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Pimpin’ out the hens…

Another weekend, another church fête. This one is small but good; we went for the first time last year.

In attendance was a chicken rescue – the kind that rehabilitates battery hens.

I’ve got to do this some day. If you ever need a pick-me-up, go to YouTube and search “battery hens first” – you’ll get videos of the first time a rescue hen sees the sun or walks on grass or has a dust bath. It’s so inspirational.

In fairness to the farmers, they sell of rescue hens at the time of their first molt. Every chicken in the world – even the most cherished family pet – looks like shit during a molt. Half naked, grumpy and depressed.

Anyway, they were offering chicken cuddles in return for a donation. I didn’t want a cuddle – who wants to hold a common old ISA brown when I have exotic chickens I can hold for free? – but I did want to give them some money. Just as I did, a little boy walked by with his mom and lit up like a Christmas tree, so I said he could have my chicken cuddle. Pictured above.

Chicken keepers reproduce like drag queens – by drawing the young into our squalid fetishes.

It was only later I realized the lady at the rescue thought I was trying to foist my roosters off on her, when I complained about my cockerel flock.

July 31, 2023 — 7:11 pm
Comments: 4


Today was the last dry day for a while (and it was rainy in the morning). So instead of sitting around inside pecking at a keyboard, we have elected to light the firebowl and sit in the garden drinking wine. It’s a Friday thing.

Why, yes – we are using an upturned bucket as a table. Pure class. Have a good weekend!

July 28, 2023 — 7:37 pm
Comments: 7

Will the innovations never cease?

Headline: Heinz making big change to its ketchup bottles from next month

The change? The lids are also recyclable now. *squints*

Brits are big consumers of Heinz products, go figure.

I don’t know if this is happening where you are, but recently our plastic bottles, like fizzy water bottles, the lids don’t come all the way off. They remain connected by a thin strip of plastic.

Naturally, I assumed they were defective bottles and wrestled the caps all the way off. Then I bought a bottle of Coke that did the same thing but had the courtesy to explain on the label that this was deliberate, so the lid would stay with the bottle and they could all recycle together.

Oh, and plastic milk bottles! They’re usually color-coded (though they have it all backwards here – blue is whole milk and red is skimmed) but lately, for recycling purposes, they’re clear plastic. That means at a glance you think the bottle doesn’t have the lid on at all.

Hippies. Is there nothing they can’t ruin?

July 27, 2023 — 7:55 pm
Comments: 8

First of the season

I’ve got one tomato (Uncle B ate one of the ones in the picture), a dozen radishes and two onions. Do you think I can make a soup out of that, or would it be intolerably spicy?

This isn’t at all what I was going to post about tonight. I was going to post about getting out of a chair and how I’m finding it increasingly difficult (I know, I know…it comes to us all). I was going to ask if you think it’s waning leg strength, core strength or arm strength.

But in casting around the internet, I’ve discovered “getting out of a chair” YouTubes are a real genre. I’ve been watching people get into and out of chairs all evening. Then I’ve been imitating them getting into and out of chairs.


I won’t say I’ve found the perfect technique, but I’ve learned some interesting tips and given my thigh muscles some exercise. Which has helped. All the methods seem to start by schooching out to the edge of your seat.

And it’s the leg muscles, mostly.

July 26, 2023 — 7:38 pm
Comments: 14

There are a surprising number of ducks in Anglo Saxon art

I went to a talk on Anglo Saxon manuscripts today. According to the lecturer, when you find a duck in a document, it means you should pay attention to the text (and not stand around quacking).

I don’t know. I looked at a lot of ducks in manuscripts and it seems to me the common theme is “mmmm…duck!”

I also learned that any figure with three rays coming out of his head is always Jesus.

And Anglo Saxon women were allowed to take any job but priest or mayor. A woman was allowed to divorce, and she got half his stuff and the children – but if she decided later she didn’t want the children, she could send them back. (A lot of this feminist stuff disappeared after the Conquest, not to return for 600 years).

And finally, Harald Bluetooth was a 10th C king of Norway and Denmark. In 1997, a team member who’d been reading a historical novel about Vikings chose it as a temporary name for a short-range wireless project. It stuck. The Bluetooth logo is Harald’s initials in Viking runes.

July 25, 2023 — 7:39 pm
Comments: 2


I won this bottle of whisky at a church fête on Saturday. That’s right – the Church of England promotes drinking and gambling.

Someone came around just before they called the raffle to sell a few more tickets. I hadn’t bought any, so I bought one. I like whisky just fine. Then I said what the heck and bought a second one. I won on the second one.

Funny thing – I knew I was going to win. I was sure of it. So sure I walked up to stand next to the person calling the numbers.

When I got back to where Uncle B was sitting, he said, “I knew you were going to win.”

Weird. I don’t get premonitions. When I do, it would be over a £15 bottle of Aldi whisky.

July 24, 2023 — 5:50 pm
Comments: 7

Not my attic, not my water tank

You’re an accepting bunch – only Tim Carlson wondered how my toilet inlet pipe might have become full of bees. This calls for more Adventures in English Plumbing.

The thing above is a water storage tank and, until recently, most British homes had one in the attic. It stores water used to fill the bath or flush the toilet (cooking water uses the mains).

I’ve heard several reasons why this is. For places where the water pressure is low. To give a supply if the mains water is ever cut off. To prevent problems if everyone in London flushes at once. There is some discussion here.

Well, ours is very like unto this one. You’ll notice there is no lid.

Think on that. Five hundred years of dust, vermin, cobwebs and the skeletons of mad first wives wafting around. When we found out there was no lid, we took to calling it rat water.

We’re not sure if the bathroom sinks fill from the tank. Uncle B – being a far more fastidious sort of person – wisely takes fresh water up from the kitchen to brush his teeth. I’m lazy. I brush my teeth in potential rat water and try not to think about it.

You may or may not recall that we also have a colony of bees in the attic. Been there for years. We consulted with bee people and a neighbor who also had attic bees and the only option for getting rid of them is to fog the attic with poison.

Not keen on the idea of poison finding its way through the cracks in the house and into me. The best advice was to cohabit with them. Worst case, honey drips down the inglenook some years and they swarm around the chimney all summer.

Also, drown and get sucked into the toilet inlet. Have a good weekend!

July 21, 2023 — 6:55 pm
Comments: 16


Not my hand. Not my toilet. I pinched it from this thoughtful article in Heating, Ventilating and Plumbing magazine titled TOILET MANUFACTURERS CALLED ON TO RETHINK DUAL FLUSH BUTTONS.

It is a quandary. The dual flush toilet was foist upon Britain to save water. Little button for little flush, big button for big flush. Problem is, they actually waste water, partly through people not remembering which button does which and partly through a leaky mechanism. To the tune of 88 million gallons a year.

Also, they break a lot. Usually in the wee hours when a weasel gets up for a wee, disconsolately mashing a button that doesn’t respond. Then repeating the exercise in the morning because I forgot. Bleh.

There are actually several different types of toilet in the UK and I have struggled with all of them. Here’s the Toilet Guru in his Toilets of the World series explaining British Toilets. There’s even a WikiHow.

Fortunately, we were able to get a plumber on short notice, so it’s working again. I understand the mechanism was full of bees.

July 20, 2023 — 6:09 pm
Comments: 9


I have so many questions about chicken orb.

Like, how do you get a chicken into one? Could my little bantams make one go, or would they become static lawn ornaments?

If I put one of my belligerent cockerels in a chicken orb, could he rejoin the flock, or would the two boys peck each other to death through the Holes? (Why did I capitalize Holes?)

If I put both my belligerent cockerels in chicken orbs, would they roll around the garden smacking into each other like billiard balls?

Would that be cruel or awesome?

At £37 a pop, the world will never know.

July 19, 2023 — 6:29 pm
Comments: 8

I used to get spam about these

We went to a cat rescue open day over the weekend, where I met this fellow. Very long haired ginger. They had to shave him when he arrived he was so matted.

He felt it keenly. I tried to pet him and he hissed and swiped at me. He’s going to be a gorgeous boy when it grows back out, but he won’t get brushed with that attitude.

They had their highest turnout ever and a distinct lack of cats, so there were like five people surrounding every cat. And boy were the cats crabby about it. Lots of hissing and swiping and hiding ’round the back.

Behind one shed was a roped off area with a big row of litter boxes and a dozen of them were hanging out back there, like High Schoolers sneaking a smoke in the bathroom.

Nobody seemed to mind. Cat people be like, “aw, isn’t that cute?” as they struggle to stanch an arterial bleed. And they made lots of money for the cats, which is the important thing.

July 18, 2023 — 6:55 pm
Comments: 7