Thursday, March 25, 2010

If you want something done, call the eggsperts!

Some friends of ours went into the chicken buying business on the same day as we purchased The Three Degrees Mk II. They bought two, a run-of-the-mill brown one like ours called Ruby, and a very good looking French Black Copper Marans (see photo) that they call Gilda., She has beautiful plumage, although not like a Norwegian Blue! Neither their birds nor ours are layers yet, but we are hoping for the first egg any day now as it will be four weeks next Monday when we got them.

Our friends told us that the brown hen has been flying up and sitting on the fence and they have been concerned that she might eggscape.
We said not to worry, they just had to trim the flight feathers so the hen couldn’t actually get off the ground to any real height. Probably about as far as they could jump, although to be honest I have never ever seen a hen trying to jump. Perhaps we could train them and have a hen jumping competition. Hmmm. O2 Arena for the main event? Possible income generation scheme.

Anyway they asked if we could pop over and help them with the bird trimming (no not trimming as in a nice roast chicken with all the trimmings) as they hadn’t any eggsperience of it. To set the record straight, we have only trimmed flight feathers twice. It worked OK, we didn’t hurt them, at least not physically, I don’t know about mentally, and the birds stopped eggscaping so we guessed we did the right thing. We liked our friends’ blind faith. What’s that saying, “The one-eyed man is king in the land of the blind.” A bit like that really.

So we went round last Tuesday armed with our trimming machine – an old pair of kitchen scissors. We sat outside and had a great natter and enjoyed a lovely coffee and some cake (it’s alright, it was a diabetic cake, honest. I know for sure because one of our friends is diabetic too!!) These friends are the ones who took one of the kittens the community cats had last year. A little silver queen. She has grown into a very pretty cat and looks as though she rules the roost over the other three that they have.
Then we were down to action.

I did the showing of getting the wing stretched out whilst they held the first hen and La D did the snipping. Then they did the second one as we watched on shouting encouragement. The birds didn’t bat an eyelid. Once they were put back onto the ground, they just went on with their lovely gentle clucking and pecking about our feet as though we weren’t even there.

A very pleasant Tuesday morning.

On the way home, La D suggested that I could market myself as a “pollo parrucchiere” – chicken hairdresser – to royalty as I look after our chickens and La D, by way of her title, is nobility. I had to point out to La D that her title is one that she conferred upon herself and that in fact she is not a real Duchessa. “Oh stop splitting hairs L’uomo chi fa”

Lordy, lordy.

Ciao, mantenere la fede

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Emergency Announcement.

It has come to our attention that the paparazzi is about to release an unauthorised picture of La D and myself. In order to spike their guns, we are publishing the following picture showing La D doing what she likes to do on a sunny afternoon and myself, L'uomo chi fa, doing what he has been told to do.

(Special thanks to La D's sister. The Wokingham One as she is called by the Special Forces.)

Green Day, not the group, it’s St Patrick’s day!

“Top of the morning to you” to which you should reply “And the rest of the day to yourself.”

I remember a great tale somebody told on the radio many years ago. There was a large lorry travelling behind a learner driver in the middle of Dublin. They came up to some traffic lights just as they turned red, so the traffic stopped. When the lights went green, the car didn’t move. The lights went back to red. When they went to green, the same thing happened. This went on a couple more times. When the lights were on red yet again, the driver of the lorry got down from his cab and went up to the car and tapped on the driver’s window. The poor harassed driver wound down her window and the lorry driver with a big smile on his face asked her, “Are yis waiting for any particular shade of green?”

Spring has sprung, the grass is riz, I wonder where the birdies iz?

(or something like that)

Well it certainly seems as though Spring is here. Last Saturday we were freezing our bits off in zero temperatures and cold, grey skies. Yesterday I had to go and do a drug deal in the local town (monthly visit to the docs for my diabetic medicines) and stopped off to get la D and myself an extraordinarily delicious pastry from the local patisserie. I came back, about 10:30, made some coffee and La D and I sat outside and drank the coffee and ate the pastries in the blazing sunshine. It’s glorious. We wonder if it is going to be similar to last year when it almost seemed that we went from Winter straight into Summer. We’ll have to see.

What’s this?

Well done. Good to see you are on the ball. Yes it’s a fire engine. La D asked me to put a picture in of one as it is now early year bonfire season. I’ve had a couple of crackers already this week and probably a couple more tomorrow and Friday. Although I think la D has something else in mind.

I have been very good. Checking the wind strength. Trying to gauge whether it might pick up by studying the weather over the mountains. Using little petrol. No, no ignore that. Forget I ever mentioned the awful spirit. If La D sees this she’ll rip my head off and stick it on a spike outside the front door. – I think I have been reading too many books about Vlad.

But they have been most satisfying although I am again missing my Firestarter Secondo Classe, the DIL. He’s such a help at keeping the fire going. In fact I think he has a nagging ambition to becoma a Prima Classe. It’s his enthusiasm that does it. If you watch him closely as he looks at the flames erupting from the bonfire, his eyes are dancing and you get the distinct feeling that in his mind he is doing some sort of primitive fire dance round the bonfire. It’s very good to sense such a thrill in another. Maybe we could start a society like the Masons or the Buffs (Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes). Maybe.

Ciao, mantenere la fede

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Oh what night ……..

No, not the Four Seasons classic, just a really disturbed night.

We had a load of snow from midday yesterday through to about 04:00 today. Quite a lot fell, and somewhere up the power lines there must have been a gremlin or two.

There had been a bit if flickering in the evening, but no actual cuts, until we were just about to go to bed, around 22:15. So we got out some candles and a torch and abluted by candlelight – quite romantic in a way. I certainly look more like George Clooney in extremely subdued lighting than I do in the full glare of the sun, that’s for sure. Ahm.

So to bed. Power back on. Excellent. Read for a bit. I was just reaching the denouement of Stieg Larrson’s first book The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo; throughly recommend it. Brilliant. Can’t wait to get hold of the next one. We had turned our bed-side lights out at about 22:30 and fell asleep …….. then it started.

We have a small cordless telephone. As you probably know these ‘phones are mains powered. Everytime the power goes off (we do have our fair share of niggles with the power supply here) the ‘phone bleeps once, then quickly again and after a few seconds, once more. Once the power is restored it bleeps again, this time a longer one. Don’t ask me why, as I haven’t got a clue, it just does, OK?

Being a small house with the living quarters on one level, the bleeping sound carrys to our bedroom. We keep the door open to allow the brute to come in and lie on the floor if he wants.

1:00 bleep, bleep, ………………bleep. Then a few minutes later on, bleeeeep. Oh I thought to myself, well that’s OK power all restored. Wrong.

A little later, the same thing happened. Then again and again. You know the feeling you get when you hear a noise, like a dog barking in the middle of the night. You eventually end up lying there waiting for the wretched thing to bark again. But times goes on and no bark; still more time passes and no bark. Then just as are mentally stepping down from DEFCON 1 to DEFCON 2 the bloody thing starts up again. Aagghhhh! Well it was like that.

I was thinking after the last one “That’ll be it now” but waiting for a next time. Of cousre La D was in the same boat. Finally I got up at 4:00 and went in and unplugged the thing. Of course getting up at that time meant I might as well go and have a pee. No lights. Forgot where I had put the torch. Banged into Bertie who grumbled and then I backed into a chair and banged my ankle. Oh bloody hell. I limped into the bathroom and then made my way to bed.

“Do you have to make so much noise L’uomo chi fa?” came a muffled voice from under the counterpane.

“Sorry, I just ………..”

“Enough. Get into bed and go to sleep.” Orders are orders. So I got in, sharpish.

But it wasn’t much use. Both of us tossed and turned. Bertie started to think it was breakfast time and started jumping onto the bed to get some pre-breakfast attention.

As the title says, “Oh what a night!”

Here are a couple of pics showing weather scenes. La D took the one of the lump of ice dangling at the end of a twig. Brilliant.

Do you know anyone who sheds a tear at the end of The Terminator 2 – Judgement Day?

I do.

Another La D classic

Crossword clue: What do amateur golfers have a 13000:1 chance of doing and professionals a 4000:1 chance?

La D pipes up, “I know, I know. Toad in the Hole!”

I just love her to pieces. She keeps me sane.

Ciao, mantenere la fede

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

We’ve been “re-chickened!”

Following on from our ghastly discovery that Signor Volpe had done for our chickens, we went to the chicken man yesterday and replaced our lovely Three Degrees with the Three Degrees II. We had considered changing the names to try and erase the memory. I had thought of Cluck, Cluck and Cluck as it would be dead easy to get them to come you as you impersonate clucking noises when you want to get their attention. However La D vetoed that one on the grounds that no-one would go round clucking to get chicken attention unless they were demented. So then I said why don’t we call them The Alans. I’ve always wanted to have a pet called Alan and this way I could have three! La D looked at me as though I had gone completely round the twist. Mind you I don’t have a very good record for suggesting names. I have just sent off some ideas for our latest granddaughter’s name – she is due mid-May. I’ve yet to hear back from my son on that. Oh dear. Enough.

Anyway our new chicks seem to be bedding down well. Bertie needless to say has shown a lot of interest, particularly when we went to collect them as he was with us - it’s a family thing.

They haven’t come out of the coop yet. We’ll keep them in until tomorrow and then just open the door and they can gently acclimatise themselves with their new surroundings as well as come to terms with a large white animal that will no doubt bark at them and wave his sail-like tail.

Of course they are quite young. Their coxcombs are very small at the moment and quite pale, but that will quickly change.

The other thing of course is that will dent the supply of fresh eggs severely. I don’t expect to have any eggs from them until the end of the month really. We’ve only got about 12 eggs left! It was very odd having an egg for breakfast on Saturday. Both L D and I felt that we shouldn’t be eating the eggs of our dearly departed feathery friends. How ridiculous is that? But there you go. We’re only stupid humans.

Some friends of ours have just decided to get some chickens and in fact we saw then yesterday on their way to the chicken man as we were leaving with our hens. We told them what had happened and we learned this morning that they have put an extra bolt on the door of their coop. So I think I had better do the same.

As Oscar Wilde once wrote, ‘To lose one parent (set of chickens) may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both (two sets) looks like carelessness.’

Sorry Oscar, I’ve taken a bit of a liberty on this one.

As usual, I’ll keep you all updated.

Ciao, mantenere la fede