Monday, 9 November 2009
Big bangs, films, Lego art, dressage, a clean mobile phone and the cat that caught the rat!
Saturday night was just perfect for our barbeque, bonfire and big bangs get-together at our home. After all the rain we'd been having these last few days I was worried that the steadily growing piles of garden twigs and burnable clippings would be too wet or damp to get the bonfire going. We were lucky, the fire flared up beautifully and kept us all warm while standing outside enjoying grub from the bbq, mugs of delicious vegetable soup, and of course whilst watching the fireworks. After, we toasted marshmallows over the embers and the children enjoyed holding pretty sparklers. Thank you to our friends, neighbour and family for coming over to ours, it was lovely to spend time together and have some fun.
Katie and Ben spent alot of time last week making stop-animation films which they've put up on their You Tube accounts. This time they experimented with adding sound effects, which really made the films come to life.
You can guess whose film is whose!
We came across Lego Art a few months ago but I'd forgotten to show the children the online masterpieces until last week. Ben immediately decided to have a go and went for one of our art books for inspiration. He actually chose a photograph of the Statue of Liberty in the end, but copied it very well with Lego.
Katie discovered an online dressage competition which she decided to enter riding AJ. The dressage tests are not the same as the ones used by British Dressage, but are quite similar and only used by Interdressage (as far as I'm aware). She learnt the test she decided to ride and practised it a couple of times before I filmed it ready for sending in. Obviously doing things this way is far better for those that get nervous at proper dressage competitions as you can do the test as many times as they like before sending in a version they you're completely happy with. With this in mind (and the fact that the judge (a proper British Dressage judge) can only mark watching the video and therefore won't see as much in detail as she/he would watching a proper test), the marks do seem to be higher than normal. Katie's class so far has 36 entries (it closes on the 11th), and she's scored a fabulous 71.8% and is 7th. She's very chuffed to say the least. Here's her video of the test:
Also, yesterday she took part in her second of four riding school Accumulator Dressage tests riding Icy. You may remember that in her last test she was quite disappointed, having practised and practised so much, to receive 45 (odd)% which was quite low. This time, she received a respectable 56 (odd)% and came 4th out of 10. The judge this time seemed much nicer and wrote some lovely encouraging comments on her test sheet.
I was devastated to find I'd washed my lovely pink mobile phone in the washing machine last week. I'd hastily stuffed one of AJs rugs, his four very muddy boots and my stinky stable jacket in the washing machine once we'd got in from the stables so I could catch as much of the warmish weather left of the day to help dry them outside. I kept hearing a heavy clunking sound going round and round in the machine, but I didn't think anymore about it, what it could be or anything. Imagine my horror when my phone tumbled out with the clean washing! It had been in my coat pocket all that time. We dried it out for the best part of a week in the airing cupboard and I was stunned to see it work OK after this time. It wasn't holding its charge particularly well, so I bought a new battery for it. Sadly this didn't seem to do the trick, and the phone became very temperamental about actually turning on in the mornings. I had to give in and buy a new phone, which, I must admit, is always an exciting event! Not one to spend huge amounts on mobile phones (for obvious reasons, like putting in the washing machine!!!), I found a fab one in Tesco which was reduced from a large price to a fairly decent one, with free delivery and added bonus of £5 free voucher which I used too. It's a great Sony Ericsson Walkman one, and I LOVE it - it looks very pretty, dark grey with lovely purple lighting.
I didn't blog about Poppy, the rat, having her huge lump removed from above her front left leg - this was very soon after our holiday. The vet was absolutely amazing, the work she put in the save the leg was truly remarkable. From the start, she openly admitted that Poppy may not survive the operation, not only because of the anesthetic, but because of the enormity of the whole thing. Poppy had been carting this lump around with her, tucking it underneath whenever she walked, and then to suddenly not have it must have really thrown up off balance. She was a different animal after the op., relieved probably, and raring to go! The vet asked us to discourage her from climbing, which was more-or-less impossible, as she'd had to do a patch up job to save the leg. Stitching on the outside, glue under the skin and mini skin grafts too, all for a tiny little rat.
Anyway, Poppy progressed really well and was so much happier. The vet would see her once a week and marvel at her handy work! Last weekend we noticed she wasn't as spritely as before and she wasn't able to use her newly constructed leg as well as she had been. It turned out to simply be that the stitching was too tight and probably painful. A few snips here and there and she was back to normal. This weekend - disaster. Katie was getting the rats out of their cage for a spot of TV watching (!) when Pepper, the young cat, slipped into her bedroom and much to his surprise, found Poppy on the floor where she'd just taken a bit of a tumble from Katie's arm (her balance isn't as good as it was). Naturally a perfect prey for Pepper, he grabbed her by his teeth and wouldn't let go. Much angst from the human side of the family got things sorted as quickly as possible with a much shaken Poppy and Pepper going off with his tail between his legs. Poppy survived the night (we didn't think she would), but has lost the majority of use of her two front legs. The vet doesn't hold out much hope and there's only so much "stuff" you can pump into a little body to keep her going. We're having to feed her ourselves at the moment as she can't hold any food in her front paws - a very time consuming business, but we love her to bits and will obviously continue to do it for as long as we need to. Back to the vets this afternoon - I'll post the verdict.