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Mmmm…fresh weasel!


Weather in Britain is a crap shoot, emphasis on the ‘crap’, but there’s one fete that always has lovely weather. We joke that the local witches must sacrifice small children to ensure it.

Looks like they couldn’t catch one this year. It was okay in the morning. It was lovely, in fact. And the moment we stepped out the front door, it was like someone twisted the spigot.

We went anyway. We got soaked. I felt especially bad for the booksellers, whose wares likewise got soaked.

At one particularly violent point, we ducked under the marquee of an owl rescue. They are local, we see them regularly, but I couldn’t resist giving this sweet barn owl a skritchie. She gave me a nibble in return. I was assured it was affection, but I wouldn’t like to know just how hard she could bite down if she tried.

I’d love one, but I don’t think the chickens would thank me. Also, no barn.

July 31, 2017 — 10:15 pm
Comments: 16

Behold, the head of a lettuce!


Now is the time of the year when the vegetables come in thick and fast. I make a mean pot of cucumber soup, because what am I supposed to do with eight large cucumbers? Also, tomatoes, chili peppers, green beans. Soon to come: onions, bell peppers.

Early fruits (currants black and red, gooseberries) come and gone. Elderberries pooping up the pavements as we speak. Blackberries after that.

What’s going on in your garden and what the hell are you doing with all of it?

July 28, 2017 — 9:03 pm
Comments: 19

Speaking of smells…


I’m a big fan of Western medicine. And, along with that, a big skeptic of herbal and other home remedies.

Or at least I was. I’ve changed my mind after a couple of non life-threatening but annoying conditions that yielded better to herbal remedies than drugs, or at least the drugs I was willing to take. (People who talk about their health issues are boring, but remind me to tell you my psoriasis story some time).

Two things I’ve learned about herbals. One, they’re highly individual — something that works for me may not touch you. Two, you have to take them in higher doses and/or for longer than it says on the label. I suppose herbal companies are right to be cautious, but most of the stuff they sell is benign (and it’s pretty easy to find out online what’s not).

Like, if you make an herbal tea for a therapeutic purpose, make multiple strong infusions and sip it throughout the evening. And never buy in capsules when you can buy bulk powders (the capsules take up more room than you think).

I’ve recently been taking boswellia for joint pain. But because I’m a cheapskate, I bought a bag sold for veterinary purposes (10 grams for ponies, 15 grams for horses, a little spoonful for weasels). I mean, nobody would poison a horse, right?

I’ve been taking it about a week and I’m not sure it’s helping my joints, but I’m pretty sure it’s upsetting my intestines.

The other name for boswellia is frankincense. My poop smells of frankincense.

That’s it. That’s the whole thing. I told you this story just so I could inform you that my poop smells like frankincense.

July 27, 2017 — 10:12 pm
Comments: 19

Mmmm…I smell!


One of the things I love about Britain are all the little businesses that seem like they could have sprung fully formed out of Harry Potter. Baldwin’s — “London’s oldest herbalist” — is one.

Eh, 1844 doesn’t seem that old for London, so it must be the oldest still in business. It’s gone from the Baldwin family to the Dagnell family (and from one to twelve stores to one again), but they seem to have a good handle on this internet thing and likely to survive for a while.

They sell vitamins and supplements, but also scents and soaps and food and components for making your own concoctions. I make my own custom skin cream from their stuff. Not cheap, but excellent stuff and lovely to deal with. The smartest thing they ever did was send me a free sample of this bath goo, which costs about a pound a pop but makes the whole house smell of lavender, marjoram and geranium.

And so, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to stink the place up.

July 26, 2017 — 9:37 pm
Comments: 9

This guy


I met this guy at a village fete over the weekend. I was allowed to hold him and Uncle B got some closeups of his handsome face, but I thought you’d like to see the whole beast.

He wasn’t huge, but he was densely muscled and heavy to hold. He noms half a chicken a day.

I asked if he was a Bengal and the owner said no, his grandaddy was a serval. That would make him an F2 Savannah, but I’m not sure the owner knew exactly what he was talking about.

He’s a kinda sorta rescue cat, since his first owner couldn’t handle him after a new baby arrived. You do see orientals of various kinds turn up in the cat rescues here after owners find them too much. Orgs are careful who they adopt them out to.

These guys never leave this boy alone (the wife works from home). The cylinder around his neck is a GPS/phone card because he sometimes escapes (and they didn’t say it, but I suspect he’s worth a lot of munnies).

Beautiful, beautiful beast…but I’m not sure cat-like enough that I want one.

July 25, 2017 — 9:27 pm
Comments: 13

A conversation with Rudyard Kipling’s chikkens


The whole flock right there. Nothing much to say for themselves, actually. I don’t know if they kept chickens in Kipling’s day, but the mill was already there — meaning grain — so probably.

I can identify a Buff Orpington and a Light Sussex. The rest are just…you know…chickens.

We did a field trip to Bateman’s (Kipling’s place) last Friday on the idea that when the weather is nice, we’ll pack sammiches and go. It’s how you have to approach an English Summer.

It has been thoroughly miserable ever since. Damp, overcast and nighttime temps in the fifties. We have the heat on tonight. IN JULY.

I sometimes wonder how much more traction they might have gotten in Britain if they stuck with their original idea and threatened us with global cooling instead.

July 24, 2017 — 9:32 pm
Comments: 13



I rolled out of bed this morning, made a cup of joe, sat down and switched on my computer monitor and…watched the screen fade to white. Like, totally white.

I did the usual cable-rattling, multi-booting and Googling without much luck (looks like a common problem with laptops, though).

As demonstrated by this crappy photo I stole off the net, my graphics card’s main plug is the one in the middle, the DVI. It doesn’t have the top one, the old VGA, but it does have several variations on HDMI. My monitor has VGA and DVI. BUT! I have an HDMI to VGA adapter thingie (huh! Wonder how that happened). Trust me: this paragraph made sense.

So I’ve got my monitor plugged into the HDMI-to-VGA. It works. Everything looks wrong and shit, but it works. (Hence probably no shiny new monitor for weasel, boo!).

So! Is the HDMI cable screwed? Is the HDMI port on the card screwed, or the one on the monitor? Do I just need to take it all apart, give it a good shake and a clean, and put it together again? Who cares? I’ve brought a shit-ton of work home this weekend and I don’t have time to mess with it!

Hope yours goes better…see you after the weekend.

July 21, 2017 — 9:12 pm
Comments: 18

Dead boring


Uncle Al asked why we didn’t just broadcast WeaselTV as being infinitely more entertaining than anything on the box. I don’t because it’s not. It’s hours and hours of nothing followed by a couple of seconds of something dark skittering across the field of view, if you’re lucky enough to be looking at the screen when this happens.

Case in point: the arrow is pointing to a baby hedgie. See him? And it’s cheating, because I’ve put a dish of catfood out to lure him.

Most exciting thing that happens is a spider crawling across the lens like a Fifties horror flick. This happens so often that I suspect either they’re attracted to the camera’s lights, or bugs are and they’re attracted to the bugs.

The real fun is arranging the cameras, within the limitations of the wires (they’re not wifi). I tinker with them constantly. (Aside: they need a spirit level on the top. They’re deuced hard to get straight).

At the moment, I have Cam 2 way too close to the ground. I get to watch slugs make their way slowly across the back patio. This is a surprisingly disgusting sight.

July 20, 2017 — 10:22 pm
Comments: 13

Full moon


Cheshire East Council is making some old dude get rid of his mooning gnome. It’s on public land and it’s a menace to traffic.

I know. Lame. I got home late tonight and spent my disposable time cleaning out the fridge. Trust me when I tell you I spend as little time as possible doing anything resembling housework, but I accidentally trip over a chore now and again.

Escuse me while I take a long hot bath in an Epsom salt and lavender soak and try to regain my composure.

Uncle B cleaned out the freezer and found a frozen Gordon’s gin daquiri thingie. That should help.

July 19, 2017 — 10:22 pm
Comments: 12



Baby hedgehog. BABY HEDGEHOG!

For once, not from my kitchen. I saw it bumbling past in the drive and realized it was a little ‘un. And so, of course, I had to run out there and pick it up and scare it out of a year’s growth.

I tried to pick it up without gloves at first — holy cow, those spines are really sharp! It’s a little hard to tell scale here, but this one is about half the size of the adult we’ve been seeing — assuming it’s just the one adult.

Wikipedia tells me pregnancies peak between May and July and gestation is 31 to 35 days. So about right.


July 18, 2017 — 10:11 pm
Comments: 15