Sunday 30 April 2017

Thank you.

For all the supportive posts re my struggle to get back in the garden.

I will do it.

Today was just as windy as yesterday.  But the sun was shining.  So I went.

The two Lesser Black Backed Gulls were struggling to land.  I was struggling not to take off!

The beach was totally deserted.  No-one to catch me if I flew or fell.  I gave up half way.  But felt better for the fresh air, the exercise and just bloody doing it.

Home again.

Painting. Of course.

Not sure the Leverets are not heading for the bin.  

Another Mountain Hare begun.

And a work in progress I found so a bit more progress.

In between throwing a brush, scattering cayenne pepper, putting cayenne pepper sauce round the tree, i.e. deterring Samuel Whiskers, I gazed at the garden and tried to work out how I could get on and down in there.  Raised beds is a good idea.  I went on tinternet and googled aids for disabled gardener.  Not impressed with Amazon who had just the things I wanted but all out of stock and they didnt know when they would be back.  

I will not be defeated.

Thank you all again.

Saturday 29 April 2017

One always needs a plan.

Windy again.  So no walk.  The same tomorrow but I may well go out and battle it. Walking also helps my mental state.  

This morning I decided to do the lying down exercises for my back before getting up.  This involves two exercises you have to do 3 times then rest and repeat 12 times (times 2 exercises.)  I only have 10 fingers and quickly lost count of where I was.  Plus the bent legs from side to side 10 times. Well thats easy I have 10 fingers.  All I know is when I eventually arose it was with some difficulty and I was almost too tired to eat my breakfast.  And I had to make it myself as the DP was out Dawn Patrolling.

I had a bath, perched on the bath shelf.  No luxuriating there. Or dignity.  

Dressed and ready to face the world.  

After lunch I went back to bed......Not planned.

Then it was down to the shedudio.

Leverets taking a while to come together.  Practising with Brusho.  A paint which explodes when it has water on.  Soon to be added to the baby hares a paint with bits in which should make them look more as if they have fur .....Experimenting.  Thats the plan.

It takes Allsorts to be painted by me.

On my way back up to the house from the shedudio I took some time to gaze on the garden.

Ah - those were the days when I planted over a 100 mixed spring flowering bulbs.

The bed to the left of the patio, which does have some stunning plants in, but smothered with the dreaded Bishops Weed.  Ground Elder.  See below.

All to be scopped out and cleansed of the dreaded Ground Elder and then the nice plants put back.  So I am assured.  That is the plan. But as most of them have yet to make an appearance, the nice plants that is, I very much doubt it.  But needs must.  The bush is a Box.  Expensive.  Hope it survives.  There was a plan for me to clip it into a shape.....Some years back.

So far this bed which is at the side of the house is doing fine with no Ground Elder.  Still needing attention, weeding for a start and some pruning.  That's the plan.

The rear of the house.  Log pile removed.  Round the other side now.  The random slab in the middle of the grass is the Septic Tank inspection of drain to..  So has to remain/ be accessible.  Paving to be extended here and made to look pretty.  Well there you go.  There used to be a coal bunker where the chopped up concrete is.  Also a dog run,  Hence the discarded gates.  

Lots of plans.

Today had its triumphs however.

See the Pink Horn/Tooter?  Ah well, as I was leaving the shedudio this afternoon there was Samuel Whiskers totally ignoring me.  Bold as brass.  So I tooted the hooter.  Ever seen a rat go into orbit?  I hadn't planned that  but it was very satisfying.

Friday 28 April 2017


Beautiful weather.

So down to the Esplanade and I walked the .59.  No problems, no pain.  Lots of chats with fellow walkers.  Mentally great feelings.

A wee boat returning to the harbour.

The Gull Gang were way out at sea as it was high tide.

I came home and our lovely gardeners were giving the Leylandii hedge a short back and sides.  Then followed a discussion..... The border on the left of  the patio is crammed and burgeoning with Bishop weed as they call it up here aka Ground Elder.  So decision was to lift all the plants I want to keep, and dig the whole bed up and get rid of the dreaded weed.


There was also discussion on extending the paving at the rear of the house to make it more rat unfriendly and people friendly.  Agreed.

Then I became rather maudlin.  I want some sort of equipment to make my garden more disability friendly.  I want to get in there and weed, and plant, and prepare for seed scattering.  So have any of you got any suggestions for me.  I have got over the breathless but struggle with bending (and getting back up again).  Twisting is a no no.  There must be some aid for me?  Help. I need to have something to sit on at a low level, hoik myself back up again.  Help.  Please.

Thursday 27 April 2017

1-0 nil to me. And other things than rats.

Everything in the bird feeders was coated with Cayenne Pepper.  Sunflower hearts above. Bird seed to the left and Peanuts further left.  As the birds feed they break up the contents which fall to the ground and that is what the ground feeding birds vacuum up.  As does Samuel Whiskers, Samantha and all the little Sams.

At first the birds were a wee bit perplexed as to everything being red.  I was on the point of putting some untreated seed in on top.  But the birds soon got feeding.

Then came Samuel Whiskers.  He scoured the ground but everything that fell had the dreaded Cayenne on it.

He looked up at the Fat Ball Feeder. Empty.

So he went up the tree to inspect the feeders. Never seen him do this before so matters were desperate !

At this point Dad showed infant how to dig up grass to find a stray seed.  

Without success.  One pissed off rat.

(There's plenty seed in the field behind.)

Tomorrow its a paste of Cayenne liberally applied to the entrance to under the shedudio.  And other rat runs.

So today 1-nil to me.  

I am still sorting out the interior of the shedudio.  More Mounted Pictures labelled, priced and sorted into the browsers.

One browser to go.  Plan of action for shifting everything else in readiness for the Joiner.  

My back has been playing up.  But at last the weather forecast seems good and I hope for a good back loosening walk tomorrow.  

Who dreams of living in the country?!

Wednesday 26 April 2017

Its WAR Samuel and Samantha Whiskers

A friend advised us to put Cayenne Pepper in our bird feeders.  It doesnt bother the birds but it makes the rats really upset.  Like us having a very strong curry. So we prepared a lovely pile of bird seed mixed with cayenne and laid it in an inviting mound outside the shedudio window.  I then sat and waited.

So along came Samuel Whiskers and grabbed a few mouthfuls.  He then was biting a few bits of cooling (?) grass, rubbing his lower jaw along the ground and then ran off.

He returned and tried to sample seeds rather than take a mouthful.  

When he had gone again, and much quicker than ever before which gave me hope, I went out and swamped the whole pile of seed with Cayenne Pepper.  Wily Samuel returned, sampled, and then turned his back on the pile of seed provided for his delectation to feed on the seed falling out of the bird feeder above.  Hmm.  

So tomorrow we mix in Cayenne into the feeders.  

And in our kitchen cupboards we found some super strength Cayenne.  I remember it well and why we kept it I know not.  I do remember us saying we would never touch it again as it felt as if your tongue had been stripped.

From the internet.

Don't try black pepper for rat control. Go with cayenne pepper instead or a hot pepper sauce. Other home remedies to control rats include wasabi and peppermint (dried or tea). Animal urine also deters rats.

Sprinkle the dried spice in areas that have a proven rat presence. You can also combine hot sauce with a little oil (so it will stick) and spray this on rat-infested areas. When the rats get a whiff of the pepper, they'll move out. Repeat as often as needed, if the rats move elsewhere in your landscape or if new rats appear.

The Super strength Cayenne will be put onto the fat ball too tomorrow.  Hoping no food Rats like means no Rats.  

Otherwise.... our gardener has offered me the loan of his gun.  Many years ago I discovered I was a crack shot and was horrified when I actually shot a rabbit.  ( No-one told me what you had to then do to said rabbit before it enlarged somewhat in the boot of my car over the next few days.  But we draw a veil over that memory.)

Tuesday 25 April 2017

Samuel Whiskers I hate you.

When a child I was introduced to Beatrix Potter.  The words, the illustrations I loved.  But there was one book which gave me nightmares.

Samuel Whiskers.  The Roly - Poly Pudding.

Some decades later I was training for the Diploma in Nursery Nursing, NNEB. (Which I gained with distinction.)  Part of the course were various placements.  I was a nanny, worked in a Social Services establishment, as a classroom assistant, etc.  It was the last mentioned placement when I came across Samuel Whiskers again.  

The class had two rats and a large fishtank.  I just couldnt do it.  I could clean the fish tank out, with my tongue if necessary, but no way could I care for those rats.

Once I had qualified, that together with a previously obtained Legal qualification, led to me being a Childrens Day Care Inspector.  Part of this job I had to train and inspect Childrens Day Care providers.  

I had no problems with the Childminder who's husband had a locked room in which were snakes, lizards, Tarantulas etc. I was happy to handle them all.   Had he had rats it would have been difficult.

More decades and we found ourselves in the North East of Scotland running a b&b.  

We had rescued hens and ducks.  And rats.  One of which the DP despatched by using a bit of 4x4 pushing it back into the loo it had appeared from. 

Now here we are in retirement.  Feeding the birds. Then, after 6 years here, Samuel Whiskers has found me again.

Right.  We do not want to kill the rats.  

So - the bird feeders are to be moved and altered. The places where Samuel, and his family, hide will be removed.  The log pile is to be relocated.

Rats dont like open spaces.  

They have to drink a lot so the water provided for the birds to bath in will go for a while.  

On the plus side I have plans for remodelling the garden and providing a new patio, more human presence which rats dont like either. 

The feeling is mutual.

Monday 24 April 2017

Weather chaos.

It snowed.  Proper snow.  We live so near the sea, and not on high ground it is vary rare we have snow.  But today we did.

After lunch I went off for my walk.

The sea was a bit rough.  There was not much wind.  I was well dressed for the cold.

There were few people around.

As I was heading for the Path of Doom it began to hail.  No one had mentioned hail !  As I turned to return to the car I fast realised that the wind had increased and was horizontal so the hail was straight into my face.  Not good.  Painful.  Struggling to breathe and taking shelter where I could I got back to the car.


Home and fed the birds.

Filled the feeders hanging from the Cherry Tree and scattered seed on the ground as there were so many hungry beaks.

A few hours later the sun came out, blue skies and white fluffy clouds and the wind dropped.  Confused dotcom.

No longer believe in weather forecasts.

Fraserburgh beach this morning.

Weather chaos.

Sunday 23 April 2017

Trying to slow down.

The DP having gone off on one of his bird watching jaunts AGAIN and so early I had to make my own breakfast.  Realised I need to ease the back into being upright .  Convinced I was given the chariot by Occupational Health to SLOW ME DOWN.  It is just in my nature to charge about!  Back agony as swiftly hit me.

I went for a walk later but very short one.  Very painful.  Why did I not take painkillers before?  Because I am stupid.  Hey ho.

Back home and down the shedudio.  

Ah good news I finally got a quote from the joiner who is to transform the interior.  Quite acceptable.  He is to phone me at the end of the week as to when he can do it.  So still a bit of holding breath.

I have begun to play about with Brusho.  A new facet to the watercolour products.

These sad Leverets were totally swamped with my attempt to use Brusho.  I had to be able to sprinkle them - lightly.  One can purchase lids with holes to enable sprinkling but I hadnt got them and didnt want to wait - charging about again.

So I came up with an idea - and it worked.

Brusho.  This is what you get and the lid is way too tough to put small holes into it.

So this is what I did after some - slow - thought.
Remove lid. Add kitchen foil, snip to fit, fasten with sellotape, prick with tooth pick.


The bottom of the paper shows the different colours, gently sprinkled,  tho you can mix them or whatever you want.  But I now have more control.  It works slowing down does. ....Thinking.  

In between doing this, which took some time.... I watched the birds.

Goldfinches.  Above.

And below.  We do have a lot!

Male Siskin.

Two male Siskin and male Lesser Redpoll.

Female Siskin.

When the birds suddenly disappear this has appeared.  To be fair I only have to make it disappear too after two goes.  I then rammed a bit of our last Christmas's tree in the hole. Which gave me a lot of satisfaction but set me back off again.

Must slow down.


Saturday 22 April 2017

We live in hope.

This is my preview of my entry into the NEOS catalogue this year.  NEOS (North East Open Studios) commences on September 10th.  Hope the joiners get their act together.  So far not doing so.  Sat in for two hours today waiting for one lot.  And the other still has not provided me with a quote for the interior of the shedudio.

Jill Chandler

Image for Jill Chandler

Contact Details

t: 01346 531103

About Artist

My favourite media is watercolour. Closely followed by pen and ink. My subjects are often sea birds, together with the other birds and beasts of Buchan. I hope my work has a humorous slant and visitors enjoy seeing my work as much as I enjoyed the painting.

Thats my entry followed by dates open and times.  
Opening Times
Sat 10thSun 11thMon 12thTue 13thWed 14thThu 15thFri 16thSat 17thSun 18th

Friday 21 April 2017

Not particularly a good Friday.

Very windy.  30 mph gusts.  No way was I walking.

So - bit of painting.

Two begun, almost makes you want to pack in at this stage !

The Ram and Puffin are done.  

I am now fed up of small paintings and planning something completely different.

When I get fed up I birdwatch.

New visitors to the feeding station - a pair of Jackdaws.

Report on the back.  I am now completely pain free.  Just very stiff in a morning til I get moving.  
And of course the buttock clenching, the tummy flattening ?  

After 4 kids including a section, no way.  

I have an appointment for the end of May for Bone Density Measurement.  Quite what happens after this I am unsure and to be honest I really dont want to know.  

I do not like being old and having bits drop off, seize up. stop working.  

I shall try very hard to be grateful for the bits that do work. 

Oh forgot, I have one bionic eye.  20/20 vision and ok to drive, thank goodness.

I have been waiting for 6 months for the call up for the other one to have the cataract  be sorted.  But then that would not have been easy lying flat with a fractured spine.  Hey ho.

Onwards and upwards. Saturday tomorrow !!