Day Out Saturday

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We were out super early on Saturday with many items on our to-do list.

First up was to pick up our large pet carrier from our friend who had borrowed it. Said friend lives right around the corner from destination two, which was a wood yard. We ordered just over a thousand dollars worth of wood in order to build our next project, which is the pergola beginnings of our Queensland Room.

For those not from Australia, a Queensland Room is essentially a screened in porch. Usually the screen is mosquito net or shade cloth.

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The next stop was Shellharbour shopping centre. We picked up 15kg of potatoes which will last us about a month and a half. These potatoes are far cheaper than buying potatoes locally. This is just one bag of the three bags, having been sorted into large potatoes for chips and smaller potatoes for other things.

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We then headed up the 9 into the Southern Highlands. The 9 is probably the best of the roads that go from the South Coast to the Southern Highlands. There is a small section which is bendy but after that it straightens out beautifully. It has the fewest potholes and lumps and bumps.

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Our next destination was Heatherbrae Pies and a cup of that great Chai Latte for me. All the while, we were listening to songs and crossing some of them off our list.

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I also enjoyed the cherry and apple pie. I did mean to bring it home and save it for Monday night when I would have warmed it in the oven but I realised that it would have to travel all that way back without any pastry companions to place in the cooler bag.

We returned via Kangaroo Valley, a quick stop at Bunnings to get some needed bits and pieces, then home. Not for long though. There was a twilight market on at Huskisson so we headed out for an afternoon 6km walk and a quick market stop.

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Then it was home again to discover that the chicken ladder had lost a rung. A quick and dirty solution was made though I am not allowed to show it to you, as The Other Half says it is not his best work. Plus it was built in the dark while we were trimming the new girls feathers in preparation for The First Free Range Day. That day is a story for another post.

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Here In Snoskred Land

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Brussel Sprouts are either nowhere to be found or extremely Up Money. We’ve had to improvise. I decided to use baby spinach in our Meatball Mix the other night. The result was somewhat odd, as the spinach turned everything green, even after it was cooked.

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It was still delicious!

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The new girls have settled in well for the most part, however the flock layout has turned out totally different to expectations. At the very top of the flock are Dark Comb, Lizzy and Kitty. Dark Comb was clearly determined to be the Queen Bee. Just under them is Foo and Finn. BeeGee is next, followed by Diana, and Queen is at the very bottom of the pecking order.

When we took Rosie in to see the vet, who was not our normal vet, she was surprised to find how observant we are and how quickly we had picked up on Rosie not being her usual self. The vet said many flock owners do not notice anything is wrong until things are *really* wrong. This can be of great benefit to the chooks if something is wrong, but it can also be to our detriment.

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Foo at the front, Finn behind, then Queen.

Last Saturday around lunchtime, Foo separated herself away from the flock and was standing inside the run on one of the roosts. By 2:30pm we were starting to get quite worried as this was not like her and it was contrary to the usual chook routine, normally Foo and Finn are inseparable, or sometimes they split up a bit to hang out with some of the other chooks but they are usually within each others sight line.

We suspected she might be egg bound, and thus we tried the spa treatment. She hung out by the laying boxes for the next hour and a half, with Finn coming in to check on her pretty regularly. Finally to our great relief she laid the larger than usual egg around 4:30. More than likely this would have happened quite naturally without any intervention or worrying on our part at all. But who knows, maybe the spa treatment helped her out. ;)

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Most days the girls get at least one treat. In the past week they have had a variety of awesome new things to try. They pecked some cauliflower into a new alien landscape.

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They were unsure at first about yoghurt but they soon discovered it was brilliant. It has to be lactose free for chickens. You also want to make sure to have at least two separate feeding stations so if the girls lower on the pecking order get chased away from one container they can visit the other one. I can cut these egg cartons in half so they have 4 locations to choose from.

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BeeGee has discovered blueberries – she has one in her beak there, it is a bit hard to spot – and they are her favourite treat so far. She used to run away from us whenever we went out to the enclosure – now she waits to see if we have her most favourite thing. My expectation is that she will eat them out of my hand within a couple of weeks.

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Last weekend was a long weekend here. We’d been talking about our fire plan and also preparing our home. The dry leaves were all raked up and placed in the chicken pen where they will be an endless source of amusement until they compost down.

The house gutters were cleaned out. Gutter guard was installed on some of the house guttering, this job will be completed next weekend as we ran out of gutter guard.

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The cats enjoyed plenty of outside in the yard time, where Grumpy was fascinated by the moving leaves in the small birdbath pond, and Happy spent some time getting to know the new chooks. We did not get out for any Jervis Bay walks over the weekend, however plenty of exercise was enjoyed right here at home. Everything is much tidier now.

Chickens, Home

Home Time

The cat grass has now been planted inside one of our large pots. The cats seem to like it here. They take it in turns to climb up and snack on the grass.

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Happy had an audience on her most recent visit to the cat grass, a game hen!

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We moved another one of the cat towers to the window cat happy place. They are now taking it in turns to sit in various places on these towers.

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I now have a mani to match my toes. As you can see in the background, the jasmine is flowering.

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The chooks are laying again, and we are enjoying the eggs.

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Somewhat sadly on our last grocery shop we did not find any brussel sprouts at Aldi, and the ones available at Coles were hugely expensive and not great looking. The season might be over. That is a sad moment for us, but it is balanced out by warmer weather. I can’t handle many more of the cold nights we’ve been having.

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Spring Cleaning Time

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It is that time of year again. The art room has somehow got very messy. I want to create art again, so work must be done. It turns out I needed to do some preparatory work in various other rooms before I could start working on this one. I started out with the hanging racks – this one you are about to see was covered in jackets, hoodies, ponchos, and tote bags. And now, not.

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The scarf bar has been rejigged to give me space to hang beanies and hats if necessary.

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The next job to tackle is the hanging rack of bags. This is going to be a tough job and one I have put off a few too many times. I will tackle this. I WILL. :)

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This space in my bedroom will soon become the Jewelry Bar. Watch this – and all these – spaces! There may not be much in the way of movie or tv watching happening for a while, until I get all this sorted.

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I have a supervisor helper cat. She’s watching the spaces closely!

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So That Was August

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Bargain Beanies – these were $3 each from Cotton On. I wear a lot of beanies around the house these days and I figured for $3 each I might as well have some stylish ones. Why have I been wearing beanies around the house, you wonder? Wonder no more – here are our temperatures for the month of August in celsius –

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No wonder I was freezing cold much of the time. Two days where the low was over 10C (50F) – that is very cold for where I live. We have not had much rain at all. We have had many days where there were no clouds, so as soon as the sun disappeared the temperature dropped.

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Thank the deities I found these gorgeous and extremely comfortable boots on sale at Mathers – these are the Colorado Caffara which I managed to score for the massive price of $40 during a sale on an impromptu shopping trip with my parents which came to me as a surprise one Saturday afternoon.. They were originally $249. I have been wearing them a lot lately.

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I found this goldstone ring for $10 at a local place – I cannot resist goldstone. It is one of my favourite things. I am planning to see if my favourite rings can be resized soon but until then, I can wear this one. It matches my new boots too.

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As mentioned in my No Buy July post, I intended to buy this pin from Noni B, and buy it I did, though I got it for just over $17 during a sale. It does pay to sign up for their email mailing list and rewards card thingy, if only to be told when things are going to be on sale. :)

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We did a little reorganizing and created a nice sun trap for the kitties which happens to sit right next to the chickens favourite place to hang out and dust bathe when they are free ranging.

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They can relax and enjoy the warm sun PLUS have chicken entertainment. Most mornings now they are both found somewhere here.

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They take it in turns for the cat tower, the other cat usually sits on the chairs which are covered by an IKEA bath mat.

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Meanwhile the chookies have just experienced their first blueberries for the season and they were very happy about it. Delicious blueberries = happy chook moments.

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There were two manicures in the month of August – my nail artist opened her own shop this month which was super exciting for her and I am so happy for her. The first manicure was blue with a holographic glitter in it, which threw a rainbow of colours. I got 3 full weeks out of this mani, but in the next photo you can see why I like to stick with tips only – see the new growth which has no polish?

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This particular nail colour also showed me exactly where I use my nails to do things, as parts of it turned pink with wear towards the final week of the manicure. The pinky finger in particular got a lot of wear – I figured out this is where my finger meets my tablet cover and I use my pinky nail to hold it upright while reading at night. It was so weird, there was no change in the thickness of the polish or the quality of it, not at all. Just a colour change.

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I mentioned the other manicure last week, but here it is pictured resting on the outfit I mentioned. Again it is difficult to take photos of these things and do them justice. You can almost see how it matches this dress perfectly. That is a chiffon tank dress from Millers which I bought in late summer and then the weather got too cold to wear it. I have been thinking about this dress for months, waiting to wear it and finally we got a warm day.

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The dress and I, plus The Other Half, went to Shellharbour, then we took our new “long way home” which goes via Robertson, where I took the obligatory Big Potato Photo. It was a beautiful day, reaching highs in the 20s. The next day it SNOWED in Robertson, and we suddenly went from 16C to 6.6C here.

Home, shopping, sparkly

Snoskred-land Lately

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We are more than halfway through No Buy July – for me that means no buying of clothes. The very last thing I needed to do clothes wise was to update my sleep wear because that was anywhere from 4-6 sizes too big for present size me. Kmart was having a clearance and on the 30th of June I picked up 4 very comfortable new nighties in size 10-12 for $5 each. YAY!

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As we walked through the shopping centre to pick up one item from the supermarket that same day, I said to the other half – “I might just check Noni B. They had that dress in my size on the clearance rack when I was there yesterday but it was still very Up Money.” As I walked into the store the staff member greeted me and then told me everything on the clearance rack was $20. “Even the dresses?” said I? “Even the dresses” said she. I grabbed that thing so fast nobody saw it. I am sure if you could watch it on CCTV I became a blur of movement. I dashed into the fitting room so quickly The Other Half was messaging me “where did you go?”

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I fits, I buys. I had been wanting this dress for over 6 months, I even mentioned it here on the blog. And I got it for $20. That is CRAZY TALK I am telling you. :) The material feels amazing, it has kind of a crimp in it is the best way I can explain it.

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I did pick up another gorgeous top for $20 at the same time, and I pointed out my next wanted dress to The Other Half..

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Unknown to myself, I had matched my new kettle to my upcoming new outfit. This is the Breville 1.7 litre kettle in Dragonfruit. She is a sparkly delight. We’d had our previous kettle for over 10 years and the spout was plastic and beginning to biodegrade somewhat meaning hot water would go everywhere when I tried to pour it. Very dangerous, it had to be replaced. I was worried because my Mum had bought a stainless steel kettle which is the noisiest kettle ever, you have to shout to talk over it. But this one is whisper quiet and it makes a gorgeous BING sound when it is finished boiling. I love it.

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Speaking of things I love, no, I did not enjoy spending some serious cash on a new coffee machine but I love the one we’ve ended up with. We’d had the previous one for 6 years and when we did the maths, it cost us 12 cents a cup. I’d like a bit more than 6 years out of the next one, thanks appliance deities! We do use it quite a bit – 4 cups of coffee a day minimum, plus occasional extra shots for iced coffee or adding to a smoothie or milkshake.

I’ve been cutting down on dairy lately because I had a bad flu which just dragged on and on. It seems to be uncooked cheddar cheese which is my main problem – if I eat it I have a stuffed up nose for the rest of the day. I figured while I was eliminating things I would give some different milks a try for coffee. The new coffee machine froths coconut milk perfectly and almond milk not quite as well but it is do-able. I am loving my coconut milk cappucinos. You get a coconut flavour as a bonus. Our afternoon coffee is accompanied with one serving of Dark Kit Kat.

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June is my birthday month and Crabtree and Evelyn were having a sale plus they sent me a $15 birthday voucher, so I grabbed a couple of hand creams and some salted caramel fudge. They did not quite bring enough salt for my liking. Rose and Pineapple hand creams smells like a toilet freshener according to the other half – it just so happens that is the one I most love. ;) I gave him the Spiced Earl Grey to try and combat his winter hands. Carribean Island Wild Flowers is super loud in a good way and the fragrance sticks around through several hand washings.

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TVSN were also on sale. I am clearly not the only addict to this channel in the family but my biggest addiction is to their clearance pages. Grumpy suggested I buy this top.

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While I did not take that particular advice as I felt it was slightly up money though I may well buy it later on when it is reduced if it is still available in my size, I did purchase one Diane Gilman top which I had been watching for months in clearance that suddenly jumped down to $9.95, and one set of tops with rainbow holographic sparkly sequins. I am always impressed with the quality of the goods once I receive them.

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The Berry Bypass is now officially open – one lane of cars each way with a speed limit of 60km/hr. We ventured over to Berry on Saturday to check out the town minus all that traffic – seems like most other people in the world had a similar idea. We drove the bypass on Sunday on the way to Costco, it was brilliant.

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Quick Note

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No movie post this week, we have been too busy to watch movies. Part of the busy was an overnight trip to Canberra. We went to IKEA and picked up a few things, including another HODDE.

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One presently resides on the floor in front of my recliner. Something about this rug just makes me happy. If I could, I would cover the entire house with them!

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For now, I have settled for replacing an older rug in the Kitty Hang Out Area. This is a spot where the sun shines for much of the day. There are places for cats to sleep at varying levels, many including floor mats placed inside or on top of cardboard boxes.

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There is a pot of all the vegetables we did not eat over the last two and a half weeks bubbling away on the stove. Red capsicum, leek, one lonely carrot, cauliflower, zucchini, brussel sprouts and potato. It will be ready for lunchtime. Happy moments here!

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Kitchen Update

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Our new Westinghouse fridge has been a great addition to our household. So much space, and everything has a specific home. Today I will take you on a fridge tour.

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The top shelf is where lunches for The Other Half reside. Those are his cans – every second can is a Solo can. While I no longer drink my calories he is losing weight without trying so the occasional can is cool with me. The next shelf down is mainly dairy storage AKA extra cheeses, chook yoghurt and meats.

Then we have a treats shelf, that grey storage container there holds all our dark chocolate, there is some hommus for me and on the other side is a roll out shelf with things like garlic, chili, ginger, jams, and our aioli. I get the wasabi aioli from Aldi, it is amazing.

The final shelf here has tinned tuna, our cheese in use drawer, eggs, and in that little alfoil package is a ham and cheese croissant snack. I made them for lunch for The Other Half yesterday and there was an extra one, so I saved it as a snack for myself in case I wanted it for lunch today. For lunches now I find it really difficult to go past my protein shake. My body needs the nutrients in there way more than it needs a butter croissant, especially after a tough workout.

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The shelf with the large pink container – that has all our potatoes – sweet and normal. I can fit about 10kg of potatoes in there. We found a place that sells a 5kg bag of potatoes for the same price I buy 2kg for normally, so when we go past there we tend to stock up.

I keep them in the fridge now which extends their life significantly BUT it makes my hands super cold when I have to peel them. I try to remember to put them out an hour before peel time.There is a watermelon treat for the chooks there too. Next to it in the grey container is my apples.

Then we have two fruit and vegetable shelves. Carrots, mushrooms, broccoli, leeks, zucchini, then in the bottom crisper there is a cauliflower, green capsicum, red capsicum and 1.5kg of brussel sprouts which finally returned to the shelves at Aldi this week. The Other Half had to stop me from buying even more of them! I have missed them so much, we will incorporate them into every single meal this week.

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Some more treats reside on the top shelf here. Peanut butter on apples is my daily treat right now, and we usually have something dark chocolate with afternoon coffee – kit kat dark is the present go-to, but I limit myself to just one serving.

San Pellegrino is my other more occasional treat. I grab them if I am headed out for errands or if we are going for a drive in the car. When we are staying here I mostly drink my Soda-Stream carbonated filtered tap water.

Next to that some more condiments – the South Aussies will recognise the Beerenberg tomato sauce. When we first moved here we could not get it, relatives would bring us 2 litre flagons from the store in Hahndorf. Now it is available on the shelves and it is the only tomato sauce I could imagine using. It is that good.

The vegemite is not for me – I am perhaps not Australian enough because I do not like it. The Other Half does, though. The olives are mine.

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My soda stream bottles, the Costco maple syrup which I was surprised to find should be kept in the fridge, a bottle of mineral water with lemon for visitors, bottles of water, and then all that milk. I switched to almond milk for my smoothies – it is less calories and tastes incredible to me. The A2 milk you see there will last us for 2 weeks.

Right at the bottom there, some more bottled water, my lemon and lime squeeze bottles and some whipped cream which I will *very* occasionally put on top of a hot chocolate, milo or coffee.

We are down to one grocery shopping trip a fortnight, made after 6pm on the weekends when everyone else is doing other things. The bigger fridge has helped a lot – I can buy milk for two weeks now without having to worry about where I will put it, and the next time I go to Costco I will probably buy 4 of their large cheeses which keeps extremely well, that will mean I don’t have to buy cheese for 3 months at least, maybe 4.

We buy all our meat in bulk once every 2-3 months then foodsave and freeze it except for beef mince which I buy fresh each fortnight. But the freezer and how we organise it, that is a story for another post. :) I just did a big pantry clean out this weekend too. That is also a story for another post.

food, Home

Getting Organised

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Sometimes you just need to de-clutter and reorganise. This process is happening all over my house at the moment. Everything from getting a new fridge to cleaning out the cupboards to reorganizing my wardrobes and letting go of a lot of clothes that no longer fit me, and welcoming in new clothes, shoes, even underwear that does fit.

Part of this process which came to me as a surprise on a recent Saturday was organising our movies. There are a lot of movies which The Other Half likes which I do not enjoy, and vice versa. We went through the list to organise my movies into two groups – watched, and to be watched.

After the sorting, I now have a directory on the server with over 70 movies that are marked “to be watched”. These are movies I have never seen that somehow got lost in our movies directory. When I would go in there to pick something to watch I would often get tempted by something I have already seen and love, or there would be so much choice I could not choose.

My plan now is to work through these movies one by one. After I watched the first one, I thought maybe I would keep a little list, maybe once a fortnight – or once a week depending on how much watching I get done – and post it here on the blog. I might organise it similarly to how Zandria does her book posts, but maybe with loved, liked, disliked.

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Here is a fridge preview – on Monday next week I have a post where you get a closer look.

Movies and maybe some music will be Wednesday posts for a while, going forwards. I am slowly getting my blogging mojo back. ;)

blog housekeeping, Home, movies

The Bin Theft

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Twas the week before Christmas, and all through the house..

Not a creature was stirring, except for the mice in the chook pen.

The bin had been placed on the kerb with care..

In the hope that the bin truck would soon be there.

The Other Half and I were nestled all snug in our bed..

While visions of sugar plums danced in our heads.

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When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,

but because we were asleep,

nobody sprang from our bed to see what was the matter.

Luckily the security cameras caught the bin thieves,

who rather stupidly live just up the street

and chose to use their quite recognisable 4wd to try and steal our bin.

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Because they took off like a bat out of hell,

This bin theft did not go very well.

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Because I use very recognisable bin bags,

we found our bin right where they left it.

Just between you and me,

The council replaced our broken bin for free.

And they would have provided our caught on CCTV thieves with a free bin regardless of why it went missing. Your results may vary depending on your council.

Perhaps in the old days before CCTV, people might have snuck out in the night to steal someone else’s bin if something happened to theirs, and the destiny of the bin would forever remain a mystery. These days, not so much.

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