Sunday, February 17, 2008

Ready to Fly... Friday, 16th Feb, 08

Back to the Arial font. It's been yet another great day here. Colder, but some sunshine and no wind again. The spring flowers are growing daily and I'll be sorry to miss the rest of the daffodils. The magnolia stellata is absolutely covered in buds. I hope it waits until our return before it actually flowers.

Today I have done a bit more tidying on the way up to the veg plots and sprinkled grass seed just before it got dark. Hopefully it'll have grown by the time we come back.

Cleaned up in the cottage for our return. I must get up about 8am to change the bed, fill up the bird station feeders and one or two other bits before I go. Sandra and Pete are picking me up at 10am to call in at Aldi as they have some craft mats I might buy then on to Shannon Airport for the flight at 1.05pm to Gatwick, then a train down to Worthing. Phew! I shall miss the cats, but I expect they'll be ok. They can go in and out as they please through the cat flaps and Sandra and Pete will be feeding them.

Tonight I have just watched The Last King of Scotland. All about Idi Amin and his reign in Uganda. I would like to know how true to the facts it was. Approximately 300,000 Ugandans were killed during his regime. Then he died of old age in exile. Why he wasn't brought to justice I don't know. Brilliant, Oscar winning performance by Forest Whitaker as Idi Amin and James McAvoy as his personal physician. In fact all the performances were of an equally high standard. A quality film.

Must to bed now. For tomorrow I fly.

Friday, February 15, 2008

More Gardening, Holiday getting closer, 15 Feb 08

I can't believe this weather. Although today has been a bit cooler, it's still been lovely outside. It's been so still, which is quite unusual for Doorus, we often get quite strong winds. I finished rebuilding the wall and I'm very pleased with it. It looks more like a rockery really, and I've planted some primula, sedum and other bits and bobs in the cracks. My camera is in the UK but I'll take some photos of it on my return from Oz.

We have quite a large parking area, which is covered in small stones. There is a path off which leads to Jim's vegetable plots. Over time some of the path has become overgrown and it's much too thin making it difficult to get a wheelbarrow through. So today I widened it and leveled it as best I could. It looks so much better and the grass should grow back by the time we return. What a productive few days. Tonight my back was aching a bit so I've sat and watched a bit of tv with the cats one on my lap and one by my side. They purred all the time. I managed to do some more of the latch hook mat around the cats! Not easy I can tell you.

When I return from Australia I will take a photo of it. 3 days to go.

I must mention a couple of days ago I was sitting having breakfast in the conservatory when I thought I could see 2 dogs running around the arboretum. In fact they were foxes. They were in beautiful condition, too, both big, so I suspect they were both males, with gorgeous bushy tails and a stunning rust colour, their coats glistened in the sunshine. Wonderful.

Tomorrow I must clean up and leave the cottage cat proofed and pleasant for our return. Boring stuff but has to be done. Also gather up any bits I need to take on the flight.

KD Lang singing on the tv now. What a talent she is.

I gave up trying to light Stanley yesterday but it was very cold. Tonight I've had another go and he's going like a trojan. Must be my lucky day! It's certainly warmed up again.

Sandra and Pete, our neighbours, were out all day and when I rang tonight it was engaged. I know S's father is very ill so I hope it's not bad news. I'll try and catch her tomorrow for an update.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Almost Time to Fly to Oz Tuesday Feb 12th 2008

Decided to try a different font! Well, one week today and we fly to Australia. Whilst in the UK, I bought a reasonably decent swimming costume and some other bits and pieces for the holiday. I am now back in Ireland after Kim's 60th Birthday, then back to the UK next Sunday, which gives me a couple of days to pack.

The party was great fun, in a village hall. Kim belongs to a band and they played quite a bit and were augmented by some other band friends. Kim's 2 daughters also sang. The food was wonderful, everyone took something and they had already made loads! I gorged myself of the amazing array of puddings. I haven't dared weigh myself since I came back!

All 3 of Jim's children were at the party, plus partners, which was great for Jim and for Kim. His wife Ann seemed to really enjoy herself, which was brilliant as she too is a depression sufferer.

Jim and Russell hatched a plot to go to watch Sam play rugby in Wakefield for the Bradford Bulls on Sunday! Russell drove and although they set off a bit late, they arrived in good time and met Julie, Jim's niece and Sam's Mum, and watched the game together. A good time was had by all although the Bradford Bulls lost!!

I in the meantime caught a train up to Gatwick and flew back to Ireland where our neighbours Sandra and Pete picked me up. The weather has been superb since I've been back, so I've managed to do some serious gardening. Today I have re-built the wall by our top gate as it had mostly fallen down. I took it down and started again and it's looking good. I should get it finished tomorrow if the weather keeps up.

The cats helped of course, jumping on and off the stones and sitting in the space I had just cleared for the next stone! Very useful. They have now been fed and are both curled up on a chair in the conservatory. Bless.

Phoned Jim and he's been busy in the house in Worthing. One estate agent came today and gave a good estimate on the house's worth. 2 more coming tomorrow.

Holby City at 8pm, then a quiet evening doing my latch hook mat. It's looking excellent and would make a good pattern for a large one. As we're going to have wooden floors throughout the cottage, I'll have to make a couple more.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Plans Afoot, More Rain, Smoking Stanley 4,5th Feb 08

Yesterday morning the architect came to see our cottage and what we wanted doing to it in terms of an extension and alterations. Called Paddy, would you believe! He spent a long time with us and wasn't at all pushy. We told him what we'd like and he concurred with some minor differences, with most of our ideas. He now goes and draws up the plans and spec for a builder. Brilliant chap, just what we wanted. It's all very exciting. I can't wait.

Today it's been raining on and off, but we managed to get all but one load of wood from the top gate into the barn, between, and in, showers! I planted some viola in the wood and Jim planted some polyanthas in the Grotto bed. We had to give up finally and give in to the rain. It was good to have got outside. We also sawed up the rest of the wood we had accumulated from the work in the garden last wee, into Stanley sized pieces.

Talking of Stanley, he has decided to belch out black smoke for the past 2 days. Not sure whether it's damp wood, the wind direction of a bunged up chimney, but it's a real pain. Jim's going to give him a de-coke in the morning while I take poor Sandy to the vets to be neutered. He is now 6 months old and showing signs of sexual interest, so we think it best to get it done before we go away, or he'll be trying to mate with his mother and half sister down the road, neither of them having been neutered. Someone has to take responsibility for the cat population explosion in Doorus.

I sorted out my clothes to take to the UK. I am flying there on Thursday and Jim is taking th car over by ferry on Friday. We have a 60th birthday party on Saturday night, then Jim is staying in the UK until we leave for Australia on the 19th. I am flying back to Ireland to look after the cats then back to the UK pre Oz trip! What a lot of coming and going. I might meet myself coming back somewhere over the Irish Sea!

Jim's back is much improved again, so hopefully he'll be OK for the drive to the UK and the Australia trip. Fingers crossed.

I can't believe we are almost ready to go. It seemed like it would never come round, but now it's a reality.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Cold Days, Bad Back, Sat Feb 2nd 2008

Still so cold today, we rather huddled away indoors as much as possible and watched the rugby 6 nations! Ireland beat Italy. Hooray. Wales beat England. Boo! Rubbish game which England threw away in the 2nd half. At Twickenham as well.

I brought wood in from the barn and a wheelbarrow load from the pile by the top gate. I had bought a large canvas rug base to make a big latch hooked rug. When I brought it downstairs it's obviously one for cross stitch rugging. Not what I want to do at all. So I'll have to buy a proper base. Most annoying. I did a bit of knitting but am bored with the sausage dog door stop I was knitting. It's taken far too long as it's on small needles.

Jim went to feed the neighbours' cats and somehow twisted his back again. It was already sore from the work he did yesterday up in his study. So it's back to settee rest. I do hope it's better for next Friday when he is supposed to be driving the car across to the UK.

Large salad with smoked mackerel for dinner. I weighed 11 stone yesterday. Trying to keep off the scales until at least Monday. I do feel better for the healthier eating though.

Chatting to Lynne from Australia on Facebook. I am going to go by plane from Sydney to Lismore to meet up with her! How exciting. She has a lovely swimming pool too.

I did manage to speak to Ben today in Spain. I rang his girlfriend Hayley to speak to him! He's fine but very short of funds. Hopefully things will pick up soon, as the tourist season kicks in.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Bitter Cold and SNOW, 1 Feb 08

Jim woke me and called me into the snug. Out the window it was pretty white with snow. The sun was shining and it was melting quickly so Jim rushed out and took some photos. As it happened it snowed on and off all day, but not really enough for it to settle for any length of time. I had a bath and Jim went down the road to feed the neighbours' cats while they are in the UK. We both brought in a good amount of wood for Stanley.

I managed to do a bit of gardening between showers but my fingers froze! We both walked up to the top of the meadow and Sandy followed, stopping every few moments to wash the wet from his paws!! Missy, Sandy's half sister, from down the road appeared and they played together a bit. Eventually Sandy looked so cold and wet we decided to take him in! I rubbed him with a towel, which he was not impressed with, then left him to lick himself clean! It was lovely to have gone out in the snow.

The news from Kirsty was reasonably good. The ultra sound didn't reveal anything so it's back home, no operation. Wait and see and come back if it reoccurs.

The same day, Tony, Kirsty's brother, turned his car upside down in very wet conditions and was taken to hospital. Amazingly, both he and his girlfriend walked away virtually unharmed. He has learnt his lesson I hope. I went on msn to say how pleased I was that he's ok, but to drive more slowly if the conditions demand it. He said he would! I think they realise how lucky they were.

An evening spent winding up wool from a large hank I bought from ebay, then playing Scrabulous on Facebook. Now it's time for bed, said Zebedee.