Monday, October 31, 2005


If you'all look to your right, you will find two new links on my blog.

These are [ready guys?] Pandora and Charlie's blogs........[pauses for sigh of frustration from certain bloggers :-)]

Linking will be manual for a while, so I'll get round to you feline bloggers as soon as I can.
I see no reason to blogroll them, or put site meters etc on there.

Mama cq

Update - Charlie has already had his first visitors! Lizzie, Firenze and Knightly have popped in to welcome him :-)



It's a Done Deal

After much nagging from Buddha, Max, the 3 S's, the Monsters......and various other feline bloggers (and human ones too!)....we have our own blogs.

Newly created, they need to be customised and sorted - that should keep Mama cq occupied for a while!!

Watch this space!


Sunday, October 30, 2005

On the Brink

ok, I'm teetering on the brink of giving Pandora and Charlie their own blogs.

They have their own friends; Charlie is bonding with Buddha, Pandy has chatted with Max and they both like Oreo.........and now The Monsters have arrived :-)

Oh my god! I am finally a blogmaniac! Blogs for my cats.........oh dear........

I'm also thinking of registering them with the Tuxedo there no end to this madness??

[holds out arms for jacket with long sleeves and big silver buckles]


Charlie Post

This is an unashamedly feline post about my Charlie.

This is Charlie!

Charlie has recently cut his new adult fangs, after a rather long wait, and he is a different cat! Those people who think animals don't go through teething are wro-ong!
His behaviour over the last four weeks has been frenetic and vicious - all down to the pain of teething. Now his 'grown-up' canines have broken through he is a whole different cat!
Of course, he still torments Pandora (that's his job as adopted little bruv!) but not as much, and there's less chewing on her! His own play is now more structured and less panicked. He isn't gnawing as much and is way more relaxed.
He is chatting more and is more loving and less jumpy.

Had to laugh just now - I went outside in the rain and he was jumping and crying at the door 'lemme out! lemme out!' - so I took him outside.
Two seconds later he was stretching back for the door squeaking 'lemme back in! lemme back in!'
Ah, my baby's first experience of proper rain :-)

His neutering is scheduled for the 16 Nov - B-Day! (Balls Day!) Once all that is over and done with, he is going to be a wonderful companion through the years.

Charlie is to be an indoor cat - my first ever. I don't wholly approve of indoor cats as cats are predatory by nature, and need to to be outside. But, having lost my precious Ambrose and little Echo on our horrendous road (2 of the 6 cats killed in the space of a few years in a 100yd stretch!), and given Pandora's advancing years, we have decided that, as long as we live here, they will be indoor cats. That being said, we have to watch them keenly for furballs and they will have to have their claws clipped regularly (luckily de-clawing is illegal here!). When Charlie shows a desire to graze, which cats do naturally, we will have to provide him with some suitable indoor grass.
In the meantime, he is accepting the fact that he doesn't go out, and only really kicks up a fuss if I go out without him!

But one question is bugging me - is there any way of disposing of cat litter rather than just putting it in the regular bin? I should call my recycling place and see if they have any ideas...


Saturday, October 29, 2005

Caption Time!

Ghetto Chicks

This is just crying out for a caption!! :-)


I like computer games.

Not those complicated role-playing games that suck you in for a lifetime, but those little web-based sample games of downloads. Mah Jongg Quest, Tri-Jong, Cubis, Zuma, (and it's spawn Luxor), Chuzzle; little games that are designed to occupy a small amount of your time, and it doesn't matter if you have to go away - you can always try another day :-)

I mostly play on Zylom or Real Arcade.

Well, Real Arcade are the first to put out a web version of Cubis2! Cubis is a fun game, linking up cubes to form threes, clearing a board within a time limit, attempting to reach the fiendishly camouflaged star cubes, and I have been whiling away many a pleasant hour on it over the last few years.

Cubis 2 is even more fun. With dual coloured cubes and bombs (oh, I like the bombs!) as well as the usual osmosis cubes and grenades, this is a fantastic game. Also, to it's credit, the web version only has 20 levels (as against Cubis original which you can play past 100 - if you have the time!) so it is an excellent skill game that takes only about an hour to complete.
Perfect for us busy housewives! :-)

My current score for level 20 completion is 283,495 - but I intend to improve on that!

update - Cubis2 has two games - Arcade (score above) and Morph-fun (where cubes appear out of nowhere!). I am currently playing the latter and level 20 completion is 326,400 points! :-)


Teeth, TEETH

On the evening when Aginoth finds the first real tooth coming through on LMD, I return home and find that Charlie has finally broken through his fangs.

In felines, normally the baby teeth are pushed out by the adult teeth, but Charlie's baby teeth fell out freely and then it was a bit of a wait for his adult canines.

There it was last night, one broken right through and the other following on :-)

That should sort some of his behavioural problems. He has been in pain for some while waiting for his new teeth. One canine has been embedded for a while (ie nicely wrapped up in gum) and we have been keeping an eye on it.

Once the fangs are developing, then his other teeth should follow.

My Little Man is definitely growing up :-)

And the good news keeps coming - I got paid doubletime for last night's sneak attack on Mrs A. Two bags of Flying Saucers ( the currency acceptable to this babysitting service!) - I'm a cheap date :-)


Friday, October 28, 2005



I am babysitting for the Aginoths. After weeks of being nagged by his bessie mate, Aginoth has whisked Mrs A away for a surprise evening out at her favourite restaurant. Me being the family BreechStepper, I was in on the scam and agreed to provide free babysitting - anything to get them to go out for a nice night out! :-)

Of course, Aginoth had connected up the laptop ready for me :-)

I have achieved an all time record! Mrs A sorted out LMB, and A jnr was 'sort of in bed. All I had to do was get LMD to sleep. Last time I was here it was hours of rocking and humming, swaying and singing - she wasn't unduly upset, merely making her disgust at being left known! But tonight I got her snoring in 20 minutes!
Then it was a little comfort for 5yr old A jnr, sometimes he kicks back :-)

So I can relax now (listening out, of course, for the first Wailer!) and chill with some Simpsons.

quiet now everyone! shhhhhhh......


So, it's 8pm and all is quiet on the Aginoth homefront. I just hope that Aginoth and Mrs A are having a wonderful time!

Thursday, October 27, 2005


My Bloginality is ISFJ!!!

As an ISFJ, you are Introverted, Sensing, Feeling, and Judging.This makes your primary focus on Introverted Sensing with Extraverted Feeling.

This is defined as a SJ personality, which is part of Carl Jung's Guardian (Security Seeking) type, and more specifically the Protectors or Nurturer.

In blogging, your journal will always be immaculate and have a touch of style. You may also feel overwhelmed because you want to be a part of everything going on. Because of your wonderful memory, other bloggers may come to you to ask about things you posted months before.

cool - pretty close! except the memory bit; I can't remember 10 minutes ago, let alone months ago :-(


Demise of The Pub

With the new fashion of winebars and theme bars, I was discussing the demise of the traditional old British Pub.

These could be identified by any of the following.....

Tables that rocked - literally!
Short legged chairs - a free fun fair ride every time!
Naff cheap carpet, usually in that revolting swirly design, invariably ripped - and some even fixed with duct tape!
Loos out the back, cold, concrete, simple bolt on the door, often unisex - optional soap and towel!
Wet bar - no, not the modern definition, but a real wet bar, where your elbows get soaked in booze when you lean on it!
A barmaid who looks like the mother of all Chavs, neon pink low cut top revealing wrinkled boobies and half a ton of cheap gold jewellry - but a heart of gold.
Bar Manager - who stands at the end of the bar, invariably chain-smoking cigars or cigarettes, mentally urging people to drink more/faster (and of course, watching the above mentioned barmaid like a hawk.

and the atmosphere......
A small fug of rather sweet smelling smoke over the table in the darkest corner.
The odour of the back toilets eking out into the bar
The overpowering smell of spilt alcohol
The familiar fog of cigarette/cigar/pipe smoke

and the geography....
The Snug - no children allowed, average age 50-60, beer/cider cards and dominoes compulsory
The Lounge - Children allowed, occasional sandwiches on offer, mostly crisps and nuts.
The Public Bar - where the 'real' drinkers hang out, and where wives could usually find their husbands when no shows for Sunday Dinner.

Sometimes a lone hippy sitting in the corner (usually the one with the sweet smelling fug) strumming tunefully on a guitar, being kept in booze by the bar manager.
Once a week; Quiz Night. Bingo Night. Ladies Night.
The jukebox - ah, the last resort for decent music! Must be equipped with 70's rock music; Slade, TRex, Queen and Hawkwind (a trip to the pub is not complete without a group rendition of 'Hi Ho Silver Lining!').

Whilst making my requests for this year's office Christmas Party, I remember with longing propping up a damp bar, chugging pints, inhaling more tobacco by-products than I could ever hope to smoke myself, singing along *loudly* to Hi Ho Silver Lining - and not feeling the odd one out.
And of course, being Christmas - Slade's 'Merry Christmas Everyone' was a compulsory jukebox inclusion!

With the arrival of the new bars etc certainly in town centres - is the old British Pub dying? And what do we replace the undeniable social aspect with?


Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Spider Cookies

Want to let your kids get involved with the Halloween cooking? You'll want many small hands helping you with these Halloween treats -- they're as fun to make as they are to eat.

Spider Cookies
Source: Better Homes and Gardens

Makes about 90 cookies

Prep: 40 minutes
Bake: 7 minutes

1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg
2 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup miniature semisweet chocolate pieces
1 recipe Decorating Icing (see recipe below)

1. In a medium mixing bowl beat the butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed about 30 seconds. Add the sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Beat until combined. Beat in the egg, melted chocolate, and vanilla. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in remaining flour and the chocolate pieces.

2. Shape dough into two 12-inch-long rolls. Wrap rolls in waxed paper; chill in the refrigerator at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours. Cut dough into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Place slices 1 inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.

3. Bake cookies in a 375 degree F oven about 7 minutes or until edges are set. Cool on cookie sheet for 1 minute. Transfer cookies to a wire rack; cool.

4. Spoon Decorating Icing into a decorating bag fitted with a writing tip or fluted tip. Pipe icing into various size spiders or other Halloween shapes on cookies. Let cookies stand until icing is set. Makes about 90 cookies.

Decorating Icing: In a small mixing bowl stir together 1 cup sifted powdered sugar and enough milk to make an icing that is easy to pipe. Tint with desired colors of paste or liquid food coloring.
Make-ahead tip: Prepare dough and shape into logs; wrap tightly, label and freeze up to 1 month. Thaw overnight in refrigerator before slicing and baking.

Nutrition facts per serving:
calories: 34
total fat: 2g
saturated fat: 1g
cholesterol: 5mg
sodium: 23mg
carbohydrate: 5g
fiber: 0g
protein: 0g


History and Customs of Hallowe'en

Halloween is an annual celebration, but just what is it actually a celebration of? And how did this peculiar custom originate? Is it, as some claim, a kind of demon worship? Or is it just a harmless vestige of some ancient pagan ritual?

The word itself, "Halloween," actually has its origins in the Catholic Church. It comes from a contracted corruption of All Hallows Eve. November 1, "All Hollows Day" (or "All Saints Day"), is a Catholic day of observance in honor of saints. But, in the 5th century BC, in Celtic Ireland, summer officially ended on October 31. The holiday was called Samhain (sow-en), the Celtic New Year.

One story says that, on that day, the disembodied spirits of all those who had died throughout the preceding year would come back in search of living bodies to possess for the next year. It was believed to be their only hope for the afterlife. The Celts believed all laws of space and time were suspended during this time, allowing the spirit world to intermingle with the living.
Naturally, the still-living did not want to be possessed. So on the night of October 31, villagers would extinguish the fires in their homes, to make them cold and undesirable. They would then dress up in all manner of ghoulish costumes and noisily paraded around the neighborhood, being as destructive as possible in order to frighten away spirits looking for bodies to possess.

Probably a better explanation of why the Celts extinguished their fires was not to discourage spirit possession, but so that all the Celtic tribes could relight their fires from a common source, the Druidic fire that was kept burning in the Middle of Ireland, at Usinach.
Some accounts tell of how the Celts would burn someone at the stake who was thought to have already been possessed, as sort of a lesson to the spirits. Other accounts of Celtic history debunk these stories as myth.

The Romans adopted the Celtic practices as their own. But in the first century AD, Samhain was assimilated into celebrations of some of the other Roman traditions that took place in October, such as their day to honor Pomona, the Roman goddess of fruit and trees. The symbol of Pomona is the apple, which might explain the origin of our modern tradition of bobbing for apples on Halloween.

The thrust of the practices also changed over time to become more ritualized. As belief in spirit possession waned, the practice of dressing up like hobgoblins, ghosts, and witches took on a more ceremonial role.

The custom of Halloween was brought to America in the 1840's by Irish immigrants fleeing their country's potato famine. At that time, the favorite pranks in New England included tipping over outhouses and unhinging fence gates.

The custom of trick-or-treating is thought to have originated not with the Irish Celts, but with a ninth-century European custom called souling. On November 2, All Souls Day, early Christians would walk from village to village begging for "soul cakes," made out of square pieces of bread with currants. The more soul cakes the beggars would receive, the more prayers they would promise to say on behalf of the dead relatives of the donors. At the time, it was believed that the dead remained in limbo for a time after death, and that prayer, even by strangers, could expedite a soul's passage to heaven.

The Jack-o-lantern custom probably comes from Irish folklore. As the tale is told, a man named Jack, who was notorious as a drunkard and trickster, tricked Satan into climbing a tree. Jack then carved an image of a cross in the tree's trunk, trapping the devil up the tree. Jack made a deal with the devil that, if he would never tempt him again, he would promise to let him down the tree.

According to the folk tale, after Jack died, he was denied entrance to Heaven because of his evil ways, but he was also denied access to Hell because he had tricked the devil. Instead, the devil gave him a single ember to light his way through the frigid darkness. The ember was placed inside a hollowed-out turnip to keep it glowing longer.

The Irish used turnips as their "Jack's lanterns" originally. But when the immigrants came to America, they found that pumpkins were far more plentiful than turnips. So the Jack-O-Lantern in America was a hollowed-out pumpkin, lit with an ember.
So, although some cults may have adopted Halloween as their favorite "holiday," the day itself did not grow out of evil practices. It grew out of the rituals of Celts celebrating a new year, and out of Medieval prayer rituals of Europeans. And today, even many churches have Halloween parties or pumpkin carving events for the kids. After all, the day itself is only as evil as one cares to make it.


Tuesday, October 25, 2005


Just a quickie before I disappear for pizza and The Corpse Bride:

A website drawn to my attention at work yesterday.........

is this the most boring website in the world? Or do you have a contender?


I wanna tell ya a story....

Apologies for the bad Max_Bygraves impersonation!

I have a new blog - Story Store - where I will be publishing my own short stories.

This will remain my primary blog, although comments will be welcomed on Story Store.

Also, am more than happy to publish other people's stories, so let me know.


Monday, October 24, 2005


Here we go.........

1) I have written a novel. True - one of our annual assignments at senior school was to write a full novel. Mine was entitled 'I Don't Like Mondays' and was about bullying.

2) I am left-handed. False - I am right handed - except I eat left-handed.

3) I have been inside Buckingham Palace. False - yeah right, like they'd let *me* in!

4) I cannot swim. False - see 10

5) I have parachuted for charity. False - I was offered the opportunity whilst witnessing a jump for charity and refused. Scared of heights.

6) I have seen dead bodies. True - sadly, one small boy and one man.

7) My favourite composer is Holst. True - love the Planets Suite - especially Mars.

8) I am an electrician. False - although I am good at changing bulbs and fuses!

9) I have been on television. False - even though I wrote to Jim'll Fix It, Swap Shop and Tiswas.

10) I was captain of the school swim team. True - when I was in junior school, and I also competed against the lower senior school.

11) I have been in a film. False - I wish - one of my lifetime dreams.

12) I have been on stage. True - I was the principal girl in the local amateur dramatics' presentation of Rumpelstiltskin - the local Brownies loved me :-)

13) But I didn’t sing a solo. False - yes I did - two actually. I was cast for my voice, rather than any other redeeming princessly features.

14) I have been on television. False - only one person noticed the duplicate!

15) I was in the Army. False - the Army turned me down, but I ended up working on a barracks for 7 years and was treated like one of the 'family'.

16) I have never been to sea. False - ooh, tons.....I love boats. I have even been mackerel fishing in the North Sea!

17) I have seen aliens. False - neither the films nor the little green men.

18) I used to teach music. True - Occasionally when I was a nanny to a musical family, I used to stand in for mum and take the infant music class.

19) I have been a nanny. True - see 18

20) I’m a dragon. True - I am a dragon. Born in the year of the Dragon :-)

So the falsies were

ach! yer little liar!!
So no one was even close, not even my oldest friend! :-) Although dave and cyberkitten just about tied.

I tag





Sunday, October 23, 2005

Masochists R Us

ok, it's official - I am a masochist!

Not content with walking about 18 miles yesterday with a fractious child - I decided to complement the excess by doing the shopping on foot this morning.

I am now *officially* 106yrs old..........

I am *so* going to binge out on the 3rd Feb, Munich airport had better get in plenty of stocks of junk food and candy - I may well start on the plane!


Blissful Sunday

It's a cold, miserable day out there.

My legs ache.

My back hurts.

My hands are sore from the buggy handles.

My lips are chapped.

But it is SUNDAY! Traditional Day of Rest for men and Busiest Day of the Week for women the world over.

Sunday is the day working women rush to get their laundry done by, so it's not hanging around when they start work on Monday.

Sunday is traditionally the day with the most ambitious meal of the week (we do like a nice roast here!)

Sunday is the day when the Man rests, and the Woman rushes around him cooking, cleaning, shopping and performing the usual sundry necessary daily tasks.

Is it me, or is Sunday like Christmas? I break up from work on Christmas Eve, having already purchased and trimmed the tree a week earlier, spent *way* too much money on luxury food items (well, it is Christmas!) and broke the bank on pressies.
Christmas Eve is spent hoovering and washing clothes, so that I can devote Christmas Day to attempting to cook Christmas Dinner for Two.

Cooking is complicated in our house. First of all I hate cooking and as a result am a 'meat 'n' potatoes' cook! I am a strict vegetarian (have been for over 20yrs) and HWMBO is a dedicated meat-eater. I cook his meat for him (distasteful, but I don't have to eat it) and make sure he eats sensibly every day, with fresh veggies, potatoes etc.
But every day requires cooking two types of 'meat'. One pot with real dead flesh for him and one pot with a meat substitute for me, separate utensils and everything. Only real hurdle is that I can't taste his food - so I do rely on ready-made sauces, so I know the basic flavour is ok.

So Christmas Dinner is turkey (in some shape or form - not usually the whole bird for one person!) for HWMBO and an attempt at something imaginative for me - which is where the plans collapse. Where there are lots of choices of bird for him (including wonderful stuffings, glazes etc) there are minimal choices of Holiday Fayre for me - unless I fancy nutroast (not high on my list of 'Yummy Foods'!) So I traipse up and down supermarket aisles and visit delis, desperately seeking something original (and more importantly TASTY!) for Christmas Dinner - and usually end up with burgers or shepherdess pie.

Is there *anyone* out there in blogland who has ideas for a veggie Christmas Dinner element, which goes with roast potatoes, sprouts, carrots, stuffing and gravy?
It has to be faux traditional, as I'm a traditional girl, but easy to prepare with idiot-proof instructions....all I want for Christmas is a proper Christmas Dinner :-)


Saturday, October 22, 2005

A Day in.......


I get asked to all the best places :-)

Actually I was helping out Mrs Aginoth who was left with nobody to help her with LMD, so we all three piled down to Croydon, leaving Mr A with A Jnr and LMB.
While Mrs A did what she does (teaches!) I was given care of LMD.

One small problem - LMD doesn't like me - actually she doesn't like anyone that isn't mummy.
But (and I did do my homework!) I knew LMD was usually content in her buggy, so rather hang around the class with a screaming child I told Mrs A I would take LMD out in the buggy and bring her back regularly for feeding.

Upshot - I walked the streets of Croydon for *6* (count 'em!) hours today. What I didn't realise was that LMD doesn't like the buggy stopping - so when I paused to cross a road, a familiar wail would set up.
'For god's sake child, I have to stop to check the traffic!'

So I walked for three hours this morning and three hours this afternoon, pausing as little as possible, dodging buses, cars, locals, phonecalling drivers (particularly the nut who was *so* keen to answer his phone he swerved up onto the pavement and missed me by about 6 inches!) and the local bum (complete with ex-shopping trolley stacked high with what was obviously his pathetic life's possessions).

And just when it seemed she was quiet and I could sit in on the class for the last hour, LMD started getting bored and vocal, and it was back in the buggy pounding those pavements!

At one point I asked Mrs A 'sorry, but what am I getting from this again?
Oh yes, of course - Love!'
She replied smartly 'and a free trip to Croydon! - what more could a person want?'

Two bonuses from today:

  • *So* much walking that I have met all my training regime requirements for this weekend - and probably half of next week too!
  • Mrs A's mother actually seems to respect me now - well, judging by the yelled 'They've got a good friend in you, I hope they realise that!' I modestly replied 'I think they do' and beamed. It only took four years :-)

Minuses from today:
  • I still *hate* London and I never want to see Croydon again!
  • I couldn't find the new Croydon Centrale Mall.....
  • My feet hurt.
  • I'm hungry.
  • The sound of LMD wailing will stay with me for a while....

A sign that intrigued me 'Croydon Curry Chef of the Year 2005' - I mean...........huh??


Friday, October 21, 2005

The Truth is Out There.......

Tagged from Fuzzy, with a true/false meme. 20 things about me but not all of them are true. Can you spot the falsehoods? Leave the numbers of what you think are lies in my comments and I'll reveal the truth after the weekend and pick another lucky blogger or two for this game when all is exposed.

1) I have written a novel.
2) I am left-handed.
3) I have been inside Buckingham Palace.
4) I cannot swim.
5) I have parachuted for charity.
6) I have seen dead bodies.
7) My favourite composer is Holst.
8) I am an electrician.
9) I have been on television.
10) I was captain of the school swim team.
11) I have been in a film.
12) I have been on stage.
13) But I didn’t sing a solo.
14) I have been on television.
15) I was in the Army.
16) I have never been to sea.
17) I have seen aliens.
18) I used to teach music.
19) I have been a nanny.
20) I’m a dragon.


Eternal Gratitude

You know......[muses]

Only yesterday I was saying to Aginoth and Kitty how blogging just wasn't working for me...

OK, so I'm impatient - it's not a sin..........oh hang on, yes it is! :-)

So anyway, today during lunch I switched over to Michele and thought I would play some of her games.

Well, blow me, I didn't get myself all tangled up in the Three Day Meet and Greet (what is it, 160 posts just today or something!).

As a result, I have 'met' LOADS of new bloggers, seen different blogs from all over, and had people come to see me too!

[sudden thought] jeez, I should tidy the place up - what will these visitors think!!

If you want to know about me - check out my A-Z.


Meme - Me Me!!

Nice little meme, which I found on Kenju's blog!

1. My favorite vacation spot - Cornwall, England. I am hanging out for Canada in the near future though!

2. My hobby - at the moment? Blogging! In January? Might be skiing, you never know....

3. My occupation - civil servant [waits for howls of laughter from the Mezzanine]

4. A favorite Christmas present - Frostie the bear, and his little sister Liberty.

5. My current home - Thornbury, Glos

6. My birthplace - Uffculme, Devon [that little blip on the map north of Exeter!

7. My favourite scent - Lily of the Valley - same as my beloved late granny!

The meme is also supposed to include a photo of my favourite meal, which I don't have (no one else makes it except my mum, and it's never around long enough to be photographed! It is Cheese Rice, a plain risotto laden with melted cheese - delicious with panfried swede!


Thursday, October 20, 2005

Smile of the Year!

To all and every one

It is with great pleasure that I would like to announce

The winner of Smile of the Year for SEARS, South Centre Mall is

[big enormous drum roll]


from a very proud and thrilled godmother

good job, silentmum :-)


Dear Santa (or the Birthday Fairy)

Please can I have the funkiest slippers in the universe :-)

I want to wear them on my skiing trip - what an ice-breaker!

also please I want dragons, lots of them - a girl can never have too many dragons, you know........


ps please can I also have ten years back - I promise not to squander them again!

remember, remember - the 5th of November....and the 4th of July.....and the 31st Dec........

Remember that animals dislike fireworks and find them frightening. Follow these sensible guidelines:
  • Keep all pets inside the house once the sun starts to set, some people set off fireworks before nightfall.
  • Cover aviaries, rabbit hutches etc. so that should the very loud noises disturb the animals, they do at least have a natural-like habitat, where they are able to hide.
  • Feed and exercise your animals well during the day, this will lead to a calmer animal once the noise starts.
    If your cat/dog runs for its bed, a cupboard or under the bed, leave it there and allow it to follow its natural instinct which is to hide in a den or cave.
  • Do not try to acclimatise your cat/dog by insisting it faces the noise, they may never get used to the noise and you may be causing damage.
  • Allow the cat/dog comforts within the den, give it its blanket, some water and a toy to make it feel comfortable.
  • Suprisingly your cat/dog may jump into the bath! This shows its instinct to run into holes when danger is present.
  • You may find that your cat/dog starts to dig, this is following the same hiding instinct.
  • If your cat/dog shows any tendency to hide, let it.
  • If you are building a bonfire don't forget to check it for hedgehogs just before you light it, they hibernate this time of year in stacks of wood. Look for them, don't just prod the bonfire as they will be in torpor (a deep hibernating sleep which takes them a long time to wake from).
  • Keep windows and curtains firmly shut - which helps 'distance' the pet from the kerfuffle.

Here in England, the fireworks start going off about now - and then pretty much straight through until New Year. Guess people are firing off stocks through November and December.
The sound of private fireworks parties make our little estate sound like the Somme :-(
As someone born on the 4th November fireworks have always featured around my birthday celebrations - but I'm not actually that keen on them.......


Wednesday, October 19, 2005


Feliway® is a product which reproduces certain pacifying properties of cat facial pheromones.

The placing of facial pheromones is a behaviour which is well known to all cat owners. When a cat feels safe in its environment, it rubs its head from the side of the chin to the base of the ear, against the furniture, the corners of walls or the bottom of curtains. By doing this, the animal is depositing facial pheromones. These marks convey a message of well-being and a feeling of security.

When there is a change in the cat's environment (such as visits to the vets, return from hospitalisation, moving house, new arrivals, rearrangement of furniture) or if the cat is scared, a state of disquiet or stress may develop. This state can be expressed by changes in behaviour, such as urine marking, vertical scratching, loss of appetite or refusal to play and to interact.

In these situations, Feliway® Spray or Feliway® Diffuser can be used to restore the natural balance. Feliway® is a safe solution of feline facial pheromone, which mimics the cat's natural pheromones, creating a state of well-being and calm.

Pheromones are natural substances extremely widespread in the animal kingdom. They are used to communicate between members of the same species.The development by CEVA SANTE ANIMALE and PHEROSYNTHESE of commercial formulations of nature identical pheromones for use in cats (Feliway®) and in dogs (Dog Appeasing Pheromone - D.A.P.®) created a new field in veterinary science. Pheromonatherapy is an innovative and natural solution to manage stress related problems in cats and dogs.

We swear by Feliway in our house since Pandora was diagnosed with chronic recurring cystitis, brought on by stress and depression. She has a diffuser in the dining room near her day bed, and one up on the landing for night times. She also has a little puffaspray for her pen at the cattery. She was a different cat when we introduced Feliway to the house; after being very poorly for a few months, she got a new lease of life. So the Feliway stays :-)


The Cat's Whiskers.....Teeth.....Ears.......Claws....and Eyes

Today was a mammoth day in our feline care. Today was our double-header vet's appointment. Both Pandora and Charlie had checkups today.

They have so many niggles at the moment, I have to make a list, so I remember what to say/ask/purchase.

Pandy's List (pink for a girl!)
Check Eyes (she has a blue caste on her aged eyes now, so that is checked quarterly)
Clip claws (she bites!! - and Tim is quicker than me!)
Check tummy (old cystitis problems)
two vials of Feliway (more on that later!)
repeat prescription of Cystaid (one a day keeps her cystitis at bay - mostly!)
Well, she got a clean bill of health, nothing much wrong with her - and she purred at Tim through most of the appointment!

Charlie's List (Blue for a boy!)
Check Eyes (he has PPM - see below)
Check teeth (why aren't his teeth growing?)
Pre-neutering check (woo hoo! nearly time!)
Blood test (diabetes is always a worry with cats)
Earmites (shudder)
Charlie is not quite so straightforward as the Old Woman above!
He has PPMs - Persistent Pupillary Membranes on his eyes.
During the embryological development of the eye, the iris initially forms as a solid sheet of mesodermal tissue. This is called the pupillary membrane. Later on, some of this mesodermal tissue dissipates, and this results in the formation of the pupil.
Sometimes, after birth, a few of these fine strands of pupillary membrane remain. It is not unusual to see such pupillary membrane remnants in 6-to-8 week old puppies, however, if they persist beyond this age they are then are described as persistent pupillary membranes (PPM) and are considered to be defect.
The most common manifestation of Persistent Pupillary Membrane is a fine strand of pigmented tissue which arises from the iris collarette and attaches to another spot on the iris. Sometimes the strand will cross the opening of the pupil. In more serious cases, the PPM arises from the iris and attaches either the the lens - where it may produce a cataract, or to the inner surface of the cornea - resulting in corneal damage, scarring or persistent corneal edema. In the latter cases, impairment of vision may occur.

Charlie has one of the former and one of the latter - so he gets regular eye checks. As you can see, PPMs are mostly found in dogs (basenji, mastiff, corgi and chow chow predominantly) but sometimes in cats.
Teeth - wow, yet again we have had to reassess Charlie's age! At five months (latest guesstimate) he should have his adult teeth coming through, but he has lots of gaps, lots of baby teeth and no adult teeth - so he is no more than four months old. Tim says he is MASSIVE! Gonna be a big old ginger puss at this rate. It also explains his erratic behaviour, he must be in agony....
Diabetes - Charlie's fluid intake and output is prodigious, even by kitten standards (their kidneys are rather small and kittens do drink/wee a lot!). He is drinking at least half a pint of water a day. He is too young for an accurate blood sugar reading, so they will do a test when he goes in for his neutering.
Neutering - he is overall healthy and will be neutered next month as planned if he weighs over 2kg! I pointed out to Tim that he already exceeds that!
Earmites (everyone still shuddering?) - Charlie is a martyr to earmites. He was given ear medicine, but we found out today it only kills the mites, not the eggs. A dose of Stronghold (crap on fleas, excellent on mites!) should sort out the eggs, and he got another batch of ear medicine tonight.
Tim was peering into Charlie's ears with his auralscope with intent.

"Tim..." I said........

"Tim?" I repeated a little louder........

"Tim! You are showing an unhealthy interest in earmites!"

"But we don't get to see them that often" came a mumbled voice "they're fascinating!! You can see them wriggling and stuff........"

"ok" says I "I think you've seen enough. We'll take it on good authority Charlie has earmites"

Tim reluctantly straightened up, while HWMBO and I struggled to keep straight faces.

Upshot - Charlie is still a baby, he has an infestation, but when he's all growed up he's gonna be a giant. :-) That's my boy!
Here is my tuckered out Little(!) Man after the vet marathon....


Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Do You Have a Guardian Animal?

Craziequeen, you are Fluffy!

Ahh, you're such a kind, considerate person, you're destined to have a pet that goes by the name of Fluffy. It's just a shame that it happens to be Hagrid's ferocious pet three-headed dog.

Now, we can think of other people who are more deserving of a deranged mutt with more bite than a JCB, but we all have to live with our misfortunes. The good news is that this savage beast is easily calmed by soothing music and your particular pooch just loves to hear the calming melodies of good deeds.

You see, a creature with three heads has a lot of internal issues. Three brains are just dangerous when it comes to decision making. They have to all agree on which lamppost to pee up, who's got the worst doggie breath and most importantly whose turn it is to lick his dangleberries. The good news is that you're such a nice person that Fluffy rarely wakes up; but make sure you keep it that way. Dogs like Fluffy are notorious for needing lots of exercise and with all those hungry heads you would need to invest in a very large pooper-scooper!

Back to tried and trusted beats blogthings and suchlike any day!
Although they don't give you your results in HTML...


Life, Sleep Deprivation and - Skiing!

Bit of a mixed bag here today, folkses.

Life - as I have previously mentioned my life is Boring with a Capital B. I have no children, no fun job and no real hobbies - I am a boring person. Hence my surprise when Aginoth nagged me to death about starting a blog. 'I'll have nothing to say!' - of course, since then I have discovered other blogs, blogthings and made a couple of friends in blogland [waves at Spindleshanks and Mary P]. So my blog is still evolving. It was to be about skiing - but I can only post 'done my exercises, 4 months to go' so many times before people turn off! :-) And I have quickly become addicted to blogging, posting a variety of things to gauge peoples' interests. Maybe it's time I restricted my blogging? But it's all new and shiny :-)

Sleep Deprivation - Charlie is a Cat in the Doghouse! He woke me up at 1230 this morning and then commenced walking on my head until I walloped him. Then he went downstairs and I heard the awful sound of falling ornaments. OK, that was it - 0115 and I was up and downstairs, fishing my very old and hard to replace china seal from behind the telly and checking my Pocket Dragon wasn't chipped (the dearest one, bought for me by cyberkitten in Cornwall to celebrate 5 days washing up duty!). Now I was up, it was a free for all. Charlie jumping on Pandora, Pandora swearing and jumping on me, me jumping on both of them.

Well, I made up for the ridiculous hour by catching up on last week's Lost, Grey's Anatomy and 4400. woo hoo! Lost - I was yelling at the telly (well, stage whispering cos HWMBO was still snoring upstairs!!) 'don't die, Charlie!' - being as Charlie is my favourite character (coincidence or what!).By 0430 I had run out of taped programmes to watch, so I turned on Discovery and Health to hone my birthing skills! I have spent many an ludicrously early morning watching women scream, squirm and deliver bouncy babies!Finally Charlie ran out of power at about 0530 and I was able to doze off in my chair until 0700, when I had to get up and go to work! [whisper] I was back home and in bed by 1130!

Skiing - not one to let moss grow, I went shopping armed with my e-voucher. I bought thermal vest and socks (always useful), skin gloves (excellent for day to day and under ski gloves), a nice neck warmer and 2 pairs of ski socks (posh thermalite ones as I am allergic to wool) and....

my 'FilmStar Hat' (as modelled by my delightful Assistant Frostie the Bear - who will be accompanying me in January!). It's such a lush hat for £15, couldn't really say no, could I?


Monday, October 17, 2005

To Confuse Santa...

18. Instead of milk and cookies, leave him a salad and a note explaining that you think he could stand to lose a few pounds.

17. While he's in the house, go find his sleigh and write him a speeding ticket.

16. Leave him a note, explaining that you've gone away for the holidays. Ask if he would mind watering your plants.

15. While he's in the house, replace all his reindeer with exact replicas. Then wait and see what happens when he tries to get them to fly!

14. Keep an angry bull in your living room. If you think a bull goes crazy when he sees a little red cape, wait until he sees that big, red Santa suit!

13. Build an army of mean-looking snowmen on the roof, holding signs that say "Go away Santa."

12. Leave a note by the telephone, telling Santa that Mrs. Claus called and wanted to remind him to pick up some milk and a loaf of bread on his way home.

11. While he's in the house, find the sleigh and sit in it. As soon as he comes back and sees you, tell him that he shouldn't have missed that last payment, and take off.

10. Leave a plate filled with cookies and a glass of milk out, with a note that says, "For The Tooth Fairy." Leave another plate out with half a stale cookie and a few drops of skim milk in a dirty glass with a note that says, "For Santa."

9. Take everything out of your house as if it's just been robbed. When Santa arrives, show up dressed like a policeman and say, "Well, well. They always return to the scene of the crime."

8. Leave out a copy of your Christmas list with last-minute changes and corrections.

7. While he's in the house, cover the top of the chimney with barbed wire.

6. Leave lots of hunting trophies and guns out where Santa's sure to see them. Go outside, yell, "Ooh! Look! A deer! And he's got a red nose!" and fire a gun.

5. Leave Santa a note, explaining that you've moved. Include a map with unclear and hard-to-read directions to your new house.

4. Set a bear trap at the bottom of the chimney. Wait for Santa to get caught in it, and then explain that you're sorry, but from a distance, he looked like a bear.

3. Leave out a Santa suit, with a dry-cleaning bill.

2. Paint "hoof-prints" all over your face and clothes. While he's in the house, go out on the roof. When he comes back up, act like you've been "trampled." Threaten to sue.

and last but not least...

1. Instead of ornaments, decorate your tree with Easter eggs. Dress up like the Easter Bunny. Wait for Santa to come and then say, "This neighborhood ain't big enough for the both of us."


Sunday, October 16, 2005

What's Your Blogging Personality?

Your Blogging Type Is Thoughtful and Considerate

You're a well liked, though underrated, blogger.
You have a heart of gold, and are likely to blog for a cause.
You're a peaceful blogger - no drama for you!
A good listener and friend, you tend to leave thoughtful comments for others.

What Part of Fall Are You?

You Are Fall Flowers

Beautiful yet often forgotten.
you know - somehow that is *so* depressing... :-(

Saturday, October 15, 2005

What is Snow?

A posting for my god-daughter in chilly Calgary.

Snow is not frozen rain. Snowflakes are created inside clouds by tiny ice crystals colliding and sticking together. Most snowflakes melt on their way to the ground and fall as rain. Only when the air near the ground is cold enough will snowflakes fall as snow. All snow crystals are six-sided (hexagonal) and no two snow crystals have ever been found to be identical. Some snowflakes can grow to be 5-7 cm (2-3 in) across. When fresh snow is moist enough to stick together, snowrollers may form on hillsides or in large fields. A ‘snowroller' is like a cylindrical snowball in shape and is blown by winds of more than 32 km/h (20 mph) until it grows too large to travel any farther. Snowrollers can reach nearly 1.5 m (4 ft) in diameter.

Snow can be Wet or Dry

When it is very cold, "dry" snow falls - the ice crystals do not stick together easily and the snow is fine and powdery - in very cold dry conditions ‘diamond dust' ice crystals may fall. At less cold temperatures near freezing point, "wet" snow falls and large snowflakes form, especially if there is no wind. There are lots of different types of snow, as skiers know only too well. The Inuit people of the Arctic have lots of different words for snow as they live among it all year round and so understand it extremely well.

Merry Christmas, everyone!



Despite denials and attempts to downplay the role of data mining in the Multistate Anti-Terrorism Information Exchange (MATRIX) program, the new documents reveal that data mining - also known by the euphemism "factual data analysis" - has been a central part of the program. Data mining is controversial because it involves not the attempt to learn more facts about known suspects, but mass scrutiny of the lives and activities of innocent people (through the information signatures they leave behind in various databases) to see whether each of them shows any signs of being a terrorist or other criminal.

Does this leave a nasty taste, or what?

Does the Data Protection Act protect us from actions like this in the UK?


Never say Never.......

Ghana's snow leopard skis for glory

Rarely do you associate an African with skiing, but Ghanaian Kwame Nkrumah-Acheampong wants to enter uncharted territory.
As Ghana's first professional skier, he aims to compete next February in the downhill race at the winter Olympics in Turin, Italy.
Nkrumah-Acheampong, who loves to be referred to as the "snow leopard", was actually born in the Scottish city of Glasgow, but grew up in Ghana's capital, Accra, where the nearest most people get to snow is imagining "cold cotton wool".

"The first time I saw snow was on TV back home in Ghana," Nkrumah-Acheampong told the BBC's Fast Track programme.
"Watching skiing then, I loved the way the skiers turned, moved fast in a zigzag manner and I said to myself, 'Some day I'll ski!'"

Nkrumah-Acheampong, who moved to the UK in 2000, only took up the sport two years ago when he got a job as a receptionist at a skiing centre in Milton Keynes.
"I began skiing at the indoor ski centre and took a few lessons as they were free for staff. But I quit my job when the love affair with skiing grew because I felt I had a good chance of making it professionally," he explained.
Even though he was ridiculed when he first took to the slopes, Nkrumah-Acheampong's passion and perseverance have taken him far.
"For me, skiing is a daily thing. It's like a car, the more you drive, the more you perfect the art of driving," he said.
"When I started, people poked fun at me and never took me seriously, but after competing in some events in France - where I performed well against people who had begun the sport in their childhood - respect for me grew.
"They believed I could make it to the Olympics."
Attracted sponsorship
To qualify for the Olympic Games, skiers need to get their personal rating down to between 120-140 World Ski Federation points.
These are worked out after each competitive race - the nearer a skier finishes to the winner, the more points are deducted from their score.
Nkrumah-Acheampong started out with a rating of 1,000 and has been bringing his tally down steadily.
"I am close to the Olympic standard. Already I am on 275, so I have to cancel out 135 points before the winter Olympics deadline of 16 January."
He's been preparing for Turin in the French alpine resort of Meribel under the watchful eyes of former Olympians and he has already attracted thousands of dollars in sponsorship.

"I have been getting support from within and without. And my family has been a pillar of support and I know my faith in God will see me through."

Like most boys, Nkrumah-Acheampong tried out more traditional sports like football and athletics when growing up.
But he feels his experience should serve as an example to other African youngsters to try their hand at more unusual sports such as archery, rowing and darts to bring the continent easy medals.
And he says more people from Africa should consider strapping on some skis.
"I think Africans have a good chance of making it in skiing because of our physical structure. The only thing we have to overcome is the cold."
Story from BBC NEWS:

Best of luck to him :-)


Big Day

Big Day Tomorrow.......

Tomorrow is 'Looking for Thermals Day'........I will be nipping up the A38 to Whitminster to Attwoolls Camping Store. Their branch there has a very well recommended ski shop.

Attwoolls Ski Shop

I need vests, socks, longjohns, shortjohns and most of all - a hat! I'm tempted to Peruvian style, with funky stitching and those adorable little earflaps :-)

Main problem is I am allergic to wool and nylon - which necessitates lots of reading of garment labels!

Well, well, well.......while double checking the Attwoolls link, I stumbled across an e-voucher for 10% off ski-wear until 31 Oct 05! [prints off voucher] - what a happy coincidence!


ok, I'm calm, I'm calm.....

Public urged to be calm over flu. People should not panic after the discovery of a deadly form of avian flu among birds in Turkey, the UK government has said.
The Department of Health stressed its advice on who should be vaccinated against flu was unchanged.
It said vulnerable groups, such as the elderly and some children, to have the seasonal flu jab as normal.
EU veterinary officers have agreed a package of measures aimed at stopping the virus entering member states.

I don't think, at this stage, the public should feel they are under a different threat than before Dr David Salisbury, Head of Immunisation at the Department of Health

People in the UK with weak immune systems, such as children with asthma or diabetes, have long been advised to have an annual jab to protect them against flu.
Since the H5N1 strain of bird flu, which has killed 60 people in South East Asia, was confirmed in birds in Turkey on Thursday, concern has risen about the UK's plans to contain any outbreak here.
News of the outbreak in north-west Turkey came after avian flu was also confirmed in ducks in Romania. The EU said those cases were assumed to be the same strain.
Samples of the dead birds were sent from Turkey and Romania to the UK for laboratory analysis.
David Salisbury, head of immunisation at the Department of Health, told BBC News that people in identified groups, including the elderly, children with conditions such as diabetes or asthma and others who had weakened immune systems should get the seasonal flu vaccination as normal.
But he added: "The currently available vaccine is for people vulnerable to flu, but will not protect them against an emerging pandemic strain."
The government orders around 14 million doses of flu vaccine for the annual vaccination campaign again seasonal influenza.

However, Dr Salisbury said experts were planning for the eventuality of bird flu mutating to spread between humans.
"The risk is very real, we're very aware of what's happening in south-east Asia and are monitoring very carefully the spread of disease amongst birds.
"We're watching very carefully for cases in humans and the presence of bird disease in Europe of course raises everybody's anxieties."
Dr Salisbury said the UK public should not feel the dangers from bird flu had increased, following the emergence of bird flu in Turkey.
"I don't think, at this stage, the public should feel they are under a different threat than before."

But he said the developments in Turkey would be considered in UK preparations.
He said developing a vaccine would take three to five months, and could only be undertaken once the strain of any virus causing a pandemic was identified.
This time delay was the reason the UK was stockpiling antiviral drugs to treat symptoms if they emerged, Dr Salisbury said.

The government has ordered 14.6m doses of the antiviral drug Tamiflu.
This would be enough for 25% of the population - the proportion the World Health Organization predicts would be affected in a pandemic.
"Normal" flu affects 5 -10% of the population.
Conservative Shadow Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said the UK was not completely ready for the effects of a human flu outbreak.
He added: "The government has done too little, too late, to protect the health of the population if an outbreak is imminent."
He said the country was behind some countries in the queue for anti-viral drugs from pharmaceutical companies.

BBC correspondent Jill Higgins said if there was a pandemic, UK officials would start health screening at UK ports to help keep infections out.
"They'd consider closing schools around the country and they'd set restrictions on public gatherings to make it as difficult as possible for the virus to spread", she said.
Sales 'damage'
The UK government said plans were also in place to contain the spread of avian flu among wild and domestic birds.
However, the National Farmers' Union has expressed concern that public fears over the virus could damage chicken and poultry sales - even though the virus cannot be passed on through eating chicken.
The EU veterinary officers meeting in Brussels agreed measures which focused on "strengthening bio-security measures on farms and introducing early detection systems in high risk areas".
A separate EU meeting of bird flu experts is expected to issue advice on the potential risk for humans who come into contact with migratory birds.
EU foreign ministers are to hold emergency talks on the bird flu threat on Tuesday when they meet in Luxembourg for WTO negotiations
Story from BBC

I'm not worried.... but perhaps I should be [looks worried] - anyway - are we ever really ready for the flu? any flu?


Friday, October 14, 2005

YOU KNOW YOU ARE LIVING IN 2005, WHEN??...........

1. You accidentally enter your password on the microwave.

2. You haven't played solitaire with real cards in years.

3. You have a list of 15 phone numbers to reach your family of four.

4. You e-mail the person who works at the desk next to you.

5. Your reason for not staying in touch with friends and family is that they don't have e-mail addresses.

6. You go home after a long day at work and still answer the phone in a business manner.

7. You make phone calls from home and accidentally dial "9" to get an outside line.

8. You've sat at the same desk for four years and worked for three different companies.

10. You learn about your redundancy on the 10 o'clock news.

11. Your boss doesn't have the ability to do your job.

12 You pull up in your own driveway and use your mobile phone to see if anyone is home to help you carry in the groceries.

13. Every commercial on television has a web site at the bottom of the screen.

14. Leaving the house without your mobile phone, which you didn't have for the first 20 or 30 (or 60) years of your life, is now a cause for panic and you turn around to go and get it.

15. You get up in the morning and go on line before getting your coffee.

16. You start tilting your head sideways to smile. :-)

17. You're reading this and nodding and laughing.

18. Even worse, you know exactly to whom you are going to forward this message.

19. You are too busy to notice there was no number 9 on this list.

20. You actually scrolled back up to check that there wasn't a number 9 on this list!!!!!


[stolen from A bit of this a bit of that!]



OK, it had to happen. I haven't been happy for a while with my blog's name, and have itched to change it.

Why oh why didn't I think three weeks ago that 'craziequeen' was a perfectly good title?

I mean the blog is about me and my life, not necessarily my felines.

So this is now the craziequeen's palace! A place where crazie people can find friends and silly jokes - oh and stuff about skiing and cats!

I sent my mother the first page of my blog, to illustrate my new venture into IT. She said that blogging seems essentially narcissistic.

I wonder - is it narcissistic? Or is it a reflection of the loneliness of the modern technological age? Or is it taking advantage of a wonderful opportunity to put oneself 'out there' and meet new people?