30 June 2008

recovered meat

I'm at work and i've just eaten a meal of recovered meat. I don't think it had recovered properly though. Now i feel ill :-((

Big Brother House

No, not the one full of self-serving air heads and der brains. You will have to pay me a LOT of money to watch a single episode of that!

I suppose we all sign up to the idea of wanting to enable the elderly, disabled, sick or vulnerable people in our communities to live as full and as independent lives in their own homes for as long as this is possible. A part of what I do involves helping make this a reality.

More and more of the solutions being developed involve a technological 'fix' to the obstacles encountered.

For example. These are the things we can now monitor and respond to remotely about a person in their own home using what are called 'Telecare' solutions.

You can have:

Bed/Chair Sensor - provides an early warning by alerting that the user has left their bed or chair and not returned within a preset time period.
Enuresis Sensor - Placed between the mattress and sheet, this sensor provides immediate warning on detection of moisture.
Epilepsy Sensor - monitors the user's vital signs to detect a range of epileptic seizures.
Fall Detector - Detects falls
Medication Dispenser - Detects if you've had your pills.
Movement Detector: for example, to check if a person has got out of bed or visited the kitchen.

Pressure Mat - Monitors movement in a specific area, for example to monitor if someone has got of bed or left the house.
Property Exit Sensor - monitors for people leaving a building at unusual times of day or night. Carbon Monoxide Detector - Warns of dangerous CO levels.
Flood Detector - does what it sais on the tin
Gas Shut Off Valve - When combined with the natural gas detector, this cuts off the gas supply to an appliance when a leak is detected.
Natural Gas Detector - Provides an early warning of dangerous levels of gas. Can be linked to the Gas Shut Off Valve to cut the gas supply off.
Smoke Detector - does what it sais on the tin
Temperature Extremes Sensor - Monitors for low and high temperature extremes.

In addition to this various medical sensors can monitor Heart rate, blood pressure, peak flow, oxygen saturation, ECG, temperature, prothrombin time, blood glucose levels........

You know what, call me a simpleton....but how about a sensor that says they've had a caring cuddle or a nice cup of tea and a chat with someone who loves them?


What makes lettuce leaves taste bitter more or less as soon as they go to seed?


Things have taken a bit of a battering in the wind and the rain. The shallots are just falling out the ground because of the earlier dry spell.

some you win, some you lose.

29 June 2008


We've probably planted too many courgette plants this year. This one is trying to take over the greenhouse.

Ben at work....

and at play.......he is trying to take over the New Rope String Band. Probably will.

'...what do you mean Davros is back! Impossible....call the Doctor'!

12 June 2008

How The Fox Got A Bushy Tail


Why The Fox Eats Only One Then Kills Everything Else In Sight.....

(pencil illustrations by Ben)

Surprised, Oh Best Beloved? I should say so! Me too. I have returned, but briefly, to tell you the story of how this came about.

Well, hear and attend and listen then, for this also befell and became and behappened and was. It's just that I forgot to tell you at the time.

Do you remember, Oh Best Beloved, the wild horse stamping with his wild hoof in the wild world saying, 'Oh my friends and Oh my enemies, why have the Man and the Woman made that great light in that great cave, and what harm will it do us'?

Those of you that had a proper childhood will remember this. The Dog thought it was good and was particularly attracted to the smell of roast mutton and offered to go and look and even asked The Cat to accompany him. The Cat, having more wiles than The Dog had the good sense to say: 'Nenni, I will not come. I Am The Cat Who Walks By Himself And All Places Are Alike To Me.'

All in turn and in good order, and despite Cat's misgivings, The Dog and The Horse and The Cow and The Sheep and The Pig and The Hen all gave of their wildness to The Man and The Woman in return for shelter from the bitter winds or a place by the fire and some scraps from the table or a nosegay of hay or some fresh pasture. And so it went.

Until one bitterly cold winter in the wet windy wildness when The Fox, hungry and cold, came to the door of the Cave.

'Go away', said The Woman.

'I am hungry and cold', retorted The Fox, 'can I not in turn make a deal with you as have The Dog and The Horse and The Cat?'

'What have you to offer?' asked The Woman doubtfully.

Fox scanned the comfy looking cave with his wishful wiley eyes. He saw the warming fire and the sheepskin rugs spread before it; he saw the salted hams hanging to dry from the ceiling and licked his lips; he saw a rack of big brown eggs on a rock ledge; he saw the baby teasing The Cat with a ball of wool and laughing delightedly; he saw an IKEA flat pack lying unopened on the cave floor.

'Hmmm.' mused The Fox. 'Maybe I could help you put that together?'

'Oh really!' Exclaimed the women. 'Using your tail as an Allen key I suppose?’

'Well, what do the others do then?' queried The Fox, shaking the icicles from his fur.

'Horse and Dog help The Man hunt; Hen lays the fine fresh eggs; Sheep gives us the curly wurly wool to clothe us from the wet windy wildness and keep us warm at night; Cow gives us the wonderful white milk to grow the baby and make Wensleydale; Cat makes the baby laugh but he is allowed to Walk by Himself.'

‘As I said to The Cat,’ continued The Woman, ‘go back to the wet wild woods for we have no more need of friends or servants in our cave.’

‘I am neither friend nor servant,’ said The Fox, becoming angry. ‘How are you off for enemies?’

‘Are you threatening me?’ Asked The Woman with a glint in her eye.

‘I was told you were wise and beautiful,’ said The Fox, ‘beautiful you most certainly are but I am not so sure about the wise bit.’ ‘At least you could let me have a bash at assembling that flat pack.’

‘Go on then,’ replied The Woman, taking her magic blade bone from a shelf. ‘I hate putting those things together.’ ‘If you succeed you may sit with The Cat by the fire drinking the warm white milk, if you fail, you must return to the wet wild wood forever.’

Do you see, Oh Best Beloved? It was hardly fair. The Fox tore the box to bits but then the diagrams were really complicated and the retaining bolts would not line up properly and some of the holes were in the wrong place and indeed, handling an Allen key with teeth or tail is Just So.

After a time The Fox admitted defeat and The Woman held the magic blade bone and made the singing magic once more to return The Fox to the wet wild windy woods forever and ever.

The Fox became extremely angry at this and, because he was still hungry, snatched the Fat Hen between his teeth on the way out. The Woman saw this and, dropping the magic blade bone, she flung herself forward and grabbed onto The Fox’s tail as hard as she very could. The Fox pulled and pulled, Oh Best Beloved, as best he could and The Woman held on tight as tight as best she could and to this day, you will see that the tail of The Fox is all bushy at one end and this is because The Woman held on so very tight while The Fox pulled his hardest.

At length, The Woman was obliged to let go and the bushy tailed Fox ran swiftly towards the wet wild wood.

‘We are enemies forever!’ Shouted The Woman after The Fox. ‘Forevermore will Man and Sons of Man and Dog and Sons of Dog and Horse and Sons of Horse hunt you down and chase you until an unspeakable death shall befall Fox and Sons of Fox…..at least up until the Labour Government’s Hunting Act of 2004….a long way off mind you.’

Fox stopped by the edge of the wet wild windy wood and dropping The Hen for a moment, screamed back. ‘So be it, henceforth shall Fox and Son of Fox kill not just the one to sate our hunger, but ALL that we are able to kill that live in the light of your cave…...and the Hunting Act of 2004 won’t make one jot of difference….hah…..ner ner ne ner ner!’

And thus it was and so it has been ever since Oh Best Beloved. Do you see?

Before I go though Oh Best Beloved, I must tell you that it is really no inconvenience whatsoever being dead. Honestly, you hardly notice it. You should not fear it so.....really!

Mouldily Yours


(Ben: This is a picture of the cave and the animals in the story. Inside the cave you will see baskets with eggs in. Above that there is the woman shouting at the fox with the dead hen by his feet. The ham is dangling from a long pole above the fire - the problem is, the woman couldn't find long enough sticks with Y shaped ends, so the ham is dangling too low on the fire.

The flying chicken is about to try to roost on the bar hanging across. You will see the dog chasing the cat over the river and knocking over the poor cow who is trying to graze.

Next to the cave is a small patch of plants the woman has planted. The bumpy bits round the cave are rocks.)

11 June 2008


Aw...enough already! Mr Fox ripped through a neighbours shed and slaughtered another 12 hens last night.

I'm warning you, it'll only take one phone call to George. He has a special way with terrorists you know.

I have been pissing for England round the boundaries as Mr Fox is put off by the smell of male urine. I know how he feels.

Edit: A survey of the plots reveals the scoreline is more like:

Mr Fox: 200 Humans/Ducks/Geese/Hens 0

10 June 2008

Causley & Effect

Green man in the garden
Staring from the tree,
Why do you look so long and hard
Through the pane at me?

Your eyes are dark as holly
Of sycamore your thorns,
Your bones are made of elder branch,
Your teeth are made of thorns.

Your hat is made of ivy-leaf
Of bark your dancing shoes,
And evergreen and green and green
Your jacket and shirt and trews.

Leave your house and leave your land and throw away the key,
And never look behind, he creaked
And come and live with me.

I bolted up the window, I bolted up the door,
I drew the blind that I should find the green man never more.
But when I softly turned the stair
As I went up to bed,
I saw the green man standing there.
'Sleep well, my friend,' he said.

(GREEN MAN IN THE GARDEN by Charles Causley)

07 June 2008


At the back of the chicken shack is Ben's Den where the Knights of The Round Carpet meet.

Getting a knighthood is a mysterious process that no adult has a hope in hell of understanding.

This boy however met all the criteria and is duly receiving the honour which involves being doffed across each shoulder by a chicken.

After this follows a nightly session of knightly or boyly armed and unarmed combat in full armour (if you have it). The sessions teach honour; valour; courage; axmanship; and the relative frailty of human skin and bone.

The Den Rules are prominently displayed so there's no excuse is there?

Den Rules

1. Flapping Chickens:
Let Go of flapping chickens

2. Help Out:
Always help out round the den

3. Gates:
Close gates after entry or departure

4. Equipment Return:
Return all equipment to proper place after use

5. Discrimination:
No Sexism or Racism

6. Do As You Would Be Done By:
Treat others the way you would want them to treat you

04 June 2008

Defrag C: Y ___ N ?

There should be an option to defrag ones brain every so often. I have several topics vying for attention at the moment and consequently not a one of them is properly in focus. After a while this gets irritating and is no way to treat a brain.

So, I goes into the garden with me cuppa to unwind a bit and it's lovely: a gentle breeze, sunny blue sky, the odd fluffy white cloud here and there with swifts darting about displaying aeronautical genius that engineers should pay more attention to (maybe they do), and way way up, a rather large bird which could've been a buzzard or couldn't have been as the case may be, doing roughly what you see in the picture before heading off north in a straight (ish) line. Never seen that before; I think he was just 'avin a larf.

03 June 2008

Lettus Prey

Both out of the Real Seeds stable, Sur la gauche, nous avons 'Reine des Glaces' with enough frills to make a respectable TuTu out of. This one is about two hundred years old; well, not this one exactly....it would've gone mouldy by now....but the variety is.

The toothy leaves are really cool and crisp with a light refreshing flavour. Dreary me, I should've gone into advertising. It develops very quickly and just having a bowl of it around of an evening is a delight. Tell you what (phillistine that I am).....I really like wrapping a few pringles up in one of the leaves and munching away. munch munch.

vachement cool!

Sur le Droit nous avons 'Devils Tongue' with bright purply red leaves growing up to a foot long tasting of extreme wickedness with an afterburn of sulphorous debauchery and hedonistic excess. Straight out of the inferno this one. Truly delicious. Here (as the Real Seeds people might say), it is being modelled by Ben with an equally evil carrot.


We only seem to indulge in reverse anthropomorphism when we either wish to insult someone or to elevate them to godlike status. I think this tells us something, only I don't know quite what.

I would not wish to dispose of humanities anthropomorphic tendencies; that would be like throwing the baby out with the bathwater; where would we be without The Jungle Book; Shrek; Ice Age; Ratatouille...(enter your own favourite anthy blockbuster here)?

Stillnall, this charming penchant for ascribing human characteristics to extremely deadly animals is just a tad suspicious isn't it? I expect it's part of our evolutionary heritage in that we needed to ascribe 'intent' to non-human animals and things very quickly indeed; we needed to work out in a few milliseconds whether the best strategy was to fight or run like hell. We got pretty good at it. So did a lot of other animals, we just got better.

'Tis only a small step from ascribing cutey, fluffy bunny, talkee feelee characteristics from T Rex to Quetzalcoatl to the five thousand and one other Anima Deities we've invented. And just a small step further to dispose of the rest of them. There, that's all religion trashed in one short, sweet animated storyboard. Some will doubtless argue that that is bigtime throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Just wishful thinking ducks.

Which, long digression tho it was, brings me to the current score.
Team Fox....73 Team Humans/Ducks/Geese/Chickens....0

That represents kills over the last month or so from all the plotholders with free-ranging birds. That's years and years of painstaking care and breeding work wiped out in moments. That's a lot of very very upset plotholders; an even bigger number of very very very dead birds. That's effectively put an end to free ranging birds on our site.

You'll forgive me if I don't overly anthropomorphise Mr Fox just for a while. Oh.....Go on then.....