Thursday, 21 October 2010

Also considering a name change....

Soon (in about 10 days) the 5yo will be the 6yo....... god it's getting a bit confusing over here!

However this morning the boy informed me that he hates his name..... It's an unusual name with some W's in it. Apparently his peers are having some difficulty with the pronunciation of their W's and so boy feels he is being teased.

'It's a stupid name and I want to change it to something better,' he said.

'Oh dear,' said I, trying not to laugh. 'I chose that name especially for you, but if you really don't like it then I'm sure we could call you something else.....'

'Good,' he said 'I want to be called Fizzy-Whizzy....'

Lord love a duck! I PROMISE I kept my face straight. These are vulnerable times!

Gardening Update

I'm taking stock of the garden today as the weather is beautiful; sunny but cold. This weekend will be the last chance I get to tidy up outside and plant before I superglue my bottom to a chair for the NaNo challenge.

The broccoli is still being attacked by the caterpillars but I'm managing to reap a good few servings each week and it is delicious, long stemmed, purple sprouting. The sproglets love it with butter and grana padano. Next year I must fleece, although I understand that a good sturdy pair of Xlarge tights/pantyhose also does the trick!

The courgettes are suffering from cold nights but I'm still taking off one or two small fruits a week.

I've planted 150 onions in the raised beds and the two strawberry beds are looking very healthy, we are really looking forward to that crop next year. The celery is still happy and I'm using great swathes of stems and leaves when I make my pot suppers like hams or beef stews, fishing out the wilted, spent sprigs before I serve.

In the walled garden plants such as Lupin, loosestrife, the pinks and some little nasturtiums have been raised in pots. They need to be planted out into the main garden now, bedded in before winter. Remaining inside the walled, protected garden, Whitey the white hen is in residence , sat on top of 6 eggs in her borrowed coop: We should see chicks by the 7th November if she's successful. She certainly seems dedicated at the moment.

Next month our cider apple orchard arrives as bare rooted stock, plus a few more eating apple trees and a couple of plum trees. Lastly we've ordered a mulberry bush - possibly the most delicious fruit I've ever tasted.

Today I've got to apply for a Defra licence and if successful, maybe we'll also get some cade lambs this winter.

So life's good,.............. just 50,000 words to write by 30th November and life will be perfect.

Name Change.....

No, not mine or the blog's... it's the 7yo; she's now the 8yo. Ahhhh. We've kept her for 8 yrs. Look see.....


Keywords - euwwwwww!

While interrogating my Google Analytics report..... (I just pretend to understand the stats and squiggles,) I noticed that there was a section entitled keywords; the words used by those searching the Internet for specific areas of interest.

I do hope the (presumably) farmer, searching for important scientific information under the keywords;
'images of farm girls inseminating cows,' found all he was looking for at The Archers at The Larches blog site.

Please forgive me, but I really couldn't find an appropriate picture to go with this blog post.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Defence Cuts Explained ..... simply...

Let us use a metaphorical story to explain some of the recent defence cuts in the UK. I know it can be complicated to the likes of us proles....

(Are you sitting comfortably? Good, now we'll begin....)

The 5yo (used as a metaphor for the defence chiefs) is discussing the Birthday present he would reeely, reeeely like:

'It's a Lego Star Wars Starship Carrier. It's massive and brilliant.'

'Lovely dear,' says Mummy Archer (a metaphor for the panicky, cost-cutting Government) 'But what is it for?'

'It's the carrier that carries all the starships on long journeys, to do battle throughout the galaxies with evil dark side baddies. Aaaaaand if the star ships get shot at, they fly back to the carrier to get mended.'

'Well,' says Mummy bending down and doing her best compromise face. 'Tell you what; I'd rather you didn't have either but because I'm a very fair Mummy, ll let you have the carrier but not the starships. They're just too expensive and you'll only break them with all that battling!.....'

The 5yo looks quizzically at the Mummy who clearly doesn't 'get' warfare because she's a girl and only boys reeeeeely 'get' war stuff....

'But that's no good, because the starships are the things that actually do the battles, the carrier just gets them there....'

'La,la,la not listening...' says Mummy.


Good, glad I've cleared that subject please?

Congratulations, you shall go to the ball

.....MadameSmokinGun, you have won the pumpkin! Git yer recipe book out or your address book, if you're calling your Fairy Godmother.

We look forward to popping over to your site soon for the monumental acceptance speech. ...............Hint Hint MSG! (Gosh, your initials are monosodium glutamate! What does that mean?.... Freudian?...... )


Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Seasonal Change.....

Autumn has arrived for sure. We've already dipped into the 'below zero' temperatures overnight thanks to the cloudless, beautiful sunny days. The moons have been awesome; Harvest moons with twinkling stars. There's no street lighting around The Larches so on some nights the dark sky is alive with diamonds. I must get a book on the stars, check out where E.T. lives.

We've had some pretty interesting fungi in the garden. No revolting comments on the body part one, OK?

I took the cosmos plants out of my big pots outside the front door. It was getting pretty difficult to pass them as they barred your way with gorgeous colour. Although they weren't spent, they were looking tired but I didn't have the heart to put them on the bonfire so I planted them in the garden. They've had a second wind, bursting with buds. Clearly the pots were way too dry for them.

I've a new planting scheme in the pots now; 10ft pampas grasses, blue geranium and primula, all half-inched relocated from the garden.

It's been great having mini bonfires in the garden with the sproglets. Toasting marshmallows and drinking hot chocolate is just what Autumn dictates.

Monday, 18 October 2010

I is strangely fascinated by this photographer........

Your thoughts please ..........................................................................


Last Chance Giveaway!!! Pumpkin-A-Go-Go!

Last chance folks! The draw is on Wednesday.......

If you fancy owning your very own Archers at The Larches Pumpkin please follow instructions in this post..CLICK HERE...

Good luck

Sunday, 17 October 2010

A Cry for Help

On Friday I noticed a sickly chicken; Beigy. She was lethargic, sorry for herself. I picked her up, a bad sign in itself, as usually you can't catch her. I popped her in a box with fresh bedding a drink and some fresh cooked rice. She wasn't interested. She sat with me in the warm kitchen, chatted occasionally, watched me while I wrote.

A friend came to the house to check that the log burner he'd installed was working correctly.
'Shall I wring her neck for you?' He asked.
'No. Thank you!' I said,..... she might get better......I wasn't hopeful.

I'm new to this country malarkey, to the people born to it; it is nature, a pure matter-of-fact. Don't get me wrong I won't let a creature suffer if I think it's in pain but I'll probably act later than I should. A chicken farmer friend had recently mimed out, (we were at a children's party,) exactly how to wring the neck of a bird. I'd asked him to show me in case I ever needed to dispatch a chicken, due to injury from fox or badger or illness. I felt it was my duty to learn.

As I left for school pick-up, I put her in the coop but I still wasn't hopeful.

I was only collecting the 5yo (the 7yo was on a sleepover,) he complained that he had another wobbly tooth, (his second, ) and that it was hurting him. If you read the blog regularly, you'll know that I wrenched the first tooth out of his head! I may add that this was at his insistence. Link to that blog post here. Anyhoo he asked me to do the same with his second tooth.

'It hurts and I want you to pull it out.' He said.

Later that night, as we sat on the sofa in front of a toasty fire, I did just that. Daddy almost fainted. Boy didn't say a word, oh, apart from thank you when I handed him his tooth! Strange child.

If I tried to do that to the 7yo she'd phone Childline..... quite right too really. Each to his own I suppose.


I'm full of cold this weekend, the nasty type that makes your brain hurt. I got up at 4am on Saturday morning, lit the log burner in the kitchen and wrote till 7am when the 5yo woke, happy with his 50p from the tooth fairy.

Worried about the chicken, I dressed and went out. The other 12 chickens pushed by Beigy as I opened the coop door, she was in a really poorly way. Although her comb and lobes were a healthy red, her little eyes looked at me and I knew she was feeling very unwell, hunched down. She made no chatty sounds and her breathing was shallow and fast.

I walked away.....made as if I was going to do the washing up but I knew what I had to do.

I could have called my neighbour. I could have asked hubby. But I did it myself. I'm the chicken carer, she knew me. I stopped her suffering. Then I wept because I'd taken a life.

I've checked all the other birds for signs of illness but they're all fine and even in death Beigy's coloring is good, we'll have a burial when the 7yo gets home. We've had chickens for a full year now and I'm pleased to say that's the first time I've had to dispatch a little chicken. No doubt it won't be the last.

One white hen has gone broody so today we've borrowed a small coop and contained run from our neighbour. Let's hope we birth some new little chicks to ensure life goes on. I'll let you know in about 3 weeks.

Friday, 15 October 2010

A Marathon... with these boobies?!!!

Because I have so much spare time (cough, cough,) I'm embarking on something insane but fun. During the month of November I will attempt to write a whole novel with no less than 50,000 words.

OMG. In a month!? Are you serious?

Obviously it is with deep regret that I need to inform my family that they will be without food, pants or a mother for a month, but hey ho. I would like to thank 'Cross the Pond for inspiring me to attempt this adventure. But warn her that my hubby wants a word with her!

I'm not saying it will be a pretty novel, or edited or spilled corectily but I'm gonna try to do it, wish me luck! In fact, why not join me?... you know you want to....

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Giveaway: Cinderella's Coach... (pre-spell!!!)

It's difficult finding appropriate transport to the Ball isn't it? Your gown or tails get caught in the doors of an everyday kinda car and those bloody tiaras scrape the low roof, not to mention the difficulty chaps have with their long, shiny swords! Well, here's the answer: I'm offering you the chance of owning your very own coach, (pre-spell of course.)

Just contact your very own Fairy Godmother, pick up several white mice, a rat and whooosh..... your very own coach, white horses and a footman. You'll be off to the ball in a jiffy.... well not actually a jiffy, more accurately a pumpkin! Not just any old pumpkin either, (Marks and Spencer advertisement voice please...)
this is an organic pumpkin, 
grown by the hands of Lou Archer in a walled garden:
An Archers at The Larches pumpkin.

To be eligible for the draw next Wednesday to win gorgeous pumpkin all you've got to do is:
  • register yourself as a Follower (add your little picture or logo to my Global Friends gallery,)
  • AND add a comment to this post
  • Existing followers need only add a comment to this blog post to be eligible for the giveaway
I'll post the pumpkin to the winner on Thursday 21st October.

Lou will supply a fully functioning pumpkin (the one centre-stage of the picture above.)
If the said item refuses to turn into a coach please sue your Fairy Godmother and not me!
Please note, a pumpkin is not just for Halloween!
Your investment may go up, it may go down but always use appropriate pumpkin carving equipment and don't play with matches.
You have been warned!

Friday, 8 October 2010

Birthday Season

We have reached the season of Birthdays in the house; Daddy, the 7yo, (who will soon be called the 8yo,) the 5yo (who shall soon be renamed the 6yo) and the two cats, all have birthdays within a five week period. It's neat, but challenging. The only downside to this time of year is the bombardment of advertising aimed at children for Christmas... it gives my two babies some wild expectations.

'Whaddya mean they won't be satisfied with a nice book and a birthday cake?'

This year Daddy refused gifts on the grounds that we are installing yet another log burner in the house, this time in the kitchen...... downstairs; that will make four in total . Due to this new installation, I'm pretty sure that we will live our lives in the kitchen over the winter months, no bad thing really... but I digress! ... So, the sproglets made Daddy pictures: The 7yo drew an aeroplane and the 5yo drew a graphic scene from Star Wars - least that's what he said it was. Daddy loved the effort and has installed top-banana art in his business office .... I made big steak and chips.... two nights running!

For the first time in their little lives, the sproglets will have separate celebrations. The 7yo and four pals are having their nails 'done' by a beautician (a friend of mine,) who has also promised to bring make-up for experimentation... uh-oh! Then there will be pizza a movie and a lack-of-sleepover! Needless to say the 5yo (boy) was horrified at the thought of girls/make-up/girl movie. He and Dad have conspired to go out for the evening... I'm stuck obviously, the last bastion of hope between nail varnish and my walls/floors/furniture.

The boy is having a swimming party, with wild waves and slides, in a big city some 35 miles away. Unfortunately the swimming pool rules dictate a ratio of parent to child in the wet, tepid, stage-managed storm conditions and this doesn't seem a wildly popular choice of party with the parents who have just made the transition into all their Autumn boots and thermals. Personally I'm rather more concerned that my swimming costume may not be sturdy enough, I seem to have had some bosom-slippage!.... I may invest in a new one before the event... adding yet more cost to the party! Mind you, I'm sure the manufacturers of Veet and Immac will be indebted to me forever....

The cats may not live to see another birthday... I've just found the most enormous pile of innards beside my new (but old) welsh dresser, no fur, no feathers just a huge pile of liver and other parts that I'd recognise if I'd paid attention in biology! 'Scusting.

Thursday, 7 October 2010


It was a beautiful day yesterday....Today is dull and very foggy but at least I have the pictures from Wednesday to warm me up.....................

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Persistent jail-Bird filmed breaking and entering.....

Fortunately the break in at The Larches was caught on the surveillance cameras. The perpetrator is now doing bird time.

Lou threesomes thank you!

While I do guffaw merrily at a well constructed or unconscious malapropism, I am embarrassingly prone to them myself. Luckily, I don't often speak in public unlike Rachida Dati, whose slip of the tongue was reported widely.... Fnarr! Fnarr! Laura Barton of the Guardian writes...'Seriously now, who hasn't ever confused oral sex with inflation? It seems a little excessive to force French MEP to make a public apology for the gaffe she made on national radio. Discussing overseas investment funds profiteering during economic uncertainty, she told the interviewer: "I see some of them looking for returns of 20 or 25%, at a time when fellatio is almost non-existent." Dati blamed speaking quickly for the stumble ("inflation" is perilously close to the French word "fellation", you see).' An easy mistake, surely and actually I wish my French was as good as her English.

For years our family prayer, said pre-dinner, was ruined by my sister, brother and me ...
'O Lord, Bless us, Bless this meal...'
OK till now...
'Bless those who have repaired it and give food to the hungry. Amen'
..... ooops, although this was occasionally accurate if you were served the leftovers for a third day running.

Whether it be a mini-Malaprop or merely a faux-pas, I remember regularly exclaiming to my friends during my teens that I was absolutely ravishing.
'That may be the case,' corrected an elder one day,
'......but is it the case that you are also famished?.....'
......Took a while for penny to drop.

In both Corfu and on the Greek mainland where I lived and worked for a while in the '80s, I created my own Malaprop: 'Kαλή νύχτα' pronounced cahlee-neet-ah means goodnight in Greek. I rather liked teaming the Kαλή part of the word with a new word I learned for bats. To me the beginning of the word for bats, νυχτερίδες (nychterídes) sounded very like νύχτα (neet-ah,) if you said it quickly enough. So I went about the place bidding 'good bats' to all the good folk. It soon caught on, even with the locals, especially after a couple of glasses of Ouzo. Confused? Well, I think you had to be there...

A family tale, whether true or not who can tell, has been relayed for many years through our generations. The setting is a wedding where the bride comes from a country family of simple means and the groom, a doctor, comes from an affluent family. An elderly aunt on the wife's side was asked by the mother of the groom why her husband wasn't at the wedding.
'Oh it's dreadful,' the aged lady replied. 'He's slipped his dick.'

If you've ever read A Wayne in a manger by Gervase Phinn, I'm sure you'll chuckle again at the tale of a small schoolboy insisting that the name of the baby in the Christmas Story is Wayne.
'His name is not Wayne,' his teacher corrected...
'Is too,' replies the young boy. 'We sing it every year; A Wayne in a Manager no crib for his bed!

Maybe such brilliance should never be corrected.

My latest gaff is displayed for all to see in various locations in Shropshire. Today I will drive to all outposts to retrieve said gaffs, replacing with the correct spelling of the word manège. I will do this just in case the good people of Shropshire think I'm advertising a threesome in an arena filled with sand!

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Autumn Towers....

This past weekend we took a trip to Autumn Towers, the 5yold's version of Alton Towers.

The weather was stunning, no breeze and a blue sky. It was an historic occasion - the first time we'd visited an amusement park without a pushchair! We had one small bag with a few lightweight coats which we never wore and a few nibbles; bagels which we fed to the ducks and toffees which we didn't.

It was a super day. The kids were taller, braver, more in awe of the spectacle and even went on little rides alone!

I was loath to get away on Friday, feeling stressed and grumpy I didn't relish driving to Staffordshire on Friday night for an overnight stay in my husband's business residence in Litchfield. The rain wouldn't stop and I was drowned as I cleaned out the chooks. But I dutifully packed the car and, miracle of miracles, as I pulled out of The Larches gates to collect the sproglets from school, my mood lifted. Clearly God felt I needed a pick-me-up too; I switched on radio 4 to hear the announcer say '...and now for Gardener's Question Time' my fave programme! Usually I listen to it as a podcast but live was such a treat.

We ate out on Friday night, TGI Fridays was humming and the kids hoovered dinner. Saturday morning hubby cooked us an English breakfast to die for (literally - but yum.) And Saturday we gorged in the amusement park! I mention the food because usually
  1. I'm cooking continuously and
  2. I have always made a packed lunch to eat in the amusement parks for money saving/holier-than-thou reasons...
It was a totally relaxing weekend. So I'm back raring to go, keen to start a new writing adventure now that my children's book is finished....

....mind you the children are begging for cade lambs this year - cade being the term for an orphan lamb around here, and they'd like chicks too!

We have a large stable free on the 15th. Its horsey occupant is off home. I may well keep it empty for spring lambs.... These will be lawnmowers not 'eating' lambs as the 7yo describes them

'But we will get 'eating' lambs won't we?' She asked hopefully. She's a meataholic that one, she keeps asking about 'eating' chickens too!

We'll see....

Friday, 1 October 2010


I was feeling a bit down.... can't be cheery all the time can we? If I was cheery all the time, someone'd have to check my handbag for Prozac! Anyhoo, I'm normal (ish) I have my ups and I have my downs.

I'm in my wallowing phase at the moment; I have cups of tea and make little or no impression tidying the house. This in turn gets me down so I make another cup of tea and wallow a bit more.... God, even I'm bored of myself so bless you if you've continued to read!

The Entrepreneur called, she's off to the Ryder Cup today. More accurately she's parked on the M4 due to a 'police incident,' and I didn't have the heart to tell her that play's been suspended due to the fairways flooding. I apologised for my mood and we worked through some updates on some writing I've been tinkering with....

When I put down the phone my curiosity was ignited, I was intrigued to try and find out what constituted a 'police incident.' (See I am still alive inside my shell of doom...) It turns out someone may have jumped from a bridge onto the motorway. How awful must you feel to be able to do that?

I've snapped out of said malaise.

On a BIG up-note, a twelve year old (who is talented, witty, clever and very perceptive...) thinks I look/act like Susannah Constantine in the new TV parody starring Trinny and Susannah.  . ........................Hey wait a cotton-pickin-minute! I've just read the blurb on this programme and it says.... 
'High maintenance: Miss Constantine meanwhile is portrayed as an emotional lush always with a wine glass in hand and incapable of coping without her personal assistant'        ..........................hmmmmmmm!   ........................... Actually that does sound like me!

That's me on the left....

Here's the link to the show, it looks jolly funny. (Not one for the kidlets!) Spoof Trinny and Susannah

The Archers at The Larches

Lou - Chicken whisperer....

Lou - Chicken whisperer....

Snowy and Moon

Snowy and Moon