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Mutton honey

They found a ewe drowned in the canal in our back garden yesterday. How they noticed one missing and went to find her is beyond me. It’s a big flock. The looker pulled her out with a rope.

In our area, a shepherd is called a looker. You might think a looker looks, but he doesn’t. He lookers. Generally, he goes out lookering in the morning and lookering again in the afternoon.

Anyway, the looker told us a ewe will suicide if she’s ill (although another looker told me a ewe wakes up every morning and thinks, “how shall I kill myself today?”).

The looker (the first looker, I mean) also told us a ewe will reject a lamb if she senses it’s wrong. He had an apparently healthy lamb this season, rejected by its mama, was feeding well on the bottle and looking robust. Found him stone dead next morning in his pen.

On the other hand, most bottle-reared lambs thrive. You can tell who in the flock was raised by humans: they run up to you happy instead of away from you scared. I think I’d feel pretty awful sending off a sheep that thought I was great.

When they fish a sheep out of the ditch, it’s called drowned mutton. Used to sell it cheaper at the butchers, so it was prized by the poor (I can’t imagine it’s legal to sell these days). I half overheard one of my neighbors tell a story about an old lady who preferred drowned mutton, so they pitched one in the pond for her every year.

Lookers, eh?

April 17, 2014 — 9:11 pm
Comments: 7

Giant hovering thing over Warwick turns out to be something not very interesting after all

This thing baffled people for days, after some girl captured vid of it on her phone (I like the picture that goes with. “Hi, I’m Georgina Heap and this is a phone.”).

Turns out they were firing pyrotechnics with a trebuchet at nearby Warwick Castle and accidentally blew a giant smoke ring.

Wait, hang on, that’s kind of interesting after all.

April 16, 2014 — 10:27 pm
Comments: 8

Such a bright looking lad

London barber posts pic of Kim Jong Un under the headline “Bad Hair Day?” gets visit from Nork embassy goons. Both sides reported to to police. Nothing will come of it.

I love the Kims. I mean, I don’t, obviously — they’re vile and horrible tyrants. But I love the way they confirm my theory that no checks and too much praise invariably turns humans into monsters.

April 15, 2014 — 9:44 pm
Comments: 11

Welcome, fuzzball

I was out doing a bit of weeding in the garden this afternoon, when I heard a lamb kicking up a terrific fuss. I thought perhaps one had gotten stuck in the ditch so I sidled over to check it out. Found this: newly hatched lamb struggling to take his very first step.

So, awesome.

We don’t own the field behind, but it shares a name with this house, so they were obviously together once. It’s a long, narrow field — flat as a table — and the sun rises spectacularly at the far end of it.

A thought experiment: imagine you are a lamb in Badger House Field, born at midnight. A chill, windy midnight (last year, there was snow on the ground when the lambs were born). Yours is a world of darkness (which it has always been) and cold (this is new and not very welcome).

A few hours into your life, just when you’re getting the hang of tottering a few steps behind your mother in the dark, this THING — this great, bright sun — blazes down the field in a streak of glory.

What must that be like?

Thinking on it is darn near enough to make me religious.

April 14, 2014 — 10:17 pm
Comments: 9

I’m back. I think.

In case you missed it, yesterday’s routine Windows update totally boogered my computer. It booted, looked normal, but none of the icons worked. Eventually, it would throw up a series of error messages and fall right over.

“No problem,” thinks the intrepid weasel, “I’ll just do a system restore.” There were no previous states to restore to.

See, it’s supposed to do a little backup file before it installs updates, so you can step back if there’s a problem. I worked out later why it hasn’t been (all these years, apparently): backups were somehow allocated 0% disk space. Thanks for the error message, Bill.

So I had to sort it the old fashioned way, with a hammer and brute ignorance. I’m not absolutely convinced everything is totally back to normal, but I can run Photoshop and a video game at the same time, so it’s got to be good enough.

Meanwhile, tomorrow’s Dead Pool was never in any doubt. I got internets in all kinds of places these days. See y’all back here tomorrow, 6WBT.

April 10, 2014 — 8:44 pm
Comments: 15

A pun: I made you one

Though, honestly, if the Reverend Al really was ratting out mobsters in the Eighties, that’s the most praiseworthy thing on his resume. Why are we mad at him?

April 8, 2014 — 9:34 pm
Comments: 32

Weasel…my balls…where are they, Weasel?

We’ve had hectic day today; Mad Jack went in for the snip-snip this morning. He’s come back to us…a little loopy. Unsteady, pupils the size of saucers. He’s obsessed with getting out, going from door to window to back door and scratching at the woodwork and meeping. They told us to keep him in for 24 hours, so he’s out of luck, but it’s a trial.

Have you ever had an animal come back from general anesthesia a little wrong in the head? I sure hope he’s back to himself tomorrow.

Right! LesterIII takes the dick with Mickey Rooney! After all that drama, and all the times he was picked, the old coot was only 93? I expected a more impressive number.

That means Dead Pool Round 62 queues up on Friday. If anyone was thinking of picking Peaches Geldof, I’ve got some bad news for you.

I leave you with this moving tribute I made for Damien, my last kitty to have a snip ‘n’ chip back in 2006. Damian vanished two years later, probably looking for something he was missing.

April 7, 2014 — 8:15 pm
Comments: 29

The view out my kitchen window

Lambs 2014, here at last. We’ve seen them in other parts of the county, but these are the first in our village.

This field — the one visible from my kitchen window — always has rams in it, so it’s a treat to have ewes and lambs to look at.

Not so cool to have ewes and lambs to listen to. They mehhhh at each other all night long.

Good weekend and happy lambing, all!

April 4, 2014 — 10:55 pm
Comments: 19

A quickie

Because it’s been entirely too cultured around here lately.

April 3, 2014 — 9:37 pm
Comments: 13

Wait, what?

If I may continue my theme for another day, have a gander at this thing. It’s called the Mold Gold Cape (it was found in a place called Mold in Wales in 1833).

It’s an extraordinary thing. It’s sort of a shoulder cape hammered from a single piece of gold (the raw gold must have been about the size of a ping pong ball), then decorated all over with repoussé. They reckon it’s nearly 4,000 years old.

Four thousand years. That is a stunning level of craftsmanship for the time. Moreover, though there was mining in the area, there were no big cities nearby, no great dynasties that they know. Just this amazing thing buried on a hill in the middle of sweet fuck all.

It was dug up with a skeleton by workmen. This being 1833, they divvied up the gold (the cape was already broken in bits by time and earth) and scattered anything else they found. Fortunately, the British Museum got wind of it through a local and managed to buy back most of the pieces right away, though there are still a few fragments missing, and almost none of the other grave good survived.

I learned about this from a popular BBC Radio Series called a History of the World in 100 objects. It’s one hundred fifteen-minute podcasts about interesting and important objects in the British Museum, arranged in chronological order, chosen and narrated by the chief curator. I’m pretty sure if you hit the link, you guys are allowed to download and listen to this one. Great history in handy bite-sized chunks (if a little lefty in parts). Mucho recommendo.

The Mold Gold Cape is episode 19, and here’s how it starts:

For the local workmen, it must have seemed as if the old Welsh legends were true. They’d been sent to quarry stone in a field known as Bryn-yr-Ellyllon, which translates as the Fairies’ or the Goblins’ Hill. Sightings of a ghostly boy, clad in gold, a glittering apparition in the moonlight, had been reported frequently enough for travellers to avoid the hill after dark. As the workmen dug into a large mound, they uncovered a stone-lined grave. In it were hundreds of amber beads, several bronze fragments, and the remains of a skeleton. And wrapped around the skeleton was a mysterious crushed object – a large and finely decorated broken sheet of pure gold.

The fuck, BBC? We’re just going to walk on by that, really? See, this is where Brits can be entirely too blasé.

Three possibilities. One – it isn’t true; there weren’t any such sightings (but it’s hard to get a more rigorous source than the British Effing Museum). Two – hells yes, a ghost haunted this treasure for forty centuries (I’m not of a mystical bent, but what the hell – humility is the essence of science). Three – distant memories of a grand and famous burial persisted in local legend for four thousand years.

Holy cats.

April 2, 2014 — 10:09 pm
Comments: 7