Unbelievable week, to quote from that excellent show ‘The Good Place’, what the fork! I took no orders at all over the bank holiday weekend. I know people were out in the sunshine but after such an amazing April, to have no orders come in was truly weird and proves my point that I could never employ anyone to help me because at times there is plenty of work looking after the animals and money going out but zero money coming in.
On Tuesday (first work day after the bank holiday) we had a power cut that lasted ten hours! I have said it so many times before that I have never lived anywhere with so many power cuts, it is crazy and never, ever happened when we lived next to Heathrow airport! Unfortunately, my back went on Monday when I picked up a box of soil so I can honestly say I felt crippled on Tuesday in every way. I pottered around but without power there was no computer, no phone, no lights, no hot water and really very little I could do. I couldn’t even sit and watch the telly!
Unbelievably the next day we had power but the BT line went down so no landline and again no internet. Thankfully I did receive a couple of orders this week but I decided that I couldn’t post orders as I couldn’t print the invoices or send the despatched emails. Yesterday was a bizarre day, my back felt a lot better but I ended up doing what I do best and caring for people and animals. I can write about the animals but can’t disclose the ‘people problems’ in my blog. I saw a lovely little Schnauzer dog on its own, next to a main road so I pulled over but the little dog took off. I then followed the dog for about two miles as he zig-zagged around the roads. I kept pulling over to try and catch him and at one time managed to grab his collar but he was clever and wriggled free from my grasp (just like Peter Rabbit). Thankfully there was a happy ending, he eventually found his way home and it transpired that there were many people out looking for him. The owner was very grateful to me and I then had to put my sat-nav on to find my way home, I had no idea where I was but it was very pretty.
Back to the bug room, I am writing this on Thursday, I now have a back brace (purchased from my best friend Amazon) and the estimated date for BT fixing the fault is tomorrow. I need to feed all the stick insects today which will involve climbing around to gather various plants from various places but I must be careful, as I type this my back is pretty painful. I am better standing up but I ended up doing a lot of driving around yesterday. The heavy boxes of millipedes and cockroaches will probably have to wait until tomorrow as I will need help with those and my hubby was working late last night and is out this evening. The animals aren’t heavy but the substrate certainly is. It is so frustrating! Everything looks pretty good in the bug room, there is plenty of new life coming along. I have two Haitian Brown tarantulas with egg sacs, two Thai Red tarantulas that have been mated and are now spinning plenty of webbing which is a good sign. My beautiful Indian Violet tarantula is still carrying her egg sac around but I did see a single ‘egg with legs’ – nymph out on its own in the web so I am a little concerned. I keep looking at her and thinking would it be best to remove the egg sac and care for the babies myself but I’ve decided for now to leave her alone and let nature take its course. The trio of huge black Asian scorpions that I purchased in January are doing fine together and as two females/one male I would certainly hope that there will be babies appearing soon. You may remember that I was initially worried about housing them together and I introduced them to each other very slowly. I don’t know which species they are but I was assured they are the same species, obviously vital for breeding purposes. They are certainly much bigger than my regular Heterometrus scorpions, I’m hoping some of these are also gravid but it is very difficult to tell if they are pregnant or soon to moult (that’s it my back is now too painful, I’m off to find the Volterol, I need to walk around a bit and finish this later).
I’m back, dog walked, bramble, ivy, oak and rose collected and most are now in jars, in the stick insect cages. I wanted to collect some Eucalyptus but it was too high and jumping up and down didn’t seem like a good idea. I have way too many stick insects again, I know I said last year that I would stop selling them but I do love them and they are really where it began. I started off all those years ago with mostly stick insects and giant moths. It would certainly be sensible to cut down on ‘leaf eating bugs’ but I don’t think I could give them up. I just saw something moving as I looked down and realised that I have a Giant Prickly stick insect sitting on my chest. At least I noticed it at home, you would not believe the amount of times that I have discovered stick insects and sometimes various cockroaches in my hair or on my clothing when I am out. It is most embarrassing when someone else notices. I then have to explain why? Which is always difficult without sounding like a complete nut case.
A few quick but important bits – we had a guy in to re-point our roof last week and he said to my husband that he had an idea about repairing the gutter along the flat roof on my office and bug room (it has leaked continually since we moved here almost 15 years ago, even after extensive work by several people). Well, it poured here last night and I am absolutely delighted to say that there were no leaks anywhere! Eureka, could it really be fixed after all this time?
Another of my good ideas that may or may not work – I am going to start informing customers of the day that I will be sending their order. I generally post orders on a Monday and Thursday but sometimes this isn’t possible if I have other commitments that day and then if I have lots of orders I sometimes post on a Tuesday or Wednesday. I’m still working it out but I hope to start this next week and of course if the day isn’t suitable we can look at another date.
My website administrator ‘Super Simon’ is working hard to sort out the new European law concerning keeping private details of customers GDPR. I’m not really sure what it means for me but all businesses however small must comply and it comes in this month. It is an absolute pain and an expense we could all do without. I have also asked Simon to do what he needs to do to make my website show as ‘secure’. A few people have been concerned when ordering but there really is no need as any payments are taken by PayPal on their very secure site, it is not handled by me or my website administrator, we have no access to any payment details. Another thing that I have asked Simon is whether there is any way to make my site and especially the blog compatible with Emojis. I love them and use them all the time when sending texts, emails, Facebook etc. but it was only last week that I realised when someone put a smiley face in a product review that the site removed the Emoji and the text following it which was not very helpful, thankfully I noticed this but I have no idea how many I might have missed. If I use one in my blog it deletes part of the text and it is quite difficult to correct afterwards. I would love to be able to use them here. Simon is looking into finding ‘a module’ to make them compatible. It will of course be more expense after the GDPR, arranging a secure site, the roof repairs and all.
I need a cup of tea now and a walk around again (honestly don’t worry too much about me, I love a good moan, most of it is tongue in cheek), I have great friends, family and customers and I know from my experiences yesterday that some people have a really tough life and far more serious issues than me)
This week’s photo: Mummy Blue Tit with her 8 eggs. The nest box with camera is outside my office and I have a lovely clear view on a screen next to my computer (what happened to my other bird box? Well, I know that there are baby Cold Tits in there as I can see mum and dad going in and out with mealworms from my bird table but I can no longer see into the box since my hubby accidentally cut through the cable when he was sorting out ‘old’ wiring recently!)