March 18, 2009
Hmmm, perhaps I should clean my keyboard

Hmmm, perhaps I should clean my keyboard

Spring, it seems, brings not just warmth and green shoots and sunshine – it has also woken up the ants. They have been evicted from their antly paradise, the cupboard where we keep the sugar, and now every morning brings a new set of scouts sent out to discover and restore these promised lands to the ant kingdom.

So I wasn’t that surprised to find one of them wandering across the wastes of my laptop keyboard – it is, after all, where I keep the remains of my lunch – although I would have preferred it if it hadn’t then disappeared under the keys themselves before I could catch it. So far some tentative poajfkalfjaing and then some vigorous shaajfiqaoefjafjanfidiing have not removed the little chap from under there and I keep catching glimpses of movement which suggest that it can dodge the keys faster than I can type. So I’m just going to have to wait and hope it emerges with the worst of the crumbs – there’soneunderthespacebarwhichisparticularlyannoying – and I can then squash it before it tells all its pals.

Gadding About

March 17, 2009
The rest of you, just carry on as usual

The rest of you just carry on as usual

It’s a strange thing, but I find that the more we do, the less there is somehow to blog about. This weekend we have been whizzing around the country and have variously found a lost dog, helped render someone utterly speechless, caught up with old friends, inspected some woodland, irritated a speed merchant and raided my mother’s wool cupboard – and none of it worth any more than a passing mention.

But now we are home and settled back into our cosy rut and with any luck some tiny incident will generate a couple of hundred finely honed words, a weak pun or two, and a rather feeble payoff line. Business as usual, in other words.

The Joy of Cycling

March 13, 2009

I don’t know what’s been up with the weather this week – perhaps the weather gods were testing their circuits – but so far we have had: sleet showers with bright sunshine (Monday), glorious warm sunshine (Tuesday), constant steady soaking drizzle (Wednesday) and gales interspersed with sunshine-and-showers (Thursday). Today, it seemed like it was going to be NAR* all day, so I took the opportunity to get out on the bike to get the paper for the first time all week. As I set off, I thought it would be a good day to just relax and enjoy the ride: the view of the hills, the birds singing, the quiet roads and the wind in my hair. After all, cycling’s the way to travel, isn’t it? Much, much better than being shut up in a tin box behind the wheel…

All was well until I was a mile or so from the shop when it went from greyish clouds to slight drizzle. Well, this is fine too, I thought. It’s not as pleasant as when it’s dry, and the birds have stopped singing, and I can’t really see the hills any more what with my glasses being all fogged up, but at least I’m getting some exercise and saving the planet. And then clang: my chain fell off and the strange new squeaking rattle that the bike had developed when it was in top gear revealed itself to be the sound of something possibly vital** working its way loose.

One mobile phone call later, and a longish walk in the now-quite-heavy-rain and the other half had come down to pick me up and inform me that the part that had fallen off was probably not all that vital after all and I could probably ride back. But by that time I’d had it, and so we threw the bike in the car and drove home. There are some days when the joy of cycling somewhat eludes me. This was one of them

I really, really, really need a new bike.

*Not Actually Raining

** A technical term

Let’s Do the Time Warp Again

March 11, 2009

‘This can’t be right,’ I told the other half as we pulled up outside the pub on one of our rare (ok, first) nights out up here.

‘Why not?’

‘Well, this is the pub we’re going to, isn’t it?’


‘And this is us parking on the street just outside it. I mean, right outside the door.’

‘You got a problem with that? It’s a legal space, isn’t it?’

‘You can’t just drive somewhere and park right outside the place you’re going to.’

‘Why not?’

‘It just feels wrong. Is this the seventies or something? You can’t simply drive somewhere and then just park, for free, right outside it. Not in a town. That just doesn’t happen.’

And then we went inside, and the beer was 99p a pint. It wasn’t even that cheap when I was at uni…

I’ll See your…

March 10, 2009

duck egg

Well, it says large

Well, it says large

And raise you one goose egg.

I’ve a Sneaking Feeling…

March 9, 2009

…that driving a 40-odd mile round trip on my own just to do a conservation task isn’t just self-defeating, it more or less defines self-defeating. But that’s the thing about living in the country – everything’s a bit spread out, including the other volunteers who might be able to give me a lift. So is it greener to stay at home and save the carbon, or to burn the diesel and go?

Today at least I could cycle half way there and get a lift the rest of the way. It was a glorious morning for it, too: bright and breezy and everything rainwashed and sun-dried. Downhill I went with a song in my heart and the wind at my back, with the lapwings calling around me.

And uphill and into the wind on the way back, but we’ll draw a veil over that aspect of the journey, and just thank the gods that it didn’t decide to hail.

Wombling Free

March 6, 2009

Another beach clean today, and as we gathered in the car park with our bags and our litter pickers, someone asked if anyone from the local community would be joining us.

‘Well, the community used to run regular beach cleans,’ the organiser said. ‘But then the council began to get a bit funny about who was going to uplift the resulting rubbish so they gave up.’

I’m pretty certain Great Uncle Bulgaria never had this problem.

Woo Hoo

March 5, 2009

Caution: contains knitting

As advertised, a parcel arrived yesterday – a big soft squishy parcel containing these:


more crack, sorry, wool

The fruit of my cousin’s latest car boot foray (I wonder if he could also pick me up one of these?). So, what to knit? I’m currently leaning towards something along these lines. What do you think?

Anyway, because someone asked (and because, secretly, I think it’s pretty damn cool) I’ve decided to divulge the secrets of my mug cosy. Those of you not into knitting, look away now
Read the rest of this entry »

Spring Unsprung

March 4, 2009

That’s funny, I thought to myself as I cycled back from my latest excursion with the BNCC. The road ahead looks as though it’s going straight into a wall.

That’s even funnier, I thought, because that car up there is now driving straight into and up the side of that wall. And then I realised: it wasn’t particularly funny, and it wasn’t a wall, either. It was the side of a hill and that was the road was going straight up it. I had thought I would be okay because I’d chosen a route home that I’d been on before and I didn’t remember it having any really serious hills on it, which just goes to show that the passenger seat of a car is no place to choose a cycle route from.

But there was nothing for it, so I gritted my teeth and plugged forward until I hit the wall, and promptly ran out of gears. It was at that point, when I was going at a brisk 3mph, that it started to sleet. And then it thought about it for a while, and switched to hail.

Apart from the jolly tinkling noise it makes against your bell, there is no upside to hail when you’re on a bike. It stings, it’s cold, and it fills the road with tiny icy ball-bearings. I was ten miles from home.

Clearly, for the weather gods, revenge is a dish best served cold.

Very, very cold.

Readers, We Ate It

March 3, 2009

Thanks for all the suggestions (you can stop now) – we* had an omelette. I would have taken a photograph first, but then it would have got cold, so I just ate it. It was delicious but, despite the largeness of the egg, rather small, so we had another one, with just a regular egg. It was also delicious.

Some other observations:

  • duck’s eggs taste more or less like hen’s eggs.
  • there appeared to be no baby duck in there, sorry Jane
  • I have grown no extra limbs, yet, but it’s early days

Well, this meta-blogging has been fun, but I don’t think I’ll overdo it. Back to normal tales of country life, if anything ever actually happens to me, tomorrow.

*I had to share, because the other half was the one who actually cooked it.


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