Monday, July 31, 2006

I'm on the hunt, I'm after you

Some of you might remember my July 16th blog when I wrote about the dreadful behaviour on the M25 of a driver for Hunt Bros. Transport of Warrington. They don’t have a website but Lorry managed to get details of their whereabouts (Sankey Valley Industrial Estate, Junction Lane, Newton-le-Willows, WA12 8DN), and on Monday 17th July I telephoned them (on 01925 222068) to make sure these details were correct. The man on the phone said that yes, their lorries did indeed have that livery, so I asked him who I should address a letter of complaint to. He told me that Mr Robert Hunt, the Transport Manager, would be the best recipient, so I posted the following:

Dear Mr Hunt

I am writing to inform you of the appalling behaviour of one of your lorry drivers.

Travelling on the M25 on Sunday 16th July, there was heavy congestion and a 40mph speed limit had been imposed between junctions 13 and 16, and the overhead gantries advised motorists to stay in lane. After J15, between 18.30 and 18.40, we witnessed one of your trucks (registration number MX03 NYW) weaving from lane to lane, causing car drivers to swerve to avoid being hit by his trailer (number HBT28). On the occasions that he found no way past motorists who were obeying the limit he was tailgating them and flashing his headlights.

I’m well aware that HGV drivers are restricted in the hours they can drive but that does NOT give them the right to attempt to force other vehicles out of the way. It’s been very many years since I last saw such aggressive driving; it was absolutely disgraceful, and it was only due to the quick-thinking of other motorists in taking avoiding action that there wasn’t a serious accident.

This man isn’t fit to be in charge of a tea-trolley, let alone a motor vehicle of any size. I would appreciate your assurance that there will be no possibility of this happening again.

Yours sincerely,

Two weeks on, and I haven’t even received an acknowledgement of my letter. How rubbish. But I'm pleased to see the July 16th blog is at the top when googling them!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Man, you got a warped groove

Look what was lurking under the shed!

Monday, July 24, 2006

I saw you, I saw you

When Ned decides to prune things they darn well stay pruned.

In other news, The Boy loathes and detests his new job because being part of a factory conveyor is mind-numbingly tedious. They have to build 5,000 post office bikes by October, and today he was putting the front wheels into the forks. By 8.30am he was at screaming point. And he's sharing it with us. Oh joy.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

He sleeps all night and he works all day

Oh, how the adrenaline flows when you realise that the tree wants to fall in the wrong direction.

Oh, how pleased you are when you realise your neighbour is out.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

I'm on the road again

Ned's sister-in-law chose what must have been one of the hottest days of the year to throw a surprise party for Ned's mother. After overhearing something she'd said about how sad it was that a person couldn't enjoy chatting to their friends at their own wake S-i-L decided to organise in effect a Living Wake. Just nobody ask her where her box was.

It was a horrid drive down. The last time we went down the motorway gantry signs advised of "QUEUES AFTER NEXT JUNCTION" but we took a chance and ended up stationary for 2 hours. Today, seeing the same message, we looked at each other, screamed in horror, and left to go rural. From one of the worst junctions to get a decent route for our destination.

Because of Guilfest I thought it best to avoid Guildford itself, so worked out a nice A-road route around it; when I explained the route to Ned he went very quiet, which isn't a Good Sign. He knows the roads there better than I do, and apparently this was a dreadful way to go, but by then we'd negotiated Woking town centre and were committed. Then, when we were nearly past the second-worst bit, we came to a police roadblock and had to turn around and go back. Oh joy. So we went through Guildford after all.

Ned thought I'd fallen asleep at one point - in fact I'd felt a bit wibbly from the heat and had passed out for a while.

Anyway, the party was a success and Ned's mum was delighted, which made it all worthwhile. It was interesting to see that Ned's cousin's daughter quite closely resembles The Boy in looks; put them side by side and you'd think they were brother and sister. Genes are curious things.

Then it was time to face the (at least) 2-hour drive home. There was a congested stretch of the M25 where there was a 40mph speed limit, and this is where we witnessed the most appalling driving we've seen for years. There was an HGV belonging to HUNT BROS. TRANSPORT of Warrington whose driver clearly thought he owned the road. He was weaving from lane to lane (when the gantry instructions said to STAY IN LANE), causing other drivers to swerve to avoid being hit by his trailer, and when (shock, horror) he found himself behind a vehicle obeying the speed limit to avoid a speeding fine he tailgated them, flashing his headlights. I can't find an email address for the company, so I'll post on here that the numberplate was MX03 NYW and the trailer was number HBT28. This incredibly aggressive driving took place between junctions 15 and 16 of the M25, between 18.30 and 18.40 today. I know that HGV drivers have restricted hours for driving, but that doesn't give them carte blanche to risk so many other people's lives. If anyone knows a contact address for this company, please can they let me know so that I can tell them what an appallingly dangerous driver this employee is. Maybe he should be reduced to pushing the tea-trolley in the offices. He's certainly not fit to drive a motor vehicle.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

She's leaving home, bye bye

It’s just as well Mr & Mrs Sixty came to see Kitkat fairly early, because it got absolutely scorching later. We’d stressed to them that if they decided for any reason (not striking enough markings, too wild, too big, too small, anything) they weren’t to feel obliged to take her; there were enough alternatives for her, and none of them involved going to the Cats’ Home or being advertised. But despite Kit not following instructions to be cute and charming, instead choosing to hide under Ned’s chair and only emerge when tempted beyond resistance by the judicious wiggling of bits of paper and string, and leaping out of their arms when placed for a stroke, they still seemed to fall for her, so we gathered her belongings into a metaphorical spotted hanky and off she went to Leicescescestershire. It’ll be quiet without her – although Ned’s beard’ll stand more chance of survival after her recent fascination with it! Remember to send piccies, you two!

Feeling slightly glum afterwards (we’re rubbish at rehoming animals – selling the pups is a nightmare of tears) especially as The Boy had come downstairs shortly after they left and grumbled about not being woken to say goodbye to her, Ned and I decided to do a couple of caches to cheer ourselves up. I wish I’d taken my camera* because I missed a fantastic photo. While we were waiting at the traffic lights in Banbury a motorcyclist pulled up beside us, and in his rucksack, head out, dozing, was a very laid-back brown terrier. He was completely relaxed; obviously the cool breeze as they roared away and his ears flew straight backwards was pleasing.

*either of them: the digital with the infuriating shutter delay that means one either needs precognition and press the shutter a couple of seconds before the action, or my old fillum one (with new fillum because I was so hacked off at missing action shots of Kit – I wonder how long it'll be before I use up the fillum).

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

I must think of a new life, and I mustn't give in

I love my mother dearly, but she does drive me wild sometimes. She's been oohing and aahing over the kitten (or Kitkat, as she's presently known), and saying how I mustn't send her to a Cats' Home - that if nobody else wanted her she was sure she could manage; that it probably wasn't sensible, but ...

Now, Mother's 83, and none too steady on her legs. If she tries to turn round without holding on the something she's likely to lose her balance. If she bends down it's possible she'll just topple over. She's rattling around with pills to try to help her vertigo but they don't seem to do a lot. However, she's been the only person living in her house since my dad died in 1987, and been the sole occupant entirely since her elderly Golden Retriever died last year. Before she got the dog she asked my brothers and me if one of us would be able to take him if she died first - that she wouldn't have a puppy otherwise. That wasn't a problem, so she gave Tim a lovely life and he was marvellous company for her. Someone to talk to, and care for and who responded to her with affection. But now she's completely on her own, and I know she's lonely. Although her own mother lived to be 93, with the best will in the world Mother's unlikely to outlive a kitten, and so there'd be a rehoming problem to be dealt with in the future, and cats are harder to rehome than dogs.

Anyway, I think Mother's been indulging in a flight of fancy about having a gentle little furry to curl on her lap and purr, forgetting that young kittens are incredibly active, and pounce on your feet and leap on your back and generally behave like potential assassins. Kitkat's nearly tripped me up several times by launching herself at my feet from behind the curtains or under the bedspread; Mother wouldn't be able to save herself from falling. Also litter trays are at floor level, and a person needs to bend down to pick them up to clean them. Mother's hands are knotted with arthritis anyway, and not being able to stoop safely ... in a couple of days she's gone from telling me she's a fall-back option to deciding she's the Number One choice. (That's what comes from having nobody to talk to - you make up your own world that doesn't necessarily have a lot of bearing on reality.)

I was very pleased that the Sixtys were interested in having the Kit because they can provide the sort of home my little poppet deserves - plenty of attention and liveliness! Now Mother's telling me that she's quite disappointed that someone else wants her ("But what'll happen when your friend has a baby?" "She'll have a cat and a baby, Mother").

I must be strong, and not allow her to put guilt on me. Besides, Mrs Sixty did express an interest before Mother did, and is much more likely to be offering a forever home - and that's got to be in Kit's best interest. I shall make enquiries about whether Mother would be able to adopt a more mature cat, which would be much more suitable - and less likely to cause Mother to break her neck!

Sunday, July 09, 2006

I walked through a field that just wasn't real

My favouritest comfortablest sandals have had it. :( They've carried me without complaint along the Cornish Coastal path, up and down cliffs, across fields and through towns. They've been marvellous, and I've been looking for another pair to carry on their good work.

Naturally, that style is no longer available.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Cheap, never cheap

Actually I'm trying to keep things cheap. I've only bought cat litter (which is in the (clean) oil-changing tray) and scoop, one tin of Denes kitten food and a 50p ball. I got a cat wormer and a sample of Hills kitten food from work, and I already had Frontline spray. So she should be healthy.

I'm determined not to name her. Once she's named it'll be difficult to move her on, and although if the dogs would accept her I'd love to keep her, but realistically I can't see that happening with Piggy. But it seems rude to simply call her 'the kitten' (especially with the connotations the word now has!) so I've still been running through names faster than Liz Taylor got through husbands; she's a very old-fashioned looking kit, so I've tried (and rejected) Ethel, Mabel and Florence. As things stand it looks as though she'll be here for the weekend because nobody's made any enquiries about her so I've moved her pen from the dining room to our bedroom so she doesn't spend so much time alone. The dogs aren't allowed upstairs anyway, and with the door shut I can safely let her out to play. This when she got yet another name. You remember Inspector Clousaeu's manservant in the Pink Panther films? Well because of the way she lurks beside the bed ready to pounce, 'Cato' seemed appropriate.

To while away the time in the bedroom while she played, I sat on the bed and started folding clothes. I didn't half jump when, instead of playing nicely on the floor, she took off, landed on my head then leapt for the windowsill. It would have been even more impressive if she'd reached it instead of hitting the wall below and landing on the floor with a thump and a startled expression.

I'm trying hard to get a picture of how small she really is, but she doesn't stay still for very long. The Boy took this one of her sitting on my hand. But of course she stretched up at the critical moment and enbiggified herself again.

I wonder if she'll let me get any sleep tonight?

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Where do you belong?

We seem to have acquired a lodger. Ned and I were taking the dogs up to the fields, and in the gateway there she was. She started to come towards us - Piglet was nearly apoplectic - so Ned held the leads and I went to pick her up and take her to what I assumed was her home. But they'd never seen her before, and I know that Ricky and Charlotte in the next house wouldn't have got a kitten because Charlotte's hideously allergic. I obviously couldn't leave her on the road so the people lent me their cat basket to take her away.

She's been scanned at the vet (no chip) and I've asked everyone up and down the road if they know anything about her, and nobody does. She's very sweet and friendly, so not feral. Both the local vet surgeries know we have her, and I've made a nice secure cage (with lid!) from the puppy panels we had stored in the garage. So ....

Do we take her to the RSPCA (not renowned for their helpfulness with strays) or the nearest Cat Rescue? Or (perish the thought) do we keep her and hope she doesn't end up as a tasty snack for one of the dogs? She's very tiny - about 6 or 8 weeks old I reckon (although an expert tells me she must be older than that because her eyes aren't blue any more) - and last time I had a kitten I was 12 years old. I haven't a clue ...

Edit: She's litter trained.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

I'll shout myself hoarse for your supernatural force

My brother (not the one with the bionic hip, the other one) phoned me to pass on natal felicitations and, naturally, to wind me up (fraternal Law). The lucky bugger had some draught Spitfire (advertising slogan "Downed all over Kent - just like the L├╝ftwaffe") about his person, and invited me to listen to him slurping it with enjoyment.

"You do that, you bastard, and I might have to kill you" (or words to that effect) was my retort.

"No chance, you're too far away. I'm safe at this distance."

*sssssssllllllllluuuuuuuuuuuuuurrrrrrrrrrrrrrrpppppppp .... coughcoughcoughcoughcough*

It was several minutes before he could speak again, having nearly drowned. The beer had gone down the wrong way. It was even longer before I could speak again, being so weak from hysterical laughter.

That'll teach him not to doubt his little sister's Powers.
*cackles evilly*

Monday, July 03, 2006

How many kinds of sweet flowers grow

The current heatwave (82°F at 9am) suits the flowers, even if the lawn is desiccating. In the morning the air is filled with the scent of roses
New Dawn
Zepherine Drouhin mingling with ... erm ... a white climber
Rosa Mundi
And in the evening the scent of lilies wafts in.
Lilium Regale

What's even better, nobody's ruining it with stinky barbecues! Hurrah!