Sunday, 27 January 2013

Worn out and dusty.

Worn out and dusty - that could apply to me or my books. I'm a hoarder of many things, including books. I've got almost all the books I've bought since I was a teenager (and some from before that), and I'm still buying (though not as many now that I'm a poor pensioner). Some are looking a bit worn and tattered now (especially those that were bought secondhand when I was a poor student), but are still readable, and I couldn't get rid of them. I do reread them - going through an author's output in chronological order - and it doesn't really matter that I've read them before. We've got several bookcases - some older than the books - spread throughout the house, and in theory the fiction books are stored alphabetically. But lately they've started to spread and pile up haphazardly. We've got A Bit Of A Do coming up soon to celebrate the Robinson Twins' significant birthday, so have got to get our house in order. So, I've spent the afternoon moving heaps of books upstairs and downstairs, so they are all more or less in the right place. Fortunately the non-fiction are much tidier, and the children's books (mine and our childrens') are at least in the right bookcases.

This may sound like a case for a Kindle - but it's definitely not - I love my books in all their tatty glory.

Edit - I also like crisp and clean new books!

Saturday, 26 January 2013

End of an era

Almost 15 years ago (about 14 years and 11 months) we bought a second hand cot, for our first grandchild to sleep in when he came to visit. It has been well used since then by other visiting grandchildren, and has moved around the bedrooms. But now it's in pieces under a bed. Grandchild Number Six is too big for a cot, and it was just taking up room. We're not getting rid of it (we don't get rid of Anything), nor are getting rid of the high chair that we've consigned to the box room. You never know what the future might bring.

It's not raining

Despite what the weather summary above may say, it's not raining, and it hasn't actually rained for several days. It's recording melted snow in the rain gauge. It had to happen, we've had the snow that has bypassed us for the past week. Not a lot though, and already melting. Yesterday morning there were light flurries, but nothing settling, and nothing that stopped normal farm work (or stopped the stone facers or plasterers). But about milking time the size and number of the snow flakes suddenly changed and by it was dark the yard was about 3 inches deep in snow. Robert and Chris at last got to try out their sledges down the Barn Field - we're not short of hills, but some are less suitable with not much run off.

A snazzy sledge

The main casualty of the snow was my planned night out - a non-Christmas get together with pre-retirement friends from Lakeland IT department.

I haven't taken many photographs. I think the best would have been about 3 in the morning. When I looked out of the bathroom window. The snow looked as if it was lit by floodlight as the almost full moon cast a yellow glow over everything - but a warm bed beckoned. These two show the start of the stone facing on the classroom, with and without snow.


Tuesday, 22 January 2013

All Go. No Snow

We've been very lucky in the North West - we've only had a sprinkling of snow (the fields are mottled green and white), and feel a bit guilty (but very grateful) about the white chaos all around us.

It has been very cold of course, with windchill taking the temperature down to way below what the thermometer says. But this is good - as long as we can keep the parlour and troughs ice free - as we can at last get some muck out. The fields are not all mottled green and white - some are now a dirty shade of brown. Henry and James have also been hedging, and I would have taken some photographs as they are quite near the house - but it's too cold to be standing about.

It's all go inside and outside the new classroom today. We've got plasterers inside, and stone facers outside.

Surprisingly January has been a dryish month, with less than an inch of rain so far. One of our buildings gets water from a large storage tank, which is fed by the water from the nearby roofs. This supply is getting low, so today we are swapping back to mains. I'm sure it will only be a temporary measure - the rain can't be far away.

Friday, 11 January 2013

Do you remember the flexible tape measure?

If not, see the post of 11th December.

Well, today Strickley Maximus has just set of for his "holiday" at the collection centre (collecting what, you may ask!).

He has been isolated and tested to the nth degree (including DNA to prove who he says he is) and now just has to prove himself.

I'll let you know when RCG have him listed.

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Building update

With a short break for Christmas (and a few shorter days when the weather was too atrocious) building work has continued steadily on the classroom. The insulation is in progress inside, first fit electrics are done and the roof is all slated. Today sandstone ridge pieces were fixed to the top, and the sandstone ball from the end of the old roof (and previously off the old barn) is now in place at the end of the new roof.

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

At last!

We've now leapt onto the Super Highway with our Infinity powered broadband. A month after the first abortive attempt and four different engineers everything - voice and broadband is working.  Watch out for bigger and better videos on here!

Monday, 7 January 2013


Anyone who knows me well, knows that I'm not very good with plants. Even keeping them at arm's length isn't always a safe option. Having tactfully negotiated a way out of receiving a "thank you plant" I was unexpectedly given another. Not just any old plant, but a Poinsettia, my nemesis. Luckily I was able to donate it to a good home. My niece was looking for plants to help decorate her house and willingly removed it to a place of safety. But then, fate intervened once more. My daughter-in-law Claire gave me another. Maybe knowing the dangers involved to plants at Strickley, she unwrapped it, put in in a cachepot (I know the posh words) and watered it. I swear I never touched it, but as soon as they went home to Derbyshire the Poinsettia started to droop. Maybe it was pining. It didn't lack for sun - the hall windowsill gets as much sun as peeks through the clouds; it wasn't in a draught - we had plenty of warmth over Christmas; it wasn't under or over watered - the compost was just moist. But by we took down the decorations yesterday, it had shed most of it's leaves and was looking pretty miserable.

So please, spare a thought for innocent plants and support the PPL - Poinsettia Protection League.

Sorry Rob and Claire - I did try (and I did enjoy the chocolates!)

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Well, that's it . . .

. . . Christmas is over at Strickley. The bedroom trees have been stored on top of wardrobes, the decorations and lights taken off the real tree (with only one breakage), the tree dragged out into the garden, the kitchen swags and lights boxed up and the last bit of crumpled and torn wrapping paper used to light the fire. But the final indication is removal of the Christmas playlist on my IPod and phone.

There's still a bit of Christmas in the freezer in the form of the turkey carcass - ready to make stock for the best soup in the world. And rum butter in the fridge. And wine in the rack. And a few chocolates (at least for now).

Farm work has never really stopped of course; milking, feeding, mucking out are no respecters of seasons and holidays. Even paperwork is always with us. But now it's time to forget partying and singing along to The Best Christmas Album In The World.  But it's not the end of planning. I've started a new list - for a pensioners' party next month.What shall we eat? What games shall we play (suitable for everyone from 2 years and beyond?). Who will sleep where?

Thursday, 3 January 2013

From our correspondant near Kendal

A farmer's view of the weather - click the link below and go to about 1 hr 17 minutes (not that I'm suggesting you don't listen to it all)

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

End of year weather statistics

Click HERE to see the latest statistics from Strickley