mother will also not admit she is deaf.

They will already have caused offence in some french restaurant or other as my brother will have asked for his steak very well-done, he will also be muttering on about not being able to find a pub. Mum will be proclaiming things such as, when viewing the stained glass in Notre Dame,
"I'll not deny it's pretty, but it's just as good in York,"
or when faced with the Eiffel tower,
"Well, it's just like Blackpool really, only bigger".
She will also be highlighting things like,
"I'd rather live where we are and be able to pop out to Derbyshire" and "It's only the same as London, except they speak french".

This is mum's first time abroad and she was panicking about leaving England behind for weeks in advance. She also decided that the French would go on strike anyway so there would be delays in the journey and she was never going to set foot outside England again (once more, this being weeks before the actual trip). You may wonder why on earth are they in Paris at all? Well, my step-dad persuaded my mum somehow that it would be a wonderful gift for my brother and sister-in-law's 25th wedding anniversary.

Of course, once everything was booked, paid and confirmed, that's when my mum and step-dad found out they were two years early. My brother and sister-in-law had simply kept quiet on that one!

Obviously, one of the precursors to this whole thing was my mum, after all these years, having to get a passport. It took months! Her advice to me?
"If you're applying for a passport, for God's sake don't tell them your grandmother is Irish."

I kid you not.


A Battle of Wits

The piccy at the end of this is of our younger Dog, Myka, described as per caption when our vet first met her. We now realise she has a lot of bearded terrier in her. We also had her down as being quite bright and a fast learner, until today.

I decided to close the French Windows leading onto our garden. It also matters that you know that I still had the door to another room, which also leads onto the garden but from a different direction, open. As it had been all day.

It just so happened that as I was closing the french windows, both Myka (the dog) and Harmony (the ex-battery chicken), decided they wanted to come inside through that way. "Sorry both of you, you'll have to use the other door," says I.

By the time I had walked back into the other room, Harmony had raced around at high speed and was already indoors. No sign of Myka though.

Curious, I wandered back into the lounge. There, still stood on the outside gazing in at me through the french windows with her tail all droopy, (not it's normal state), because she had been locked out, stood Myka.

So the evidence would suggest that, in the great scheme of things, Myka has less intelligence than a chicken. Oh boy...

Designer Shabby Chique


And Another Thing

The Hubby came downstairs today from the study and told me he had just been catching up with my blogs.
Him : "It makes it look like you married a right numpty."
Me : "Is there anything I have written that is a lie?"
Him : "Unfair question."

Heaven in a Hydranger Head

Harmony (the farting chicken) and I have been giving the wildlife pond it's spring clean today. This entails me fishing around in the pond with my kiddies fishing net scooping out any leaf fall, loose algae, twigs, chicken feathers, bark chippings kicked into the pond by the chickens etc. At the same time, every net full has to be carefully gone through by myself  in order to rescue any pond life I have accidentally caught, but primarily to make sure I return any of the too many newts which live there. Not an easy task when the newts like to hide in the same crap I am scooping out and range from the fully grown right down to babies mere millimetre's in length.
Harmony's task (self imposed) is to stay by my feet and wait for me to check my net then occasionally throw the contents down for her so that she can double check. Course, she doesn't do much in the way of throwing any pond life back. She's more of the eat it, eat it now brigade.
If she thinks I am placing too many net fulls in the trug and not enough down her way, she reminds me by either pecking at my feet or tapping on the side of the trug three times. This "three taps" signal is one which I taught her when she joined us last year and which she soon learnt meant I was indicating I had found something tasty for her, such as a worm. Three taps and she's there like a shot!
Bit of a shock, though, when she started using it back at me. Three taps on the side of the trug from her roughly translates into,
"Oi. Don't forget I'm here. I want some. It's my turn. Stop chucking it all in the trug."
Being a relative newcomer to having pet chickens, I have to assume that other people's pet chickens also make their wishes known in this kind of way? Yes?...No?... It can't possibly just be my lot, that would be daft!
Anyway, the highlight of this morning's labours for Harmony was when I dredged up a full Hydrangea head from the bottom of the pond, (just to clarify, we haven't got any Hydrangeas in this garden).
The whole thing was chock full of "greeblies" (bottom of the food chain in a pond) and I presented it to my little helper. One very happy little chicken indeed.
I also devoted some time to thinning out the pond plants, a task I am much more careful about than I used to be.
Has anyone else out there who might have popped into my "blog-scape" ever begun to pull a plant out of the shallows at the edge of their pond and, after a while of tugging and the plant's roots still coming, then wondered vaguely to themselves "how come the root on this plant is waaaay longer and tougher to get out than it should be?" Has anyone else then looked up to call the hubby for a hand; and suddenly noticed that the same type of plant which was happily growing tall in the deep centre part of the pond, is now distinctly much, much shorter and worse, continues to become so each time you tug at the plant you are doing battle with at the pond's edge?????????????
Please tell me that I am not alone in this...........please!!!!


20/20 Vision

Finally the hubby has given in and admitted it - he has announced his arms just aren't long enough!

What he actually meant was that he was struggling to see things close up and to read things at a comfortable distance. So, the nagging to get him to have his eyes tested began (I never expect a result from this kind of intervention for at least a couple of months).

Sure enough, it's been a couple of months and he has now been to the optician's. On his return he walked into the house with a cry of "I'm blind!" For a while when I asked what the optician had said I simply got a repeat of "I'm blind," but now he added in things like "Please pour me a coffee, I'm blind you know". "Give me a kiss, 'cos I'm blind.", etc..

Turns out that what he actually meant was that he did indeed need reading glasses, but he actually needed the lowest strength possible. Not that this has deterred him from trying to use his supposed "blindness" to get me to do things for him. Obviously, it doesn't work. As always his distance vision was described as "exceptional",  but this time the optician added the killer line "considering your age". I thought it was funny, the hubby not so sure. (Please allow me to hurriedly clarify that both of us have a long long way to go before we become pensioners).

Personally I have been short-sighted since age 9 but never managed to get used to wearing glasses, I can't shake the feeling that everyone is staring at me simply because I have glasses on. Thank God for contact lenses. Given his recent blindness and me laughing at him, the hubby kindly reminded me of one occasion  prior to us getting married when I was not registered with an optician and was way overdue for an eye test. I knew I needed one because the glasses I had were no longer working as well as they should. So, whilst on a shopping trip with the hubby, when I noticed an opticians, I decided to pop in and book an eye test.

Walking ahead of the hubby, I gaily opened the door to the opticians and, as the two receptionists looked up to see who had entered, I tripped up the step just inside the doorway which I had not noticed, fell full length and ended up laid flat on the floor in front of the reception desk. From where I lay I looked up at the two women and said, "I need to book an eye test."

All I heard then were peels of hysterical laughter from the receptionists. Totally embarrassed I scrambled upright, turned to leave, pulled at the door although the sign said push and wondered where the hell the hubby had gone.

When I finally managed to get outside and look around, I found beloved hubby. He was sat on the pavement floor, back against the wall of the shop next door and laughing so hard he was crying.

Needless to say I didn't register with that particular optician's.

I recall that I didn't talk to the hubby for a while either, not that he was in any fit state to talk to. He just kept bursting into laughter and telling me which of our friends he was going to ring in order to share my misfortune.
Really annoyingly he was still looking at me and going off into fits of laughter the next day, by which time I think he had told just about everyone we know, including family members, what had happened.

And yet I still went on to marry him!!!!!


Hubby, Draft Fixing and the Mice

In February I told of the hubby's DIY resolution to a draft which, in turn caused a water leak.  We now have a further impact of his draft stopping technique - mice!

When he managed to fix the leak caused by him knocking something loose when he blocked up the hole from which the draft was coming by shoving some items of clothing in there, he shoved more clothing and a bath towel into the hole, (yes, we are still married).

One night, initially without my knowledge,  our toothless cat brought a mouse into the house. Obviously, due to Fey's lack of teeth the mouse was alive and undamaged, just soggy. A few days later when said mouse was spotted, I put down a humane trap and caught it. I deposited it back in the garden near where I knew there were three little field mice nesting.

I think that what must have happened from there is that "Gary" (as I had named him), then told all his pals about this nice warm place to live where the kind humans had even provided a lovely, dry, fluffy bed area safely out of reach of the cat or the dogs (and Harmony when she is in the house). So, Gary and his mates moved in.

So far I have caught one a day for the last five days. Of course, I am assuming these were five different mice and not just Gary determinedly coming home every time I throw him out.

The hubby doesn't know it yet, but this afternoon his draft excluder has to go......


Trixi and the Doves

Previously I have chatted about our newest chicken Trixi; she that is a cross between a chicken and an emu and has made it her job to stop any wild birds from landing in the garden.

Trixi has stuck with the view that this is her role in life much to the amusement of the hubby and myself. Trixi is bigger now, dwarfing even Harmony our ex-battery chicken. She is now twice the size of her self proclaimed mother, Drew our bantam silky. Not that this has stopped Drew from putting Trixi in her place when she thinks Trixi needs it. Drew gives Trixi a good couple of sharp pecks to the legs by way of telling her off, (really by now Trixi's legs are all Drew can reach). Despite the size difference, Trixi continues to defer to Drew and she is still very wary of our younger dog, Myka. Anything else though has to watch out. I have noticed that our cat, Fey, tends to begin to walk slowly, her belly close to the ground, her eyes never leaving Trixi as Fey carefully walks in another direction. I'm not sure if this is because Trixi has already begun to chase her, or whether Fey just thinks she might!

Recently however there's been a development. We get the distinct impression that the two pairs of collared Doves who are regulars, spending most of every day in and around our garden all year through, are taking the piss out of Trixi!

Whenever the three "ladies" are having their freedom of the whole garden times, Trixi always, at some point, manages to sneak away from Drew's watchful gaze and head over to the wildlife pond area. This is where you will usually find Harmony when she is not in our house sat on the sofa or asleep in one of the dog's beds, (a couple of days ago whilst my mum and step-dad were visiting she appeared from nowhere and flew up onto the top of the cooker. My step-dad asked if that was what the hubby and I were having for our evening meal).

The hubby and I have now noticed that when Trixi is pottering around the pond, the doves appear. They then seem to take it in turns to land on the opposite side of the pond to wherever Trixi is and wait. Obviously Trixi spots them, she immediately puts her head down like a charging bull and races around the pond towards them. Just before she reaches them, the doves fly across the pond and land so they are at the opposite side to Trixi again. Undeterred Trix puts her head down and sets of again at mac 9 (this is one very high speed chicken) and the doves once again wait until the last moment then fly back over the pond, land and wait for Trixi to have another go. This game can go on for quite a while and poor old Trixi hasn't yet learnt to know when she is beaten. More recently the doves appear to have added another element of frustration for Trixi into the game which I think highlights what an evil sense of humour doves can have. Like all garden wildlife ponds, mine has a "deep" end and a shallow end which becomes almost a cobble beach. This allows any wildlife to safely use the pond for drinking or bathing and provided an escape route for anything accidentally falling into the pond (unless it's Harmony who was the one that confirmed chicken's can't swim). I have also placed  a couple of small rock "islands" that most of the birds often use as a landing point when they want a drink. If Trixi wanted to stand on this little island she would either have to paddle a distance of 15cm or take two flaps to fly onto it. No way is she going to paddle and the doves seem to know this, so to add to their game they sometimes land on the island. Trixi races around to that side of the pond, then grinds to a halt and gives the kind of confused look that only a chicken can give when the doves don't fly away, they simply look at her as though daring her to enter the water. Yesterday one of the doves waited for Trixi to run round, then casually turned it's back on her and began to have a drink. I would say this was a clear dove two fingered salute! So, if anyone out there is doing research on "Do Birds Have a Sense of Humour" you need to come round to our house.


Just an Old Fashioned Girl

Until January this year I was a Blog Virgin. It's the Hubby who kept saying "why don't you have a go at blogging? I think you'll enjoy it." (Personally I think he was just looking for ways to give his own ears a rest from my constant verbal diarrhoea). So that's how this wee page started; but I got to thinking during writing my last post that, once again, I am way behind the times and totally not trendy.
Whilst I've only just begun to Blog, the rest of the world is Twittering (or is it Tweeting?) and Facebooking.
I have actually tried Facebooking, simply because all the people we know kept saying they had tried to contact us by Facebook and we were getting loads of emails also telling us that such-a-bod wanted to add us to their Friend's list.
GOD, it was sooooo boring!!!!!!!! I just didn't get it. Why did people think I wanted to know what they had for dinner that day? Why was it important to tell me what film they were planning to watch on TV that night? Or that they had just had the car MOT'd? Why the hell were perfectly sane (to a point) people taking the time to log on in order to amaze me with these kinds of revelations?
I did put a post up asking them all whether this was how it usually was and did I myself have to tell them things like I had got out of bed that day? The answer was yes (apart from one mate who asked what colour my navel fluff was - I told him purple, just like everyone else's). So, finally deciding that I really didn't care who was having sausage for tea, I gave up.
I have now decided that maybe the other methods are for people who either have very little happen in their day to day lives, or they simply have a need to feel "connected". I tell myself, however, that those who still blog are those people of a slightly higher intellect and who have interesting things to share but don't need to feel the world is looking at them. This being the case I ended my ponderings with the final thought of "so why on earth do I "blog"???!!!?