Sunday, 21 June 2015

You win some, you lose some

As I sit down to write this, it occurs to me that it was exactly 200 years ago to the day since the Battle of Waterloo. Fitting, since this week has felt like a series of bloody (in both senses of the words) battles, not least trying to write this blog in the face of children that won’t go to sleep and a broadband service that just won’t work (hence the tardy posting…). So here, in no particular order, is the match report for the week that was…

The week got off to a less than auspicious start with an unfortunate accident resulting from slightly oversized wellies and an overenthusiastic desire to get back into the house. For all the potential hazards that present themselves around the place (farm machinery, barbed wire, tumble down barns etc.) my daughter somehow manages to injure herself on the back door step. Blood and motherly guilt flowed in equal torrents as we retreated to the kitchen to assess the damage. Thankfully just a cut to the gums and a graze to the cheek. Nothing that some TLC and a few “seeties” couldn’t fix (as she was quick to pick up on).

Result: daughter 0 – doorstep 1

Next up, the chicks (biggest misnomer ever here at the moment as they are starting to dwarf the laying hens although, perversely, still sound exactly as they did on day one – peep, peep, peep). Having lovingly checked their barn temperature every ten minutes for the past six weeks, ground up their corn twice a day, and nourished them with the finest worms and other hand-selected fresh greens from the field, finally graduation day arrived for them to brave it in the great outdoors. Now, never let it be said that this smallholding lark is purely physically demanding, oh no. You would not believe how much cerebral calculating and complex problem solving went into their transition from barn to field. No less than four university-educated brains sat around the table and sweated over the challenge like some spotty teenager in a GCSE mathematics exam: ‘you have eight table birds and six laying birds, one hen house and two different diets. You need to keep them separate by day, together by night but ensure that they all get enough of their respective food. What is the answer?’ Well, the answer we came up with, and worked to actually implement by way of costly chicken wire and fence posts, not to mention considerable blood, sweat and tears, turned out to be an EPIC FAIL. The one coefficient we completely overlooked was that of protection from marauding corvids. Mistake. Big mistake. Or one might say, rookie mistake, given that the large black birds we saw flying out of the pen bore a striking resemblance to rooks. Having retreated to the house for a self-congratulatory cup of tea after the afternoon’s toil, we came back out not an hour later to find one chick pecked to death, and another well on its way. Well. You should have heard him – talk about turning the air blue! Shotguns were loaded, bait was laid and we have now officially declared a war of attrition on all crow-like species that deign to come within a 100 yard radius of the now doubly-reinforced, high security hen coop. We’ve still to actually shoot any but we’ll get ‘em. Oh yes. We will. You mark my words….

Result: Crows 1 ½ - Us 6½ (given we managed to salvage a couple of the breasts from one bird for dinner)

The new high security chicken coop

We’ve been a tad more successful in our battle against our ground-based invasion. More fool the rabbit that decided to have a wee munch on our growing lettuces. Beatrix Potter we are not. Before you could say “Benjamin Bunny”, the offending critter was dispatched and found itself in a cool box in the back of the Landrover on its way to Hampshire to be course material for disaffected youths. Ha, take that. And to add insult to injury, the dog (god knows how given his multiple yet dismal attempts to date) managed to catch a healthy, adult rabbit this morning on our daily rounds. He’s been parading it around all day like the proverbial dog with two dicks. Let’s hope that will be a lesson to any other have-a-go bunny heroes who reckon they can take on my veg patch… especially now we have actual grown-up things to eat like strawberries and radishes and mizuna (that’s posh talk for lettuce leaves that any fool can grow…).

Result: Rabbits, nul point – Us, a resounding 2 (but surely worth double as scored within the same 12 hour period?!)

Hands off Mr Bunnyface!

Finally, to the roads. Not frequented very much at all by me since I arrived here given our propensity to never leave the place. However, somehow, I managed to land myself a speeding ticket. Yeah, yeah, I know. I should drive more slowly, pay attention to the rules of the road, yadda yadda. BUT, in my defence (your honour), I was only going 37 mph in a 30 mph which starts WELL before the built up area in town. And I have since found out it is a notorious blackspot for mobile speed cameras. Now I’ll lie down and take what I’m due as readily as the next person, but on this occasion I feel my injustice quite keenly given the kamikaze style of motoring adopted by the rest of locals around here who drive like coked up Italians, overtaking on blind bends, hills and hidden dips, you name it. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, my one and only excursion into Ingerland since we moved here (yes I know, hard for me to believe too!) this week also ended in total chaos when a jack-knifed lorry forced the police to close the M56 (i.e. the main artery into North Wales). What should have been a straightforward two hour journey back from Yorkshire turned into a five hour magical, mystery tour around the back lanes of Cheshire with husband playing the role of sat nav from his iPad on the sofa at home. It might all have been some charming adventure were it not for the fed-up three month old baby in the back... I think from now on I’ll just stay put.

Result: North Wales Police 2 (+ £100) – Me 0 (+3 points)

Of course this time last year such highway misdemeanours were not something I ever had to worry about. My transport woes consisted instead of a daily personal battle at Waterloo, fighting other stressed out commuters for the last seat on the (invariably) delayed 18.39 to Portsmouth Harbour.  I know where I’d rather be right now...

No comments:

Post a Comment