The extra bits...(Under construction).

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Sometimes......


     .....tis the simple things that keep the Black dog from my mind, like in the unlit snug watching the flame nymphs dancing on my open fire keeping the winter cold outside where it belongs.







     Until the next time, take care...

John

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Wildlife garden beginnings......

     Hello there upon this rather bright, sunny and bloody cold Saturday afternoon. For those who have followed this blog for a little while (yes I do actually manage to keep some folk interested enough to return) ye may know that I have an interest in nature, although I'm not particularly knowledgeable upon the subject I am always learning. I have always wanted a wildlife garden, more so over the last few years where my turbulent and nomadic lifestyle failed to find me a port in which to anchor for more than a few months. Until now that is, living here in the village is slowly helping me become more grounded and stable....well as stable as this mad old pirate may become!

     So in the very late Autumn of last year steps were taken to achieve my dream of a wildlife haven upon my doorstep. Of course, with a house's garden there is always compromises to be made. So we first drew a list up of what the small garden would have to accommodate....


  • A workshop/shed for yours truly
  • Somewhere to sit in privacy
  • A place to park and work upon automobiles
  • A wildlife pond
  • A pond for fish
  • Planting for wildlife
  • Planting for color
  • A 'living roof'
  • A place to dry washing
  • Areas to attract and shelter wildlife
  • A compost heap
  • A greenhouse (extremely doubtful this one)
  • Has to be tranquil, very tranquil.
    
     Not a big list true, but with a small space it should be an interesting project. I wish that I'd taken pictures of the garden when I first moved in but as mentioned in earlier posts I've only just now renewed my taste for the camera so I guess I'll just have to give you a brief, verbal description of the initial garden. 

     Tis an 'L' shaped garden and looking from the house the larger area is on the left and measures approx eighteen feet by twenty six feet. This area was on two levels separated by a low stone wall, the smaller area by the house being a graveled seating area the larger upper level, being about eighteen feet by twenty feet, laid to grass (now mud) with one corner (upper left) having a so called shrub border which, being honest, was a right bloody mess of planting. In the left lower corner though there were just two plants one being a glorious Japanese Maple of a deep red hue but the other being a Cherry tree which had grown so large as to totally overshadow the garden and house, at this size it was far to close to the house and its foundations.

     Looking from the house again, to the right of the larger area there is a graveled 'parking' area which though large enough to fit my car on, access is severely hampered by a block built storage hut which will have to go. The whole 'L' shaped garden is sided by either neighbor's house/outbuilding walls with a three foot fence running across the bottom and down the side of the 'L'. One thing that I'm very happy about is that it's South facing and, judging by some of the plants in the top corner very sheltered to boot.

     I have done some work already, October saw me lay the base for the shed and also the beginnings of a slabbed sitting area next to the house. Also I bought several very cheap and small shrubs, the type that sit on supermarket shelves for eons until they're discounted because they're at death's door. My parents gave me some potted up roses and a few other bits to help. I have taken down the Cherry tree and moved a large Camellia bush to the side as it stood right in the front and middle of the top corner border blocking everything else, also it was where I wanted to place a small wildlife pond. The small shrubs I'd bought were planted as well as a large and mixed quantity of bulbs. The level of the border was raised by the soil from the pond and also from some added compost from the store of B and the Q. Ericaceous compost was added in a large amount in and around the Camellia's roots and after initially dropping about half of its leaves and having a third of its height taken off it seems to have stabilised, time will tell.

     Come December the shed arrived and was erected. I say shed but it looks like a bloody big Wendy house! Compromise I guess :( and being as the weather was still mild I installed the wildlife pond at the same time unearthing a rather grisly find, and then backed it with a log pile. Behind the log pile the bird feeders are to be found and due to the present lack of cover for birds I had the idea of making a loose frame of thin branches from the now deceased Cherry tree and this seems to have had a positive affect as the birds certainly use it. Whilst doing this I also made some trellis out of more of these branches to support a honeysuckle that had been left to wander, unsuccessfully I might add, on the ground.

     I've skipped through the tasks trying not to make this post too long winded, though things like the wildlife pond, planting and future projects will have posts devoted to them, I just want to set the 'skeleton' of the wildlife garden project out for you. For now I shall leave you with a few pictures took yesterday before the snow melted totally...oh sorry about the hounds getting in the way, they're just bloody divas them two.....

Ooohh dad's got the camera out...

    Above looking back from behind the garden towards the house, sticks for cover, snow smattered log pile and frozen pond...


Bloody Wendy house!!


   Frow this shot you can see the impact a ten by ten man cave   er Wendy house has had and I'm already planning on how to make it 'disappear' into the background, you also see how low the fencing is and I also have a very interesting, well to me, idea about this.




     Wildlife pond close up with log pile behind..

What a mess!!!!


     The dormant Japanese Maple in front of an area which hopefully this year will become a building with a living, mossy roof. Apparently this used to be a 'lean to' where the old privy was housed...Victorians eh?


     The Cherry tree 'stump' and the beginnings of a Japanese Maple border with underlying carpet of perennials (hopefully), oh yes the 'Y' shaped tree is a much smaller type of flowering Cherry that should reach no more than fifteen foot and will add early color and blossom.

      So there you have it, my 'wildlife garden beginnings'. Any tips on planting or anything else to encourage wildlife to my little spot of suburbia will be truly welcome. Until the next time, take care...

John

Friday, 23 January 2015

Nercwys forest .... again!....

     Well the stubborn streak within me appears not to becoming any thinner folks, in fact I do believe that I'm actually becoming even more Mule like these days. So yesterday, after just one rest day for my poor knackered knees I set off around Nercwys forest once more but more of that in a tad.

     First thing yesterday though I wanted to replace the not so functional bird feeders that I mentioned in my previous post with the one that I er ahem haggled such a reasonable bargain on. The reason why it was such a bargain was that one of its four perches were missing so this morning remembering that I had a knackered Niger seed feeder in the shed so repairs were made, the feeder filled n hung and sparrows were seen feeding on it already, although the little buggers flew off before I managed to get a picture!

The bright green perch donated by the Niger seed feeder.

     But apart from a few humdrum tasks....the clipping of not walked enough doggie nails, chopping kindling, sorting out what's for tea (battered Haddock and homemade wedges with some mixed greens) and a myriad of phone calls including organising a physiotherapist appointment for me knees, letting the grind know I'll be back off the sick come Sunday and bollocking the bank for another cock up on me contents insurance nothing more was accomplished in the morning.

      I was a tad more prepared for the walk this time, only a tad as I still have not found my walking boots in the pile of boxes that hold most of my possessions but some 'out there' gear was to be found....

The fir cones were collected on the walk...

     So I was able to ..... ditch the 'not fit for purpose' coat, replacing it with my long lost 'Jack Pyke' shooting coat which also had my 'Glacier gloves' in it's pockets (toasty), also able to ditch the jeans for a more comfortable pair of army surplus trousers, my 'Harris Tweed' cap was found, and to finally cap it off (sorry) a knapsack was also found. Oh yes nearly forgot...I even took me little 'Fujifilm' camera too.

      According to the display in 'flat cap car' the temperature was a positively barmy 0.5 of a degree as we trundled into the car park at Nercys forest once again. Perhaps not cold enough to freeze the balls of a brass monkey but it felt bloody close to it! But at least this time I was far better equipped than on our last jaunt, both clothing wise and mentally. 

     So we set off up the main path and already a difference in Nelly was apparent, she was more confident this time and scouted much further ahead than the last but she always happily came back to me when called. I have admit to have been very apprehensive about letting her off the lead as I believe that she has had none to little walking in her two short years and certainly has not had this type of 'off the beaten track' exercise before. She's just been a kennel dog for the sole purpose of breeding. I find this a tad sad that she's not been able to stretch her stumpy little legs before now.

     Bear on the other hand was no different than usual and you would swear that there had been no gap in her 'out there' exploits. Within just five bloody minutes she was to be found up to her old tricks.....

Look Dad.....Mud

     Where as Nelly, bless her stumpy legs, skirts around the slightest hint of water but unfortunately, despite her good intentions and because of her stumpy ickle legs her underside still got absolutely plastered in crap by the end of the walk.

Nelly taking the dry way...

     The woods were certainly cold and unusually the temperature didn't feel any warmer once in the cover of the trees. I put this down to the mist that was lurking around, not heavy but perhaps enough to keep us chilled. Another thing that I attributed to the weak mist was the silence. The only sound to be heard was my heavy footfall on the frozen snow and the scampering of the terrible twosome. I have not known Nercys to be this quite before as there is usually some bird song to be heard, but even the trees were silent with no wind to carry their voices as they watched us pass by, have to admit that it was a more than a little bit eerie and added a certain nervousness to the walk.

Silent trail...

      For a change I was happy to pass from the cover of the trees and head back towards the carpark along the main trail once more. Even with some distance to go we'd already doubled the previous walk and my knees had only just started really slowing me down with pain and dull aches. As we made our way along the path we came across a possible reason for the silence of the trees...



      I know that Nercwys forest is a managed forest, planted in the sixties replacing open moorland with non-native trees but I was surprised to see how much timber was felled this time. The trail was edged for over half a mile with these ten foot stacks of trees! Perhaps I'm being whimsical, but perhaps the forest was in mourning for such a loss? 

Something about wood that makes me touch it...

     As we approached the car park my pace had slowed down to a crawl yet even so I was still enjoying the walk and watching the capers of Bear n Nelly who'd taken the opportunity of the slower pace to play hide and seek with one another and the first bird call was to be heard, the shrill alarm call of a Blackbird they'd managed to spring....

Your it!
     
     We finally got home as the light was failing but as knackered as I was there were still chores to be done...Light the fire, get tea on the go but firstly...

Nelly becomes suddenly camera shy!

      ....bath these two little filthy buggers and untangle a mass of debris from Bears ears! I hope that you've enjoyed this as much as we enjoyed the walk, 'till the next time take care,

John
     

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Unprepared and bloody stubborn with it.......

       Good evening gentlefolk, and thank you all for the recent comments upon my paltry ramblings, they are all very much appreciated. Tis been a kind of 'acting on impulse' sort of day today, a day where I've tended to say the hell with it lets just go with it! Yet now as I sit here tip tapping away I'm thinking that events could have turned out a tad differently.....

     First thing this morning I was going to write up up my chicken soup recipe for you lucky people to drool over but then I looked out the window and thought ..... nah stuff that I'm going to go out and by some replacement bird feeders to replace the pile of tosh that try to pass themselves off as suitable feeders. They are truly pants, forever clogging and only having stupid wire perches at the bottom which every morning seemed to unexplainably be pushed upwards barely allowing my few feathered visitors a claw hold to enable them to feed. So I jumped into 'flat cap man's' car which was a bugger to start being as it had stood for quite some time due to me being lurgified, and headed down to the purveyor of all sorts of sundries B of the Q. Whilst examining the feeders upon display the 'big one' caught my eye and I found myself ooohhing out loud. But then I saw the price, bloody hell £12.00 to attract ungrateful little buggers to crap on me car! Ah but then I noticed that one of the four perches was missing on one of the feeders "aha" a bargain in the making thinks I. So I tootled around the rest of the store with one of those old woman baskets that they supply that are carried by men and wheeled along using the extending handle by infirm and incontinent old ladies. Unfortunately yes I wheeled mine along just like said old dears, bloody lurgy! Anyways back to point upon reaching the checkout I put through my sundry items first and then finally just before t'was swiped I asked the expressionless young lass on the till if there was to be a discount as it was not complete? "I'll call someone" came back the standard reply, and two minutes later a rather flustered and even younger assistant manager came puffing along and the following conversation occured.....

JM ..... what's the problem (rather abruptly thought I)

Moi .... Well beside your manners young man (so there is some advantage to getting older) I'd like a discount upon this incomplete avian multi type food dispenser (and yes I was smiling)

JM ... Eh?

Moi ... (sigh)The bird feeder, some bits are missing

JM .... Oh isn't there another one?

Moi .... No my good man there is not, I indeed scoured the avian food dispensing section with not a sign of a suitable and truly complete dispenser of succulent seeds and meal worms for the delectation of the varied avian creatures that would indeed perish without some sort of intervention by a good and stout hearted Welshman able to provide such a banquet to titillate the pallets of avian persuasion, namely moi. But if you wish to check the facility of avian seed dispensing contraptions your good self please do so and don't give a second thought to the fact that in doing so that this action would lead myself to believe that you think that I may well be telling untruths, porkies or downright lies!, therefore young man making me think that you indeed doubt my good character which would in lead to me taking umbrage and demanding full satisfaction from a more senior member of your wonderful facility and also forcing me to abandon these other items that this delightful young lady has so ably entered into the sold section of your wonderful companies computerised records which inturn would leave even more shit for you to sort out. (with the queue behind becoming longer, my grin now probably shark like and that I used the word "shit" I was really hoping that he wouldn't check as the fact was that there were actually three complete feeders in the bird feeding section, oops)

JM .... Er how much discount were you thinking of? (very red faced)

Moi ... Oh about .... twelve pounds would seem about right don't you think?

JM .... Er..Yes, yes err twelve err that sounds ok, ring it through K.

K ... So that item will be twelve pounds off?

JM ... Yes K (rather loudly) now just serve the (quite a pause) er...gentleman.

K ...Fine, that item will be nothing sir (with a lovely knowing smile to boot)

Moi .... Ta very much 

     Damn it is hard to be a pirate these days, but when it happens oh the world seems a much better place. Ah but this wasn't actually what I intended to post about this evening, see even now I'm being impulsive.

     For this afternoon, oh hang on the mystery of the upward facing wires on the soon to be redundant feeders was solved upon my return.... Rattus Norvegious....




     ......the little bugger was perched happy as Larry on the crap feeder using the wire perches as support in broad daylight the little bastard! Then again you have to respect their ingenuity and survival skills, just a pity they carry disease. Anyway back to the plot, before I lose it completely, upon stepping over the threshold, releasing the hounds of hell out for a piddle and a scamper around the garden I thought to myself stuff my knackered knees and stuff me feeling like crap with no energy at all, those dogs need a proper walk. So without stopping to think I made up a steak n kidney pot of stew and bunged it in the oven on low, grabbed the two hounds and bundled them into the car. Half an hour later we're the only souls in Nercwys woods car park.....




     It was only half a mile in when I realised how little thought had gone into this escapade, firstly I had no walking kit or equipment at all just jeans, steel toe capped work boots and a crap not fit for purpose coat! With also no knapsack, firesteel, no fluids, no knife, no basics at all...just goes to show that I've been away too long. Coupled with this I realised as the two dogs scampered away up the trail that I'd never had Nelly off the lead before....what the hell was I thinking. As I limped after them I composed myself and made myself trust my instincts about her and that she'd be ok. Sure enough there was only a slight hesitation on her stubborn face when I called her back, but then she hurled herself pell mell back down the hill with what I can only describe as a joyful look on her face, yep she is definitely one of the pack, my pack. Bearing in mind the conditions and my knees I followed a short route which would have taken just over ten minutes back in the day, it took me a good hour to complete. Partly because we came across some serious walkers with two highland terriers, again time to curse impulse as Nelly had not met other dogs besides Bear since joining our clan. But they got on fine apart from Nelly deciding that walking with them would be more fun than trying to keep up with Bear, took me fifteen minutes of coaxing and a little Anglo Saxon before the stubborn little bugger decided to come back on our side. But all in all she towed the line well and both thoroughly enjoyed themselves. 

     Another thing that I did on impulse was to leave the camera at home thinking I'd have no interest in taking photographs but, surprisingly, I regretted that decision once 'out there'. I still had my phone on me so I took some average pictures to show the trail...


About time dad!!!

There's something wrong with my ears dad!


A few of the I cones picked up for tonights fire.....why didn't I bring the knapsack? pockets stuffed with em!

You can tell they were bred for the same purpose....noses to the ground all the way...

At least I remembered one piece of kit...

     We got back home without any mishaps and were all completely knackered. But the smell of the stew greeting my through the door and the warm & peaceful feeling that at last I'd got 'out there' made up for aches n pains. Yes I might have been unprepared and bloody stubborn today but I got away with it and will be a lot better prepared next time. One thing I will be still stubborn about is not to let my knees hold me back, I don't care if they are hurting they are just going to have to come along for the ride! 

Knackered..one and all

     I'll finish now because the promised snow has maybe just started, the delicious stew has settled warming my stomach and I've just been told that apple pie is waiting for me with a brew by the fire...maybe I'll post the chicken soup recipe another day...maybe.

Til the next time, be prepared and take care...

John.
      

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Of sprouts and beeswax.....

      Tis been a bit of a nothing weekend for moi I must report. I'm still as weak as the proverbial kitten with a hike upstairs almost requiring a base camp and perhaps secondary camp on the tenth step escarpment before the final assault upon the remaining steps. Ok perhaps a tad exaggeration there but I'm still suffering the effects of  the lurgy and the Doctor has basically forbid me to go back to the grind for at least another week. 

     Mind you, moaning apart, I am starting to feel a tad better mentally and am actually beginning to do a couple of low key jobs around and about. Managed to get the terrible twosome out yesterday evening, we were only out for fifteen minutes or so but it felt good getting cold fresh air into my lungs with Bramble n Nelly actually tired after such a short spurt and they were happy to curl up in front of the fire for the rest of the evening....


Bit of a grainy pic...sorry
     
     We were greeted by a layer of snow this morning, not too much but apparently there's more to come. Thing with snow is the I hate it when there is only a few inches because you have to carry on as normal which means driving in it with all the clueless idiots who have absolutely no bloody idea what they are doing, which makes car journeys long, arduous and fraught with many a danger! No for me if it's going to snow give me feet not inches so that I can snuggle up in front of the fire and forget about the world outside for awhile. 

     Anyway to get back on track (not that any of my posts follow a path anyway), after checking that the bird feeders were topped up I basically did bugger all until this afternoon. But then, feeling the need to be productive, I decided that the dining table was long overdue a polish so out came the beeswax and I found myself in the thoroughly enjoyable actions of bringing life back to the oak table. The soothing and simple actions of this task brought back to mind a post upon a blog that I've just started following. The blog is called 'The Forty Five' and can be found here and from what I've read so far is most enjoyable, the post that came to mind was a simple one related to simple tasks and the peace they can bring but how even such tasks can become chores when the outside world presses in, the post can be found here

     Whilst polishing said table my mind was able to wander, not that it stays still for long, and I remembered an old friend that required some tender attention too....



      Some of my earlier follows may remember my staff from sometime ago but truth is due to the lack of walking I've somewhat neglected it of late and whilst I had the beeswax polish out I decided to remedy the situation. The heavy brass foot was cleaned off and then treated to a couple of polishes using Brasso (I still think old stuff is the best stuff), then I passed a damp cloth over the apple wood staff to clean it from detritus but also to raise the grain slightly allowing the beeswax to be drawn into the wood. This was applied and polished off using a clean,dry and soft cloth three times. It may not look too different on the pictures but it has come back to life again and I'm looking forward to more walking with my trusty friend....




         Oh and I apologise for the shameless product placement but it's damn good stuff. Feeling a tad knackered after these exertions I brewed up and took some time to reflect on things in general, it's not a bad tip that I've picked up on my journey of living with depression. Sometimes just kicking back and turning things over objectively when your mood is light helps put the darker times into perspective a bit, well it works for me.

      Well I guess that's about it from me this evening, I have a small roast chicken dinner on the go whilst I compose this post and I'm hoping that I'll be able to repeat my chicken soup of a few days ago. In fact after my last recipe post I might be tempted to put it up another recipe post, chicken stock and all! That should please Rachel and whilst I'm thinking of pleasing folk, doesn't happen often, Cheryl..tonights roast chicken dinner has the bare minimum of potatoes with a vast increase in veg, well sprouts at least.

 Well I've bored you enough, until the next time take care...

John

Friday, 16 January 2015

Shepherd's left over pie .....

     Well here's a turn up for the book, or should that read blog?, John (moi) puts up a recipe post! Well part of me is trying to regain some interest in life again and live to some older values one of which is to live a tad more frugally and so have less impact as a member of the parasitic human race upon this living planet. Ok speech over and onto the recipe.....

       Had a small shoulder of lamb roast yesterday which left me with some meat left over though not enough perhaps for a casserole on its own. So I decided to make a shepherd's from the remains so here goes nothing....

     Firstly after rooting through my dismal food stock (not been shopping cause of the lurgy) I came up with these basic ingredients....

Lamb shoulder (obviously)
The removed and shredded lamb (more meat than I thought)
A few popotatoes
Two finely sliced carrots
One roughly chopped onion & two garlic cloves softened.
Some mature cheddar with mixed herbs added...
garlic, oregano, pepper & rosemary.

      I set the potatoes to boil until soft enough to mash, about twenty minutes once the water is boiling. If I'd have had any potato left from last night, whether roasted or mashed I'd have used this for the covering mash. Whilst these were boiling merrily away I prepared the rest of the ingredients mixing the carrot, garlic and softened onion thoroughly to the shredded lamb. I wanted some moisture to the mix and added about 100 g of boiled water from the potatoes, half a stock cube and a tiny touch of gravy browning. Again if I'd have had enough gravy from the previous meal I'd have used this instead....

Mixed and a very expectant Bear!

       Once soft enough, without starting to disintegrate, I mashed the potatoes adding far less milk and butter than I usually would as it would be far to sloppy and watery when added to the meat and cooked. The mash is then spread evenly over the lamb mix and I used a fork to 'plough' the top surface to allow it to crisp. Finally I added the cheese and herb mix to the top and put in a pre-heated oven, mid shelf at gas mark 5....

Even putting the topping on does not deter the Bear....

     I left this for about 45 minutes checking that it was browning nicely, when I judged that the cheese and potato topping was turning golden and just beginning to crisp up I put the peeled sprouts on for just over 10 minutes (I could eat a bowl full of em with just butter and pepper on em). Once the sprouts were done it was just a simple case of serving....

Hey presto, a cheap tasty meal for two...
     
     So there you have it, John's shepherd's left over pie. It actually tasted bloody good if I'm honest and I hope that you have enjoyed this rather different post from yours truly.

'till the next time, eat well and take care,

John



     

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Being positive...ish......

      Bloody hell it would appear that this lurgy thing is a damn sight harder to be rid of than a bout of raging syphilis! Yes in my last post I indeed came across as the decrepit and whining old fart that I seem to be evolving towards and I was told off as such and also for fishing for compliments by the domestic goddess known as Rachel "stiff upper lip" Radiostar (her brilliant ramblings to be found here), god bless her cuddly cuteness. So with her bee still ringing in my lug hole I thought that I'd take note and be more positive in my scribings and not so "self depreciation ing" but I'm ill damn it and fast becoming a tad pissed with the whole sorry episode. I mean to say, it's bad enough being depressed but to have nearly three weeks off from the grind completely ruined by firstly a chest infection and now, because my immune system is kaput, to be laid low by a bleeding virus! there is absolutely no bloody justice is there?

      But I shall endeavor for Rachel's benefit, and to prevent another ear bashing, to look at the, ahem, positives of my sorry situation so here goes..... Well firstly my lurgy is no longer affecting holiday time off work as my rota started on Friday just gone. Well that is I should have started on Friday just gone but I'm now on the 'sick' with all the managerial frowning and tutting that entails. Secondly I've actually lost weight, a stone now since December 23rd, which is great for this rotund ickle Welshman, well that is it would be if I had lost lard but with my lack of solids the only thing I'm likely to have lost is water and muscle mass and I have little enough muscle to lose in the first place. Oh and thirdly I've managed to avoid all the rain, high winds and sleet that have pummeled the village during my enforced hibernation, great eh? No it bloody well is not, it means that the dogs and I are climbing the walls with cabin fever! I love Winter weather and being 'out there' in the worst of it.....it's part of being and feeling alive for Gods sake.

     So ok maybe not as positive as I could be yet things are improving. Yesterday my appetite returned a little so I actually, for the first time ever, made chicken soup from scratch even down to using my own home made chicken stock from the day before's roast chicken (from which I managed one paltry chicken sandwich) and it was bloody delicious even if I do say so myself. Today was another simple meal of corned beef mash and cabbage...bloody lovely again I might add. It is wonderful to be able to taste food once more and hopefully I'll soon be eating more than one meal a day! Also I've managed to step over the threshold and venture outside once again, only long enough to reinstate the gale blown bird feeders and top them up. Pleased with this little task, earlier today I was rewarded with Wren, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird and Chaffinch in the small area that passes as a garden. 

      Spurred on with the sudden need 'to do' I thought that I'd write this sort of positive post but was confronted by a study that was not so much a workable area but rather a room that has amassed a multitude of paperwork and detritus that will require my attention within the coming weeks. So I decided to clear said study to produce a pleasant and conducive work area (oh I should offer office ambience advice), with the result that now I have my desk back and am able to reach my keyboard and printer. As for the urgent paperwork I need to trawl through it has been carefully filed in cardboard box number one! 

     I must say that every little bit of effort has me sweating like the proverbial hog, even climbing the stairs entails a sit down to regain my breath at the moment but there is some improvement at last so hopefully it will not be to long afore my tales here are more about being 'out there' instead of about being 'in here'.....

'Till the next time, take care,

John

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Yesterday was a good day .....

     Well it's a brand spanking new year and, surprisingly, I am still alive and ready to bore you rigid with more of my scribed drivel, you have been duly warned! So onward with the monotony and yawn inducing words that reflect my sorry life here in these pages that threaten a state of comatose upon you, my poor readers. Nothing like blowing my own trumpet eh?.....

     Not only have my knees continued to conspire to keep me off the trials I have also been fighting a chest infection which has rendered me as weak as a newborn kitten and as about as much use as a one legged man in an arse kicking competition. As mentioned previously the troublesome twosome are becoming far to use to this sedentary lifestyle and have both piled on the pounds, the fat little buggers. You may be well be thinking that ' I bet the rotund little Welshman has ballooned also', but indeed this is not the case as although I've not been walking I have also had little appetite which wasn't helped by coughing fits that were so severe that they induced vomiting, so I've actually lost half a stone of lard whilst coughing my guts up, oh what joy. Making life even more unbearable, barely a drop of alcohol has passed my lips, well apart from the odd medicinal hot toddy that is. And yes the Black Dog has been there lurking and giving me the odd bite drawing my spirits even lower, not helped with the realisation that past actions have now shaped my future along paths that I'm not so sure that I want to tread. But, apart from all that, I'm just dandy thank you for asking.

     So you may ask why the hell am I even bothering to write when all I seem to do is moan and whinge but I am truly a stubborn little bugger and although my lifes path is uncertain it is certainly not ready to come to an end (just yet) and as a dear friend said 'we don't know what the future holds for us'. So if my words still entertain you, offend you, bring a smile to your lips and give others affected by depression some hope then I shall continue to bore the crap out of you with my story.

     Yesterday was a good day as I actually managed to get the hounds out walking. I was spurred on by the presents that I bought them for Christmas....handmade matching leather collars with their names incorporated in the leather. I purchased them from Helen and Mark at Beaver Bushcraft (site can be found here or via the link on the right of my posts), the collars were not an item they usually supply but they were happy to give them a try and the end result is pleasing to say the very least....



     As I said these were not a product that Mark supplied before on the site but his and Helen's help and communication has produced a lovely item which they will now provide for the very discerning  outdoor canine. First impressions are that they are well crafted and solid items that should give years of service, I'm sure that Bear and Nelly will certainly test them fully over the coming months and I shall report back with a proper and honest product review in due course.

     I was restricted in my walking to routes around the village and to only taking one dog out at a time in an effort to protect my knees. In all honestly after the second 'limpothon' around the village I was well and truly knackered to say the very least but spurred on by my sudden onset of stubbornness I then decided to wash the stinking pair of crap finding buggers which went down like a pork pie at a jewish wedding with them. Ho hum not to worry as once I'd finished my watery tussle with the pair of them I lit the fire and peace was restored although it took Bramble some considerable time to stop glancing at me with her most reproaching and withering stare!




     But at least they smell sweeter and Bear does look so cute when she's this fluffy...ahem I must be getting bloody soft as well as everything else...

     The weather today has turned from yesterdays blustery sun to foreboding dark clouds unleashing sleet laden rain upon the village, hence me tapping away upon the keyboard instead of getting 'out there'. But as much as I want to, and I do have adequate clothing for such inclement weather, I'm actually being sensible, for once, and staying warm and toasty indoors although this evening I am being dragged out by friends for a curry and a pint.....I can only hope my present delicate constitution can cope with the sudden influx of spices and Guinness! Well that's about it for today, hopefully you're still awake after trudging through this morass of inane drivel and that you may even come back for more.

Till the next time, take care....

John