Off track

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Poptop2, Apr 5, 2019.

  1. Malc, the good bits for me are the characters, oh and the animals of course with Ratbag being my favourite. Any disasters or hardships and how you overcame them. Anything to do with your lifestyle, especially where it differs from the "norm".
    Please don't take too long a break :)
  2. More pics would be my only critique:thumbsup:
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  3. Poptop2

    Poptop2 Moderator

    That’s pretty simple

    The first winter looking through the new patio window. You can see the water pipe trench at the right of the path.


    Me connecting the water


    Maureen and Lou


    Bob having a Robinson Cruscoe moment!


    A couple more of the build




    We finally had a kitchen



    Half of the problem with rot in the old structure was due to a broken land drain. I dug the old one up and replaced it.


    Lady. She had a wonky ear and we always said she was turning left.


    Ratty as she got older


    I'm not playing

    Last edited: Apr 12, 2019
  4. Poptop2

    Poptop2 Moderator

    Every year there was a raft race. I will write about that later, for now here are a few pics.





    The cattle drink peg the evening I had the first go at Pete's Barbel hole.

  5. Knew I'd like Ratty :)
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  6. Poptop2

    Poptop2 Moderator

    Oh, that tree

  7. What did you look out to from the patio doors, beyond the garden gate??

    Oh and cracking pictures
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  8. Poptop2

    Poptop2 Moderator

    My little copse to the left. the meadow, then the river. There were a few bungalows on the riverbank and they obscured our river view a little, but we saw enough of it most winters as it flooded and burst through the field. Then beyond that was more fields and then the hills of the Wyre forest and trees.
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2019
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  9. Poptop2

    Poptop2 Moderator

    There were a few disasters, that's for sure.
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  10. Be careful how you edit as it is the spontaneity of your narration which lends your tales so much charm!
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  11. Poptop2

    Poptop2 Moderator

    Yes, I remember a friend who cycled from my house to Bei jing writing a book about the journey and sterilising the fantastic story a little by over editing. Good point, thanks :thumbsup:
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2019
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  12. Poptop2

    Poptop2 Moderator

    Ratty then, gosh where do I start. You know when you meet someone that just sparkles because of their lovely ways and happy outlook and you take to them no matter what? well that was Ratty!

    She ate cow muck and licked your face afterwards, She caught rabbits and licked the skin off them while they were still alive, before eating the insides and leaving a rabbit fur in the field. The kids would find one and say " no, not another ratty bunny" They thought it was a perfectly normal Ratty type thing to do. I hated it! She ate blackberries off the bush , and her trumps emptied the room, fair enough, she did have a guilty look on her face afterwards, but it never made up for the sickening taste they left in your mouth.

    She loved our cat ' Merry' to bits. The first day we had her as a kitten was Christmas day 1993 and we had to go out for lunch. We had to leave her with Ratty and Lady, we knew Lady would be fine with her, but worried Ratty would eat her, she didn't. She lay next to her with big googly eyes and swooned. She did however eat all the Christmas nuts while we were away. She was lay so peacefully and innocently in her basket with her mum when we got home that you wouldn't believe she'd moved, but there right in the middle of a carpet covered in nutshells was the outline of a dog, not a small dog, a Ratty sized dog.

    The kids all loved her, even the kids who holidayed down from Brum loved her, The shout would go up ' Ratbag, Ratty' as soon as they turned up for their holidays or the nephews and nieces turned up for stopovers. She was just so thoroughly lovable.

    Ratty would wake each morning about 8 o'clock, eat her breakfast and take herself off down the field for a walk or a dip in the river. She'd return just before lunch for something to eat and a nap. She must have had very tiring mornings we thought.

    One day she tried to nick a golf ball as someone practiced their swing in our field and took the full brunt of a seven iron to her head. The poor girl was in a lot of pain, but never snapped or snarled a bit, she just looked pityfully in pain. It was an awful moment. I still wince just thinking about it. A few days later after a check over and a few stitches at the vets, she was fine and back to her naughty self again. Thankfully!

    Ratty died a year after her mum aged only 11. She always had a small lump in her neck just behind the ear, we'd had it checked over by the vet numerous times. He always said it was just a lump and was nothing to worry about, but the moment her mum died Ratty's lump began to grow. The vet couldn't operate as it was attached to a main artery and we just had to watch it grow for a year. At the end she had a drain shunt put on it as it was so big, by now she was in a lot of discomfort and it was cancerous. The poor girl died in my arms at the vets, oh man, I cried!

    After Ratty died I vowed never to have another dog, I'd lost my beloved lady to old age a year before and now Ratty, it was all too much.

    She did however break more than just our hearts. Bob and I were talking about her and he told me emotionally how she came round to his each morning at about 8.30 and had a half bacon sandwich with him. I never knew that!

    Equally, I never knew what Jason told me about her while reminiscing about her in the field one day. At about 9am Ratty would pop through his back door and have fresh cooked chicken that Jason ordered in especially for her. He was a real tough guy was Jason, but he said he was proper upset to hear she'd gone, Then there was a chap called Ken who she would stop by at his gate where he kept a bag of dog chews just for Ratty, who openly cried when he was told she'd gone, but she was only passing by his on her way to Andy the dog's house where she ate his dog's leftover food and slept for an hour on his living room rug before going up to Yorkshire old Franks to eat bread and dripping that he prepared every day for her, again old Frank cried when he came down to pass on his regards and tell us his tale of her daily visit.

    Finally she would come home looking contented and tired at about midday. She'd have a snack and spend the afternoon in her basket with her mum waiting for the kids to turn up for a play later.

    We buried her next to her mum in our garden under a star magnolia which we thought was fitting, as she was a star!

    My lasting memory of her though is of our cat pawing her dead body and meeowing loudly. the vet said it was best to let the cats see her and see she had passed away and suggested we lay her on the patio or somewhere before burying her. I'm not sure the cat got much benefit from it, he was very obviously extremely distraught. Poor him, poor us, poor Ratty, poor friends.

    She gave a lot of pleasure to a lot of people, just by being lovely.

    Last edited: Apr 13, 2019
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  13. What a lovely story. I love it when cats and dogs are close like that. Was Merry a character too?
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  14. That brought a tear to my eye
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  15. The truck looks to be a White yankee rig .
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  16. Here s another one who had a few smiles and tears reading about Ratty, how wonderful for you to learn how many people's hearts she' d stolen along the way. I can also sympathize the heartbreak of losing your best freind, they leave such a big paw print on our hearts ;)
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  17. Ratty reminds me of our Sheba - a Staffy cross, she was brilliant with family and friends but not very keen on anyone else.

    Back in the days when dogs would walk themselves, she took to waiting for a bloke with a noisy motorbike to go past our house early in the mornong on his way to work. She'd then run after him, snapping at his front wheel.

    He eventually snapped, parked his bike up and threw the contents of his tool-wrap at her. She ran home and he stopped riding past our house.....

    She was very much my dad's dog, and her passing was one of the only times I can remember him being upset.

    Malc, your recollections are great as they are - really easy to relate to, especially with the grainy photos that we all have from back in the day.
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2019
  18. Me tooo.
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  19. Poptop2

    Poptop2 Moderator

    She was very quiet and homely. Someone kept shooting her with pellets for some reason. We did find out who it was in the end ( Yorkshire Frank ) he was prosecuted by the vet because the local animal rights person ‘ mad Addy’ worked out who was doing it. That was the end of a friendship that’s for sure.

    We found her dead in the lane a few months later. Not a mark on her, she had definitely not been run over. We think she was poisoned and put there in the night for someone to run over her.

    There are times when you realise you just don’t know people really!
  20. Poptop2

    Poptop2 Moderator

    It’s all got a bit sentimental so I’m going to change tack for a mo and tell you of a very rare moment of anger.

    In my new found job as an handyman I was getting lots of work on gardens and fencing, decking, that type of thing.

    All my customers were very nice as a rule, they were only too grateful for someone to turn up and do the job they wanted done without hassle and not disappearing off to go fishing every other day like Tom had a tendency to do. They always made me tea and cakes, tipped me and would usually recommend me to others. I was very busy in a very short time. I liked my customers very muchly.

    One chap who’d recently bought an old holiday caravan in the top field and replaced it with a big new shiny thing: came down to see me in his big four by four and struck me as a big head right away. A tall stiff bloke with a quick blunt nature and way of talking. People locally Called him ‘ big John’ but no one said anything positive about him other than he liked a drink.

    Anyhow, he just looked at me as if I was dirt on his shoe and said he wanted me to put a 6ft fence around his caravan pitch and didn’t want to wait for ever, could I start next week while he was away working and he’d settle up next weekend?

    I went up and gave him a price of about £850 and we arranged for me to have a key for his caravan to get water for the mixer. I ordered the materials for Wednesday and got on with other stuff until then.

    The day I went to start the job it was very cold indeed. It was a concrete slotted post, gravel board and larch lap fence job. There was quite a bit to do and he’d stressed in no uncertain terms it had to be done by the weekend, so I cracked on with it and ignored the freezing temperatures. I got water from his van for tea, but just the once and the job went really smoothly. The fence looked great and professional.

    I had used his tap for tea water once, but as we’d put a standpipe on for the previous owner some time ago I used that to save going into his new caravan.

    On the Saturday I went up to collect the money as agreed and found he wasn’t there. I asked his brother in law two doors away if he was back later and he said he had no idea as he often came and went as and when and sometimes didn’t come down for weeks. I rang the number he’d given me but got no answer. Eh oh, I’d see him at some point.

    A month or so later I was driving down the lane and saw his four by four coming towards me and flagged him down. He spoke to me in a very aggressive manner saying he wanted a effing word with me and what sort of cowboy was I etc. I said I’d be up in a bit and went off into town to do my other business.

    In town I picked up my nephew and niece for a stopover and on the way back popped up to the top field to see big John.

    The kids stayed in the car and I smiled as he came to the gate and offered a handshake to him. He just started ranting about me ruining his new caravan and telling me he hoped I was insured and that I was lucky he was in a good mood and didn’t kick the doo doo out of me. Was he paying me was he heck!

    Now, I’m a pretty laid back sort of chap so I asked him what is issue was. He said I’d left the water on in his caravan and it had frozen and burst a pipe. He then grabbed my shirt. And pulled me towards him, I glanced at the poor kids faces in the car and removed his hand firmly. I said I’d take the kids home and come back for my money “ have it ready”

    I told the kids we were old mates and just playing and said I’d drop them with Aunty Lou and go back and have a cuppa with him. This I did, but I never went for a cuppa, I went to war!

    I fired up the JCB and set off in it up to the top field and big John’s. He must have heard me coming because when I got there he was out waiting with Tommo his nephew who worked on the road gang he was charge hand of. I couldn’t have given a toss, he owed me 850 notes, and had worried our kids. If he wasn’t paying his fence was coming down.

    I pulled up and got down to speak to him. I asked him if he was paying and realised I hadn’t even been inside his caravan ( I had, but only to get the first kettle for my tea on the first day, but I never made a mess or messed with the stop tap ) He made lots of points why I must have been in, footprints on the carpet, the water had to be got from somewhere etc. I pointed to the standpipe and explained there was no need to go in and asked if he was happy with the job otherwise. He said yes he was happy with the fencing, but was insistent that I’d been in his van. I said “ mate, I haven’t been in your van, you left the water on, not me. I don’t know how there was footprints in there I never had a need to go in, now pay your effing money before the fence comes down. You have five minutes!”

    He looked at Tommo for backing, but he just looked sheepishly at the floor and I revved the JCB.

    In the end he went into the house and came back clutching an envelope. I made my way down to him and he grabbed my jumper and shoved the envelope down my chest. Ripping my expensive pullover in the process.

    I had the cash now, I went ballistic,I shoved him back off his feet and just started ranting at him for grabbing me again, needlessly ripping my jumper and worrying the kids earlier, he was properly shocked at my strength and language and vicious anger. He stayed down and told me to just F off and he wouldn’t use me again and make sure everyone knew what a cowboy I was.

    I just got angrier. I told him he could do what he liked, but he was paying for my jumper and his performance earlier. I got in the JCB and put the bucket through the front fencing. I took the whole first panel out and smashed the posts. Him and Tommo tried to stop me by standing in the way, but I’d lost it and put the bucket under his caravan.” Nooo, no please don’t wreck my van” suddenly the big Head was pleading with me and he had a look of sheer panic on his face. I just stared him out and after a few minutes backed off his garden and told him he was lucky I wasn’t really mad or I would have done and went home. I was so mad though. Lou saw it in my face when I went in and I had to confess my behaviour to her in earshot of the kids. I tried to whisper it, but I was so ate up I think they heard it all. I did calm down in a while, but the kids had overheard and thought it was great as they hadn’t seen or heard their uncle Malc act like that before.

    To this day I don’t know why I reacted so angrily to that. I spoke to Tom about it afterwards, Tom said he himself had fallen out with a couple over the years and had to ask himself why. He thought it was to do with them being new and not knowing the ways and possibly not caring about the ways down there and the aggressive way they came across caught him unaware, which brought out the wrong reaction. Maybe I was settling in and felt the same way about the place. David the farmer said I should have taken the lot down and he would have forbid him for having it put back up. I don’t think David liked him or that type of way much either.

    The rest of the meadow heard about it soon enough, but I never lost any work from it or his bad mouthing off of me, no, quite the opposite. I got even more work and became a bit of legend for doing what I did for some odd reason. Then a localism came about. If someone didn't pay for something on time they would say, " we'll get Malc and his JCB on you! I think David started that one.

    I didn’t get too much fencing work though. Maybe it was rubbish after all?
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2019

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