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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: 13

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: 13

Not my cat


In honor of Charlotte’s return, we went to an open house at a cat sanctuary on Sunday. Okay, yes…we would have done anyway. But it seemed particularly appropriate just at present.

Not quite as posh as the Celia Hammond one, but I’m not sure the cats could tell the difference.

Amazing how many black and black-and-white cats were pining for adoption. It’s true in the States, it’s true here. People are weird.

We had an awesome time, bought lots of good things cheap and had a long drive across an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. (No, really, that’s a thing — it was an officially designated AONB).

This guy bites. The guy in the picture. I knew that, but I didn’t tell anybody. I just sat on a bench nearby and watched the fun.

One of those cats who strings you along happily for a while and then goes full psycho for a nanosecond. He didn’t seem to hurt anybody, so I could spectate with a clear conscience.

Who could have guessed a cat that looks like Hitler would be evil?

July 17, 2017 — 8:58 pm
Comments: 13

The monster that eats cats


This story has a happy ending, I’ll let you know right now. I wouldn’t tell it to you otherwise.

A few weeks ago, our neighbor came flying over to tell us she’d spotted Charlotte, our dear old kitty, in the bottom of her garden in a very bad way.

Dear god, was she ever. So much blood and fur. Her head was so messed up and bloody I thought she’d lost part of it. I was pretty sure I saw an ear in the grass. She was alive, though — panting hard and shocky.

It was a Sunday (of course). I scooped her up in a towel and Uncle B called around until we found a vet on duty.

She’s fifteen. Learning that visibly changed the vet’s attitude but, do him credit, he gave her a thorough exam (including the usual few expensive tests) and hooked her up to an IV overnight. No broken bones, no internal bleeding, no apparent brain damage (still has both ears, thank goodness). But she wouldn’t stand or respond, except to scream when moved. She tore a bloody strip off a careless veterinary assistant.

The only injuries he could find were two deep, horrible holes with long gouges in the top of her skull, like something with big canines clamped her whole head in its mouth and tried to pull her down into the ditch we found her by. I believe now that our neighbor startled whatever it was – which was more than lucky. No-one goes down that end of the garden much.

She began to purr the moment she knew she was home, but that’s all I could get out of her. For almost a week, she wouldn’t move or eat or focus. I forced water on her with a pipette several times a day (she could swallow okay) but otherwise let her be. I was sure she was starving herself on purpose, the way animals will when they’ve had enough.

But after four or five days, she would lick food off my fingers if I offered it. A couple of days later, she used the litterbox (I was never so thrilled to see a cat turd in my life). A few days after that, she staggered out of the back room and refused to return to her sick bed. She’s unsteady and a little loopy, but she’s positively back and absolutely her old self.

The pic is old. I took some new ones this afternoon, but you have to get close to see the scars, and why would you want to? She looks just the same otherwise. A little skinnier.

We’re so very grateful to have our old girl back. And with that happy thought, we wish you all the best of weekends!

July 14, 2017 — 9:34 pm
Comments: 32

Oooo…stovetop still!


I’ve always wanted one of these little beaten copper stovetop stills. Impractical, but fun. My dad had one that he’d use to turn a bottle of cheap wine into a thimblefull of cheap brandy for the edification of guests.

They are, of course, grievously illegal in the States. They’re mildly illegal here, but still too risky for a nimmigrant who suffers residency at the pleasure of HM’s government.

This one was at a food fair went to over the weekend (of a Food Fayre, or a Fud Faire, or whatever). It was not operational, but it was at the booth of an artisanal ginmaker, so all was not lost.

It was artisanal everything there. Artisanal cookies, artisanal sausages, artisanal goat cheese and artisanal couch cushions (seriously — somebody had a handmade couch cushion in Scottish linen with the design of a hedgehog that was to die for. £75).

And that’s the thing — lovely stuff, but a good three to five times more expensive than it should be. Which is why these little artisanal shops flicker in and out of business regularly. Fun Saturday, though.

July 13, 2017 — 9:56 pm
Comments: 30

Say, this glove smells like…hmfff…mff


Yeah, sure, y’all laugh, but Onkle B looked down yesterday and realized he’d tracked hedgehog poo from one end of the house to the other.

Yes, we’re keeping the kitchen door closed now.

July 12, 2017 — 9:52 pm
Comments: 17

Have I got a trail for you…


In the thread below, Ric Fan asked if anyone hikes the old Roman Roads. Yes, some of them have been converted to hiking trails. But the best of the best hikes in Britain is the Ridgeway. It’s prehistoric, fam.

Eighty six miles (I thought it was 87, but it says 86 in that graphic I stole and I don’t want to look like a banana) and it’s J.R.R. Tolkien shit the whole way. It starts at Avebury (largest stone circle in Europe) and ends at Ivinghoe Beacon.

I’ve only hiked a few miles of it, although we’ve visited lots of spots along it. We walked up as far as Wayland’s Smithy once, during the foot and mouth crisis of 2001 (I remember stern warnings hanging on the fences). When we drove near the Uffington White Horse I thought sure the car was going to topple down the hill. It’s an amazing thing from one end to the other.

You get a Completion Certificate if you do a big enough chunk.

I want that thing. I want it bad.

July 11, 2017 — 10:15 pm
Comments: 13



I have bailed this hedgehog — or a hedgehog, anyway — out of the house every night for a week. Sometimes twice.

No, he’s not tame. Every time I walk in on him, he gets that “oh, shit!” look on his face and disappears under the nearest piece of furniture. Little bastards are quick. Once he panicked and pee’d the floor. And then disappeared under the nearest piece of furniture.

In the end, we got some advice from Sussex Wildlife Trust. We were worried he might be sick or something. Nope. He (it’s almost certainly a he) has developed a powerful cat food jones. It started with the leftover bits of nasty old cat food I flipped out into the grass for the chooks and graduated into breaking and entering.

So I’m trying an experiment. At the end of the day, I’m putting the cats’ bowl out back for him. So far its…well, see the picture. The cats don’t seem to mind a bit (cats are communists).

Got a note from my next-door neighbor this morning: she put food out on the deck for her cat and caught a hedgehog with his nose in it. Broad daylight.

Either we have a family of the prickly little bastards, or we’re going to have Sussex’s most morbidly obese hedgie.

July 10, 2017 — 9:32 pm
Comments: 24