Right at this moment there's a little bit of sunshine and the birds are singing. It's snowing as well, but we'll ignore that bit.
The weather wasn't enough to put off visitors to the park at the weekend, or to keep the little train in his hut any longer. It is incredibly cold here still; bitterly, stinglingly cold. The ground is frozen solid and nothing at all is flowering except the poor snowdrops that are the only respite from what still looks like winter.
The blackbirds have been gathering bits and bobs for their nests but, surely, they won't be considering it just yet? I have nothing but admiration for the wildlife which just accepts the weather and gets on with business as usual. I went to top up food supplies the other day and the woman on the counter remarked that we must have the best-fed birds in Britain as they've sold so much seed.
Frank the cat was ill all over the bank holiday weekend, when the vet is closed. Much yakking up and retching, a bit of scary blood. He was a lot improved yesterday, by which I mean the piles of puke had stopped appearing, and this morning ate his breakfast as usual. I suspect hairballs. Or something caught at the vet's surgery last week...
The funny thing is that when Frank wasn't eating, Harry stopped as well in some sort of sympathetic solidarity. I took the opportunity this morning of readjusting the amount of breakfast I put out for them, bearing in mind the vet's comments on weight. I've done similar for the dog, who can't understand it but hasn't got a choice, being too small to even steal much effectively.
Off out now to feed the birds and get really cold in the process...
It's a dog's life. Moving around with the sun through the window, a scratch, a yawn, a bit of kibble and a walk.
She'll be more than happy it's half term this week as she loves company, cuddling up on the sofa especially. I've given up saying it's out of bounds and just let her get on with it. Usually there's a black cat at the other side of the blanket, bookends.
I've got the utilities man coming today to give me the whizz-bang meters that read themselves. I tidied a path through the cellar for him but I hope he's not a large man. Just saying. And I even went to the tip with some stuff yesterday. It breeds, especially worn-out, knackered stuff that should have gone years ago, that you thought had gone years ago. Or is that only in this house?
I am so glad we break up today. Yesterday went well, with fourteen kids in the end. It felt like the last day, this term has been so long. I don't know how many will make it in today for the carols and staff panto. I'm running low on ho ho ho myself.
The tree is up, done last night. A much smaller (potted) one than usual, and easier to manage because of that. But the fun offset by No2 coming down to say the lovely hamster had died. He was still curled up in his bed, a peaceful end to a jolly life. I'll bury him later today. Our little menagerie has shrunk considerably this year.
In desperate need of festive cheer, we are hopefully going out for a little trip this afternoon, assuming I can get a speedy exit from school. To a nearby village that has lots of decorations and atmosphere.
Still loads of jobs to be done, or not. You just have to stop at some point, before you drop...
Bloggers are always banging on about how marvellous the Blogging Community is, usually with added darlings, lovelies, gushing and cooing.
I'm not the luvvie type, but I can agree with them on all the rest.
Take the above basket, for example. When I wrote that I'd bought a bike and needed (well, wanted) something for the front, Toffeeapple commented that she had a basket that I could have. Tell me what's not wonderful about that?
We decided a swap would be a much fairer deal, and accordingly a teacup candle set was dispatched. In return I am now the proud owner of a super wicker basket that will hopefully keep all eyes off the crappy bike while being useful and attractive! Two adjectives often applied to me, if only in my imagination.
No sooner was it out of the box than Frank was giving it the once-over, deciding it was the perfect size for a naughty cat.
So, from me and Frank a big Thank You to T-A!
And remember, as my Mother always says: A fair exchange is no robbery. Think on that...
In theory the days are getting shorter, but in fact at the moment my days are very long. I got home from work at 8.30 the other evening and on Friday I went to bed at 10.30, which is unheard of for me. Quite simply I am knackered.
This also means there's not much to blog about or take photos of. I could show you me looking at my half crocheted project each evening, or the cupboard full of ingredients for the baking I planned. Or me nodding off by the fire...
I did get a load of gardening done yesterday. The compost bin, due to be collected tomorrow, was almost empty and I won't put it out unless it's full, so I filled it. I cut back the climbing hydrangea by the kitchen window with dramatic results. The kitchen is at least twice as bright. I gave the honeysuckle a much needed trim and I cut down lots of the butter burr which only turns to slime if you leave it. This has made a convenient path to the kitchen window, meaning I can clean the windows properly today. Even more light.
Coco the dog was poorly last week and I was worried about her as she kept yelping and was shivering, so I took her to the vet's and he diagnosed a bad back. No stairs, no jumping, no walks for a few days. Accordingly she has a bed in front of the fire (which I lit at 7.30 this morning for her...) and she's milking it. She has some pain medicine and I really hope she's better soon. I don't like it when anyone in the house is unwell, human or pet. But at least I can go to work now knowing what's wrong with her. Last week I was imagining all kinds of horrors and went home twice to check on her. At least the girls can text. Must work on that with the dog.
I have baking and crafting planned for today. After the grocery shop, the window cleaning and the ironing. We'll see...
Let's hope the wind doesn't change and poor Coco gets stuck with this face. Not quite sure what was going on, but she's not the most aerodynamic little dog at the best of times. It was breezy up there!
Don't tell anyone, but the afternoons here have been rather warm and pleasant. Nice to come home, from the mania that is work, in a bit of sunshine. Fingers crossed it stays dry for the window replacement tomorrow morning. They're coming at 8am so it will be draughty and chilly, but hopefully not damp.
I'm hoping to get a crop of something at work today, something that is usually left to the birds or the compost heap. Then tomorrow I'll use it in a concoction I haven't made before, it'll take my mind off the roof and hopefully have a tasty result. If so, I'll share it on Sunday. If not it'll never be mentioned again...
Coco isn't too fond of the hot weather, or at least she likes sunbathing but walking is a different matter. Even when on the lead she'll flop down anywhere, including at the roadside, which startles some people.
When we did puppy training she just used to lie down when she'd had enough. It isn't unknown to find her being carried part of the way. Spoiled brat.
When it's been warmest I've tried to combine the walk with something useful, going to the post office or having a coffee in a nice outdoor spot (very useful). She likes this as she gets to rest and also gets loads of attention. Loads. From young girls and old men and everone inbetween. She has awesome pulling power for a rum looking bird.
We have always had the rule that animals aren't allowed on the furniture. Right... try telling them that. The only place they all really want to lie is on the back of this sofa in the window. Sometimes there's a bit of a scuffle over who has sovereignty, Coco having won in this case.
It's a good vantage point for seeing what's going on. The cats like to do a spot of bird watching and Coco is a real curtain twitcher, usually managing to rouse herself, and stop snoring, if someone walks past, which isn't very often.
For a French Bulldog she's quite light on her feet and can jump much higher than you may suspect from her rather sturdy build. For a long time we didn't let her upstairs and had a child gate, we worried her top-heaviness would lead to tumbles coming down. No need, she thunders up and down like a, well like a Frenchie. They fart a lot. If you didn't know...
...because a cat's the only cat who knows where it's at.
And right now it's as close to the kitchen radiator as possible. Harry always has cold feet, no matter what the weather. They are lovely and soft, but freezing all the time.
I don't keep bread in the bread bin, it's mainly stuff like bags of dried fruit and packets of crackers. Very random, but bread doesn't last in there. Obviously it wouldn't last next to a radiator... but in general it seemed to act as a forcer for the sort of humid conditions that sent the bread off. Not good for a breadbin, but it looks nice.
We had a meal at my Mother's yesterday and I noticed some birds building a nest in the tree outside her front gate, as you do. Fortunately my Dad is the proud owner of several pairs os good vintage binoculars, meaning I could peer at them from the bedroom window. There are no neighbours opposite, which is probably a good thing.
Mistle thrushes... I'll take the zoom lens next time, before the leaves are out on the tree. Then people can really talk.
This picture is from the blog almost three years ago, taken on a day when I was cleaning out the fish and Orange was in a rather nice vintage bowl for the duration.
He had been ailing for quite a while and this morning I got up to find he'd died. I buried him in the garden.
I had tried everything over the last few days. An Epsom salt bath, massages, holding him so he could reach food (which he just spat out). I know he was just a goldfish but we'd had him so very long (over 18 years), after getting him on a fairground, that it's hard to think I couldn't keep him going a little longer.
He is the pet we had had the longest time, a constant throughout the girls' childhoods. It's raining today, 5oC and there's a snow weather warning for later. A depressing start to the Easter holidays...
The cats like to do daredevil stunts on the stairs and bannisters. Frank likes to stroll along the top landing rail as if it weren't a thirtysomething foot drop.
The first landing is, obviously half that distance, and he has experience of that. When we hadn't had him long and he was still expolring, I'd put a granny blanket on the bannister as a bit of decoration.
Frank leapt onto the rail and he and the blanket sailed to the ground floor. I think I moved so fast I got there almost as fast as he did by using the more conventional stair method. He was a bit dazed but otherwise unharmed. The bannisters have remained clutter free at all times since.
Harry likes to peer over the gap, sometimes looking as if he'll leap onto anyone passing. But his favourite hiding place is on top of wardrobes. I've never seen him get up there and never heard him get down, he's either very light-footed or he can fly. I'm going with the flying option.
I know that isn't really a colour, although for me it's the best description of these particular shades. If you don't believe me take a look here or here.
Maybe Vintage Lingerie Pink would be better, but just not as punchy.
The pillowcase pair is new (shock, horror- not thrifted) but I customised it with a shell edging, this time without the blanket stitch base, which makes it more delicate I think. The hanger is in a darker but complementary shade.
They were for a gift, or part of one, with a sort of 40s retro colour scheme. There were also pyjamas and a lovely vintage jug. Bedroom theme.
I've bought more pillowcases and they will feature heavily this Mothering Sunday. Same but different. If anyone is interested in how the edging is done then let me know and I'll cobble together a tutorial.
Harry found them fascinating. Harry is my friend. Frank is not. His urinary tract has struck again, same place. My bloody bed. Just as I was leaving for work yesterday morning, it gave new meaning to the phrase pissed off.
I wasn't spending £18 at the launderette again, so decided to spend it right here at home. I jammed the king size into the washer and mauled the door shut. Pressed start and hoped it wouldn't be a very expensive quick wash. Fortunately when wet it fit into the washer a lot better and as it was so large it plastered the whole drum and spun most satisfactorily and evenly, the washer was where I left it and hadn't hurtled across the cellar floor as it so often does.
Five hundred hours of tumble drying later and it was ready to put back on the bed. I will be placing a collection plate in the front porch to raise funds for the electric bill.
In other news:
The pond pump has stopped working again. I heaved it out and winkled out all the foul gunk to no avail. Accordingly Joe le bassin will be coming round later to give it a service. I know when I'm beaten.
I hadn't made a cake for us at home for a while so I thought yesterday was as good a time as any to remedy that. This is a pistachio and banana cake. The frosting has a hint of cinnamon in it.
The point and shoot camera now has a hint of frosting in it after I fumbled and dropped it right onto the cake.
In fact yesterday was a sugary day altogether. I did the grocery shop in the morning and a bag of caster sugar got ripped and poured all over the car seat, the path to the front door, the porch floor...
The big old goldfish was a bit off colour in the morning as well, just gaping and lying on the bottom of the tank. I took him out and put him in a casserole of fresh water, with the lid on, thinking I'd clean him out later and add a dash of fish jollop to sort him out.
I then went out to buy the jollop (we'd run out). All the while I panicked that the cats would have got the lid off and eaten him. They hadn't.
I looked on Google for the average lifespan of a gold fish and it said 'over 10 years' or '20+ if given a varied diet and exceptional water conditions'. This from Wikipedia- one lived 43 years after being won on a fairground in 1956.
Well our Orange was won on the fair over 18 years ago now. He has a rather limited diet of fishfood and I wouldn't say his water quality was exceptional, but I do care a lot about him and Lemon who is a mere 10 or so.