Isle of Sheppey

We decided that today would be a good day to take the little fat chaffinch to the seaside. The first of many trips I hope. Not sure the Isle of Sheppey was the most picturesque choice but it was good to get out of London.

The little cafe pictured below surprised us with it’s completely original interior, lovely service and an absolutely smashing mug of tea! Perfect to wash down our Gypsy Tart and Bread Pudding.

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Little fat chaffinch

first slippers

Its been a while since I updated my blog.

Why?

Our very own little fat chaffinch was born seven weeks ago and life has changed considerably.  My what an impact such a small person can make onto a rather settled household that used to like nothing more than lazy mornings listening to radio 4 and afternoons hanging out with the chooks (when I wasn’t at work of course).  Now my days are filled with a cycle of 2-3 hourly feeds, endless amounts of washing and the need for long afternoon walks to avoid the trap of daytime TV (although I confess I haven’t managed to escape the lure of the ‘Real Housewives of New Jersey’ much to my shame!)

I’ve been thinking muchly about my blog.  My daily life has now opened up in many ways since looking after our little fat chaffinch and I intend to use my years maternity leave to try to do the things I always complain I never have time for.  So this is my list of things to achieve for the coming year:

  • visit all of the major museums/art galleries in London – National Gallery, National Portrait Gallery, the Victoria & Albert Museum, the Wellcome Museum to name a few.
  • to make at least two patchwork quilts using the fabrics I’ve been stashing away over the past few years for this very purpose
  • to focus on our new allotment (more on this in a later post) and create a space for me and the little fat chaffinch to enjoy
  • to visit the seashell grotto in Margate
  • to be able to make a decent and edible loaf of bread!

I’m not sure how realistic this is considering my time is no longer solely my own but I’m keen to enjoy this coming year with the little fat chaffinch as much as possible.

My name is Lola and I am addicted to feathers

Our Myrtle and our Hetty both had perfect plumage until we were given a chicken by the name of Lola earlier this year.  Lola is a lovely chicken, very chatty and excitable but she has one habit which I’m struggling to keep on top of; feather plucking.  Sadly as the days get shorter this habit seems to be getting worse.

Poor Myrtle:

And this is Hetty – not as bad as Myrtle but a big bald patch nonetheless:

And the chicken with the perfect plumage is of course, Lola:

I have tried all sorts to try to change Lola’s behaviour; anti-feather pecking spray, as well as hanging things in the run to try to distract her from feather plucking

I have two of these vegetable hanging things – one above the coop (so they have to fly up on top of their hen house to get it) as well as one just above their head height and also a boredom buster seed hanging block.  These are all helping but as you can see from the handful of feathers I pulled out of the coop this morning the plucking (read battle!) continues.

 

 

The London Cheesecake

London Cheesecake

Definitely no jam layer

I recently discovered that our local bakery sells what is now called a ‘London Cheesecake’ but which I only ever knew as a cheesecake growing up.  Why its called a cheesecake I have no idea as its never seen a piece of cheese.  Its basically a cake made of puff pastry and topped with icing and coconut shreds.  These were one of my favourite treats as a kid so I thought I’d try one again.  Not sure if I liked it or not.  I always remember there being a layer of jam but there was no jam layer in this one so perhaps this was just wishful thinking on my part.  Still, it was good to see that they haven’t disappeared from London altogether.  I might continue to buy one every now and then just to keep them going!

Is it just me?

The days are so much shorter now and I do worry a little about the chooks – will they be bored cooped up in their run for longer periods?  How can I supplement their diet to make sure they’re getting everything they need (they’ve been happy with everything I’ve tried so far – cooked brown rice, sultanas, celery sticks, windfall apples, tomatoes and the odd handful of mealy worms to keep their protein levels up).  However, it had never crossed my mind, not once, that what they might really need is a high visibility vest.

High-Vis Chicken Jacket

please note this image was taken from the article mentioned above!

Whilst I can’t vouch for the usefulness or the chicken hi-vis what I can recommend is the following product that I bought for our chicken feeder.

Its a simple rain cover that stops the rain reaching the food within the feeder.  I can honestly say that for a product that cost about a fiver (£5) it has paid for itself four or five times over by preventing their pellets from getting spoiled by the weather.  I’d definitely recommend this!

More art by Phlegm

On our way to my new favourite eatery  (honestly they serve the best vegetarian pie and mash I’ve ever had!) I was very happy to see some artwork by the street artist Phlegm.  This work is on the back of the Queen Elizabeth Hall on London’s Southbank.

NB:  for those of you that are interested you’ll find London’s best vegetarian pie and mash (according to me) at Canteen.

Bats & Meteors

Perseid 2013

NB:  This image is taken from the Metro newspaper UK.

So insomnia isn’t always a terrible thing (well that’s not strictly true) but last night I did manage to catch the Perseids meteor shower because of my inability to sleep.  And it was fabulous!  In between meteors the local bats flitted around our garden to keep me company.  An experience definitely worth the uncontrollable yawning that I had to live with today.