Half Term… time to play with new ‘toys’!

I spent the first weekend of this half term playing with a new gadget that Jassi (daughter 1) bought me –

it’s a ‘Polti Vaporetto Evolution Steam Cleaner Kit with Iron’ ...

Since she’s had her weekend job in the kitchen department at John Lewis, she’s become a bit of an expert about all things necessary, desirable and labour-saving.

She staggered home last week on the train with a huge heavy-duty JL plastic bag containing this wonderful present for me…!

I’m not going to pretend that I’ll use this often, and I don’t really think that’s the point of it – but it is pretty fantastic, and saves a huge amount of scrubbing or fiddling around with specialised cleaning products for different jobs (which I find usually disappoint anyway).  So it’ll be regularly if not frequently in use.

All the building work over the last 9 months resulted in walls being demolished seemingly randomly, plastering at a pace that resulted in not only the new walls being covered with the stuff, but floors too.  Chimney work was accompanied by shocking clouds of soot literally all over the kitchen and workmen walking through what they clearly saw as a building site rather than a home (marching soil, soot and plaster dust throughout as they did).  The hard floors were in a very sorry condition.  The once limestone coloured tiles and grout in the kitchen had transformed to mid brown tiles and black grout.  The dust and plaster power that had got caked onto the basin stand and metal fireplace in the bathroom was equally disheartening.

But after a weekend with my new toy, the grout has re-appeared, showers sparkle and I have the satisfaction of knowing that things are literally steam cleaned without endless bottles of chemicals.

P1000014It’s not a cheap machine, but I’m sure I’ll get lots of successful use out of it –

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the power of steam can be quite addictive and satisfying.

The more I use it, the more I’m saving on cleaning materials…

so longer term use ticks the environmental and financial boxes too!

P1000022On Monday I used my dad’s grass scarifier.

Yes, I know it’s too early in the year to scarify the grass, but he doesn’t know that and I imagine had got his electric scarifier out at the first glint of sunshine.

P1000021Having had a go at his grass and apparently been so pleased with the amount of moss and debris picked up, he was absolutely resolute that I should borrow it and have a go myself.

I did with a heavy heart, thinking that scarifying the grass really isn’t a priority right now. Despite being an electric machine, it was an amazing workout – the collection basket fell off every few seconds – literally – with the result that I spent over an hour  – or was it all afternoon (felt like it) bobbing up and down re-fixing it.

Another good result from the whole scarifying event was that Ava and Clemmie, the chickens, simply loved all the bits that the machine collected – it’s such a good feeling to see or hear happy animals going about their way.  The sight and sound of them contentedly kicking up the moss and grassy waste, clucking and pecking as they went was a pleasure to witness.  Happy girls.

So one product to recommend – see John Lewis’ web site (and other places too) for details of  the ‘Polti Vaporetto Evolution Steam Cleaner Kit with Iron’.

And another to recommend avoiding – won’t name the brand of strimmer as I’m not sure of the model number, but just to say if you’re ever thinking of using one, make sure the basket fixes on properly – unless you have time to spare and want a unbelievably energetic workout as part of the experience (in which case a heavy-duty rake would be a more cost-effective option!)

What gadgets would you recommend using or avoiding?

I’d love to hear…

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Egg inside an egg…

I had a text from Jass when at work on Tuesday – ‘Ava’s just laid the biggest egg ever’   

Phew, I thought – that’s supper sorted!

Well, it was really big – even in a general comparison sort of way, not just compared to the tiny precious offerings we hope for from our girls.

When she gently cracked it into the poaching pan, a little white came out – then another surprise – inside was another, complete, bantom-sized egg.

I’ve heard that when first laying chickens produce some strange shaped eggs, but this seemed really egg-trodinary!

… I’d love to hear about any other weird and wonderful eggs out there…

Welcome to Clemmie and Ava.

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We have finally got some long awaited chickens! Thanks to Harry for his encouragement with the housing… we’re trusting the Omlet’s promise that they’re fox proof – so far, they seem to be true to their word. Clemmie and Ava – a Black Rock and Sussex White seem to get on well and be happy so far – they’re living in a fixed run, on a special brick framed bed filled (thanks to Tom for his totally amazing work making the brick path around the chicken bed) with bark chippings from some recent cherry tree pruning… all seems well so far – cluck, cluck!

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