On Sunday 16 December I will be taking part in the Santa Run to raise money for East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH). The run is 2km around Christchurch Park and everyone will be dressed in santa suits. I was assured that one size fits all, but having now got my suit it is quite obvious that some alterations will be needed to stop me falling over the excess material!
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With the yellow Mini in one of its increasingly rare ‘on the road’ phases, I took the opportunity to enter an autotest run by Chelmsford MC at Woodbridge airfield yesterday. As expected, a good day (although the Peugot driver who broke his gearbox might disagree!), and I managed fifth place. It’s a while since I’ve done an autotest, and as usual, I was just starting to get the hang of it again by the time it finished.
There are a few photos here.
It’s about time we posted an update on our chickens. Sadly we lost Ginger in May (the vet seemed to think it was liver failure – she just stopped eating and drinking properly and slowly ran out of energy), then Ivy had to be put down a couple of weeks ago after she got a prolapsed oviduct.
We decided to get two new ones this week while we were off work, and ended up with a Buff Sussex and one that’s supposed to be a Rhode Island Red, but doesn’t really look like one. She actually looks more like the ‘Black Rhode Island’ on the egg box in the photo, but I can’t find any mention of that breed on the Internet. We reckon she’s a cross between a Rhode Island Red and something else (the man we got them from had hundreds of chickens of all shapes and sizes running around). They’re a month or so younger than the others were when we got them, and a fair bit smaller too.
Anyway, we made the mistake of leaving them roaming round the garden with the others when we brought them home, thinking it would be easy enough to catch them if they didn’t go to bed of their own accord. We caught the buff one (who we’ve decided to call Buffy – original, eh?), but as it started to get dark there was no sign of the other one, who’s quite well camouflaged at the best of times. After spending about an hour with torches searching the hedges we had to give up and hope she’d found somewhere safe to roost.
The next morning there was no sign of her, and we feared the worst, especially as I thought I’d heard a squawk and flapping in the night (I got up and had a look round, but couldn’t find anything). Then next thing we knew, they’d both disappeared! I was relieved to find them eventually, both sitting in a hollow under a hedge. We put the one who’d been out all night in the Eglu run, but Buffy had run off by then.
The one we had managed to shut away seemed very quiet, and on closer inspection she turned out to have a cut on her back. I tried cleaning it, but it looked pretty deep so we took her to the vet. It seems she was bitten by a fox or a cat (not one of ours as they were all indoors!), but had somehow managed to escape. The vet found more bite wounds under her wing, as well as some other cuts and scratches, and we had to leave her there overnight.
Of course that still left one bird to catch, and it was obvious that unless we made a big net we weren’t going to do it until she went to sleep. We kept an eye on her as it got dark, and she started thinking about settling down in the hedge. Then there was a bit of a commotion as the tabby and white cat from one of the neighbouring houses appeared, and she flew up to a branch about five or six feet off the ground. We had to wait about 45 minutes for her to shut her eyes, then I managed to grab her and put her in the Eglu, although she obviously wasn’t very happy about it!
We brought the other one back from the vet’s today, and she’s slowly recovering, with staples holding the wounds closed. At least she’s home now, and in the run with Buffy. We decided to call her Lucy, after the vet who treated her.
Just back from visiting Lou, Fiske and Millie in Spain – I’ve put a few of my photos on Flickr.
Sadly Sampson was run over last night and was apparently killed instantly. Even though he was very quiet, he was a lovely boy and it won’t be the same without him.
Amazingly, Twiglet is now over 10% older than when we got her a week ago! She’s settled in really well, and the other cats don’t seem to mind her at all. She still curls up on our laps a lot and sleeps quietly on our bed all night, but spends a lot of time running round like a loony too. Last night while we were getting ready for bed she dived into the (fortunately just flushed) toilet, which I think gave her a bit of a shock!
We took her to the vet on Tuesday to have her first set of vaccinations, which she didn’t like, but hasn’t held against us. They weighed her while she was there – a massive 1.16kg (about two-and-a-half pounds).
Here are a few more photos:
We finally gave in to temptation and got another cat, to take us back up to five. She’s a chocolate (almost black) British shorthair cross, and was nine weeks old yesterday. We’ve decided to call her Twiglet.
She was quite noisy in the car on the way home, but since we got back she’s been content to spend most of the time half asleep on laps or in arms, apart from a brief spell playing with a ball. The others aren’t quite sure what to make of her yet.
Not to be outdone, I’ve bought myself a new bike too! Actually, I decided that the only hope I had of ever doing any exercise was to start cycling to work, which also seemed like a good excuse for a new toy. As a bit of a contrast from my clunky old mountain bike (which has been hanging forlornly in the garage for quite a few years), I’ve gone for a road bike this time.
It’s a 2006 model Felt F80 (no, I hadn’t heard of them either), which seemed remarkably good value for a Shimano 105-equipped bike. It feels as light as a feather compared to the mountain bike, but now I have to get used to clipless pedals and the new-fangled combined brake/gear levers (last time I had a road bike, the gear levers were on the downtube).
I ordered it online on Wednesday night, and having checked the order status this morning and seen that it was still ‘processing’, was a bit surprised when the doorbell rang and it was a man from TNT with a big box! Top marks to Discount Cycles Direct for speed. Took me most of the day to get it all set up, but that’s what you get for being a cheapskate and not buying from a proper shop.
Now I just have to start riding it!
After a couple of months driving Jane’s fancy modern Mini 40 (still a real Mini, of course – not that modern!), I’ve finally got round to replacing the exhaust that fell off mine, and fitting a catch tank for all the oil that used to spray out of the breather filters.
It’s quite a change going back – noisy, smelly, no servo assisted brakes, low gearing, basic interior, non-cancelling indicators…
…which is just how I like it.