Monday, November 16, 2015

Happy Aches

That's what I have right now. I got my (expanding) behind back to the gym today. It's been three months since I broke my foot and I've had enough waiting around for it. It has got to the point where I could see all the gains I'd made earlier in the year start disappearing. Not to mention all those niggly aches and pains I get from sitting around are beginning to creep back.

I saw this article in The Grauniad over the weekend about Ronda Rousey with this great quote that stayed with me.

Listen, just because my body was developed for a purpose other than fucking millionaires doesn’t mean it’s masculine ... I think it’s femininely bad-ass as fuck, because there not a single muscle in my body that isn’t used for a purpose, because I’m not a do-nothing bitch.

I got to thinking that while I am far more active in my daily life than I have ever been, it's not enough. The days of me being a do-nothing bitch ended about three years ago. Mornings still aren't my friend, but I can't remember the last time I slept in past 9 o'clock. Even when I have days which aren't that productive, when I stop to think about what I've done, the list is longer than I first realise.

The fact of the matter is it's a start, now I've got to get back on the horse and carry on. I've got things to do that won't happen unless I am fitter and stronger. I am happier when I exercise regularly, I sleep better and I'm emotionally more robust and less inclined to hormonal breakdowns. 

The last couple of weeks have been a bit tough for quite a few reasons, some of which have been beyond my control, but it's given me time to think and re-evaluate my personal aims and objectives. I put on my Big Girl Pants and filed my tax return. I took solid steps to improve my finances and I've continued to add words to my manuscript. 

Looking at my work in progress, it's not bad. Already I can see changes that must be made. I changed the way I work. Rather than try editing as I go, I focus on getting the words out. "This is my first draft of my first book" is the mantra I start with every session. Wanting to write the best book I could possibly write undermined my previous efforts and left me rocking in a corner. This is the first book, I've never written a book before. Of course, it's a steep learning curve, but only one I'll ever be able to climb by writing over it; writing through it. 

I can see the shape of my life gradually coming into focus, for the first time in a long time. Things are beginning to slot into shape. I have a better idea of how to go about getting what I want. In other words, it's all good people. It's not easy, but it's still good.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Velociraptor Moves

As it so often happens, I made a new Facebook friend. We saw each other commenting on our mutual friend's wall and had a mutual hug. I promised her a Velociraptor Movie and this was my first attempt. Don't judge me, I'm on a steep learning curve (like hold the damn phone in landscape mode and film bits at the beginning before leaping in at the deep end.

But hey, even Spielberg had to start somewhere. 

Monday, November 09, 2015

The perils of loving velociraptors

Z warned me and I did believe her. Loving chickens is perilous. They do not love you back in the same way that dogs and cats do, but they do regard you from their chicken hearts. I know it's mostly cupboard love, but I can live with that. After all, I have a cat; and a cat's love is as conditional as it gets.

Mona and Polly were my first two. I 'borrowed' them and then came the others, Canasta and Scrabble. But Mona and Polly bullied the other two quite viciously, especially Scrabble who was a tiny little thing really. I looked at Mona and was sure she was a he - Mono, and Z agreed I could swap her for Jenga. 

Mona and Polly

The consensus was that Mono was a she, but she still needed to be kept separate. A momentary lapse of attention and deluge from the sky, led to the disastrous herding of the older chickens and Mona into the same small coop. Z found her unconscious, with all of the feathers plucked off her poor little head. Given it was my mistake, I took her on care. For three days, Mona was either on my lap or on my arm.  She was given a box in my greenhouse with a top to keep Rummy off of her. Her poor eyes were swollen shut and it was all I could do to get her to drink. She didn't appear to eat anything at all. We bathed her sore head three times a day and Z got a hideously expensive spray to deter infection.

She gradually opened one eye and got much stronger. I either carried her around on my arm or shoulder like a parrot, much to Z's amusement. Rummy sniffed her occasionally, but apart from that, he took very little notice of her. He would curl up next to me as she sat on my lap snoozing.  She liked to snuggle herself on my shoulder, cheeping into my ear as she fell asleep.

Mona and Rummy snoozing as I read my Kindle

As she got stronger, I brought her outside with the others. She'd sit next to me and attempt to peck at things, but without two working eyes she missed more times than hit. I began to look for chicken nappies. I felt a one-eyed chicken wouldn't do well with the others and I didn't mind her inside at all, it was just the poo. And OMG chicken poo smells! And then her other eye opened up.

She began to hang out more with the others. I needn't have worried about her healing head as an issue. She was the problem to my flock, not the other way around. By that time, it was clear that Jenga was definitely a rooster. He was totally giving it large at every opportunity. However, he and Mona started squaring up in a totally different way that he did with the others. Their heads would go down and they'd glare into the other's eyes doing their version of a growl.
Mona having a snooze in my kitchen

It was Saturday morning at 6.30 when the crowing from the greenhouse woke me and I knew for sure, Mona was definitely a Mono. My heart sank. I couldn't have two cockerels. 

Jenga is far more amenable and less of a bully than Mono and the other hens don't hesitate to tell him where to get off. Mono bullied everyone without mercy. For the flock's sake he had to go.

Last Thursday, Z told me she'd found a man to despatch her cockerels and he'd do Mono as well. With a very heavy heart I caught him and set him in the coop to await his fate. Something I regretted for the whole morning. I had a poetry tutorial that morning and I worried and worried about him.

It wasn't the decision that Mono had to be despatched that hurt. It was the fact that Mono was mine, he trusted me and I was going to let a stranger lay his hands on him and do him violence. I couldn't bear the thought. Happily, when I got back home, it turned out the guy didn't make it over. I got Mono back and he ran around with the others for the rest of the evening. Come bedtime, I put the others in the coop and Mono in the greenhouse to roost. I found an old cooler and when it was dark, I popped Mono in there.

He just went to sleep. 

To have animals live with you, is to accept the responsibility of their health and happiness. I miss Mono. I miss his stroppy self so incredibly much. It hurts more than is logical or makes sense and I don't regret his dispatch. 

RIP you stroppy cock.

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Changing Seasons

Time slipped by as it does. Lost in the day to day stuff that makes me a deeply contented woman. Since I last blogged, I've had my head in the sand about the impending doom of my finances and been playing with chickens. I also applied for a job (haven't heard yet) and have been seriously considering my options. The result? I pulled out and dusted off my novel. I came to understand that the issue I was battling with was one of plotting. 

November is NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) where the aim is to have 50,000 words under your belt by December 1st. I'm kind of giving it a go. As in I'm focused on my novel this month (and next probably), I want to exit 2015 with the first draft completed. I've had to look again at my WIP (Work In Progress) with a beady eye. I did a bit of cliche culling and that sent me back to research. Last night, I resolved several issues and managed to do some writing. F. Scott Fitzgerald might have been able to write drunk and edit sober, I managed the first, but it completely undermined the start of today. But that's okay. I can work through the evening if necessary. 

The velociraptors are totally lovely and if I'm not careful, become the only focus of conversation. I ended up nursing a poorly chook who got attacked by older cockerels when it was put in with them by accident. The chook ended up spending the day in the crook of my arm as it recovered. I wasn't sure whether the poor thing would be able to see and started to look up chicken nappies, so it could run around the house. Rummy and Z looked at me like I'd lost my mind. In the end, it has made a full recovery. Unfortunately, it has repaid my kindness by giving it large 6.30 last Saturday. It's a bloody cockerel. 

Just a woman in the country

I can't have two of them. I really can't. It's too stroppy with the others and already there are scraps between it and Jenga. When the two of them mature, I can see the scraps turning bloody and the hens being run ragged. It can't happen. I can't even assure Jenga's future, given my accommodation in the next couple of years is uncertain. If I end up moving back into an urban area, a cockerel giving it large at 4.30 am in the summer will not be welcome. Ah well. I just have to be strong and sensible about it. 

In the midst of all of this, I continue to embrace living in the country. Dave spoilt me bloody rotten and bought me proper Hunter wellies. They are amazing. They fit well and are so incredibly comfortable. I see why they have their well-deserved reputation. He also treated me to an electric blanket. Two weeks later and the novelty hasn't worn off. Getting into a warm bed is blissful. I love it so very, very much. I'm thinking about getting a heated throw for when it gets cold, to put over my shoulders as I write.

Last Saturday, I re-organised the house into its Winter configuration. My desk and all my writing materials are back in my front room, with my art materials moved to my bedroom study. The ritual of it is so comforting. I feel ready for Winter.
Polly, Scrabble, Canasta and Jenga
none of them ever sit still for pix

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