Sunday, 11 March 2012

Gratitude and serendipity

It's a strange kind of Sunday; She Who has a migraine which effectively precludes all noisy activity such as laundry and hoovering and tinkering with the kitchen so I'm viewing this as a big plus. After all, its not often one finds not an excuse but a valid reason for sitting down quietly and not doing the housework! The dogs are less sure about this good thing because they fear the loss of the main priviledge of weekends, the longer walkie. I'm sure there will be some sort of walk, but at this time its likely to be of shorter duration because I have work on Sunday afternoons. Also I am getting hungry and lunch may well interfere very soon!
So it is a serendipitous day. I love that word, it is evocative and has the right nuance for discovering that you have a few hours in which to do nothing other than suit yourself and I am grateful for the sudden gift. I have discovered a talent for gratitude. I fail dismally when it comes to forgiveness,(I just can't, so have despaired of mastering the technique) and I am less than adept with the concept of loving everyone as if they were myself. I don't think this is truly a possibility. A lovely thought but unworkable. There are just some people to whom I do not warm. The cruel, the hurtful, the spiteful and jealous acts preclude me from love. I do not love those who abuse animals, I do not love those who are unkind to people I care about. I detest malicious spite and to those people I cannot be loving. I compromise by pretending they do not exist. I see this as a major failing on my part. Enlightenement decrees a kind of non judgemental universal Love I just cannot get my head around.
 Gratitude however I can handle. If you start with little things like gratitude for a sudden rainbow or a great cup of coffee and move on then to greater things, gratitude can become both a way of thinking and a joy. And after actively practising the 'Attitude of Gratitude' (Yes I know! Horribly American and 'perky'. Sorry!) for a number of months I have discovered many benefits. For example, I do not become angry as easily or as often as before. I am more actively aware of good things around me. I see more positives. Best of all, it makes me happy in a way nothing else does.
I wonder if I will ever be as competent with Forgiveness? .....Nah.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012


Its been a long dry spell on the writing front. A PC that refuses to run for more than 15 minutes is nerve wracking and I didn't want to start anything incase it shut down without warning in the middle of a sentence or something. So I spent frantic 10 minute spells on the net and managed to get a reconditioned laptop at a reasonable cost from Ebay. It was a tricky endeavor because of sudden shutdowns and I missed two, bought one that never arrived, missed another and then got the one I am now working on. Of course its got nothing on it but Windows7 which means I am spending serious amounts of time downloading stuff like Flashplayer and word processing programmes etc. At least it's quiet, fast and doesn't shut down just when things get interesting. Now all I have to do is produce a novel plot line by Saturday. Simples, Tsk.

She Who returns to Scotland tomorrow. The snooty Oldenburg can get sweaty again and I will be able to sit on the sofa without a spaniel balanced on the top of my head. When Buffy feels lonely she likes to sit on your head, balanced against the back of the sofa. My neck is solidly locked from the weight of her. I will also be able to walk without the danger of treading on the Spollie. Spollie, who is rightly known as Ben is a Collie with identity issues in that he believes himself to be a Cocker Spaniel. Currently, Ben believes that She Who has gone forever and ever and ever and consequently, HE MUST NOT LET ME OUT OF HIS SIGHT! He has other issues too, stemming from being shut in a crate for the first 9 months of his life and not always fed. To suggest he is less sane than even the normal half crazed sheepdog is to put it mildly. He chews things, even though he is now 2 and not a pup, To date he has chewed a saddle, the kitchen table and countless socks, knickers and shoes. Cardboard and paper is not safe anywhere near him, and he completely destroyed She Who's new mobile phone by taking it out for a jolly time in the vegetable garden. Ben has serious food issues, he's not greedy but he worries about the availability of food and is happier if there is always a bowl of biscuits on the floor. But despite driving us nuts chasing the poor benighted cats he is loveable and loving and extemely beautiful and at least living with us he is safe and happy. Things are just things and can be replaced. Ben is family.

And we are missing a cat. I feel guilty as I turfed him out on Wednesday to get some excersise and because he is not the cleanest animal in the house. He has not returned and I think that perhaps evil may have befallen the fat elderly black mog. I hope not but it has been nearly a week which is a long time for a cat that rarely moves from the prone position.

Oops and here comes the Tesco man almost an hour early so best go corral the Hellhounds and stock up the fridge.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Fourteen Days

That is the question, and the answer actually. She Who is always Right has left the building, and the country, to track wolves. Somehow I rather doubt she has asked how the wolves feel about that. My interest faltered at the point she declared that 'Its -8 in Stockholm and -20 in Finland right now. ' In my mind there's cold; the out in the icy weather for an hour doing horsey/doggy things and then there is out all day and sometimes at night in -20 cold. I am bidding on the former very firmly.

So fourteen days is the question as in what I am going to do with it, and also the answer as in how long She Who will be away. What, is writing, viola playing and not watching Eastenders (Praise to Diety of your preference). It is also not cooking and not scaling Mount Sports Bag Wash every day. It will involve copious amounts of swimming and unavoidable chores. These consist of feed/walk/entertain/love doggy pack and cowtow/pander to/cosset snooty Oldenburg. I may even paint. I also plan to bid on two revolving bookcases in the local auction mart on Friday and to investigate further my desire to propagate worms. Yes worms. Really. Lots of em.

Why? Oh okay, this is why. We have five fur children and two moggies. The garden is under a rolling remodelling programme that will likely this year roll right over the site of my bonfire; where I dispose of the poo (whispers). Burning is hygenic but if I have no firepit, I cannot use it and I don't think a furnace however small will add to the ambience somehow. Wormcities however will digest said poo without smell and give us in return vermicompost. Really really good for growing veggies. We have a LOT of veggie plots and a poly tunnel. The wormcity is shaped like a square beehive and I am assured is smell free. And comes in tasteful black or green. Two large cities should do it. And they come complete with instructions and half a kilo of worms each. I will be the proud owner of a kilo of vermiculture operatives. Wow. Wow muchly.

Oh and now its supper time, at least so my tummy is claiming. Oh ho ho to the cupboard I go!

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

One down already.

Months that is. Last day of January already and how did that happen? It was just Xmas I know it was. then all of a sudden it was Burn's Night. We celebrated late, on 28th due to silly work schedules and I confess the Ogress overindulged in the haggis and mash department. Did feel unwell on the Sunday but SWIAR decided that the best thing for that would be a three hour walk in the forest. Turned out she was right, came back weary but feeling so much better in the tummy department. Furchildren had the best time and were uncharacteristically subdued on Monday!

The Ogress is still alledgedly excersising the Trekpaard, at least until Friday. Unfortunately today the Trekpaard did the excersising of the Ogress. He is out in what is known as the Moor; 20 plus acres (Scottish acres too, which are bigger!) of what I would describe as rough high ground and because the sun is shining on the righteous, he decided that today was not a day for trundling around the arena on a long line. Today he decided was the day to see how determined I was to find him. As I said there is 20 acres, there are trees, there is mud, quite a lot of rather deep mud. Vast as Trekpaard is, he is all but invisible in all that space. After half an hour I gave up and went back to the gate; at which point he sidled out from a copse of beech saplings at the far end of his playroom and pretended that he had only just noticed me. I wasn't fooled, horses have great hearing and I had been bellowing 'STRUAN' for 20 minutes and had walked right past his hiding place. I know when I'm being made a fool of!

Oh and remember the cactus? Yes they are thriving, all merrily growing in their pots, plotting the next phase of 'Operation Spine'. Stealth gifting will be inevitable I think, for my own safety. Plants are lovely but they can be as demanding as furchildren. Which leads me to the Sprouts: We bought them, planted them, cooed over their efforts to grow and congratulated each other on our first year of serious vegetable growing. Nothing though prepared me for the final phase; the harvesting. 'She Who' dug up all the overwinter veg on Sunday. I have sprouts. In the fridge, for supper last night and still more in a bucket awaiting my attention. Lots of them. Pounds of them. Sigh, I suppose they better find their way into the freezer if I don't want a steady diet of sprouts for the whole of next month! We are still trying to find room in the freezer around the kale, courgettes and leeks!  I can see us becoming a three freezer household soon. Yes we have two already. A large one for human food and a small one for canine. Somehow I just don't fancy bread that has spent even a week snuggled up with 2kg of minced green tripe. There are some things even a strong stomach wont tolerate!

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Who's a silly billy then?

Oh bother it.
Got home after a frustrating day yesterday and suddenly realised the house was cold. Hmm, boiler  recently serviced, new oil tank in November. Oops, that means...yup we are out of oil. Damn. Now have to ask neighbour very nicely if he will restart the boiler tomorrow after oil arrives. Been promised emergency delivery, thank goodness. This house is weird its very warm when heating and Aga are on, too warm and we don't have a thermostat in the house. There may be one on boiler. Note to self, ask neighbour if this is so. BUT if heating off you suddenly remember that most of house is one hundred years old. Ooh its nippy!
Off to see the film War Horse tonight. Have surprise free evening because SWIAR's horse, the Pompous Oldenburg has contact dermatitis on her precious little fetlocks and has decided to be both puffy legged and lame. Urgent treatment means that now duly slathered in petroleum jelly she is making a rapid recovery, but it means tonight is for Pizza and cinematography. Yeah!
My dear friends G and C are away just now soaking up the sun, sights, food and alcohol in Goa. I am in charge of exercising The Horse. Horse (The) is a Trekpaard and immensely cute in a massively huge kind of way. I trundled out to catch him today and called 'Struan!' at the gate. Next minute there is one tonne of Trekpaard approaching gate at a fair velocity and I am stuck in 8" of mud. 2nd note to Trekpaard from outside the gate tomorrow! Luckily he stopped and I wasn't squished and he worked like a cherub, bless him. Hopeful of repeat performance tomorrow.
OK off to sit for an hour in front of blazing stove with coffee planning my Wednesday. I would write more here, but am losing the feeling in my extremities.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

The Ogress Growled

Oh dear.
I'm afraid I did. But I am not sorry. Someone was trying to make a ninny out of me and that sort of behaviour makes the Ogress very angry. I will do anything for anyone if they ask nicely, and do so frequently,but maneouvering me into a situation that means I don't have any choice but to do what is wanted.. ooh! Just don't go there. Really, don't.

I said in my very first entry that I have to mind my own business or someone else will mind it for me. How true that is. The words I dread to hear are "Can you just...." followed by the uncanny ability to ensure that whatever I was about to do that day has just neatly gone out of the window. And there is the endless conviction that I have nothing better to do. Huh? When did dogs learn to hoover up their own fur? When did we hire a dog walker/cook/cleaner/groom/kennel maid/laundress/administrator and general factotum? No they are all me. Plus giver of dressage lessons, dispencer of advice, rescuer of horses from the snow, children (occasionally) from schools, attendee to vets, farriers, saddlers and chaps who fix things. Maker of the wickedest vegetarian curries in the known Universe. Anyone? Someone? No? All me then. So let me say, once and for all. I am a busy person. I Do Not Have Masses of Unused Time! Really! However if I DID ever have masses of unused time I would play my viola more, I would spend long afternoons with steaming cups of coffee writing novels to dazzle the world. I would paint more. I really would. I would spend more time at the pool, swimming. I would spend an occasional afternoon just watching a good movie with my dogs. I would not be sitting here just now in damp socks because I have just spent an hour traipsing around fields fetching horses out of the hail and trying to find a 3 yr old who just might have wanted to come in. She didn't as it happened; very happy in the snow playing with pony and foal friends. But I tried, I really tried to give her choices. Lets hope when she grows up she likes me more than her big sister does! That mare can make a person feel soooo small. The expression is usually along the lines of "You're late/early/ in my way/fiddling too much with my rugs" She also tends to address me as 'Serf'. I know my place. (grins wryly). Ho with a capital Hum!

Yesterday I was attacked by a cactus, ungrateful wretch of a thing: I was given a few really mega cacti by a friend and decided yesterday to lavish them with TLC and new pots/compost. As I lifted the lasrgest pot the thing slipped and crashed back to the carpet, where a 14" beast that lookes rather like a small and deadly prickly pear exploded into a zillion bits all over the room and spraying me with micro fine vicious spines. In 3 seconds they were in my clothes and gloves and mounting a frontal attack on the Ogressly personage. Man that was sore! It took two hours, a shower, a pot scrubber and a total change of clothes to repel the beastie, and now instead of one I have lots. Many. I just bet every bit I replanted grows into a new lethal weapon. Plants do that to me. I shove them in dirt and they multiply, sometimes to extreme. I may need to do some stealth gifting of vicious little brutes in a few months!

So it really is now a dark and stormy night out there. I hope the horses were duly grateful for their early rescue and maybe tomorrow might be a quiet day!

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

January, why so warm?

Oh do I hate mud! This time last year we were teetering around on the ice and snow. It looked like a return trip a few weeks ago... what happened? This is the Highlands! Who told it it was the South Coast? It's warm. It's wet and I do not not not like it! I know what to do with cold, you dress warm, you make stews and the horses stand by the gate hopefully ten minutes after you slither to the field with them. That I understand. Today it has been dry(ish) warm(ish) and not too windy. Three separate times I have driven up to the yard and asked the two Warmblood Divas if they wish to come in. On a cold wet day they wish to be rescued after about an hour. Today I feel like an unpaid doorman to a snooty Oldenburg and her equally stuck up Dutch friend. Neither fine skinned little Princess wanted to leave the ring feeder and I wasn't about to squelch my way through the mire to make them. Horses could make you nuts if you let them! But I'll guarantee that if its wet tomorrow they will cower by the gate looking hurt and miserable. The ultimate insult is that neither of them are actually mine, they have working owners so muggins plays nursemaid/servant/skivvy and doormat. Bless their long elegant noses...
Took myself off to Inverness today to buy Craghoppers for She Who Is Always Right, (unless I am!) and have remembered why I don't like towns. Got to destination, discovered that I didn't have the right coins for car park. Went to get coins and took 15 minutes including buying an item I didn't want to get said coins. Back to van. Repeat exercise only this time buy up the store's supply of Craghoppers in SWIAR's size for trip to Sweden. (Wolf Trekking, I ask you.. who does that???) Return to van and do battle with after school traffic, and third fruitless attempt to capture mares. All the while wondering why large well known stores make it so hard for you to look at merchandise and compare it. by giving you no space to put your choices down or to leave it whilst you look at another display. EBay is so much less of a bother...really it is. And you don't get snooty assistants talking in that bored voice only the utterly disenchanted can achieve. Amazon and EBay, my friends!
Right back to reality. She Who Is Always Right should be back any minute from the magical and incomprehensible world of business directorship to ride the snooty German. Revenge is sweaty! And it's just started to drizzle...ewww.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Rain and yet more rain.

It's almost midnight and I was going to bed. Then I looked at Facebook and it began to rain, now I'm wide awake and the brain is clanking relentlessly forward.
Had to rescue a sheep this afternoon. I don't like sheep, they are stupid creatures without characters, but I can't stand by and watch one be hurt. So there I was driving along our drive and there is a sheep; not as surprising as you might think, given that I live in the middle of a large farm. The silly animal had gotten its brain free head stuck in a gate and also through rylock wire and aforementioned head is being grasped firmly and not kindly by another neighbours large and quite scary Malamute. Luckily I know this dog is a coward so a good growly yell sent him scampering home. I could see his point, sheep seemed to be trying to enter his garden and was in his doggy mind therefore both fair game and property, somehow though I doubt that would be the view taken by either the sheep or its owner. Tiptoeing through inches of rainwater in my good shoes I suggested Mrs sheep remove herself and run away. Unfortunately, brain being a deficiency in the ovine per se she elected to try and fit her stupid self through the gap in the rylock and into malamute territory. The only recourse was to reach over the fence and rap her smartly on the nose to send her backwards and out of danger. Free at last she trundled away at a fair velocity for such a fat lump, not at all grateful for her rescue. That's sheep for you, she might at least have said Baaah!

Monday, 2 January 2012

Here comes 2012, the Olympics and snow.

Not necessarily in that order either. The snow is snowing presently and the Olympic mayhem is thankfully some way off. I will try hard to ignore it apart from the Dressage. This middle aged ogress dislikes sport. Especially if it tries to inclide me in its insanity. Dressage is actually an art form so it is permitted. At least it isn't synchronised swimming or ping pong. Enough about the sport already.
So I set up this blog last year and promptly forgot all about it whilst dealing with the worst year in recent memory. Well certainly in the last decade or so. Our lovely Ellie spaniel got very sick and went to the Rainbow Bridge. One of our horses had a horrendous accident and almost died. We have had leaking oil tanks, floods and water supply failures. Oh, and don't forget weather, in the Highlands you can rarely forget weather. We get such a lot of it; usually all at once.
Ok, well not going to forget blog again this year but right now a house full of hungry humans and a spaniel whose tummy is making awful squeaking noises indicating that she may well have digestive distress are calling louder than the written word. Wonder how you get pretty pictures and patterns on these things??