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17 October 2014


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Lamsey a day oldknitted sheepLamseyyummy brocollilittle LamseyPostbox at BunaHuisinisstrand line - Huisinis
Posted on shortlegsthesheep at 00:56

Falling through trapdoors and the snow

tyre tracks near the clishamwillows in the gardenThe snow bridgewhere

There has been a bit of a gap since last time of writing. It's been very busy you see - we've moved on from the tinsheds and the bridge and the latest project has been refurbing an upstairs back bedroom and a new shower room, along with new windows and new entrance doors. The wee lorry from the builders merchants has been reversing down the drive again - winter time seems to be a good time to get things delivered right to the door there can't be many people needing stuff delivered as the wee lorry is down nearly every week, except when the wind blows - really blows that is and the driver can't open his door to get out. That happened a few weeks ago and he had to go back however the next day was blue and sunny so we got the silverbacked plasterboard delivered. The gas range is in a temporary place in the kitchen well it's better than being in the 'sitting room, at least in the kitchen it is connected and useable, in the sitting room it became a 'feature' - the sort that gets everything dumped on it as you walk past, it was impossible to recognize and admire it as a range with piles of stuff hiding it's lovely chrome bits. Anyway the man came to install it, took ages cos he had to also install the large red torpedoes outside, they needed to be chained to the wall in case they decided to torpedo off and look round the garden or try out the bridge. We can only use one oven as the washing machine is in the way,that door will only open two thirds of the way but it saves having to clean it so that's good.
There was a bit of a 'to do' Mr Shortlegs who in actual fact has long legs, said he was going out to his shed. Mr Shortlegs has been helping the joiner with a bit of work on the sheds and in the house, he now seems to know one of the hammer from the other. I was feet up listening to the Archers and I could hear him banging merrily away in his shed rather rhythmically 4 or 5 bangs at a time. Jolly good I thought he's busy. time for a cuppa and a bit more of the Archers, this banging went on and on for about 30 minutes or so and I have to admit I became rather intrigued as to what he was making - a secret birthday present? a dog kennel? so off I went to investigate as I crunched across the gravel there was a plaintive 'help' and some more banging - what I have omitted to tell you is that Mr Shortlegs has a loft in his shed accessed by a ladder, you've guessed haven't you? The ladder had slipped with him half on it, they had been sawing plywood the day before in the shed and hadn't cleared up the saw dust so the ladder slid. Mr Shortlegs had hauled himself back up into the loft as he only had a leg on the ladder to come down, but the sliding of the ladder meant he had partially fallen through the hatch and had bashed his ribs badly (the same side as when he fell on the beach a few months earlier) and hurt his arm - not the hammering one fortunately. He was as spiteful as an adder, hissing and spitting 'I've been banging for ages' 'yes' said I 'I heard you, I thought you were busy' more hissing and spitting - it was so good I suggested he went on the stage..... I took him to hospital - not a comfortable journey, my car is very comfy but it's comfy cos it has very soft suspension which meant a very bouncy ride for the 30 odd miles to hospital by which time the hissing and spitting had changed to a low moaning roar like a worn out lion. The doctors and nurses fussed and clucked 'you were very lucky' 'good job your wife heard you' I hung my head......... The journey home seemed to be more bouncy than the going fortunately he had been given some knock out stuff that had worked and he snored through my lecture on ladder safety. He is okay now and hammering productively again.
We had snow on friday and saturday, it looked lovely all the light reflecting into the house - it can be so gloomy sometimes. I would not be surprised if every islander suffered seasonal affective disorder cos it can be so dark. The snow was a welcome change and not too disruptive. I hope you like the snow pictures. More soon!
Posted on shortlegsthesheep at 23:59

Not the lorry again,,

Life has been busy over the past few weeks, the floorboards have been up and down, up and down. This time for cabling for the heating, but next week it will be for the woodworm man to spray. Apparently we don't have to move out - when I lived down south in Hampshire we had to vacate the house for nearly a week and it was still very pongy when we moved back in however I am not holding my breath - or maybe I ought to and quite expect to have to go into B and B for a night or two. We had the bridge opening party - it was very pleasant, it rained horizontally of course (this is Harris) but those who came enjoyed themselves and went home wet with party bags of homemade goodies. There is a pic of the finished bridge on another blog by do it all Dave, bridge constructor extraordinaire. Great excitement this saturday as the front porch and door are being removed and replaced with bigger doors. The weatherman says saturday is going to be nice. The reason for the new door is that when we bought this house the vendors were very keen for us to have the furniture at no extra cost, we thought how kind, not to our taste but it will do whilst we get the house sorted and leave our stuff in store (3 containers....)
but then we realised - none of the furniture could be moved out of the house - the 'new' 20 year old double glazing must have been put in after the furniture or everything was flat pack! Can you get flatpack fridges? We have had some amazing bonfires cos when the woodworm man came - yes you can guess, the little piles of dust were the little dears chomping away. My biceps are well developed as i have swung hammers and unscrewed screws dated 1945 deconstructing all that lovely free furniture!
The new doors were delivered sometime ago and are sitting outside. The builders; merchant arrived with the lorry and somehow managed to reverse it down the drive and unload the wood to support the porch roof whilst all the new stuff gets put in - so fingers and toes crossed for saturday and then we can think about the containers! is the water really that close?
Posted on shortlegsthesheep at 19:18

The plumber, snorkels and a ewe

Well the fog has lifted, the garden doesn't seem to have changed too much, the hen house is still sitting there unfinished but hopefully there will be progress on that this week.
It's going to be exciting this week, the plumber is coming on wednesday which means hot water in the taps... you take it so for granted until it isn't there anymore and you have to resort to boiling kettles - fortunately the shower is electric so have been able to keep ourselves pong free. Half the kitchen floor is still up because of the leaky pipe and I have got used to doing floor exercises - Olga Korbutt like, around the holes in the floor. It is a bit worrying to look down the hole and realise the house is resting on boulders, the plumber was talking about diving suits and snorkels last time he was here looking down the hole, as I am a bit deaf I wasn't sure if he was talking about the work he is going to do here or a hobby!
Someone left the gates open and in came the sheep, you can always tell cos the dog starts being sick. He is partial to a bit of sheep poo, off I go with my compost prodder to prod a few sheep out of the garden, they hide behind the hedge which is why i don't usually see them but the dog does. It's that ewe and her lamb, who is nearly as big as she is. She fixes me with her beady eye and stamps her foot saying 'bring it on..' in a sheep sort of way however, it must have been the compost prodder that did it she took one look and dashed followed by the lamb. This ewe has attitude, she snorts and stamps and would not be out of place in a bull ring, she regularly invites herself in usually over the wall but today was a gift, in through the gate, she must have thought it was red carpet day! I feel I have to point out the compost prodder is a plastic thing rather like a spade handle and I use it to add more width to myself in a worzel gummidge way to herd the sheep out gently.
I haven't forgotten about the daleks .. maybe next time.
A bigger picture of the unfinished bridgeview north from garden
Posted on shortlegsthesheep at 23:31

the pics you have been waiting for!

the bridge to the island - still unfinishedhenhouse under construction  view from the hen penthe tin shed nearly complete
Posted on shortlegsthesheep at 23:17

Sorry the technology doesn't work for me....

Apologies everyone I have failed dismally to get pics on for you all to ooooh and aahhhhhh at. The technology has beaten me, daughter home on thursday and IBHQ working on it too so maybe they can crack it!
One thing I miss from the mainland are skips - you know the sort that get parked outside houses with those little lights on so that cars don't crash into them - not the huge big green things that we have here. I think I must be quite sad as whenever I saw a skip it would have to be investigated - some of my best finds have been in skips, big wooden chair, lovely wood and mouldings, chests of drawers, gateleg table. My husband and daughter would cringe in embarrassment and use diverting tactics - anything to avoid me examining the contents of a skip e.g 'look at this lovely lamppost' or 'shall we turn left here' you know that sort of thing - so obvious! In my rummagings I have often wondered if I might find something really worth something to anyone apart from me - like a jewel encrusted crown thrown away by mistake, no, all I find are others cast offs which I am more than happy to claim and rejuvenate with a bit of elbow grease and steel wool and my favourite shade of wishy washy blue paint - very similar to the lovely ethereal light we get in the islands - I bought a very large can of it from one those twee lifestyle stores and am still only half way through it - but I shall save the rest for the palais de poulets.
The hot water is still off in the kitchen, the plumber is away on the mainland, he'll be along on thursday to start the replumbing and to install a new pressurised water heating system. The dead washing machine has gone in the special collection, all our stuff is in store and has been for a year nearly however what with my skip raidings, car bootings and charity shop collections I don't think we need to get the stuff out but the washing machine would be useful! The storage man says he know which container the washing machine is in but he's too busy right now to get it out - I have offered him money but I think I will have to resort to threatening him with my dirty smalls (or in my case dirty bigs!).
The 'special collection' took place today at 11.30am my neighbour up the road tells me (I was out), she came down to shut the gates earlier as a likely looking sheep was eyeing up the herbage in the garden thinking breakfast lunch and tea all in one go or maybe she had some rubbish to add to the pile! Tthe belgian girls had left the gates open after they struck camp and headed off up north to callanais. The yard is looking very clear but now there are the bits and pieces from inside the new sheds to clear out - bits of wood and insulation, have heard there is a new skip today, nearby, I'm not going to say where in case you get there first! Did you hear about the car in the skip in south harris? It was in the paper - needed 'special handling' (the skip that is) to lift it and get rid of the car. How do you get a whole car in a skip? It's not like a garage with doors at ground level I bet that took special handling to get it in there!
The heron has been visiting again today along with some very large herring gulls who lurk about on the rocks in the river. The salmon are about but the mink seem to prefer the grey mullet in the loch - I hope the trappers manage to clear the area before the chooks arrive! I'll tell you about the daleks arriving later!
Posted on shortlegsthesheep at 22:28

It was cold wet and windy and I was...

dozing in the chair - well it was that time of late afternoon when there was a tap on the door - woke with a start to find two drenched cyclists asking if they can pitch their tents, it was one of those situations where you think am I still asleep? No, They had seen the tinsheds from the road and had thought they would be able to shelter here - I offered them the only flat non boggy bit of garden next to the henpen on which to pitch their tent. Fortunately I had been very productive in the kitchen that morning and there was lentil soup and savoury scones made, of which the cyclists were very grateful. Katerine and Ruud are from Belgium and are island hopping, heading back to the mainland on Monday, they stayed last night and again tonight - soup today was sort of leek and potato. They are off tomorrow, pitching around Callanais. It's odd they should pick us - maybe they saw the palais de poulets and mistook it for a 5 star hotel!
Last Thursday wasn't so good and this one was even worse - the washing machine died last week and we had a big hot water leak in the kitchen, this Thursday we had another water hot leak in the same place - the kitchen is being stripped out in a few weeks time so the pipe had been temporarily/emergency fixed pending the pipework being renewed. Anyway the pipe is now capped off so no hotwater in the kitchen for the next few weeks. Then the electrician didn't arrive to do rewiring and new installation work and is now on a long weekend so maybe next wednesday - no breath being held here! And the palais de poulets and bridge builder lost his timing belt so the party is looking less likely!
The council are coming tomorrow to do a 'special collection', they came last week too but the rayburn hadn't been broken up - but when it came to it - it was so rusty it fell to bits anyway, the pile has been growing through the week in anticipation of the yellow flatbed arriving. It's easier than going out looking for skips to put stuff in, no sooner do you spot a likely looking big green thing than it is full with the mandatory mattress, broken chair and bedsprings sticking out the top and I am just useless at chucking stuff in - it all comes back and bonks me on the head, as I've already told you I have a balance problem so being bonked on the head by errant rubbish is not good. Mr Shortlegs is useless at climbing up the laddery thing on the side, he has to use both hands to get up to the top so I still have to chuck the rubbish up to him and he's not a very good catcher! When we first moved here we had a big skip - a green community skip, everyone thought 'aha an empty skip', the first evening there was gridlock as people stopped to lob their rubbish into it! The second evening it had 'private hire' painted all over it and it worked.
Early this morning a heron was sitting on one of the islands in the river, it sat hunched for about 30 minutes before striking out and grabbing a fish, it then took off lazily flapping it's huge wings and flew off down the loch, I am in awe!

Posted on shortlegsthesheep at 23:42

Palais de Poulets and a bridge ? too far..

Todays happenings - the builders merchant's lorry arrived in the pouring rain to deliver plasterboard, sounds okay but it was the big lorry and that can't get down the drive - so mr shortlegs and joiner have to leg it up and down the drive carrying 2 sheets of plaster board (tinfoil side out), the lorry had brought 13 sheets when we only wanted 6. This is for the lining of the new remodelled harris tinsheds - more about them later. Hamish the westie delighted at the frenetic activity in the yard and driveway took advantage, as terriers are prone to doing, and chased a cat through the drainage ditch, does anyone remember that song - mud mud glorious mud ..... mmmmm
The palais de poulets has survived the weather - I am a bit surprised as it is in it's draft form - the screws haven't been tightened yet as it has to be dismantled and placed in the hen pen. The hens will have a pen as I have read they are partial to veggies and things in the garden, they will be let out in the main garden occasionally but to start with they will have their pen and a bit of lazybed to do whatever hens do. When I can fathom how to put pics on I will unveil le palais.
When we moved into this house great fuss was made by the vendor of the 'island' - we gave each other 'knowing looks' scratched our heads and thought it was a great pile of undergrowth and neglected willows, anyway after much hardwork, falling in the stream and midges an island has been unearthed nearly big enough to build on..... well a summerhouse anyway, but the problem was access so a big plan was hatched and a big bridge has been built from wood and metal. It arrived on a boat trailer and has been pushed and shoved into position, again in draft form, as it has to have the bridgey bit put on, it has rails and the base of the bridge but the planking came .. yes, on the too big lorry from the builders merchant. We thought that a party might be in order to open the bridge for visitors to the island so more plans afoot but as the new tinsheds are also nearly complete then perhaps it should be 'tinshed and bridge opening party' and as it is unlikely the house will be completed before christmas it is one too many party opportunities to miss !
Posted on shortlegsthesheep at 17:26

The henhouse

We have decided to have hens - i didn't realise just how difficult having hens could be. I have bought all the mags - and read some books, I have read the do and don'ts, the red mites and the chopped straw. The pen is built alongside the lazybeds and I am looking forward to having chicken manure for my veggies but we need a hen palace for them to live in - one is under construction it has to be suitable for hens and also for the egg collector - me. I have a balance problem (due to surgery rather than alcohol) and have been known on occasions to end up in the bottom of the fridge or the beetroot patch headfirst. The hen house has turned into a mammoth task - as it needs to be accessible for me to clean and to collect the eggs without falling in. The plan initially is for 6 hens - no cockerel too noisy and can't cope with more (baby) cockerels, I don't see myself as a neck wringer! The hens have been ordered and should be available by February or March 2008 well that gives the mink trappers plenty of time to rehouse the little tinkers elsewhere and away from my tasty chooks. Anyway here is the palais de poulets in it's naked stage, it will be painted a yummy mummy blue.
Posted on shortlegsthesheep at 23:30

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