Sunday, May 03, 2009

Things that happened

It’s been a beautiful weekend, if not exactly tropical. I’ve spent much of it doing un-green gardening duties: putting weedkiller on my mother’s and our paths and weed-and-feed on her lawns. I’m sure in 20 years’ time this is going to be thought very unecological (sorry, future) but it’s so time-and-labour saving, though not my favourite type of gardening. The actual gardens are very floriferous. What a lovely time of year!

The lilac is at its best and there’s a big vase of it perfuming the dining room.

Last Saturday, Mr Life opened the front door to find a big bird of prey – a sparrowhawk? - a couple of yards away from him on the lawn, clutching and indeed plucking another bird. It’s hard to say whether he or the hawk got a bigger fright, but the latter immediately flew off with its victim, leaving lots of feathers on the grass. Just as well Mr Life saw this or we’d have thought the cats were getting alarmingly successful in their hunting!

The scene of the crime... really quite near the house.

This past week, the gas company dug a hole right outside our driveway to facilitate the fitting, this coming week, of a new gas main for the street. (What do Americans call the stuff that fuels non-electric cookers – since they call petrol “gas”?) Fortunately I had driven to work in one of our cars, otherwise both cars would be now trapped in the driveway. As it is, only one is. Our son, who was at home at the time, asked if he should remove this car and the chap said no, they wouldn’t be blocking the drive. Hmm.

There’s another hole at the top of the street. So handy.

They also dug up our path and put a rather horrid gas meter box right beside the front door.

Still, I suppose I have to look at it as a plant-positioning opportunity ...

... rather than as a problem.
Son has now returned to his distant town, alas. He managed to fit in, as far as I can remember, two lunches with Mr Life, one with me, one with Daughter 2 and one with both of his sisters (who always lunch together on Thursdays) as well as an afternoon coffee with Daughter 1. He also saw various friends and on Friday took my mum to a funeral, for which he nobly donned his suit and white shirt (which happened to be here) and his father’s shoes (because Son’s smart shoes were in the distant town). Mr Life’s feet are rather smaller than Son’s. What a lad will do for his granny. (“He looked so smart!” said my mum proudly.)

He also let various gas men into the house to do gas-related tasks.

So he made full use of the time at home and gained himself some (more) Good Son/Grandson gold stars.

A squirrel has been enjoying the peanut feeder on our cherry tree. Who could grudge him his meal?

(Well, possibly the birds. But we enjoyed his acrobatics.) Photos by Mr Life, who has a better camera than I.

At the book group last night, a friend said that she’d been speaking to an animal psychologist who told her that cats don’t like their water bowl beside their food. In the wild, they wouldn’t drink water near their kill because of contamination. Our cats are never seen to drink from their bowl – the bird bath, yes; the taps, yes; the glass of water on one’s beside table, yes. So we tried moving it.

Et voila!

Daughter 1 has recently taken up knitting and decided to make herself a moderately complicated shawl. This evening, however, having spent some considerable time on it, she found a couple of mistakes and unravelled it to start again. I don’t know where she got this knitting perfectionism. Not from her mother. I couldn’t really see what was wrong with it but if I had felt the need to rip out that much of knitting I'd done, I would first have had to jump up and down on it and utter several piercing screams. This is why I haven't knitted anything for the past thirty years. She's made of sterner stuff and I'm very impressed.

Cassie* found the unravelling process quite interesting.

And those have been the highlights of the week chez Life.
*Daughter 2 says this is Sirius. Looks like Cassie to me, but she remembers that it was Sirius so I'll believe her. Normally we're astonished when friends don't know the difference, when to us, they're not alike at all. Apart from being, you know, black cats. Small black cats. Small black sleek cats.


  1. Ah, that cat-water thing makes good sense. Moby loves drinking out of an old teapot on the windowsill. And a friend's cat only drinks out of a glass, set out for the purpose.

  2. Propane if it's propane (lots of people in India have propane stoves...); gas if it's "natural gas" (which is more likely what you have). We call it the same, just never expand it to "gasoline" (which it isn't) as we do with petrol. May seem silly to use one word for many things, but the English language is full of that, meh.

  3. However, if we're suffering from gas, that's a totally different thing. :>)

  4. It's actually Sirius under the table admiring D1's knitting. Honestly, Mother, you'd think you could tell the two of them apart!

    Love you,

    ps- he does look sort of Cassie-ish in the picture!

  5. I never knew the cat drinking preferences . Our cats used to drink from lots of places, including the toilet bowl - shaped just so a cat could balance and drink!
    That is a lovely piece of knitting, and what perfectionism to pull it out.

  6. I am going to try moving the water bowl now for Bertie Wooster. I have noticed he always comes sniffing round the bath tub looking like he wants something.

  7. I do love your weekly 'doings' type posts. I loved hearing that your daughters lunch together every Thursday, and that the Lad Who Lunches managed to attend so many.

    And I am totally gobsmacked at D1's shawl. Don't tell her I am currently knitting a shawl in GARTER stitch, while she does a complicated LACE stitch shawl. I am so ashamed.

    That cat thing makes so much sense. My Burmese used to drink from everywhere (incl the loo) but her bowl. And if we gave her raw meat, she used to run outside and bash it against a rock a few times prior to eating it. To ensure it was completely dead and wouldn't run away, I presume.

    Ok, I'm all caught up with the Lifes' week. I can commence my own now. Ciao!

  8. Oooh, my cats love to watch anything yarn related. I understand the wish to get it right, K is braver than I - starting out the lace with mohair. I have been sticking with smooth un-ravelable stuff.

  9. So nice to hear about your week. Made me laugh when you mentioned your astonishment when people can't tell your cats apart. I'm the same with Shelagh and Minty....they're clearly vastly different; look - Minty is darker and skinnier and has a totally different shaped head....oh, okay. I give in, they're almost identical! Even I occasionally mistake them.

    Have fun.

    Lesley x

  10. I envy you the lilac. You need a much colder climate than here for it to be successful. I love the scent of lilac - on the bush, in a vase.

    And the title of the book was?

  11. I completely agree that now is a lovely time in English [and Scottish]and Welsh gardens, having seen many in the last few days. I thought I'd never have room in my heart to love England, but I've fallen head over heels in love with the English and Welsh countryside! Unfortunately, you are SO far north of where I am that I will not be able to come and see you and those lovely sleek cats! Rise needs me [it's so lovely to be needed!]to come and see her as soon as I can, so this week I'm off to her......Maybe there'll be a next time, when I'll have more dilly-dallying time and then I'll go straight to Scotland!

  12. Bless K, I'm the same, anymore than one little mistake and it gets unravelled!

  13. If I had had to do that unravelling (in the unlikely event I could ever produce such beautiful knitting in the first place) I would not be shouting and stomping so much as weeping uncontrollably. I would probably need weeks and much chocolate to recover.

    Thanks for the tip about cats and water. Our cat has always preferred drinking from the puddle which forms on an upturned bucket in our garden. We always just thought she preferred it!

  14. Well, that explains why I never see my cats drinking out of their water bowl! I will have to move it and see what happens. Like yours, they drink from every where else except their bowl.

    Your daughter's knit shawl is beautiful. I can relate to the unraveling-- I have the same perfection issues.

  15. Well, you've certainly had a very busy week. How sad about the bird -- I'm glad Mr. Life found it instead of you.

    Very interesting that the construction isn't considered to be blocking your driveway. Perhaps the construction man drives a mini? I see your other readers have already covered our over-loaded uses of the word "gas". Except maybe as "to have fun", as in "that party was a gas", which isn't used very often anyway.

    Please send my sympathy to D1 for the unraveling. It looks like it will be a beautiful shawl when it's finished! Oh, and THANKS for the cat water tip. That might explain why Scruff never drinks water from his water bowl!

  16. I'm working up to doing the weedkiller. There Is No Alternative when you have a lot of gravel drive.

    I tried covering some with plastic. The weeds have grown better there than elsewhere.

  17. What a delightful, funny, and warm fuzzy post!
    Interesting about the cat's water. I wonder if dogs are the same. Our dogs dont seem to mind the water next to their food. However we have no birdbath, or other source, so they don't have much choice.

  18. Once again a lovely lot of photos.

    Interesting about the cats and the water near food. Our two little kittens are giving us great entertainment.

  19. Lilac, knitted lace cats, squirrels, and holes in the road. Like Suse, I enjoyed reading about your week.

  20. Your weekend was clearly more interesting than mine - your 19 comments to my none!
    Well, our Topsy is a contrary cat in more ways than one, it seems. She is always drinking from her bowl which is right next to her food.
    I'm a carer for an elderly lady from Yorkshire, and she would say your daughter 'has the patience of Job' undoing that knitting!

  21. your family sounds so lovely!

  22. Such a full week you had - thoroughly enjoyed getting all caught up. In the U.S. we have corn gluten meal to go on lawns... fertilizes as well as prevents weeds from germinating - wonderful stuff! Completely not toxic to humans and pets. I always worry about little paws being burned by the usual weed and feeds, never mind their ingesting it when grooming. Pelletized chicken manure is a great fertilizer too. For weeds in pathways, vinegar works as well as boiling water or just pulling them out when they are good and wet after a soaking rain. There... done my tree hugging bit for Mother Earth today. :-)