Friday, 28 May 2010

Aunt Agatha does it again

My girl is SO clever. And here as a reminder is last year's lot.

Invasion of the bloggy snatchers

Apologies to my lovely regular readers and the occasional visitors, but I have been invaded by racist tossers charading as commercial tossers.
First I get splattergun spammed by dweebs littering the blog with their nonsensical comments containing multiple links purporting to sell stuff (I think - I didn't follow any of the links to check). I then delete a few of the comments (there were MASSES of them) and set up comment moderation (sorry, sorry to all you visitors who shouldn't have to go through more hoops to post a much enjoyed and appreciated comment) to find my email box full of comments awaiting moderation from the tossers who were now impregnating their comments with racist innuendo. Vile, idiotic, selfish, outrageous gits. Get a life.
So, comment moderation remains until such time as these comments stop, and at the first sign of a return it goes on permanently. And I have tried to remove every one of the comments originally posted by the vile, idiotic, selfish, outrageous gits.

Monday, 24 May 2010

Is it Ok to be Closer?

What's wrong with us? Where have our brains and our discernment gone? Is it too much work to create a life of our own instead of dwelling on the foibles of others? Isn't your own life more interesting, more satisfying, more challenging than that of some TV this or magazine that? And if life is a serious challenge (it is, of course), then mental and physical health allowing, isn't it preferable to deal with our stuff, try and make things better in our own way than wishing we were a wag or a bag or a lag?
I picked up a discarded copy of Closer & OK! on the train and flicked through. I hadn't realised (how naive) the extent to which it's all material that soils the soul, the heart and the mind. Utter detritus, utterly boring, utterly malignant, utterly dismal, depressing. A vile slur on the positivity of human nature and self realisation (and now I sound like some psycho-pseud).
I want to shout - "Girls! Women! Get a life! Pull those nifty socks up! Create your own future. It's hard, but it can be fun and it's all YOURS. Don't watch it happening from the outside. Think of yourself at seventy - how do you want to feel about yourself then? What do you want out of life? Dying with a flash bag and some designer label shoes by your bedside and a head full of others' dreams will not be adequate reward".
Did feminism die whilst I looked the other way?

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Quality Hotel?

Could one sue for misuse of the word "quality"? Having just spent a night in the Quality Hotel in Birmingham I'm beginning to wonder.
I'm often having to spend the odd night in a hotel. I don't do posh, but I do do clean, efficient, comfy bed. Holiday Inn Express is the benchmark; it'll do nicely, and is the least I expect when away. If I'm lucky it might be somewhere with room service - a steak and a salad munched in my nightie, surrounded by papers and prep for the next day. If I'm really lucky it'll be somewhere like this with free wifi, a snug bathrobe and sleek lines from the headboard to the iMac. And a double bed is a pre-requisite - otherwise all the paperwork falls to the floor, and anyway, why should I revert to ten years old just because I'm away from home?
So, when some bloomin' conference was on in Brum and there was practically no room to be had, I shrugged and went with what was left: Quality.
First up: entrance like building site...not a good feeling of what's to come
Second: great queue of blokes in grey suits all looking forward to a night away. Lots of male bonding, loudness and flash gold jewellery, bickering over the Executive Suite. Gawd.
Third: shouting out of my name and room number, not just once but thrice. Give over, guys - for years hotels have been quietly sliding a scrap of folded cardboard across the counter with your room number discreetly written inside and simply tell you which floor you need to go to and how. Haven't you heard about the need for looking after single women? OK, I'm hardly in the most vulnerable category, but really.
Fourth: when was this place last decorated? My room is gloomy, drab, not dirty exactly but not clean either. The doors are bashed and look like something retrieved from a school that's about to be demolished.
Five: stains on the "clean" towels.
Six: It does room service but there is bugger all information about anything in the room. I have to trog back to reception for them to tell me that they haven't had the menus printed yet. After telling them that no, I won't be heading for the bar to place my order as I have work to do, they get me a faded photocopy which I can take back to my room.
Seven: it's a twin room - urghh - and one of the beds is broken. I nick its duvet and pile two on the ok bed. It has VINYL HEADBOARDS. It's sticky. I'm about to be sick.
Eight: the TV is so low down I can't see it from the bed. I have to move the bed til it's at a diagonal so I can watch the box whilst I eat my prawn curry. 5/10 for supper.
Nine: in the morning I head for the shower to find it's a plastic shower from Boots kinda thing and held to the wall by a rubber band. Grohe's what you need boys.
Ten: I'm so relieved to be leaving that I hardly credit them for having organised a taxi for me that arrives on the dot of 9am.
Eleven: back home my own bed is paradisical.

Friday, 14 May 2010

Blogging from my bed

Pure laziness you understand - not poorly or anything, unless you can count a leg that needs scratching and hands so rough they catch on the sheets like sandpaper on silk.
I'm trying out my very first notebook, all wireless, light in the lap, and intended to keep me working whilst travelling on the train to see clients. It is not only my first notebook, it's my first ever new laptop, For years I've put up with other people's cast-off junk - slow, imperfect, broken bits of dross. But as I hate to drive long distance and take the train whenever possible, it was time to put up the moolah and stop my own meanness from keeping me a second rate iCitizen.
I'd have adored an iPad, but what I need is summat that allows me to work on large word docs and powerpoint so that was that dream gone.
And here I am, in bed, listening to the rain fall as OH does the morning livestock duties. I can hear feedbin lids clang, pigs grunt, flapping of undeveloped duckling wings waiting to be let out of their hut, cocks crowing, and all the usual post-dawn chorus.
This weekend we're running one of our intro to smallholding courses, so although much is in readiness, the last delights have to be put in place: soup and scones to make, gammon joint and apple juice out the freezer, all kinds of kit to be put on display, removal of trip hazards, and most importantly, looking about with a strangers eye. I am used to living surrounded by cheerful mayhem and I'm never sure if innate sluttishness is something positive to pass on to others alongside the more practical smallholding skills.
So, enough, outa bed, into shower, get rolling. Time to move from the cozy virtual to the raw real.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Mums and babes

Presenting some of the flock, mums and ever-growing lambs, in Higher Down, safely contained by the hedge laid this past winter.
A month passes and the lambs go from fragile babes to delinquent, robust adolescents. Gang games erupt, grass is already supplementing their mothers' milk. They are now too large to roll unwittingly underneath a gate, standing up to find themselves jailed from the rest. I'm no longer met by franting bleating to be let back in because the grass is definitely not greener on the other side.
Bank holiday Monday was spent MOTing the whole flock, weighing and worming lambs, running the ewes through the footbath and removing any shitty-arse bits that might attract the multiplying flies.
For the first time we've not castrated the ram lambs so they will reach meat weight earlier and not suffer the indignity and discomfort of eunuch-hood. As a result, their testosterone-induced horns are starting to develop, and there are no furry scrotums littering the field. By the time they are four months old they will have to be separated from the ewe lambs and their mothers to avoid carefree incest and teenage pregnancy. It's like running a mixed sex school.