Monday Méli-Mélo (mish-mash)

(In other words, manhandling llamas, meetings, more blogging and magazine organising.)

Well, we got the rest of the herd dealt with today, which was a nice surprise. Plunkett didn’t like having his nails cut at all, but he didn’t even think about spitting at us. Llamas and alpacas will spit merrily at each other all day, but very rarely at people, and never without good cause. They’re awesomely good natured. And nosey. The fact all the girls came up to see what we were doing to Plunkett meant that we were able to grab them one by one to be vaccinated and toenail-trimmed too.

I’ve been busy on my Books Are Cool site, getting some book reviews up and organising the section about my books a little better. I’ve changed the template (OK, I got Chris to do it since that sort of thing is sadly beyond me) and it’s more user-friendly. We still need to change the photo at the top. Pretty as it is, I need something book related.

I had another Nouzerines Comité des Fêtes meeting Saturday night. Being a ‘membre actif’ is rather more active than I thought. However, it’s fascinating to get an insight into French village life. There’s more going in within Nouzerines’ small community than I’d ever imagined! Our first event is a jazz concert this coming Friday. The New Washboard Band is very popular around here.

I’ll be putting chairs out on Friday evening, making a cake to contribute towards the refreshments, and tidying up chairs afterwards. Active enough, I think. The meeting went on for ages. I’d cycled down at 8 o’clock since it was still daylight, but of course it was pitch black when I managed to escape at 10, before things had finished. I only had a feeble back light, but it’s quiet round here, to put it mildly.  However, I wasn’t popular as everyone had been worried about me. Caiti had been up to the gate to look for me. So my teenagers do know I exist after all! That’s nice.

Knitting blog week is over, but the organising blog activities are still ongoing. This week’s challenge from www.orgjunkie.com is to deal with magazine backlogs. I have one of those with a difference. I have hundreds of copies of very old magazines and papers, some of them well over a hundred years old.

Just a very few of the magazines

I can’t throw these out, obviously, but at present they’re languishing and deteriorating in the barn. My best idea is to sort them, sack and label them and move them into a corner of the loft for safer keeping. I hope to use some of them in future blogs as they are a wealth of interest and information.

Unstuck thanks to cheap cologne!

I was in a tidying-up mood this morning. It’s been a crazy week, with things starting to get out of control, so I felt the need to do some organising and feel a bit more in charge.

First up I made each of the five of us a tidy pot. I used the chunky plastic hot-chocolate powder containers that the French love so much. I do wish the manufacturers would use something a lot more eco-friendly, but it seems they’re compulsory. So I reuse all mine – as containers for food to go into the freezer, as jam and chutney receptacles, and now as tidy pots.

So what’s a tidy pot? Well, during  the week, when I tread on a stray piece of Ruadhri’s Lego, or find coins and nails in the pocket of a pair of Chris’s trousers that I’m about to wash, or simply happen across something of Caiti’s where it shouldn’t be – I will tidy it temporarily into the relevant pot. Then, every few days each person will empty their pot out and tidy the things away properly. I’ve made a pot for me too so I have to tidy up after myself too.

Now, it nearly all went badly wrong. My first design idea for eldest son Benj’s pot was to stick some old CDs on it. So I got out the superglue – and very quickly afterwards I had the tube firmly attached to my thumb. Oops. I’ve never been very good with superglue, which is why I recently bought a tube of the dissolver stuff for it to keep handy.  But could I find it today? Nope. However, luckily I’m married to a scientist, who grabbed the bottle of very cheap eau de cologne we keep in the bathroom (Simply Market’s best!), poured some into a cup and got me to soak my thumb in it. He cut away as much of the glue tube as he could so there was only the part that was superglued to me left. It didn’t take too long for the cologne to solve the problem – or rather dissolve it. The ethanol in it did the trick so I was soon able to wiggle the last bit of tube off. Lesson learned – actually two. Don’t let me anywhere near superglue ever again, and always keep cheap cologne in the house!

The CD design that got me all stuck up, and the bottle of cologne that saved my bacon!

After this disconcerting episode, I opted for knitted covers for the tidy pots – so much safer. Caiti made the the stripy one, and I did the others. They’re all my own designs, apart from the monster foot one. I got that pattern from Yarn Bombing by Mandy More and Leanne Prain.

And I didn’t stop there. I made a start on organising my llama and alpaca records a bit better. I invested in some chemises (literally ‘shirts’), simple cardboard folders that you can slip documents into. I’ve stuck a photo of each animal on the front, and inside will go their registration documents, medical records, receipts, wool analyses – anything that’s relevant. The chemises come in different colours, so I’m using blue for male llamas, green for male alpacas, yellow for Mellie and Kiera, the two alpaca females, and red and orange for the llama girl gang. Up to now I’ve tended to store a lot of the information in my head, and shove all the paperwork into one big file. That definitely needed improving on, and I think I have.

Some of you might recognise Victoria on the cover of the orange file in the photo. I wrote about her birth in my blog here. (And Georgie’s high-speed birth is here.)

Finally, more cranes have been flying over the house today heading north. It’s the first day of spring according to the calendar, and it looks like the cranes agree. Hooray!