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.

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...


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...

Friday, 23 January 2015

More of the same

Not much of interest to report, just ticking along at the moment.

Work is busy, but not in a bad way.  I am getting to do a lot of the stuff that I enjoy, which is nice.

I have added some more to the book, creeping closer to completion of the first full written version, but I keep thinking of extra things that need to be included.  I also had a bit of a fit over how to write the next section.  It involves the character that represents me, and so far everything about him has been written in first person.  But the next section might have to change that, to me being watched by someone else and reporting what I get up to.  Still not sure how it will end up...

My daughter is about to finish her first week in her new job.  She has settled in really well and likes the people she is working with.  Yesterday she had a visit from someone who checks everyone's work.  They had been impressed with the amount of work she has been getting through, but were probably expecting it to be full of errors.  There were no errors at all, not a single one.  This was a great boost to my daughter's confidence, and the checker was really impressed too.  I guess she is thinking that her job might just get a little bit easier?

That is about it, for now!  Have a great weekend!

Monday, 19 January 2015

Is Winter finally arriving?

This has been an odd winter.  We have the occasional cold snap, a bit of frost, a frozen puddle, and everyone says "Oh, here it comes!" 

And then it warms up again!

I am guessing this is because most of our winds have been coming from the South, which means they are going to be warmer than the dreaded northeasterlies, which come down from the Arctic.

So we are into another cold snap.  We even had a flurry of snow last week.  Number One Son, who is at Uni further to the north, now has snow on the ground, and I am sitting here wishing I had put the bottom half of my thermals on today too.  Will this last?  Will we now get proper Winter weather for a while?


It is supposed to last for most of this week, at least. 

But we don't want snow here, not this week.  Not the snow that causes the roads to close.  This because our daughter finally started her job today, so we don't want anything to mess up her settling in time, don't want her getting stranded in the city with no way of getting home.  Of course, we do work very close to each other, so at least we would be together if it came to it and we could work something out together.  We could hike back if necessary (it has happened before).  It is not as though we will be wading through feet of snow, it only takes about 2 inches of snow to close everything over here...

My determination to finish my book this winter seems to be staying with me.  I am almost at the end of the first complete draft, only a few more scenes (some of them very big, I must admit) to go before I can go back to the beginning and start editing, espanding and polishing.  I am getting quite excited about it all now, and enjoying seeing things unfold and develop, it seems to have a life of its own now, which is great.

More soon!

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

All Quiet on the Western Front

OK, I guess the title is wrong, because it really is quiet at the moment!

Sort of.

I am back in the swing of work, but contemplating taking part in a local tournament of X-Wing, the Star Wars game that I play.  I will probably be up against hard core players less than half my age and will probably be roadkill, but hey it should be fun.

I have added more to my zombie book - worrying how the Ebola situation is providing inspiration...

There has been a bit of a mix up with my daughter starting her new job, but hopefully she will be able to start soon.  Fingers crossed...

Our younger son, who I will now start to call Arnie on this blog, is entering his first power lifting contest next month.  Really proud of this kid, he has changed himself from a shy chubby kid into a young man who can lift silly amounts.  Yes, he is being sensible, training properly and using the right techniques.  No he is not taking steroids.  Can't wait to see him do his stuff.

OK, going to take a serious tangent here.  Things have not been quiet in France, where there have been some terrible things done in the name of religion, followed by massive parades showing solidarity with the dead, and in favour of free speech (even though some of the political leaders who turned up to take part do not allow such free speech in their own countries).  But this has all felt a bit wrong to me.  OK, the dead people should not be dead, but do we really have the unrestricted right to insult others and their beliefs?  Can someone walk into a bar, hurling insults and not expect a punch on the nose?  Surely, if we are responsible enough to have truly free speech, we should be sensible enough to know when to respect others.

OK, enough of that!  Hope you are having a great week!

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Back! Happy New Year!


This must be my longest non-blog ever!

I blame Number One Son.  This Christmas he travelled light, so instead of bringing one of his desktop PCs with him he said he would just borrow my laptop when he needed to.

Sounds fair, I said.

As it turned out, I never got a look in.  He had an assignment that he was working on, and when he was not working on that he was doing some programming for relaxation, and when he wasn't doing that we were all doing something together and when that wasn't happening we were sleeping off all the fun, food and excitement!

So it is his fault that I have not been around.

I have managed to do a bit of FB on my phone, and did drop in on the occasional blog with it, but commenting is just a nightmare so I have taken to just lurking if restricted to the phone.

Anyway, enought feeble excuses!

We had a really good Christmas, one of the best for a long time I think.  Everyone was happy with their presents, and we didn't break the bank either.  In fact, given that the kids were all feeling a bit poor this year (Number One Son is poor during the Autumn term, our daughter does not start her job until Monday and Younger Son is still at school) we decided that all of the after dinner presents should be bought from Pound Shops.  Yes, no afternoon presents were to cost more than one Pound, but had to be carefully chosen for that person.  And it was hilarious!  We found some great stuff and had a hoot opening them all.

We got lazy with Christmas dinner, though.  Given that 2 of us no longer eat meat, we thought that a massive turkey would be a waste, so the meat eaters were treated to some wonderful steaks, while Mrs RC produced a very interesting looking nut roast for her and our daughter.  My mum and Spot were with us for the day, having steak too (mum shared hers with Spot, as we knew she would) and a fabulous dinner was had anyway, without 30 years worth of left over turkey to deal with!

Mrs RC and I did spend a good amount of time lounging in front of the TV, resting our tired bones and watching some real trash.  It was heaven. 

One show that we stumbled on was Utopia US.  Did anyone catch this during its 2 month showing in the US late last year?  From the write up and watching the first show I was convinced that it was a spoof.  It was hypnotic!  The premise was that they were setting up a commune 15 people who would have to create a mini society and survive for a year.  The characters were so amazing that it had to be a spoof. There was a toothless redneck called "Red", and a young black guy from Harlem who was just out of prison.  And they made friends!  There was a hippy who believed in the magical healing power of sex, and they showed her saying goodbye to her 2 boy friends and her girl friend.  There was a tall woman who called herself a Hunteress, who brought a hunting bow with her, but even when they were trying to survive on less than 1000 calories a day and there were deer roaming across their land, she did not even try to shoot one!

And I won't even start on how dysfunctional they all were!

It had to be a spoof!  Surely?

But no, after the 2nd episode Mrs RC was sure it was real.  I googled it to find out the truth, and she was right!  It was real!  These were real people!  For some reason it was cancelled after 2 months.  Might have to watch the rest to find out why.  Did they starve?  Did they kill each other?  Could the Hunteress actually use her bow?

Anyway, it is great to be back!  See you again soon!