E-mail from my Brother: Meet the Alpacas

Hi Fay,

So last time I wrote I said that we had a mouse problem and a blocked sewage pipe.  I’m happy to say that we’ve fixed both problems over the last two days.  First off we put down some humane traps for the mice (almost typed human traps  then, they'd be overkill).  I found two mice in there today and took them around to a neighbour I don’t like and dropped them off at his door.  Not really.  I did drive them about a mile away though.  They were tiny mice too, about the size of a fifty pence pieces.  With all the mouse poo around I thought they’d be the size of a cat or a pug dog.  I think mice must be 80% digestive tract.

For the sewage pipe problem I dug the thing out last Saturday which took a couple of hours.  The new fence post went right through the middle and a tiny little trickle of liquid was dribbling out into the new massive hole I just made.  I decided that rather than risk flooding the house I’d just break that pipe open and let the sewage fill in the hole. What’s the worst that can happen?  So I smacked the busted end of the plastic sewage pipe with a crow bar and it punched a hole that released the two weeks of built of pressure.  I’m telling you I reached around to the back of my jeans and lifted myself out of that hole quicker than you can say “shouldn’t of done that”

The hole I’d dug was deep but it filled up with brown water, little bits of toilet paper and undigested  sweetcorn no problem.  The stench was horrible too.  So I left some messages with some drain layers telling them I’d done all the hard work and just needed someone to put in a new pipe.  It was raining all day Monday so someone didn’t turn up until the Tuesday.  By then the rain had diluted the shit water and it had actually drained away.  So it’s no surprise that the drainlayer guy though it would be okay to jump into the hole only to find himself sinking into shin deep shit.  He only had shoes on too.  He changed into welly boots after he pulled himself out.  Still that’s what we paid him for.  Comedy gold.

Eva starts school next week.  She’ll be five years old and in New Zealand kids start school bang on their fifth birthday.  Happy birthday, here’s eleven years of compulsory education, enjoy!  We got her a play house.  I say it’s a play house but I’ve been painting the disassembled parts for the last month up in the barn and it’s more like … a house.  I started laying the foundations for it today.  Seriously if I run electricity out to it I’d like to live in it.  I’m thinking this is the wrong sort of present for a five year old, she’s not going to appreciate it.  Let’s wait until she’s eighteen and she can move out into it.  She’ll put up a disco ball and some fairy lights, throw down a futon.  It’s do-able, we’ll get her some My Little Ponies as a replacement, she won’t know.

Juliette’s been getting stuff off the New Zealand equivalent of eBay for Sam’s birthday too.  So far he’s got an awesome pirate ship (three masts, accessible hold, complete with plank to walk your little figures on), a load of knights and men-at-arms figurines and a wooden castle big enough for him to sit in.   So far I’ve been hard pressed to get into the imaginative play with the kids, Eva likes ponies and Sam doesn’t do stories yet – he just likes throwing stuff.  But I have to say when Sam gets those for his second birthday we’ll be playing the shit out of them.  I’ll be digging a hill for the castle and running water through for the ship to go on.  I’ll be making siege engines in the garage and we’ll be under mining the east wall of the castle in real time with little trowels.  Sorry Eva, but those little plastic horses just aren’t as much fun.  I can’t get into the whole platting pony tails thing.  When Sam starts school he’ll be the only kid urging his classmates to play “the Siege of Rouen” from The Hundred Years War.

So anyway, I hope you’re good.  I check on you blog now and again but no you’re not dying of cancer I find the urgency has gone out of my checks.  I’ll probably fall back into the old habit of asking mum and dad if you’re okay.  I feel we must reconnect over a beer in my garden, so please visit when next convenient.  As an incentive I now include pictures of Solomon and Peter, two of our alpacas.  Solomon is the one not doing an impression of a grinning rabbit.  They would love to meet you.

Take care of yourself,
Mark xxx

As always Mark


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