Friday the 20th There is not much to report (no change there then, but we usually manage to string it out into a few para's) but it was a lovely warm, sunny, GARDENING day in Rosco. Mum wanted to attack the bit to the left of the hay barn but was struck by that 'blank page' awe which cripples writers. She needed, she said, a psychological step-up to start her off, maybe a wooden square metre to give herself a mini-target to achieve. Step forward Dad with 4 fancy left-over stairs/banister spindles and 4 triangles of ply wood. Very ornate and over-kill for a wooden quadrant it might have been, but Mum was away on a hack then, flinging it at the ground , marking the 4 corners with metal stakes and piling in with the border fork. She soon had 4 'hins' in close support and William the Conqueror keeping ‘obbo’ from a gate post. He does good 'obbo', shouting Cock-a-doodle-DOOO periodically in case we forget he's there being IMPORTANT. The 'Hins' prefer a more beak-on approach and are checking at your clod before you have a chance to prise it from the ground, and often sitting on the clod as you lift it. You have to chivvy them off before you can turn the clod to break it up. The chief gardener actually managed 4 square metres in the end so fair play to her.
From there we head for lovely nearby garden centre Ardcarne, Boyle where Dad is looking for rainbow chard seed but Mum and Dad get tempted by a bright red 'Lucifer' Crocosmia, a 'Goldsturm' Rudbeckia and a deep velvet red "Guinee" climbing rose. Very tall, it says. It needs to be. It is going up the former hay barn side, maybe 16 feet.
One of the ‘Hins’ has discovered that in the morning, between being let out of the coop into the wee run, and finally being let out of that run into the grounds proper, there is a time delay. She is obviously not happy with this, and thinks she should be allowed out-out straight away. Being a young, fit and fully-feathered bird able to roost on a 7 foot high beam (admittedly getting there in 2 ‘steps’ via a lower beam), she can also get out of the run if need be, by just flying up to the top of the 5 foot concrete wall where she can survey the scene and then descend into the cattle race. From there she has now taken to strolling in the yard while Mum is out puffing on a first cigarette and saying “Umm... is a chicken MEANT to be out yet?” She is now known as “Wandering Wendy”. She generally gets rounded back up till it’s proper time to get out, which is when at least one human is dressed!
And so to a lovely chilli and rice supper with LIDL's cheapo Ozzie Shiraz, currently less than €5 per bottle and pronounced “very quaff-able” by the House Somelier.
And so we come to Sunday the 21st which has become 'collect the puppy' day. This was a week earlier than planned but Mrs Silverwood reckoned the pups were starting a cage fighting club down there and someone was going to get hurt. Our sweet little white innocent boy, Towser, was implicated, but I can't believe that, can you? Steak Lady and Mr SL were also heading that way to collect "theirs". It's not for them but for SL’s neighbour, whose previous westie is 100 years old and not long for this world, apparently. Ah well, we arrive and deliver fresh eggs, and I can race round to say hello to Maxwell and Lily and meet (not so enthusiastically, the pups who are now 7 weeks old and getting very big, like baby rhino’s in miniature). The humans are fed apple cake and custard and we load car with assorted booty including various plant cuttings and pup in crate. The journey home is 2 hours for which pup cries and yow-yows most of way home. Only when a human sticks a finger into the crate through the 'gate' does he go silent. Fair enough, we suppose, as he’s alone in the crate and it’s the first time he’s ever been without the chance physical contact with dogs or children or people in his entire puff. I stand accused of playing "grumpy Aunt who never wanted nieces and nephews anyway" but I do not actually kill new pup. Noise has been opening my head and it does too for Mum after about Castlerea, an hour and 3/4 into the journey.
Back home the pup is allowed out of the crate into the living room to explore and meet the kittens. Dad races round to check on ‘Wandering Wendy”, convinced she’ll be out. He’s not wrong! All 4 ‘hins’ have now learned the trick of hopping over the gate so poor old William is all alone in his run crowing rather pathetically while the 4 Lovely Girls run around outside the wire, looking in and trying to work out how to get back to their man. I am allowed a ‘training session’ on the lead for the kittens sake. The pup, I’m OK with as he understands when I growl and snarl or do unwelcoming body language and backs off before I need to kill him. Let’s keep it that way, Towser! Finally all the ‘children are fed and showed their beds. Mum has cooked the most delicious lamb-shanks in the history of the known world having first had to suss out how to get the new cooker to come on remotely while we were out pup-wrangling, so it'd be ready for our homecoming.
Mum and Dad assure me we are now 'complete' as a menagerie (they have promised!). No more new animals for now. We have also evened up the male female balance a tad. Males include 1 human, 2 kittens, one pup, one rooster and one buck-rabbit. Females number one human, one dog, 2 bunnies and 4 Lovely Girls.