Friday, 25 May 2007

Random End of Week Ramblings

It's been a very busy week work wise. One of the pleasant elements of my job involves writing a newsletter twice a year, which is great fun and a lovely change from the day to day routine. However, it's been tough to fit it in to the normal week and I've ended up staying late and even bringing work home in order to get it done. But my articles are all finished, and the draft has gone to the design and print company, who do a great job on the layout. I do feel a little bit of satisfaction when it is all finished.

We have had no hot water all week - amazing son discovered the problem on Sunday night - while in the shower - ouch! Cold water is far from ideal for washing hair that is almost elbow length (AS likes the goth look and hasn't had his hair cut for a couple of years!). However, we were able to get someone in to fix the immersion heater, and I had a lovely long shower this morning (as opposed to juggling with kettles and jugs of water every morning). Being a person who washes their hair every day, I read this with interest. I don't know if this is something I could try. I do try to cut down on blow drying my hair. When I was much younger I had waistlength hair, and I didn't even own a hairdryer, so it is possible to manage without. But the washing.... somehow I can't contemplate this at the moment.

AS is suffering with a very bad cold and sore throat and quite a few people at work have similar symptoms. Amazing daughter is in the middle of her university exams and has been struck down by a horrible bug too, though of the stomach variety. In addition this is the worst time of the year for hayfever, which another cross she has to bear. She has worked so hard, but is very worried that she will do badly this year (this is her second year).

Thanks to Willow for your comments on our rabbits' window box - the wendy house was bought from EBay, and had been built by a dad as a play house for his daughters, but they had outgrown it. It was originally painted blue, and the window box was already attached to one end and a trellis to the other. To me, it looks a bit like a prairie log cabin, you could just picture an old woman in a rocking chair on the porch shelling peas, or darning socks! It is just over 5ft high inside (I can just stand up in it as I am just under 5ft tall) but AS keeps banging his head! I liked the light colours - most wood preservatives and stains are quite dark, but having painted my fence the lovely light green, I thought the cream and more of the green as a contrast would look nice. I like the beach hut look too, so my poor old shed had better look out or it might get a lick of paint next!

I'm currently reading my way through the Rebus novels by Ian Rankin - 6 down, quite a few to go. I think I'll take a break when I finish the current one and try something a bit different. When I find a writer I like, I then try to read their entire output, but that doesn't always have good results. I'd read a couple of Joanne Harris's novels that I really enjoyed, but when I read a couple of later books I found them disappointing. I started reading the Ian Rankin books because I got a bargain paperback of his from a charity shop, but when I started reading found that I needed to know what had happened in the previous novels. I've gradually got through the earlier Rebus novels, and haven't been disappointed yet, but I do feel the need for a change of style for a while.

Thursday, 24 May 2007

Bunny House

Our rabbits have at long last moved into their new home, though there is still some work to be done. As mentioned in an earlier post, we really wanted to give our rabbits a secure home where they would be safe from extremes of weather, and most of all be protected from foxes, kestrels etc.

Anyone reading this who doesn't have rabbits might think this is rather excessive - you are probably right, (my daughter has begun to refer to me as the mad rabbit woman!) but if you are a rabbit, you like to have some private space as well as lots of room to move around, and space to stand on your hind legs and stretch out to your full length. Inside we have provided different levels, dark cubby holes and cosy places filled with hay to snuggle up. We have fixed wire mesh around the "verandah" but this weekend I hope to put the finishing touches, which will include fencing off a small area of lawn to the front for them to use. Another photo will follow when everything is done.

A couple of random photos of the two lucky rabbits - here is Bramble

and here is Clover washing her face. They come into the house sometimes for a few hours at a time, but are very shy and usually like to burrow out of sight!
We are very lucky that these two are very well litter trained, and cleaning up after them is so easy. I am looking forward to some excellent compost in a few months time!

Saturday, 12 May 2007

My Journey to Work

Although I am not originally from Essex, since I've lived here for over 15 years I have come to love many things about this county. I'm originally from the West Country, and much appreciate the drier climate here, and the distinct lack of hills (which as a cyclist I do prefer!).

One of the things I like about living in mid Essex is the proximity to the countryside. On my short journey to work each day, I am fortunate enough to travel along a very attractive path, which is surrounded by trees, with the River Chelmer running alongside.

Most days I cycle to the office along this path and cross over the river via a footbridge. It's very pleasant, and as the seasons change there are so many lovely things to see. I actually took these photos about two weeks ago, and in just that short time everything has become even more lush, there are even flowers opening on the water lilies in the river (the variety is Brandy Bottle - though I've never got near enough to catch a whiff of the scent that gives it it's name!).

Recently, one bank of the river was banked up with willow, which is a natural means of reducing erosion. It is quite attractive, and apparently in a couple of years there will be a lovely willow hedge holding everything firmly in place.