I am not sure I am the best person to be a house guest. On the whole I am not too badly behaved, but I am slightly accident prone and my balance is non-existent. However I fancied some time away and had a very good excuse. My friends Lynn and Duncan Baldwin of Surrey came down during the summer. Lynn spotted a couple of items of furniture languishing in the stable shed and wanted them.
Perfect excuse to go and stay and drive said furniture up at same time.
Day duly arrived, furniture with much effort was placed into horse trailer and my best mate Carolien and I set off. Trouble was we didn’t get far, one wheel on the trailer jammed – smoke billowing we ground to a halt. After much effort and assistance from my wonderful neighbour Mr Norman Kellaway, the trailer – furniture still inside – was deposited at the garage. There was no way I was missing out on a weekend away so off we went without trailer or furniture.
Upon arrival at the Baldwins – key collected from neighbour – we were told not to let the cats out. Easier said than done while trying to open someone else’s front door, bag in hand and three cats desperate to escape. I only let two out. Lynn came back from work, a bottle was duly opened and no-balance-Astley promptly fell down a small step, lovely crystal wine glass in hand. Glass smashed and red wine everywhere.
Next morning, I somehow left the hand shower attachment on the bath running. Trouble was it sprayed water onto the floor which leaked through the ceiling and onto Duncan’s desk below!
After that the weekend went very smoothly. Pubs visited: Shepherd & Flock in Farnham, Duke of Cumberland in Henley (Surrey, not Thames), The Lickfold Arms at Lickfold and the Noah’s Ark in Lurgashall. Wonderful food cooked by Lynn. Great entertainment by Duncan. Weather not too bad. And I didn’t damage or break anything else.
Photo – the Baldwin’s cats in pole position in front of the fire.
I knew there would be trouble when the other residents here at Tabor Hill suggested we have more chickens. I knew that despite saying we are only going to buy four more, once at the poultry farm we would buy more… and we did. And I knew that this lot would be named. I don’t usually name chickens as they have a habit of dying for no apparent reason. One day they are looking healthy, the next day gone… they are no longer, they have ceased to be and are possibly pining for the fjords.
But, with more demand for eggs, an empty hen house and having lost five chickens recently I knew I would be outnumbered. So over a bottle of wine we found a supplier near Exeter, after much discussion and another bottle of wine the make and models were agreed and a date set for an outing.
One creature of course would be delighted – Colonel Sherman T Potter the cockerel. He was down to only 14 girls after all. Five of them are at least 5 yrs old so some new young totty would be great. Off we went. We agreed 4 more and 4 more were chosen, then a couple more, then a couple more so why not just round it up to 10 new girls. Three Blue Marans, 3 Blue Splashes, 2 Rock Sussex and 2 Columbian Black tails.
Next morning Sherman was beside himself with delight. Ten new girls, 10 of them! He was surprised and happy when the first girl came out, then another and another. He ran round like a headless chicken not knowing which new bird to impress first. It was entertaining to watch. One Rock Sussex came straight out of the house and picked a fight with another hen so they have become the Kray Twins. The 3 Blue Marans are pretty and dainty and somehow got named the Beverley Sisters. Whilst the South American beauties are Conchita and Evita, yes I know Evita is more Argentinian, but we couldn’t think of anything else. Meanwhile the wussie Blue Splashes who are proving to be completely useless, are Eeny, Meeny and Mo – god only knows why.
So do we have more eggs? Do we heck. But we do have another new and larger hen house, so we are off to buy yet more, plus Quail… well the smaller hen house is empty again, so we need something to keep in there.
Well it’s been an interesting week with B&Bers. It started superbly well last weekend with the arrival from Cornwall of Amanda and John Carpenter. Passports in hand, jabs taken for the journey across the border and up to the back of beyond which is Exmoor they travelled. As a testament to the fact FB does work, they came via my neighbour (well a mile and a half up the road) Mr Dave Evans. He and Amanda are FB friends and Mr E recommend my humble B&B to them. Bless him. We got on like a house on fire and I sussed they would feel right at home. While the dogs sussed out even more quickly they were suckers for a cute face and a waggy tail. So the week started very very well.
The shooting season is in full swing down here and although a Gun would never stay here, their drivers often do. The first chap arrived and asked for a bucket and sponge. Haven’t had that one before. Apparently the Range Rover needed cleaning! Really?!!! It looked very clean to me, in fact it was spotless. But then what do I know I am still driving Larry Landrover now aged 20. After washing, the car was polished. By this time it was 9pm, almost dark, while his dinner was getting cold. Next morning before breakfast the Range Rover was dried off from the early morning dew, while the driver quizzed me on how to get back to the hotel to collect his boss. Why?…well he need to avoid narrow lanes cos he didn’t want to get the car scratched. Bless him he’s never been to the countryside before and was shocked just how narrow the lanes are.
Then onto the next visitor. I had been warned by the PA – who made the booking – that the driver would arrive around 11pm. OK that’s late for me, but I will cope. 11 came and went, 11.30 came and went, so I thought I would call to see if he was OK? Mobile went to answerphone. By 12.30 I went to bed and thought if he does turn up the dogs will bark and I can come down and let him in. 10 to 1 the phone rang. The conversation that followed was difficult because 1 the signal was bad. 2 the gentleman’s English was poor. 3 he was lost and 4 he kept talking over me while I’m trying to tell him where to go! Not literally but I was close. Phone went dead. 1.27 am the phone rang again. I knew exactly where he was because like so many people I warn not to follow their satnav, he had followed his satnav and was lost. Again I tried in vain to give him directions, again he talked over me and again the signal died. He never arrived.
The next morning I phoned Heasley House Hotel where the Guns stay to find out if he turned up for work? He had, so I can only assume he slept in the car! Last night he turned up fine, having been given directions. He didn’t need to polish the Merc, he ate his dinner and was in his room by 8.30. Bless him.
Finally, thought you might like a photo of my new bracket for hanging bird feeders from.