Hah! In your face Year 1!

Today I submitted my last essay of my first year in nursing. This makes for a happy Chloe. A relieved Chloe. A ‘Hah in your FACE‘ Chloe. I finally feel that I can sit back and relax for a few weeks before we go straight back in full throttle to, apparently, the worst year during the degree. What is great about writing this blog is that one can experience amnesia about the academic hypothesising that one must partake in whilst examining psychosocial aspects of nursingOh to write a Mills and Boon… the fancy pants of that! All flowery and such like. Anyway, luckily I have had a Bramble to keep me company.. She is such a darling.

 

Still, before I can really chill, I still have just under a month of placement to go with a good 2 weeks of not having a fucking clue about where I am going to stick the kids because it will be the school holidays.

I must admit I feel a little bit over this whole fucking ‘being an adult’ shite. In the mornings as I am feeling practically homicidal because Mr P has to be woken up the same amount of times as our stroppy teenager, I battle with the demons… I could, I think, just walk out… (just keep walking.. just keep walking.. (think Dora)). As the Middle One, systematically runs through all of the shitty irritating things he can do his siblings and the Little One decides he is going to emulate his brother and also be a prat.. as I realise that the kitten shit in the litter tray is only ever going to be emptied by me and that despite it already getting on the late side of ok, I will still find time to put on another wash, hang the wet one out, tidy the sofa, draw the curtains, redo the sofa, make the bed, yell at a child, do the sofa again and finally load the dishwasher.

Amazing what you can do when you put your moany mind to it, isn’t it?

On to other news, after being ripped into by a good mate about me veganism failingism, she brought me around a potted rose. Very pretty and very sweet I thought. Well.. after Saturday evening drinks with a group of lovely girlfriends, I am now awaiting a delivery worth of a fecking truckload of potted plants.. the amount of laughter at my expense means I can probably now completely redesign my garden.. so watch this space. In the meantime, here is a picture of me chooks…

And here are some of the LOVELY dishes I have made and eaten and (listen up plant buyers) enjoyed… Roasted tomato soup… Mmmmm and falafel, spinach and mushroom wrap…

 

Now, where shall I put all these new plants????

Day 1 of 31… Sobriety Tales

So as some may know I am attempting 31 days of sobriety with a view to raising money for Macmillan Cancer Support – this is no mean feat for the likes of me. I drink most evenings, be it red wine, prosecco or a G&T. I see 6pm as wine o’clock.. earlier on the weekends. It is my de-stressor.. If my children were snakes.. wine would be my anti-venom.

However, I saw the Go Sober advert and thought.. “hmmm.. can you do it Chloe? You have tried and failed before..” (I think I managed 10 days once about 3 years ago which was a minor miracle in itself). But this time I have a few tactics in my arsenal..1) I am trying to lose weight and have started running and doing yoga regularly; 2) I have also started uni and thought that being a student nurse without liver failure might be a plus; and 3),my piece de resistance, is that I have decided to actually get sponsored! This means I have guilt on my side. If I fuck up, I then owe money and as I don’t have any money (tactic number 4), this is a no go.

Getting people to sponsor me might be a bit tricky though, even my best friend’s husband asked if he could sponsor me pro-rata ..or just wait til the end. Cheeky git.

Day 1 – I won’t lie, it’s half 8 in the evening and I am tetchy. This could be because we have spent most of the day in Brighton celebrating the MO’s birthday, negotiating the usual “it’s not fair”s because we didn’t buy ‘this’ despite buying a lot of ‘that’. It would appear that EVERYONE was enjoying a tipple, even at 11.30 on the train and most definitely at 5.30 on the train.Plus, we have also had to rescue our chicken Betty, literally out of the fox’s mouth. A lot of her feathers strewn around the garden – she actually let me hold her while she sat, shocked, in my arms and when I set her back on the ground she scuttled up to her nesting box, refusing the grapes offered by a very distraught MO. I hope she survives the shock.

So yes a glass of wine would not go amiss right now. Instead here I am, tapping away and desperately needing the toilet as I have drunk sooooo much tea that my bladder is due to erupt like a burst pipe. However, I want to do this and I know that when I wake up tomorrow morning, I am going to feel so bloody virtuous.. and at least I will feel like building the fortress needed to keep Mr Fox away from our chickens!

 

The Chicken Files

So.. our recent acquisition is a couple of chooks named Betty and Florence. We got them from Mac’s Farm (an organic egg farm based in East Sussex that works not only to provide free range, organic eggs to the public but also to educate on how eggs are farmed and also recognises the pitfulls of egg farming and works with the RSPCA, Fresh Start for Hens and other charities in order to rehome their 9,000 chickens every year when they are required by law to ‘get rid’ of their hens at only 78 weeks).

So, we went from being chickenless to chicken…full? in a matter of a few days. Mr P has resolutely said in the past that we don’t have enough space/money/time etc and as usual he is probably right, except that… we don’t need that much space as we can let them free range when we are home… they don’t cost that much money… we can find the time and… and… well they are purportedly soooooooo much fun … so surely there is always time for fun… isn’t there? (please tell me there is). So one morning during half term I somehow managed to accidentally find a chicken coop on Gumtree for 40 quid. Unfortunately that had already been sold but it kicked off the quest to find one and all with the blessings of Mr P. We managed to find one to collect the next day and on the Saturday we arranged to pick up the EO (Eldest One) at our usual meeting place (she spends time with her dad, Mr X, in London) and then collect the chickens from Mac’s Farm on the way home.

We arrive and it’s not exactly the nicest of British weather but still, Mrs Mac comes out all sunny smiles and directs us to a lovely large paddock where lots of chickens are merrily roaming and scratching about in the grass. The minute we have entered the area, they swarm around us, pecking at our wellies and clucking. The kids picked out the hens and we scooped them up and placed them in the carrier we had brought. As we exited we realised that we were missing a child and then saw that the MO was literally about to be carried off by a hundred lil chickens… DSC_0252And then we are home. Chickens gently warbling and giving clucks like little exclamation marks of surprise as we introduce them to their new, dismayingly smaller, home. We look on, excited and thrilled, as our new family members explore their surroundings.. their language almost fooling us into thinking we could understand the conversation “ooooh Betty, what have we got here?”, “well Florence, I don’t really know but its a lot fucking smaller than where we have just come from”…. I feel horror and then remind myself that it was this or the slaughter house. They might not realise it but at least they are alive.

DSC_0258It’s very late and the darkness has set as we try and ensure that all is secure and Mr Fox is not going to come and munch his way through our new additions. We settle them in and during the night, I wake, worrying that they are safe and not mounds of mangled feathers and bone, ripped apart in some feeding frenzy.

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Our first egg. I feel so torn. These lovely creatures have done what they have been born and bred to do, albeit a lot more often than they would naturally. They go through this ‘egg song’ which really does sound like a cross between.. “woohooo I’ve laid an egg and fuck this is painful”.. and then we claim that egg and eat it. I feel a mixture of pride, sorrow and pain as I place it in the egg box. Yet, if we don’t eat it, what will become of it? Nothing, it will rot or be pecked and eaten by it’s very kind. And there’s the other thing. Chickens.. fluffy, sweet and amusng? Or descendents from dinosaurs (yes, really), omnivorous, predatory creatures that will dive bomb into a nest of baby mice as much as peck at a juicy grape. So… whilst I love ’em… I will be ensuring I don’t take any risks whilst in their vicinity. No drunken falls within the coop.

And a week on… they are free range… out for an hour or so for the first time. Qara our youngest black cat, overwhelmed with utter, unadulterated excitement… These real live playthings… just for her? Really? She runs at them and then darts away at the last minute to escape their beaks. Yet Betty and Florence aren’t that bothered by them seemingly. Bernard the French Metal Rooster is also very calm with the whole proceedings.. he gets placed by the MO, according to his perceived role..

So, a week on and how do we feel en famille, now? Curious as to the future with our hens.. slightly bemused by all the de-miting, de-lousing, de-worming that needs to take place… but I tell you that lovely warbling, clucking you hear? It’s beautiful and transports you to a world of skipping lambs and fluffy chicks…. and I love it.