Archive for October, 2008

Billy only likes Pears

October 28, 2008

Billy the cockatiel, that is.  I don’t suppose I’ve talked much about my Billy-bird so far.  He’s a constant feature in everyday life, as much so as the bunny, and very demanding. 

We bought Billy from a reputable breeder when he was still a juvenile, with pretty barring on his chest and wings and a fairly dull head and face.  Because we got him that young and saw his juvenile plumage we know he’s a pearl variety, but as a male adult he has lost the barring and other pearl features and looks like a regular grey cockatiel. 

His full name is Barclay Bill, named for the fact that we weren’t looking forward to the next credit card bill!  His name was also picked as a tribute to Bill Oddie…because of the birding connection.  He’s usually juts known as Billy, which he actually answers to. 

Billy can be a bit of a pain.  It’s very difficult to be in the house without paying him attention, as he always reminds you he is there.  Starting with his usual “Hello Billy”, “Hello”, “Good boy”, “Wanna come out”, “Come on then” and running through his entire repertoire of words, whistles, kisses and clicks until he gets a response.  If you don’t respond he screeches.  And screeches. 

He has a big parrot cage in the living room, and also a smaller, more portable cage which we can take to any room in the house so he has company a lot of the time.  At the moment we are in the dining room, me on my laptop, Billy in his small cage watching me.

When we go away we usually take Billy to stay at A’s mum’s house, which is one of a few places we can be sure he’ll get loads of attention.  Mar doesn’t let him out of the cage, but the older he gets, the less Billy seems to care about his freedom.  These days he quite often climbs back into his cage after just a few minutes unless someone is prepared to talk to him constantly while he sits on their finger or knee or head or shoulder. 

As far as feeding goes, he’s a fussy little beggar.  And I mean beggar.  Whenever we eat anything he begs for some.  He rarely eats anything we do offer, but always wants a share anyway.  Randomly, the only fruit he eats is pear.  I have no idea why, I have offered him just about every fruit I eat, but only pear gets eaten. 

Billy and the bunny have an odd love-hate-ignore relationship.  If you say aloud “Where’s that rabbit?”, Billy looks around on the floor to see if he can find him.  Whenever the rabbit runs into the room, Billy shouts “Hello Bill”.  Yet when he’s out of his cage, Billy takes very little notice of the bunny and the bunny doesn’t take much notice of him.  Except while Billy was missing some wing feathers and couldn’t fly.  Every time he launched himself and crash landed, he seemed to aim his landing towards poor old bunny.  He could obviously see a softer landing than the floor! 

At night, when he has had enough, or when we cover his cage over (whichever comes earliest), Billy says “Goodnight Bill”.  It always impresses me that he has made the association – he never says goodnight except at bedtime. 

So, I should get back to work, to a rather mixed up attempt at the tune of Pop goes the Weasel. 

Sooner or later I’ll sort out my technical hiccups and get some photos up here…I can take pictures with the camera but my laptop doesn’t have the right card reader so I’ll have to load up the old desktop and printer…one day!

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Socks…and more socks.

October 24, 2008

I guess it’s time for a knitting update.  The only thing to say really is ‘socks’.  And ‘socks’.  And more ‘socks’.  I seem to be totally hooked on knitting socks, and don’t want to make anything else. 

Which is bad really, because my older brother moved to the States last week, and got married, and I haven’t quite finished making their wedding present yet.  I really should put down the socks for a while and finish the wedding present, then get my lazy backside to a post office to send said wedding present and also the baby socks I made weeks ago for my friends’ babies.  Before they outgrow them completely. 

But back to the socks – I haven’t got photos of them all yet, but I’ve finished a blue/stripey pair for me and a pair of brown and cream ones for lovely Kat.  While we were on holiday she helped me untangle and rewind almost an entire ball of yarn.  It took the two of us together several hours, so I’d have been there all night on my own.  As a thank you, I made the very next pair for Kat. 

I’ve now cast on yet another sock, this time for my friend from work.  I have promised her a pair for Christmas, so I’d better get them done early, to make sure I leave enough time.  It’s not like I’ve got two months still, or that I should be doing other things.  Like wedding presents! 

On Wednesday lunchtime I went to the library by big Asda, for the second weekly meeting of the knitting group that Judith has started.  The library have made us very welcome – last week they had not only set out table and chairs near the window so we good light, they even piled all the knitting books they could find onto the table for us.  We just sat and knitted/crocheted, chatted and got to know each other a bit.  It was nice. 

There are three of us who have turned up both weeks, one other Raveler has said she’s interested but hasn’t made it yet.  Judith knows of two other interested people from where she lives, but they couldn’t make it this week. 

And a friend from work may also want to join in.  I happened to have a big box of sock yarn with me at work, just before our last holiday (as you do), and Diana asked what I’d got.  I showed her and explained about the sock knitting thing, and she was interested.  Then I went on holiday…we didn’t see each other for a few weeks…until we happened to be in the tea room at the same time on Monday.  Diana now wants to try sock knitting too, after talking to her daughters, who desperately want hand knitted socks. 

I brought some of my pretty knitting things in to show off, and sent Diana a few website links, and now she has ordered needles, and borrowed a ball of Lana Grossa and can’t wait to try it.  She wasn’t free to come along on Wednesday, but maybe next week. 

So, that’s knitting.  As I said, it’s all about the socks!

Health Update. And a joke.

October 19, 2008

I’m trying hard not to dwell on the whole agonising pain thing, but man it hurts at the moment.  When I last saw a consultant they changed my hormone medication yet again, and admitted I’m getting closer to a hysterectomy.  I saw my own Dr-man last week, and he confirmed that they really are running out of alternatives – this is the last thing he can think of.  Unfortunately I have to stick with it for another two months,  which seems like sooooo loooong. 

We wennt out for a walk earlier, and I could barely make it round the block.  And some of the side-effects are starting to get to me, like the constipation.  It’s not something I’m comfortable discussing, so I won’t gross you out with too many details.  Lets just say constipation is not a good side-effect for someone already suffering abdominal pain. 

Also, my hair is falling out.  It started on holiday, when I was washing it in the shower and realised the shower cubicle was slowly filling with water.  When I looked I’d lost so much hair it was blocking the plughole completely.  The Dr-man isn’t concerned, just said to watch out for bald spots!  Is that meant to be funny?!

The good news is I was referred to the pain clinic by the consultant I saw last month, and when we got back from holiday, there was an appointment letter sat waiting for me.  For the next day.  I saw a consultant who didn’t insist on prodding me too much, he just suggested an appointment with a physiotherapist.  Not for exercises or anything, but to learn about pain management and to borrow a tens machine.  I’m hoping that appointment will also come through quickly, as I finally seem to be getting responses on an urgent basis. 

Moving on, to the promised joke…where we stayed in Dawlish Warren last weekend, we arrived just in time for the d of a week long wild west event.  The final night was a big do in the clubhouse, which we avoided because they were charging to get in and we’re generally anti-social anyway.  Set up behind our chalet were several huts on wheels and tents, where some wild west type people were staying – in character.  They had the costumes, complete with long johns hung on the washing line, the campfires for cooking on, oil lamps, knitting, the lot.  A looked out of the back window and asked innocently "Do you think they’ll lend me a cowboy hat, then I’ll be halfway there".  I couldn’t stop laughing…it was the mental image of him in a cowboy hat singing to Bon Jovi’s Livin on a Prayer!  I’ve teased him about it ever since. 

What?!  I never said it was a funny joke!

No more holidays

October 16, 2008

That was another lovely, lovely holiday.  Peace and quiet (and only a few days of rain) in Westward Ho! and a few extra bonus days in Dawlish Warren at the end of it. 

We explored a little further afield than  usual while we were in Westward Ho! this time.  There have been occasions when we haven’t left the area at all, except on our own two feet, but this time we jumped on a bus and explored.  We aimed for Braunton, changing bus and stopping for lunch in Barnstaple.  We ate at the most fantastic bistro, and were even brave enough to order tapas.  The food was amazing, including the juiciest olives I’ve ever tasted.  It was reasonably priced, not cheap, but not overly expensive either (both of us ate enough for lunch for £20, including drinks). 

Braunton was a bit weird.  We’d been nagged to go there by my Mum and stepdad when we were on holiday with them, but resisted the pressure because all they could offer was ‘a butcher’.  Alan and Kat then went there from the Ho!, to go to a surf shop.  So we decided we had to see what the appeal was.  Didn’t get it. 

What we did get was the Tarka Trail.  We knew it existed, but had no idea where it went or what it was like.  We bought a detailed map of the area and discovered that it goes through Braunton, north towards Ilfracombe, back towards Barnstaple and further on to Bideford…just a few miles from the Ho!

So not only is the route a good one, through interesting parts of North Devon, but the bit we walked (Braunton to Barnstaple) follows the line of the river/estuary so the scenery is amazing.  Our binoculars were glued to our faces, there was so much to see.  We could probably have walked it in half the time if we hadn’t stopped to look so often.  But hey, where’s the fun in that? 

Of course, we also walked a lot around the Ho! area, on the Tors and through Northam Burrows.  Beautiful as ever.  The sun even shone for us. 

From Dawlish Warren we visited Topsham, which has a massive RSPB reserve.  We also explored the Dawlish Warren Nature Reserve, which was interesting too. 

Sadly, we are now back to work.  We have agreed to have fewer holidays next year, to save money instead.  Boring but important.  So April is probably the next one to look forward to, then October again.  We’ve almost settled on the Ho! (of course) and the Isle of Wight, where we haven’t been for several years.  We went there for our honeymoon, and it’s a good area for walking. 

Anyway, I’m supposed to be working…more soon.

Another week gone already?

October 1, 2008

I can’t believe how neglectful I’ve been, igonring you for a whole week.  The truth is, I’m hooked on games again.  I installed a games application on facebook, got hooked and obsessive and screechy, realised what was happening and uninstalled the application.  Then I installed a jigsaw puzzles application instead! 

I should know better really, it alwasy goes that way.  I just cannot leave the games alone.  It’s a good thing that my work network is tightly locked down so I can’t easily get to games of any kind.  Even though I can use facebook from work, I can’t play any of the games.  I sold my gameboy advance to keep me off the Tetris.  Of course now the problem is that I’ve got a laptop at home, so whenever I work at hoem I can simply set up both laptops on the dining room table. 

Why do I lack willpower like this?!

Speaking of lacking willpower, I ordered more yarn.  Mmmmmm…Yarn.  I’ve just received another lucky dip bag of Lana Grossa sock yarn, having knitted my way through 3-nearly-4 of the previous 5 balls.  And I’ve ordered 6 plain coloured balls from the Knitting and Crochet Guild as well.  I want some plain colours because the self-patterning stuff is lovely, but it doesn’t allow much room for interesting patterns in the knitting, they just look wrong or are drowned out by the patterning in the yarn.  Now I’m just hoping the KCG package will arrive before we go on holiday on Friday.

Yes, we’re off on holiday again.  This is our main (igonring the previous 4 😉 ) holiday of the year.  We’re off to Westward Ho! on Friday lunchtime, for a week.  Alan and Kat are coming down as well, but just Friday-Sunday.  Then the following Friday we’ll drive from North Devon down to South Devon, to stay in Dawlish Warren for a long weekend.  The intention is with the S Devon bit, we will spend some time in Topsham at the RSPB reserves there. 

Westward Ho! will be our usual relaxing, strolling on the Tors, walking over Northam Burrows chill-out.  There’s something that speaks to us both in that place, it feels like coming home whenever we get there.  Weather allowing it will mainly be a walking week, usually with lots of wildlife to see. 

We’ve sorted the house-and-bunny sitting, but we still have a list of things to do before we can go.  Hopefully most of them can be finished tomorrow so we cna get away early on Friday afternoon.  Sadly, we both have to work on Friday morning, but as it’s A’s birthday, he gets to finish an hour early.  I have a 1:1 with the boss-man, so no early finish for me, but I officially booked the afternoon off, so lunchtime is the latest I will get home. 

Hooray for holidays!

Edited to add – I just cleared away the packaging from my sock yarn, and found the lovely people at Get Knitted had included not only a free sock pattern, but also a pen and a lollipop!  Now that’s service!