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England stuffs

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.


Comment from Stark Dickflüssig
Time: December 4, 2013, 12:19 am

Your roof is beautiful. & also, I am very glad I will never have any reason to be on it. Gads, that’s a steep fucker of mothers.

edited to add: Is it clay or terra cotta? Cos it sure doesn’t look like slate or anything else I’m familiar with.

Comment from Paula Douglas
Time: December 4, 2013, 12:25 am

I read Cinnabar, The One O’Clock Fox when I was little, so I always thought the foxes enjoyed the hunt. Then again there was Black Beauty, which suggested that they kind of don’t and that it ruins the horses, besides. The hunts don’t seem to have put much of a dent in the fox population, though. Apparently they swarm over London, too, screeching and screwing all night long and keeping Benedict Cumberbatch awake nights. Which should be my job.

Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: December 4, 2013, 12:42 am

To save Her Stoatliness the effort (she’s just been out in the cold froz, exercising The Beast) the tiles are terra cotta – thousands of the bastiches affixed to the…umm… wood and God knows wot beneath… in a method called Kent Peg Tiling. Each one is inserted by hand.

When the sun hits Badger House, the entire roof heats-up and you can hear it crack and pop as the individual tiles expand.

Conversely, when they cool down (like tonight when it’s icy) they occasionally crack.

I had a quote for re–tiling the roof last year.

I didn’t know there even was so much money….


Comment from S. Weasel
Time: December 4, 2013, 1:06 am

Sadly, Mad Jack is knocking down all those lovely old clumps of moss. I love moss.

Just as well, really, living here.

Comment from Stark Dickflüssig
Time: December 4, 2013, 1:27 am

Yeah, I love the moss too. Shit, terra cotta is just mud & sticks all baked together, right? They’ve been making it for billions of years! How hard can this be?

Comment from Stark Dickflüssig
Time: December 4, 2013, 1:34 am

I had a quote for re–tiling the roof last year.

I didn’t know there even was so much money….

We have lots of slate rooves here in New England, & I’m pretty sure you have to sell a child & take out a second mortgage before anyone will even talk about going onto your roof to “look at stuff”.

Comment from Nina
Time: December 4, 2013, 1:37 am

Dang, that house is older than my whole country.

I say that a lot traveling about looking at old things in the three old countries I’ve visited (England, Ireland, and Norway). And it’s mostly true, especially here in California, which isn’t its own country, and is very young. If something is a century old here we preserve the $#|+ out of it because we don’t have very many things older.


Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: December 4, 2013, 1:48 am

It has its up (and down) sides, Nina.

Right now there’s a TV series running here in which they recreate life in a typical Tudor farm. c. 1500. It’s actually very good, but The Weasel and I keep saying things like “Huh! We’ve got one of those in the bathroom.”

The downside is that these old houses are ferociously expensive to heat and repair, and the gummint forces you to keep them ‘as is’ while simultaneously penalising you for not having double glazing and hippy levels of insulation and so on.

When the wind’s in the right (wrong) direction, I sleep facing the breeze. It just walks through the walls.

Still love the place….

Comment from Nina
Time: December 4, 2013, 2:49 am

Yeah, Unk, I think I would, too. All I need is my own Englishman and I’ll have it made.

How many people have been born, lived their lives, and died on that old house?

Comment from David Gillies
Time: December 4, 2013, 2:56 am

I remember the last time my sister had the thatch on her cottage replaced it cost a pretty eye-watering sum. The good thing is if it’s done right you probably only need to do it two or three times a century. There’s a Darwinian aspect to really old buildings: if your house is ancient then you know it has what it takes to be a really old house.

Comment from Oceania
Time: December 4, 2013, 6:27 am

Prince Harry Upon a Roof!

Probably marking all the sounds of a Kea on a tin roof …

Comment from Oceania
Time: December 4, 2013, 6:35 am

Ladies and Gentlemen,
Jog on, that’s sexist.

Gentlemen, and Feral Lactation Bucket Rabid Feminists,

Oceania brings you an important security upadate.
Recently I and a number of others were hacked (only our ‘work’ internet machines). We’ve been complaining for years about having Google products on our machines, but no.

Finally – it happened! Acess was gained directly through Google Updater, and its many Spawns.

Lesser Mortals, please Remove this Spyware from your computer. It’s the Obama in the Woodpile.

Comment from Christopher Smith
Time: December 4, 2013, 8:33 am

What’s funny about California is that every so often you come across things that are real old relative to say the Pilgrims…things from the Spanish settlements in Mexico. But then nothing till about 1850 and then 1950. Very choppy.

Had a museum tour that took us to a cave painting, several thousand years old IIRC. Not enclosed in a museum, just hike right up to it.

Comment from ExpressoBold
Time: December 4, 2013, 11:25 am

I love the hunt. It’s quite exciting to see the riders canter out of the assembly two-by-two as they follow the huntsman to the field and the hounds mill about looking for scent. The huntsman and club members wear Pinques and grooms wear rat catcher but everyone seems to have the same style helmet. No top hats allowed!
Are there “hilltoppers” in the English hunt? Here, they are basically club members who like to ride but not to ride very fast and so poke along behind watching the “hunters” ride to the hounds at the direction of the huntsman. They smoke and chatter away, observing all kinds of minutiae and making comments about this and that… God forbid the hunt should ever turn their direction, they scramble out of the way as fast as possible to not get caught in the onrush of riders pursuing quarry.

Comment from Deborah
Time: December 4, 2013, 11:28 am

“Cat Slide Roof.” I had to look that up. It’s a style I’ve seen all my life, but I didn’t know the name. When I was a little kid, I thought the roof was built that way so the owners wouldn’t need a ladder to get on top of the house.

I’ve wanted copper shingles for a long time, but as Uncle Badger said, “I didn’t know there even was so much money….”

Comment from SCOTTtheBADGER
Time: December 4, 2013, 11:35 am

I know that American Fox Hunts involve chasing him down, and then letting the fox escape, so you can chase him again someday.

Comment from Wolfus Aurelius
Time: December 4, 2013, 2:32 pm

I’m partial to longhaired cats, but Jack is handsome, and has the best stripes on his tail I’ve ever seen. They look like they’ve been painted on.

Comment from Bob Mulroy
Time: December 4, 2013, 3:23 pm

I am soo stealing that kitty!

Uncle B, I used to live in a house that had shown Abraham Lincoln hospitality. (Which was the last time it had been upgraded. Ah those 600-dollar heating bills!

I really loved it though.

Comment from Scubafreak
Time: December 4, 2013, 6:32 pm

As an American, I’m torn on this. I am generally Pro-Hunt, but not the way they do Fox hunts in England. I believe in quick, clean kills whenever possible, which does NOT happen with a pack of dogs mauling the prey.

Comment from Oceania
Time: December 4, 2013, 9:56 pm

Really? How Figurative.
Scube you’ve never been torn before, perhaps delusional – but never torn.

What is wrong with killing for fun and pleasure?
Harry the Little Ginger Bastard does it. Obama does it.

As NZ is a giant concentration camp for the Ovine, Porcine and Bovine, well, we just kill them for money. Not because we are hungry, or even for fun. Just money.

A penny for your thoughts.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: December 4, 2013, 10:09 pm

I’m pretty sure they still tear the fox to pieces at the end when they hunt here. Rumor has it, they got two this time, but everyone remarked that the remaining ones are agitated. I was told this morning they don’t let the hunt lose control and tear up people’s kittehs any more.

Deborah, from the pictures, a cat slide roof looks like what I always think of as a “Tennessee roof” – sloping way down in the back, with a flat bit over the porch.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: December 4, 2013, 10:21 pm

His markings are gorgeous, Wolfus. Unlike the tabbies I’m used to, he doesn’t have straight stripes down his sides. They look more like hieroglyphics.

I’m guessing they say “Allahu Akbar!”

Comment from J.S.Bridges
Time: December 4, 2013, 11:03 pm

Cat slides are, in fact, most commonly defined as unequal pitch-angle and/or pitch-length gable roofs; more commonly known in many parts of the U.S. as salt-box (named so for resembling an old-timey salt box with the lid partly raised) – quite commonly found in many parts of older-construction New England. A variant often seen, BTW, in Windsor and Tudor styles has a downward bow or under-arch on the longer pitch, thereby maintaining a steeper angle to the pitch on the upper slope while making the lower eave farther from the ridge center than the other, shorter pitch (not well-made for best drainage or snow- and ice-shedding, so not so much favored where rainfall and/or showfall is especially heavy). Also the type of roofline often favored by early barn-builders in some areas, giving a nice, high loft for feed storage while keeping a low roof (thus a lower ceiling and less heat-energy needed to keep stalls cozy) over the livestock stalls.

Had a neighbor, back when we lived on a farm for some years, with a barn like that, with a metal (standing-seam – look THAT one up) roof – his two wild-assed teenaged sons would, when opportunity came, toboggan down that long-pitched side (preferably with some snow on the roof, but not necessarily), and sometimes would complete the feat with an all-points landing in the cow pasture below. They managed at least once to score a direct hit – toboggan, two nutball teenagers and all – in the fairly-fresh manure heap the neighbor had just dumped near the barn (having raked a couple of smaller heaps together from farther out) below the eave. Result: Late-winter outdoor shower for both teens, and much merriment for the watchers, including both of my younger brothers and self. Fun!

Jack may, indeed, be Mad, but one must admit he is a handsome young feller – he will no doubt, in time (if not already), be inordinately proud of that tail – as well he should be…

Comment from Christopher Taylor
Time: December 4, 2013, 11:24 pm

People act like animals would live forever if it wasn’t for mean humans.

Comment from Stark Dickflüssig
Time: December 4, 2013, 11:51 pm

inordinately proud of that tail – as well he should be…

Haha, what?

Comment from Oceania
Time: December 5, 2013, 1:33 am

Well, plenty of animals tear their prey to bits … and have a good old toss the living corpse.

Orca are curious to watch with baby seals …

I have no problem with the hunt. Just mankinds emotional desire to avoid reality.

BSE burger anyone?

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