Sunday, September 30, 2007

I said "What?"

According to the experts it's time to harvest ones apples for storage before the wind blows the all off and spoils them. When the trees in our garden were planted (before our time) they were cleverly planted in a row and laid at an angle to limit their height and make a nice fruitful barrier. If they'd been properly pruned every year they'd still be nice and low but before we bought the house they'd been allowed to go feral and we've spent the last 18 years trying to get some control over them. This has mainly involved severe pruning which has the side-effect of removing all the flower buds, so they've never been very productive. Because they're a bit gnarled and split and past their prime we decided this year to grub them out and start again, so last year I didn't really bother with the pruning - only the lowest branches; with the result that this year they've cropped quite well, but all the fruit is about 18 feet up. The trees are the wrong shape for ladders to be either secure or helpful, so I wriggled and squeezed my way up the tangled branches to try to reach the apples. That's when Ned said it. "You're fifty years old and shouldn't be climbing trees."

I said "WHAT?????"

Friday, September 28, 2007


We're reliably informed (yes, I was watching QI) that methane gas is twenty times more dangerous to the ozone layer than carbon dioxide. As the producers of the greatest quantites of methane are herbivores, does this mean that vegetarians should be eliminated?

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Walk this way

I turned up on time at the cardiology department, and was swiftly whisked into a small room for the ECG, which involved several people with very cold hands putting sticky patches on various parts of my anatomy ("top off please"), wiring me up to a machine that went 'ping' then before I knew it, whipping them off again ("top on again thank you"), then out into the corridor again. No sooner had I got my book out to calm down a little than I was called into another small room full of people and machines that go 'flub-dub', ("top off please"), had my chest covered in gloop and an echo-gram thing done and various measurements taken. It was at this point that the consultant came in and said hello. Nice. Then I was handed some scratchy paper to mop up the gloop ("top on again thank you") and sent back to the waiting room. Then the consultant reappeared and I was ushered into yet another room to discuss my symptoms. Which he didn't seem to believe any of, sent me into the side room ("top off please"), used his stethoscope and took my blood pressure ("That's quite high but I expect you're not very relaxed but your pulse is slow so that's good top on again thank you") and that was it. Apart from being positioned slightly lower than they expected - from a certain age everything's lower than it used to be - they couldn't find anything wrong with my heart, which is good, but I left feeling like a complete fraud and a twit and a waster-of-everyone's-time. I knew I should have cancelled.

And Ned's sulking because it usually takes a good meal and a nice bottle of wine to get my top off.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

And the eyes in his head see the world spinning round

Whether it's reaction to the gallons of local anaesthetic I needed yesterday to get a filling replaced without having to be enticed down from the ceiling, or tiredness, or what, I don't know, but all today I've been alternating between feeling pissed and feeling hungover. Walking in a straight line was tricky, and I found I couldn't write properly when filling in the order book at work. Seeing that I haven't had anything stronger than tea since Sunday, and only 2 pints of water to drink yesterday evening, it's a bit odd. I hope an early night will sort it; I've got some driving to do tomorrow.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

She's filing her nails while they're dragging the lake

Although I seem to have spent most of today on the computer I don't think I've wasted my time. Ned and his pals went walking in the Peak District, so once I'd walked the dogs and spent far too much money shopping, I settled at the screen to keep up with the gossip.

As some of you might have guessed, I'm a bit of a dog person, and go on several sites with fora for passing on information and general chat. A few days ago someone on 'my' breed site asked a question about genetics, saying that someone on Site B had posted pictures of newborn black-spotted puppies from liver-spotted parents - was this possible? The short answer is 'No' - basically black pigmentation the dominant colour, and dals will only show liver coloration if they have no black gene. As both 'parents' were liver they therefore had no black genes to pass on, so the black puppies couldn't be sired by the liver dog. With me so far?

So I joined Site B so that I could be Mrs Interfering and suggest that the proud daddy had probably been cuckolded and that mummy dog had been playing away. This went down like a lead balloon and I let the usual newbie-flak bounce off as it's only to be expected.

Then I went to look at other posts on the site. This same person had proudly posted pictures of the four dobermanns she was rescuing. Curiously they all had cropped ears (ear cropping's been illegal in this country for over a century) so were obviously imported, and I was curious and asked about them. Apparently they'd been imported illegally and had their ears cropped on the dockside at 8 weeks old. Anyone who's done any research at all about the process knows that's an ipossible scenario - after the actual cropping there are months of taping and posting to get the ears to stand upright. So that didn't ring true either.

There's also a section for cat posts on this particular site, and this same person had posted pictures of all 7 of her pedigree cats, all different breeds and confirmed when asked that all were on the active register (you'd understand that Lorry). One of the cats was very attractive so I went onto Google Images and typed in the breed. Well, I nearly fell of my chair. There were the exact same photos - one on the Wikipedia page for the breed. I put in the name of another of 'her' breeds, and blow me down, there they were - this time the exact same pictures were of a stray cat found in California.

That's when I had my Miss Marple moment. I google-imaged all the breeds she'd posted pictures of, and there they all were - her elderly 'Belgian Turvuren (sic) cross' was actually a blue merle American champion rough collie that died 17 years ago. The puppy pictures were from a dalmatian site about mismarks. The picture of 'her and her husband and their four dobermanns' was lifted from an American breeder's site.

So, 'she' was obviously telling porkies. But why? A sad, lonely attention-seeker? Maybe - but it turns out (after I'd subtly ("Wow! Your cat's picture's on the Wikipedia page! How cool is that?" etc) posted that she'd been rumbled, other people found even more evidence of the fantasy.

Then came the rather scary bit. Over the past few weeks 'she' had been in contact with other site members by email & PM and, with some of the younger ones, had offered to send more puppy pictures in the post if they'd let 'her' have their addresses, and would they like a holiday job with her, to help look after her dogs and puppies and horses (oh yes, she's been posting on a horse forum as well - her Shire horse had to be shot last week. Much sympathy ensued).

Am I right to find this very alarming? I've heard of 'grooming' before but I think I might have exposed a groomer (stop sniggering Mal), who of course will now vanish for a while, to reappear somewhere else. I've suggested to the Admin of the site that, while it could all be the work of an attention-seeker or a bored youngster, it could equally be something more serious and perhaps making a note of the IP might be a good idea.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

This could be the last time ...

... this year at any rate, that I post a blog about Cropredy. But at last! Someone's put up this year's version of Matty Groves, and the follow-on choon. Remember that this is very near the end of a four-hour set, with only the finale to follow.

Ahh, magic! That's why we go to Cropredy each year.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

It makes the world go round

Wahay! I've had a payrise!

Monday, September 03, 2007

Its a bit old but its mine

The lovely ArAySee Boy - I'm not sure he's old enough to have left school - brought along a chum and they looked under the Pug's bonnet. I turned the ignition key and there was just an impotent click. I explained what used to fix it (first wiggling that bluey-green wire, and then when that stopped sorting it, putting it in gear and rocking it back and forth (in my case looking helpless until some kind strong Young Man took pity on me and did the rocking)), but that now nothing was working. They ummed and thought the starter motor was probably dead, and took out a Birmingham Screwdriver and whacked it a bit. No joy. Then they checked the strength of the battery and that was fine. Then just as an experiment they bypassed the connection between the battery and the starter motor. Brrrrrrmmmmmm!!! Hurrah! But it still wouldn't start on its own and I began to wonder if I was going to have to adopt the lad and keep him as a pet mechanic. A little more discussion led to them replacing the bluey-green wire and Bingo! The car now starts happily all by itself! We now have a car again and not a fully-comprehensively-insured driveway ornament.

He's a Nice Man. He's a very very Nice Man. Oh no, that's the Other Lot. But he's very good anyway, and we like him.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

I'm a tiger

A few weeks ago I cut some comfrey from the garden (caution - wear gloves and long sleeves because the hairy leaves and stems can cause a nasty rash), chopped it up a bit and put it in a lidded bucket with some rainwater to steep and make a good rich organic plant feed. Today I bravely opened the bucket and put a little of the liquor into the watering can to dilute and feed the plants. Poo-ee, what a stink! I hope the plants appreciate it because it's truly disgusting.

In other news Beattie's nose has pretty much recovered from the nip it received last week. At first,as you recall, it was a bit scraped and bloodybut then it scabbed over and was scratchy. Now the scabs have come off and it's all healed nicely, except that the scars aren't yet pigmented properly so she has a very fetching stripy nose.