Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Suck it up!

 When you live in the countryside shooting or hunting as they apparently call it (I cant help smiling when I think of a man shooting a bird as a HUNTER just doesn't gel if you know what I mean) is par for the course.  I have often, very often heard the gun shots of late, I thought I had left those behind in SA but no such luck.  So as I tend to do, I have learned as much about it as possible short of participating and I have even bravely sat and watched it.  Unless you go off the so called 'main' road you don't get to see the guys after all they are all bravely dressed up in the colour of the landscape so you need pretty good eye sight from a car to spot them whilst you are driving.  DH and I had reason to go down a dirt road and just happened upon a 'shoot/hunt'.  OMG what a fascinating sight and it took me awhile to figure out what I was seeing.  We parked the car we had no choice really because the guard type guy wouldn't let us carry on down the road for fear of us getting shot or worse still I could have been one of the crazy people that try to stop this type of thing ;).  So in tears I sat and watched whilst beautiful pheasants were just dropping out of the sky.  The shooting wasn't as bad as the bird jerking around on the ground for what seems like ages and ages, DH tried to assure me that it was just the nervous system but the tears just ran uncontrollably down my face.  I called the sight 'fascinating' purely because it is all so organised and regal in a way.  Most of the guys (and women sometimes) had a black Labrador (not sure why there were no yellow ones perhaps this was the black labbie club) anyhow there were at least 20-30 men dotted around a few acres of bare land with a greenbelt through the middle where another bunch of guys with dogs were busy 'flushing' out the birds using long sticks to frighten the birds into taking to the sky which of course they did.  The Labradors were the most fascinating they sit perfectly awaiting a signal from the shooter/hunter to collect the fallen bird, and the signal seems to come from a hunt leader to all the dogs and a collection was made at what looked like the end of the shoot.  The hunters then moved off to the next field and started again.  I know you are probably bored of all this hunting talk but I have so much more to say about it so I may do a second post tomorrow. 

  There is a more sinister side to all of this, I have been told by a number of sources that these pheasants are reared by a games man and he dutifully feeds them regularly to the sound of a whistle and at the 'right' time they are released in order to be shot but the hunters use this same sound in order to trick them into thinking they are going to be fed. 

 I have used so many pics because these were taken on farms literally bordering our estate and they also illustrate that bleak landscape I wrote of yesterday.

Monday, 24 January 2011


Not me particularly although I am not exactly bouncing off the walls, no, the landscape.  Totally bleak.  We have been in this part of the UK since we moved here from SA so what's different?  Last year this time I was rushing from interview to interview, the excitement of just moving here and all that goes with it and last year it was still snowing.  Snow such pretty stuff but when it melts it leaves behind it a blackened mushy landscape that is just not pretty at all.  When the snow melts it also exposes litter, strange I know but after the prettiness of the snow the shock of the litter that it has covered over for weeks on end and then there are the dog poos that disappear into the snow when they are deposited but are still there when the snow melts.  I told you it's bleak.

I think I have a little dose of SAD as I am really looking forward to some warmer weather and within 2 months the landscape is going to start looking gorgeous.  Where we live it is farmland, it is the flatest part of the UK so it is used for crops and all the fields are brown at the moment so no pretty green fields with fat black and white cows just the odd starving rabbit trying to find a meal.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Doggie People

I have always considered myself to be a doggie person and a serious one at that - NOT.  After yesterday I am sooo not hard core.  I have now started working with DH and yesterday went out on a few 'taste trials'.  The customer (the pet) gets a chance to try out the food before their owner buys, so a bit of holding my breath going on yesterday, not a problem though all of them loved it.  

I arrived at the first taste trial and could hear the dog THROWING itself against the door, heard the owner put it away before coming to the door with the other dog in her arms (to stop it running in the road), okay chaos already as the dog that was locked away was barking up a storm.  She lets the barking dog out and it then proceeds to run around like a lunatic!! I noticed that its behaviour seemed a little strange, turns out the dog is blind, has a severe hair lip and some sort of brain damage.  OMG!  It later took a polite little dump in a corner because obviously not so easy to train a brain damaged dog.  Poor woman certainly made of much stronger stuff than myself.  I don't think I could  couldn't have taken on an such a needy animal.

The next trial the woman had 4 dogs in a house the size of ours, all very clean mind you but again chaos! She had taken in a friends dog because she got divorced and one of the other dogs belonged to her father but his new girlfriend doesn't like it.  Again, no-ways I would have done it.

So I think I may be normal after all.

Saturday, 8 January 2011


This week I have been totally 'blown away' by technology.  Humour me here okay?

It was my Mums 80th on Wednesday and Scott called Devin in Joburg so that he could speak to Granny, he called him from his iPhone on Skye - free and then handed the phone to my Mum with the speaker phone on and of course Devin appeared on the screen - whoa, seriously, I was quite taken aback.  I had been using my iPhone as a mini computer but had never realised that I had the facility on my phone.   Imagine how my Mum felt although she is not the most demonstrative person around so it certainly looked like I was the more impressed.  I then called my mate Mel this morning from my iPhone to try it out and there she was in all her glory with her brood at the ready for a chat.  So yes, I am even more impressed with my iPhone which is only the iPhone 3GS so maybe I will have to upgrade to the 4.

And then this baby: 
The Tesco Grocery bar code scanner iPhone app, which enables customers to buy products while on the go. I am loving it, Mel I reckon this is enough to get you to move to the UK?  Have a walk around the kitchen, bathroom etc. and just scan away and order - hey presto the guy delivers it the next day.  We had our first delivery the week and I am hooked. 

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Back to normal

Scott's friend from SA left today (she has been here for 4 weeks) so it's back to normal from tonight except that my Mum is 80 tomorrow so the routine of school etc. will only kick in on Thursday.  School is very different for the kids here come January - both of mine go back to write a couple of exams each no easing in gently. 

I will be starting to work with DH, hopefully with a dash of enthusiasm as I am enjoying my lazy days at home.  I am also considering joining the gym closest to us about 10km away and situated behind the school Erin goes to, so I could drop her off a couple of mornings a week instead of her catching the bus (only problem is she can catch the bus) it would have been ideal if I dropped her off everyday normally.  I am finally seeing a physio for my knee tomorrow which is feeling a lot better since Kirsty gave me some advice but it is still not healed.   I have always been a fast walker and I now notice myself trailing behind people so I am really hoping the physio will have some answers and we find out what is actually wrong with it before I turn into a complete couch potato.

I am going to break out my camera a bit later when Scott and Erin get home as I want to take some family pics to give to my Mum, could be fun but I have warned both of them that I will be taking the pics and that I expect 100% co-operation, Erin has agreed but I am not so sure about Scott.  Lets see I may just post a couple tomorrow.