Tag Archives: cats

Mystery

There are certain things in life that will always be a mystery, such as why things I put down in one room appear, after months of looking, in a completely different room. I haven’t moved them, and Julia hasn’t moved them, so how does this happen?

If I suggest that Julia might be being inaccurate in her recollection, I end up in trouble. If I nod wisely and suggest that we must have a ghost that likes moving my stuff about, I also get into trouble. If I suggest that we must have a stranger living in the attic, the one who never replaces the toilet rolls and empty toothpaste tubes, I also…well, you get the picture.

A similar mystery is why WordPress suddenly decides to send comments to my Spam folder. So, welcome back Lavinia and Malkie.  Not every recent comment had been filtered out, just some, which makes it all very strange. And that, readers, is why there might be multiple comments on the same subject from these two. They haven’t become unusually verbose, they have just posted multiple times to register a comment. There is probably some cosmic plot afoot to prevent us all commenting at the same time and tearing a hole in the space-time continuum with our fearsome combined intelligence.

I’ve just, by coincidence, been reading an article on traits of highly intelligent people and Lavinia qualifies because she has cats. I didn’t realise that, but of you think about it, the decision to buy something that needs long walks in bad weather and holds the fate of your soft furnishings in its dribbling mouth, is not as intelligent as the decision to get a cat.  Malkie, of course, is famous for his top hat. I don’t think I need to say more. This is not the headgear of an idiot. As for me, I have an untidy workspace. That is a sign of genius, as I just told Julia. She seems unconvinced. However, bearing in mind the vocabulary she exhibited in telling me this, and the fact that bad language is also, it seems, a sign of high intelligence, it would appear that I married a genius. .

I won’t post a link as I made the msutake of not noting it down when I found it – now I can’t find it again. There are plenty of them about if you just google it. I may be tall, have blue-eyes, be the the oldest sibling etc,, but I’m still not smart enough to remember to make notes.

 

Three Weeks In and I’ve Had Enough

I’m beginning to wilt under the pressure and nearly went shopping today on the way back from dropping Julia at work. We don’t need any groceries but the days are not as much fun in this second lockdown as Julia is at work and I’m beginning to find myself feeling a little lonely after three weeks of isolation without company.  Lockdown One – lie-ins, sunshine and company. Lockdown Two – up at 6.45, cold and lonely. I can’t imagine what it must have been like for people living on their own all through the first lockdown. I thought of the lack of freedom as the main problem, not loneliness. I have plenty to do so I don’t usually feel lonely. But I don’t usually have this much time to myself.

One thing I’ve noticed about the new computer is that it’s virtually silent and the case doesn’t even get warm despite being on for hours. This is very different from the old one.

Highpoint of the day has ben talking (a) to a scammer and (b) to Amazon customer services.

The first was an obvious scam because Amazon don’t have my home phone number so I asked if though t I was stupid enough to hand over my bank details to a random caller. He was very good at pretending to have hurt feelings. However, the third time I explained I thought he should have some sort of ID he put the phone down mid-sentence. I’m not sure even an Amazon employee would be that rude.

Of course, I had to go to my account to check it just in case and managed to lock myself out. They now send One Time Passwords over the phone as links rather than codes. I’m not online with my phone so I can’t use them and had to ring up.  To be fair, once we established that I had no intention of linking my phone to the internet, it all went quite smoothly as two polite, cheerful and intelligent members of staff sorted it all out for me. It’s not often you’ll here me say that after dealing with a customer helpline, so remember this moment. It’s ten out of ten for Amazon.

I don’t know why everyone needs you to be linked to the internet. Back in the 70s you didn’t have to walk round with a pocketful of carrier pigeons so why do we need a phone for everything?

And yes, it’s another cat. A good, old-fashioned cat that doesn’t need you to be linked to the internet so that it can treat you with indifference. On the other hand, if you die alone, a mobile phone won’t start to eat you.

It’s not actually a stamp, they just added a few pictures to the sheet of stamps – first time we had some I didn’t realise and counted it as a First Class Stamp.

 

How do you plan your time?

I’ve been home for four hours. In that time I’ve read and commented on 10 posts from four bloggers, spoken to my sister, washed up (yes, I know I’m a slob) and cooked. Tea is nearly ready, though I have exploded a baked potato in the oven.

It doesn’t seem a lot for four hours. I’m never going to become a world class poet at this rate. I’m not even going to become a mediocre poet at this rate as I haven’t written anything apart from a few notes today. Well, I did answer some work emails and load four items onto eBay, but there was a distinct lack of poetry associated with all that.

The most complicated word I used was iconic, which is almost obligatory these days if you are selling a Winston Churchill Medallion.

We had a chicken curry made with a spice kit last night – grilled marinaded chicken breasts with rice and yoghurt dressing. The chicken was good, though messy to prepare, but the rice was not impressive. I couldn’t actually detect any flavour in it, though that may have been my fault for using brown rise instead of white.

The yoghurt dressing was good to. Two out of three ain’t bad, as they say. Maybe I will make meatloaf later this week.

Tonight it was Cornish Pasty with beans and baked potato. It wasn’t sophisticated but I did enjoy it.

We had crumble for the last two nights, made with plums from the garden tree. I see Julia has brought some apples home today so I’m hoping for apple crumble later this week. Tomorrow we will probably have fried rice with courgettes. We have plenty of courgettes – green ones, yellow one and ones that think they are marrows.

The car is in for servicing and MOT tomorrow, which seems to get more expensive every year. If I’d had my MOT in July I would have been given a 6 month extension, but as it’s in August I have to have it as normal. Ah well, it’s the same the whole world over, ain’t that a blooming shame – it’s the rich wot gets the pleasure and the poor wot gets the blame. Or words to that effect.

A final thought – according to Waking up on the Wrong Side of 50 she has her blog posts planned out until 20th September. The woman must be a machine – I have a couple of ideas noted for future use, but when I started writing this I didn’t know what I was going to write about when I started and wasn’t sure how I was going to finish it.

How do you plan your blog?

 

selective focus photo of grey cat

Photo by Kirsten Bu00fchne on Pexels.com

I thought I’d use the cats again today as they are generally acceptable, and because I’m too lazy to find new shots.

20 Questions

I was just catching up on my reading when a mish-mash of followed links took me here. I thought it seemed interesting so I decided to have a go at it myself.

Do you have a nickname? No. I’m sometimes the target for abuse from family members, particularly my wife and children, but have no permanent alternative name.

If you could live anywhere in the world where would you be? I like the Fens, but they can be a bit breezy and the windchill factor is no joke in winter. I’d still like to live in the Fens from April to October, because I like the large skies and the flatness, but would like to live somewhere warmer for the rest of the year.

What is one thing most people don’t know about you? If I told you that then it wouldn’t be one thing most people don’t know about me.

If you could have dinner with one person living or dead who would it be? I’d quite like to have dinner with Siegfried Sassoon, but I’m not certain he’d care to have dinner with me. The Honourable Galahad Threepwood would be a suitable alternative.

What is the one food you will always order when you go out to eat? Scampi. I like scampi. Not exactly sure what it is, but I like it. I also like calamari. It’s possible that I just like fried food with lemon juice.

I’m also very fond of Little Chef Olympic Breakfasts, but they will become extinct this year as the last Little Chefs closes so I’m going to settle for scampi.

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Olympic Breakfast

If your mother could cook for you again what do you wish she would make? Roast dinners – mine never come close to tasting as good as hers did.

Do you have any regrets? Yes, but I try not to waste time thinking about it. Learn from it. Move on.

What is the one possession you would grab in a fire? My trousers. After that I would, of course, ensure that Julia was safe.

Do you work? I’ve just started the new job, working in a shop full of collectables. It’s so much fun it hardly counts as work.

Can you play a musical instrument? No, I have no musical talent whatsoever. I have abused the piano, trumpet, euphonium, mouth organ and ukulele at various times but never produced anything approximating to music.

What would your children be named if they didn’t have the names they have now? I’d go for a simple numbering system. So much easier, and no need to worry about fashion or family names.

Do you have pets? We had two cats. They lived to be 20 years old then died a year apart. For three months after that I still kept seeing cat shaped things out of the corner of my eye.

What is your major fear? A world shortage of cheese.

Do you have a life motto? No. I’m too boring.

What is one thing on your bucket list in life that seems the furthest stretch for you? I don’t have a bucket list. See above.

What would be your perfect day? A day out with Julia watching Puffins at Bempton Cliffs, followed by prawn sandwiches and cake at Mrs Botham’s tea shop in Whitby. We’ve done it several times and it can’t be bettered.

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Puffin – Bempton Cliffs

If you were an animal what would you be?  A cat. It’s not a big stretch as I sleep a lot and can’t be trusted around unguarded food.

Is there something you would not eat under any circumstances? Beetroot.  This isn’t a preference, for some reason it activates my gag reflex and I literally can’t eat it.

Favorite dessert? Syrup sponge with custard (often wrongly called treacle sponge), though it’s hard to ignore the comedy potential of spotted dick.

Anything else you want to say? For a look at the original post visit koolaidmoms at this link. Have a go yourself!

 

Patagonian Pumas and Penguins

We were talking about big cats in the shop during the week, specifically the definition of “big cat”. The current TV programme is called Big Cats but includes a lot of small cats. Specifically, it includes the Rusty Spotted Cat, which is a very cute cat (which is something you can’t say about a lion or tiger) and rather on the small side.  In fact, at 14 to 19 inches long (excluding tail) it is Asia’s smallest cat and a contender for being the world’s smallest cat.  (The rival is Africa’s Black-footed cat).

The dictionary tells me that the Big Cats are Tigers, Lions, Jaguars and Leopards.  These are all able to roar (apart from Snow Leopards). Sometimes Pumas/Cougars and Cheetahs are allowed in. Unless, as we have seen, you are producing a documentary titled “Big Cats”, when you allow everything in.

It’s a relief to find it’s just sloppy journalism, because I was beginning to think I  was going mad.

By coincidence the Sunday repeat came on as I started to write this. They have just shown pumas in Patagonia that prey on penguins. I don’t like their choice of prey, but you have to admire their instinct for alliteration.

There is probably a joke in there somewhere, but it may fall flat in countries where a Penguin isn’t an easily available chocolate biscuit.

Now they are trekking in the Himalayas, tracking a Snow Leopard. Despite the snow and altitude it seems to lead a life that, just like a domestic cat, involves a lot of sleeping. However, as we’ve already established, I’m not one to take the moral high ground in matters related to sleeping.

I had been wondering what you needed to do at school to end up as a wildlife photographer. However, having seen what they had to do in the Himalayas I’m finding that my enthusiasm is fading. I really don’t like all that snow.

Given a choice I would like to specialise in wildlife that lives around the Mediterranean within easy reach of  shops.

Though after reading  this article I may well settle for life as a travel journalist, as you only have to go for a few weeks.

 

Schrödinger’s books

A while ago,  when I was in the Oxfam bookshop I saw a book I didn’t buy. To be accurate, I actually saw thousands of books I didn’t buy, but there was one particular book. I picked it up, looked at it, asked myself if I had a good reason for adding it to my existing mountain of books, and reluctantly put it back. (Under my new system I’m trying to buy books only when I’m sure I’m going to read them within the next few months. It’s a forlorn hope but I have to tell Julia something.)

After I dropped Julia off yesterday morning I wondered about visiting the bookshop while I was on that side of town. However, I had a list of  errands to do and decided to make a start on that. As for the book, it will either be there when I go back, or it won’t, and that was when the phrase Schrödinger’s Books passed through my mind.

As everyone knows Schrodinger’s  Cat is an illustration of  what he saw as the problem of the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics applied to everyday objects.

What? You don’t? You need to stay in more and read Wikipedia. Then, having read Wikipedia, you have to understand it.

It problem features a sealed box containing a cat, a source of radioactivity and a flask of poison. If radioactivity is released it is detected by the Geiger counter which releases the poison and kills the cat. If no radioactivity is released, the cat lives. Because the box is sealed the cat might either be alive or dead, or both.

Alternatively, like me, you can use cut and paste and get by with a vague understanding, secure in the knowledge that most of your readers are similarly vague. To be honest, when I first saw the words Schrödinger’s Cat, I thought it was the sequel to Flaubert’s Parrot. It would make quite a trilogy with Lady Chatterley’s Plover.

I’d have to take issue with “everyday objects” , as I don’t tend to have a Geiger counter, a source of radioactivity and a flask of poison lying around the house. However, it does make more sense than Einstein’s  assertion that a barrel of unstable gunpowder can exist in both exploded and unexploded states. Having, in my re-enactment days, had an Explosives License, I can’t appreciate the subtlety of Einstein’s position. With gunpowder I’ve always thought of it as an either/or situation. Either you have a roof, or you don’t have a roof. There isn’t much room for compromise.

Anyway, back to books. You see a book in a shop and don’t buy it. When you walk out of the shop you can no longer see it and  don’t know whether it is there or not, so it’s both there and not there.

My version of the problem works better with secondhand books. In a shop selling new books it’s more likely they will have a copy when you want one. In a second hand bookshop there’s probably a bigger chance of the book being gone when you go back. Unless it’s Fifty Shades of Grey. There are plenty of them about.

It also works better with books than cats: in the absence of food and water, there is, I feel, a fundamental flaw in the assumption that the cat is alive beyond a certain point.

This is probably a good way of defining a scientist – a man who can reveal the mysteries of the Universe but can’t run a cattery.

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Books

 

 

 

 

Black Cats, Sheep Wars and Apples

The Farmer is on holiday and, as usual, things are going wrong. I’m not sure if he plans it like this or not, but I do know we got a phone call yesterday because he had said we would sort out the kitten problem. I also know he has made provision for someone to help move sheep in a couple of days, and has left details of where to buy fencing materials if we need them, so I’m suspicious that he knew we were going to – not that the sheep are any of our business – we just help with them for something to do.

We had a number of complaints about the sheep wandering so we went down for a look. They had pretty much eaten all the grass and then, as they do, forced holes in the woeful fence looking for more grass.

We blocked the holes, gave them a bale of hay and are currently keeping our fingers crossed that this will do the job for another couple of days. It probably won’t  work now that they have the taste for escaping, but the farm apprentice who has been left in charge doesn’t want to move them until the appointed day. Imagine me letting out a big sigh here…

Whilst checking the fence we found it had actually been cut. Added to the incident a couple of weeks ago when somebody turned an electric fence off and several other things it’s looking like we have a vandal problem. It’s not the Pleasant Valley War (though the Farmer is currently visiting Arizona) but it’s still a nuisance.

So, I hear you ask, what is the “kitten problem”? Well, we were given two black cats – brother and sister – last year when one of the volunteers decided we needed a farm cat. He first fixed us up with a Bengal, which spent six months attacking people and drifting off for days at a time. It was the “attacking people” bit that had resulted in her being given away after two attempts to rehome her with people who appreciated the breed went wrong.. We just wanted a cat so, though she was an interesting cat, we weren’t that bothered when she spent less and less time with us (obviously finding a better offer elsewhere, as they do!)

The second attempt were the brother and sister black cats. They were from a charity – chipped, health checked and supposedly neutered/spayed.

The male ran under a car shortly after he got here but the female kept putting in regular appearances, even coming into the office sometimes.

Yesterday she was spotted in the company of half a dozen kittens.

That leads me to one of several conclusions:

  • She wasn’t spayed
  • She’s not the original black cat we had
  • She’s running a creche

Despite asking people all day I can’t find anyone who wants a kitten so it looks like a trip to the RSPCA. I suspect they won’t be grateful…

Apart from that we picked apples. It’s that time of year.

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Cat picture and Progress (which is a good thing in this case!)

Let’s face it, everyone loves a cat picture, and this is a particulalrly sleek looking example of the species. Possibly even self-satisfied, but having discovered a soft patch of soil (otherwise known as “a seedbed” in the polytunnel) it has just enjoyed a relaxing, almost luxurious, bowel movement, so why wouldn’t it be happy.

I’m thinking of a word at the moment, but I think I might upset people if I used it. Let’s just say that although I’m normally a cat lover, I’m making an exception in this case.

I’m still thinking of that word though. It’s nearly bursting out…

Meanwhile, courtesy of two day’s hard work from our Community Payback Team, the new wheelchair access paths are looking a lot better than they were at the beginning of the week, so that’s good. We managed to get a wheelchair user stuck a fortnight ago so this is a piece of work we’re keen on.

Thursday

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Friday

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Hopefully all will be in place in a few weeks.