Thursday, 5 August 2010

Birthday Present.

Today is my Dad's Birthday. 

If he was a dog he be about 11 years old.

A few weeks back I mentioned that he has decided to have another dog after 15 or more years without one and so this is his Birthday present. He adores Tyson, but she is way too energetic for an elderly Gentleman so it is fortunate that her breed comes in a smaller variety and this is what he has chosen.

I have this afternoon off work and we will be traveling up in to South Staffordshire to pick up the Pup. Yet another coincidence that Tyson & Marauder's joint alias is the "Straining Staffies" and that is where the new pup originates.

On the Home Front the Buff Brahma Cock is now in the fridge. I hope that keeps the Neighbour happy.

It is unfortunate that 30% had become a little attached to him but at least her feelings are eased by the fact that he had a good and long life before he was prepped for dinner. I'm not sure how common knowledge it is but most commercial poultry is killed at around 6 to 7 weeks old*. Free Range Birds are slightly older but rarely more than 12 weeks. Have you ever looked at a Free Range Bird in the Supermarket and gasped when they are asking £9 to £11 for a bird - that is the price of those extra weeks and a field to run round in.

The Buff Lad was about a year old and is probably a bit tough for a roast so I have jointed him and he will make a great casserole, as did the Light Sussex earlier in the week.

On the work front, I finish today and am likely to be off for the best part of a month. I have a minor operation on my hand tomorrow and am then likely to be signed off for a couple of weeks while it heals and am then away for the Family Holiday at the back end of August before starting in a new role at Dante's.

To quote John "Hannibal" Smith; "I love it when a plan comes together"

* at this age they still cheep rather than cluck and still have baby blue eyes**
** this is the reason I like to rear at least some of the chicken we eat at home

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Yesterday's News

Things at work are slowing down as I complete the hand over of my current workload to a colleague.

This meant that I was able to take a lunch break and nip in to town to the auto-bank. Not particularly newsworthy, I'll admit, but on this occasion a lack of time pressures meant that I could take the dust sheet off the Vespa and take a slightly more extended route than is normal. It is somewhat frustrating that I have only just got her back to a roadworthy and road legal state and am about to have a hand operation that is likely to keep me off her for a good few weeks while it heals.

Moving on, Tuesday evening is dog training night. TP is off for a few days with his Mum so 30% stood in as Marauder's Handler and off we went to class....

... what a disaster that was! The normal trainer was off having had an operation on her foot and a replacement had been found - Trainer. not foot - talk about chalk and cheese! It was a nightmare - the key to dog training is consistency and repetition - this woman was contradictory, very poor at describing what she wanted from the class and unwilling to go with the approach that the normal trainer has. As a consequence I was confused so God only knows what Tyson and Marauder thought of it all.

It wasn't just me either. 30%  had to bite her tongue on a couple of occasions and we saw a few "looks" from other members too. After the class we tend to take the dogs for a quick run round the park in case they need a pee before the drive home. This gave us the opportunity for a bitching session with a few other members and in true team spirit we decided that the new trainer was piss poor and it was a good job Brenda is only off for a couple of weeks.

A few of us decided to throw a "sicky" next week and return to classes once Brenda is fit and able. That might seem a bit extreme but I learned how much I enjoy dog training and how much of that enjoyment was dissipated by a replacement trainer who seemed to think that the current approach is incorrect and needs a new strategy.

That is all well and good so long as you win Hearts and Minds and can take the Group along to this Brave New World. Unfortunately that was the flaw with her plan. There was nothing wrong with the old approach and if it ain't broke don't fix it - especially if you are only standing in for a couple of weeks.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Getting Up

At the moment TP is enjoying those long, school, summer holidays ..... and so am I. As he doesn't need to be persuaded from his pit at 7 a.m. neither do I. Like many of my colleagues I am able to work from home and it is nice to be able to get out of bed without the need to set an Alarm Clock, perform minor ablutions and still be ready for work on time.

30% is generally Office based so still needs to set the alarm which gives me even greater pleasure because I can then ignore the damn thing and doze for 40 minutes or so ...... "What about the chickens?" I hear you ask, "Sod them - they can have a lie in too" is my pithy response. Actually there is further bad news on the chicken front but more of that in a minute.

Going back to 30%, she needs to set the alarm to get ready for the Office but also seems to think that, because I can have a lie in, so can she. She then has to run round like a mad thing shouting in order to get out of the door and leave for work. Why she has to shout I'm not quite sure - it's just one of those things she does.

Right, back to the Poultry If your an urban dweller or of a sensitive nature you might want to go and Google something else because it might get a bit "rocky" from here on in.

First things first, Endemol's death on Saturday was very timely as we have received a notice from the Council about the noise of the Cocks. I don't have a problem with that. The notice is very polite and is just that, it is a notice that they have received a complaint and are obliged to investigate.

We have always been sensitive about the noise of the Cocks and their potential impact on our neighbours and have always made it clear to them that if they are disturbed we will do something about it. That is why I am a little peeved to have had a letter from the Council. Rather than knock on the door and say "Badman - they are getting a bit noisy, can you sort them out" some idiot has got themselves all worked up about the noise and gone to the council rather than just sort it out.

This is where I start my "Towny" rant. I am from a rural background and ringing the council is not the way to do things, just come round and knock on the door and ask! Endemol's death was perfect timing and yesterday saw the Light Sussex have it's neck pulled and it is now sitting in the slow cooker surrounded by vegetables and white wine. The Buff Brahma will get done towards the end of the week.

You will note that I am not going on along the lines of "this is the Country, the noise of Cocks is to be expected". I do actually feel that way but the bottom line is that my neighbour has got worked up enough about this to complain to the council so has probably gone beyond a reduction in noise and is expecting total silence. 30% and I had already decided to slim down the population before the complaint hit the mat so the decision had already been made.

So, no Cocks at the Pile for a while. The hens will sort out a new pecking order and everyone will get a better nights sleep. The Council investigation will come to naught.

..... and next year I can put another batch of eggs through the incubator and start the cycle of life again:-)

One final observation, if this had been France the Town Hall would have laughed at the complaint. Here in the UK we have to be more devious - eat the evidence and start again next year.

Monday, 2 August 2010

Marauder's Bumper Book of Crime - No 2 in an occasional series.

This morning Marauder decided to amuse herself by playing with a heavy duty paper bag of the type that one might use to carry home a nice new shirt from a favourite shop.

Unfortunately the location was the Bedroom and the time was 5 a.m. As is usual for Marauder, the play was ebullient, to say the least.

Sunday, 1 August 2010


Today saw us pile in to the car and drop in to a local DIY Warehouse Store to take advantage of a 50% off Sale.

The family bathroom is one room that was vile when we bought the house and has been neglected as the extension gave us a stupendous Jack & Jill Bathroom - an "en-suite" accessible from two Bedrooms.

A few weeks ago I was having my haircut by a the Mum of a friend of TP and was moaning about the fact that the room was only suitable for bathing Tyson & Marauder and that we simply had to do something about it. She mentioned that her Husband had recently set up a Property Services Company and would be more than happy to quote for the job. Now her Hubby is a super chap so we called him and his quote was fantastic. I've seen his work, as he has just finished his wife's new Salon in the Village, so I know his workmanship is fantastic.

So off we went to order the Porcelain Goods, Taps, Shower Mixer and Towel Rail. I had ordered the Shower Tray and Screen earlier in the week from a chap in the Village who is setting up a Kitchen and Bathroom Studio next door to the Hair Salon. Steve, the aforementioned Hairdresser's Husband is doing the fitting out of the Studio which gives me an even greater sense of security about his workmanship and I got a great deal too.

Steve starts the strip out at the beginning of September so we have plenty of time for the fixtures and fittings to arrive. All I need to do now is measure up and get the tiles ordered. We know what we want so I just need to spend 20 minutes with a tape measure and a calculator and I can pop down to the Tile Warehouse to see what deal I can strike on Travertine and White tiles.

The rest of the day saw me upside down on the worktop fitting the low voltage halogens under the kitchen cupboards followed by a wander round the 3 Miler accompanied by 30% and T&M.

TP has finally recovered from his PGL week and it seems that he had a great time and actually met up with a Lad from his school and another Boy who was on an ATE week that TP attended last year. It's a small world!

TP is off to spend a week with his Mum next week so it is a case of revolving doors and 30% has been bogged down with his Laundry from last week and ironing for next week.

On a completely separate subject I have decided to treat myself to a compact digital camera with a decent optical zoom. I have a film and digital SLR but they are bulky to carry especially when I am walking T&M but I regularly see things that merit a snap and would like something small that I can just throw in to my pocket. Who knows, the Journal may get more pictures.