Tag Archives: men in sheds

Another quick post

Sorry about the lack of application but I’ve had another action-packed day.

First off, a lie in, followed by a late breakfast of sausage, bacon, beans and potato cakes. It was an excellent breakfast cooked by my dear, kind wife.

I feel I have to call her that because (a) she is dear to me (b) she is very kind and (c) she is still grumbling that I forced her out of bed to make me breakfast. It was 14 hours ago, can she not forget?

I’m arranging breakfast tomorrow. McDonald’s, eaten in the car on the way to work. We can pretend we’re high-powered executives.

Next, we went to Men in Sheds to have hot cross buns with the old codgers. They are looking forward to Spring. Julia has been hatching plots and extracting help and equipment for the MENCAP garden. We heard the tractor running and watched the plough go up and down on the newly repaired hydraulics.

I didn’t take any pictures because I was feeling miserable and in pain. It was, I suspect, a combination of too much walking the night before, and the thought of returning to the farm.

Whatever it was, a couple of hours later I was feeling much perkier and navigating my way round a bookshop. I have a new Janet Evanovich whodunit to read and a book about Great War tanks. I’m being very careful about book buying these days, as I’m still giving bags of them to charity, and I want to make sure I’m giving more away than I buy.

Finally, we met up for a family meal as my uncle and two of my cousins were down in Peterborough visiting my Dad. It was a convivial party, ending with the male faction taking on the pudding menu as the female contingent looked on and thought virtuous thoughts.

Uncle Tom tried the Gin and Tonic trifle and the rest of us stuck to apple crumbles. The apple crumble was excellent. The trifle, we were told, picked up towards the bottom half. That would be the half with the gin-soaked sponge…

Five and a Half Hours

As I said yesterday, Julia had a job lined up for me in the afternoon.

It involved going to the farm to collect some stuff for a Mencap Open Day.  There we found geese, a couple of men in a shed and a Ferguson tractor. The tractor had all four wheels on, which was something I hadn’t seen before. It always seems to have one off for some sort of work.

From there we went to the Garden Centre for a late lunch (both having Bacon Stilton and Mango Chutney paninis with salad and vegetable crisps), dropped stuff off at the gardens then took an hour-long tour of the Ring Road. I didn’t enjoy that last bit.

I took the opportunity of taking a couple of night shots while we were at the gardens – they seemed to work out OK although the autofocus seemed to struggle a bit with the moon. I don’t think it’s ever had to work at a distance of 384,000 km before, so I expect it had a bit of a surprise.

The Day gets Better

I’ve just been adding photographs to the post about the attempted break in. As you can see from them, we had a CSI van and beautiful blue skies. I don’t usually go to the garden when people are there but I thought Julia could do with a hand this afternoon. She normally has to travel through town on the bus with two bags of kit as she travels from one job to the next but I thought after the trials of the day she deserved a lift.

I am such a gent. I am also currently unemployed so it seemed the least I could do.

While I was there in the morning I forgot to tell you that Julia had spotted a beautifully marked Green-veined White. I could only get a distant photo with my phone, so I have nothing to show. It’s a common butterfly, but it’s a new one for the garden list and that’s always good.

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Willow arch

Yesterday we had a good few hours, with Bill from Men in Sheds bringing his battery powered saw to help cut up pallets. We now have all the bits cut to make three new benches.

He also  brought four nest boxes in kit form so the group can put them together and paint them. Even better, he’s going to do another 20 for us. This will let us upgrade the existing boxes and leave some to sell towards funds.

Despite the break in it’s been a good week, and the fruit is looking good. All we need to do is stop people stealing it.

 

I would have taken more photos, but the batteries ran out. (These were all taken on Wednesday morning, though the post is written on Thursday.)

We were also given a perfectly usable set of 5-a-side goals the school was throwing out, or fruit cage frame, as we now call it.

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The new fruit cage

 

 

 

Little Grey Fergie

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The title sounds like it should be the opening line of a pastoral poem or a well-loved folk song about a faithful little tractor, but as far as I know, nobody has written either. Who knows, after reading this someone may be enthused to do so.

I’m probably influenced by this song of my youth, though it isn’t about tractors.

Ah, it now looks like I’m going to have to eat my words. According to the internet there is a folk song, and a children’s TV series. It’s amazing what you can learn on the net.

They were also the first vehicles to reach the South Pole. As you can see from the picture, they were modified for the trip, but that’s definitely a Fergie snout poking out.

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The men in sheds are currently restoring a little grey Fergie. It looks to be in pretty good condition, with good tyres and quite a lot of good paint. The brackets for the mudguards have rusted and the hydraulics need attention but apart from skimming the cylinder head there is no major work to be done.

To put it another way – it was born in 1952 and despite being older than me has coped better with the ageing process.

We went to visit for tea and biscuits this morning, where I took the pictures. I’ll go back in a few weeks to take more and see if there is any progress.

Reasons to be cheerful

I’ve been working on my positivity, and I have many reasons to be cheerful. I have my health (well, most of it), I have my own gardening tools and I have plenty of room for books. I also have friends, a tolerant wife and a laptop.

What more could I want?

Well, I suppose the joints and bladder of youth would be handy, but I’d probably have to be ambitious and hard-working again, which isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Anyway, the joint aches started when I was still in my teens due to various accidents, so unless I’m prepared to set the clock back to 1968 and re-live the unpleasantness of my teens it’s not going to happen. In the absence of a time machine it’s not going to happen anyway, but you know what I mean.

That’s another thing to be cheerful about – I don’t have to go through all that teenage angst again.

Mainly, if I’m honest, I’m cheerful about having a digital camera. Compared the the old-fashioned film camera, which could hold thirty six exposures at a time, and where the film needed developing before you could see the results, the digital camera is cheap and efficient. I’m now able to take thirty six shots, instantly see the results and store hundreds of good shots on one small card. Due to the marvels of modern data storage I can also store thousands of poor shots – I really must learn to be more organised.

With a digital camera I can spend my time watchng birds, looking at old buildings and blogging. One day I will have to start earning a living again, but until that happens, I have plenty of reasons to be cheerful.

The pictures I’ve used here are just a selection of my favourites from the last few months.

 

 

A very strange day

Time marches on.

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The day started with a visit to the farm – we are still tidying up as we had an enforced rest over Christmas due to my infection – and continued with a visit to Men in Sheds. They made us tea and offered to share their Lincolnshire sausages. We declined the offer, but donated half a dozen pullet eggs from the bantams, who seem to have sprung into laying action while we’ve been away.

On the way home we dropped in to feed the ducks at Rufford Abbey, which was the fun part of the day, and pottered home as the light faded. That was where we got our big surprise.

Julia opened her emails and was rendered speechless.

It’s quite strange seeing Julia speechless. she impersonates a goldfish and emits tiny mewing sounds.

I waited patiently, and after she recovered the power of speech she read the email to me.

When I recovered the power of speech she told me off for using bad language.

It seems that one of the teachers who has been visiting the farm has arranged to rent land on the farm to start a group using horticulture and animals for therapy. Sounds vaguely familiar. Also seems like it must have been organised during the time we were being thrown out.

What really stopped us speaking though, were the words “As I understand it, the timing was right for change for all of us”. The timing, as you may recall from previous posts, was not right for us, but was forced on us. However, it seems to be a growing belief within the farmer that he did us a favour as we were working hard and not making a living from the project. That, of course, makes him feel better at throwing the group out. It also highlights the difference in our approaches, as we don’t need a lot of money if we’re doing something worthwhile.

Anyway, now I have recovered the power of speech I’m not going to waste it.

The lake at Rufford was still partly frozen, providing hard standing for a variety of birds. We had bird food with us and, as you can see from the video it inspired some enthusiastic feeding.  The light was fading, so we restricted ourselves to the lakeside. I did try a couple of photos of squirrels under the trees but the light was so bad that camera shake rendered them useless.

I’m currently trying to improve my bird identification skills so I had a good look at the gulls and was pleased to find two that were different from the mass of Black Headed Gulls. They were both immature birds so they have lots of brown feathers and their beaks and feet are different colours from the mature adults. I took plenty of photographs and checked them against pictures on a gull ID website. Yes, there are such things.

One of the gulls seems to be an immature Common Gull. As you may gather from the name, it isn’t a rare gull. The other is an immature Herring Gull. They are even commoner than Common Gulls. It would have been nice to have spotted a rare gull but at least I managed to see them amongst all the others.

 

 

Another day, another party…

It’s not every day get to see a Christmas tree cake with a chocolate spanner but it was the Christmas Party For Men in Sheds on Friday and Julia had a special cake made for them.

Unfortunately, nobody had told them that the party was being doubled up with lunch for a tree-planting session and they turned up to find themselves tasked with setting up tables for twenty five. Frankly, I was surprised by the language.

I was also surprised by the table cloths, which explains why we couldn’t find them for the curry on Thursday.

Julia and I had been invited to the party as guests (me because I’m old and crochety and fit the Men in Sheds demographic, Julia because she’s the pin-up girl for the over-85’s).

However, at the curry lunch I’d been asked to do the cooking. Either there was a lack of planning or a cunning scheme to get the cooking done on the cheap. It could be either, because it’s not the first time I’ve fallen for it.

The “cooking” wasn’t onerous, though it did have to be trekked across the yard instead of served up in the centre. I just had to warm the pies and peas. Then warm the fruit pies. Then walk them across the yard.  Then raid the cafe stock to produce beans on toast for a vegetarian, because nobody had thought we might have a vegetarian come for lunch.

Lack of planning again…

Anyway, despite unpromising beginnings it turned out to be quite a good meal. The food was good and the vegetarian was a jolly young woman who was quite happy chatting to a bunch of elderly men.

Fortunately I like pie and peas and I love sitting round a table  complaining about young people and modern life, though the joke of the day (asking me if it was a busy time of year – ho, ho, ho) did start to wear a bit thin. Yes, I carry a bit of extra weight, and yes I have a whiteish beard but aconstant barrage of Santa jokes would challenge even the good humour of the fat man himself.