Well the first snow of the year arrived this morning. The thermals are on, the porridge steaming on the hob, and the wood burning stove blazing away. I think it may be an “in” day today.
Friday, 19 November 2010
Puppies are destructive. There are toys that are built to last and there are toys that simply can’t cope. Now, call me naive, but in a Duracell bunny type test between a bespoke puppy toy and a standard kiddie toy, I’d put my money on the puppy toy. Puppies have razor sharp teeth way before a teething child develops seam ripping gnashers. Puppies are well down the road of manic toy in mouth head shaking while babies are getting to grips with mashed bananas with pureed carrot. And who ever saw a baby leaping into the air, performing a back flip and snatching a soft toy from mid-air. Naturally, the manufacturers of puppy toys have taken all of this low level research into account. Or have they?
Exhibit 1: Beanie Baby Cow. Cost: £4.99. Date of submission to puppy machine: 1st August 2010. Condition of toy: nearly new, no significant wear or tear. Date of complete destruction by puppy machine: 18th November 2010. Condition of toy; ears & horns missing in action, severe facial reconstruction, loss of brain matter, bean stuffing distributed across kitchen floor.
That’s a good three and a half months solid play by a mad Welsh collie with hard core nibbling, ripping and licking skills, at a return on investment of approximately 5p per day’s play.
Exhibit 2: Puppy’s First Christmas Reindeer Toy. Cost; £2.99. Date of submission to puppy machine: 19th November 2010. Condition of toy: brand, spanking new. Date of complete destruction by puppy machine: 19th November 2010. Condition of toy: Stuffing removed; squeaker surgically separated from innards; outer casing soggy, dirty & shredded.
You do the maths. That’s the last puppy toy I’ll be buying. I’ve got an entire childhood’s worth of soft toys to sacrifice to the puppy machine.
Wednesday, 17 November 2010
Litter sucks. It’s unsightly, hazardous to wildlife and bad for puppies who eat anything and everything (and equally bad, if not worse, for owners who have to clear up after puppies who eat anything and everything and consequently end up with a dicky tummy). The litter bugs even find their way to “the middle of nowhere” (to quote our city dwelling friends). We are victims of the drive-by, burger eating litter monster who frequents the MacDonalds in Aberystwyth, spends the 25 minute journey from there to here scoffing his burger and fries (it so has to be a male!), then tosses the packaging out of the car window and into the hedgerow down our lane. Perhaps it’s the same person who drinks McEwans Export and kicks the can into the ditch, where it magically doesn’t disappear but becomes a nutrition free gum slashing snack for the ponies in the field. Teri and I regularly return from our afternoon stroll with a booty of assorted plastic bottles – last week we bagged three 5 litre Morrisons vegetable oil bottles, no doubt discarded by a hard up farmer who’s reluctant to spend his precious pennies on diesel for his decrepid Land Rover.
Where am I going with this mini-rant? Well, as of this week I will be going by the title of Litter Champion. Keep Wales Tidy heard of my one woman crusade and rushed to sign me up to their campaign. Ok, so I’ve bigged myself up a little there. In fact I contacted them, had a coffee with my local Project Officer, signed a bit of paper to say I won’t sue anyone if I accidentally fall in a ditch and break my ankle, and took delivery of my Litter Champion Pack. Here I am modelling the latest fashions that the Litter Champions of Wales will be seen wearing on the streets this season...
Check out the practical yet stylish all weather poncho in cherry red; the logo emblazoned t-shirt with complimentary litter grabber and blue litter collecting bag guaranteed to mesmerise even the most excitable of puppies; and the highlight of the autumn collection, the one size fits all high-vis gilet, available in fluorescent yellow only.
It’s not all fun, fun, fun for the Litter Champion. I’m accountable for my litter collection performance, keeping monthly records of my hoard and providing photo evidence to prove I do actually pound the streets sporting my poncho and gilet, striking fear into the hearts of the litter bugs of Bethania. I’m watching you!
Saturday, 13 November 2010
So the work has started in earnest on our own house now the cottages are completed. The first area was the hallway. The stairs were covered in a horrible dark brown stain which took over a week to sand off as it had to be done by hand.
There was also a nasty stain on the ceiling where in a previous life the water tank leaked, and the old lathe and plaster had to be removed as it had cracked and was falling off. We decided to get a decorator in to do this work as we didn’t have the ladders to work at that height (not that we didn’t fancy doing it at all!!!)
The biggest issue with painting the stairs was how to stop the pesky pets from trailing white paw prints around the house. In the end a complex arrangement of a fire guard, boxes of computer games and a step ladder seemed to do the trick (apart from one incident where Charlie decided to clear the handrail, leaving some tasty gouges in the nice new paintwork).
Terri is still not allowed upstairs, as this has been designated “Cat World”, but as all teenagers, as soon as our backs are turned, she guiltily tries to slink upstairs into the forbidden territory.
Thursday, 4 November 2010
The pork wagon is on the road!
As I write a Ford Focus full of top quality pork product is heading for its first destination – a freezer at the Love residence. From there, the meat wagon speeds along the M4 delivering cases of piggy yumminess to the lucky folk who bagged themselves a half pig. Let’s hope the freezer space is cleared and ready as a half pig sure is a whole lot of pork, trotters included. Thank you, pigs, for providing us with such a porky feast.
So its sausages for tea, and a ham hock for Sunday lunch!