Welcome to Much Malarkey Manor, a bubble of sanity in an insane world. Home to chickens, cats and bees,and Denise - ordinary human being - and Andy the vet. Even when your castle is small there is always room to make much malarkey.
For a small person who hasn't even entered the World yet, the new baby granddaughter is very much making her presence felt in the manner of causing several false alarms. She has been threatening to arrive for, oooh, a good couple of weeks now, even though she isn't due until 1st May.
I have been having words. I've said, 'You are to wait until at least 21st April, until you are a Taurean baby. A Taurean baby will balance your little family very well indeed.' So at least she has sat tight until today, bless her!
As a consequence of her little 'shall I, shan't I?' shenanigans, I have been on full Granny Alert ready to collect Kayleigh for when it all kicks off for real. This means having my mobile switched on all the time and by my side in easy reach which is a novelty for me as I am not a mobile phone type of person, and how these youngsters tote theirs around in a claw-like clutch all the time I neither know nor understand. Kayleigh has been preparing for big sisterhood by toting a doll around, mostly very carefully in 'carry a baby properly' mode, but sometimes in a more worrying, 'dangling upside-down by the neck/ leg/ arm' fashion. Grandpa Andy says. 'You aren't going to carry your new sister like that, are you?' and Kayleigh sighs, gives him a bit of a look and says, as wearily as a 4 year old can, 'Of course not, Grandpa.'
Kayleigh has fully discovered the joy of chickens. When she was a toddler, she liked the hens enormously, and would squat down amongst them, chatting away and trying to force cabbage leaves upon them. Then she went through a phase of liking chickens but only from a distance because she was convinced they were trying to rip the skin from her fingers and draw as much blood as possible a la vampire hen. They never did, of course,because (aside from Mrs Poo) our hens have always been a very gentle and peaceable bunch.
But now? Well, when Kayleigh visits it's, 'Do the chickens need feeding? I think they might be hungry. Shall we feed the chickens? Are there any eggs? Let's check for eggs. I think there might be eggs,' until we relent and troop up to the hens' end of the garden where Kayleigh marches about dispensing sunflower seeds and greens, collecting eggs and generally trying to organise Primrose and Daisy into what she regards as proper hen-like activities. She happily allows them to peck seeds from her bare hands, and is, I think, beginning to grasp that one hen = one egg per day and if Gran has already collected the eggs that day then there will not be any more to collect, despite her small child insistence there MAY have been some kind of egg miracle.
So, new baby will be a Taurean, may possibly arrive very soon, or may not, because babies arrive when they want to. I continue to forget to remember to have my phone with me all the time, and thusly spend a lot of time thinking, 'Where did I leave my phone?' because until recently I have ALWAYS known where it has been which is switched off in the bottom of my bag. I have been officially identified as 'Person Safe To Collect Kayleigh From Nursery School.' Chris is looking forward to the baby arriving because he says he might then get a decent night of sleep (???) and Leane is looking forward to the baby arriving so she doesn't have to keep suffering all these uncomfortable false alarms.
And Grandpa Andy? Well, aside from proving to be the BEST grandpa a child could ever wish for, he is calmly oblivious to all current baby-events and taking it all in his stride.
But then he is a Taurean, too. And that is what they (generally) are like.
I have been doing a spot of foreign property surfing on the interwebbly this week, mostly because every now and then Andy and I get fed up with living in the middle of a town when we really want to live in the middle of a massive field. And because a house in a massive field in Britain costs a ridiculous amount of money which we don't have, we tease ourselves by looking at massive houses in France surrounded by lush hills and woodland...
...and, I might add, without a person in sight, too, which is very important,especially to me as I have tolerated almost two weeks of the Shouty Tenants Next Door, to the point where they were having a massive barny on their patio yesterday afternoon, and I happened to be in our back garden cleaning out the hen pod, and I flipped every so slightly and said, in a not very quiet voice, 'Oh for goodness' sake, STOP flipping SHOUTING all the time!' only I didn't use the word 'flipping', I said something that begins with 'b' and rhymes with 'muddy.' Suddenly, it went quiet, a door opened and closed, and the barny continued in a more muffled tone from indoors. I sighed, Primrose and Daisy looked sympathetic, and then said please could I hurry up and re-establish their nest as there was an egg most imminent...
Anyway, having selected several houses en France, including one I keep going back to and would buy TODAY if a) I had a guaranteed income out there so we wouldn't starve to death or be clapped in irons for non-payment of taxes and bills and b) was brave enough, I had the urge to move onto Germany, around the Rhine Valley.
Cor, that was an eye opener! I went on to read several blogs about living in Germany, I even went on the Government website to see about practicalities and it all seemed jolly well organised, clean and tidy, and you know how I approve of these qualities enormously. So now I get to house hunt in Germany, too! I have toyed with Italy, because I am a bit of a romantic and I love what Italians do with their gardens and their food, but I am yet to be enchanted by their houses. Australia is too hot and full of spiders hiding under the loo seat waiting to nip you on the unmentionables, Spain is too hot full stop. Anywhere North of Lancashire is too cold and dark and wet. I can't bring myself to consider America, although I know it is full of really lovely people.
Which brings me to the purpose of my post today, which wasn't to bore you with my 'Search For A Field' plan but...
...I have a friend in America, and she has been through a bit of a tough time of late. And I want to send her a little 'Cheer You Up' gift. Now, I don't want to send any old thing that you can buy any old where in the world, and was probably mass produced in China. I want to send something specifically of England. Like a Much Malarkey Manor hand crafted by moi lavender bag. Just as an example.
Well, in the back of my mind, because I have been distracting myself from the reality of my life with dreams of foreign climes, I remembered reading somewhere that you have to be careful what you can send in post to the USA. So I researched sending dried lavender flower heads encased in cotton fabric and up popped horror stories of lavender bags being sniffed out by beagles in airports and RIPPED to tiny shreds, or INCINERATED, and I do not want that to happen to the parcel I am sending to my friend. I have even gone as far as emailing APHIS USA which is the oracle of what you can and cannot bring into and send out of America. They haven't got back to me so far. The whole malarkey is beginning to make me feel like a potential criminal!
So I popped into town today, to a 'Local Craft made by Local People' arty gallery-type place and found something I think I am pretty safe to send without fear of it becoming part of a beagle's breakfast or nuked with a flame thrower. But even then I am feeling marginally anxious. No, Denise, it'll be okay! No probs. absolutely fine! Really it will...
And when I think of things I have chucked in a box a sent to France...
I leave you with a picture of Flora Bijou Mybug, who is clearly not as excited by the novel 'Regency Buck' as I have been. Olly, I need some Georgette Heyer recommendations, please!!
What with one thing and another, the last two weeks have proved rather trying, and as a consequence I have been feeling testy, irritated and marginally annoyed with life.
And I have learned that when I am feeling like this it is best to avoid blogging, because my pen IS my sword and it could have erred towards sharpness which would not have been good for the spirit or my karmic piggy bank.
However, after much propping up from an excellent hubbie and a marvellous long-time friend, I feel once more clear-headed and focused, and tickety-booness reigneth large, and lessons learned have been noted for future reference.
And so this morning I have been carpet wrestling. Someone (can't think who) thought it would be an excellent idea that as we were redecorating our bedroom, then why not redecorate Andy's study AS WELL, including paint and carpet, the whole hog as it were? Marvellous! Get it all done at once! Surely we could fit two rooms' worth of 'stuff' into my arty-crafty writing room, couldn't we? Yeah! It'll go, no probs!!
Well, there was some overspill into the living room. There was a lot of squishing and squashing going on at 6.30 this morning. And then Andy left for work, and it was up to me to remove two lots of carpet and underlay from the two respective rooms before the carpet fitter chap arrived with the new carpet.