Battling with modern technology

I have come to the conclusion, all things considered, that I prefer living alone. Except, that is, for one thing. Instruction manuals.

Whether for my Dyson, washing machine, tumble drier, lawnmower, TV or Nikon camera, I am really phased when it comes to reading the instruction booklets. I can’t get passed the basic instructions before my eyes start to glaze over and I start to think what I want for tea. In the past, I would pass them to my ex asking him to read them and to give me a precis of what I needed to do.

But he is no longer here, so I need to cope with it by myself. A month or so back I took delivery of a super duper backpack sprayer which has an inbuilt battery and a little trolley on which to pull it. Great, I thought, not relishing the thought of lugging around 15 litres of weedkiller, not to mention the weight of the plastic carrier and inbuilt battery, on  my back!

It said that it came charged, but I thought I had better check. Read the instructions, up to the point where it said ‘charging the battery’. Didn’t read any further, of course, no need. Found all the correct holes to push leads into and, hey presto, a constant green light lit up, which the instruction booklet said meant that the battery was charged.

Okay, so I put some water in it. Needed to check that all the seals were tight and there were no leakages… Now to turn it on. Oer, nothing but a high pitched whining noise. Quickly turned it off. Perhaps I needed to turn the pressure knob up? Tried that, still no joy. After checking the ‘trouble shooting’ section in the instruction booklet, I discovered that the high pitched noise was indicating that the battery wasn’t charged. ( I could have seen that, if I had taken the trouble to look at the battery level dial – ho hum.) Oh, buggerations, I thought just my luck to have a faulty battery charger.

I had resigned myself to phoning the ebay supplier the next day when I heard my neighbour in his shed next door. Er, Andy, I said, do you think you could help me? He too, at first, was puzzled by the constant green light when we put the battery on charge. That is… er…. until he .. er.. read further into the instructions. At some point further on it said, “sometimes the charger will show a constant green light when it is on standby” (i.e. not charging). Say no more!

Last year, another neighbour, another Andy, funnily enough, promised to cut my beech/hornbeam hedge for me each year if I would lend him my cutter for his hedges. I was thrilled because my only means of cutting my hedges was with the hedgecutter attachment on my strimmer. The petrol strimmer, with this attachment on the end of its long arm, is very heavy and beyond my powers to use for more than 5 minutes at a time. So I readily accepted his offer.

(Starting the strimmer also seems to be beyond my powers at the moment. Twice this week I have been all set to strim off the paddock as it has been two weeks since the buttercups had been sprayed. But could I get it started? Nope.)

Anyway, not liking to be beholden to people, the independent creature that I am, I decided to buy a battery operated hedge cutter so I could cut my hedges when I wanted. After humming and haaing over two, I settled for the Bosch.

It arrived yesterday, and late last night I started to read the instructions. Er, not a good time to attempt to read instructions!  Looked at the diagram and learned what everything was and where it all was. Now, how do I charge the battery? Read the instructions and it said ‘press the battery unlocking button to remove the battery’. Eh? Went back to the little diagram. No, I wasn’t imagining things… no ‘battery unlocking button’ was shown on the diagram. How could they miss that off ? Mmm, I thought, why don’t they get a woman to write the instructions? Then, and only then, we might be able to understand them!

After a good night’s sleep I picked up the instructions again. They were no further help than they had been the night before. So I had to guess that the red button above the battery was what was needed to remove it. Wrestling with the cutter on the floor for several minutes I managed to, finally, unlock the battery and put it on charge. Hurrah, I thought, another battle won!

Next job this morning was to do some washing, as I see that insertions on Ebay this weekend are foc. Want to clear out office clothes from my wardrobe and this is a good weekend to sell them.

What’s that on the washing machine? A red light that I haven’t seen before? It’s not clean filter or empty water tray (it’s a condenser drier). Er, clean condenser? What’s that? That’s new. Now, where is the instruction manual? Oh, clean condenser every month? I didn’t know that. Only had the drier 18 months. What’s that? Failure to do so could result in a malfunction. Oh dear.

Another five minutes wrestling with the drier this time. It’s in a corner, up against a cupboard, so there is a finite angle it has to be in, in order to pull out the long condenser drawer. I won’t go into details here about the amount of gunge there was in it and how it blocked up the bath plughole.

Lesson is to read instructions from beginning to end, and then again. I wonder if I will next time?


100s of rescued hens looking for loving homes!

Come on peeps, all of you who, over the last few years, have told me that you would just love to keep hens. Now here’s your opportunity to help some little hens that hitherto have had a pretty rotten life.

500+ ex battery hens are now ready to start new lives with owners who will give them the care and attention they deserve.

Little Hen Rescue of Flordon, near Norwich, have rescued yet more hens that were destined for slaughter after having spent their lives in cages laying eggs for supermarkets.

These hens are friendly and make great pets. Those of you who are interested should phone Little Hen Rescue rehoming line Monday or Friday evenings (8.00 to 9.30 pm)  07717 757596 or, preferably, email Jo Eglen at  For more information visit

Over 800 rescued battery hens arrived at Little Hen Rescue last Saturday and I was there to help unload them.  They had endured the three and a half hour journey from Leicester pretty well.  I was surprised to see how good they looked. No featherless ones; none with bad peck wounds, or, indeed any sort of wound.  Apparently the farm from which the hens came, was particularly good on welfare and, although kept in large cages, all the hens looked really well.

I helped unload them from their crates into the large, roomy loose boxes where they’ll live until they go to their new homes… I wanted to bring them all home with me but, sadly, I couldn’t. Although I had lost Hattie the other week, I couldn’t take any. You have to take a minimum of two, but I have four and I think to add another two to the flock would be a bit too many for my coop, so I’ll have to wait until another falls of her perch. It’s about time for Dottie, who is 7 or 8, but she shows no sign of ‘popping her clogs’. Then poor Buffy didn’t, she just went. What a lovely way to go. No suffering.

For those of you who may be wondering how little Lottie, my surviving ex batt is getting on, she is a little star, who has started laying. Well…. sort of. She is Polly’s constant shadow (do you remember how awful Polly was too her when she first arrived?) – it’s so funny to watch. They are best of mates now. Long may it last.


Church flower festival

Weather permitting, I have been beavering away in the garden, paddock and fields trying to bring order back to the Countryidyll domain since retiring some six or seven weeks ago.  I have to admit that the weather is not helping as it is stopping me from getting on. Not because we’ve had much rain, on the contrary, I’m afraid. But because it’s been so, so windy and cold. I really hate working outside in the wind, it makes me so irritable! My hair blows in my face and I can’t see so I put on a hat.. then I get too hot. Can’t win really. Ho hum.

Max, on the other hand, is really a good boy being ridden on a windy day (not quite such an angel when I’m leading him!) so have settled into a routine of riding four times a week, which we are both happy with.

Yesterday I took an hour or so out of my day to visit the flower festival at our village church. It certainly was time well spent. There were some really splendid flower arrangements as well, I hasten to add, an excellent carrot cake and cuppa. I have to admit that I had two helpings of cake, it was so good!  Didn’t feel too guilty as, on my return home, I mowed the lawn, which is quite a fair bit of walking!

I have posted some photos of the flower arrangements below, so that you can judge for yourself.


DSC_0105Flower Festival 2 201356a101416

Rest in peace, Hattie dear

It’s with a very heavy heart I have to write that I have lost another hen. Hattie, originally known as Ruby, one of my two new ex-battery hens who arrived just three weeks ago, died tonight.

She’s never been so perky as her compatriot, Lottie (originally Nellie), who is very feisty. She has spent a lot of time in the coop ever since she arrived, but I noticed today that she was moving very slowly. I gave her a sugary drink to see if it would perk her up. But, if anything, she seemed worse. When I came in for supper, she had put herself to bed, but I feared she wouldn’t last the night.

Went out to close their pophole a while ago and I found her dead in the run. I am gutted. So sad. I feel guilty that I didn’t pick up on it earlier, but it is so difficult to see changes in an animal’s behaviour when you aren’t familiar with it. Oh dear, I feel as though I have let her down…. *She says with a large lump in her throat*

My one consolation is that she had a couple of months of freedom from her previous life in a battery cage.

Hattie  2nd June rip

Hattie 2nd June rip

The Weedkiller terrorist

Weedkiller terrorist 4

Hurrah, I’ve finally finished spraying home paddock with weedkiller, even though it’s a bit breezy today. Glad the postman didn’t come, as I wrapped scarves around my head to protect my skin, so I look very suspicious!

Prefer not to spray if it’s windy as the weedkiller drifts. But, I have to say, I’m very pleased with the type of weedkiller I used. As you can see from the photo below, home paddock comprised 90% buttercups and plantains, hardly any grass.


As buttercups are notoriously difficult to kill, I went for a specialist weedkiller, which cost me an arm and a leg, but I think it was well worth it as it certainly knocks them on the head very quickly! I now have to wait two weeks before I can cut it.

I sprayed the bottom of the paddock during the May 1st Bank Holiday, and mowed it after a couple of weeks.  Absolutely brilliant!



May have to spray it again later in the year, or next Spring, but let’s hope that’s the end of them…. for good.

Yippee, one big job nearly finished… on to the next one… the garden….