Friday, June 30, 2006

You practice lies and deceit

Well, that's the cleverest wheeze on how to get cheap labour I've ever come across. You send someone a letter that they receive on Friday, after completing a week's work, telling them that they were made redundant on Tuesday. You have to admire their audacity. Then you go and blow their fucking* heads off.

*Those who know me will realise how very, very cross I am.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

The only way is up

Well, that's what we thought, but sometimes Life goes from shitty to even shittier. And then goes downhill.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

They're uncultivated, of breeding bereft

Today I have mainly been disentangling bindweed from the currant bushes.

Okay, so it doesn't really look very different, but there were several armfuls taken out!

Monday, June 26, 2006

I put a spell on you

In the brief minutes of calm between the arrival of the vet and the arrival of the first appointment, we generally make a cup of tea and chat (a good way for me to pump for information!) about various animal-related topics: the plummeting reputation of the RSPCA since the bunny-hugger coup in the early 80s; the problem of bovine TB and the soaring badger population; down to more personal anecdotes. The other day I during this lull I was telling the duty vet about Beattie’s lick granuloma and how difficult it is to get it to heal. It’ll be almost better and then she’ll have another go at it and we’re back to square one. As if she wasn’t bad enough, a couple of days ago I had to scold Piglet because he was licking it for her!

There’s no guaranteed ‘cure’ for these things other than prevention by various means while you try to discover the reason behind the licking. It’s usually for one of two reasons – physical discomfort (a cut, an itch, a thorn, arthritis etc) or mental upset, rather like a child thumb-sucking or nail-biting for security. With Beattie it started when my work routine changed, but I’m beginning to think she might be getting a touch of arthritis in the joints of her paws as well. Either way the result’s the same – the more they lick the sorer it becomes so they lick more to ease it. It ends up a bit like Lady Macbeth where however hard she scrubbed her hands with the wire brush she couldn’t get rid of the blood …

But I digress. The vet and I were talking about the possible prevention methods; bandaging (either the bandage gets chewed off or they start to lick somewhere else instead), a lampshade collar (distressing for many dogs, and as soon as you take it off they start again). The best thing is to keep an eye on them and distract them whenever they start. Then it was time for surgery. And it was very strange – no matter what the appointment was really for, whether for a booster injection, or stitches out, or a sore eye, four out of five of the owners mentioned that their dog had a place that they kept licking and making sore! I wonder what interesting topic we should talk about next to see if we suddenly have an influx of sufferers.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

So here's my litany

Today we went to Purgatory. Despite the evidence in the mud of cloven hooves (Satan or cattle? You decide) it was surprisingly pleasant.

Friday, June 23, 2006

This old house is gettin' shaky

Ned drives past this house every day on his commute. It looks quite nice from a distance...... then you realise it's made almost entirely of corrugated iron.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

De-Fraggle rock

Today I have mainly been trying to defrag the compluter. I understand the principle of it okay, and know how to get the thing to start doing it. But it’ll get to about 10% and then inform me that the drive’s changed and it’s restarting. I asked several people what I should do and was advised to make sure that no other programs are running at the time as they’ll be causing the problem. Righto – how do I do that? On desktop, hit Ctrl/Alt/Del I was told, then shut down the programs on the list one at a time.

I’ve found a snag with that. If I click End Task at the bottom of the box, the highlighted program certainly stops running, but the list box also goes away. If I Ctrl/Alt/Del in an attempt to get it back so I can stop more programs, the computer shuts down. No matter what I do I can only stop one program – not all of them (I was told to leave Explorer running to keep the computer going). Last night I had to restart the computer 4 times as I worked my way through all the available options. I can’t even manage to highlight all the programs I want to stop at once. Usually holding Ctrl while clicking down a list selects more than one, but that doesn’t work with this.

So I thought I’d google for instructions on defragging. D’oh! It’s not really helpful to simply be told that ‘It’s best to shut down all other programs while defragging’ without being told how. So I kept on trying and eventually succeeded on getting it so that only Explorer was showing as running - screensaver shut down and everything. Hurrah! Here we go!

Nope. Just the same. Gets to 10% then says the drive's changed. I’m stumped. Suggestions? Or do I learn to love the effect of wading through treacle?

Edit: Gordon, you're a star! F8ing at Startup and going into Safe Mode did the trick. Thank you!

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Yeah yeah, it's not fair

My computer's arsing around and has forgotten how to access Lorry's blog. Please can a lovely chummington email me the password? Ta ever so!

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Does your chewing gum lose its flavour

By the pond near the back door we have a large mock orange blossom shrub. I've no idea what variety it is - certainly different to any other I've seen anywhere. It has a hugely powerful scent, which also is unlike other mock oranges (or 'Philadelphus' if we're being posh). This one smells exactly like Juicy Fruit chewing gum. It's a mass of blossom at the moment, reminding me of a frothy lacy wedding dress,
and the delicious scent blows in through the open windows and door. It's growing right on the boundary so next door get to enjoy it too, which is only fair as they've planted a large climbing rose at the front boundary fence which fills the rooms at the front of our houses with scent. In this hot weather it's just wonderful.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Just a kid roamin' around travellin' through a little ol' town

Usually I think that jail sentences handed down to law-breakers are far too lenient (I’m normally pretty much of a ‘throw away the key’ persuasion) but on this particular occasion I think the judge was too harsh. You may remember last November there was a car crash just up the road from us (at Badger’s Drift, actually, which is just along from where I was knocked down when I was walking the dogs by a car about twelve years ago. It’s obviously a dangerous spot) and one of The Boy’s friends from junior school was killed. Kelly had been a front-seat passenger in the car and died at the scene; the rear passenger injured both knees and needed to be cut from the wreckage but the driver was merely bruised, although severely shocked. They’d all been at a party and all had had quite a lot to drink. The girl driver should never have attempted to drive, and the passengers shouldn’t have agreed to get in the car. A taxi between three, even at midnight in the country, isn’t going to break the bank. But they were foolish enough – at 19 we’ve all done stupid things – to use the car, and were unlucky enough not to get away with it.

The girl who was driving wasn’t allowed to go to her best friend’s funeral (which as a parent I can understand, although it was hard for her to bear) and hasn’t driven since. She regrets what she did every day, and will never forgive herself for the rest of her life.

Although she broke the law and there were tragic consequences, she didn’t wilfully intend to hurt anyone at all, let alone her friend; there was no crime of intent. That’s why I think three years in prison is too harsh and will do her no good. All I can think is that it was a sentence designed to deter others, and she’s just a scapegoat. I don’t think she should have got off scot-free, but there must surely be more suitable punishments for what she did - something that wouldn't have another devastating negative impact on her life? After all she's no danger to society. It just makes an even worse mess of a terrible tragedy.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

I’ll come bouncing back to you

At last I had my chance to be surgery assistant as well as receptionist! Bob and Dave duly arrived and we completed the consent forms. They were weighed and, because there was 20 minutes before the next client, we decided to make a start, and painkillers were injected with only mild protest, and given a few minutes to take effect. So far so good. Then came the sedative. This should be injected intra-muscularly not subcutaneously and stings (the reasoning behind giving the painkiller first). Dave, the bigger of the two, was very amenable and was soon back in his basket sleeping peacefully. Meanwhile we were wrestling with Bob, who simply wasn’t interested in the idea of either cooperation or placid resistance. A cat weighing 2½ kilos is equipped with many lethal weapons, and we were both soon fully acquainted with all of them; and he wasn’t quiet about it either! The minutes were passing, the next appointment time was fast approaching and Dave was likely to stir, so Bob was caged and covered over to calm down, we mopped up the blood (ours!) and Dave was discombobulated. A quarter-inch incision, a squeeze and a pull and one was gone. Rinse and repeat. All done and dusted, and Davina was wrapped up warm and left to doze during the rest of surgery hours.

Round 2. Bob was still pretty miffed so rather than distress him any more, not to mention risking more injury ourselves, the sedative was applied into his scruff instead. It does work like that, but takes a bit longer. While that was rendering him unconscious Dave was given the reversal jab and was tucked up again. Once sleeping Bob soon became Bobette, his manhood joined Dave’s in the bin and we heaved a sigh of relief. Thank goodness there are no stitches to be taken out later! An hour later and they were carried away home, still somewhat woozy and resentful - especially Bob!

We might be doing a ferret next week ...

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Oh deer, what can the matter be

Perhaps the deer wouldn't be quite as dangerous if they weren't allowed guns.

You're in their sights ...

Monday, June 12, 2006

Slow down you're gonna crash

It's incredibly reassuring to be told "Don't worry, it does that sometimes. Just do payments without the computer and make a note of the details and I'll sort it out tomorrow. Then phone Leamington and ask them to reboot" when you're in the middle of a transaction with a queue of clients and the computer says that the program's made a fatal error and will now shut down. I don't think I screamed in horror very loudly.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Then you’ll spread your wings and take to the sky

This weekend, to make a change from caching, and because it’s been tooooo hot for long hikes, and because we’ve only just got roofbars for the ‘new’ car, and also because it’s been chained to the hedge since we got burglarified, we decided to get the canoe into the water again and go for a paddle. So we hoisted it onto the roof and set off for Leamington, where the river flows through a park and there’s a boat-hire place and they don’t mind people putting their own boats in there. Luckily we’re good enough paddlers to be able to steer it okay so didn’t make an ass of ourselves with an audience; in fact we could hear “Oh that looks fun, why don’t we do that?” as we glided under the bridge. It’s a lovely place, because as soon as you’re under the road bridge at the end of the park you’re in open countryside on the edge of town with only the wildlife for company. It was a beautiful evening – the sun was still hot but the trees on the banks provided shade; the fish were jumping and I’m sure the cotton was high. On one stretch we saw a heron perched in a tree,
but it took off as we approached, along with a pair of ducks. I was cursing the shutter-delay of the camera because there was one perfect moment when the three birds were framed in a gap in the branches, flying in formation like the Battle of Britain Flight, with a Lancaster bomber leading, supported by two fighters. But by the time the picture took, they were out of sight around the corner. Dammit! I need a digital that obeys! Anyway we paddled for half an hour upstream, then turned for home. Messing about on the river is the best way to unwind.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Meet me on the corner

I’m a fan of ‘Midsomer Murders’ (“What are you doing here, Cully?”) on a Sunday night, even though I need to watch each episode two or three times before I know whodiddit. That’s because it always starts when we’re well into our first bottle of wine, and by the time it finishes our powers of recall aren’t always great. Anyway, the scenery’s always pretty, a lot of the time is spent saying “ooh look that’s whatisname who was in thingy, isn’t it?” and you can hear loads of magpies in the background but never see them. The real Midsomer area is in Somerset, but the series is filmed in Buckinghamshire and Berkshire which confuses many people who go to Midsomer Norton (real place) to see Midsomer Worthy (fictional place). The fictional area has loads of interestingly named villages in true English fashion (it was only recently I learned that Danby Wiske, a character in a series of historical novels, is a village in Yorkshire); there are such names as Midsomer Malham, Stranglers Wood (I wonder what happened there?), Fletcher’s Cross and Badger’s Drift. Which is what I’ve named the corner near the field up the road, now that the verge has been mown*.

*see blog 24th May