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Posts tagged ‘her goatiness’

Strictly scruple-free zone

If you’d asked me three months ago whether we’d leave Port Underwood, I would have said, “What? Eh? Sorry, I- I don’t understand the question. Why would we want to move? We love it here! There’s FISH!”

Of course we had discussed plans should we be fortunate enough to achieve extreme gestation. Husband and I were fully agreed that Port Underwood was an IDEAL location in which to nurture a baby with its abundance of natural beauty to nourish a child’s soul and herds of feral goats to keep them amused/alert.

Shortly after we got a positive pregnancy test, Andrew left me in the unsafe if not downright hazardous hands of his parents during his month-long business trip. While my defenses were low and coated in a thick slime of morning sickness and jittering anxiety, Her Goatiness worked her dark, bovidae magic.

By the time Andrew returned, I had practically purchased a property next-door to The Outlaws.

At least now, when he says, “I came back from Dubai and Niamhie told me we were moving,” I can respond, “Well, it’s your mother’s fault.”

Me? I operate in a strictly scruple-free zone.

The reality of extreme gestation resulted in a cosmic shift in priorities (along with my intestinal system – which is now more of an anarchic revolution).

Although conception involved WAY too many people, there’s no reason the rest of this pregnancy shouldn’t proceed normally (although I have to say that so far, my experience of pregnancy ridicules all previous definitions of ‘normal’). However, we don’t want to take chances given how far we’ve come to get here.

The idea of staring down labour with a 45 minute drive along a gravel road in a car that’s on its last wheels, as driven by Husband ‘Bite Me Schumacher’, is potentially a challenge too far. At least for me, if not Andrew.

Furthermore, we have little to no support here. We love our neighbours (well, I do; Andrew thinks they’re pretty nice and wouldn’t turn down a beer) – but there are only two of them. We see a lot of our landlords, The Mustachioed Muchacho and Hostess With The Mostest; also Sheriff and The Bunqueen down in the bay – but neither couple has children. While they’re thrilled for us, I can’t see myself swapping stories about episiotomies and mucous plugs with them.

What’s that? Why the <expletive deleted> would I want to?

Well, indeed. I’m not quite there yet myself. However, I have been reliably informed by Those Who Know – i.e. former people incubators – that there will come a time when you will beg me to shut up talking about lactation and just pass the parsley sauce, already.

I’m not sure Oamaru would have been our first choice of home, but it seems logical with The Rise of The Asset given the concentration of family, who originally settled there for the, er. Beets?

But even without the imminent arrival of The Asset, we would have had to consider moving on. Although we live in the most stunning location, we are on the bones of our arse at the end of each month. I recycle tinfoil and gladwrap; Andrew’s not allowed soap because HAVE YOU SEEN HOW MUCH THAT STUFF COSTS? RUB YOURSELF WITH A ROCK FFS.

I am admittedly privileged that my definition of abject poverty is being unable to afford maple syrup IT’S A TRAGEDY. Just as well, because we’re not close enough to rob anyone to fund my P addiction.

This situation has much to do with the exchange rate, since all our income is in US$. Every month for about two years, we’ve consoled ourselves: “At least the exchange rate can’t get any worse”. We’ve tried putting a positive spin on it – “The exchange rate HAS to get better”, but optimism hasn’t been effective either. Moving will significantly cut many of our costs.

Much to my surprise, after three years seeking privacy and seclusion, I’m actually looking forward to getting involved in a community again.

I didn’t notice the nuts

“Hope you avoided the bulls,” said Her Goatiness when I returned from my walk.

I paused in the process of unlacing my boot and squinted up at her. “Bulls?” I said. “No, I didn’t see anything. Apart from the two black cows in the paddock below.”

“Black cows? Those were BULLS, Niamhie. Didn’t you notice their nuts?”

Now, I have only recently graduated to the ability to distinguish chickens from goats, never mind determining the sex of livestock. I mean, I’d noticed the cows were a little beefier than the rest of the herd. Good conditioning, I’d thought sagely, congratulating myself on the appropriate application of agricultural jargon.

“Your Goatiness, I’m not some cocky who instinctively checks out an animal’s bollocks,” I said a tad archly. In any case, I generally go out of my way to avoid cows. I hate them: the glazed zombie eyes, the grinding jaws, the udders swinging like wrecking balls. And the way they RUSTLE. Ugh *shiver*.

“Jesus, Niamhie,” said Her Goatiness, “those bulls are seriously dangerous.”

I laughed. I don’t know; perhaps it was a nervous response to having unwittingly stared into the grinding jaws of death.

“I’m not joking! How far away were they?”

“Um. They were beside the gate when I let myself out of the paddock. About ten feet, I suppose.”

Her Goatiness actually went white.

“Jed went over and growled at them. Showed them who’s boss.” Although when one of the bulls lowered his head and wagged it, Jed swiftly ran out of bravado.

“NIAMHIE! They’ll kill him, you know!”

I would have been more touched by her concern if, when I’d started out on my walk, instead of saying, “Have a nice walk,” she’d said, “So you’re going for your usual late-afternoon walk which never varies in its route across the fields to the creek? Watch out for the two black bulls in the lower paddock. I’d avoid it if you wish to maintain your current status as ‘Living’.”

Decorate with dead pigeons

Official duck shooting season commenced yesterday.

The big party to celebrate the opening of duck shooting season was planned for weeks.

The Swine House was decorated with wooden decoys, bales of hay, three dead pigeons (tastefully arranged), a life-size portrait of Daffy Duck and a bushy mai-mai in the corner. There were to be games: Duck Idol, a duck and spoon race, pin the tail on the duck, musical ducks and a duck chucking contest.

Agent of Death had a lamb, a salmon and leg of ham for the barbeque. There were three coolboxes full of wine, spirits and mixers to facilitate interest in the games.

So it was a real shame nobody turned up apart from The Warrior who wasn’t even invited.

In fairness, it had been raining rhinos and witches all afternoon. The Swine House paddock was a quagmire. In fact, ‘quagmire’ doesn’t fully describe the shifting, crawling mess of mud, which – if you stared at it after a couple of vodkas – appeared to advance menacingly in waves.

Being Irish, I wasn’t going to be put off by a touch of inclemency – which in any case was more than compensated for by lashings of alcohol. In case you’re ever invited to the Swine House, appropriate party wear is woolly socks, reliable jackets and extreme beanies rather than stilettos and body glitter.

I attempted to kick off the evening with a vodka & orange, but got off to a shaky start when I mistook Agent of Death’s ham glaze for orange juice. My stepfather in law was so preoccupied laughing – or choking on a lamb shank, it wasn’t certain which – I nearly succeeded in throwing out his glaze in disgust. Agent of Death saved it at the line with a last-dash tackle.

At 8pm, the gathering consisted of the family, Paul, the Kardashian Twins, Barry and his ADHD sons, The Warrior and a couple of his infested friends – enough to stage Duck Idol. Her Goatiness, Florrie and I judged the duck-calling. I don’t know about anyone else, but we had a blast:

“In all my years on the duck scene, I’ve never heard anything so shit. It sounded like the wicked duck of the west. I’m afraid it’s a ‘no’ from me.”

“There’s no doubting your enthusiasm, but you need to project from the diaphragm, not the sphincter. No.”

“You think you can come on here with your skimpy outfit and wiggle your tits around, but here at Duck Idol we’re looking for more. I’m going to vote ‘no’.”

“There’s no doubting your technique, but I just didn’t feel the emotion. To be honest, I just don’t think you’re hungry enough to win this competition.”

As it turns out, Husband demonstrated an extraordinary, previously unsuspected talent for duck calling. His performance was a startlingly original portrayal of a duck-hunter on the edge, a man driven to desperate measures. In a dramatic twist at the end, he mimed fending off a savage duck attack. It was a poignant and heartfelt blend of yearning, urgency and drunkenness.

There was no nepotism involved in my granting him my only ‘yes’ of the competition, and it was no surprise (to me) when he swept aside his competition to win Duck Idol 2011. He was so caught up in his victory that he sprayed his cheering fans with beer, thankfully direct from the bottle.

Agent of Death sulked because he only won a consolation prize.

The duck chucking competition was carnage: feathers, blood and lice everywhere. The kids came in handy for retrieving the ducks in the rain. Husband duct-taped his duck, but in the event it didn’t provide any superior aerodynamic advantage. Paul somehow flung a duck onto the Swine House roof. Gary pulled the head off his.

I left around about the time the dead pigeons looked like they were about to come to life and terrifyingly peck at my eyeballs.

A savage love (hope I’m not stealing a Mills & Boon title)

We’re down on the farm, and Agent of Death and Her Goatiness have a new puppy. Tex is about 8 weeks old and comes from a long pedigree of mutts. He is so small and fluffy and snuggly and outrageously CUTE! I want to pat a hole in his head and pull his little ears off.

I practice a vicious brand of love.

Some obscure title totally unrelated to subject matter

When I was last in Oamaru, Her Goatiness asked me to take some pictures of beech trees.

Agreeing with one’s mother-in-law is generally accepted to be a wise, self-preserving course of action. Naturally, I agreed. I’m not sure why she asked me to photograph beech trees as opposed to, say, oak trees, or pine trees, or dolphins. It may be related to her recently painting a portion of her kitchen purple. Otherwise, it’s anyone’s guess.

Today it was just me and Jed out walking and – crucially – I had my camera with me and – even more crucially – no Husband, who tends to hover when I have my camera out, going: “Are you finished yet? How about now? How about now?”

In a perfect confluence of circumstance, the logging operation impeding the access track up to the beech forest was abandoned. Ever since I returned from my travels, the pine forest has been a wasteland: great scars scored in the earth, splintered trees tossed aside, diggers and generators discarded like giant toys in a quagmire of mud. Today, the ground steamed in the mid-day sun as I squelched up the track, following the ruts left by caterpillar wheels.

When Her Goatiness first asked, I personally envisioned maybe four or five artfully spaced trunks in perfect vertical formation. Unfortunately, it appears the local variety of beech tree don’t grow straight, but kind of sideways and/or curly. There were also a high proportion of dead trees. While I’m on a roll with the excuses, the light was a bit watery.

Actually, that could have been rain.

Really, the most concrete thing that came out of the exercise was the realisation that I had absolutely no idea what Her Goatiness wanted.

I took some snaps anyway, experimenting with composition and camera settings. Back home on the ‘puter, I marginally increased saturation, and cranked up the saturation to 70% and these are the results:-

Beech tree

 

Beech tree

 

Beech tree

The dapper dog about town

Marlborough is colder than a witch’s tit in a brass bra doing push ups in the snow. It’s so cold, local lawyers have their hands in their own pockets. The other day we met a brass monkey looking for a welder.

Ok, well, maybe not THAT cold.

A tit bit nipply is all.

Undaunted by the chill, Jed and I still enjoy our daily walks. I wear about ten layers with gloves, a scarf and beanie. The temperature doesn’t deter Jed from leaping into every mud hole in his path.

When we get home, I throw Jed into his paddling pool and give him a cursory wash – or at least loosen the larger chunks of mud. Then I towel him down, remove my boots, collect his foodbowl, fill it; then shower while Jed dines.

We had a late walk yesterday and when we got home it was dark and cold. Jed was shivering by the time he’d finished eating. He was completely uninspired when I turned the hairdryer on him, so I turned up the heater and within half an hour Jed had reverted to balmy bliss. 

Today we found the perfect solution:-

This is what the dapper dog about town will be wearing this season.

When Jed was a puppy, Her Goatiness made this woolly waistcoat for him for duck-shooting season. It was so temperate in Auckland he never had occasion to wear it, but I think we will be seeing a lot more of this:-

Not many dogs can pull off this look.

Jed works it.

Fertilising the seeds of destruction

This morning on TVNZ, the breakfast show featured Lego Robotics. For a mere $500, you get the combined versatility of lego building systems with an intelligent microcomputer featuring a 32 bit microprocessor, a large matrix display, 4 input and 3 output ports, and Bluetooth and USB communication link. Three interactive servo motors, an ultrasonic sensor, two touch sensors and a colour sensor are included, in case you feel your child is not nerdy enough.

Lego has evidently come a long way from the time when anything other than an eight pin building block in one of the primary colours was considered innovative.

Her Goatiness: I don’t understand why children need all this stuff these days. When MY kids were little, they were quite happy with a stick and a box covered in mud. You didn’t have to spend $500 on presents. You could wrap up a rock; kept them occupied all day. I remember when Andy got a little tool set *sigh!* He sawed the leg off his high chair.

Let that be a lesson to us all. Husband did not spring into this world fully formed as an agent of destruction. No, the seeds were sown long ago.

Now it is I who reap the rewards.

Mwah hah hah! HAH HAHAHAAAARGH!

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