Is this thing on?

Before announcing that I am not dead, I feel I should have a careful look over my shoulder in case Fate is standing within earshot, and feeling temptable. And then touch all the wood I can find.

Fnarrr.

*cough* Well, that’s brought the tone down lower than whale shit. On we go!

I haven’t a great deal to plead, except Busy Nothings, and the laptop with all my blog feeds on has effectively died, so my reading and commenting has all gone To Pot. What have I been up to since (Blows dust off blog. Checks date.) 2nd of April! God!

Well, I have managed, firstly, not to keel over. My heart’s jazz rhythm did, eventually, return to what I would term normal. If you were worried; thank you! So was I, a little.  

I was also busy with this (abject apologies to the W*enicon chaps, whose images I totally pillaged for his invites.)

I couldn’t make up my mind if John was being bashful or Diva-like concerning his 40th. He didn’t want a party. He didn’t want a lot of people. He didn’t want to go on holiday. He didn’t want to sit at home and do nothing. He didn’t want to just go to the pub. He didn’t want anything, it felt, except to be hard to please. Eventually, he reluctantly conceded that he had enjoyed treasure hunts by car when a mere teen slip of a farmer, so I wrote another one.

Despite drafting a good deal of it from my armchair, it took considerably more preparation than I anticipated, and I was a particular picture of boggle-eyed Victor-Meldrewness when I finally noticed, 3 days beforehand, that the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust had chopped down the Cedar of Lebanon that had been one of my clues. But t’was good fun, nevertheless. I also took a little more care over his birthday cake than I do some years.

Then, then, then, the local Am-Dram production seemed to eat up 10 days solid, somehow, which was also fun. Then, following on last year’s scintillating bale Bride & Groom triumph, I spent days (the crown is woven willow, sprayed gold) building a straw-bale Queen for the Diamond Jubilee.

A Jubalee Queen. Da-dum.

It made the BBC, natch, and the local press, but, most importantly, it also made the back page of the Farmer’s Weekly. I was a little premature in firing it off to the BBC: John immediately refused to let me send it anywhere else until he had hastily photoshopped out the blackgrass in the wheat.

The Jubilee was ace. I do love a bit of flag waving.

I probably enjoyed it more than the Queen (4 hours! Stood up! On a chinese restaurant of a boat! In the pissing rain! Because we… want to thank her?) and certainly more than the DoE, poor dehydrated soul. The Sunday was such a complete washout, we had our picnic in front of the TV, with the added bonus that both John and I could get drunk in the warm and dry.

On the Monday afternoon, I got ratted at some local garden party – are you seeing a theme? – and joined in uproariously with the National Anthem, Land of Hope & Glory, Jerusalem, and, of course, Rule Britannia. I am not a noted singer, but I embarked upon them all in a confident, happy shriek nevertheless. My state of inebriation can chiefly be judged by the fact that I actually phone-videoed some of it. I have just reviewed the footage, and – alas! – there are too many village-faces visible for sharing here, which is a shame, because I am busy making a monumental, prize-winning pillock of myself.

By Monday evening I had sobered up slightly and was ready to light my beacon, which I had been looking forward to like a kid before Christmas. I LOVE beacon chains; I get chills every time I see this, in fact. We are lucky enough to have a fairly spectacular view from the house, and the weather, for once, co-operated with me. It was mild, clear, with a huge, beautiful moon. We stood outside with my parents fire-spotting beacons up to 20 miles distant.

When the firework displays started, John and Dad clambered onto the trailer that was sat parked on the drive and perched themselves on the garden bench that was on it,

looking… actually, looking highly reminiscent of Statler and Waldorf. 

Meanwhile, I was busy, merrily polishing off another bottle of something nice. 

I didn’t move much on Tuesday.

Then, Wednesday to Friday, I spent helping to prepare a family wedding; the reception venue, at the bottom of a sloping farmyard, with cows, silage effluent, howling wind, driving rain, and an only partially-finished barn, presented its own special challenges. I managed to avoid bronchitis somehow, and, as it was an all-hands-to-pump effort, I tackled my first serious flower arranging.

My attempts at buttonholes were acceptable but fraught with flower-tape difficulties. You will note that John, as usual, is displaying a little more brio in the shirt department than some.

Friday evening: I thought I had better make my hat, which still looked like this.

Four trips to hat shops had failed to elicit the hat of my dreams (I SAW it, but some Bitch of a MotB had already bagsied it that weekend) and my dress was a difficult beige with mad blue shades (I took 660 – really – photos of everyone else, but not a single one of myself) so I decided on a home-grown effort. I’ve never tackled millinery before, but I thought that arranging feathers and associated frou-frou in a pleasing shape and glung the buggers down couldn’t be too hard. And it wasn’t. AND I have gubbins left over to make another. Several. You want a blue hat?

Saturday was the wedding, and I had managed to finish Statler & Waldorf’s trailer (which WordPress stubbornly refuses, after 20 minutes of me trying really quite hard, to display in its rotated state)

but what with one thing and another I only managed a single cup of tea and a bacon sandwich before the reception began at 1.15pm, so I hit the trays of sparkling wine with gusto, rocking a bacon-induced thirst – and 5 glasses later, my photos had turned awful blurry. (I have not been constantly drunk for the 10 weeks I have been away from here, but now I come to tell it, I do seem… awash.) Anyhoo, I sobered by night-time, which was convenient, because John needed carrying home.

Then I had a week off, in which I mainly lay about the place, complaining of feeling tired, and doing the housework that had been utterly abandoned the previous week month quarter, although I did shop for and construct this: Harry’s Godmother had a little girl.

Saturday I beetled off happily to the Dorothy Dunnett Society lecture day in Oxford, which was many flavours of awesome, and this week I am oh-so-busy preparing for a large family garden party at the farm on Sunday. I am in charge of desserts, because that is my comfort zone. It has not all been a delight: my hormones are dicking me about something cruel. I am on day 75 of my alleged menstrual cycle, and have been spotting for 3 weeks. Not enough to be useful, but heavily and unpredictably enough to ruin 10 pairs of brand new undies. My mood has occasionally dropped down the toilet, too, even without provocation, and yesterday the fly that had tormented me horribly in the kitchen all afternoon committed passive-aggressive suicide by flying into the oven and crash-landing in my blind-baking pate sucree. There was a little black cinder within a pale rose halo where the blood had seeped into the pastry, and IT WAS THE VILEST THING I HAVE EVER SEEN AND I DRY HEAVED AND CRIED.

Today was better. The profiteroles went more smoothly than my pate sucree did. Harry saw his hospital Paediatrician for the last time: he has now scored a discharge. He is still recieving Speech & Lang input (although there are ominous mutterings about discharge: we don’t think he is ready. Age-appropriate sounds, schmounds: I often don’t understand a single word he says first time around.) and attends enuresis clinic (don’t ask. Just… don’t ask. Let’s just say it’s not an improving issue currently); and now he is being referred to Physio and OT again because I have asked for a formal assessment for dyspraxia. He so blatantly has it that I no longer give a flying stuff whether or what they label him, as long as we can ensure we identify anything we can do to help his functioning. Cuteness, yes. Co-ordination, no.  Harry does not haz it. He enjoyed his post-hospital lunch at the cafe with me – before he knocked his glass of apple juice flying. Twice.

So. You are all caught up with Hairy Farmers. It has taken me over 90 minutes to upload the dangblasted photos, just because I can’t work Windows anymore. I should be cooking tonight, but I have Had Enough, so I am blogging instead. Tomorrow morning at 9.30am I am joining Weightwatchers with my mother. I did lose 12 lbs a couple of months ago – mainly off my boobs, Godamnit – but I have stalled, and I have told myself I must be a stone lighter than I am before embarking on IVF.

Which is another story.

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