Thursday, December 17, 2009
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Friday, December 4, 2009
Friday, November 27, 2009
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Hi all, in the short time that I have been writing this blog I have come to realise that, well that I really enjoy the writing part. Now don’t get me wrong I’m not claiming to be the new bard or a writing genius, just that I’m really starting to enjoy the writing part. So I’ve written a little account of a childhood memory but to keep it separate from the spirit of this blog I’ve opened another blog called ‘Tails from the fish’, I hope that some of you may find time to cast your eyes over the occasional story that I’m hoping to post here and if so, I truly hope that you enjoy them. I don’t think I’ll stick to any particular theme, just see how it goes. So if you like the 'tails' let me know and if you don’t like them let me know as well, all comments (except the really harsh ones!) welcome.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
So there I am whistling to myself around the kitchen, rubbing Lucy clear of the usual detritus that she collects on a walk, kettle on and bacon in the pan (the fasting due to start 6pm tonight) when the blink of the answer phone catches my eye. One final rub at the elusive Lucy to remove the remaining flotsam and jetsam from her eyes and then press play with my elbow whilst juggling hot coffee and a bacon sarnie, cue removal of stuffing. One message only; tomorrows appointment cancelled, new date being the 3rd of December, have a nice day! Stuffing well and truly extracted leaving me with a certain sense of anticlimax to say the least. Just over 3 months of waiting, prodding and a little foreboding, not to mention arranging cover at work, getting extra provisions in as I wasn’t expecting to be going anywhere fast and then at the eleventh hour the rug is pulled, bloody marvelous. So I’ll just have to go through the build up again and hope that it won’t be another dry run, but I do promise you that I’ll not mention it again as I think I’ve said all I can in previous posts so when the postings become few and far between you’ll know why.
But going back to the storm I was really fortunate to get more than a glimpse of the largest fox that I have ever seen. I was not expected to see any wild life about in the ferocious conditions that I and Lucy were pushing through, well Lucy had the good sense to let me do the pushing whilst she stayed firmly behind me gaining as much shelter as she could when we were marching into the teeth of the gales (and we’re the smarter species?). Anyway, the noise my elephantine self was making as well as any scent was being firmly displaced be the storm when as we crested one of the last few hills before reaching the sanctuary of my little fun cruiser there, bold as brass, loping towards us was the biggest dog fox that I’ve ever clapped eyes on. We both stopped at the same time, and I don’t know who was more shocked me or the fox, whilst we stood, suspended in the moment, I noticed that he did not carry the normal reddish hue of our only native wild dog along his flanks but was a dark, bluish grey, something the I’ve not seen before although I have heard some shooting friends who travel the remoter areas talk about seeing welsh grey foxes, almost as if they are a separate breed. This is something that I’m going to have to research because this boy was big. As in all things the spell was swiftly lifted, Lucy upon peering around to examine the cause of the hold burst past and headed straight for him, she’s getting on but she’s still game. As they hurdled down the slope I thought she’s gaining, this should be interesting and I was not disappointed. Just as she was closing in on his brush the canny feller just seemed to leap in mid flight from all fours and changed direction by ninety degrees and disappeared into the bracken. Unfortunately for Lucy, downhill at that speed she has the turning circle of a fully laden oil tanker, game over. So after a bit of sheepish shuffling in the undergrowth we called it a day and headed home to that message. All in all a great day for both of us but with both of us being a little deflated at the end, but at least I’ve got the consolation of a couple of ciders to be getting on with, so until the next time, cheers.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Ok so it’s 36 hours until I am placed at the mercy of a man with a sharp knife, wearing a mask and a head torch with whom I have never met or held a conversation with, ever! Not that I’m either counting or worried, honest, well maybe just a tad worried. To be honest though I cannot wait for Friday to come and go so that I can turn the page on the last few months, putting all the discomfort behind me (no pun intended). Hopefully I’ll soon start picking up on my fitness levels and be able ‘get out there’ as much as possible. It’s only when you are unable to have or do something do you realise how much you love, need or depend upon whatever is missing. I need the outdoors to keep me sane in this world where doom and gloom seem to be the order of the day.
Therefore this will my last musing until maybe after the weekend and my inflatable computer chair is installed, and tomorrow I thoroughly intend to be outside dawn to dusk, come hell or high water. So until further notice all projects are on hold and I guess that I’ll have little few tales to chronicle in the forth coming week or so. Although , perhaps buoyed by Owl’s comments and a couple of work colleagues remarks on my writings I may try my hand at a few short stories from my youth or maybe I’ll just sulk and feel sorry for myself , who knows time will tell. I hope that all of you that I’m following will fill your blogs with your usual wealth of rich and enjoyable stories to help me pass the time and give me inspiration for my journey back to the outdoors. Well enough of this feeling sorry for myself its back to the cider and a takeaway before I’m banned from tickling my taste buds tomorrow. Enjoy life and live it to the full, it’s not a rehearsal!
Friday, November 13, 2009
Ok back to the multiple precipice weaponry statement. Regular readers of my musings (and I sincerely thank you all) may well recall my posting; ‘to a mouse’ in which I was lamenting about a certain medical condition which is afflicting my good self. Well the time of reckoning has arrived and I’ve received my operation time which is a week today. So here’s the double edged sword point:- for the last few months I’ve been as about as much use as a one legged man in a backside kicking competition, to say that I was mis-firing on all four cylinders is a rather large understatement so to have confirmation of the date of redemption from this affliction is mighty relieving. But here’s the rub, I’ve an inherent fear of hospitals and the thought of full anesthetic is slightly worrying (bloody terrifying actually), but it’s going to happen whether I like it or not so hey hum here we go…
Oh and finally to end this particular muse I’ve reopened my ‘pay for all projects’ account at the dreaded E-bay, starting with a small steam engine commencing this coming Sunday, well needs must when the devil drives (where do people keep coming up with these sayings?) but as I’m sure I’ve said before if I wish to enjoy my outdoor orientated life style, and keep on taking on projects then it all has to be paid for, by hook or by crook (there’s another one!). That’s about it for now, off to the goggle box the curl up with my beloved Clare and scream my head off at the Welsh hopefully taming the Samoans, fingers crossed.
Sunday, November 8, 2009
The first racing in the frostbite series finally took place this morning and to be honest Jim and his handicap crew (that’ll be me then) didn’t do to badly at all with two second places out of the two races. Although the weather was a bit of a let down with low to non existent winds, temperatures about 8 degrees and enough drizzle to wet just about everything I thoroughly enjoyed myself and also surprised myself (and perhaps Jim) with the way I got around the boat. But then again I think that it may well be a different kettle of fish with a half decent breeze to test my new found confidence. Oh and just in case you were wondering today’s pictures were taken by Clare hence the improvement in photography. Another upshot of the sailing today was that I managed to speak to one of the club’s members, Nick, who is supplying the second Mirror hull that I keep going on about. He assures me that it is better overall condition than my little lady so I’m hoping to organize delivery towards the latter end of this week, we’ll see. One thing of note about the sailing club at Gresford is the abundance of wildlife in residence with large numbers of water fowl and some rather rotund carp lurking in the depths, now if only I could get er, yes that's it, wildlife management control rights there my freezer would be well stocked for the coming winter.
So all in all another reasonably productive weekend, unfortunately with the new shift rota that has been adopted regular weekends will now be consigned to a dim and distant memory as we’re now on a four on four off shift pattern. Basically this means that I’ll have less time to spend with my beloved Clare and I’ll be completely knackered (excuse the Anglo Saxon) for five out of the eight days in which the rota operates. On the plus side it does give me longer stretches of time to work around the house, complete projects (god knows that I’ve got enough on the go!) and much more importantly just get out there. So like everything in this world there are going to be highs and lows, I’m just grateful that I can support us and put food on the table. So that’s about it for now, hope that you all get out there and enjoy yourselves.
Friday, November 6, 2009
Saturday, October 31, 2009
Well a richly deserved week off work is just coming to an end (richly deserved by my account at least!) and what, besides a bag full of refuge from Moel Famau, do I have to show for it? Well lean closer dear reader and I’ll recount to you the whisper of some possibly good tidings for myself.
You may well recount an earlier posting this week, “ A slight dilemma”, I was bemoaning the fact that I may have the opportunity to obtain a second mirror dinghy hull but would then be left choosing between the little lady and the usurper (if its condition was far better). Well once again the gods of good fortune seem have warmed to my plight. Whilst dropping off my friend Rob’s lame excuse for an air gun (Hungarian pea shooter more like) he brought up the subject of said hulls within my beloved Clare’s hearing. After the smallest moments of silence, about ten years by my reckoning, Clare failed in any shape or form of the spoken word to say no to the idea of having both hulls being lovingly restored by yours truly this coming winter, as long as I found room for my skip run trailer elsewhere for the duration! Yes I know that the pay back is going to be an absolute nightmare, I’ve already started planning the new corner shelving units in the study, but hey in for a penny in for a pound. I haven’t been able to inspect the new hull as of yet because it has not yet been dropped off at the sailing club. So I have to wait until at least this coming Sunday to see how this will develop.
Speaking of sailing, I managed to come away unscathed, physically and verbally, from Thursdays practice for the frostbite series and I’m really looking forward to Sundays first race. Before Thursday it’s been three years since I last crewed in a boat and I’d forgotten just how much pleasure and reward it can give.
Also another project was completed yesterday with the arrival and fitting of the spares for my MK5 BSA meteor air rifle. To be honest I’m more than a little surprised at how well the gun is performing considering its age and lack of prior care. At this point I’d like to give T.W. Chambers & Co (http://www.gunspares.co.uk) a mention for brilliant service at an honest cost for providing spares for a thirty something old air rifle. Just goes to show how a little patience and care can return something, that others may think of as past repair, back to its former glory, now where are them rabbits…..
P.S. if somebody out there would as kind as to explain to me how to put links in my postings I’d be most grateful.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Just a little rant for this afternoon’ posting, not my usual style put needs must when the devil drives as they say (yet to find out whom ‘they’ are!). Ok to the point, I’d arranged this morning to pick up a new buoyancy aid for the forthcoming winter series that I’m crewing in over November this year from the near by town of Yr Wyddgrug. I had a couple of hours to kill so I decided to get my body systems ticking over a bit faster than usual by covering a few miles around Moel Famau taking advantage of yet another beautiful autumnal morning. I have not been on the trials up there for the last few months so I thought that it would make a pleasant change whilst also stretching my muscles more than usual on the steeper gradients.
Unfortunately it wasn’t the hike which affected my heart rate but more the amount of discarded litter on the early stages of the trial, the majority of which was less than a quarter of a mile from the car park. This area is very popular with many people who never really get to taste the outdoors, as well as the usual mountain bikers, horse riders and generally outdoors type, with out having to go far from the beaten track. What I find difficult to understand is that the people who discard this litter are going there to experience the outdoors in some form or another with out any thought or apparent care for the people who follow or the wildlife it affects. And the real laughable point is that all the litter was empty packaging of some sort or other meaning that it was heavier to cart up there for these wonderful folks than what it would be to bring back! I mean for heavens sake, a few hundred yards of carrying your empty soft drinks bottle is not really going to kill you, is it? But what it could kill is a whole host of smaller vertebrates and invertebrates perhaps affecting the food chain within the area as well as making it look like the local refuse tip. The struggle for wildlife survival is hard enough in this country with ever diminishing areas of ‘wild’ country side succumbing to the increasing over population without the selfishness of these uncaring people putting even more pressure upon it. I don’t claim to know the answers to this problem (well I know one answer involving an upgraded cattle prod and a bucket of water!), but surely some of the problem is down to people being uneducated over this issue and its affects upon nature?
Funny thing is if these people spoke to me most of them would probably be appalled that I’ll shoot a couple of fluffy bunny rabbits for the pot or take great pleasure in applying the priest to a fresh river trout to go straight onto the grill! But I stand by my belief that I care for nature far more than any idiot who carelessly throws away a wrapper or used drinks container just because they cannot be arsed to carry it a few yards back too their urban runaround. Maybe I’m generalizing a bit about these Muppets, but I think that the majority of people who seem to enjoy this blog would share my sentiments, in that something should be done to persuade people to appreciate and care for what they’ve got before it’s ruined for us all. Oh god I’m starting to sound like a home made hat wearing activist…..time to stop ranting and chill with some cider me thinks.
Monday, October 26, 2009
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Just a quick note whilst Clare is watching the glowing goggle box downstairs. On Monday I was discussing the merits of sloe gin with a couple of like minded work mates when the point was raised why sloe gin? Young Mr. Walker stated that last year not only had he produced copious amounts of the traditional winter warmer but had also tried a twist by using vodka instead of gin. He was adamant that this was a fine beverage on a par with the sloe gin! Well this started our somewhat slow and dull areas of thinking tissue mulling over possible contenders to try. I then raised the point that if I happen to have “any more vessels of alcohol and berries cluttering up our kitchen then my hemorrhoids' may well be the least of me problems” gulp! Well why don’t you use something Clare likes? came back the retort. Mmm good point but then I produced another feeble excuse that all the best sloes have gone now haven’t they? The conversation then petered out due to the fact that the bearing casing on one of the lines I was attending started smoking and a screeching.
Then yesterday Mr. Walker calmly accosts me with a fair portion of the wonderful sloes berries with the words, “get pricking and stop whining”. So yesterday evening Clare arrives home to find my good self (with a slightly sheepish look it must be said) putting the final touches to a liter of ‘sloe white rum’. Not really a happy bunny it must be said (rum bought for her weekend use) but like I say it’s the thought that counts and I did do it for her eh hem. I’ll let you all know how this turns out and whether or not that it’s worth a shot (certainly not worth the hard stares that I received all evening).
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Mmmmm well its ten days since my last post so firstly please accept my humblest apologies for my neglect in this matter. Secondly if you were expecting an update upon the progress of Carpe Diem then I must confess that this too has been the subject of some neglect these past few days with other items taking priority. Although some progress has been made with the supports now nearly completed (yes I know that they should have already been done!) but unfortunately there is little else to report on.
Basically the undoing of my good intentions has been a combination of the mild and dry weather we’ve been experiencing in recent days (or weeks for that matter), and what my neighbour, Irish Pete, has come to term “the butterfly effect”. This infliction happens when you start one job and then before any reasonable progress is made another job catches your eye so you flit to this job and so on. Before you know where you are you have ‘started’ several tasks without actually making progress upon any which in turn leads to an amazing sense of frustration and confusion, especially when Clare, upon coming home from a bugger of a day in work, asks me what have I done today and my reply can only be: - “er, well, mmm, er nothing actually, er cup of tea dear?”.
But why also blame the clement weather? Fair point, but this window of mild weather has enabled me to enjoy several walks on the Clwydian range and the fact that its allowed us to undertake the autumnal clear up of the garden, well I say garden but it’s more of a back yard about 25 yards square.
Nonetheless even a small suburban area such as this can attract a host of wildlife if you are willing to plant and feed sympathetically. For instance we’ve been feeding the local bird population with a combination of peanuts, sunflower seed hearts,
Also this week I picked up my old BSA meteor MK V air rifle from my parents attic (and yes I mean old – over 30 years old!), which I’ve started to strip down with the intention of returning it to a passable rabbiting tool once more. Ah you can see how the butterfly effect starts to take shape? The only concern that I have at this moment in time is a lack of finance that’s going to be needed for me to keep these mounting projects on the go. With this in mind it looks like that I shall have to resurrect my dreaded E bay account and start fleecing Joe public, I mean providing quality merchandise at a reasonable cost, to make ends meet!
Well that’s about it for now I’ll try to concentrate on one task at a time and keep you all updated a little more frequently, now that looks interesting, I’ll just start by taking the……
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Well progress on Carpe Diem has been a little limited this week, ok to be honest nothing at all has been achieved apart from the fact that all the timber has now dried thoroughly and there is no sign of warping. This lapse in effort is through no lack of enthusiasm on my part, but the scoring of brownie points has to take precedence if I’m to become a garage hermit over the forthcoming winter months. I’m hoping to remedy the situation shortly and finish the supports next week enabling the little lady to sit upright and have her top layers removed (Oh er missus), that is to have the decking carefully removed enabling access to remove the rotten top panels. To be honest the lack of action on this front has probably been a good thing allowing time for me to ponder the next steps thoroughly and not make hasty mistakes!
But please don’t think that John the human sloth has been totally inactive over the past few days. On the last Sunday of September, whilst staying for a few days at the caravan at Llyn Brenig, we visited the Hiraethog country fair at the Brenig visitor centre. A small but excellent event for lovers of the country providing a variety of displays from chain saw carving (carving with chain saws that is!) and Celtic and Viking reenactments too birds of prey and the Barrow boys (it’s a British thing). Sorry for sounding like an advert pamphlet but it’s a cracking day out if you like the out doors, providing a chance to meet old friends and make new ones. Whist here we met Carol on the North Wales Wildlife Trust stand who’s enthusiasm for nature was a real heart warmer. As we enrolled with the NWWT Carol managed to sell us a raffle ticket without pausing for breath. I guess my luck must be running well though for once as when we arrived back home later that week Carol’s happy voice could be heard on the answer machine announcing that a chain saw carved barn owl was now in our possession. A quick trip to Tremeirchion last Sunday and ‘Barny’ was ours. I’d just like to say thanks at this point for the warm and friendly welcome given to us by Carol, her husband John and ‘Fly’, to be made to feel right at home on your first visit is a gift.
Also the foraging front has been fairly bountiful. Whilst up at Llyn Brenig we had a chance to scour areas usually several feet under water as the reservoirs’ level had been dropped considerably. This resulted in a priest and a Shakespeare folding landing net which some poor trout fishermen must have lost over board (bless, well another’s loss….). Both items in excellent condition, just required a little cleaning and TLC. Oh yes also resulted in a scary instant when yours truly miss read the silt and had a nervous few moments extracting himself from thigh deep mud, not big and certainly not clever! Managed also to get my quota of sloe berries yesterday from up on the Clwydian range, fortunately these little beauties are higher up in the hills and have had the first frost kiss them into condition, I can taste the sloes gin already.
So that’s about it for now, a sloe week (pardon the pun) but in-between work, earning brownie points, treating Barny the owl to several coats of Danish oil and recovering from the effects of cider induced hangover last weekend, a rather productive few days. Hopefully progress will soon resume upon the little lady as the brownie point bank is reaching bursting point and at the moment I’m Clare’s flavor of the month, you just know that’s not going to last don’t you…………
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Well here I am again, but at least this week’s debriefing is not a tale of woe and despair. The formica kick boards for the kitchen have been replaced, using planed, kiln dried, soft wood and Colron “Jacobean dark oak” beeswax. Which, despite some earlier reservations, did produce a suitable (albeit light oak) finish. But as usual every silver lining has a cloud and the downside here being that now the remaining skirting boards look some what, how you say – ah yes that’s it, crap. So now said skirting boards are to be replaced this week to match the kick boards before I can say that the job is finished and collect my much needed brownie points.
Speaking of brownie points I’ve also fallen into negative equity with these little ‘time in the garage’ vouchers. My friend, Chunky Monkey, has come up with the rather good idea of going halves on the purchase of an apple press and associated equipment with the view of producing our own cloudy cider elixir instead of paying through the nose for it. Too which Clare has sort of agreed to (well the word no was not heard to pass her lips upon this occasion!), which means that more brownie points are required to make up for this unexpected turn of good fortune. It also means that this autumn’s foraging will now include apples and pears as well as the usual chestnuts, sloe berries and wild mushrooms. Oh yes that also means that I’ll be scouring the car boots sales for that elusive fruit, the demijohn. Ah home brewing, you know it makes sense.
So it appears at first glance that little, if anything, has been achieved upon project X this week. But fear not my friends all is not as it seems. For a start, earlier this week I’ve managed to ‘acquire’ all the necessary materials to produced the supporting yolks at a very reasonable price (free again – you’ll notice these two words a lot in future postings!) which means that I’ll hopefully have the little lady the right way up at some point in the very near future. Also I’m not being frowned upon quite as much by Pops (he needed some stainless plate that I happened to be able to acquire), which means that I’ll be picking up that small Seagull outboard motor some time this week, well at least before I but my black wool coat on and start bleating again. And to cap off what has been a reasonable week without actual touching project X, me mate, Jim Lad, seems to think that he can lay his hands upon a set of sails in better condition than the ones that he’s already provided, plus some rigging that I appear to be missing. So even though the only progress that I seemed to have made this week were a few longing glances at the little lady from the workshop side of the garage, the truth is that project X is flying along, well in an upside down, still on the axle stands sort of way.....