Monday, January 31, 2005

If you don't know how to do it

Now there's a sight you don't see very often. It's not unheard of for people to be walking down the road chatting loudly to themselves - even less unusual in these modern times of hands-free mobiles, or indeed mobiles at all - but I've never before seen someone being dragged by an invisible dog at the same time.

Additional bloggery: I blame Ned. We have a jar of cayenne pepper. So I assume the other, unmarked jar of red powder is paprika. No it isn't - it's more cayenne. Supper is going to hurt. Twice.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

I'll come bouncing back to you

As I drove into Banbury today, ostensibly to go to Tesco to get the stuff I forgot yesterday, but today actually forgetting to go to Tesco at all, I slowed down to see what lickle animal was playing chicken in the road. It was a Common Vole (no offence, it may have been extremely well-bred with a pedigree tracing its ancestry back to the time of the Norman Conquest but it's still common), which I watched going scamper scamper scamper across in front of me. In fact it was scampering so very fast that when it got to the other side it rebounded off the kerb blap.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

From a distance

D'you know, at a certain angle and in particular lighting, someone I know bears a remarkable resemblance to the Czar of Russia? Firelight and the Abbot may have had an influence.

Friday, January 28, 2005

My four-legged friend

Clover (aged 12) had her first wibble today. Often when dogs get elderly they develop Vestibular Syndrome, which is a problem in the inner ear causing their sense of balance to be thrown out of the window. It's generally non-fatal, but the longterm effects can be similar to that of a stroke in humans. Our old girl Polly was 15 when she got a really bad sudden attack of it, when she kept falling over and desperately tried to clutch the floor to stop it whirling. Sadly because she was generally frail it was the end of her. :( Clover's attacks this morning weren't nearly that bad, but she obviously felt as though she was aboard a storm-tossed ship instead of on a steady kitchen floor. A foretaste of what's to come. I was worried about her all day, but Ned says she coped happily on her 3-mile walk this morning; so that's a relief.

Anyway, at work I was searching the net for downloadable images of laundry instructions (don't ask!) and I was cheered to find this. Hot on its heels came this.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

I saw you, I saw you

At last the wind has dropped, the fog and frost cleared and the temperature risen slightly. So I decided to take the opportunity to hack my way into what I optimistically call the front garden. The way brambles had started to catch at my legs every time I approached the front door had begun to annoy me, so out came the garden fork and the single perished Marigold (I hoped for gardening gloves for Christmas but Santa forgot them) and started the assault.

It went fairly well, really. I’ve removed most of the brambles, pruned the roses, dug out some of the ancient valerian that was threatening to undermine the foundations and made a teeny dent on the amount of ground elder roots that are trying to replace the soil. After a while Ned came out to help by pruning back the dead wood on a winter-flowering viburnum we moved last spring. I’d thought we’d killed it completely, but this winter a few buds appeared on a branch, and these have opened into scented blossoms. So hurrah! Not quite dead then! Ned set to work with secateurs and pruning saw, carefully scratching the bark of each branch before he cut to make sure he only took out the dead wood. It all went swimmingly with the dead branches being tracked down and removed at ground level. As he was tidying up the prunings I noticed something odd about one branch he’d taken out. It was the one with the flowers.

Friday, January 21, 2005

It stopped, short

Certain sidelines look as though they might possibly, one day, in the fullness of time achieve, to a certain extent, within limitations, fruition. Don't hold your breath though. Blue isn't an attractive facial hue.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Inside out

Enlurgification is horrid. That is all.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

La la la la I'm not listening

No I won't. I simply won't go there. It'd just rebuild the pressure that nearly made my sanity go pop last autumn. So no. No. No no no. So there.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Those nice young men, in their clean white coats

Oh dear. Oh dear oh dear oh dear. We popped over to see if there had been a Dressing-Up Game, and if so, who it had been and whether Omally had won it without wearing gloves. I've never seen anything as surreal as Paul's body back-to-front on his legs. I'm concerned that Mr Hedgehog has ready access to a train set; Luggo's cat appeared to be on the verge of hysteria, and then we wondered why Simon had sellotaped his nose. Just as well his parents were out. Thank heavens he wasn't still at the hotel. Excellent stuff!

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

A jungle VIP

Oops! I think getting involved watching that fillum on the TV tonight ("The Others") might have been a mistake. I found it gripping, and the Boy and I sat with our suppers going cold, forks suspended 'twixt plate and mouth, and had the little hairs standing up on the backs of our necks.

Which should have reminded me that I was in the middle of hennaing my hair, and I may inadvertently have left it on too long. 'Natural hair colour' it says on the packet. And if I were an orangutan I'm sure it would be natural.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

It makes the world go round

A cheque arrived today in the post, so now I have to decide how best to use it. Should I open a new savings account, or put a deposit on a new car, or simply go out and have a good time with it? After all, it's not every day you get richer by the princely sum of 14p.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Get on your nerves, get on your nerves

Last night I was going to blog all about our visit to the Birmingham Hippodrome to see the panto. Usually we go before Christmas but that wasn’t possible this season, and going after the New Year seems very strange. This year it was Jack and the Beanstalk starring Joe Pasquale, fresh from his adventures in I’m A Celeb etc. Ned had a bet on with a pal at work for the number of times ‘Jacobs’ were mentioned. Pal-at-work reckoned it would be 20+. As it turned out, it was once. So Ned wins – hurrah! As usual the production was excellent, and being live theatre it more than once strayed from the script resulting in the ‘corpsing’ of several of the cast and much hilarity from the audience.

But I didn’t blog it last night because when we got home it appeared the Boy had killed the computer; the on/off button was completely dysfunctional. I promptly started to hyperventilate at the thought of being Internet-free till we could get a little man in to mendify it, and had to have several medicinal restorative beers to enable me to sleep soundly. However the IT-fairies must have visited during the night, because when we hopefully tried it this morning it fired up in its usual noisy fashion. Hurrah again!

The rest of the day was a failure though, and has left us feeling very depressed and disheartened having had a run-in with a landowner when we were caching, even though we didn’t stray from the public footpaths at all (OS maps and waymark arrows backed us up, but he wasn’t having any of it). And it was grey and drizzly and miserable, and we didn’t see Jeremy Clarkson’s Lightning or number 253 either. So we came home feeling glum.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Don’t ask forever

I saw a very sad sight today; one which made me angry too. A woman was walking along the road with her elderly mongrel dog following on behind. The dog was having a lot of difficulty walking, not only because of her wobbly back legs, but also a large internal tumour which had pushed the ribs behind her left shoulder way out of place. The owner was walking quite fast, and was getting annoyed at having to keep stopping and waiting for the dog to catch up. I’ve got a soft spot for elderly animals and I know they can have a great quality of life, even if it’s done at a much slower pace than it used to be in their youth (just like ourselves), but this poor old soul was suffering – you could see it in her expression. It’s hard to know when to let go of your old friend, but I go by my vet’s advice that it’s “better a week too early than a day too late.” This poor old girl had definitely been made to wait too long.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Ylloh fo shguob htiw llah eht kced

Epiphany, and the dogs are very pleased that it’s Twelfth Night, the Last Day of Christmas, and the decorations have come down. The only place for the tree if it’s to be kept reasonably safe from being knocked over or peed on on a regular basis is on the chest under the bay window in the sitting-room. Unfortunately this is the only furniture the boys are usually allowed on, and their favourite place for swearing at callers at the front door. A tree in this position also blocks out some 80% of the light coming in through the window leaving us groping around in forest-gloom in the middle of the day.

But now it’s down, and out in the garden ready for replanting in the Scrooge-like hope that it’ll survive till next Christmas to be uprooted once more. Judging by the trail of needles left as I manoeuvred it out of the house, I’m not holding out any great hopes. The decorations are all packed away in the boxes to be put up in the loft next time anyone goes up (hopefully before summer), and the cards un-blutakked from the wall. Once I’ve managed to vacuum up all the shed needles so that we don’t get stabbed in the foot Genie Towers will be back to what passes for normality. Probably.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

The thunder of stampeding rhinos

Yesterday evening I noticed that a new cache had been planted very close to home, and I wondered whether to go out in the dark by myself and see if I could get it. But we’re a team, so when Ned phoned from work to say goodnight I told him about it and he promised to come home straight away in the morning. So we set off hunting shortly after 8 in the nearly-frosty morning and managed to bag our third First-to-Find! It’s as well I didn’t go out in the dark – I’d have sunk without trace in a particular part of the path! I know it’s verging on the obsessive to be so keen, but it was so close to home (just over three miles) as to be ‘our’ territory.

A successful number-plate spotting session was had when I went to Banbury to buy meat for the dogs, as I bagged 248, 249 and 250. It certainly helps that, between us, we’re on the road for about 4 hours a day, and it’s ordinary road, not motorway, so we can see the numberplates coming towards us easily. We’re a quarter of the way there!