Sunday, 28 July 2013

The end is nigh...

A girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do!
... the end of my forties that is.  Ten days from now, on the 7th of August (at precisely 9.50 a.m.), I shall turn 50. Part of me intended to ignore the forthcoming birthday and let it pass in a blur of self-denial and oblivion. However, the arrival of an NHS-stamped envelope on Friday morning soon put paid to that notion. Inside I read the glad tidings that I would soon be receiving in the post what can only be described as a cardboard human pooper scooper. Undeniable proof (if any were needed, in addition to the steadily widening girth, greying locks - for which Son+Heir bears sole responsibility - and encroaching wrinkles) that I am officially approaching middle age.  And for any of you who are thinking “hmmph, more like old age!”, I have one thing to say to you: now that the experts are forecasting hosts of people living until they’re one hundred, fifty is most definitely the start of middle age!

As anyone who has been following this blog for a while will know, HunterGatherer failed miserably to deal with his cardboard contraption last year (see previous Ignore the Cardboard Boxes at Your Peril post); in fact it is still lying around the house somewhere. Or at least bits of it are... Having nagged him regularly to do the necessary, it would be remiss - nay hypocritical - of me not to do so myself, so I am now patiently awaiting the arrival of my bijou pooper scooper pack.  At any rate, from what I’ve read in the informative leaflet thoughtfully provided by the NHS, catching bowel cancer early is pretty darned important – and that seems like one very good reason for me to continue nagging HG!

Fortunately, all is not doom and gloom on the birthday front, as my wonderful mum (aka Supergran) has invited me for a celebratory lunch on the 7th. We are to be returning to her home village of Muthill, in Perthshire, to visit the imaginatively entitled Barley Bree, recently crowned Scottish Restaurant of the Year. For self-confessed “gourmand” Yours Truly (the more observant of you may have noticed that it’s gone rather quiet on the “get fit and not fat for fifty” campaign recently...), the prospect of a luxury luncheon is simply the best present ever.  You can be sure that I shall be reporting back on the said meal in my next blog post, so watch this space...

And talking of things culinary, the return of the rains (that “s” was intentional, by the way) to this temporarily parched part of Scotland has led to a flurry of foliage at the Sparrowholding – sadly most of it being foliage that we have no wish to see. Our long-suffering rhubarb plant, Ruby, disappeared almost overnight under a mat of couch grass and chickweed, as indeed did much of the outside veggie plot. And with HG and I either flat out in a farm workshop (he’s spending a lot of time underneath a forage harvester at the moment) or glued to the computer screen, we are powerless to fight the triffid-like invasion. Still, on a slightly positive note, the stalwart survivors from our two rows of pea plants - which were mercilessly pecked by thieving pigeons - have rallied slightly. Better still, a whole crop of "rogue" potatoes has sprouted up unbidden in the area which HG had technically left fallow this year, so (blight notwithstanding) we'll have some maincrop potatoes when we've finished the earlies from the polytunnel. 

Poor Ruby the rhubarb plant is almost hidden by weeds
Paltry pea crop thanks to pesky pecking pigeons
Meanwhile the lawn has been under attack, too – by invaders furry rather than phyto.  I struggle to know how to feel towards these handsome (see photo) subterranean interlopers, who are fascinating and frustrating in equal measure. 

Following the mole trail...
But doesn't he have such a lovely black coat?
As for the equine and ovine creatures inhabiting the Sparrowholding, they were rather glad to bid farewell to the relentless sunshine, as they were finding things a tad hot outside. FatHorse, it has to be said, is not enjoying being in her starvation paddock for the summer, but the bitter pill has been sweetened somewhat by the arrival of two companions, as a neighbour’s ponies are visiting for their summer hols.  So while the neighbour's non-native horse gloats smugly on the other side of the electric fence (where the grass grows long and comparatively lush), FatHorse and the miniature Shetland  - both of whom would be quick to go off their legs otherwise – are suffering in dignified silence in their modest, buttercup-filled corner of the field.  Come to think of it, after the forthcoming birthday celebrations, Yours Truly may well have to head to the starvation paddock to join them!

Lazing on a Sunday afternoon...


  1. Barley Bree is where I celebrated my 50th too Karen - fab! Enjoy.

    1. Many thanks, Shirley - we're really looking forward to it, as I've heard so many good things about the restaurant :-) I shall report back in due course!

  2. If 50 marks the start of being middle-aged, does that mean that (despite turning 40 this week) I will still be young???

    Enjoy your birthday meal! The restaurant looks fantastic, I just googled it. Make sure you take lots of photos to show us.

    1. Just saw your comment now for some reason! Thanks for it (bit late, I know!) and luckily I did indeed post some photos of the meal :-)

  3. We may be living at opposite ends of the map but I'm telling you now; we're living the same life. I look forward to my pooper scooper in just over 2 years! Yummy.

    1. Just saw this message now, Lou, so apologies for delay in responding! The pooper scooper has come and gone, and I can report that it was fairly easy to operate - certainly worth the peace of mind that the subsequent "negative" result brought. Woop woop!