Monday, 17 June 2013

Undulations in the dark

Being a poor sleeper, it doesn't take much to disturb my nights. Last night was a different kind of disturbance though.

I was already awake at 2.15 am, and about to try to sleep again when I heard something moving the gravel outside our front door. Of course I had to check, and could just make out in the gloom a shape undulating. Too small for a fox I thought, could be a cat. Then as my eyes became accustomed to the dark, I could see that it was not one animal, but two, either fighting or copulating, not sure which!

It was two hedgehogs, and one seemed to be making angry noises. They were nearly joined by a third, a small one which was travelling down the nearby pathway. It seemed to think better of joining in the affray and wandered off again. As we rarely see hedgehogs, it was good to know they're still around.
I didn't want either of them to hurt the other, so went downstairs and opened the front door. One scarpered immediately, the other just stayed still, not even rolling itself into a ball. It was gone this morning though, so couldn't have been badly hurt. Surprising how quickly they can move when they want.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Is this a Scam?

Sleep is not one of the things I'm good at. When something bad happens just before I try to sleep it really puts me off. Last night was one of those times.
I'd just gone upstairs to the bedroom when the phone rang, about 10.30pm  and Mike answered it. The man on the other end purported to be from Verified by Visa, and said some suspicious transactions had taken place regarding a debit card. I immediately came downstairs and took the call instead. Mike had put the phone down once, as we thought it was a scam. He immediately phoned back and said this was serious, somebody in Manchester was using our details to buy things on-line. A few hundred pounds were involved so far. I listened to him but felt sceptical about the authenticity.
In all the man phoned 5 times, and each time said there was another purchase and the money would come out of our account soon. He said he didn't want any details from us, but said we should phone our bank straight away. I said I would.
As I still felt that all was not as it seemed, I used my mobile to phone the bank, not the landline. While I was talking to the bank, the man phoned again. He would not give a phone number to us, said as it was to do with fraud, he couldn't divulge his number. Our bank was very helpful, the girl went away to talk to the fraud department there, and they said it was highly unlikely that Verified by Visa would phone us. They did of course check that we'd not given any details out. Absolutely not was my reply.
The advice then was not to use the internet banking for at least 24 hours, and they would check. No sign at that time that anything was amiss. No calls from the bank today, so fingers crossed that all will be well, and that tomorrow I can check on-line. It's very unnerving though; we don't have much money, and certainly can't afford to lose any of it. I've looked on Google to see if this is a well-known scam, but it doesn't seem so, although there have been several phishing scams involving Verified by Visa. Others out there should be aware though that things are not what they seem.

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Domestic Mishaps

We live in a throw-away society, for sure. Why then, when one household appliance decides it's had enough, do others quickly follow suit?
In the last month, our radio alarm clock suddenly started gaining about quarter of an hour each time we looked at it! When I turned it over, it felt warm and looked slightly brown, so we decided it may be a fire risk and we'd better throw it out. We had to have another. Trying to sleep at night without the sound of the radio is difficult when I suffer from tinnitus and insomnia - not a good combination. Fortunately we found a very suitable replacement close to home.
Just over a week ago, I went to the fridge/freezer to take out some ice-cream for our desserts. It was ominously soft, and obviously defrosting. We were lucky in that our very kind neighbours were able to take some of our food in their freezer as a temporary measure. The next day we went to buy a new one, and were able to arrange a quick delivery. Years ago we would have tried to have the item repaired, but nobody wants to know these days, and it would be too expensive.
That was not the end of the disaster though. As I pulled out the old fridge/freezer, I found it much heavier than I'd remembered. It must have been caught on something, as when it finally emerged with much puffing and sweating on my part, there was a tear in the flooring, which had only been replaced last year. I've tried to do some invisible mending on it, and probably others wouldn't notice it, but I know it's there. It will have to stay though for the moment.
What will be next I wonder? I suspect it could be the telephone, as sometimes it's hard to hear people, and I can't always blame my ears. It may of course be the toaster, which has travelled far and wide over the years, so has done good service. Whichever item it is, I hope it will not be for some time yet.

Friday, 22 February 2013

Frozen Frogspawn

Perhaps the frogs know something we don't, but we already have two batches of frogspawn in our pond. Unfortunately the pond is frozen today, and I'm not sure they'll survive.

A couple of weeks ago we went to Kingston Lacy to see the snowdrops. There are other flowers also opening up, and trying to welcome spring. This hellebore was particularly attractive.

Another unusual sight was this family of Kune Kune pigs, which are evidently originally from New Zealand. The youngsters were born in early December, and are thriving. I believe they are keeping two of them to breed at the estate.