12 April 2015


Hello from the Dartmoor stranger. So much has happened and when I've posted, I always think of the things I didn't tell you about. A lot can happen in two weeks. One VERY important thing is that my glucose meter is here at last. It is, as I hoped, completely life changing. I can scan my arm, which has a strange looking white plastic disc stuck to it, any time; OB even scans me while I'm driving which is a massive relief as I felt so vulnerable in the past and would often have pulled over to do a blood test, which was very inconvenient. I discovered that the reason the National Health won't pay for it is that is has yet to be passed as okay by NICE. Once it has, it has the possibility to reduce complications in many, many cases, saving the NHS millions for a very modest outlay. Sounds sensible doesn't it? If it's sensible, there's a strong possibility it won't happen.

Right, on with some photos. I saw the first foal a couple of days ago. First for me and for its mother who I remember as a foal herself about four years ago.....very distinctive hair. 

The March bits and pieces start with a series of the Golden Plover flock who are in their breeding colours now. I've never seen them like this here before:

One of our resident Buzzard's in flight:

Meadow Pipits of course:

As the crow flies:

I was going to call this post 'Home Birds' last week but had to put it off as time ran away with me and other things came up. All these were in the garden, which, incidentally, has changed a lot today. I've been re-modelling an area under the very lovely inherited Acer under which absolutely nothing will grow, including grass. I've scraped off an inch of top-soil today...well more like rubble mixed with the clay from the failed turf we laid a few optimistic years ago....and covered it with the chipped wood from the beech limb that you may remember collapsed a few years ago. Thank you kind neighbours for the donation. It would have cost a FORTUNE to buy it for such a big area. I can't tell you how much I ache!

The Nuthatches are definitely nesting in our box, which is fixed to the side of OB's play house up on stilts. We were having lunch in there the other day and the birds were tapping away with the clods of mud they kept bringing in. Here's one of them in the tree waiting for me to vacate the area:

Sparrow's bum:

Male Chaffinch with a beauty spot:

Female Chaffinch in the rain:

Thrush -0 not brilliant but all I could get; they so rarely come to the feeder:

Blue Tit:

I have tried and tried to get a shot of the Nuthatches feeding that isn't blurred, but they're so busy frantically chucking out all but the Niger seeds from the feeder that I have failed:

Then they turn their backs on me:

I'm not sure if this is a deformation of this Chaffinch's foot or something stuck to it. I've blown it up but still can't tell. He seemed fine but the weight of it must be wearing....update.....CT tells me what it has is 'bumblefoot'; what a brilliant name. Not a brilliant thing to have though. Thanks CT:

What's this one looking at I wonder?

Trigger's winter coat is falling out rapidly:

Jack's remote control spray collar has not been a success. When it works, it's brilliant, but it doesn't always work so you can never be sure whether he's ignoring it or whether it's malfunctioning. I rang the manufacturers and they're sending a replacement.....

It doesn't seem to hinder his athleticism: 

Cobweb on a frosty morning:

A sea of mist:

Moon above that Frosty morning:

And the sun in the East:

So, I started writing this on Thursday and it's now Sunday. Can I publish tonight? I'll try my best.....

Other news........OB managed to suppress his tics for over 12 hours a couple of days ago. Amazing. He was completely exhausted from it but what an achievement. We've dubbed it a temporary cure on the basis that he can, to all intents and purposes, appear to be without it when he needs to. We tested it out at the cinema last week watching 'Home' (I fell asleep; a very expensive snooze), and he made it through with no tics AND enjoyed the film. He went surfing for the first time on Easter Monday and stood up almost every time. Pictures next time. The dogs had a fabulous time too. 

Although Jack's frenetic barking at the fence continues in the absence of the spray collar, at least I managed to stop him escaping from the garden with some strategically placed roof tiles amongst my hastily constructed but ineffectual palisade on top of the wall. Phew - something is working. 

The Easter holiday is over from tomorrow, so I might possibly get  more done. However, my mum is taking more and more of my time as her health deteriorates and I'm very behind with the painting next door. I'm under pressure to finish so..........until next time, here are the dogs, one of whom seriously needs that haircut and the other is wearing his useless collar in a very heavy frost for the time of year. Have a great week....or two. Miss you all!

24 March 2015

BLOG #251

Oh my goodness..........I feel like I've been trying to write this for weeks and I can't think of a witty, pithy or even informative title so hence the number. Sorry. Where is the time going? Since we last 'spoke', OB has had his 11th birthday and his tic suppression exercises from Great Ormond Street have been all consuming. His progression has been amazingly speedy, thanks to that young sponge of a brain no doubt, but it can take up all our spare time. The longer he does it for, the less time there is for anything else and he's been doing some incredible times; some over an hour. Also, I seem to be plagued with things not working which then need sorting out with emails or phone calls. Jack's spray collar malfunctioned after one use and, having had a very snotty email from the company I bought it from which was totally uncalled for; I was extremely polite suggesting that the fact that the box had obviously been previously opened was unacceptable, I then got through to the manufacturers. A lovely woman there told me to whack it on the table and stick a biro in the nozzle. Job done. Let's hope it has an effect now....

I saw the specialist diabetic nurse at the hospital last week, who was absolutely lovely and ordered me some new insulin pens on which I can dial up half units. This will be really helpful as someone who is, as she put it, very insulin sensitive. They also have a digital readout on the end that tells you what you last injected and how long ago it was. This may sound unnecessary but I quite often go into ground hog day mode and can't remember if I've injected or not. So, even if I don't get the pump I want, at least I now have some jaunty red pens. This morning I was able to order the blood glucose monitoring system I've been waiting for since December. Yesterday the company's computer system crashed with the huge volume of us trying to place our orders! Very excited. Will report back as to how it's going. 

Right, some photos. Mrs Woodpecker is much less shy than her male partner and has let me get quite close to the window to photograph her. Isn't she beautiful?

I've had a few encounters with the beautiful dun pony over the last few weeks. She comes straight up to me and definitely wants attention. I'm wondering if she might have been abandoned; there are no other ponies like her and she suddenly appeared with a group I know well. I've never seen a dun coloured pony in this area. There's nothing more engaging that an animal who seeks out your attention and I'd love to pop her in my pocket and take her home. 

A couple of last year's foals checking out the dogs:

Two of the three sisters:

Sheltering from the wind:

When I was talking to our local Peregrine expert after my sighting, I asked if they would take a Golden Plover because I keep finding feathers in the area where I often photograph them. He said they definitely would and that they would leave feathers intact rather than crushing them as a fox might. I often find wing feathers, which are nice, but fairly ordinary. These, however, are the tiny ones that make up the stunning triangle markings on their breasts. I took them home.

Meadow Pipits turning their backs on me:

An unusually lone Starling which was just sitting in the grass:

Wood Pigeon preening:

Jack being Jack:

I love the colours in this one, even if it is just a rock. Kestor is in the distance out of focus:

It's been slightly foggy recently, particularly around the time of the eclipse, and the light has been beautiful through it. 

Last Friday swailing took place just outside our hamlet and up and around Kestor. The next morning the ponies and sheep were on it looking for new shoots. It stank for days.

On Friday we also found out that, despite hours and hours of form filling, Devon County Council have refused our request for a Statutory Assessment for OB. Everyone is pretty disappointed after so much hard work but we have to move forward and hope that his secondary school can provide what he needs within a non-statutory framework. God - I'm starting to sound like them. I have high hopes of the school and we CAN reapply if things don't work out, but it's definitely a set back. We'll keep fighting.....

So, until next time here are the boys, one of whom will be back in training today. Have a lovely week and I'm off to try and catch up with some of your blogs....a rare treat!