Tuesday, 26 November 2013

It must be winter. .

. . . we've started hedging.

Monday, 25 November 2013

The name's the same . .

. . . but -

Once a building has gained a name, it tends to stay with it for ever. For example - the "New Building" is a secondhand hen hut that we bought from near Preston in 1965. Never mind that there has been more than one new building since then.

Once upon a time kept sheep. Just before they were due to lamb we brought them inside - to a Poly Building, which became known as the "Sheep Building". But the last lambs were born in there in the spring of 2005, and the building became more multi-purpose. We have housed calves in there (though it's not ideally placed for carrying buckets of milk etc), and lately it's just been used to store "stuff". Everyone needs somewhere to put all the stuff that doesn't go anywhere else. The bigger stuff includes our caravan and a classic Mini Van. There's a saw bench and wood (sawn and ready too saw). Drainage pipes, old bikes, ride on garden mower, out of season garden chairs and much more besides. But it's still the "Sheep Building". Even Robert and Chris who don't remember the sheep, call it the Sheep Building.

The plastic sheet has been showing it's age. There were a few gaps and tears, but it was more or less weather proof. But we decided we had to either renew the sheet, or consider other (more expensive and complicated) options. We reckoned that we still needed a building for all this Stuff, so ordered a new sheet (from the original supplier). The new sheet may have still been waiting in a corner, but the strong winds last week sounded the death knell for the old plastic. By morning there was not much left. So since then we've been clearing a way down the sides (inside and out) in preparation for a fine still day. Today's the day and new sheet is going on. The Sheep Building still lives.

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Another night out

Our mad social whirl continued last night, with a trip into town. We saw Glenn Tilbrook (formerly of Squeeze for those who don't know) at The Brewery. It was one the best concerts we've ever been to. One man, acoustic guitar, electric guitar and occasional keyboard. And a voice untouched by age. And an amazing back catalogue of songs, mixed in with new ones off his latest album. As well as all the Squeeze favourites (and I'd forgotten how many there were), we had Wichita Lineman and Voodoo Chile, and "Rupert" (which Glenn was particularly pleased with as he had been banned from performing it on BBC radio).

It was an exhilarating evening, with a set which seemed to be partly planned and partly made up as he went along, taking requests from the audience. We were on the front row so had an unhindered view (even of Glenn's green shoes). It's a more of a platform than a stage at The Brewery, so we felt very much part of action.

The new album is not on general sale yet, so we bought one after the concert - personally signed by the man himself (who didn't look as though he'd wowed us on stage for over an hour and a half.)

added - review from Westmorland Gazette

Friday, 22 November 2013

It's a bit early for me . . .

. . . but I'm getting organised for Christmas!

Cards printed.
All presents bought - except Henry's! I'm struggling to think of something that he wants (that I don't really want for myself).
Turkey and large joint of ham in freezer.

Still to do -
everything else!

Including -
make the cake
write the cards
test the tree lights (I think we put some away last year that didn't work).

Loads of time left!

Also done - restaurant booked for a significant December birthday. I hope there's no surprise party planned!

Monday, 18 November 2013


Today we've been giving a batch of heifers a pre-winter MOT. I hope I've got this list right - if not then blame me for not listening properly to Henry and James.

Clipped their backs, tails and ears
Cleaned the Tags
Vaccinated for IBR and BVD
Given boluses for trace elements and vitamin
Dosed for fluke and worm

All happy and healthy!

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Never at home?

After our holiday last week you may be thinking we are never at home when you hear we were away again last Sunday. But in this instance we left home at 5.15 pm and were back at 10.45 am the next day. It went by so quick that I wonder if it happened at all. But of course it did - we had a wonderful night at King Georges Hall in Blackburn, experiencing the wonder that is a Bellowhead concert. Bellowhead concerts are either seated or standing, and this fortunately for me (being more than a bit decrepit) was seated. By being on the ball and quick off the mark on the day tickets went on sale, we were on the front row. There was quite a large gap between us and the stage - which came into use when the tunes got livelier and we were encouraged to get up and dance. I maybe didn't leap as high as some (or even as high as Henry, whose hips didn't seem to mind), but entered into the spirit.

I've just found this on You Tube - you won't see us as we were on the right of the stage, just in front fiddler (and bagpipe player) Sam. Not the best quality, but a reminder.

And here's review from a local paper.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Late summer holiday

Yesterday we got back from our late summer holiday - or you could call it an early winter holiday. When we went away in July we planned on at least another break away in the caravan - sometime later in summer, after 3rd cut and the bulk of heifers calving etc. But the uncertain weather meant that 3rd cut was delayed until after Westmorland Show, and the calvings kept on happening (not unexpectedly as we had planned them), so the time slipped by. The calendar seemed to have something written on every week, but it was getting colder and the days were shortening. Last week we realised it was now or never, so booked a pitch at the Caravan Club site near Grassington.

We left home just after 5 o'clock and by we got there it was pitch black. We drove round the site a couple of times trying to identify a good pitch, though the direction of the sun would be irrelevant (we didn't expect to be sitting out, but had packed two garden chairs "just in case"). Setting up in the dark and cold (very cold) was a bit different to doing it in warm daylight, but we were organised and soon had the door shut and the heater switched on (still with warm clothes on). We put our M & S meal in the oven (secondary heating) and plugged the television into the aerial socket on the bollard and waited for it to tune in. We got a brief picture before the screen went off, leaving us with sound only. We had had this problem earlier in the year when we first got this television out of storage (in the caravan) and almost consigned it to the tip, but after a week in the house it returned to normal. We assumed it had suffered with the cold over winter. I hadn't thought it had been unduly cold yet this year, but it must be very sensitive. We had taken some DVDs as an alternative to the TV, but of course these didn't have any picture either. Backup plan A - watch a DVD on the laptop - OK for about 15 minutes then it froze (DVD fault probably). Backup plan B - music from the Ipod (docked in the TV) and Sunday papers, glass of fizz and supper.

Despite having to get up in the night to add another duvet to the bed (a hot spare) we had a good night and by we looked out on Monday morning the sun was shining. After a late breakfast (bacon sandwiches and proper coffee) we went for a ride out, not following a map or listening to the Sat Nav, but turning left or right on a whim when we came to a signpost. We were never really lost and eventually arrived back near Skipton so had a late lunch at The Bull at Broughton. We tried the television on and off (mainly off) and eventually the picture stayed on. Moral of the story - keep it in the house and try it before we go away. We also realised it we rely on it more in the cold dark months when we can't sit outside and read (or in Henry's case, sleep).

On Tuesday we had a plan - to drive part of the route of next year's Tour de France (starting in Yorkshire - click here). This was part of our reason for coming to Grassington. The campsite is on the route and we hope to book in there for Le Tour (but Caravan Club 2014 bookings don't open till 4th December!). We drove up the road to Hawes, marvelling how not only the cyclists, but all the publicity and support vehicles will get through some of the narrow roads and villages. We had hoped to see the creamery at Hawes in action, but it was a non-cheesemaking day, so had to be content with sampling (and buying) lots of different cheeses.

Back at the caravan we made the most of having no plans or timetable to keep to, and had another relaxing evening.

Wednesday we had another late breakfast and packed up. We had taken too many clothes and too much food, so we emptied the cupboards and bagged it up as we prepare to put the caravan away for the winter. Getting away when the stock is inside is difficult and we know the next trip will probably be next May.

There is another night way though - on Sunday we are going to see Bellowhead at Blackburn and living it up in a Premier Inn!

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Happy Birthday


Saturday, 2 November 2013

In for winter

For the past fortnight the milk cows have been going round all the pastures. There's still grass for them, but underfoot it's getting wetter. This past week they've been going out for half the day, but today that has come to an end. They went out after milking, but we've now brought them inside. They've plenty of room to wander about or lie down in their individual cubicles on comfy mattresses, and they see the sun (or not) when they come up to the parlour twice a day, but there'll be no more grass beneath their feet till turnout next Spring.