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Riddle me this…

If I order non-essential stuff online, is that a good thing because it’s propping up the economy, or a bad thing because it’s diverting resources away from vital food deliveries? I don’t want to be a civic baddie. But, see, I’m running out of Aero-press coffee filters.

Uncle B went for supplies today. Bread and milk, and gas for the lawn mower. He said it was a little freaky; people seemed scared.

We had to get a two-gallon jug of whole milk, so I’m’a have to do my thing (I love milk).

I wonder if I’m the only gamer sitting down to kill stuff with a big ol’ glass of milk.

Oh, and I got something weird in the mail from Amazon:

The Dutch market surveillance authority: De Nederlandse Voedsel- en Warenautoriteit (NVWA) has published a recall notification about the below product that you have bought on Amazon.co.uk due to the risk of overheating.

Epson Perfection V300 Photo Scanner (4800 dpi,USB 2.0)

I looked it up. I bought the damn thing on March 4, 2010. What are the odds it’s even still in service? (It is. It’s fine).

And what does that have to do with the Dutch?

April 1, 2020 — 7:46 pm
Comments: 14

I’m sulking

It hammered with rain today. It hammered on me as I biked in to work. It hammered on me as I biked home. It hammered on me when I fed the chooks. It hammered on me when I put the chooks to bed.

It isn’t muddy by the chicken run today, it’s a standing pool of water an inch deep. The barley straw in their houses seems to pull moisture from the air and every day I’m grabbing wads of dripping, shit-covered straw and replacing it with dry. I have special gloves for this.

I was in the vilest of moods when I finally got home and dry. That is all.

Image stolen from the home screen of Rainy Mood, my favorite online white noise maker.

Virus update: We had our first coronavirus death today. All we know is it was someone with other health problems. The UK has tested about 13,500 for the virus and found just over a hundred cases. The US, as far as we know, has tested about 500 people and found 200 cases. Whenever they get their shit together and start mass testing, I think you’re in for a rude surprise (though if they’re only testing people they strongly suspect, the proportion is bound to be high).

March 5, 2020 — 9:33 pm
Comments: 11

What it is to live in the country

I hope this adorable tiny pig goes some way to atone for the horrible thing I showed you yesterday. Yes, thank you, it’s tolerably recovered today.

The little cat (name still undetermined) had his very first vet appointment today. He’d never had his shots or, as far as we know, seen a dog or even been out of doors, except briefly when he was taken from his mama at eight weeks.

There’s a sort of partition in the waiting room, perhaps to help separate unruly animals. We heard someone come in, followed by a baa.

No, not the pig. The pig didn’t baa. This lady had an orphaned lamb, similarly button-cute. After our appointment, she returned with the pig. Which didn’t make any noises at all, that I recall. The lady runs an animal rescue.

The little one was shot up with all kinds of stuff, and given a worming pill and a flea treatment. I’m afraid it was too much for him. He’s been curled in a miserable ball on the floor ever since and I feel awful about it.

Hey, did you hear the one about the lady in Seattle who wanted to get tested for Coronavirus? She had all the symptoms and worked as a physical therapist, often with older patients, so she thought she ought to get herself checked out. I mean, right? Long story short…you can’t. Unless you meet specific criteria (outside the country in the last two weeks or in contact with an infected person) OR you get sick enough to be hospitalized, no screening for you. What the hell has happened to/at the CDC?

March 3, 2020 — 8:26 pm
Comments: 4

I’ll tell you everything I know…

That dark line, dear reader, is a splinter. It came off one of our interior doors, which are quite rough and rustic. It is too fragile to be pulled out with my most delicate tweezers (pictured). It just breaks off nearer and nearer the quick.

Uncle B spoke to my doctor’s office, who advised we either hit the local walk-in clinic (NO), the emergency room (NONONONO) or call first thing in the morning for an emergency appointment (eh, maybe).

My mother lived with a hackberry thorn in her heel for thirty years (one day in the bath it just popped out). I can live with this. I mean, it hurts, but it’s not awful. On the other hand, if it got infected, would anybody pay attention in the middle of a pandemic? It would be just like me to die of sepsis during a plague.

Please tell me stories: stories of foreign objects stuck in your body for decades to no ill effect. Or, alternatively, horror stories of grisly nail removals and fingers gone septic.

Update: I got it. I took Pups’ advice and soaked it in warm salt water until it pruned, used the clippers to cut a V in the nail so I could get a good grip, used my best tweezers and alley oop! There’s a teeny fragment way in the bottom of the wound. I hope my body can deal with that. It hurts ever so much more now that it’s out 🙁

March 2, 2020 — 5:40 pm
Comments: 12

I do actually like toast, though

It’s National Toast Day. I shit you not.

I feel like a prize chump posting toast and twigs. I am so not into it.

I’m all over #coronavirus Twitter trying to figure we’re in for and when. In all of England, there are only 15 beds for the most acute respiratory patients. The NHS has already said they won’t waste resources on the “most vulnerable” — defined elsewhere as the oldies.

I wish I’d gone in and begged an emergency respirator when my cough was at its worst. I sounded like Aqualung for about six weeks this Fall.

Government here isn’t taking this seriously at all, unless they’re panicking behind the scenes.

Man, I could use a nice slice of toast about now.

February 27, 2020 — 9:29 pm
Comments: 14


This from the Woodland Trust: how to identify trees by their knobbly bits in Winter. I love these ID charts. I had all of this info printed on a neat small card I used to take hiking with me. To be honest, though, I’m not sure I identified a single tree that way.

It all looks so much clearer in an illustration. Which is why, even now, they use illustration rather than photography in botany and medicine. Here’s the big color version; may it be of some use to you.

The things that come across my Twitter feed while I’m obsessively refreshing for news of THE PLAGUE. The woman who’s cat we stole gave us a call to check on him earlier tonight.

Her granddaughter is in one of the Sussex elementary schools that have been shut because students went on a field trip to Italy last week. I reassured her that, as far as we know, not one person under the age of nine has caught the bug.

Did you know that? Quite unusual for a flu. This one appears to be firmly a boomer bug.

Nemesis creeps closer.

February 26, 2020 — 8:53 pm
Comments: 11


The little one likes fire. Yes, he does. Here he is big and in color.

He also likes laps and annoying the hell out of big cat. They’ve been running back and forth like a Tom and Jerry cartoon all week. A little hissing and biting, but well within the appropriate bounds of brotherly bant.

Speaking of fire, the conservative(!) government has today announced a ban on the burning of coal and wet wood in households. There are rural people this will very much affect.

Not us. We gave up actual coal for solid fuel — they’re like charcoal briquets — but that ain’t the point. As Uncle B likes to grumble, the Greens never get more than 3% of the vote here, but all their policies get enacted anyway.

I don’t know what they’re putting up their noses if they think we can get rid of non-electric cars in 15 years, but there you go.

Have a lovely weekend, everyone!

February 21, 2020 — 8:59 pm
Comments: 11

Yay us!

I don’t suppose anyone is keeping count, but today was Uncle B and my eleventh wedding anniversary. Yes, the blog was going several years before we got married.

We don’t really like going out at night, so we took us to an old smuggler’s pub we sometimes frequent for a nice lunch. The inglenook is one of the best bits; it’s big enough to sit in. They have upholstered benches on either side of the fire.

I don’t know if you can make it out (it’s hard even in person) but the design on the fireback is the lion and the unicorn, with the date 1626 between them.

Newfangled thing — the pub was built in thirteen-something.

Have a great weekend! We’re having storms all weekend, with kitten storms predicted inside. No fur lost so far.

February 14, 2020 — 9:39 pm
Comments: 17

…allllll the kittens in the worrrrrrrld…

Every day when I get home from work, I go to my computer and refresh three tabs with classified ads: show me a) the newest ads b) for kittens and cats c) within 20 miles of my postal code (that’s a zip code for Limies).

Most days, there are no new cats at all. Occasionally, there will be a pedigree kitten for stupid money. Once in a blue moon, there will be an ordinary moggy for stupid money.

Yesterday, I refreshed one site, and there were DOZENS of new entries. Gobs of kittens. Adorable kittens. Alllll for meeeeee.

It had forgotten my post code and was showing me all the kittens in Britain 🙁

But do not despair: today I may have found one at last. An old lady who lives not far away has suddenly developed an allergy to cats. At least, that’s what her doctor thinks. She’s got a six-month-old tom. She’s asking a penny for him.

Only thing is, he’s a ginger. We weren’t going to do that so soon after losing Jack. I don’t know if this is a good idea, but I suppose we’ll know when we see him tomorrow afternoon (SQUEE!).

I suppose I should explain the illustration. I had it in the back of my mind that I’d done a bad ‘Shop of kittens raining from the sky, but I didn’t remember why. I looked it up and it all came back to me.

An anti-flying eco-advocacy group called Plane Stupid made a gross one-minute ad showing polar bears falling out of the sky and landing with a bloody splat.

The Guardian described it as manipulative and probably not effective. “It’s as if the ‘green police’ are climbing into bed with your children and telling them that, unless daddy turns the TV off standby, Mr Snuggles the dog sleeps with the fishes.”

This was in 2009. I posted it on the day I first commented on the Climategate leaks.


February 11, 2020 — 6:50 pm
Comments: 9

Muh homies

I’ve always been a fangirl of the Neanderthals — even back in the days when science said Neanderthals absolutely, positively never interbred with modern humans. I was delighted when my 23andme results came back with an unusually high percent of Neanderthal genes (no doubt where I get my psoriasis).

In a cave in the Altai Mountains in southern Siberia, they’ve found a cache of Neanderthal relics — upwards of 4,000 tools. They analyzed the tools and decided the style was more in keeping with known European Neanderthal groups, 2,000 miles to the West and not so much like known Siberian groups.

So either a group of Ogs hiked it that far 60,000 years ago, or they had a network along the route they traded skills with.

Neanderthals died out maybe 30,000 years ago and history begins about 5,500 years ago. I’m not going anywhere with that, I just like to think about timelines.

Coronavirus update: there are now five confirmed cases in people who haven’t been to China, including a new one in the US (bringing the US total to 6). That’s still an astonishing low infection rate, compared to Mainland China. Fingers crossed. Oh, and having the flu jab may make you more susceptible to other respiratory viruses, including this one.

January 30, 2020 — 9:18 pm
Comments: 7