Friday, 29 August 2014

Visitors can be such hard work

Woke yesterday to find the electricity off. Tyruched can be like that. It's old and quirky. Our water comes from  a bore hole and we were both instructed last week in how to get it running again if it goes off. This involves only a trip to the cellar and use of a screwdriver. Just as well because it went off on day 1 of the J's holiday. Also fortunate that the water WAS off when I had my instruction so I knew what to wriggle and Alistair didn't.

I digress. No electricity. No coffee. Plan B. Light the fire and put pan on the log burner ring. Well yes, but first let the cat out for the day and LJ out for a quick quick.

So, downstairs to let LJ out and suddenly we had more to worry about than our coffee. We had visitors ... And they weren't here for a coffee!

Not having the phone with me I didn't get the first shot as two emerged from the direction of the veg plot.  First thing, get LJ in. Good boy Josh. run  up the stairs for Alistair, grab phone (well I do have a blog to think about). Back downstairs. Let Noah out. By this time one or two had made it to the house.

Down the drive and close the gates. Alistair slips into cowhand role. He must have been a farmer in a previous life. I run down the lane to first farmhouse. I know it's not Sarah's herd but hoping she knows who the farmer is. Sarah out. Two teenagers  got up ...but well ...

Run back. Meet man from electricity company who tells me electricity off for the day. Least of our worries. Position myself in the one part of garden that gets a signal.  Fortunately cow free. Phone the Js. They are on Welsh coast with crap signal. Leave a message.

Meanwhile. Back on the cattle drive Alistair trying to contain them. We decide we have to try and get them into the paddock. I make funnel with various bits and bobs. Not a success. Cows now in a herd at opposite end of garden but all together and near the paddock.

 A small grouping there were about 30 in all

The Js ring. They don't know number of farmer or where his farm is BUT have phoned second farmer who owns the field they have escaped from and he is on the case. Janie offers helpful advice eg: close the gate onto the lane but, of course, her main concern is for her lawn! 

Second attempt at getting them in the paddock. Success!!  Cows try to eat poly tunnel. We move them on past. A masking tape job for later.

Landowner arrives. We find where they got into the garden. Two of them kindly came back to show us. They are quickly shown the error of their ways. Farmer, with farm hand and cow dog arrive. HOORAH.   

Still, it could have been worse. I must have arrived downstairs just after they got in.  They could have had us surrounded.  A shame Barney, the ex cow dog that adopted the Js some years ago is on his hols and missed the chance to show off his skills. 

Phone the Js to say all is well....John tells me the electricity will be off all day .....

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Not joking now

I don't do politics ... Well that not quite true,  I used to say the perfect start to a Sunday was a pile of newspapers I hadn't had to collect, on the bed and Andrew Marr Sunday AM on TV. This was in my last life, before I slowed down to 3 miles an hour. I do say that I don't do politics on social media.  But, of course this is leading up to a but, this week I am so horrified and ashamed of  the  news from my home town that the systematic grooming of over 1400 girls over a period of 16 years was ignored by the Council and South Yorkshire a Police is weighing heavily on my shoulders,, though it seems not on theirs. No disciplinary action - yet again!

This article by Alison Pearson  sums up my feelings

I used to joke about leaving Yorkshire to get away from Yorkshire men.... Not joking now.

Monday, 25 August 2014

LJ and the tea ceremony

Alistair's daughter Zoe and granddaughter Lexie two and a half, were here for the weekend. Not very often we have them to ourselves - our boating life doesn't allow for it. We didn't do much. Bit of a bimble in Hay for me and Zoe. Paddling pool and slide for Lexie and Gramps. Zoe and I refreshed our French plaiting skills!

 Plenty of room in the flat for Lexie and LJ not to be squashed together and Lexie loved him. She seemed a bit surprised in the mornings at how big he was, they have a Jack Russel, which made us laugh, but was really good with him.  I don't think he lost any sleep at all 💤💤💤💤💤  He did however, play his part in several tea ceremonies.

Monday, 18 August 2014

We couldn't keep away ...

There was nothing for it on Saturday but for a drive over to have a tow path walk along a stretch of the Monmouth and Brecon. I think we'll be doing another. The web says it can take boats il to 65ft and 9ft wide but the majority of privately owned boats are a bit smaller!

The navigable section of this contour canal is  just short of 35 miles, with 6 locks. Never far from the River Usk, it  is almost entirely within the Brecon Beacons National Park. Stunning scenery is a given. 

Saturday, 16 August 2014


A basin we are unlikely to visit on QISMA ... The end of the 35 navigable miles of the  Monmouth and Brecon Canal. I just couldn't resist going for a Goozle when I was shopping in Brecon yesterday. The canal runs mostly through the Brecon Beacons so you know it will be stunning. Hey Ho! I wonder if they have bridge hoppers?

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Blue, yellow and potentially expensive

Janie and I had an outing yesterday. Pausing only for two hours at TKMaxx in Merthyr, where Jane didn't make it to the first floor. we were off to IkeaWales in Cardiff.

Actually, we stuck pretty much to the list ... Yes there was a list!  I forget how tiring shopping can be.

Friday, 8 August 2014

Tounge twister

We are at the flat we have use of at our friends Janie and John. Janie and I have been friends for over 40 years and have seen each other through many an emotional train wreck.

The house is called Tyruched. John grew up here.

Having  use of the flat is perfect. We don't break the visitors and fish rule ... Both going off after three days ... but see each other for some time during each day.

The countryside is fantastic and the River Wye is in walking distance. We haven't spent much time here in the summer - it's usually log burners and wooly pullies.

Some views of the house and my walk this morning.

QISMA was with us.

A quick update. Top marks to EA and GOBA. EA Anglia have said they will tweet a warning and try and get some posters at locks. GOBA are going to  get contractors to the Pike and Eel moorings to destroy the hogweed and cut back the low flying branches.

We are now at Tyruched which very spookily turns out to have it's own crop of Giant Hogweed! Not only that but John was on the verge of pulling it up with his bare hands. Our arrival distracted him and he abandoned the veg garden. Burst of unpacking and  out to the garden for Pimms ... Even better with a slug of gin I  discovered!  Before we got too glazed over Janie asked Alistair what the problem was with the patch of skin on his face.  ..... Vivid description of the beast led to us trooping down to the veg patch. Two of us  recoiled in horror. Four of us pleased that QISMA was with us.

Friday, 1 August 2014

Heracleum Mantegazzianum

Speaking of names - I give you Heracleum Mantegazzanium - or Giant Hogweed

More info about this monster which Alistair had a brush with last week. On a very hot day. He know has burns on his head and one on his face. Not as bad as the picture .... Or not yet ... They continue to develop. They can mark you for life and can keep flailing up in sunlight for years. They like river banks! Sap in the eye can blind you,  The burns are extremely painful.  

We had no idea of any of this ..  Bad as it is, when he fell, Alistair didn't have a shirt on and was wearing a baseball cap .... It could have been so much worse. 

The plant contains furocoumarins (psoralens) which produce changes in the cell structure of the skin reducing its protection against the effects of UV radiation. These can be released from the plant simply by brushing against it. Exposure to sunlight after contact causes severe skin rashes and/or blistering and burns but the effects may not start until about twenty four hours after contact. It may take several years for the skin to return to normal during which time any renewed exposure to even quite dull daylight will produce new burns.
Depending on the extent of the contact, the victim may suffer a reddening of the skin, blisters or burns requiring hospital treatment.
In some cases, a permanent change in skin pigmentation occurs.
Whenever Heracleum mantegazzianum is being discussed there will be those who claim that the case against it is over-stated and that many other plants are more dangerous. That point of view seems to be opposed to the findings of a 1996 Swiss study of 29 years of plant poisoning reports. Though only 18 reports in that time concerned giant hogweed producing 'serious' consequences that made it the second most dangerous plant with only Atropa belladonna, deadly nightshade, at 42 cases, exceeding it.

Typical contact comes from brushing through a stand of plants when found on a riverbank, strimming a patch of rough ground in early spring without realising that the young plant is present and even contact with pets which have had contact with the plant.

It was introduced to the UK by the Victorians who thought its size would make a dramatic statement in large gardens. It escaped and has spread rapidly to be a major problem on river banks in some areas. The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 makes it an offence to plant or cause giant hogweed to grow in the wild.