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Sunday, 12 January 2014 last

Well, the builders have gone and we can start to get back to normal again. There is just a bit of staining to do and then we will no doubt soon have the place cluttered and homely. It is a tiny space, but will be a bit of a boot room/winter plant house/bird watching space. We are planning a small table, coat rack, medicine cupboard and boot space. Ah yes, shopping bags too. So a utility room with no machines. I will not miss the mess outside....

So the cleaning up begins again, despite covering everywhere up there is a thick layer of dust over everything. Even the windows upstairs! The fire doesn't help. Even though we don't clear the ash every day it still covers everywhere with dust, enough to have to wipe all surfaces regularly. I think we had better have fronts on the kitchen shelves eventually. So any house proud people out there who are reading this and fancy a wood burner...think carefully. Can you cope with (at least) six times the amount of dust you already have? I can but I'm a s...untidy!

We have had a few really lovely days of sunshine, a nice change from the fog...some freezing....we have endured for so long. The sun is warm enough to sit out in. So Dave is taking the opportunity to get out with his camera in the early mornings. Unfortunately I am no longer able to tramp the hills so have to rely on seeing his pictures (and trying not to be jealous!) We used to spend hours walking in the countryside. But he has found some lovely shots of the village and surroundings. As most are on his computer they will be added at a later date, but the sunrise over the hill will compensate.

As far as wildlife goes, he has managed to add to the woodpecker tally after finding a green woodpecker. So that is four now, but according to a contact who loves to watch birds, there are two more in the area, a black headed and a grey headed. Better do some research and find out what they look like.

In the hills he has seen at least three birds of prey, but has been unable to get close enough for a decent photo, just some blurred far off pics. One, he said, was huge! But also he has seen a fleeting glimpse of a golden jackal and some roe deer, which he managed to get some photos of despite them being a long way off. All the animals and birds are really nervous which is probably due to the fact that we are in a hunting area, which basically means anything goes whether legal or not!

Yesterday was Baba Danka's birthday (she lives across the lane) and she came over with a plateful of cake, bread and sweets. So it is lucky that I have sixty greetings cards made and ready for a car boot sale. They do love our home made cards. Bless her she babbled away to us, and when she took a breath Dave explained that we couldn't she started again. It doesn't matter though, all that matters is we try to do a bit and they obviously appreciate it. It is so nice to be included in village life.

Dave has been practicing his dance steps ready for our neighbours' 50th wedding anniversary. He has been dancing with the dogs and yesterday showed Venka, across the garden, how he was getting on. She is impressed and had a little long distance dance with him.

Venka has been very brave lately and coming in through the gate. We have just realised that the door bell is not working so she has come in after seeing the dogs are OK with the builders. It is time they came over to see what we have done with her Mother's old house, and meet the dogs properly. I had to laugh this morning when Venka spotted Bella and Bella spotted Venka and they both stopped to stare at each other.

Rosa, the lady who had the stroke at Christmas, is still the same. Her English neighbours are helping where they can with the dogs and such when not at work, and the daughter is still there, but only for another three weeks. So sad, nobody knows what will happen then.

In the garden, things are stirring. I cleared all the iced leaves from the chard, beetroot and carrots still in the ground and there are new shoots happening. The chard looks really good, but I am surprised there is any life in the carrots and beets. And dare I say it, the broccoli sprouting shoots are growing. We have given up on the cabbages now, and have incorporated the bed into the chicken run so they are helping themselves when they want it. Of course, being chickens, the grass is always greener and in this case, the broccoli, and if they strain through the mesh they can reach the odd mouthful.

And on the subject of chickens, the tension between Sevi cockerel and the young pretender is strengthening. Luckily the young bird, being a lighter build and more agile generally, can fly out of the pen if it gets too serious. he does not help himself by sidling up, with intent, to Sevi's ladies. Poor Sevi, he is all over the place. He has the lads to cope with, his ladies who are starting to ask for attention, and the new girls growing up. He is a good natured chap though, or the boy would be looking a lot rougher. I have emailed the chap who wanted a young cockerel to make sure he is still interested. If not he will have to be advertised, as will the other boys. At the moment Dave is constructing a new run so we should be able to split the  original Shumens off, and maybe give Sevi a nubile young wench or two to make up for not having his big birds. Dave, as usual, left the gate open so has some helpers, Son of Sevi is feeling a bit safer out there and the big birds have found a heap of hay to investigate.

 Bella was kind enough to watch my dinner when I dashed out to make sure Sevi and son were not going to have a real spat. What a good girl, that must have ben so hard for her.

And still our ladies have not started laying again. But the signs are hopeful. They are starting to crouch when Sevi is near, inviting him We are off to get some more fencing (I have my eye on a couple of pullets...wonder if I can sneak them in with mine..) which unfortunately means Sevi will not have his best girl for long, the big one with the gammy foot, but at least she can grow her feathers on her head where he grabs her. They oldest of the pullets are showing colour in their combs so they should not be too long to starting to lay.

Dave has, this morning, added yet another string to his bow. This time as chimney sweep. Because of the way the flues are put in they get caked up with the smoke from newish wood very quickly so the flues have to be de-sooted. The pieces are just slotted together so are easy enough to take apart. Unfortunately Dave is too big to go up the chimney so a good prod about with a bunch of twigs will have to do till we find a proper sweep. However, he is not too big to play the fool. You must be so proud of your grown up son Bert and Dor!!!!!!
 Bless him, so young at heart.

 And a little picture of the tree sparrows enjoying a lovely luxury mixed seed mix.


  1. Loving following your blog... I am a new follower :) :)

    1. Hi Debbie and welcome to the ramblings of a mad woman!