Thursday, 21 January 2010

Struggling to start the New Year

I am really struggling to get into the swing of the new year. I can't seem to get my head around the fact that it is January and I need to be all proactive and filled with New Year's resolutions. Instead I seem to be struggling to get up in the morning, let alone earn a living, clean the house, brush my hair and do all those other things that we should tackle with savoir faire and enthusiasm. Is it just me?

I normally like January. I like getting Christmas out of the way and having a clean slate that I can scribble all over indecisively.

I blame the snow. It has given me a strange extended holiday from the world and now I can't seem to reconnect. Instead my urge to hibernate has emerged and is constantly snarling at me that I should be eating fattening things and sleeping through the bad weather. As a result of this I am barely distinguishable from this:

So to all those wannabe hibernators out there. You are not alone.

Monday, 11 January 2010

In, Out, In, Out - shake it all about.

I made it out, I made it back in again. Now I am sitting watching the snow fall and plotting how I pack for three days of work meetings in just one small bag that I can carry, whilst wearing suitable clothes that I can walk out in this afternoon. Not only do I need clothes but also work stuff. I may have to do two trips to the car which is a real bore. I think that minimal changes are the way forwards and I shall have to risk smelling by the time Thursday comes around...

It is bloody snowing AGAIN. Another two inches overnight and more as I watch. It is also drifting which will make the road over the hill fun to traverse. If one more person tells me 'it is thawing now' I shall come down off my mountain like an enraged yeti and stuff snow in their mouth until they eat their words....

Friday, 8 January 2010

Wolf at the door (well, panther apparently...)

Three friends took great pleasure in ringing me yesterday to tell me that the local paper has headlined the fact that PANTHER TRACKS were seen in the snow just 1/4 a mile away from my house.... Oh joy. Not only do I have snow to deal with and icicles taller than me that plunge off the house at intermittent points, but now there is supposedly a 'third generation big cat' roaming the woods around my house. Could life become trickier? Will the chewed bones of the loyal hound and I be discovered in the spring?

Luckily I got online and read the article where in very small print at the end of it Chester Zoo suggested that rather than a panther, the tracks could be that of an otter. Normally this would comfort me but having seen where the tracks where I'm not convinced that anything other than a cat could have walked there. The tracks were on the top of the fall side of the dam which is some 80 feet high and a gradient that makes me feel sick looking over it. I guess they must be otters who don't suffer from vertigo.... Please let them be otters.

So, now I am walking out and about in my strimmer glasses and wielding the carving knife in case of a surprise otter / panther attack. It makes going outside more interesting I suppose.

I made a break for freedom yesterday. The Loyal Hound and I walked the half mile or so through the snow and were picked up by a friend with a 4 x 4 and we went to the nearest town. The excitement. The bright lights, the people! It was almost too much for me. We went to the supermarket and I chose all my shopping on a weight basis as I would have to carry it back. So, I now have mushrooms, spinach and maltesers to see me through the next couple of days and to give some variety to the diet of porridge. Exciting n'est pas?

My neighbour fought his way back home yesterday as well. He had been out the day of the blizzard and hadn't managed to make it back until now. We walked through the woods together. Me laden with groceries and him towing a gas bottle and a sack of pony food for the horses. He then very kindly shovelled a path through the snow to my gate which I had not got round to yet (I was going with the wading through the stuff idea). There is so much snow I can't actually open the gate but now I do have a path to it so it is all progress. I have dug myself a path around the house and to the woodshed so it feels positively civilized here now as I can go out in just boots if I stick to the paths. It's all progress.

My next task is to come up with some kind of a plan for the weekend. I am supposed to be going away to stay with friends and feel it would be rather wimpish to cancel because of the snow. But, I am not keen on the idea of lugging a suitcase off the hill. I wonder if I should try a 'wear all my clothes at once' number and walk them off, then hope that I can get my car started once I get to it. If I leave in the daylight this shouldn't be too bad. I mean I'll look madder than usual wearing my party clothes with my rubber trousers but that can't be helped. It's either that or I spend the next few hours making a rucksack out of curtains and coal sacks. Suggestions on a postcard please...

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Mad woman on a mountain

I know, it's been a long time since I was here. I didn't die or anything. Life just escaped me for a while. Builders, Christmas, a crushed finger, snow. The usual excuses. Now I am marooned and there are no excuses not to return. There is a possibility that overnight the hovel, loyal hound and I were whisked off to Switzerland. The only reason I know this isn't the case is that there is no chair lift or gluwhein in sight. Instead there is snow. nothing but snow. So much snow that I have had to shovel a path to my woodshed. You want to see a picture? ok - here's one for you...

I should point out that I took this photo before it started snowing yesterday, when another 7" fell.....

I know that many are excited about the snow but I am on my third week of being snowed in and am thoroughly bored now. I had to evacuate the week before Christmas and ended up spending a fortnight over Christmas with my parents and family. It was about 12 days too long in my book. Carless, and with a house only 7 miles away that I couldn't get to, I was rapidly entering a state of madness. Chutney Mary and the nephews were not too bad but the Box of Frogs had brought her new man home for Christmas and they were lucky to escape with their lives as I was ready to commit foul and dastardly Midsummer Moider style acts after day 2. By day 9 I could barely look either of them in the eye without snarling. Friendly aren't I?

On Sunday I made it home in a combination of four wheel drive vehicles, toboggans and foot slogging and the relief at being back in my own house delicious.

So what happened whilst I was away from cyberspace? The crushed finger was an exciting interlude. I'll set the scene. The builders had finished and after spending three weeks stripping woodchip off the walls and then two weeks painting I was nearly finished. All that was needed was a bit more painting and the carpets to be delivered and laid.

The carpet arrived in a 25 metre x 4 metre roll. Unfortunately the carpet layers didn't arrive. The delivery man was determined to lift nothing more than a piece of paper so my batty neighbour, his ex girlfriend and the postman were roped in. We hauled the carpet onto a ladder and struggled to pull it out of the van into the barn. As the ladder came off the van, the weight kicked in. Everybody apart from me dropped the ladder and my finger was left, trapped between it and the floor. Much cursing and swearing ensued. Then pain. a lot of pain. This being me, I didn't go to the doctor on the basis of 'what would he do anyway?'. By Thursday I gave up and went to see him. He promptly said 'Aaaah yes. You have crushed the bones in your fingertip and the nail needs to come out. Come back tomorrow'. Clutching my arm to my chest I went off and licked my wounds for 24 hours. When I returned he injected my finger with local anaesthetic and then, WITHOUT WAITING FOR IT TO WORK he pulled my finger nail out with a pair of pliers. The Spanish Inquisition had nothing on this man.

Cue shrieks of pain from me and gasps of horror from the nurse who had me pinned to the table. The doctor gave me a scathing look and said 'pull yourself together'. I resisted punching him with my good hand and then shrieked some more as he re crushed all the bones in the finger. ('just checking to see if they are broken - they are!') I'm never going to a doctor again.

Two weeks later the finger felt better but I had torn all the muscles in my shoulder from holding the finger up to my chest (as instructed by the doctor). Why not give me a sling? Apparently this was not worth doing. It would be much better to make me spend over a hundred much needed pounds at the physiotherapist thank you.

This incident put another delay on my life. No painting, no typing and no sleep as the finger / shoulder worked hard to keep me awake. This was a little bit gutting. Having lived on a building site for six weeks all I had been looking forward to was the nice bit at the end when I put the furniture back, cleaned like a lunatic and painted. Instead everything had to be done one handed and at a snail's pace. I could have wept (actually, at one point, I did). This really was a time when I was Single and only just surviving. I longed to have someone else here who could help.

I am now entering a state of cabin fever and rely on all of you to keep me in touch with the world. There are people out there aren't there???? I am living on porridge and cigarettes and am running low on both so tomorrow I will fight through 3/4 mile of snow and see if I can find someone with a four wheel drive to give me a lift to the shops and back. The road over the mountain is not for the faint of heart. The drifts are 8' high the road has been reduced from a wide two lane tarmac ribbon to a single lane of icy slush between the drifts.

I have already brought in two wheelbarrows of logs and dug the loyal hound out of a drift that he misjudged. The reservoir is frozen over and snowed on and looks beautiful. In some ways it is a good thing there is nobody up here at the moment. I must look like a madwoman. When it is snowing hard my stylish outdoor wear consists of a pair of boots with rubber trousers over them to stop the snow filling my wellingtons (actually I have to wear that delightful part of the ensemble all the time now as the snow is too deep to walk in without the trousers). Top half? Coat, gloves, russian style hat with ear flaps and yesterday I was reduced to wearing my strimmer glasses as I couldn't look up into the snow without them. I am the mad woman on the mountain.....

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