a personal blog

Category: home

Don’t Panic! Don’t Panic!

We had a nasty moment yesterday with that sweet, innocent looking hen on the right of this picture. That’s Willow, usually found wandering around the garden on her own, looking confused and, well, a tad gormless. She never knows quite where she’s hidden her gorm. We love her anyway. She’s Willow.

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Shuffling in

I’ve been faithfully renewing this domain every year, and it’s nearly due for renewal again. Of course I hate blogging. I hate journaling, though I give it a try at the beginning of every year. It’s just one more thing to beat myself up about. And a lot has changed since my last post back in 2014. There’s been a change in the family personnel. Jack, our dear and beloved black-and-white cat, died in may last year of kidney failure. We now have Ollie and Luna, two dark brown and white tabbies. Luna is featured in the photo at the top of the page, and Ollie is at the top of this post. We also have new hens in Willow, Laurel, Hazel, and Holly. We still have Shelley, but Buttercup died of a heart attack in january this year.

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Letters and all that kind of thing

I’ve been riding one of my hobby horses again, this time letter-writing, penpals, stationery and all that sort of thing. I’ve also been looking at a lot of blogs on the subject. I toyed with the idea of starting up a new blog on letters and penpalling, but thought nah, why make work for myself? I might as well just add posts on that to this blog and get that silly idea right out of my head. Letter blogs are great, but it is only one facet of my butterfly personality, so I don’t need to specialise. If you get my drift.

I’ve decided to do something daft (what again?) and write a letter every day for a year. I picked today to start, which is probably a silly idea as I also decided to try making a minizine every day in july as it’s international zine month. But obviously letter writing is going to be the topic of one day’s minizine, so I fuss two cats with one hand. (My daughter invented that saying because, as an ornithologist, she really does not like the bird in a hand phrase.) I’ll make a separate post about that later as daughter and I are about to go to have lunch at our favourite Indian restaurant, the Shilam. Though we call it the Shilpa, in honour of Shilpa Shetty. (She has a wikipedia entry, if you don’t know who she is.) So, I had better go and get booted and suited and head out for delicious noms!

A rude awakening

Inara decided that morning began at half past 7 today. She was up on her high perch (the one P thought was too high for Madam’s dainty legs, hah!) and giving it beak enough to wake up the whole of Chancery. No one has complained yet, thank goodness! Maybe it’s just me, being a late to bed and late to rise kind of person. Noisy girl!

No egg today. She laid yesterday and the day before, so she’ll lay tomorrow and friday. Though I’ve learned not to take Little Madam’s schedule for granted. There’s still no sign of anything from Shelley, so I think she must be really very young. I know it’s daft, being British and all and being constitutionally unable to just go to Tony and ask him how old she is. P and I keep telling each other that we’ll go and see him and ask if we can buy another bantam from him. It was very generous of him to just give us Shelley, but she’s a little bit lonely all on her own. We’ve thought about buying another one from somewhere if we can just find out where. Given that the new house we had to buy for her was £90 and another bantam will probably be £12-15, that was an expensive free hen!

There were some fun and games going on with the nextdoor neighbours this morning. No, I don’t mean the nice chap who lives to the right of us, but the sheep and lambs in the field to the left of our house! I don’t know what started it, but around 5 or 6 sheep and their lambs started having a mad five minutes in the bit of the field between our garden and the derelict house. (Which has been empty for more than 40 years and is very slowly falling down.) The sheep were bouncing around and running up and down the slope, followed by the lambs. Two of the sheep were being very affectionate to each other, rubbing cheeks and trying to mount each other! The other sheep further over in the field were watching them with very disapproving expressions on their faces. I could tell they were scandalised and tutt-tutting over it. They’ll be gossiping about that one for days!

Oooh, me lumbago!

It’s been a painful week, taken all in all. The Cough is still plaguing the bejeebus out of me and making me wake up at least three times a night. Which is not good for the sleep at all. But somehow, between the coughing and the cold, I’ve managed to do something nasty to my back. P says I have a bruise at the base of my spine. I can’t remember bashing myself against anything, though I wouldn’t rule that out. It wouldn’t be the first time I’d hurt myself and couldn’t remember how or when. (And no, nothing medicinal or alkymoholic is involved.)

I think that it’s a combination of the cough and having to sit for long periods of time on an uncomfortable chair, studying. Since wednesday last week I’ve been in a heck of a lot of pain and walking around like an ancient and decrepit old person. (Quit it!) When P said he would come home on thursday night instead of friday, I don’t mind admitting that I had a bit of a weep for relief. I’d just about managed to sort out the hens and I’d even put the bin out; though both activities were a bit of a struggle. P has been wonderful all round, doing the shopping, putting deep heat on my back and generally taking good care of me. And he’s arranged to take tomorrow off work just to make sure that I’m the way to getting better.

Because I do think that I am. I seem to have a little more mobility and the pain has died down to a dull roar, as the saying goes. Funny thing though, I think I’ve grown in height. I was standing at the bathroom sink this evening, and it occur ed to me that I was taller. You know how you’re taller first thing in the morning and then shrink down a little as the day goes on? Well it’s just like that, but without the shrinking. Odd. Anyway, I hope the stupid back hurries up and gets better because P and I were going to go to Shrewsbury on saturday and meet up with L. Fingers crossed!

I’ll Never Stop Being A Mummy

Today I want to write about mummy blogs (or mommy blogs, if you’re from t’other side of the Big Pond).  Oh, and why they irritate me.

Oh come on, I don’t mean that I’m irritated by people, specifically mothers, who blog about their kids.  I read Dooce, and some other blogs by mothers. But, it would seem that mummy blogs are limited to women who are mothers of small children: babies, toddlers and so on. So what about someone, i.e. me, who is the mother of a 23-year-old daughter. Am I not a mummy too?

I’ve not seen any blogs by older women with older children. It’s usually the 20-somethings who are blogging about their own kids. Which begs the question: is blogging confined to young women? Actually it begs for another question: are the thoughts, memories and opinions of mothers of adults not worth tuppence ha’penny?

Being the parent of a child who is an adult has its own problems, worries and amusements. There’s the whole empty nest symdrome for starters. I was fully prepared for the fact that my daughter had more or less home when she went off to university at the age of 18. Then, we were living in Merthyr Tydfil and she went to university in Aberystwyth, which is quite a considerable distance, especially when you’re a family with no car and no one can drive anyway. Then, just before she started her final year, we actually moved to Aberystwyth. She lived in town, in a student flat, but came home on the ‘bus every saturday, with a bag-full of washing. I would also meet her in town on a tuesday, to have lunch and do a little shopping together. We actually became closer, L and I, enjoying some mother and daughter time.

After graduation, she stayed at home and worked in a local pet chain store for a while, then she went away to Anglesey to work for the RSPB for six months. She came home again for a few more months, then in october 2008 she went to New Zealand for seven months. Again, it was back home for four months, then she started an MSc at Manchester Metropolitan university. So again, she has left home. I have no idea what she’s going to do when she graduates this year. She might come home for a while, get a job locally, or she might be off again. I know she’d like to work as a warden on Skoma Island one day, and she’s often talked about working in the South Pole, of all places!

So as you can see, it really is not the same as being the mother of a toddler. When my daughter was very young, there were no blogs. Imagine that! No internet as such either. I know, it’s the stuff of nightmares, but I coped. We all coped, in fact, at that time. But if there were no blogs about it, does that mean that it didn’t exist? Of course not, I’m being absurd. What I am trying to say is that it is the category “mummy blogs” that annoys me. It doesn’t leave any room for blogs that go beyond the early teens, nor does it acknowledge that motherhood is for life: the life of the child and the mother.

The reason why baby/toddler mummy blogs are so popular is because of the commercial potential of them. Advertisers do not want to hear about old people, unless they are in the context of old folk’s homes, provision for the elderly etc. There is no commercial reason for sponsoring parental blogs when the child is an adult. The ‘net is about now, not then; anything that happened yesterday is old and boring.

Well tough. As I wrote in an earlier post, I really don’t care what other people write about. I am a mother, I am the mother of a 23-year-old daughter who might end up working on the moon one day and I’d like to blog about it. In fact, I willblog about it, if that ever happens. (Could you know, she is very interested in exo-biology.) This is a mummy blog; and a cat blog, and a hen blog and a making cards blog and a whatever-I-feel-like-at-the-time blog. Sorry, no pigeonholes here.

Almost the end of the year…

…and I’ve decided that I will have a blog after all. I had half-heartedly decided to quit blogging when I let my previous blog domain,, lapse and I cancelled the hosting. But after thinking about it, well, what the heck! No one reads my waffles anyway, so it’s not going to bother anyone.

I’m sticking with this domain,, as I rather love .nu domains. It’s hosted by 2wdhost and the domain was bought from Namecheap. Who I am not happy with, as I didn’t manage to win one single domain in the Christmas competition. I got five last year, and three in the Easter version, but none this time. Most of the questions seems to revolve around some obscure Christmas movie that was only shown in the US. But oh hey, what the heck. I’ve got enough domains anyway. 😉

Talking of Christmas, we had an odd sort of day. P thought it would be a good idea to let the Golden Girls, as he calls them (our lohmann-brown hens, of which we have 5) have an hour outside of their run, in the garden. Which was a very good idea and they enjoyed themselves. Until they got to the bottom garden and came beak-to-beak with Inara, our black rock hen. (She’s allowed free access of the garden, as she’s 5 years old and the last of our old flock.) Everything would have fine, if Miss Inara had not decided to treat them as she did her late sisters. One of the Golden Girls picked up a bug, so Inara causally sauntered over and tried to take said bug from said hen’s beak. It was probably Florrie, as she’s the smallest. Florrie was not best pleased. Well you wouldn’t be, would you. She squarked at Inara and that was the signal for lots of clucking, flourishnig of wings and a general melee.

We rounded up the Girls, which was a fun half hour. Have you ever chased five hens round a garden? Then we tucked them into their run, and Inara into hers, with their Christmas present: boxes of live mealworms. They love the dried variety, but when our local PetsAtHome started selling live insects for reptiles, we bought some for our hens. They were very happy!

The sound of a lawnmower

That’s what I can hear outside this afternoon. Himself bought a new lawnmower as he’d managed to kill the other one. Correction: the garden killed it! He ran over a tree stump and the old mower broke. So when we were out in Aber today, he bought a new one and a strimmer to go with it. So he’s out there, doing what he loves to do! Is it a man-thing, enjoying cutting the grass. Left up to me, I’d, well, leave it. I love the daisies and dandilions and buttercups and speedwell that grow in the grass. So I’d just let them grow.

I tried to take my laptop outside, hoping to do some blogging al fresco. But the light was not good enough to see the screen by. Or the screen was too dark, or something. Anyway, Simba and Jack thought I should play with them instead of looking at that silly thing. They’re probably right! Anyway, it’s now much later and I’m back indoors working on the desktop.  Yes, I have two computers. Their names are Sheldon (desktop) and Sands (laptop). No prizes for guessing where I got those names!

The garden is looking lovely right now and less and less like Tish’s garde. She’s the lady who actually planted everything and formed the garden. But I’m less of a keen gardener than she was. I’m of the school of let it alone and if it’s meant to be there, it will grow. I can’t be doing with constantly trimming this and weeding that. I like weeds, especially the kind with pretty flowers. I don’t like “hot house” plants or the kinds of plants that need attention. I like the slightly wild look. I’m happy to prune now and then, pull up those horrible clinging weeds that suck the life out of everything and cut back raspberry canes. But that’s all.

I’m still planning to change the old vegetable patch into a herb garden. But I realised that I’m not going to grow so many herbs that the whole patch would be covered. So we’re going to lay turf in the middle and leave a two foot deep border around the outside for cooking herbs, lavender etc. L and I are trying to persuade Himself to let us leave one bit of lawn to grow wild, for the sake of butterflies and bees. He is an enthusiastic mower though, so I think we’re onto an uphill battle with this one.

Well, hopefully the rain will stay off so we can get out into the garden again tomorrow. We like to let the hens out while we potter around, and they equally potter about on their own bits of gardening. They’re doing very well at clearing the back of leaves, by scratching up the ground in search of bugs and worms. We always get bigger eggs the day after they’ve been out!

Nos da.


I’m still not happy with my blog’s layout. (This refers to the old soup-dragon blog.)  It’s nice, and fits the whole stone thing, but, meh. Which reminds me, I never said why stone-field. A long, long time ago (cue flashback sfx) I started writing a novel called “The Stone Field”. It was all about the reincarnation of the Goddess Rhiannon’s son, Pryderi. There were horses, standing stones, an evil old woman who was trying to use Pryderi to her own ends, and our brave heroine who was trying to stop her. Oh, and a mysterious man who may or may not have been the real Pryderi; the other one being an evil spirit who was impersonating him. Sounds okay, doesn’t it? Thing is, I am the world’s worst procrastinator. I am great at coming up with really good plots, but crap at actually finishing what I start. I should have a medal, I’m that good at procrastinating.

Anyway, that’s the why of that. It’s a cold, grey day in Chancery and mizerly. (That’s not miserly as in Scrooge, that’s mizely as in drizzly.)  I’ve fed the hens; one egg. I promised them some dried mealworms for tea as they just adore them. They’re meant for wild birds, and I probably should be getting live mealworms. But I just, y’know, couldn’t bring myself to do that. They love the dried ones though. It’s like crack for hens! We have the cats munchie-trained, so that they’ll come running if I shake the box of dried kibble. And now the hens are mealworm trained. If they’re outside and I want them back in the run, I just shake the mealworm box and they come racing across the grass! I love the way that hens run. They look like they have their arms behind their backs and have this funny bob and weave run.

Oh great, the air force are on practice runs overhead again. They fly really low and make a heck of a din. Funny thing though, the sheep just take no notice whatsoever. They don’t get freaked and the lambs have learned not to notice either. Freaks me out when they come racing just a few feet overhead, but not the animals. I don’t know what it does to the red kites though. Sometimes they come over so low I can practically read the name labels on the pilots’ uniforms. Okay, slight exaggeration. Heh! If I’m outside, I wave to them though.

Well, I need a cup of coffee and I have to sort the washing out. So bore da and have a good day.

It’s a sunny day in Chancery

I live in a tiny hamlet called Chancery; or to give it it’s Welsh name, Rhyd-Galed. Which means “hard ford”. Our cottage has a name that I don’t really like, as it was a combination of the names of the people who lived here at least, oh, three or four owners ago. Originally, it was “Glan Dwr”, which means by the water. We’re thinking of changing the name. But as we don’t have a house number, it’s a legal matter. So far we can’t decided between Glan Dwr and my daughter’s suggestion, Swn-y-Nant. Which means “sound of the stream”. I like that one, as we have a stream that runs along the left side of the garden and under the road, to run along the back of the cottages over the road and away. (The “w” in Swn should have a little hat on, but I don’t know how to make that character.)

I love this cottage. It’s at least 200 years old and probably older. The ceilings are low, so it’s a good thing that none of us are giants! Various owners have added bits onto it. Originally it was just three rooms: a living room, a kitchen and a bedroom. Which is a lot more than the other cottages have. At least three of them, out of four others, have only two or three rooms. And that’s after bathrooms were built onto them.

But anyway, the sun is shining in Chancery. It’s still chilly inside the cottage, though with two feet thick stone walls that’s not surprising. There are sheep with lambs in the field nextdoor. They really are adorable and they’re coming up to the age when they’ll be curious about us, and the cats. Last year’s batch were funny, wanting to get a closer look at the cats, but still trying to obey their Mums and not get too close to those strange creatures.  And what they think of us two legged objects!

 Himself was almost offered a contract that meant he would be working in Aber. I know, too good to be true. I got all excited, thinking how lovely it would be to have him at home, actually every day, for a change. But he had to turn it down as the money wasn’t good enough. Ah well. It was a nice idea, but we’re okay as we are really. And what would I do with him home every day? I’d never let him do any work!

So, a sunny day.

Pryn da.

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