I’ve been playing Mad Jack Keepaway all evening, so no good content from me tonight. That boy is a nutcase.
But have a gander at this. Charlotte is a jealous goddess, so this represents real progress.
We went from: aware he exists, refuses to come in the house. To: aware he is in the house, runs as fast as possible from food bowl to front door and screams to go out. To: aware he is in the house, can curl up and sleep quite happily in the same room unless he hoves in sight, then much hissing and yowling. To: sleeps in the room with him quite happily, hisses and bops him one if he gets too close.
Sooner or later, they WILL curl up together, because cats are heat-seeking missiles, and other cats are soft and warm.
December 4, 2013 — 11:58 pm
This style of roof is known as a “cat slide”. Okay, I think technically a cat slide is lower on one side and ours is symmetrical, but boy howdy — that cat sure slides purty on it. Go on, you know you want him big and in color.
On Saturday morning, we woke up to the hunt. Well, I didn’t. I slept right through it. But the hunt swept through the neighborhood.
I’m a little disappointed that nobody told us in advance. It’s a trust issue. Fox hunting is still hugely controversial here.
The people agin’ it say it’s impossibly, unnecessarily cruel to the foxes. And destructive of property. And illegal.
The people for it say foxes are vermin, country people have been dealing with them this way for hundreds of years and — Jesus Christ, mind your own business.
I have neighbors on both sides of the argument (though mostly pro-hunt, I suspect). I’m deeply ambivalent about it, but I have decided I don’t have to have an opinion on every little issue. I think this is proper foreigner attitude.
They keep the hunt secret as best they can to avoid protesters (though apparently there were a few), but I would have appreciated a heads up. I’m told when their blood is up, a pack of dogs has been known to sheer off from the main group and kill cats. And chickens. (Yeah, ouch, there’s that ambivalent thing again).
They scared up seven foxes this time, so I heard. They didn’t get them all, though. I sat outside with Jack last night (I have to run him around every few hours to work the satan out of him), and there was one screaming loud ol’ fox in the field next door.
It sounded like somebody was skinning a live swan.
December 3, 2013 — 10:25 pm
I bet I’m getting fifty commercial emails a day, from everybody I’ve ever bought so much as a paperclip from. Mostly from the States, so they are — how you say? — out of luck sneaking a hand in my pocket this Christmas.
I dread this season. I’m a lousy gift shopper, Uncle B is incredibly hard to buy for and his birthday is too close to Xmas. If something’s big, I can’t afford it. If it’s small, he’s already bought it. If it’s weird, he’s probably not going to like it.
What I usually do is open up Amazon, close my eyes, think of him and poke stream-of-consciousness into the search box. For, like, a week, until I reach my money limit.
The thing above is one of my stranger successes. It’s a temperature-controlled butter dish. See, Brits use butter instead of mayo as a sandwich lubricant. And, on untoasted bread, the butter is either tear-it-up hard or sloppy soft, depending on the season and how long it’s been left out. This thing has a thermostat, a dial and a computer fan in the bottom, so the butter is always the perfect spreading temperature.
No, really, it was a hit.
What are some of your stranger Christmas successes? Seriously, I’m asking. Begging, even. I am allllll out of ideas this year.
December 2, 2013 — 11:32 pm
I haven’t played Kingdom of Loathing in, like, seven years, because I forgot my username. You can forget your password and recover it, but use a forgettable login name and you’re stuffed.
Anyway, I was banging around the house today, surveying the damage and unloading the dishwasher when a small, lonely braincell way in the back piped up and said, “by the way, your KoL username is Snack.” Huh. So it is.
If you don’t know Kingdom of Loathing, Wikipedia’s explanation is pretty good. Short version: it’s a free online, turn-based adventure game based on snark. Just when their schtick is about to get tiresome, something happens that makes me snort (I never actually, really LOL at anything I read — do you?).
My Turkey Day was awesome. Somehow, I drank too much, lost my footing and go-bust my upper lip. Just a little. And it doesn’t get any better than that.
p.s. All the hand-wringing I’ve read about the sweetheart deal we’re trying to give Iran, and nobody’s brought up Valerie Jarrett. You know, Obama’s chief adviser — the one some people call the real president — who was born and raised in Iran. Well, up to school age, anyway. Her first language was Persian, for cri-yi. You think that maybe has a little something to do with it?
p.p.s. And speaking of hand-wringing, all the boo-hooing over Black Friday — I’m sorry, I have to tell you, I just *love* it. I love that people camp overnight and fistfights break out and the unwary get trampled to death and…oh, I don’t know, all the greedy, violent acquisitive American joy in BUYING STUFF. It seems so healthy and vital.
When we go to the supermarket and get into the 10 or Fewer line (and yes, the signs do get the grammar right here) I always carefully count our stuff and solemnly inform the cashier, “where I come from, a person can get shot for getting into this line with 12 items.” What I don’t say, but I think very loudly, is and that’s as it should be.
Good weekend, folks!
November 29, 2013 — 11:09 pm
Hope yours was awesome. Mine’s still in the works. Better scurry!
November 28, 2013 — 11:59 pm
We most certainly do celebrate Thanksgiving in this household (a gluttony holiday wasn’t exactly a hard sell). Turkey Day is my favorite and, not entirely by chance, the anniversary of the day I arrived in England for good. Well, the date shifts a little, obviously, but I count it from Thanksgiving to Thanksgiving. Five years now, if you can believe it.
Our neighbors — among them the incorrigible old coots who got us drunk last night — have been good and welcoming. The problem is, they’re all ten or twenty years older than we are. We just have time to get attached, and they go falling off the branch already. One died suddenly last year, another has had a completely incapacitating stroke.
Here’s a nasty shock: the NHS doesn’t pay for nursing home care. When our friend with the stroke has a medical issue — breaks a bone or gets pneumonia — he goes in the hospital and socialized medicine pays for the lot. When he’s stable enough to go back to the care home, his wife pays, to the tune of about $1,200 a week. Until they’ve bled her savings white, and then the state picks up the tab.
Part of me thinks “fair enough” — round the clock care is terribly expensive and it has to paid for somehow. But geez, this guy worked all his life to build up his little stash, and there it goes — whoosh, down the crapper. He doesn’t even get anything nicer than the man who pissed it all away at the pub. Not that he’d know the difference now, poor bastiche.
Anyway, I promise to be cheerier tomorrow. Because — turkey!
November 27, 2013 — 11:54 pm
Drank too much.
Love you guys.
Talk tomorrow –
November 26, 2013 — 10:43 pm
The plan was to keep Jack in all Winter, then give ‘im the snip and let him go when the weather took a turn for the better. We hoped to have a worry-free few months, and give him as much intact growing time as possible, ifyouknowhwhatImean.
So, rethink. November has been so mild and Jack has been so bounce-off-the-walls crazy, I let him into the garden over the weekend. Not much of a risk at this age; he sticks pretty close to home. The question is, when do his little hormones kick in and lead him astray? In three directions, it’s cat paradise — fields and hedges as far as the eye can see. In the front, a death trap of a really busy road.
I can only hope the weather turns miserable soon.
p.s. If he looks wet, it’s because he got a spritz with the squirt gun every time he chased a chicken. After an hour, he was soaking, and they wouldn’t come out of the henhouse any more.
November 25, 2013 — 10:27 pm
I’ve probably given you the impression that it’s all Miss Marple and stone circles and villages fêtes, haven’t I? Like most things, it’s a lot more complicated than that.
Take this view. The white strip at the bottom is Camber Beach, the only white sand beach in this part of the country. It’s a beautiful thing; its been used dozens of times as a movie backdrop (most recently, George Clooney and Matt Damon filmed there this Spring).
And that thing in the upper right corner that looks like fly eggs? That’s holiday caravans. Read: trailer park. Low rent, but at least it’s seasonal trash. The houses around it are poorer, and year ’round.
It’s a rough little town, Camber. About the poorest in the county. And I can think of half a dozen up and down the coast nearby that are like it — grubby places next to lovely places.
There’s a particularly seedy, sea-sidey kind of poverty here. White. Drunk. Violent. Loud. Cheap. Young men with fighting dogs on short leads, lots and lots of tarty girls. The seaside attracts them, of course, but we also have it on good authority that the social workers dump problem families in the same neighborhoods, over and over.
Which explains all the junkies in Hastings.
November 23, 2013 — 12:37 am
We drive past this stone circle occasionally. It’s in a roadside field sandwiched between an old church and a fake farm shop (farm shops are all the rage at the moment, so the area is filling up with “farm shops”).
This ancient monument was built approximately two to four years ago. I suddenly noticed it when we drove past a couple of years back, but it’s only recently appeared on Google maps. Google’s satellite updates have about a five year latency, I’ve noticed.
This guy’s Flickr shows it much better.
Not sure what we’re looking at, but I’d bet hippies are responsible.
November 21, 2013 — 11:53 pm