Monday, 24 December 2012

Merry Christmas!

Too much of a good thing will lead to...

Whatever you're doing this Christmas, take it easy!

 See you next year.x

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

"Tickets please..."

I've written this post about five times now and it always ends up sounding like wet, soppy, self indulgent moaning shit, so I'll keep it blunt and short this time with no waffle.

The allotment is now gone (gone tomorrow actually) along with greenhouse, shed, rotorvator tools, long-term landscaping, animal husbandry and 'good-life' plans and (most importantly) my beloved chooks! The bees have decided to go of their own accord (ungrateful little bastards), sick of the lack of decent management of the collective.

The grass is as long as a swingers lawn, the rats have a bad attitude, the trees mope, fruitless in apathy. The neighbours are scum (sorry, but they are) and the general feeling when visiting the plot every morning and night is "do I really need this crap in my life, I mean really?"

The answer is of course, no. No I do not. There is usually more than enough of that 'here'. So with a heavy heart, I have let it all go. To a decent couple as it happens (a prerequisite on behalf of my lovely chickens who I will miss greatly). They have retired, these people. Officially sponging into old age as God intended and they now have the time, if not the stamina, to turn my plot into what it once was and perhaps could have been.

I hit a low point last week. I flipped out at one of the less pleasant 'local types' that have started to infiltrate the site, which is not like me at all (ahem). He had been asking for it though, so I don't feel toooooo bad. In my defence he did eventually come through the operation ok and made a full recovery, the garden hose reinstated on his allotment tap after being SAVAGELY SHOVED UP HIS ARSE!! (All thirty feet of it).

I was so tired and weary the other day I completely forgot to open one of the coop doors and only realised what I'd done when I came back at dusk to put them to bed! Not like me either.

The house is also on the market. Other things are also happening, some very nice indeed. Life changes are moving apace and it's a bit uncomfortable, all this change. But entirely necessary. I genuinely believe this.

Blogging has lapsed for a bit. In June I started a new venture which is already bearing fruit. It's hard, hard work. Very physically exhausting and as mentally challenging as my other business (licking stamps) but I am designing and making things with my hands this time and that is very rewarding indeed, expecially when folks actually part with hard earned money to buy it and others pass encouraging and admiring comments. More of that later.
Oh, and I seem to have 'found' Christ! Can't think how I lost Him in the first place. I suppose I'll have to at least stop swearing now, which is f**king me off no end, I can tell you. And I suppose I'll also have to cut back on the lust and fornication...?

One day at a time, sweet Jesus...

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

...and now July...

Like a bloody calendar this isn't it!

Arse in gear hopefully very shorly to resume service...

Friday, 22 June 2012

It's June!!!

Just's June not May as previously stated.

Been busy, but more of this drivel to follow soon...

Friday, 4 May 2012

It's May!!

How the hell did that happen?

Seems I've been rained indoors for an eternity which has dampened my mood somewhat. The veg plot is completely devoid of any new planting due to it resembling the Somme at the moment - the clay soil steadfastly refuses to dry out. This is p*ssing me off no end. I do have rhubarb to eat, managed to grow that so far (it grows itself - that's why!) so that's good. My stomach is likely to have other ideas about the wisdom of eating large quantities of rhubarb and custard though. I shall have to eat more grass and nettles to balance out the diet a bit. Please God send some SUN!

Let us pray...

...Dear Lord, please could you let the sun come out to play for all of the coming month. May my stomach recover from all that rhubard tart. Please Lord, could I win the lottery this Friday so I can buy some land in warmer climbs, somewhere the sun always shines, the people are nice, the women are single, desperate and plentiful. Yes Lord, please may I go to Wales!! Failing that, a 3 mile stretch of the African coast and a beach hut would do. I'm not fussy. Oh, and don't forget the money.

Thank you.


We will now sing hymn number 208...Abide With me.

"Abide with me, fast falls the even...C'MON SING!...tide,..."

For Gobber...send me your e-mail for FH logo...

Friday, 13 April 2012

And so I walk...

...into the chemists, internet list in hand. I hate trawling up and down the aisles trying to find what I want so immediately seek out the first shop assistant I can find.

She's an attractive middle aged woman, dressed very smartly in her white pharmaceutical smock. She is stacking shelves with various medical products. I sidle up to her. I'll have some fun.
"Hi", I say, "I'm looking for some atheletes foot cream".
"Here, on this shelf", she says, pointing up and down at the shelf immediately in front of us. I pick up a tube of the cream.
"Do you have any vaginal - yeast - infection - cream?" I say, as I read each stunted word from the crumpled list.
She looks at me and pauses for a moment before replying. I can actually see her mind whirring, trying to make a connection here between my need for the foot cream and the thrush cream. She looks around quizically whilst she does so.
"My cock", I say, looking her right in the eye, "his head has become very inflamed and sore. I'll need to rub some of this stuff on it to try and cure it. It's starting to look very angry. Do you think this will do the trick?" Her mouth opens a little.
"Oh, and some iodine if you have it!"

Apply liberally...
Yes Jacques, my prized Copper Blue Maran cock (let's say rooster from now on shall we) has developed a rather nasty wound on his comb. He and the other cocks roosters have suffered a fair bit from frostbite over the past couple of winters but always recover. The frost-biten tissue just dies, dries up and falls off, and is a common occurance with both roosters and hens. This time though it looks a bit worse.

I wondered if it was Fowl Pox at first. Jacques does have white powdery spots on his comb occasionally, and a couple of black ones. Fowl pox is carried by biting insects such as mosquitos and there are two types. The first type is untreatable but the bird usually recovers after a few weeks. The legions heal but the infected scabs fall of and can infect other birds so it's quite contagious. The second type, known sometimes as wet fowl pox, is associated with the mouth area and can be fatal. A vaccine is available, to administer to the young chicks, but I didn't vaccinate these birds. Maybe I should have.

Jacques in fine fettle
Anyway, I don't think it is fowl pox. Jacques does like to occasionally fly the dividing fence and have a scrap with Loius the Ist, and what I think has happened is that he's got himself wounded (again) in one of these fights and the wound hasn't healed. When the chooks roost, I suspect the hens sitting in there with him have a bit of a peck at it. I could use gentian violet spray on his comb, that will stop the pecking if there is any. It's also anti-fungal and antibacterial so it's an option, but this product might not be powerful enough to clear the wound up.

He may also have Favus which is a fungal infection. This sounds more likely as the wound has left a bit of a depression in the tissue of his comb which is known as a favus cup. The thrush cream contains Clotrimazole which is an anti-fungal agent, same stuff as the atheletes foot cream, but in a higher dosage. I'll apply some of that to the wound and let you know how it goes.

So tonight I shall get the fishing net out again and chase Jacques around the orchard and give my 'rooster' a damned good creaming!

Monday, 26 March 2012

Can't Start, Won't Start!

Yes, it's that time of year again, when the savanna needs cutting...

Mr. Rat decided to make a nest under my mower and was not a happy ratty when I moved it. Bloody little sod (rather big actually) used to make foraging expeditions into the greenhouse to chew up bits of string and stuff to make his house! A trail of debris led right back to the mower.

Anyway, here's a step by step guide on how to resurrect your petrol mower after a long cold winter. Click to zoom in as per...

Note to self: Never push a mower around for hours in long grass after f**king your back up trying to pull start a knackered petrol mower all morning. Unless you're ok with hobbling around in your pants the next day 'cause you can't get your jeans on!

Monday, 19 March 2012

More than I can chew?

I probably shouldn't post about this right now as there's a whole bunch of stuff that can go wrong yet, but...

Let's play pig farmer. Yay! You be the pig and I'll feed you swill...
...I can't wait. See I might be getting a little piglet in the near future and that's about the most exciting thing to happen this year (God, that's so sad, lol). But I don't care, I'm dead excited about it. And it's all your fault (those of you who have had pigs lately).

There's this plot of ground see, about 1/4 acre big opposite my plots which last year had some Jacob sheep roaming around on it. The guy who rents this field was going to get rid of it all this year but I stopped him one night and said, "Hey, don't be too hasty - hows about you and me keep some pigs for a pig keeping experiment this year?" Just said it, just like that, without actually really thinking it through properly and not expecting him to say yes at all. F**k me if he didn't bite my hand off!

So now there's three of us up there, all going to have a pig each. These pigs are for the table, so to speak, so the trend I have to warm to the animals I have will have to be tempered a bit. Quite a bit I would imagine.

Light reading. Sending it off is going to be tricky, I can see it now...
I've spoken to the pig breeder (Glouscestershire Old Spots) who says he has a litter of weaners that will be ready in about six weeks. Plenty of time to do some much needed POW stylie fencing, build a pig ark, sort the paperwork etc,.

What with the bees suddenly on the go and loads to do anyway over the busy Spring (and having to actually earn some money!) I should be ok provided I don't sleep until the end of Autumn.

Does viagra help keep you awake or just up all night?


Saturday, 17 March 2012


Logged on this morning to find that is now!

Which has totally f**ked up some gadgets and stuff.

Another classic 'do it first and worry about the destruction later' issue from the chaps at Blogger...

Anyone else feel like a guinea pig?

Friday, 24 February 2012

Smile. You're on Candid Camera!

A few weeks ago, after a welcome period of relative calm up on the plots, there were a series of burglaries and break-ins to most of the sheds and stores on the allotments. Sheds are a usual target for ne'er-do-wells looking for power tools etc, that can be carried away easily and sold for, well, whatever they use the money to buy... own shed must have been the last one they tried but they failed to get in. They had a go at forcing open the lock using another gardener's wooden 'dibber' but only managed to bend the steel plate I'd bolted in place and snap the dibber in half. There I found it, next to the door.

What worried me most was the proximity of the shed to the chickens. It would have been easy to grab a chicken or two for dinner (it was a Sunday after all!) Couple that incident with finding all my cockerels in the same compound, ripping the crap out of each other, on no less than three occasions over the past two weeks and you can appreciate the concern I have that someone might be interfering with my stock.

Now I can't sit there, rifle in hand, ghillie suited and covered in twigs, hiding in the bushes all day and all night up there can I? So what can I do?

Well I reckon I've found the answer to alleviating my paranoia and catching any potential felons to boot. Since a lot of you also have livestock of some sort or another (or like to covertly watch wildlife too) I thought I'd share my new bit of kit with you and see what you think.

The main problem faced by anyone wanting to have a cctv system outdoors I guess, is the need to have a power supply to the camera, some way of recording the footage / images, in a waterproof way and covertly so nobody knows your cctv camera is there (so it won't get nicked!).

If you have a field or an area well away from the house this can be a major problem. Plus, who wants to record onto tape or dvd 24/7? I've tried that at home and it's a pain in the arse.

Well my friends, this is the answer.

Front view of the Trail Camera, Wildlife Camera, Stealth Camera etc,...
Known typically as a 'Trail Camera' this design of digital camera was, I believe, developed by the military and used by snipers to track enemy troop movements through the bush. A huge success with hunters and wildlife observers too now, these trail cameras have become cheap enough that poor idiots like me can buy them from ebay off the shelf.

There are lots of brands and prices can range from under £100 to £500 and more but the basic design principle is the same. This one was £120.00 and included a free 8GB sd-ram card and delivery.

A 'Trail Cam' is basically a digital camera in a waterproof box that can shoot still images and/or digital video footage which is stored on a standard sd-ram card commonly found in digital cameras anyway. The camera runs on normal AA batteries and this is the great thing about these cameras. The camera is only triggered when something (or someone) passes in front of the IR sensors mounted under the camera lens (3 of them!) so the batteries can last a long, long time. This one can be set up to shoot a sequence of pictures or video once triggered and reset and go to sleep again after a specified period of inactivity.

Hidden amongst some garden 'debris'
In daylight the images or video is full colour at up to 640x480 pixels - big enough for sharp playback on a television. The still images can be shot at 5 megapixels or upto 12 megapixels which is not cutting edge these days but sharp enough.

At night the camera comes into it's own. Above the infrared sensors and the lens there is a block of IR led lights that light the immediate scene in front of the camera. The best bit is that this light is invisible so whomever or whatever is being filmed doesn't know it. The images are black and white at night but very clear (your Honour).

Dodgy geezer a.m....
Trail cameras have the facility to record the time of day, temprerature, even record the serial number of the camera (for multiple camera locations). The two colour images shown here were taken during low-light conditions and would be perfectly useable in court, ahem...

Dodgy geezer p.m. - performing a criminal dance.
I was made aware of these things by seeing them used by the BBC recently to record owls, otters and other shy wildlife with great success.

Tonight a friend of mine told me that councils have been using them for ages to record 'fly-tippers' in the act. Damn, I thought. Yesterday I had to stop the car and have a pee behind a bush next to a sign that said 'NO FLY TIPPING - CCTV IN OPERATION!' Seems I'll be famous after all LOL (yeah, yeah, no jokes about the high resolution needed to see my nob).

Inside the camera you can see who you've recorded taking a pee...
If you want to film the wildlife in your garden, land, tree it comes with a strap to fix it to a tree trunk or branch, a USB cable to download the images and footage straight to your computer and a power cord to link up to a bigger leisure battery for longevity. Oh and it can be used (let me read the box here) in temperatures from -22 to +158 F.


I've had it strapped to a fence post all day and so far nothing.

Pre Post Rant

I shan't keep you with this as I'm about to post a much more interesting (yeah right) item but I need to get this off my chest first so bear with me.

Those that know me here know I'm a fairly easy going idiot, perhaps a bit of a twat, but one who likes to engage with life on a lighter note (you can stop agreeing now thank you).

Recently though, I have felt the need to leave a perhaps rather terse comment on a woman's blog who was having a bit of a dig at anglers. I tried to point out that anglers and fishermen (and women, ok fisher-people then) are on the whole decent sorts who actually contribute to the welfare of the natural world and wildlife protection, contribute to the national economy, are actively engaged whole heartedly in conservation (often the ONLY people engaged in the conservation of wildlife on some stretches of water / ocean) etc.

I attempted to suggest that this individual might think hard about where that nice Cod fillet came from that they may have purchased from the chip shop the other night, how it may have met its end asphyxiating in the hold of a giant commercial fishing trawler, and how many of its mates were needlessly and wastefully killed and then thrown overboard in the name of financial gain and customer demand (come what may), click on the 'Fish Fight' banner opposite to see what I mean.

All to no avail I'm affraid as the comment was deleted within seconds of me posting it. Now, all that is left on that particular blog post is a handful of other 'like-minded' folk saying 'hear-hear', 'I agree' etc. Cake and Tea.

I had occasion to pull this individual up once before when she had another senseless dig, this time at Christians, simply because one or two of the follwers of this particular faith appeared to irritate her.

Her blog, she can write what she likes, fair enough (etc, etc.)

Anyway, rant over, moving on...

Monday, 20 February 2012

Esox lucius

I can vividly remember the very first time I saw a Pike.

I was about 11 years old and had just trekked up the hard and frosty track in the (very) early winter sun, side by side with my Dad. It was hard work carrying our heavy tackle over the frozen ground, and we struggled on through the tall grass and stinging weeds towards the stony promontory of flat land that eased itself out into the waters of the glassy smooth lake.

Fred Buller's superb book on all things Pike
The gravel pits where we fished that day were known locally as the 'Finger Ponds' due to the long excavations cut deep into the earth like the fingers of a glove. Nature had re-colonised the earthworks with lush green vegetation and the adjacent river had filled the deep chasms in the ground with cold, dark water and a multitudinous array of freshwater fish.

I think we were after Bream or Roach or some other innocuous, placid shoaling fish. In those days I fished with my Dad on a Sunday for the sport alone. The spot we had chosen was next to a large Willow tree whose delicate gold green fronds trailed into the slack water to our left, and where aquatic debris and algae formed a pretty layered frill between lake water and bank.

As we emerged though the tangled jungle there it was. A huge Pike lurking in the green black slick. Seemingly dead, it's pale white belly was peeking out of the water as it floated upside down in the still water under the boughs of the tree. To me back then, a gangly youth of 11 years, the fish was a monster. Even now it would be classed as a specimen fish by most anglers at over 3 feet long. We guessed that it must of weighed close to 20lbs. A tiddler really though in Pike terms.

Esox lucius (Northern Pike) grow even bigger than this...
We went back a week or so later when, armed with a wire trace, some treble hooks, extracting forceps and a tin of sprats from the supermarket (no really), my Dad proceeded to catch a young 'Jack' pike. I will always remember the look of panic on his face and the trepidation on retrieving the hooks from the pike's large, teeth filled jaws after he landed the fish.

I have had a fascination with Pike ever since and have devoured numerous books on these freshwater monsters over the interceding years but have never actively sought them out since.

Now I've mentioned before that I don't hunt fish that I can't eat as a rule. But Pike are actually quite good eating. In days gone by thier white flesh would fetch a high price, above that of Salmon and Cod in thier day. And a 6lb Pike is a very worthy meal indeed.

I'm awaiting a much sought after magical gate key this week. One that will gain me entrance to some predator filled waters here...

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

My name...

...Michael Pain!

It's cold. That's my excuse, and I'm sticking to it!

Monday, 30 January 2012

Competition Time Draw!

What ho, chaps!

Movietone News has just departed...

Congratulations to the winner! I'll drop you a line so you can receive your ration parcel soon.


Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Competition Time!

There'll be blue skies over...
All we hear on the news just lately is doom and gloom about the recession, double-dip recession, depression, recession depression etc etc. It's not like people haven't been through all this before in the past and emerged out the other end ok, albeit poorer and battle hardened. It's enough to make you get your gas mask on and hide away in the Anderson shelter!

I was thinking about thrift the other day when I was shelling out for bags of organic chicken feed and corn. Austerity measures begin at home.

So this time around the competition is for a cracking 1949 reprinted austerity Penguin book to read and a mug to drink your cha out of whilst your doing it. More info on the Competition Page...

Good luck!

Tuesday, 10 January 2012


Thank heavens that's done! I was so knackered over Christmas I couldn't muster up enough energy to post anything. So you had a much needed break from me there.

Despite appearences (and extra bit of weight gained), I haven't just been sat watching crap Christmas tv, eating endless supplies of chocolates, nibbles and mince pies. I've not gone from bottoming one bottle of spirits to the next bottle. Not indulged in low octane sloth-ery.

O.k. There has been some of that. Quite a bit of that actually. But...

...I have finished 'Hut 3' on Stalag Luft Chicken 451...

Double glazed too. I may move in myself. made a slate roofed dovecote for a friends birthday...

Ok, it's ornamental - unless they are very little doves!
...and started to learn to knit. Stop laughing immediately!!!

Knit one, knit one, drop one, knit one, stab myself, swear, knit one...
I'll bore you some more very soon.