Saturday, 29 September 2012

Fidget and Whiskers

Both our guinea pigs passed away on Thursday. They were muched loved and will be greatly missed. They were 5 years old, which I gather is a good age for guinea pigs. We buried them under a flower bush in the garden. Bye, bye, little piggies.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Adrienne goes to uni

Well, here she is, my Adrienne, almost unpacked in her university room at Southampton University, where she will study nursing for the next three years.

We drove her up yesterday and stayed in Basingstoke overnight, then arrived at the Halls at just after 10 o'clock this morning. The day was not without drama. It rained all day. We discovered she was on the fourth floor of her block and there was no lift. Luckily some very helpful students in yellow t-shirts were on hand to help with the carrying. Carl conned one of them into carrying the Dougal box up for us. I gather it has already prooved a talking point as she was Skyping about it earlier.

Adrienne has locked her bike in a secure storage space until she can sort out a key for the bike shed next to her block and then realised that she doesn't know where the key for the bike lock is.

We went to IKEA to get a few things she was missing, like a bin (which was supposed to be provided) and clothes hangars, and managed to get trapped in the car park by another car which broke down just in front of us. Fortunately it was not long before the car next to us moved and we could squeeze past.

But on the whole things have gone quite smoothly. Adrienne has already made friends and by now is probably out having a good time in something called The Cube as Freshers Week celebrations get under way.

We'll see her again at Christmas.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Sunday afternoon drama

We sat down to watch a bit of telly this afternoon and had got 6 minutes into our programme when there was a loud bang and the sound of shattering glass from the room I write this blog in. Seconds later the dog shot through the door and into the safety of the garden. Investigations revealed a huge hole in one of the windows and a wood pigeon perched on the radiator opposite. Carl sent the girls off to get a towel and we managed to grab it as it tried to fly back out one of the unbroken windows.

The poor thing had damaged its chest and under its right wing and was bleeding everywhere. Caitlin insisted on cuddling it while we phoned the RSPCA. After listening to multiple mulitple choice options and several lectures on what to do with injured wild animals and birds I finally spoke to a human being who assured me some one would come to collect my pigeon. We put it in a box with holes in and left it. Three hours later someone eventually came. The pigeon, miraculously, was still looking strong and trying to escape. I hope he makes it.

I spent an hour of this afternoon picking up glass, washing pigeon blood off my walls and window sills and stripping all the covers off my chairs and sofa to put them through the wash.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

In Memory of Dave

Today I learned the news that Dave Mason sadly passed away in late July. I saw him only weeks before, smiling and laughing as always. He was a remarkably lovely man who was always cheerful and ready with a joke. I will remember him fondly and my thoughts are with his family.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Ellie starts Pilton College

Today was Ellie's first day at 'Chaddi', as it is known by the children. There is a brand new uniform for the Year 7s so here she is modelling it. She had a good day, although she reports that Caitlin got her lost for PE by sending her to the Sports Hall when she should have been in the gym.

Caitlin is now in Year 11 and doesn't have to have the new uniform. She's come home with homework for every subject she had today. A sign of things to come!

Saturday, 1 September 2012

France - Tusson and region

 We arrived at Carl's dad's house in Tusson at teatime on Saturday. We had a quick tour of the house as only Carl had been there before, then it was time for a BBQ tea outside. Lovely.

 On Sunday, after a lazy morning, we had an active afternoon. We hired kayaks from a nearby town and paddled down the river to a small village which I cannot remember the name of. It was lovely and sunny and nice easy paddling, until we came to what appeared to be a dead end with only weirs in front of us. We saw another group of people coming up behind us and decided to wait and see what they did. They were English and had about as much clue as we did. The only option appeared to be a small fork to the left but that looked like it was a weir too. On closer inspection of the map and instructions it did say to take a shoot to the left and to the left of the weir there was a shoot so we took it. It was correct, we didn't have to get out of our kayaks and wade out of the water.

We took a minute for Ellie to recover from the trauma of having spiders and river-boatmen in her kayak and then set off back to where we'd come from on bikes. There were a few uphill bits where I had to get off and push, but other than that it was easy cycling through pretty scenery. Most of the sunflower fields had their sunflowers turned down and dying but we found a few to stop and take pictures in. This is Caitlin before she realised there might be bees in the flowers, and before she'd decided she didn't like her bike cos she'd asked for a road bike like me when she really should have asked for a mountain bike!

 This region of France apparently closes on Mondays so we travelled to the nearest big town, Cognac, in the hope that some of the shops would be open. Hardly any of them were as they were all closed for a three hour lunch break. So we wandered around for a bit, bought drinks and ice creams and then went back to Tusson. Caitlin decided she wanted to go for a swim in a nearby lake with a beach but when we got there it had clouded over and she decided it was too dirty. We just paddled.

Then Tuesday arrived and the holiday was over. A six hour drive got us back to Le Havre and then on to Blighty. This is Caitlin trying to clean chocolate off the seat of her shorts. She'd sat in it for about three hours and it looked like she'd had a different sort of accident.