With doing my posts. We have had our American exchange visitors staying with us for a better part of a week and so I have been out and about with them, the other exchange visitors and hosts. We have had a really fun time they were such a lovely group of people. we did quite a lot of entertaining and I got to see a couple of local sites I had not been privy to previously and learnt lots of local history. Only other thing is – I have withdrawl symptoms; I have not drawn or painted for days! The weather was pretty good for our visitors so they could see our countryside at its best. Apart from the first morning when GOS and I took our two guests up the Wye valley for a little site seeing. It had rained very heavily in the night and the cloud was very low producing a thick “celtic mist” to shroud the views. It was very atmospheric when we had a short walk, glimpsing tantalizing views of the river below from our steep hillside vantage point, but we got extremely wet from the water on the long grass and bracken. However, our guests were also country people and took the wetting in good part and had come well prepared. It now seems very quiet without them as they have all traveled on to the next leg of their UK visit.
One of the highlights of the visit was a working sheepdog demonstration by the friend I mentioned a couple of weeks ago. He ran a couple of the young dogs he in the process of training at the moment. The younger of the dogs although only 15 months old and only having been in training for three months was already really good and it was amazing to watch the enthusiasm with which she worked. The first command he teaches a dog is the “stop”. She was down instantly on spoken command and didn’t move a muscle until sent on. Collies are such intelligent animals- blessed (or not depending on your point of view) with boundless energy!
Another breed of dog with tremendous energy levels and not for the feint hearted is the English Springer Spaniel. I have known several in the past. Another breed that really needs work. Our friends in Suffolk have extremely well trained, working dogs who have several miles walking twice a day to keep them occupied. They are trained to a “dog whistle” and each has his own pitch whistle for commands. However GOS’ parents had one as a house dog, with limited excercise; it was a nightmare. It became very destructive in the garden, ended up going for the postman and having to be put down.
One of my mates, knowing I was having visitors, suggested I have some of her victoria plums for a pudding. So I duly went over to her farm a few days before the visitors came to pick some. I don’t think I have seen such a young tree so laden with fruit. It was literally groaning with the weight of plums. They were lovely plums and not at all wasp damaged. So a lovely plum crumble with cream was on the menu. We seem to have seen very few wasps altogether this summer. We have had very few in the house. Usually we get a lot and most years have to get rid of a nest somewhere in or near to the house; this is quite a performance. The first time himself tackled the problem the children and I were nearly sick with laughter. We laughed so much we were crying. On this particular occasion wasps had constructed a nest in a bush on the edge of the lawn. One of those beautiful delicate paper balloons. We only realized it was there when GOS was mowing grass one day and disturbed them. So off then to the local hardware shop to purchase “wasp spray”. This was a thick foam that is sprayed over the whole nest at dusk to kill the wasps over night. There were warnings on the can about adequate protective clothing and himself was also worried about angry wasps that might not yet be tucked up in bed in the nest or who might shoot out at him whilst he was in the process of spraying the nest. So our gallant hero donned his heavy water proof trousers, thickest coat, heavy leather, work gloves and a a large paper carrier bag was placed over his head (with small eye holes cut into to it for vision) so wasps could not get entangled in his hair. Thus clad, we watched from the safety of the garden wall, as he strode purposefully towards “the bush” clutching his small can of spray looking a bit like a demented robot. A scene never to be forgotten. I think that spray has been banned by the EU now – along with a lot of other things!
Don’t get me started on the EU and “hoovers” . . . . . . . perhaps we can alter that ruling post Brexit. . . . .