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Writer's assistantThis section of my blog is for general comments about life at Farside Farm: the animals, my writing, other happenings. Thunder, my ocicat, will supervise to make sure I don’t forget something important, especially if it has to do with him.

22 September 2017

Yup, onto my scooter around midday and down to our local school to exercise my franchise as I’ve done every time since 1967. And I suspect that once again I’ll be wondering about those that scream over the results – many of whom didn’t bother to vote. What part of, if you don’t vote you can’t influence the results, don’t they get?

31 August 2017

A few months ago I had a new book out, and wanted extra copies a.s.a.p. Quickest, easiest method I thought, would be to pick up a couple from Amazon. Go there, find the book, buy a couple, go to pay and – find they don’t have pay pal, or not as anything I recognise. Chase my tail around the site for ages, no sign. Do they or do they not accept pay pal?
So I ask their help section. I click on the first of two questions on that – and get nothing that even refers to PP. Click on the other and ditto. I give up. A month later I try again for several books by other authors. Same result. Today I try for the third time. And yes, same @#$%^&* result. I still have NO idea if I can pay that way, what I do know is that I won’t be bothering to try again.
What use is a site where I can’t even get an answer to a very simple question. Next time I want to buy a couple of hundred dollars worth of books I’ll go to the Book Depository UK who are great, or I’ll get them direct from my publisher. (I only didn’t because with me being on the other side of the world, shipping and postage are complicated.) But they can’t be as complicated as trying to buy on Amazon…

4 August 2017

So July finished on 156mls of precipitation, yes, the whole place is soggy, that’s something over 6 inches of rain, and we’ve had so much this year it’s not all soaking right in any longer. Got firewood delivered the other afternoon, and the driver had to use FWD to depart my lawn. Sigh. And a night of -5′ with several more of -4′, have NOT made me happy, or rather my damaged leg, the rest of me would have been mostly fine if it hadn’t been for that screaming about the current chill. And August looks as if it may not be too dry either, it’s 3 days in and we’ve already had almost an inch of rain so far. (21mls.) Oh, well, we’re on the upswing towards summer – when it becomes too hot. However, roll on late spring/early summer when I’m expecting American friends, and then Autumn which is my favourite season, not too hot/cold/wet/dry, or too busy on the farm. Ah, autumn, just right.

26 June 2017

Trying to persuade my computers to cooperate while doing final revision was interrupted last week. I’d posted two blog items and was about to add a third, when my pal rocketed in from next door in to say “Peter’s on fire!” assuming (rightly, thank heavens) that she meant the neighbour’s place and not the chap himself, I shot out after her to find that, yes, yes indeed, Peter’s WAS on fire. In fact I have rarely seen a place so throughly on fire. The house, various sheds, and stacks of salvaged timber, polystyrene panels, and other flamables was ablaze, flames reaching to 30-40 feet, and as we collected together and moved cautiously closer, there was a hollow boom, and the front shed fireballed. (Propane/gas cylinders was my bet – firefighters later agreed.)
About then the house roof fell in, planking was falling from the walls and blazing up, and only a few studs remained, they followed soon after however leaving nothing but the old chimney. Luckily the beautiful fluffy tortoiseshell stray cat he’d been feeding, being a cat and not that stupid, had removed herself to the barn, where she was extracted by local cat carers and taken to a safe place. Luckier still, Peter was away visiting family for a couple of weeks, but it’s not going to be fun for him dealing with the aftermath.
But it certainly enlivened my morning. Just a pity that one of my last Holmes books used a ‘fire plot,’ or I could have pinched that,

21 June 2017

So my old computer began to die slowly. It’s a Comnpaq Presario and after only 6 years I’m not at all happy about that. If I pay what I did for that as a fridge or stove, I’d expect it to last 10-15 years, NOT SIX!
I get a new computer, an Acer, and after almost two months, NO ONE appears able to get it connected on-line. It has now been to THREE technical firms, the final one swore to me that they’d done it and it was now on-line, and guess what? It isn’t!!!
So, reluctently and with rage, I’m having to go from dail-up wbhich suited me fine, to broadband – which I didn’t want – and hope that will fix the problem, not that I’m holding my breath on that either. But what is it with computer companies. can’t they produce a computer that actually works off the shelf the way it should. Why am I buying the nmechine then havving to spend weeks and dollars to get it working? If that happened with almost any other technology there’s be a massive outcry, so why do we accept it with computers? And all I can say is, that’s two more brands I’m crossing off my list to ever buy again.

3 May 2017

Not that I had to in the end, but incredibly April here saw 270 mms, or just under eleven inches of rain land on my farm. The hens – completly furious – all moulted and went off laying. And Mopsy, one of my ewes lay down and died. Not surprising since she was 17, but I’m mildly sad. On the other hand it isn’t as if she didn’t have a VERY long life for a sheep, and a good one. I’m only hoping now that May won’t be quite so wet, in fact it looks as if it may not be, but it also looks as if the weather is going to vary that by being colder instead. Sigh. Swings & roundabouts.

22 April 2017

Mind you, that was divided between two entities. My physio came the other week and was on the kicthen floor showing me a new exercise. She sat, Thunder sat with her. She lay down, so did he. She rolled on her back and – Thunder rolled on his back and waved his paws at me. Wasn’t this fun? It isn’t often visiters get down with him…I roared, and offended, sir vanished up the house while my physio looked puzzled, not having seen Thunder’s copycat act. But remembering it makes me smile again. Him and the physio, both demonstrating a new exercise. Maybe Jane Fonda could take the tip and add a cat to her videos.

24 March 2017

yes, last weekend our village had a car boot fair down at the “Wop Wops”, the small park run by a local business (Norsewool) which features native eels amongst other items. I shot down at 10am on the scooter and bought books and raffle tickets. Great combination. I dived into the books at once – one at least will be excellent fodder for older books reviews I do for a UK magazine – while the raffle tickets provide pleasant anticipation for weeks until I hear the results.
And, still more happily, the next village to the north of us will be having their usual bookarama in May. My oldest friend tends to take me to that as my birthday present, and I can go really mad buying books then with both hands. Ah, as Andre used to say to me, “Cats, books, life is good.”

15 March 2017

My cat isn’t terribly happy just now, although he’s a lot happier than he was a week ago when he went into the vet for a complete WOF (Warrent of Fitness for those that don’t use the term.) He had blood tests, and all sorts of indignties visited upon him, and the conclusion was that his health wasn’t bad. However some of his teeth were, and he spent the night there, being operated on next morming and having five teeth extracted.
He came home Thursday night, sorry for himself, leapt out of his carrier, flung himself at my friend and I – he hadn’t seen me for a whole day and a half – and was cuddled. Then he bellowed for food. Didn’t I know those people hadn’t given him a single bite all the time they’d had him and he was STARVING? What I know is that he’s a liar, but I did feed him. He was fine that night and into Friday evening.
After which things caught up with him. His mouth hurt, he didn’t want to eat all Saturday and Sunday, no, he didn’t want yoghurt, but on Monday, um, yes, a little ham would be acceptable. So he had ham on Monday and Tuesday, after which he found that his appetite had returned and since then he’s been eating normally (In other words, anything at all he can get his paws on.)
Anything that is but his larger and harder dental biscuits, but then that’s understandable, so at the moment he’s eating Friskies and Diet Biscuits, and drinking lots, since I was told to keep him reasonably warm. And, of course, in the cussed way that things do, the weather promptly dropped temperatures a bit. So I’ve been running the freestanding enclosed fire since he came home, on very low, but enough to keep the house around 24-25 degrees which has seen him happily ensconced right beside it.
It’s the great disservice that animals do us, their lives are so much shorter, and Thunder was 13 last December. I know I won’t have him many more years and I’ll mourn when he goes, as I mourned Tiger before him, Tai before that, Rasti earlier, and my beloved Tigger and his mum earlier still, but it won’t be unexpected. To me it’s a fair trade. The companioned years more than ballance the sorrow when each loved friend is gone.
And to misquote something I heard years ago. Heaven will not heaven be, if my cats can’t be with me. (Although considering that Thunder does NOT like other cats, heaven, if I do get all my cats, is mainly going to be a series of ongoing cat fights…)

5 March 2017

Yup, as of Thursday I have a gorgeous black Arapawa ram on loan for a couple of months, he was persuaded out of the trailer, ambled through the gate, saw my ewes and accelerated considerably. So did my ewes – in his direction, I hasten to add. They met in the middle of the paddock, a woolly whirl, and I suspect by now at least one is in lamb. And when I looked at everyone this morning, they all looked very happy. He’s borrowed as I said, so – from hire to maternity?

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