A new settee

We have had our leather settee for nearly twenty years. It was expensive at the time and we bought a matching chair with it. It has moved three times with us so it was never bought with our current sitting room in mind.

It was very big and only just fitted in this sitting room. It was very comfortable though and I would curl up in my corner of the settee every evening while we watched television.

Recently the leather on my cushion wore through. I asked my lovely husband if he thought it could be repaired and he said that the whole thing was tired and it didn’t owe us anything.

It was a chance to choose a smaller settee that would fit the room better. We measured our settee and set out to look for a replacement with it in mind that it had to be smaller.

We very quickly found one that we thought was perfect. It was a small two seater settee and as luck would have it it was half price. This was because it had been in the showroom a while and the three seater settee and the chairs had all sold leaving just this settee.

We had decided that we weren’t matching a chair this time. The chair that came with our settee was not comfortable and we have barely used it. It was also rather big for the room. We had decided to look for a leather Chesterfield or Queen Anne shaped chair that would be taller but narrower. We have furnished our home from antique shops and a few family pieces so we are used to putting different pieces together.

The new settee is reclining which wasn’t something we were looking for. However as we looked around a few furniture shops it soon became apparent that all the leather settees were reclining. It must be the current trend.

This settee was much less expensive than our original settee and to our surprise came with a fifteen year guarantee on the settee itself and a five year guarantee on the leather plus the usual leather care kit.

We saved more money by taking it away ourselves as it came apart into two pieces and fitted in our van. Another bonus was that our friends who live opposite us said that they would take our old settee for their boys to have in their playroom.

Our old settee
Doesn’t look too bad at a distance
But close up the leather is very worn
The new settee
We can now see the pretty side table
We have more space

The colour is lighter which fits in well with our wooden furniture. The side table came through my husband’s family and was hidden before by the height of the arm on the old settee.

It looks much better with the room and it is quite soft. I think it will be reasonably easy to find a chair that will fit with it. We are really pleased with our new settee.

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A jigsaw of two halves

Last weekend I decided to get started on the next jigsaw. Bare in mind that I had plenty of time as it was the weekend with nothing pressing needing to be done and we were both still full of cold so didn’t feel like doing much.

As always I sorted out the straight bits and got the outside edge completed. This was relatively easy and I wondered if this puzzle was going to be too easy. It had five hundred pieces so is only half the size of the vintage car jigsaw.

The start of another jigsaw

I started with the vintage car on the bottom left of the photo.

Coming along

At this stage there was plenty of variety and it was still fairly easy and came together quite quickly.

Now it’s getting difficult

I was about to start the tree at the top right of the jigsaw when I realised that the top edge wasn’t right. The bits all fitted perfectly but it wasn’t right. There were bits of sky in the wrong place. If you look closely at the top edge of the photo above and the photo below you can just see it isn’t quite right.

I actually spent quite a while rearranging the top edge until I had it right. The photo above was as far as I had got by the second day except that I had rearranged the top edge correctly. I had spent so long getting the top edge right that I had had enough for now.

Now it’s getting really difficult

The tree at the top of the jigsaw was really difficult as bits would fit and then I would realise that they were wrong. Every time I had almost completed this top tree the last couple of pieces wouldn’t fit. I would have to keep taking it apart and trying the pieces in different places until finally they fitted.

It’s now level pegging with the sprout jigsaw

Finally I had got the top tree completed and now all that was left was the bottom tree. Like the sprout jigsaw all the remaining pieces looked the same. Also like the sprout jigsaw a lot of pieces were the same shape and so pieces would fit but not be correct. As it was a better quality than the sprout jigsaw the wrong pieces fitted easily in the wrong place.

It became every bit as frustrating as the sprout jigsaw. This is why I called it a jigsaw of two halves. The first half was fairly easy but this second half was as difficult as the sprouts were.

There was also one piece missing despite the jigsaw never having been opened before. If you look carefully at the bottom left of the above photo there is a piece of brick wall missing just above the right wing of the car, or left wing facing.

The progress on this tree was even slower and I would get just a few pieces in at a time. Time and again I would fit a few pieces only to then take them out again. When I finally got down to the last six pieces it was still really difficult and I would try each piece in each space several times before finding a piece that fitted correctly.

Then there came a point that I have never got to with a jigsaw before. I had one piece left and it didn’t fit. I have never got to the last piece before only to find it didn’t fit. It would fit but wasn’t right as it was in the middle of the tree but had a bit of outside sky on it. I traced around the edge of the tree several times. Eventually I spotted a piece on the left edge of the tree that could have a bit of sky. I switched two pieces, one from the edge of the tree and one from inside the tree and bingo! It fitted.

The finished jigsaw

Hurrah! At last it was finished. I have never come across a jigsaw so different in different parts. This one took me three days compared to the five days of the vintage cars but had half the number of pieces and I spent longer spells on it. From starting out easy it got progressively more difficult.

The vintage cars jigsaw was by far the most enjoyable. This one ended up being very annoying.

I hope the next jigsaw is more enjoyable.

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We have eggs

Smoke laid her first egg the day before yesterday. This morning first thing she was back in the nest box and laid her second egg of the year.

A little while later Ebony was having a spin round both the nest boxes that are side by side. She had had a brief look in them the day before so I thought that she was getting ready to lay. Ebony does a lot of scratching in the nest box before she settles so I left her to it.

I returned a few hours later and Ebony was back out in the run. I checked the nest box and sure enough there was Ebony’s first egg of the year.

We have eggs

On the right is Smoke’s first egg, in the middle is Smoke’s second egg and on the left is Ebony’s first egg of the year.

I am really pleased to have eggs so early in the year. At this rate these two girls will soon be providing the weekend breakfast eggs until a few more girls start laying.

Well done Ebony!

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The first egg of the year

This morning Smoke was in and out of the two nest boxes that are side by side. I knew she was getting ready to lay again. A few hours later I could hear Smoke shouting. There was her egg in her favourite nest box.

The first egg of the year

It has been twenty five days since Smoke last laid. She had a week broody and then a further two week break which isn’t bad at all.

This is an earlier start to the year than I was expecting. It will be interesting to see who lays next. It will also be great to have our own eggs again. Well done Smoke!

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And back to chickens

I thought I had better do a chicken post as I seem to have gone on to other subjects lately.

The girls are all fine and there hasn’t been too much to say but no news is good news. Yesterday I gave them a dish mash just to try to get a few group photos.

Some mash for the girls
They share one dish nicely
They do like a bit of mash

They are a pretty flock and are all getting along well apart from Ebony being a bit of a thug from time to time but that’s nothing new.

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Things that go bump in the night and the lurgy

There have been an awful lot of nasty cold bugs going round this Christmas. My eldest son had it twice before Christmas, the grandchildren had it when they visited us at Christmas, T the host of the New Year’s Eve Party had it and my husband is on his second dose of it. I thought it would be a miracle if I continued to get away with it and I was right as I went down with it yesterday.

My husband has been sleeping in the spare room as his coughing was keeping me awake and last night I had a terrible night with a really sore throat and aching allover.

I am not sure if the noise woke me up or if I was already awake but at one o’clock in the morning there was a lot of noise outside. There were engines revving and clinking and whirring sounds. I started to worry that someone somewhere was trying to break in.

I decided to go downstairs and investigate and at the same time gargle with some sore throat rinse. I looked out of the front room window and was surprised to see some sort of roadworks going on. There were about eight vehicles parked across the road and men with high vis jackets and what looked like pipes being handled. I grabbed my camera.

One o’clock in the morning looking straight over our drive

Looking to the right of us

Looking to the left of us

I went back to bed but couldn’t get back to sleep. The noise ended abruptly at two o’clock in the morning. I continued to have a really sleepless night just dozing occasionally.

In the morning I looked out and the only evidence was two barriers at the side of the road opposite and to the right.

Later that morning

Two red and white barriers across the road. I was actually impressed that works had been carried out during the night as this is a very busy road and during the day it would have caused chaos.

When my husband came back from buying a newspaper he said that the lamp post had been changed. I wonder what tonight will bring.

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A really frustrating jigsaw

I struggled to come up with ideas for Christmas presents this year and eventually hit on the idea of giving our close family a bespoke hamper. Over time I collected either luxury items, items we particularly liked or items I knew the recipient would like.

In my boy’s hampers I added a little brussel sprouts jigsaw which I thought would be fun!

After Christmas my youngest son sent a photo to my phone of the jigsaw completed.

A few days later I phoned him to arrange calling round with his birthday card and gift as his birthday is in the first week of January. I mentioned the jigsaw and he said that it wasn’t enjoyable but just really frustrating. He said they couldn’t give in without completing it but that it drove them nuts.

A few days later I called round with the birthday card and gift and I showed them the photo on my phone of the vintage cars jigsaw. My son gave me the brussel sprout jigsaw and said that he would bet that it was much more difficult than the car puzzle despite only having a hundred pieces.

As soon as I got back home I made a start on the jigsaw. The picture was on both sides but one side was shiny and the correct side was matt. There was no picture to follow and the outside edge was not straight but brussel sprouts shaped and of course all the pieces looked the same.

As with any jigsaw I sorted the outside pieces which were larger and curved and I managed to get the outside completed. There was a slight hiccup as not all the pieces fitted together but some just fitted side by side with straight or angled edges.

I then started to try to get the middle fitted and soon realised what my son meant. It says on the jigsaw that it is dastardly difficult and it certainly was!

Dastardly difficult brussel sprouts jigsaw
Pieces emptied onto a tray

The outside edge is completed
Very slow progress

This was as far as I could get on the first day and it took as long to find the few inside pieces as it did to complete the outside. I had to give up for now.

I came back to the jigsaw the next day.

A bit more done

At this point I just couldn’t seem to progress. I was very close to giving up. A lot of the pieces are the same shape so they fit but you just know they are not right. It was a lot of trial and error. At this point I knew exactly what my son meant about it being frustrating rather than enjoyable.

Whereas with the car jigsaw we looked forward to continuing with it this one just made me frustrated and I wanted to give up but I hate giving up. I also felt that if my son could do it then I could do it. I kept walking away and then returning to have another go.

Progress still very slow
Getting there now

At this point I knew that I could finish it. I was amazed at how difficult it was even this far along.

Completed at last

Hurrah! I was so pleased to have got it finished. That is definitely the most annoying jigsaw that I have ever done. I look forward to the next jigsaw being more fun. This one wasn’t fun it was just a challenge that I couldn’t give up on.

I never want to see this brussel sprout jigsaw again!

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Christmas jigsaw

By “Christmas jigsaw” I mean that the jigsaw was a Christmas gift to my husband from his youngest son. It was very well chosen as it depicts vintage cars. It has a thousand pieces.

My husband decided we should have a go at it on the day before New Year’s Eve. It soon became very addictive. It was also very satisfying as it progressed.

The first day we got the edges completed. This took several goes through every piece in the box to find all the straight edges. We were very pleased with ourselves when we completed the edge and I took a photograph.

We spent a couple of hours together doing the jigsaw every afternoon. As I said it became very addictive. It took us five days to complete and I took a photograph each day at the end of our session.

First we did the easiest parts which was the body work on the different coloured cars. Once we had completed most of the colourful parts it became much more difficult as the windscreens were all a similar colour and the tyres and the background were all black or dark.

There were also quite a few red cars so it became difficult finding the right red pieces for the right car. At this point it slowed down and towards the end it speeded up again. The dark background was really difficult until that was all that was left. It then became a task of using the shape of each piece to find where it fitted.

We were immensely pleased with ourselves when we completed it and it is still sitting on our dining table as we can’t bear to break it up yet.

Jigsaw started on day one


Day two

Day three
Day four

Completed on day five


We have really enjoyed this jigsaw. It reminded us that that there are a couple more jigsaws in the cupboard from previous Christmases that had been forgotten about.

We will now get them out and do them. One has five hundred pieces and one has seven hundred and fifty pieces. Bring on the next jigsaw.

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Happy New Year

We went to a New Year’s Eve party with our allotment friends and their neighbours. It was such a fun party. They had amazing fireworks and we all sang and danced our way through until one o’clock this morning. It was so much fun.

I gave the girls a fish treat again this morning and I thought it would be a good start to the year to get a photo of them together. Speckles had other ideas though.

Speckles was having such a lovely dust bath that she couldn’t be tempted to leave it for some fish.

The girls are enjoying their fish treat

Speckles is enjoying a lovely dust bath


Speckles isn’t tempted by fish to leave her dust bath

It was good to see the girls enjoying their fish but it was especially good to see Speckles enjoying a dust bath. Speckles caught up with the fish later in the day.

Happy New Year to everyone.

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End of year egg count

It’s been a sad year for losses in the chicken run this year. We have lost five girls and now have a flock of seven. This makes it difficult to do a monthly average of eggs so I am just going to give the egg totals for each girl and the overall total.

Smoke has been broody for eight days and today she has stayed out in the run all day so I think she is through it now. This is quite quick for her but I think that may be due to the time of year.

However as the girls always take a couple of weeks after being broody before starting to lay again Smoke won’t start laying for a while. This means I can do my end of year egg count now.

The total eggs laid this year was 791. This was quite a lot more than last year ( 431 ) but was due to having a bigger flock for a while.

I will start with the girls that we have lost.

We lost Dandelion on 13/4/19. Dandelion had laid 8 eggs.

We lost Sienna on 25/4/19. Sienna laid only one tiny “first egg” and then never laid again. It turned out that she had a heart problem and this explains why she never laid.

We lost Vanilla on 4/9/19. Vanilla had laid 65 eggs.

We lost Cinnamon on 3/10/19. Cinnamon had laid 28 eggs.

We lost Jasmine on 28/10/19. Jasmine had laid 65 eggs.

Now on to the girls that we have remaining in the flock.

Speckles who is our elderly girl laid 6 eggs. Speckles laid 1 egg in March and 5 eggs in June. We were surprised when she started laying again. It wouldn’t surprise me if she didn’t lay next year but you never know. I wouldn’t predict more than 3 if she follows her trend of recent years.

Ebony laid 153 eggs and is our top layer. This is despite having some long broody spells.

Flame laid 114 eggs and had more broody spells than Ebony.

Salmon laid 60 eggs. Salmon has never gone broody.

Spangle laid 67 eggs and has also never gone broody.

Marmite laid 117 eggs and often went broody.

Smoke laid 118 eggs and she too often went broody.

This clearly shows that it is the best layers that go broody. Salmon and Spangle have never gone broody and have only laid about half the number of eggs of Marmite and Smoke who are frequent broodies.

Just imagine how many eggs Marmite and Smoke would lay if they didn’t go broody. Although it actually doesn’t work like that because it is good egg layers that go broody as they quickly lay enough to make up a clutch. The erratic egg layers don’t lay enough to make up a clutch in time to brood them.

I actually prefer the girls to lay less eggs and not go broody but of course we don’t get a choice about that with the breeds that we have.

My hope for the New Year, within the flock, is that we don’t have any more losses and manage to stay stable for a while. I am happier that I am now armed with tylan but of course with these girls we never know what may be coming next.

I am also aware that Speckles age means that I have to be prepared for her to go but she seems very well so I am hopeful that our creaking gate will continue to creak for a while yet.

Salmon is my other concern as she still has her wheeze. She seems well other than that though so I am hopeful that she may eventually stop wheezing. We can only hope for the best and I look forward to egg laying resuming in the New Year.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a Happy New Year.

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