Is Anybody There?

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Hello!  IMG_5900

Remember me?

Chief Staff Member for Gloria Chufflepuff, the chuffin cat, Head Poo Picker for the thick chickens, referee and chef for 3 fetid boys.  Yes, that’s me – ring any bells?

It’s been a long time.  Too long.  This poor little blog has been neglected and filed away in a dark corner with only spiders and the odd errant mouse (Gloria’s latest house guest) for company.  I think it’s time to bring it back – who agrees with me? (‘It’ being the blog, not the mouse, if you’re listening Gloria).

It’s been something of an enforced break, but more on that another time.  For now, I’m sure you’re all desperate to hear the latest news.

*cue tumbleweed* IMG_5873

Gloria is as rambunctious as ever.  She has grown bigger and poofier, as has her attitude.  Her headbutts can knock you into a neighbouring room, particularly with 14 pounds of force and sassiness behind them.  She was out in the garden yesterday, now that the sun has finally made an appearance.  As she patrolled across the lawn, tufty feet pounding the ground, tail wafting in the breeze, I noticed that her belly fur was actually touching the grass.  Bearing in mind that I recently mowed the lawn, it made me realise that she’d been caught unawares – her summer body is a long way off (I know the feeling!).  That’s what a prolonged winter does for you.  Well, that and a voracious appetite for Dreamies treats…

IMG_4294The thick chickens, of course, moulted in the middle of winter, with snow heavy on the ground.  As I ran around the coop trying to collect up the discarded feathers which were being buffeted by the hurricane-strength winds, I did wonder whether to sew them into mini jackets for the hens.  I mean, obliging little souls that they are, I didn’t really want ready-plucked frozen chucks, even if it was Christmas-time.

 

The boys have also grown.  In size and in noise.  And in messiness.  My cupboards are always bare as they manage to eat every single morsel they can find, however well-hidden it may be (even my Mint Choc Club biscuits from the secret compartment in the fridge – how very rude!) Have you ever seen a boy inhale a jaffa cake?  I have.  And don’t even get me started on the husband.

So I’m still here, and planning to do lots more writing.  Which leads me to my main question: is there anybody left to read this?

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You Know it’s Autumn When…

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1  You go for a walk in the woods and emerge looking like Miss Haversham, complete with delightful, new cobweb-infested accessories.

2  It’s communal shower time again, when your ablutions seem to be shared with all manner of uninvited moths, spiders and insects.  What’s worse than finding a spider in the shower?  Just finding the leg of a spider… leading you to die inwardly as you check the soles of your feet for the rest of the innards *shudder*

3  You step out of the shower, go to grab your towel, and instead find yourself shaking hands with a large spider.  It’s very nice of him to introduce himself formally before taking up residence in your bathroom, but I’d say his timing is a little off to be honest.

4  The chuffin cat develops a new coat – consisting mainly of dead leaves and garden debris – which she gleefully spreads around the house at regular intervals.  As a bonus, she might even bring you in a slug or three, stuck to her belly fur.  Having thrown the slug(s) across the room (any room, she’s not fussy), she will then provide you all with some evening entertainment as she proceeds to noisily suck all the slug snot off her body in a particularly uncouth manner.

5  You realise it might be time to invest in some little tin hats for the chickens, as the coop is positioned directly beneath a giant oak tree, and a heap of hooligan squirrels take obscene delight in lobbing acorns from a great height.  Alternatively, just rename your chickens Chicken Licken, Henny Penny, Turkey Lurkey and Cocky Locky, and live out your very own live version of the children’s classic tale.

6  The apple tree in the garden bears fruit, not that you get the chance to eat any of it as the marauding gang of squirrels snaffle the lot, once they’ve finished using the chickens as target practice that is.

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An Important Day

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Dear Gloria

img_4417You may have woken me up at 6am (it’s Saturday, that’s really quite rude) by clattering a ping pong ball around the kitchen floor.

You may have run your teeth along my foot when I tried to go back to sleep.

You may have initiated an affectionate head-butt, but then turned at the last minute and yelled, “Sucker!” whilst slapping me round the face.

img_4525You may have insisted on going outside despite the rain lashing down, and then come in dragging wet leaves and debris across the freshly-vacuumed carpet.

img_4536You may have sat in the middle of the floor with your fur stuck up on end, looking like a giant fluffy porcupine, swiping away any offers of a towel, preferring instead to wipe your wet fur along the soft furnishings.

But today is an important day for you, so I didn’t shout.

I cleaned out your litter tray, since you prefer to use it like a ball pit, albeit with white grit in place of coloured balls.

I cooked a big roast beef meal, not because you like beef, but because you like the crispy bits from the roast potatoes.

img_4551I tried to take some pictures. You refused to smile for the camera.  You refused to sit still for the camera. You hate my camera.

I bought you presents, which I then wrapped in catnip-infused paper.  I did the same with the card I made for you too. You ignored that and chewed the foil bow instead.  You went berserk when you saw your new toy, but then ignored it when I removed the packaging.

But this is an important day for you.  Today is your second birthday.

And what did you do in return?

You decided to indulge me in a touch of forensic anthropology – my favourite subject. You left 3 dead mouse carcasses scattered in the front garden: fly-infested, mangled corpses, carefully placed in full view of the garden path.  Your very own body farm.  I only hope it wasn’t a warning for the postman.

img_4543So Happy Birthday, you mischievous heap of fluff and mayhem.  Here’s to another year of sleeplessness, irritability and attitude… I’m talking about you, not me, sweet cheeks.  Hope you’ve enjoyed your day more than I have *mwah*

with much love from the Chief Human Staff Member xx

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All Change!

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It must be said: there is nothing more alarming than being woken by the sound of a cockerel crowing. In your lounge. Particularly when said cockerel is actually a 6 week old hen. Or so you thought.

Gloria and Daphne

“Is that a cat I see?” “Nope.”

Yes, the female dominance in our household was never destined to last. It appears that we have not one but two cockerels amongst our little flock of chickens. Beryl’s crowing took everyone by surprise. It was 6.45am on a Thursday morning when the serene silence was shattered by the most excruciating sound that could only be described as like fingernails being dragged down a blackboard. Bedroom doors flew open and we all congregated, bleary-eyed, round the chicken cage.  Again we heard the dreadful noise that seemed to emanate from Beryl, albeit through her closed beak. To be honest, she looked quite shocked herself as she squirted out a runny turd. The rest of the chickens remained motionless, almost as if to say, “Well, this is awkward…”

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Is anyone awake yet?

Over the following few days, Beryl’s crowing increased with alarming intensity. She could be heard randomly from as early as 5.35am *groan* to as late as 8pm at night. Yet with night time temperatures falling to near zero, and the fact that the chucks were only a few weeks old, we had no choice but to keep them in the cage in the lounge. Even the chuffin cat’s initial interest turned to disgust and irritation. A couple of weeks previously, we had changed the brooder lamp bulb from a bright white to an infra-red variety. This had frustrated the chuffin cat, who realised that her chance of a quick poultry snack had now been replaced with ‘slow roast’ chicken – she never was that good with patience. Now her beauty sleep was being interrupted; after all, who wants their afternoon siesta ruined by a noisy pumped-up pile of feathers?

An Instagram follower kindly suggested that we cover the cage at night to keep it dark, which has worked brilliantly so far. Morning routines, of course, have had to be altered accordingly if anybody wants a lie in. It comes to something when you find yourself creeping round the lounge with the stealth of a ninja, just to avoid a slumbering cockerel. In fact, one morning I even resorted to shutting myself in a cupboard just to use the hairdryer. Yes, really. It was like a mini sauna in there by the time I’d finished.

With all this commotion, we realised that Beryl would need a more appropriate name. Beryl is indicative of a small, plump, pottering hen, not a loud, proud, crowing rooster. The name Clive was picked by son no 1, and agreed upon by all.

“Crapping Clive!” shouted son no 3 with glee.

You see, Clive has quite a party trick: he has mastered the art of the projectile turd, to such a degree that he can hit an object over 3 foot away! It might not impress many people, but the boys in our household regard that as a pretty impressive feat.

Hence Beryl has now become known as Crapping Clive, Sir Crapalot, or to give him his full title: Clive Von Craphousen. Clive is quite pleased with his new moniker and will happily come running when you call his name. Then again, he also comes to you when you call “Chicken Pie!”

So I mentioned 2 cockerels. Mavis has undergone something of a transformation: her looks changed very quickly from Justin Bieber to Crusty the Clown.

 

With a magnificent crest on her head and long powerful thighs, we could no longer deny the fact that Mavis was now to be called Marlon. A most flamboyant boy, he loves to dance around a small disco ball that I decided to hang in the cage as a boredom buster. This has earned him the title Marlon Fandango. It certainly suits him.

Marlon and Clive having a chat with Gloria

Marlon Fandango and Clive Von Craphousen hobnobbing with Gloria Chufflepuff

In other news, Joyce the Voice has been busy growing a beard. Daphne Dapplebum still likes to stare at the wall, not that she can see much through the profusion of feathers on her head. And Barbara is quickly becoming known as the brains of the flock – she was the first one to work out that flies make a tasty protein snack. Or maybe she was just copying the chuffin cat.

Yowzers!

Slow roast chicken?! Yowzers!

Here Come the Girls!

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Yes, you read that right. Our male-dominated household just had a big injection of female company, in the name of five frenzied, fuzzy-headed little chicks!  To be honest I only wanted 3 hens, but in view of the fact that none of the chicks could be sexed at a week old, I was advised to get a couple extra and then rehome any that grew into cockerels at a later date.

Fast forward 6 months, and I can see myself with a coop containing 5 cockerels. No, scrap that. It will be 5 separate coops, each containing one cockerel.  Well I do tend to live my life according to the Law of Sod.

Gloria supervising the new chicksHaving lost both of our much-loved hens, Cobweb Gladys and Doris DooDah, by the end of last year, I was crying out for some more chickens.  These little downy chicks have brought such fun to the household, especially as they are currently kept under a heat lamp in a wooden brooder in the lounge.  My life is now being conducted to a background of constant <peep> <peep> <peep> noises; even when they’re asleep, they seem to emit some kind of sound.  And I couldn’t be happier!  Neither could Gloria, the chuffin cat, who has named them Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. (“Roast chicken? Don’t mind if I do…”)

So *sounds fanfare* please meet:

Daphne 1 wk oldDaphne
One of the quieter chicks
Looks disgruntled with an air of surprise
Hobbies: sleeping, eating, running, leapfrog

 

Mavis 1 week oldMavis
A protector
Most likely to be a boy (Marlon)
Inquisitive but terrified; mad hair
Hobbies: exploring, flying, staring at the wall

 

Joyce the Voice 2 weeks oldJoyce the Voice
The loudest of the chicks
Sounder of intruder/unexpected item alarm
Hobbies: singing, jumping, flapping
Did I mention she sings loudly?

 

Beryl 1 week oldBeryl
Another protector
Calm and inquisitive, likes to eyeball you
Hobbies: falling asleep standing up, exploring, cuddling

 

Barbara 1 week oldBarbara
The baby of the group
Quiet, shy, impossibly cute
Hobbies: sleeping in the foodbowl, washing feet in water bowl

 

Welcome to the family you little bundles of fuzzy chaos.  I predict riotous times ahead.
Marvellous 😀

 

 

You Know You are a Parent of Boys when…

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It’s Mothers’ Day – time for mums everywhere to be pampered and spoilt.  By way of celebration, I thought I would give you a little snapshot of my life as mum to 3 fetid, flatulent, feisty boys (well, 4 if you include Handsome Hubby…).

The trousers that walk right out of the laundry basketAs a parent of multiple boys, you learn to accept very early on that your laundry basket will never be empty. In fact some clothes will end up so filthy that they will almost walk out of the laundry basket unaided. On the very rare occasion that you do reach the bottom of the basket, you will find yourself dancing a little celebratory jig as you reach for the nearest bottle of wine. Even if it is only 11am.

Your television will only possess 3 channels: Dave, Quest and Sports. Best reach for that bottle of wine again as you learn all about the history of aluminium *groan*

This.This.

Yes, you hang a new photo frame on the wall, minus the family photos that you will search for at a later date. Then you leave your boys in the house alone. And you find this on your return, along with much hilarity. (Clue: look at the photo in the middle of the frame…)

You will develop an automatic ‘duck’ reflex which will be activated any time an object of length nears your head. For example, when you’re in a supermarket and a lady reaches behind you to grab a long roll of wrapping paper… so you duck instinctively, expecting her to wallop you across the back of the head with it before she puts it in the trolley. Awkward.

Your kitchen will resemble that of Mother Hubbard – the moment you fill the cupboards, they will be raided by a bunch of gannets who will empty them within hours. Take son no 2: Mr Sports Fanatic. He will come flying through the door, grab a large bowl and fill it with 2 bananas, 4 oranges, a bunch of grapes, an apple, a yoghurt, a bag of frazzles (slurp) and a chocolate bar. Having polished that off, he will then lick his lips and ask cheerfully, “What’s for tea, mum?”

You will be assigned your very own seat in A&E at the local hospital (cue fluorescent eyeballs, dislocations, broken bones, plus lots of headbutting and falling over…) (just to clarify: that’s the boys, not you).
Son no 2 is the most accident prone child I have ever met. In the space of a year, he had an operation on a broken ankle (resulting in friction burns on his other foot due to hopping about like a lunatic, thus rendering him in a wheelchair), he also dislocated his shoulder and broke his nose in not 1 but 2 places – yay! Way to go!
Then there are those times when all 3 boys are sporting injuries at the same time: seriously, you imagine Social Services to come knocking when you have one child in an aircast boot, one with a bandaged elbow and your eldest boy then staggers through the front door with various injuries after falling off his bike.
The most bizarre injury wasn’t from son no 3 (dislocating his elbow in a violent sing-song session of ‘row, row, row your boat’) or son no 2 (jumping off a postbox to break his ankle). No, that accolade went to son no 1 who decided to take up a spot of tree surgery in his early teens. So how did his injury occur? Not from throwing his saw up into the tree; not from climbing up a high tree in a howling gale; not from falling off a branch; not from sawing swaying branches up high in the sky; not from swinging about with a saw when descending the tree… no. It came as he was standing with both feet safely on the ground, admiring his handiwork afterwards – as he dropped the saw on his hand and cut his finger to the bone *claps hands slowly*.

Your car will smell like a men’s locker room at the gym (not that I’ve ever been in one, obviously – I’m hypothesising here!) as you collect random boys to drop home after football/athletics/kung fu practice. Either that or you are treated to the pungent whiff of over-enthusiastically applied deodorant when you drop off a heap of lads for a night out. Both smells make your eyes water as you craftily open a window just to stop yourself from passing out.

The new apprenticeYou can walk into the house at any time to discover an engine in the bedroom (“It’s OK mum, I’ve drained out all of the oil!” “Where? All over the carpet??”).
Or a turbo in the middle of the lounge floor.
Or maybe a gearbox on the dining room table.

You realise that only a certain style of bribe will work.
Me: “Let’s go for a walk along the canal.”
Boys: “Nah.”
Me: “We could feed the swans and the geese.”
Boys: “Nah.”
Me: “We might see some traditional houseboats.”
Boys: “Nah.”
Me: “You can take pictures with my camera.”
Boys: “Nah.”
Me: *sigh* “Apparently there’s a dead animal floating in the water…”
Boys: “Cool!! Can we go right now?!”
*rolls eyes*

Any rancid smells in the house will automatically be blamed on your boys. Even if you inadvertently leave a vase of rotting flowers on the windowsill, or the chuffin cat has just had a major incident in the litter tray.

Board games take on a whole new meaning. Scrabble becomes ‘who can make the rudest word with their letters’. Whereas in Monopoly, the thimble will no longer be known as a thimble; it will be placed upside down and called a DALEK.

You will find Nerf darts in the strangest of places. Such as in a flowerpot, on a shelf, in the washing machine. Or in the freezer.

You will be asked the most interesting of questions, such as “Have you ever been in a Chinese jail?” or “How does petrol make a car work?” or even “If you have an arm wrestle with the Queen and you win, will she throw you into prison?”
That's what it really tastes like...My all-time favourite though came from son no 2. As we were all sitting in the lounge watching TV one evening, he noticed the chuffin cat sat enthusiastically licking her arse. He looked across, sighed and in a thoughtful voice said, “I wonder what that tastes like?” Yes, really.

You will realise it is time to do some housework when you discover your boys have written rude words to each other in the dust.

Brotherly love will be expressed in a variety of ways. Such as walking past the bathroom to throw up across your brother’s bed. Or the conversation overheard one afternoon between sons no 2 and 3:
3: “Please can I come into your bedroom?”
2: “Nah.”
3: “Oh pleeease??”
2: *sigh* “Only if you let me wipe my bare foot around your face.”
**2 second silence**
3: “Yes, OK.”
And there followed a large amount of chuckling and squealing as I quietly heaved into my cup of tea. Yuk.

I could go on; the list is endless. Enough for a book? Ha yes, one day!
You see, boys don’t only create noise, mess and havoc. They also create a sense of fun and nonsense wherever they go. Not to mention the wonderful hugs they give you. Arguments may be explosive, but at least they’re over with in 5 minutes. I look at our boys today and I feel proud. We have such fun, once I’ve finished washing, cooking and cleaning up after them of course. And do you know what? These boys are our greatest achievement, and I wouldn’t change them for the world.

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