Monday, 30 May 2011

Alcoholics or Scrubbers

That pretty much describes us today.

The morning started with a couple of escalation e-mails to try to alert those in command that all is not well with the time-scales that have been set for our project. Once those were out of the way we breakfasted and then took a trip in to the Supermarket.

30% had found a 2009 Saint Emilion which has been reduced from £14 per bottle down to "2 for a tenner" on an earlier visit and having sampled it we decided to put a few bottles away in the cellar.  There were a few other decent wines with similar savings and when we arrived at the checkout our trolley had 26 bottles of wine and not a lot else. As it says in the title we must have looked like a couple of Grade A alcoholics a with 5 boxes containing wine, 2 packets of kettle chips, a French stick and some pate. That's one hell of an evening.

Back home, the "groceries" were put away, lunch was had and the dogs were walked. I did the walking whilst 30% dropped TP over at "Horrible Henry's" for a sleepover. We were alone at last and headed for the bedroom ...

... with buckets of hot soapy water and scouring pads. no, it's not some strange fetish, we had finally found the time to scrub away the years of grime, paint splashes and polish from the bedroom floorboards. We both spent a good few hours on our hands and knees and can report some progress. By 6.30 we were both tired and creaking and decided to call it a day and call on a very local Saint for succour. No surprises that my chosen patron was, of course, St Emilion.

Away from drink and hard labour my day is now punctuated by the need to turn the eggs. I am referring to the dozen Welsummer eggs that Village Idiot liberated from a pile of cake ingredients and passed my way. I have a very basic incubator. It is little more than a polystyrene box with heat provided by a light bulb and air circulation provided by a computer fan. Add a little circuitry and a temperature probe and basically you have robot chicken mark 1.

It is so basic that the eggs need to be turned three times a day to mimic the action of the broody hen as she rearranges them beneath her during the day. The turning ensures that the embryo develops correctly and remains in the centre of the egg. If not turned it can settle against the shell and developmental defects can occur.

The final picture is a shot of the inside. A pencil cross on one side of each egg shows me which have been turned and which need to be turned. Incubating a batch of eggs is great fun and watching them hatch is a truly amazing experience but I have another 20 days of waiting to go and there are no guarantees.  As the old adage goes "Don't count your chickens before they've hatched".

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