Monday, 20 December 2010

Santa visits Kingston Pre-school!

You'd never guess who came to town on Friday...

...only Santa!

Admittedly, I had some insight seeing as it was ME!

Last year I was asked if I was able to be Santa for the local Pre-school. It was something I jumped at, as I love kids and the pre-school is a fantastic place, in which Kane had a great few years at.

The problem was, that last year it snowed very heavily, so much in fact the pre-school was closed and my services were no longer needed, so instead of getting dressed up and seeing the kids... I dressed up and walked about in the snow in our garden and fed the chickens!

There are some photos of last years outfit here.

I said goodbye to Jo after getting changed, and off I set to the pre-school.

Santa de-icing the windows.

A surprised looking Santa!

One can only blame the mince pies!

When I arrived I gently knocked on the door and Claire, the lady in charge, gave me one minute while she got the kids sitting down and quiet - then it was my grand entrance. I rang a set of sleigh bells outside the door and Claire asked the children if they could here anything - I was amazed at how many kids shouted out;


So with the door now open I walked in and did my "HO HO HO!". Claire guided me to a chair and the kids sat in front, looking up at me with excited eyes, and big grins.

Luckily, I happen to know some of the kids as their older siblings go to Kane's school - and it was amazing to see their little faces light up when I spoke to them by name and gave them a present wrapped and given by their parents to the pre-school previously.

One of the highlights was a little tiny speck of a girl who came up to me and said;

"I put a carrot out for your reindeer last year"

to which I replied;

"yes I know, and it gave my reindeer extra power so I was able to put all the children's' presents under the trees"

She went away grinning from ear to ear!

It was time to go once I had given out all the presents, and I was thanked by one parent who was holding a tiny baby dressed in red, with a Santa hat on - so cute! (I did remember to ask him if he'd been a good boy this year!)

It was a great experience, and you know what was the icing on the cake?

..... I've already been booked in for next years event as well!!

Monday, 6 December 2010

Movember has finished!

I am almost sorry to lose the 'tache', but Movember is now officially over!

Our team - Team Chuck - raised over £400.00 for The Prostate Cancer Charity UK.

Here is a photo of some of the group - next to me is our Master Instructor Andy Scriven, from Scriven Soo Bahk Do, then there is Bob Andy's dad, the Nick - another student from the club.

We have a member of the club who has literally just finished his course of chemotherapy, his own personal fight with Prostate Cancer - we all wish him the very best, and hope that the money we raised goes a little way to helping others.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Quick update

Well, the 'Mo' is going reasonably well - partly down to shaving approx 12 hours after the rest of my team!

Here we are as of yesterday!

Scary eh!?

Tuesday, 2 November 2010


Hi all,
    yesterday I did something that I have only done about 4-5 times since I was 19...

...I had a wet shave!

Now this may not sound very interesting, but maybe when I tell you that it's in aid of the Prostate Cancer Charity, things may seem a little more clear.

You can read all about Movember, and how it helps by going to this link.

Here is a photo of my lovely (!?) smooth face - a lot of people are saying how young I look!

All through November I shall be growing a moustache. My Soo Bahk Do Master Instructor has made a team called Team Chuck, and any donations can either be made directly to the team, or to me personally here.

Hopefully we will raise some much needed cash for this important charity. I have a friend from Soo Bahk Do that has recently had Prostate cancer, in fact he's going for his last hit of chemotherapy soon, plus the fact that I know a lot of people who have had cancer makes this effort all the more worthwhile!

If you can donate - even a small amount to our team or to me, I would be eternally grateful, if not, then hopefully I have raised awareness a little bit, and helped the fight against this form of cancer!

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

A horrible find today!

Today on one of my visits to check the chicks I found something really awful.

One of the chicks - the smallest one of the batch - had died.

She had no marks on her, she wasn't malnourished, so I'm not quite sure WHY she died.

From seeing the chicks when they were just hatched to seeing this little bundle of white feathers lying so unusually still.

There's nothing else to say really.

So sad.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Chicks move into their new home!

I thought it about time the chicks went outside and started to realise what the big, bad world is all about, so I put them out in their new coop, with their little run.

Now the run isn't as big as I would have liked, but it's enough for the little chicks to scratch around, and for mum to get some fresh air.

We have 3 types of chick. Their father is the same - Rhydian, but their mothers vary. Two brown eggs hatched, then two of the white Silky eggs hatched.

From the brown eggs came the brown chick with the striking markings it's a typical brown Isa I think, with tan legs and skin and brown feathers.

From the other brown egg came the white chick. This chick has the same type of feathers like the brown Isas except they are white, but has black skin like the other Silkies.

The youngest two are definitely Silkies - typical scruffy feathers, big black eyes and black skin.

While I was taking photos, mum wanted to get in on the fun too!

Queenie is looking a little tired and bedraggled, but hopefully once they are all integrated she will fluff back up!

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Chicks get new home.

Well, I decided in the last few days that I ought to make some kind of dwelling for the chicks and Queenie, so they can get used to being outside and running about in the grass.It won't have a massive run, but should give them a little sense of adventure, while also letting the other ladies and Rhydian get used to them.

The coop isn't finished - I felted the roof today but haven't started felting the outside walls yet. I also started on their run - hopefully tomorrow I shall be able to felt some more and finish the run.

The run is approx 3' x 3' and is 17" high. There is no bottom to the run, as I'm making it for day release only, and they will be securely locked up in the little coop at night.

I must admit, I was quite pleased with it, my favourite bit being the little door that flaps down to reveal a little ladder board for the chicks to get back inside.

Usually when I make things, I make them so they do the job at hand - I'm not particularly great at finishing off, but this time I thought I'd spend a little extra time making sure this coop would last and look nice (must be my age!). I love the pitched roof, as the half that comes off is now hinged to the coop by means of being stuck to the felt - it won't be lifted up that often, so I'm happy with that.

Hopefully the chicks and Queenie will like it - it's not to last them forever - just until they are bigger and are more integrated with the flock.

I will post once it's finished and in place.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Chicks take over the coop!

It's true - mother hen Queenie is no longer queen of the roost.

The four chicks have been seen trampling all over mum, even to the point she has one sitting on her back!

The above chick could be called Stella after Jo's mum, but we a little undecided whether to call the white one Stella instead. One thing is for sure, her feathers and the the little black stripe on her head are beautiful and hopefully she'll keep some of that detail later on in life.

The older chicks are growing their feathers very nicely, but with the smaller two looking quite tatty, as their feathers aren't growing as nicely as the others - is this a problem - I have no idea. Maybe they'll grow normally in a while, but I don't know - hopefully they will.

I replaced the floor in the old coop and made sure all the holes were covered in the door and back wall. Hopefully it's a lot warmer and safer now! At least they have a nice little area to run around in.

Queenie has been teaching the chicks to scratch recently, so every time I go in to check the water cups, I have to clean the bedding straw and sawdust out.

I have picked them up a few times now, and I like holding the coffee lid of water as they drink, because they can get used to my hands, and when they drink they tip their heads back and look straight at me - which is very cute (sorry to be a bit soppy there!)

The next stage is for me to make a little coop for mum and the chicks to go in actually outside the large coop, with a little run so they can start getting used to grass and all the other things they will hopefully take for granted when they're older.

Friday, 20 August 2010

Friday chick update.

Well, despite all my fears and worries, things seem to be going ok in the brooder.

Queenie is showing she's a devoted mother type, and the chicks are eating their chick crumbs, and drinking their water nicely.

They seem to be growing quite quickly already and fluffing up well.

Here's a little film made this morning of the chicks at the watering hole - the whole family taking a break!


Monday, 16 August 2010

Chick update No.3

I say 'chick update No.3' as I put two updates on the bottom of my last post - I didn't want to seem TOO obsessed!

Today's post will comprise of this first bit - then further down at the bottom there will be updated news as it happens (or pretty much anyway!).

Not a lot to report today so far. We still have four chicks, and they are looking cuter than ever!

I had to make sure the remaining eggs were nicely under Queenie, as she seems to occasionally forget they are there - but then again, it's all new to her and she has a lot to cope with right now!

I very carefully lifted Queenie off the remaining eggs, her chicks were peeping out to see what was going on, to put her in front of her food and water. She was very unsteady on her feet, and so would mine be if I'd had been sitting for the amount of time she has - but she managed to eat some, drink some, and leave behind the biggest, stinkiest deposit I have ever seen from a chicken!

...still, you probably didn't want to know that last bit!


Here's what the chicks look like this morning...

And one of the chicks eating her tasty chick crumbs!



Sunday, 15 August 2010

Two chicks have hatched!!

After all the fretting and worrying about whether or not I had done everything right...

...should I have moved the eggs?

...will the hen sit still on the eggs long enough?

...have I provided a good enough brooder for the hen and the chicks? looks as though I can relax just a little bit today, as yesterday was the day the first two chicks hatched out of their eggs!

I realised this morning, that the broody hen was in fact Queenie. Queenie was one of the chickens we rescued a couple of years back, and was and still is, the only hen to actually stand up to Rhydian. I remember when she came in, Rhydian started to boss her around, when she reared up, with all her neck feathers standing on end - it made her look like a spitting cobra - the effect was so dramatic! She has been the one most friendly towards me - I feel awful I didn't realise it was her.

I went over this morning to let the rest of the ladies (and Rhydian) out to free range as usual, and to check on the broody hen and the eggs. Inside the coop I heard some definite 'cheeps', so excitedly I open the door and looked inside - there was a little tiny, white head peeping out from under Queenie's rear feathers!

I snuck inside a bit further and sat down on the hay next to the brooder, when ANOTHER head popped out. This one was a light brown colour with a dark stripe on it's head, and looked so cute!

While I was there I couldn't help but pick one up and just marvel at the whole aspect of a new life starting. This was totally unexpected - and I've only had a couple of days to adjust to the thought of possibly having chicks hatching - I just hope that I can look after them well enough for them to survive and prosper.

As I was sitting there, I filled up the small 1kg feeder with chick crumbs and the coffee cap with water (washed out thoroughly of course!). I then held both in front of Queenie one at a time so she knew that they were food and drink for her babies. Hopefully she will show the chicks how to eat and drink properly - at least that's the plan!

Here's a photo of them clambering a bit under the watchful eye of Queenie.

I also took a few little movies - they can be seen on my Youtube channel here, as well as this one below.

You can hear their little cheeps, but you can also hear Queenie telling the chicks to behave themselves!

I'll be keeping regular updates on these little things, so keep checking back for the latest news!


The newest addition to our family!



We now have FOUR chicks!


Saturday, 14 August 2010

Mother hen

Today I spent a little time making a brooder for the eggs I found.

It's only a bit of 12mm OSB with some old shelf bits for sides, but it will the new home for (hopefully) any chicks that may hatch over the next week or so. I also covered two out of four of the coop roof vents so the end where the brooder sits is in the darker section, which should keep her nice and calm.

Most of the eggs are Silkie eggs, but two are brown and have come from the hybrid layers we rescued from the farm two years ago. Rhydian is our only male, and he is a Silkie so I wonder what will come out of the brown eggs - will they be hybrid brown colour, will they be white, or will they be a strange mix of the two - it remains to be seen.

The weirdest thing about all this happened after I had made a new nest for the broody hen and the eggs. I had just lifted the hen off the eggs and was in the process of moving them ever so carefully, when I heard a cheep and felt the egg I was lifting move!

To be honest, I nearly dropped the egg as I wasn't expecting it to do that!

After the hen had finished drinking and eating from the containers I had put in the old coop, I put her on top of the eggs, and she nuzzled them as she got herself comfortable. The food and water are outside the brooder so she doesn't make it too dirty, and can stretch her legs when she wants something.

The last thing I did was to make sure the door was shut and locked. She is definitely living the dream of having her own secure apartment!

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Stiggy loves the chicks!

A weird thing happened today. I went to collect the eggs as per usual, but in a strange place, there were a number of eggs, so I picked one up. It weighed more than the others so I got my torch and checked them.

8 of the eggs seemed to have chicks inside!

I hope to raised at least a few of the chicks - I'm really hoping they survive!

I am in contact with the man most knowledgeable about these things - Don!

Oh.... and I also have about 8-10 baby stick insects.... seems like our home is growing into a farm!


Friday, 21 May 2010

May Fayre day.

The local school always puts on a May Fayre, and this year was no different.

It was opened by the Newhaven Marching Band, who played a wide selection of classical and modern tunes to the early visitors.

Around the outside of the playground, there were many stalls for people to peruse.

There was a book stall, plant stall, and white elephant stall (no-not to buy white elephants from!) that sold all sorts of strange and wonderful items - as well as the more normal things like games and video cassettes.

Kane's favourite was the 'Throw a sponge at the Teacher' stand, where we paid £1.00 to throw 3 wet sponges at the teacher - although to start with, Mr Dobell the headmaster took up the challenge of being soaked!

I think Kane threw 9 sponges, and I threw probably the same amount - although after hitting Mr Dobell full in the face with a fully laden wet sponge, I was told to double the distance to throw from. Unfortunately for the headmaster, this only seemed to improve my aim!

Kane then wanted to have a ride on 'Sparkles' the lovely white pony, like he does every year, so up he popped and rode around the playing field.

Up next was the coconut shy, where on my penultimate throw, we won a coconut!!

The bouncy castle was next, but the rain stopped play, so his go was cut a little short.

We met some friends at the Fayre, and bought some cakes to take home to Zak and Jo. 

All in all it was an excellent day, and we look forward to going next year as well!


Saturday, 1 May 2010

This is the news!

Well not exactly, but I have taken over the Editor job for our local village newsletter/publication that comes out 9 times a year.

Ok so it's not the Times or anything as grand as that, but I have a lot of plans for improvements and extra sections.

I have already implemented a  number of major changes, unfortunately I can't digress any information as the deadline for next months news is the 19th May, and it won't be printed and delivered until the end of the month.

I will post and let you know further details once I've got the first issue out of the way!

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Quick Mole update 6-0

Another unfortunate mole was seen yesterday - or rather it's small mound of earth was, so I set a trap for it.

I say unfortunate, unfortunate for it - it was caught within 24 hours...

...another victory for the Stiggy household!

(Moles score points if I can't get them within the 24 hr period!)


Thursday, 8 April 2010

Summer day play.

Today was a beautiful day.

The sun was shining, the birds singing, a soft, fresh breeze blew over the garden, as the chickens ran free in the paddock.

Kane said he wanted to play outside this afternoon, after going down town this morning for some emergency rations, so he donned his shoes and went outside to explore. He's always a little funny about going out on his own - not like me when I was his age - any excuse to go dig a hole or make a trap for something, but Kane prefers company.

We started off playing soldiers in and around his secret camp I built him, then he decided he wanted to kick a ball about, so we went to the shed and got his football out - it was a little flat, but it didn't stop us having a good ol' kick about.

After he wore me out, I came in and sat at my desk while he continued to play outside - running around after his ball, and then playing on his little slide - going down backwards, sideways and upside down.

Unfortunately his shoe fell off, so I popped outside to put it back on for him, but not before I'd taken a quick shot of the view from my desk!

Monday, 5 April 2010

A day at the Seaside!

Last Thursday, Jo, Kane and I went to Brighton pier. We haven't been there for a while, so we grabbed some coats, jumped in the car and off we went.
  We parked along Madeira Drive, amongst it's fine arches, and walked along the pavement near to the beach towards the pier.

Brighton is a stunning city, but the most stunning of all is the history, and old buildings that lie mostly unseen from the main routes in Brighton. As seasides go, you really can't get better than Brighton!

Brighton's first pier - a chain pier was built in 1823, replaced by a grander pier in 1899, and by 1911 the concert hall had become an attraction in itself. In 1984 the pier was refurbished, and stands as the pier we see today.


Brighton also boasts the worlds oldest railway - the Volk's Railway opened in 1883! The railway even drove through the sea on a large stilted electric train!


We walked around the outside of the pier, taking in the fresh (read freezing!) air, before having a look inside one of the arcade buildings. Kane soon discovered a machine called 'Spider Stompin' which gave out lots of tickets that you can buy prizes with. He went on a couple of times and by the end of the day, he had 27 tickets! Enough to get a little polystyrene plane! (only 18,600 tickets for a Nintendo DS!!!)


Next we went on an 'Air hocky' game, which Kane and I love playing.

He came up the victor in that, and then we started getting peckish, so we went outside and started walking to find somewhere to eat.

Before we left the pier, I thought I'd try to get a photo of the amazing cloud formation over the coast and Brighton - it ended up being 3 that I turned into a panorama.

When we came off the pier, Jo pointed out a Harry Ramsden's so we went inside, and while Jo enjoyed a Cod, chips and mushy peas, Kane and I enjoyed a plateful of sausage and chips!

What a GREAT day out!

Saturday, 3 April 2010


Well, yes, I know, it's taken an awful long time to actually state the fact that I have finished the front room units...

...well what can I say - we've been very busy, with life throwing us a few wobblers and googlies, plus my usual laziness, I just haven't got round to blogging the details!

"WHAT!?"  You say?

"I don't believe you Stiggy, you're usually SO punctual with your posts!"

Well, what can I say....

The main thing is I've managed to take a photo!

Drum roll please............

Now we haven't finished loading it up with 'stuff' yet, but we have lots of interesting (and some not quite so interesting) books in boxes that we need to rediscover, and some lovely 'things' to put on the shelves, so it's a work in progress still, but at least now there's no construction or fiddling left to do!

...which is great! least in THIS room!

Monday, 15 March 2010

Black belt in Ikea!

We've wanted some storage in our house since we moved in - a large wall almost 20' long just crying out for a sprawling area filled with shelves.

I WAS going to make something myself, but after careful consideration and some basic math, decided to buy it in instead, so I carefully planned out what we could fit in the space.

Jo was happy with the aray, so I ordered the lot online, and had it delivered last Saturday morning about 8:45am.

The last day or so I've found myself fixing other things, but here's what I've managed to do so far.

The whole lot needs fixing to the wall, cupboard doors need going on - then handles for the doors, and then lastly the shelves need going in, in a random formation.

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Quick mole Update....

Stiggy 5 - Moles 0

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Beautiful day

Well, after my Birthday, I got a chance to pop out into the garden and do a few chores.

First off, further to my adventures with my local mole population, I checked the traps I had set yesterday. I find hunting these little menaces a real challenge, although the challenge is getting less as I find myself being more successful in catching them.

I had set two traps in the main runs leading to the latest molehill, approximately 6"-8" away from the edge of the mound. One had been totally filled in which is unusual for the Dufus trap, but I checked the other one anyway and found it had a mole inside. Strangely, there was an extra tunnel beside the full trap, implying there is still yet another mole roaming free in our garden, so I reset the traps.

After that I spent some time looking at our Snowdrops. Now we are lucky enough to have a lot of Snowdrops in our garden, and I thought I'd take a shot to show.

In the afternoon I took Kane to the local agrigultural machinery and hardware center to see if they had a drive belt for my Westwood ride on mower, so that my grass/leaf collecter unit would work again.

Kane had a great time looking at all the toys they had there, and we both learnt about a machine that picks sweetcorn called a 'Cornjerker'. I was pleased to discover they had a belt in stock, and after the salesman gave me advice on lengthening the use of the belt, Kane and I left the shop and headed for home. The belt will be put in place early next week.

When we got back, we put 'UP' in the DVD player and relaxed while we watched it - we love that film!

All in all it was a very successful and enjoyable day!

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Kane's 7th Birthday!

I just can't believe how fast the time has gone. It only seems like yesterday I was holding our new born son in my arms in the hospital, right after Jo had given birth to him. I was the first person he ever saw, as he opened one eye, looked at me and closed his eye again, as if to say;

"Hello Dad, you'll do, but now I need some sleep"

So it's amazing that after another blink of an eye, he had his 7th Birthday on the 31st January.

We asked Kane what he wanted to do - Jo gave him some choices, but in the end it was up to us to try to help him choose, as he wanted to do everything we suggested!

Kane decided he wanted to go bowling in Brighton Bowlplex, then go to Pizza Hut afterwards with a few of his friends.

While I designed his Birthday card, Jo started work on a simply AWESOME cake - Kane's into Club Penguin - she made a sponge cake, then set to it making the extra pieces to make it into an Igloo, once they were put on top of the cake, Jo started on carefully putting the icing over the whole thing and working her magic to make it into what you see below - STUNNING is all I can say, and I worked MY magic on the little paper things you see around the cake.

Here is a picture of the front and inside of the card I made.

I took Kane and two of his friends straight from school, and we met another two of his friends at the Bowlplex. The game was great, with all the kids (mostly) behaving themselves and having a great time!

Once the game was finished, we rushed to Pizza Hut which was only about 200M away, to our reserved round booth, and ordered our pizza. Again all the kids were remarkably well behaved considering it was a party, they were given chefs hats to colour in while they waited for their food, and they all wrote really cool things about Kane on them, such as 'Rock Kane' and other phrases - Kane just lapped up the attention!

Talking about lapping - as the kids all went up for seconds with their ice-cream bowls (errrrm yours truely included!), Kane discovered that his spoon was frozen underneath his blob of ice-cream, which he tried to eat in one go!

The waitress then brought out his 'party' Birthday cake, and we all sang Happy Birthday, then myself and my good friend Martin cut the cake up and put it into party bags Jo had all ready sorted out.

After all the kids had been collected or taken home, Kane and I had a chance to sit down and relax - building one of his Bionicles, which, to be honest, I absolutely loved too! It was VERY cool!

I can't think of a better end to Kane's 7th Birthday!

Sunday, 17 January 2010

A crazy year so far!

I seem to be posting about as often as we have blue moons!

It's one of those things - not intentional, I love blogging, but unfortunately life has been taking far too much time over virtual writings.

We had Christmas - that was very nice, we had Jo's parents over Christmas Eve, my parents round boxing day, and no-one at all round on the actual day itself - WONDERFUL!

Before the Christmas holidays, I was set to be Santa at Kane's old pre-school, but due to everything being closed due to the snow, I wasn't able to do it - nor was I able to do it on the second occasion, due to.... yes, you guessed it SNOW!

I didn't let that major disappointment get me down too much (although I've booked myself in for next year I hope!), because I wanted to see what sort of Santa I would have been - so I dressed up and went walkabout in the snow with Kane to get an idea of what I'd look like.

Even the Chickens got a visit!

Since it WAS snowing, I looked around to buy Kane a sledge, but there were none for sale ANYWHERE! It was one of those occasions when I should have pulled my finger out a LOT sooner, but not wishing to have my lad upset because he couldn't join in with the fun - I decided to make him one!

I'll spare you the technical details, but I would have bent the metal tube runners on my pipe bender I bought, but I didn't have any sand to put inside the tube to keep it round when I bent it - so it folded rather than bent round - still it worked VERY well!

During the snow we had a power cut for 32 hours. We're not on gas, so we had no way of cooking either!

Kane enjoyed sitting round some candles (especially his 'Meerkat shrine!), but Jo and Zak were less than impressed - it gave me the opportunity to become 'Super Stiggy' though, as I drove out and hired a gas heater and bought a little camping gas cooking stove.

Candles just ooze mystical don't they!

And that, as they say, is about it - I'm looking forward to blogging more this year, as I'm sure there are lots of adventures to be had and stories to be told...

..I guess we'll have to wait and see!