Monday, 26 October 2009

This little piggy went to the New Forest...

Today I went on a search for piggies, armed with my camera. So I walked deep into the dark, terrible woods in order to find the odd Tamworth or old spot. I got to Bartley Water, a river that runs to Eling. If that means anything to you, hurrah. If not, Wikipedia it. I got to the river, and low and behold there was a pig. However, it was on the other side. So I ran to the riverbank, found a place to cross. If you had seen me, I think you'd be impressed. I climbed onto a forked tree over the river (which, is a raging torrent, I may add) and swung myself onto the other bank. By that time however, the pig had disappeared. I thought I saw it going deeper into the forest away from the river. However, I couldn't find it. I thought, well it must be around here somewhere, because it'll be eating the acorns. I hazarded a look skywards to discover that all the trees around me were beech. Rats, I thought. So I found some oaks and sat on a fallen tree and waited. About five minutes the group I saw yesterday emerged. However, I didn't get close enough to get good photos, and the forest was too dark for my camera. Especially as the flash startled the really big grumpy one. So I decided that it was a lost cause.

If you click it you may make out the Tamworth and Gloucestershire Old Spot.

Now, I had to recross the torrent. Okay, it's hardly that, I admit. So I found a place where there was a bank of shingle. I threw my bag across and then realised, that it was actually quite a jump. Like six feet. So I decided to wade in. I took my shoes and socks off and rolled up my jeans. I was about to slip delicately into the water when my trainer rolled off the bank and into the water. So what was to be a graceful slide became a bit of a scramble down into the stream.

After all that and no decent photos. Well, I did see two piggies afterwards. It was getting a bit dark so they weren't that good either. I'm sorry to disappoint but I don't know what breed they are. Perhaps a British Lop.

I've also created my NaNoWriMo kit. It has 30 gel pens, 1200 post-it notes, a bouncy ball, a bag of skittles, a bag of lollipops, notepad, modelling clay, a muesli bar, a rubber, pencils, a pencil sharpener, mini crayons, a pair of headphones, ProPlus and Anadin Extra.

Sunday, 25 October 2009

New Forest

Autumn is here and it's time like these when I really fall in love with the New Forest. It's not just because the leaves have turned golden and orange. During autumn you really appreciate that the New Forest is indeed an ancient woodland. The air is filled with the smell of wood smoke, the forest becomes misty, the ground is littered with mushrooms and the pigs are turned out for pannage.

Pannage, for those not in the know, is when pigs are allowed out on the forest to eat acorns, that are poisonous to horse and cattle. Pannage pork is a delicacy, and is darker than normal pork, sometimes nearly black. Today on a walk my mum and I saw a Tamworth, a couple of Gloucester Old Spots, Saddlebacks and possibly a Large White. There is one Saddleback that goes around with her litter of about 8 or 9. They are really cute, although the mum has a bit of a temper.

We've also been forest foraging. We've picked crab apples to make crab apple jelly (it was on that adventure when mummy pig showed her temper, or she just wanted my apples). We've also picked some rosehips for apple and rosehip jelly. I have to say, the crab apple jelly was delicious, the rosehip one was a bit too sweet.

I think I need to go out with my camera and take some photos. I'm thinking of volunteering for the Forestry Commission, once I've got settled into my job.

Saturday, 24 October 2009


I'm afraid. Very afraid. I'm a NaNoWriMo participant this year. What's nanowima? you ask. No, Na-No-Wri-Mo. Get it right. It stands for National Novel Writing Month. Well, it's more international novel writing month, but misnomers make the world go round. The idea is to write 50,000 words in one month. Yes, that's a lot. That's like 1,700 a day. That's like 1.16 words a minute. Or one word every 51.8 seconds. Okay, put like that it doesn't sound a lot.

I hope the paragraph of short simple sentences give a sense of my anxiety, otherwise it's probably just irritating. I feel unprepared. I feel like I should have a storyboard, drawings, maps, collages, notes pouring from every orifice. But I have nothing. However, I'm going to create a NaNoWriMo kit. It will have:
  • A notebook
  • A variety of pens.
  • Tic tacs.
  • ProPlus
  • Music (I'll compiling a mental-in-both-sense-of-the-word list of different music. Feel good music for the happy scenes, some heart wrenching ones and some poignant. I'm feeling 60s at the moment, so there'll be a lot of that on there)
  • A shot gun with a single bullet for those desperate moments
  • LSD  so I can trip the light fantastic (for same moments as above)
  • Chocolate.
  • Snack a Jacks. As I won't be sleeping much I'll be constantly hungry so need to watch my weight. Snack a Jack never have me coming back for more. Yuck.
  • Post-it notes. Shaped like pandas
  • Some sort of stress toy. Shaped like a panda.
  • A pencil sharpener/post-it shredder, shaped like a panda.
That's the extent to my NaNoWriMo kit at the moment. If you have any suggestions you have one week. Remember it starts on the 1st November. If you want more info go to

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Left Holding the Baby

Today someone handed me their child. It was a small child, also refered to, so I'm led to believe, as a baby. What went through my mind was, "Okay, I can do this, it'll only be for a minute or so." Ten minutes these reckless parents intrusted their child's life to my hands. Ten minutes. My thoughts quickly progressed to, "babies die. Babies die at the hands of incompetent people. I am an incompetent person." Seriously, don't trust me with your child. He was quite cute though and did the whole gripping of the finger and gurgled at me.

Next month, two weeks today is November, and November is NaNoWriMo. What's that? It's National Novel Writing Month. The aim is to write a 50,000 word novel between 1st-30th November. It doesn't have to be good, or well written it just has to exist. So I'm preparing for that. I'm going to set up my desk as a NaNoWriMo corner and have a stash of sweets, proplus, notebooks, and my laptop. I'll keep you updated on how I do.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009


For those that don't know, or do but want more information, I have a new job. "What?" you cry, "Were you so abysmal as a youth worker that after three months they fired you?" No, people. It'd be nice if you thought better of me, but there we go. For those who didn't even know that I was a youth worker: where have you been? Go to my other blog for more information about that. Well, I now have two jobs. I am a part-time youth worker, a part-time Learning Support Assistant. I work in a local sixth-form college, working with kids with learning difficulties. The amount of different learning difficulties I will come across is amazing, they range from the 'dys-' conditions (dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia), autism, ADHD, Prader-Willi and loads of others.

Unfortunately, until my CRB (which I personally think should be said as one sound, like 'crib') check comes through I have to shadow the other LSAs. But they're really good at what they do, so that's not too bad. I did a LADS test (Lucid Adult Dyslexia Screening) today, as that's something that the student's will have to do to see if they have dyslexia. My working memory is okay, with a few problems, but my reasoning ability was pretty much off the scale, in a good way. So my risk for dyslexia was low. This job is really going to be an education, not just because I am working in challenging situations, but also because I have to go into a variety of subjects to take notes and help individuals. I've learnt stages of social development in infants, what makes good communication, and the eight challenges posed by cold environments (relief; climate; unstable ground due to solifluction and active layer; natural hazards; poverty; economic vulnerability; peripherality and low electoral importance). I feel smarter already.

Reading: The Good Terrorist by Doris Lessing (I was meant to read it for university but didn't)
Grateful for: Jam and cheese sandwiches.

Thursday, 8 October 2009


Woah, over a month since I wrote anything. I hope that link in the sidebar that takes you to random posts kept you entertained. I don't think September is a month conducive to blogging. I mean, Rachel of dreamingofthecountry took a hiatus too.

I've been inspired by Today I Saw, which was a blog of note a few days back. I just love the way she chronicles the beautiful things in life. So I'm going to try (and probably fail miserably, like this idea, oh and this one, and how can we forget this?) and write things that I have been grateful for in my blog. So today these are the things I'm grateful for.

Old People
Today, I was walking past a school where construction has been taking place for a while back. It was quite a warm day, and an old man from the house next door had brought a tray of squash over for the builders. His wife was watching in the window. I think that this moment made my day.

I did a prayer thing where we taped prayers to helium balloons and let them go. It worked well. So for that I like helium.

Sweet Chilli Sauce
This save my dinner from being horrible, tasteless and dry to being hot, tangy, moist meal.