Saturday, September 29, 2007
(Alternatively, show us your two-headed cats. This picture is worth clicking on to get the full effect of the blissful expressions on the catlets' faces.)
Friday, September 28, 2007
It cost £190!!!! I still can’t quite believe that I paid that much for a jug that probably sold for about a shilling in its day. (I have no idea what it would have cost, really. But not a lot. It’s not handpainted; just transfer printed. But it’s quite old. And if anyone out there is an antiques expert and knows that it’s now worth £6.50, just keep this information to yourself.)
There’s something very satisfying about jugs – their solidity and roundness and also their usefulness. I do use some of them, though obviously not Jane Austen’s one.
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Thursday, September 20, 2007
Warning: you shouldn't read this post if you're a fan of Queen. I'm not really into music with guitars and bangy things.
Scene: our kitchen, breakfast time. Terry Wogan's breakfast programme is on the radio. I listen, while eating muesli, for the jokes rather than the music.
[Loud music fills the air.]
Me [wincing and turning down volume]: That's a terrible racket.
[Son and Daughter 2 begin to sing along.]
Me [surprised]: You know the words?
Son [patiently]: It's Queen.
Me [more surprised]: You know the words to a Queen record?
Son: It's our only act of rebellion. We listen to acknowledged classics from popular music that you could have listened to when you were young, but didn't.
Daughter 2 [comfortingly]: We're singing ironically, if that makes you feel better.
Monday, September 17, 2007
As well as the bells, the collars have magnets to unlock the catflap magnetically when the catlets approach. Or that’s the idea.
1) The bells stick to the magnets; the rattly bits inside the bells stick to the magnetised side of the bells; and the bells become silent. We solved this one, though, by putting the bells and the magnets on opposite sides of the buckles. Cunning, eh?
2a) If a cat walks too close to the fridge, freezer, washing machine or tumble drier, there’s a dull “clonk” and the feline finds itself attached to the appliance: a furry little fridge magnet. Sirius has established that a firm, manly yank will disengage him while Cassie simply collapses on her side in the opposite direction and frees herself that way.
2b) When they curl fluffily up together, they tend to become attached at the neck. They can unlink themselves by pulling firmly apart, but this needs a certain amount of coordination which isn’t necessarily one of their talents.
Don’t say I don’t bring you thrills and laughter from the Life household’s weekend.
There are other things in our lives beside cats. I just can’t recall them at the moment.
Saturday, September 15, 2007
I was just reading your comments on my previous post and she jumped up on the desk and walked across my keyboard.
And her message appeared in the comment box.
So this is what she says to you all, dear friends:
Thursday, September 13, 2007
I always delude myself that the weekends are going to present great swathes of free time but they never do. For example, last weekend was more social than usual – so was nice – but was as ever filled with action.
Friday afternoon: a friend was coming to eat with us and to spend the evening, so I was leaving work in reasonable time when our son phoned, having arrived home to find Cassie catlet walking on three legs only, the fourth having changed from a little furry leg to a BIG FAT FURRY LEG. We wondered if she’d broken it. However, Son whizzed her to the vet, who diagnosed a wasp sting and gave her an antibiotic and an anti-inflammatory injection, which soon eased the situation. (We never found the wasp. Did the kittens eat it? Seems fair.) These kittens are more stressful than babies.
Friday evening: I ironed while talking to the friend. She hates cats so wasn’t sympathetic to our little wounded pet – who was actually fine again. Then I went and spent the night with my mother, as I do on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
Saturday morning: Daughter 2 and I went up town first thing to buy some presents for Daughter 1’s birthday the following day. There she is above with my mother and below with my father. He's reading to her, though by the time of this picture she could read to herself and indeed spent most of her childhood doing just that.
Saturday afternoon: I took my mother to the supermarket. I usually just do her shopping for her, but sometimes she likes to go too. She enjoys picking up and examining each of the 60,000 items of merchandise. We got back to her house at 3pm, the time I was supposed to be at another friend’s house, and Mum couldn’t find her key. We went to our house (only a couple of minutes’ drive away), got a spare key, returned to hers and found her keys down the side of the car seat. Having carried in her shopping and then taken mine home, I was at the friend’s about 3.30 and had a nice chat with her and another friend.
Saturday evening: I did some housework and prepared a birthday repast for the next day.
Sunday morning: we went to church and then, very interestingly, Daughter 1 and I went for coffee to the home of the parents of Rosemary, a Scottish blogger who lives in Southern California. Daughter 1 and she had exchanged comments for several years before realising that they had met when they were four and formed a friendship but had then been in separate classes and later different schools so had never really been able to get to know each other well. Rosemary was home for a holiday and she, Daughter 1 and the famous and fantastic Shauna of Dietgirl and Pussycat fame had met up on the Friday. Daughter 1 and I had SUCH a nice time at Rosemary's – what a lovely family.
Sunday afternoon: Daughter 2 and I finished preparing the birthday meal, and we had my mother and my aunt, together with the offspring and their significant others to dinner (most of these people come every Sunday, so this wasn’t much different, except that it was darling Daughter 1’s birthday. Twenty-eight! How time flies (etc)! Happy birthday, dear Daughter. I’m so proud of you).
Sunday evening: cleared up (with assistance) and prepared for the next day by marking work.
And that’s why I never seem to get round to making anything.
I wonder what Michelangelo’s weekends were like. Or Jane Austen’s.
Saturday, September 08, 2007
... or look rather sleek and evil. As above. Note variety of rugs which we vaguely hope may protect our new sofas a bit longer.
Tuesday, September 04, 2007
Last week featured the 23rd birthday of our youngest, the son. (Hence the chocolate of the previous post.) This makes him a near twin of Thimbleanna’s son. Twenty-three years! How time flies (and similar astonished comments). By the time he arrived, we already had two daughters. Somehow I didn’t think I could produce a son, and we were so pleased with our daughters that we would have been happy to have another. I didn’t think I knew how to do boys. However, he’s a pet: clever, kind and funny. And sometimes his room is even tidy.
Personally I’m not at all interested in cooking, though I do it reasonably efficiently. There are ten in the group, and my fellow-members are quite foody people. They watch television chefs, and tend to say things like, “Ah, is this from Nigella’s latest book? That lemon grass gives it a very subtle flavour, doesn’t it? ” So I did a Delia main course this time. It was an all-in-one-dish thing which I thought would be easy, but of course it had ingredients I don’t have in the cupboard such as saffron stalks and fresh coriander, or that I’ve had lurking there for some time with sell-by dates of November 1996 – can’t feed guests on those.
The dish was easy once it was in the oven, but frankly, preparing it was a bit of a footer, as we say in Scotland. A fiddle. I don’t spend much of my life toasting cumin and coriander seeds and then pounding them with a mortar and pestle. Indeed, I don’t possess a mortar and pestle and had to substitute the end of a rolling pin and a bowl. It worked well enough. I reached the end of my patience, however, when Delia instructed me to strip coriander leaves from the stalks. I had imagined this could be done in one swift movement, but no: coriander is a delicate plant, so each leaf had to be removed separately from the fairly large bunch. At this point I dragooned Daughter 2 and her aspiring actor boyfriend to assist. Delia seems to assume that my life might be full of long, lazy afternoons, when I could sit under a tree in the garden delicately picking leaves and placing them in a silver dish…
I bet Delia doesn’t have classes to prepare, marking to do, an elderly parent to spend time with, bathrooms to clean. Kittens to retrieve from under beds.
It seemed to go down well, though. And the group liked my puddings: both the pavlova (very easy) and the lemon cheesecake (another slight footer, though not so much as the coriander leaves nonsense).
When I’m a lonely old woman, I’m going to live on toasted cheese, frozen sweetcorn and bananas. With the odd bit of chocolate.
Sunday, September 02, 2007
Scene: Daughter 2's bedroom first thing this morning. Daughter 2 and I are sitting on her bed in our pyjamas, having a chat.
Son wanders in, also in pyjamas, having just come downstairs from his room.
Me: What are you eating?
Son: A chocolate.
Me: Before breakfast?
Son: Oh, you know. It's an aperitif.
Daughter 2 [nodding approvingly]: An amuse-bouche.
(Education, you know. It' s a wonderful thing.)
(You'll be glad to know that the kittens are now home and have recovered from their nasty experiences at the vet's. )