Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Plug and Play, or Fiddling About

Yesterday we got a new Sky Box. Urged on by members of our family who had managed to get a good deal from Sky (i.e. more stuff for the same price), I rang up and tried my luck. I think the key bit I missed out was to say I was thinking of cancelling. Instead I tried to get something as a reward for loyalty (the best offers are always for new customers). But loyalty doesn't really count. Maybe I should have tried the "poor pensioner on a fixed income" ploy. We did get something though - a new box - flashier looking, more storage and WiFi enabled (to access catch-up services), so it's not true to say my phone call was fruitless.

I got word that the box had been dispatched and should be with us in the ubiquitous 3 - 5 working days. A week later nothing. I rang Sky who gave me the carrier details. When I phoned them they seemed to have difficulty understanding that there was no street line in our address. I assured them we did exist and gave them our phone number in case the courier got lost in the wilds of Old Hutton.

So, the box arrived with very clear detailed instructions how to connect it. This was the worrying bit. Seventeen years ago when we had the house rewired, we also had television cables put in and sockets in all the rooms (except the bathroom), and the wiring behind the kitchen television where it all stems from resembles a bowl of spaghetti rather than the nice neat diagram in the manual. It's also rather (very) dusty re the Aga and out-of-sight-out-of-mind. We carefully cleared a path and gently moved the stand. We disconnected one cable at a time and discovered I had been very far-sighted and labelled some of them. There are more cables and wires than we use now (I don't know why), so we taped them together to avoid undue confusion. We connected the new cables and gently pushed everything back into place. I also checked that the television still worked in the sitting room (so we hadn't disturbed the house cables).

Now all we had to due was follow the instructions on software updates, activation and WiFi etc and we were good to go.

When I rang Sky re a better deal I was given a month's free subscription to the Movie channels. But try as I might, I have not really found any films I wanted to watch. I did record a few children's ones for rainy day childminding, but these would have been lost when we swapped boxes. But we have an old hard drive recorder/DVD player from analogue days, so by logical thinking and correct cabling I managed to copy over the recordings I wanted to keep. Last night this didn't seem possible with the new setup (it's all HDMI now, and my old recorder is Scart), but a bit more fiddling about this afternoon and I'm copying "Batman and Robin". When we come to the end of our month's Movie trial all Movie recordings will be lost - except for those I've copied onto another device. My small victory over Sky.

edit - just added this rather apt link - click here

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Chelford sale report

Click here for the press release from Frank Marshall's auctioneers.

And to whet your appetite - here's a few extracts -

Leading the trade at 2600gns was the January 2011 born heifer Strickley Charlotte 2nd, from
Cumbria Breeders Messrs. Robinson. Although on the Society’s Grading Register and not a full
pedigree, she is by the exciting bull Nejay Amazon and out of the 9,700 kg Strickley Charlotte.
This fully organic herd, from a four year TB testing area, has produced some outstanding quality
heifers in recent years and Charlotte 2nd was the subject of lively bidding, before being knocked
down to C.D. Malkin of Stone, Staffordshire.

Messrs. Malkin were also in for Strickley Oak Barrington 29th, at 2250gns, another daughter of
Nejay Amazon, this one out of the 8500 kg the Strickley Oak Barrington 4th. This Nejay Amazon
bred Heifer, showed great depth in udder and again attracted bidding from a number of

The Reserve Champion and leading heifer in milk came from the Strickley Herd
of Messrs. Robinson. Strickley Tricia 7th, by Strickley Perfect Ten made 1950gns to Messrs. Malkin of Stone.

Monday, 21 October 2013

Thank you

James has just got back from the Dairy Shorthorn 2013 Annual Autumn Show & Sale. We took three newly calved heifers and are very pleased with how they were received.

I'm sure a full report will be available on Frank Marshall's website in due course, but in the meantime

Strickley Tricia 7th was Champion Heifer and Reserve overall.
Strickley Charlotte 2nd achieved the best price of the day.
Strickley Oak Barrington 29th was the second best price.

So, many thanks to everyone who supported the sale, and especially to our purchasers and I hope they do well for you.

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Last night

Last night we went to The Brewery Arts Centre. Months ago I bought tickets for Midge Ure, not really sure what to expect, but thinking it was an opportunity not to be missed. How glad I was that I did. It was an uplifting amazing gig. His voice seemed stronger than ever and soared around the room. I would have said "to the rafters" - but the rafters in The Malt Room are not very high. It was just one man, a guitar and a voice. Armed with a set of songs I had forgotten I knew. I like to be near the front - especially at The Brewery which is not raked seating, and has pillars to block the view from some seats - and by early booking we were in the middle of the front row.

I took a few photos of the set etc, but none during the performance - it would have been too distracting and off putting. It was a very simple set - a microphone stand and a guitar.

This is Henry's feet to show how near we were.

The set list was typed in large print and laid on the floor.

The set for the support (Steve Rodgers) was a bit fancier.

We arrived in plenty of time, so had a drink in the bar first. Maybe we should have done what a couple at the end of our row did - they had an ice bucket and champagne (two bottles - not that I was counting) - during the performance.
And a slight moan or two - why must venues put back the doors opening time, when you've given up your seat in the bar and are standing in the foyer. And why must a large party in the row behind us talk among themselves during the performance.
But neither of those issues detracted from a very good night out.

Friday, 18 October 2013

A busy time ahead

The main event is the Shorthorn Society's Annual Show & Sale at Chelford - click here for the catalogue. Don't forget you can also get in touch with us (see contact tab) for information about the Strickley heifers.

The heifers are all halter trained, washed and clipped ready for James to take them down on Sunday night. They'll have the chance to settle overnight  and James will have time to give them a final wash in the morning before the Show at 09:00.

Henry and James are busy getting everything ready for the stock (and James) - feed, bedding, Show Box etc. The Landrover will be packed to capacity.

Sunday will be a long day for James as straight after morning milking he's going on a First Responders advanced course and will get home just in time to drive down to Chelford.

As we're so busy (it's monthly accounts time for me) I had an Asda delivery instead of going shopping. I know I haven't got everything I want, (it's different looking at pictures online, and I like to buy meat from Booths or a butchers), but I did get some bargains.

e.g. strange pricing of Clover (used extensively in my baking)
500 g for £2.00
1 kilo for £2.00.

Guess which I bought 5 tubs of?

And it must be getting nearer to Christmas - large boxes of Jacobs "Biscuits for Cheese" are back in stock. Does no one eat many crackers from January to October?

But - time to relax tonight - Midge Ure at The Brewery. Do you know who he is? Do you remember Ultravox? Yesterday I went to see my old colleagues at Lakeland (armed with home made biscuits). I told them about my exciting social life (i.e. upcoming gigs). Blank looks from the 30-something boys. "He was in Ultavox" - "no", says one "this means nothing to me". He looked a bit amazed when one of the "girls" spread her arms wide and sang "Oh Vienna. . . " Out of the mouths of babes.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Seasonal work

Signs that it is definitely Autumn and that Winter is just round the corner -

Spreading slurry while it is fine; no doubt there will be times in a wet winter that we are glad we had kept on top of it.

Washing off machinery that won't be used till next Spring - mower, rake etc

Sawing and splitting logs to keep the home fires burning.

But - the weather has been good to us this year - all the stock is still outside (though the milk cows do stay inside at night.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Friday, 11 October 2013

For Sale

For the catalogue, and to read details of the four Strickley new calved heifers,
They are all fully organic and we are TB free in a TB4 area. If anyone wants to know any more details of the stock, or of any of our other cattle, just get in touch with us (see the Contact tab on the Blog).
Strickley Charlotte 2nd

Strickley Goldie 212nd

Strickley Tricia 7th

Strickley Oak Barrington 29th.


Thursday, 10 October 2013

Still busy

The rush of summer work may be over, but it's still very busy at Strickley. In fact it seems even busier.

School visits are once again in full swing, plus Michelle has been doing some "Outreach" sessions in schools. So far this term we've had orienteering, ice cream making and bread making. The classroom has also been used for slightly older "students"- yesterday our Vets ran a course here on Heifer Calf Rearing.

Calving is still well under way. We've more heifers calving this year as we've had a bit of a clear out of older unproductive cows, so the age of the herd has changed a bit. New calved heifers can be a bit of a problem when they first come into the milking parlour and we try to make sure they don't all come in one after another. Like young mothers they need to get used to it. We're up to 95 milking now, so gradually the working day is getting longer.

The weather is also changing, overnight the windchill was down to 0.8, and now at 8 degrees it's bright and sunny, but coolish. Maybe I'll light the kitchen wood burner tonight.

It's not all work though. I've been doing a stock take of the stuff in our safe - there's tickets for nine gigs with the first ones coming up next week! Most of them are at The Brewery in Kendal, so we don't have to travel far.

Next week we've got Midge Ure (couldn't resist) and BBC Radio Two Young Folk Awards (free!) at the Brewery, and next month Bellowhead at Blackburn (a night of luxury in a Premier Inn) and Glenn Tilbrook at The Brewery (especially for Henry). Then in December it's Show of Hands at the Brewery. Next Spring we already have tickets for Oysterband and two Spiers & Boden gigs.

Who needs big stadiums!

Monday, 7 October 2013

Out of the mouths of babes . .

Henry to grandson Robert - "Look, Grandma's bought a Kindle".

Robert to me - "Why would you do that? You could just read a book?"

I wonder where he heard that . . . . .

Friday, 4 October 2013

More from the show

Yesterday Henry picked up copies of some photographs that were taken at the Westmorland County Show last month (see the Blog if you've forgotten about it already). They were taken by a Show Society photography, so I must acknowledge that they're not mine.

The first ones are taken in the cattle tent - hence the warm yellowy glow - when HRH The Countess of Wessex came to talk to us.



James, Michelle, Robert and Chris being presented with the Strickley Cup

Happy Birthday!