Category Archives: Animal

Drinking Saint-Emilion from a nutella jar

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Yesterday’s transport was well fouled-up, worse for many others than for me, and perhaps it would be insensitive to talk about a Black Hole on wheels. Still, enforced intimacy with the other wedged standees made occasion for the kindness of women, hot news from the Hong Kong riots mingling with sisterly or motherly encouragement for the youngest, late for her interview.  Hope she got it.

Falling feverishly out of the train, I encountered more womanly kindness:  the church ladies supplying home made scones and tea, jokes, and advice to take five minutes quiet upstairs.  It was good advice too, and I wish I could have fitted the whole ceiling into the shot.

The rain held off, the cathedral filled up, the parents did their thing, and one of the nearests-and-dearests shared Emma with me by earbud to mask the announcer, but she left me in the lurch just before the Chancellor’s speech, when I needed Austen the most.  The Chancellor read a “poem” – a long poem – what he had wrote.  It was … bad.  Other excesses of the day included scarlet cloth and purple squiggles (jacquard? brocade? I never know) and a pink tie.  And a bonnet.

Today:  a forced march in the damp morning to look at a teeny place face-lifted by the upwardly mobile.  Is it Destiny or a dud?  I have opened a bottle, but so much progress has been made in the kitchen that for a moment I thought it would have to be drunk from a chipped mug or a marmalade jar.

There’s rather a lot for one.

Last of a set

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Ah the pleasure of the slow stopper:

How one relaxes into the solitude…

Much later, and across the Severn by road, Wales began (as usual) to rain.

A black carpet gives you warning, and blocked plumbing realises your worst fears.  One of the nearest-and-dearests reconstituted himself as the Human Plunger and, with a technique never matched except in the most dramatic fake CPR seen in medical soaps, dislodged the sludge.  (My hero.)  This left us with the problem of walking without touching the carpet (fairly easy) and of sleeping without touching the sheets (fairly difficult).

The event itself involved the usual scrum, with an excellent mitigation: an official quiet room.  Here I joined the autistic-spectrum mates and rellies and ate my plate of buffet in peace.

What do thunder flies taste like?

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I looked on Wikipedia, but, although discoursing on their evolution, flight, reproductive habits etc., the article was obstinately silent about flavour.

Which left me with a question about the elderflowers:  to wash, or not to wash?  The former removes the pale pollen as well as a good many flies; the latter will keep the pollen, but also more animals will be retained, infusing their possibly noxious juice when I pour the hot syrup over.  Ummm.

And later:

greenhouse audit.  Must have been breeding all winter.

Idling

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Wednesday.

Bother Oxford, I thought sniffily, going out as the rain slowed.  So I turned left, interested by the curious mixture of pretension and seediness that characterised the area.  (Click an image for the gallery)

Today I travelled home.  Someone burned the toast at Oxford station and we evacuated, but luckily that was the only drama.

Oh I have seen the white-tailed eagle poop

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That should be “eaglet” but never mind.  A minor obsession with slow television probably hints at psychic disturbance; but how soothing when the wobbly progression backward and subsequent evacuation is the most dramatic moment of the day, while uploading to a VLE, doing paperwork and packing a bag are being wilfully ignored. Why don’t the chicks on loo duty fall out when their motor control is so erratic?  Or maybe they sometimes do.

Popecatepetl also counts as slow television, with the added benefit of the occasional Mexican pigeon peering fuzzily through to England.  It has the potential to turn very suddenly into fast television, of course, but let’s not think about that.

And: Sorry; parody unintentional.  I’ve just identified the source.  Oops.

Flung a toad, and other mishaps

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The blackbirds love me.  Sorting out a hundred little plant pots is bunce for them.  Not so for the toad hiding in one of them whose otherwise defunct contents I flicked into the garden.*  Bit of a surprise to both of us.

Knitting in your sleep is all very well so long as you don’t start knitting to a previous similar pattern instead of the current one.

Undoing the section wouldn’t be too bad if it weren’t for the cabling.  Taking the whole jumper back would have been even slower and nearly as difficult.

The tension in panel C is a bit wrecked …

*  No toads were harmed in the making of this post.

Herpetologist’s stoop

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I have been indulging in Cyril Hare.  His trademark plots each turn on some  legal clause or condition, and his settings are an austere wartime or post-war England.  Interestingly, this and An English Murder include various refugees and displaced persons in the cast of characters; does this reflect what post-war society really was like, or is it political correctness of the time, or just a taste for the exotic?

Small triumph:  I did guess the murderer, though not the motive.

Outside, dealing with neglected pots.  I had to cut this one off, and the plant lost big chunks of root, poor thing.

The wildlife is gratifying but reluctant to pose for portraits.  A slow-worm tucked itself down into a warm spot:

I craned agonisingly over the water (newts are worth hirpling for) looking for small slitherings and turnings.  There they were, in pairs and small clumps.  One pair was seriously interested – at least he was interested, though perhaps she was not.   But they were shy, and ducked when the camera came out.