Thursday, August 27, 2015

Scent of a Cat

Has he elegance? Has he fragrance?


Not remotely. He isn`t Mary Archer, he`s a raggy-arsed nineteen-year-old (at least 8000 in cat) who`s begun to smell like the corpses of all the tiny critters he`s despatched over the years.

Why? 


He always used to groom fastidiously and constantly; he`s still bendy and suffers no arthritic achings...  But these days he`ll have an occasional swipe of face and front paws, then go for a nice lie down.  

Naturally (isn`t it?) he`s always exuded the fumes of hell when he`s breathed on you (from your knee or from the end of the garden); now he reeketh from every pore. Most Unnaturally.

We are what we eat, it is said, and as he plunges further into decrepitude, what he eats becomes ever more unsettling.

Not for Spartapus (guess George`s favourite film) the bowl of Kitty-splatt and those treats with the meeelting centre. He`ll have Tinned Tuna in Sunflower-oil-not-Brine… maybe a couple of thin slices of Sandwich Beef or some spicy Polish Sausage

After one minute at these delicacies, he stops shovelling and starts Yowling.  He`s not hungry - he`s The Devil.  


"Look in your bowls, evil cat" (we cry) – "you`ve got eight kinds of flesh and some of my Greek yoghurt – we have nothing else to give you!"

He stares unblinking as we sit down to tea and his message is clear: OK - I`ll have what you`re having


So we sacrifice chunks of our chicken and he graciously nibbles at them. Briefly.

I pander to his every whim because I feel his pain of downsizing to a tiny garden, and then of losing his twin sister last year. (Though Honestly - they were hardly speaking towards the end…). 


Anyway, if treating the eating is hopeless, can we at least cure his sulphurous aroma that is now seeping from the very walls!

The pet-shop man suggested a Dry Shampoo for wet-averse cats.  I was as thrilled as when they invented Shake n` Vac – would this work as well on the cat as it did back then on my T-shirts?
 
 
Acquainted with his claws, George and I plunged positively into the fray wearing ski-gear and protective head-buckets.  Back-comb his fur, the nice man at the pet-shop had said, and rub the powder in with your fingertips. 

I gingerly waved the bottle of powder under Spartapus`s nose, expecting retaliation.  Instead he seemed to inhale, taking a moment to savour it with a look of Hmm, Not Bad...

So we showered him liberally and drily, rubbed it all over and mopped it off with a warm damp cloth.  And he looked FAB.

Had he Fragrance?

Not really.  But we`ve managed three more successful applications and we`re optimistic about the future if we stick to his treatment. 

Silly as it sounds, though, we are slightly concerned now about some kind of contagion...

The other night we popped into The Two Heads and were greeted with, "There you are - a pint and a Pinot Grigio, and - Bloody Hell! - what have you two been eating?"


Wednesday, August 12, 2015

No One Word can describe...



We didn`t bother watching the latest Public Information Film… After all, every week there was a different one, warning us pointlessly about misuse of zebra crossings, the dangers of ladders or how to keep your microbes to yourself with a handkerchief...
 

Why should this one be any more important?

We were wrong.


Little did we know back in those halcyon days that we were being watched, watched and studied by creatures with brains unimaginably greater than ours, with technology far beyond our own feeble capabilities and with plans… plans for us and for our planet.

"Man as the dominant species of life on earth will be extinct within a year" whispered the government rumours. And we laughed.

We snorted with derision when they urged us to stay in our homes for this would be a "...grim battle for survival!"

George and his comrades didn`t listen – should we think them brave, or merely foolhardy?

To the group it was just another walk… another chance to roam beautiful countryside, to revel in the glories of Nature. But nature can be
red in tooth and claw if you stray over Certain Boundaries.

How could they have known? An ordinary fence, a stile like any other – no-one noticed they were being followed...

Until the creatures started getting restless:

In fact anyone can see these beasts were quite hysterical - the unfortunate white-head brutally shouldered in the crush; the black-head driven wild by some fiendish marking on her brow (the significance of which one dare not guess at); the brown-head with staring, frenzied eyes, scrabbling to keep up.

Next time they looked back they thought there was… something… different but they didn`t understand the effects of interplanetary spores, didn`t realise that the Nameless Horror could transmute!


It would get worse, the Nameless not only transmuting but also multiplying until these innocent walkers would be Infested by swarms of nightmare creatures.

We have no word from those bold walkers.  But there`s talk of a new Public Information Film having been released and this time, We`ll Watch It.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

How did That Happen?

 
Have YOU been involved in an accident that wasn`t your fault?


Well Yes I Have!

Yesterday I knocked a full coffee-pot over and it emptied its contents all over the cat.  (The cat`s fault).

At work, I once sliced into my finger with a large pair of scissors. The First Aiders just could not stop it bleeding and I lost Buckets of Blood. In fact it could have been terminal had someone not realised my trendy Biba T-shirt was tightly elasticated at the wrist.
 
They cut my T-shirt. Now whose fault was that?

Well it could come under "industrial mishap", according to quite a lot of adverts around at the moment.  Here is but one...

Do you want to Make A Claim?
You Need
Plasters R Us
We are a smart-and-sympathetic-looking legal team based just around the corner and we specialise in Everything.  Bring your injury compensation claim to us immediately and we`ll FEEL your PAIN – you must have seen our TV advert with the rueful trip-up down those steps...  Remember -

No Win, No Fee and Your Plaster Back!


Sounds fair.  Thinking about it, I`ve had numerous accidents that could well have been not-my-fault. I mean, searing-hot irons, evil garden implements, just about everything in your kitchen – all are surely fraught with peril.  Your home is a Deathtrap.

One Christmas I cracked a thighbone just moving back to admire our newly-decorated Nordman Fir! Anyone could have forgotten the two steps in our living room and really, I don`t think they should make tiles so hard.  Still have the scar, you know…

George is constantly telling me not to climb on things, so maybe I should have expected to fall off the kitchen table when I used it to raise me to the curtain rail.  Curtains re-hung, I stepped from table to halfway-down chair, only to find it had moved away...

That was most unpleasant - Do you find when falling from a great height that everything slows down? You have aeons to contemplate the excruciating pain of the landing with its probable Life-Changing Injuries. And worse on this occasion - No-one Heard me Scream
 
Finally I got bored lying on the kitchen floor and had to haul myself tentatively up.  It was hours before anyone even noticed me dragging my leg round and whimpering.  (Outwardly it`s good to flaunt one`s pain, never forgetting how lucky one has been with its unseriousness).

As for George... well, he boldly doesn`t like to flaunt his pain so I tend to ignore it.   One time, though, he almost poked his eye out whilst unpacking a metal-rod-backed chair.  It was not very like this picture
here, except for those Dangerous Bobbles on top.

His specs no doubt softened the blow and at the hospital they cleverly retrieved all the bits of glass and rebuilt him. He was calm and brave, and they locked me out of the way in a side room - that wasn`t going to stop me hyper-ventilating, was it?

Of course horrid things happen outside the confines of home... who Hasn`t had a car accident?  I remember coming home one afternoon, turning into the drive as usual and crunching Right Into the concrete gatepost.  This was possibly my fault as I was also waving Hello at our neighbours.  Although they`d waved first...  How far back can one claim, I wonder (we kept the dent).  


It`s impossible to blame all your accidents on somebody else.  So remember - be careful out there, take notes and above all,  Hang onto the Evidence



 

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

I Made it Myself, You Know



`What`s that going to be – a corral?`

George relates this without a hint of a tear, but one can only imagine the hurt inside – co-woodworkers can be so cruel.  After all, this was only the half-way stage, and
George`s frame was necessarily vast since it would be supporting a really vast upper.
 
Perhaps the coffee table was ambitious for a first project – the top, the legs, the bits the top sits upon… He could have chosen instead the plans for making a wooden spoon, or maybe gone for the boomerang instructions – both rewarding creations and perfect introductions to the World of Woodworking.

But no – for George this was a challenge that wouldn`t wait, and he certainly put his unique stamp upon its magnitude: eye-catching green 70`s tiling offering ample space for magazines, musical instruments or family pets; perfectly proportioned and jointed frame; sturdy struts providing foot-hooking support for those essential sit-ups.

Particularly useful for parties, of course - extra seating, room for drinks and eats, meetng point for anyone who`s lost...
And steadfast. This four-legged friend has been with him for forty years!


He was never to make another, but the lessons learned stayed deep in his soul; the tiling prepared him well for numerous flooring successes, and the wood turning no doubt helped with the bowed psaltery he made soon afterwards – a triangular stringèd instrument you perhaps play too... George doesn`t often, but he Could.

Do you like to Make Things Yourself?  I`ve been racking my brains and must 
cast my mind back to Junior School, when our class was once told to make a Cloth Book Thing to keep pins and needles in.

This turned out rather well, and is still enormously useful for keeping one`s notions in order when a button has to be sewed.

Beneath that supremely colourful exterior lurks some strange stiff material with holes we poked the wool through.

It took me ages and frankly, I think Mrs Joiner could have been a bit more encouraging about my outcome.

Undaunted, I went on to make a fairly convincing Cauliflower Cheese in high school cookery. Sadly it didn`t cope well with the hour-long bus home, and when I unleashed it on the kitchen table it looked more like a brain in a swimming cap. (We had fish fingers for tea).

The made-it-myself I`m most proud of, though, was an Enormous pair of socks – birthday present for the colleague who had everything including size 13 feet. In fact I only made one sock because for a beginner-knitter it was extremely difficult, specially going round the corner. 


Sadly I don`t have a photo because he was naturally thrilled with the sock and took it home.  I remember it was at least an appropriate foot long, heel to toe, and a dainty one inch up the ankle.  And colourful, being a recycling of people`s unwanted wool scraps.

He didn`t mention it again but I like to think he found it useful, perhaps as a thermos flask cosy, or a nice warm hat, a scarf, vest, Santa sock, doorstop, handbag, cat coat, fluffy toy... 

Wow - one could set up a business!







Friday, April 17, 2015

I lost my Heart to a Full-Width Deli Tray...

 
 What does your fridge say about you? 

 

Well, we all forget to defrost sometimes, don`t we…

But wait – whatever lurks in your fridge could hold the secret to your future happiness!  At least,
if you`re single it could…  

For there is a man with an Exciting Plan – to boldly glean insights on your personality from the mere contents of your fridge, thence to match you with fridges compatible!

Hundreds of people have apparently sent pictures to this enterprising person (or should one say, fridge guru?), presumably in the hope of receiving a stack of compatible-contents pictures by return. 

And then?  What would you be looking for in the heart of a fridge?  Lots of style, colour and harmonious groupings,  or perhaps a hint of the wise and deeply metaphysical...? 

The guru could advise - he spent twenty years assessing his potential dates by fridge (some of them still went out with him).  His eventual bride dazzled him not least with her Champagne and "high-end condiments". 

I don`t know what a high-end condiment is, but George and I do have a pot of auntie Jean`s home-pickled beetroot, and a very sparkling wine from the champagne region of Aladidl.

Do consider carefully the state of your fridge before you let all and sundry in there.  It must be gleamingly clean and fragrant (guru does home visits too, you know), and entirely free of stuff still moving.  The message it conveys could change your life!

(Looking in our own fridge, I`m not sure it conveys any message other than We need a bigger one and Where`s that chipolata I was saving?).

Remember! this thrilling new service is for singles only so how is/was your fridge as a single? 
Mine always had a bottle of Dry Martini and a bottle of Tia Maria. 
(I know.  But they tasted different in those days). 

And there`d be one of those party  bottles of Liebfraumilch...  


And a loaf of Mother`s Pride.

But we didn`t have gurus to match us with other Sophisticated-Palate-Well-Organised`s - we just had to go clubbing to meet people, or take up beginners` badminton... Or walk around with a big sign on our head (which never worked either).

Things are different now, but that doesn`t mean they`re any easier...

 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Forty Shades of Hoover


Hoovering can be such a joy can`t it…

the massive satisfaction of banishing all those horrid little Bits from your floor, the relief that comes when the job`s skilfully done and dusted.

Sometimes, though, you`re just not in the mood – it`s those same old sarnie crumbs in front of the TV and all that flaming cat detritus – his fur, toenails, litter scattered in frenzied post-wee tidying, the odd hanger-on from his garden patrol…

(That one was a Tardigrade, by the way, and HermanCat was quite attached to it for some time.  Mercifully they`re less than 1mm long).
(the ones in captivity).

Anyway, you start on your usual boring old route – living room, kitchen, haul it up the stairs, bedrooms... and all the time that droooone is driving you mad!

Then to cap it all, your vac explodes.

I suppose after twenty years I should have guessed something was wrong… I mean, suddenly it seemed like it was hardly grazing some areas, and the engine had begun to moan like a bull with a headache.

This vac was telling us it had drudged enough - we needed something New.

Friends suggested seeking expert advice from a man who knows, so we set off for Hoovers-R-Us - we were so glad we did!

All those tantalising choices… upright, cylinder, turbocyclonehandstickmotioncompactsensorsyncairborneforce bagless, cordless, noiseless, pushless...  

After a session of unrestrained experimenting we went for a slim, light pole of a device with several accoutrements to handle every area you could think of – vaccing like we`d never dreamed of!

"And would you like an outfit with that?" said the man brightly, "You don`t want to get your ordinary clothes messed up with household chores!"  

"How could this be a chore!" I giggled over-excitedly as he led us to the display. His selection was huge.

What more can I say other than we are very satisfied with our purchase.

So we couldn`t leave the cat out:



(definitely recommend Muting this hoover)

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Failing to Figure Skate


`Well, have you thought of renting a penguin for half an hour, madam?`

I must confess I never had before, but if you think…

The beaming (surely not smirking) bloke behind the counter gestured to a clutch of bright penguins in the corner – high-viz, perfectly stable and sturdy handgrip at the back. Anyone could maintain their equilibrium leaning on the like (couldn`t I?).



George and Brian enthusiastically refused to try one but seemed very keen for me to and I don`t know what they meant about less danger to everyone else.

`Do many beginners use these?` I asked the man hopefully. `Mmm, quite a lot,` was the unconvincing reply.

I decided to launch back onto the ice without one. And with a change of skates – it could well have been their fault.

I blame certain winter TV programmes for the fact that we were here at all – the thrill of the speed-skating, the utterly beauteous figure-skating, the soft crunch of ice beneath swerving skate… so tantalising.

And Caroline had received a discount voucher in the post.

So four of us gathered at SpeedySkate for our first venture, clad in layers of Vest and Woolly (tights and tutus having but briefly been considered) and grinning rictusly.

We stood trembling while our enthusiastic trainer Steve bombarded us with vital tips to get us started and keep us upright. His finest achievement was of course making us let go - of him as well as of the side.

For the blades don`t carve a gentle furrow – they skid uncontrollably about on top, because only diamond could penetrate that cold, evil surface.

`Don`t worry,` smiled Steve as we skittered about, `Everyone falls over sometime – you just get back up!` Obviously, he`s never seen Bambi. And his youthful bones wouldn`t be left on the ice in a trillion agonised shatterings.

As the tutoring session wore on, we did manage to inch forward by means of the lemon maneouvre - Bend knees-Toes out-Glide-Toes in-Knees straight.

(knees-toes what?)

In the nick of time we also learned to STOP!, to look where we were going (always prudent), and to attract the attention of a merry gang of under-tens as we attempted for some reason to navigate car tyres.

"Please can we watch?" they giggled. "Sod off" I snarled. To myself.

Soon we`d collected quite a crowd of schoolchildren, which I`m sure helped us relax into the terrifying uncontrolledness of it all. Specially when they started explaining to us where we were going wrong and that awful accident their brother had had when he kept doing exactly that.

Annoyingly though, a lot of their advice began to make sense, particularly after Our Trainer had departed. We found ourselves following their lead, imitating their bendy limbs and... having fun! – we could do Anything


In retrospect we may have got over-ambitious but no-one was really hurt and they`ve kindly reserved me a penguin for next time.

Look out for us on certain winter TV programmes next year.