Friday, 27 February 2015

Weekend!

The weekend has finally arrived, and not a moment too soon! It has been a long and exhausting week, and we are now looking forward to a nice lazy couple of days.


Especially as it is Mrs RC's birthday on Sunday!  She is planning to celebrate by not doing anything except enjoy being waited on and pampered.  Should be a great day.


See you next week!

Monday, 23 February 2015

Pride

They say that Pride is one of the deadly sins.  If so, I think it must cause you to burst.  The saying "bursting with pride" must have come from somewhere!

Anyway, I am currently bursting with pride because of our youngest son, "Arnie".

2 years ago he was a shy, chubby kid.

Now?  Take a look at this (sorry about the quality, blogger has degraded it horribly!):

video

He is squatting with 341 pounds (155kg) of weights.

At 16 years old, he took part in his first power lifting contest.  In the under 20s group, he won 2 categories and came joint 1st in the third.  He only failed one of his 12 lifts.  If that had succeeded he would have won all three categories.

So yeah, if pride kills I can die happy!

Just go back and watch that video again, will you?  Tell me you are not impressed!

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Spring?

It is a bright, sunny day here in Canterbury.

Last night was very cold and caused a heavy frost, but the sun is warm and soon cleared it.

Mr Chuffington the hedgehog also seems to think that Spring is near.  Over the last few weeks he went into semi hibernation, sleeping for a few days and then coming out to eat a few tasty meal worms before retiring again.  But yesterday morning, he did something that he has not done since autumn.  He started calling to other hedgehogs.  The sound is wonderful.  Imagine a large dog with a very sore throat trying to bark.  The pitch is surprisingly low, almost like the chuffing sound of a steam train - hence Mrs RC's choice of name for him!

The fish have been a lot more visible in the last few days too, no longer hugging the bottom of the pond, out if sight in the weed.

The bird table is as busy as ever, and each day we are visited by a mass of startlings and sparrows.  Mixed in with these we have a robin, occasional black birds and the regular groups of wood pigeons and doves.  They eat vast amounts between them, and scatter the rest over the front garden.  The fact that the stuff that falls on the floor tends to get left indicates to me that we don't need to put out more - surely they would pick the place clean if they were really hungry?

Oh, and the road works are still in progress.  Either they have changed the sign or I misread it at the beginning, but they are there until the end of the month.  I have to pick my way through sometimes (they do not leave a clear footpath like I think they are supposed to) but sending the cars on a long diversion does make my journey nice and peaceful.  It will be a shock when the road finally reopens!

Monday, 16 February 2015

Phew.....

OK, I have not been here very much recently, but I have a great excuse!

I have just finished a complete redraft of my book!

Yes, for the moment it is finished.

I am sure there will be more changes, but I expect this to be just adding more descriptions of some characters and locations.  I like the way the story unfolds, the pace that it goes at and the ending.

I have now put a copy onto my Kindle, and will hand it over to Mrs RC for her to read.  She will be the first person to read the whole story, as is only fitting.  I hope she likes it and does not think I have wasted my time...

(I can't help thinking about the movie Funny Farm, where Chevy Chase and his wife have moved to the country so he can concentrate on writing his book.  He gives his wife a draft to read and it is so bad she cries....)

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Somewhere over the moonbow...

Saw this when I took the dogs out for their late night walk.  It was rather splendid.  Seemed to be caused by the moonlight shining through a fine, freezing mist.



Monday, 2 February 2015

Feb already?

I will start with the sad news - the dove did not make it.  He/she (I was only guessing at its gender) went to sleep the other night and did not wake up.  It was a real shame, but at least he/she was warm and had food and water there for the taking.

A lot of other parts of the UK have had good snow falls in the last week, but not us.  Sticking out at the bottom right corner, almost touching France, our weather is often different.  We have it cold (the garden pond had ice on it this morning) but only flurries of snow that has not hung around.  Probably a good thing, really!



My ride to work has been quieter for a couple of weeks now, due to some road works that are diverting a lot of the traffic.  It should have finished last Thursday, but they started work two and a half days late, so are now over running badly.  This is not helped by the fact that their trenches all flooded over the weekend, so they now have a ton of water to pump out before they can carry on. 



I am not complaining, though. 

Selfish?

Thursday, 29 January 2015

About the livestock...

This morning I went into the front garden to restock the bird table, as usual.  Frou Frou was with me, as usual, hoping to catch a cat in the hedge.

Sure enough, she dived into the hedge and stayed there.

I fed the birds, then called her.

She did not budge.

I called some more, but she stayed put.

So I investigated.  There, tucked into the bottom of the hedge was a dead dove.  Sad, I thought, but it had been very cold last night, so not totally surprising.

I reached in to pick it up, not wanting to leave it there for Frou Frou to drag out and play with, but as I picked it up, it moved its feet.

Hey, the little guy was alive!

So I took it indoors and told Mrs RC, who began to prepare a cage for it.  I could feel it starting to move more as the warmth from my hand revived it.  We popped it into the cage with some water and food to see how it got on.  I know from seeing doves "rescued" in the past that they often just go into a huddle and die anyway, but when I rang home at lunchtime he had recovered, and was eating and pooping, so we decided to let him go before he relapsed.  Hope he will be OK.  We get a number of doves in our garden so hopefully he knows were to come for dinner!

Meanwhile, Mr Chuffington, the hedgehog, is still going strong.  It it gets really cold he seems to semi-hibernate, but in the warmer spells he regularly comes out of his bed at night and eats.  Look for photos of him some time in the Spring, when we will have to decide on a long term plan for him.

And the fish have had us worried too.  When it gets really cold they hit the deep water, hiding in the plants where we can't see them.  But for several days we only saw Toffee Penny, the newer one of the two.  Previously, we would often see Lonesome George while the other one hid from us, and this switch was worrying me a little.  This was not helped when we watched a nature show on TV that had a feature about ponds in winter.  At one point, they talked about how, if the pond freezes over (ours had briefly), the darkness can cause the plants to stop producing oxygen and some fish suffocate.  The dead fish that they showed was just like poor old George!  It was horrible!

But fear not, both George and Toffee Penny have been seen in the last couple of days, alive and well.

The rabbits are still going strong.  We now have a routine that each Sunday, while we clean out their houses and runs we let them rampage around the garden, which inevitably involves a lot of chasing each other, humping each other (they are all boys, so no fear of babies!) and digging up an patch of bare earth they can find.  Custard gets scared and hides indoors, while Frou Frou enjoys watching it all going on.

The dogs are, of course, also doing great.  Custard was 9 just before Christmas, and there are occasional signs of the weakness in his back legs, but overall he is far better than the vet predicted when he was diagnosed.  Mrs RC has given him a new bed, which really seems to help his stiffness too.  She has made it from a proper bed mattress, folded in half, so it combines amazing softness with the freedom to lay any way he wants.  His position of choice is now flat on his back, legs splayed everywhere.
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And a note about the book!  I am now a hair's breadth from having a complete draft of the story!  Just one more major scene to wrap it all up!  Then I can go back and do some polishing!  I had promised myself that I would finish this winter, and it looks like I will actually get there.  Only a week or so ago the end seemed to be miles away, then I was suddenly writing the big showdown scene with guns, bombs and loud music!  Given that I started nearly 2 years ago, it has been an epic journey.  Of course, I could have finished sooner if I had pushed myself, but I did not want to do that.  I wanted to enjoy every moment of writing, do it as a hobby.  If I had started to force myself I would have dropped it long ago, I know that.  Fun things should remain fun, as soon as it becomes a chore it is not fun and I am not into spending my free time doing stuff that is not fun.  Did that make sense?  The book is better written than that, BTW...

Update

The dove failed to fly away so he is back indoors again.  After a morning of nibbling food, drinking and sleeping he has now hopped onto a branch in the cage and is happily sunning himself.  Mrs RC has called him Coo Coo.

Just wrote the final scene of the book...