Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The true nature of bullies?


Cruella is stuck on the chicken shed roof. All four of the chickens, after days of snow, have got tired of being confined to their coop. So on the first sunny afternoon, they have flown up on to the roof of the nest boxes to gaze at the areas in the rest of the garden where they used to be able to peck freely. So I find all 4 of them there when I go up to collect the eggs. Because, being chickens, and having chicken brains, they have forgotten that they won't be able to fly down again. They are too fat and too scared. They are also badly out of practise. One by one, the other three have let me lift them down but Cruella is made of sterner stuff. Every time I make a move towards her, she backs away.
"Stop being silly" I tell her-"you can't stay up there forever"
"I shall fly down myself". she answers. "I am just resting my wings". There is a quiet clucking from the rest of the birds below-are they making fun of her?
When the chickens first arrived, Cruella quickly established herself at the head of the pecking order with a few quick but spiteful nips at the other chickens. This is how she earned her name. Since then, I have come to have some respect for her courage and fearless leadership. She is a Captain Mannering amongst chickens.
"Go on then" I goad her. "Nobody's looking".
She shuffles towards me on the skiddy surface of the snowy corrugated iron roof.
"Make the others to go away first" she hisses in my ear. I look at her with suprise-it's not very easy separating chickens at the best of times.
"They are stupid". She is hissing now. "Just show them some corn".
So I do-and after about 10 minutes, Bianca, Joan and Hilda have all happily waddled away to sit by the frozen pond with a scatteing of corn.
I return to find Cruella still in situ on the roof, in a squatting position now, with her eyes tight shut.
"Do it Now" she hisses. "Put me on the ground. Just don't break my wings".
I oblige, and a couple of seconds later, Cruella is fluffing herelf up on the ground and rejoining the others, squawking importantly.
I am left to ponder how often the bully turns out after all to be the frightened coward.

Monday, February 15, 2010

DIY Tip Two






Times are hard. the weather is reamaining inclement, and the economic pressures are making us all more inclined to consider Growing Our Own. So in accordance with this, tonights' tip is about how to make your own Indoor Vegetable Garden.
1-Remove your dining room floor.
2-With any luck, you'll discover, as we did, that the floor is only being held up by rotten beams balanced on little rocks, resting on an earth floor.
3If you have a small dog, this is a good time to let it play freely and dig in the soil in order to uncover any rat runs.
4-Find some men to take some of the horrid earth out. If they start flagging, grab a spade and start wafting it weakly in the direction of the pile of soil, sending scatterings of soil all over the place, asking for advice on how to use a spade. The men will react by taking the spade from you, informing you that this is Man's Work, and set to again with redoubled efforts. You can provide them with food and refreshment apparently.
5-You are now left with a good soil in which to plant out your veg in comfort. I plan to divide my area, growing legumes in one quarter, salad items in the other quarter, and I will turf the other half with grass seed and use it for visitors to camp in. lovely!

Friday, February 12, 2010


When I was a child, my Mother would sometimes confuse me a bit by referring to something called"It" as in
"It's all very well her spending all that money on clothes, but if you haven't got 'It', you're wasting your time."
or, a little more darkly,
"Your father has been trying to charm her with his wit for the past 45 minutes and is now struggling since he's realised that she's got nothing going on between the ears and what's more, she's just not got It. Serves him right."
She was never really specific about what was necessary to have "It". I wasn't really even sure if she approved of "It" and it's only as an adult that I've realised that she was definitely referring to Sex Appeal. So what constitutes Sex Appeal? I suppose it's different for everyone. Myself, I'm not sure that the sex appeal of the average modern celebrity has gone up in direct ratio with the amount of plastic surgery they have, or quanitity of naked flesh they thrust before a camera. For me, I think the kind of come-to-bed tousledness of Brigitte Bardot might have been more the kind of thing my Mother was driving at. A certain gamine quality, with a natural disinhibitedness, and those winsome, playful, come to bed and play with me eyes. I think Bessie shows all these traits to perfection in this picture. Perhaps it comes from her Spanish origins...

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I've lived with my partner in Normandy, France, for about four years now. There's lots I love about our lives here-including our beautiful surroundings-but I also miss my wonderful children and grandchildren who are back in the UK. I trained as a hypnotherapist originally in the UK and am now registered for this in France, I also like making (and hopefully selling) some jewellery.