Sunday, 25 August 2013


It is the Universal law when parking in a car park, like for example at Sainsbugs, that another vehicle at least 10 times the size of your own car will park next to you, leaving you either a) no clear view to get out of the parking space or b) no room to open your door or boot. This ALWAYS happens. No exceptions.

 I have a tiny car. When I park it in a car park I ALWAYS return to find a Sherman Tank parked on one side and an articulated pantechnicon on t'other. It is a source of great annoyance to me, as Andy will testify. 

And if I were to up the size of my transport to, say, a bus, then I would find myself trapped by two double-decker buses and probably a helicopter for good measure. I have no intention of upping my car size. I think overly large vehicles are unnecessary unless you are moving sheep.

Well, it transpires this Universal law manifests itself in places other than car parks. In gyms, for example. 

Andy has rejoined the gym. He has been humming and aahhing about it for a while, and Heather has been actively encouraging him because she gets a free month's membership every time she recommends the gym and the recommendee joins up. So far she has earned 4 free months. She has a very persuasive sales technique.  It hasn't worked on me though. I belonged to the gym once. Didn't like it. I figured why pay good money on going somewhere to sweat buckets and suffer pain when I could sweat buckets baking cakes in the kitchen for free. And let's face it, in a pain versus cake dance off, you'd go for the cake. Wouldn't you???

I digress. Andy went to the gym. He has been four days on the trot which is very impressive but I think he feels slightly threatened by the look in my eye that says, 'Three hundred of our finest English pounds have left our joint account for this membership. Do you know how much cake could be bought for three hundred pounds? You had better use this membership, pal, or else.' I haven't decided what the 'or else' could be yet. To be honest I am so Summer School knackered at the moment I can't think beyond the next cup of tea and who is doing what in The Archers.

I digress. Again. So Andy came back from gyming yesterday. And he reported thusly that despite there being a whole row of empty running machines (parking spaces), and despite him choosing the one next to the wall (trolley park), within two minutes of him starting his warm up walk, a thin, wiry, short man appeared, leapt onto the machine directly next to his, and began a-galloping like a mad man pursued by bears.

I pointed out that if the analogy was to be in keeping then the running machine would have had to be occupied by the love child of the Incredible Hulk and King Kong. Andy countered with the argument that is was still a big/small parking thing regardless of who was there first, and I concurred with his argument, not because I agreed completely but because I wanted him to stop dripping gym moistness on the hall floor.

And thinking about it, Flora Bijou Mybug (tiny) always makes a bee-line for Phoebe (enormous) - never the other way around.

Flora was stalking Phoebe this morning. I said, 'Flora Bijou Mybug, I would counsel against your rash stalking. Phoebe is asleep. She is hard of hearing. She is built like a bowling bowl. I cannot be responsible for what may happen if you make her jump.'

And Flora, with all the exuberance of youth and inexperience said, 'I am a mere kittenling. I have no concept of the big and small. Life is an adventure! Get out of my way!!'

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Five Years

Today is the Much Malarkey Manor Blogiversary! Five years ago today I started writing this blog. FIVE YEARS! 

Sometimes I flick back through the years and read odds and sods of previous posts and I think, 'Did that happen? I don't remember that.' Or, 'Did we go there? Really???' Or, 'Gosh, wasn't I at home to Mrs Stroppy that day?'

And whilst Much Malarkey Manor hasn't got me a publishing deal (how DO those people get books published of their blogs? I mean, let's face it, some of them are pretty dire), it has connected me with some pretty fabulous people! That'd be you, dear readers, yes YOU! And YOU! Even those of you who read without declaring yourselves, and to be honest I don't blame you for remaining anonymous. It's a bit like an adult reading the Harry Potter books under the guise of a 'grown up' book jacket. They like the text but don't want to broadcast the fact that they are reading something written for a ten year old. A guilty pleasure, if you like. 

So, I wonder what the next five years will bring? More hens, more kittens? A house move? A change in career. Thinner thighs? An anti-gravity bazoom? World Peace? That'd be nice wouldn't it, although with all the carry on occurring in Egypt at the moment I don't hold out a huge amount of hope. In fact, it is all a bit worrying, really, this international trauma. 

Here, then, is cheers to you, the lovely house guests at Much Malarkey Manor. Thank you for dropping by and not leaving too many crumbs on the Axminster or fingerprints on the wallpaper. And here is to the next five years, both here and at yours! May they be blessed with fun and laughter and more happy times than sad. If I had champagne I would perform a toast, but as I don't drink, it'll have to be a good old fashioned cuppa! (Actually, I do have toast...can one perform a toast with toast? Sounds reasonable to me.)

(P.S The Guest Lost Property Box in my office currently contains a bee smoker, a book about Stalin, three pairs of rather risqué pants, half an umbrella, a pheasant, a packet of Mint Imperials, a goldfish bowl, an angry looking moth, a book entitled, 'My Egg Timer and Other Useless Kitchen Equipment' and a small chihuahua who answers to the name of Pepe. If any guest, past or present, recognises any of these items as theirs, could they please collect them as soon as possible or they shall (with the exception of livestock) be auctioned off to raise funds for the Buttercup Goat Sanctuary.)

(P.P.S The Buttercup Goat Sanctuary is real. It exists. It is a local charity to MMM. It has a website. And if I ever decide to do a sponsored slim it shall be the beneficiary along with the British Hen Welfare Trust. Now where is that Smartie Brioche Andy promised to make this weekend...)

Friday, 16 August 2013

Desensitising Tybalt

It is always tricky introducing a new cat to a home where cats are already in situ. Even when that cat is a teeny-tiny 4 week old blob of smidgy kittenness by the name of Flora Bijou Mybug who is barely a threat to anything except my ear which she bit this afternoon whilst testing out her new teeth. 

Phoebe is at least 17 years old. She is not a cat's cat. She is a people cat. In fact, I believe she believes she is not a cat at all, but a people in a cat costume. She is cat intolerant. But she appears to have accepted Flora without much ado. When presented with aforesaid Flora, Phoebe licked her head a few times, declared she tasted like chicken and has henceforth pretty much ignored her, giving her a cursory sniff and/or lick as she passes by. No way is Phoebe going to allow a mere kitten to interfere with her hectic daily routine of sleeping, eating, sleeping, wee and pooing, eating, sleeping and sleeping. 

Tybalt ( age 10 and a half) on the other hand, has been what I can only describe as unnecessarily circumspect as these extracts from his daily diary will testify:

Monday - day starts well. Begin morning with Triumphal Wee Gallop, have some breakfast (disappointingly not the smoked kippers I had requested), and settle down to sleeping in sunshine on the chaise. However, the day takes a dreadful turn for the worse just after tea time. Andrew arrives home with a cat carrier and promptly jabs me in the scruff with a hypodermic needle. Disappear upstairs to sulk and apply tea tree oil to wound. Strange noises emanate from downstairs, mostly of women squealing with little girl squealy noises. Put on box set of 'Dad's Army - The Pre-War Years' to drown out the noise. 

Tuesday - feel sick. Consult Andrew the Vet - he says it is probably a reaction to the vaccination I had yesterday and that I must make sure I eat best salmon, Cornish clotted cream on fat scones, and champagne all day. I give him a guinea for his troubles and relay the dietary information to Denise. She laughs and says I can have cat biscuit as usual and some tuna if I am good. She says, 'Look at this Tybalt,' and puts a b****y KITTEN on the floor. A KITTEN!! The kitten makes a run at me like a massive hairy twenty legged spider. I run from the kitten. I stay upstairs all day and sulk. Get to page 573 of 'A La Recherché Du Temps Perdu.'

Wednesday - Come downstairs and yak up in Denise's shoes. It is the remains of the fur ball I have already yakked up in her sheepskin rug. She hasn't found that one yet. The kitten seems to be taking up a disproportionate amount of time that should be mine for the purpose of patting and petting and ruffling up and rolling on the floor. It is also psychopathic and anti-social. It has lunged at me TWICE today. Retire upstairs to make a spreadsheet detailing exactly the amount of time that is being wasted on the kitten and not on me. Book up 'Watercolours for Beginners' and 'Intermediate Pilates' for September using Denise's credit card. 

Thursday - I have decided I am NOT going to be held to ransom in my own home by something that is only the size of my head and does not yet possess a full complement of teeth or walking in a straight line skill set. Phoebe says the kitten tastes like chicken. I give the kitten a sniff. It smells like poo. Clearly incapable of using the litter tray judging by the number of blankets on the airer. Denise returns from shopping bearing a bribery gift of catnip chocolate drops. I deign to eat a few, just to show I am capable of offering forgiveness. Spend rest of afternoon in drug-induced stupor chasing rainbow goblins round the house.

Friday - I determine to resume my position on the downstair armchair i.e the arm. It is MY space and if I leave it vacated then who knows which brazen creature will usurp it. My hi-tec earphones arrive from Bose. Listen to 'The Ring Cycle' - 'The Ride of the Valkyries' proves very effective in drowning out stupid kitten noises. The New Seekers less so. Denise says the kitten will prove an excellent romping companion when she is bigger. I remain to be convinced given she is still little more than a pinhead. I could still squish her like a Mybug.

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Kitten Mummy World

It is quite a thing being a Kitten Mummy. The last time I was Mummy to something so very small and needy who got me up in the middle of the night with various demands and made my shoulder smell permanently of regurgitated formula milk, poo and wee was 25 years ago, and that was Heather. But to her credit, Heather did not inflict fleas upon me.

Actually, Flora Bijou Mybug has only presented me with 4 fleas. She is too young to be flea-treated properly, but has been wafted amid a haze of Frontline spray in a general 'let's see if we can't at least gas the b***ers out.' Proper flea treatment is on the horizon. And worming. And potty training. And weaning.

So although I am lacking 'zzzzzzzzzz's' at the moment because of the Wee Small Hour Feed during which last night Flora took the opportunity to test her new teeth on my fingers and do a spot o'pouncing practice, and she had to have TWO baths yesterday because of random pooping and lack of foresight on behalf of whoever was who was put on this planet to invent Kitten Happy Nappies - For All Your Happy Kitten Pooping Needs, I know the needy phase will be over in weeks rather than in years. Which is just as well, because being a Kitten Mummy is a very time consuming affair. 

Because it is not only feeding and burping and bathing and mopping up poop and wee and milky dribbles that take up time. Oh no! There is also the crawling around on the floor supervising Carpet Exploration and Under Sofa Adventure Activities. There is Kitten Balancing whereby one has to employ the skills of a Tai Chi /Pilates Expert in order to maintain excellent posture and calm movement when one has a Kitten asleep on one's shoulder, head, elbow, knee, matronly bazoom, back of the neck. There is Kitten Juggling - this is when Flora Bijou Mybug goes into frantic activity mode (this usually presages a poo or a wee, a bit like when Tybalt does his Victory Wee Dash) wanting to play let's-do-EVERYTHING-at-once-NOW like tumbling off a shoulder and narrowly avoiding the cup of tea the Kitten Mummy is holding, or staggering dangerously near the edge of the sofa in a 'whoops- look at me being all wobbly' comedy moment, or making a dash for ALL small, dark crevices accessible only to a three and a bit week old kitten and probably requiring rescue by the Fire Services and the Massive Cutting Equipment.

Basically, our substantial extended three-bedroom semi-detached home, containing three adults and two large adult cats is being held in sway (is that a phrase? What does it mean? It just popped out of the typing fingers so it MUST mean something) by a small ball of fluff who last night weighed in at 208 grammes which is less than a pack of butter and is probably more difficult to spread on toast. But that is okay because Flora Bijou Mybug is very funny, very cute, very bouncy and very, very entertaining. And that is all a Kitten Mummy wants, really. 

(Kitten Mummy is pleased Flora Bijou Mybug is putting on weight. But she is puzzled because the nature of Balance in the Universe suggests that someone in the house ought to be losing weight. Sure as heck isn't the Kitten Mummy. But then Kitten Mummy is sure that she is suffering from something called Pre-emptive Weight Gain or PWG. It is a new phenomenon whereby the Kitten Daddy mentioned he is going to be making Smarties Brioche...yes, that is brioche with the weekend, and Kitten Mummy is already absorbing calories from just the mere thought of it.)

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Such a Time Waster

Today I discovered that it is true that one should never work with animals when creating a cinematic blockbuster. I mean, it is difficult enough motivating hens, but a kitten???

Here she is, anyhooo - making her screen debut - Flora Bijou Mybug. Not at all a time waster.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013


Hello! My name is Flora Bijou Mybug. I am three weeks old and I have come to live at Much Malarkey Manor after being abandoned. I am very tiny (184 grammes) and I am very cute. Last night, at my three o'clock in the morning feed, I did a wee on Denise's jimjams. Andy is better at feeding me because he is a vet and he knows the Kitten Head Grip. So far I have had my head licked by Phoebe and been ignored by Tybalt. Auntie Heather squeals a lot at me but I think it is because she likes me. Lots of people on Facebook and Twitter suggested names for me (and quite frankly some of them were just weird - Dave???) so I have been named after Flora Poste and Mr Mybug from Denise's favourite book, 'Cold Comfort Farm' and Bijou because I am small. Could have been worse. Could have been Gwendolyn Cecily Tiddleface. Or Kate, because I was found under a bush. 

Got to go now. Time for another feed! Byeeeeeee!

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Noises and Bees and Naughty Hens

A few months ago, our next door neighbour put his house up for sale and annoyingly sold it within a week. He has taken a while to move out, but last Friday off he went with his life possessions in a very tiny van.

And two days ago, the new neighbours moved in. They are a young family of mum, dad and two girls aged around 4ish and 9ish I should say. The parents are heavy smokers and have been sitting in the back garden chain smoking which means I can't have my window open all day as I like to because I really cannot abide the smell of cigarettes. They are also prone to shouting very suddenly and very loudly in Polish or Latvian or Lithuanian, or whatever is their mother tongue, I don't know because my language skills are limited to un peu de francais, a bit of sprechen sie Deutsch and Borra Da. They have loud and fast conversations on their mobile phones. Their youngest child is a screamer. They are certainly going to give their neighbours on the other side a run for their money in the Loud and Shouty Family Stakes.

Last night I went to sleep quite quickly, as I am wont to do. I was woken very suddenly by the sound of one of those buzzy waspy mopeds screeching into the road and squealing to a halt and then...

'What the eff are you doing on that effing thing?' shouts a woman's voice.
'Mmmmmmfff....mffff....mmmfffff...' came the helmeted reply.
'Get off it! Switch the effing thing off!' shouts the woman.
'Mmmmmmmmfffffpppppphhhhh!' shouts the helmet.
There is a mild scuffle and the moped is rendered silent. Then...

'I told you to effing walk home with it!' shrieks the woman, as the moped fires up again. 'You effing effer.'

'Nice,' I thought. 

And then peace.  I drifted off to sleep...


Nope, wasn't me being woken for a wee. It was what I could only describe as the sound of a random but persistent whistle. I got up. It wasn't coming from inside the house. Not Phoebe performing one of her selection of interesting nasal snores, then. No, it was coming from somewhere outside, up the other end of the road.

'Oh, good grief, ' I thought. I went for a wee anyway as I was up, and surveyed the pimple on my chin which I can now confirm is, officially, a chimple. I returned to the bedroom and hung out of the window as  getting up had brought on one furnace of a hot flush. After a few minutes both the flush and the whistle abated.

'Thank goodness,' I thought. I climbed back into bed. A car alarm went off. 'Wheee-ooooh, wheeee-ooooh, wheeee-ooooh........' Ad infinitum and forever and ever and ever and ever....

Needless to say I have been a la zombie mode today. Zombie with a chimple. I have tried to remain spiritual. It has been hard.

On another note, when I went to cut some lavender this morning in an attempt to pretend I was living in a lovely country cottage surrounded by fields of lovely calming lavender I saw what I thought were two bumblebees hitched together in an episode of high-jinkery but which, on closer inspection, turned out to be a single bumblebee of enormous proportions. Honestly, it was the size of a horse! Well, okay, not a horse maybe, but if the Borrowers were after a joint for their Sunday Dinner, they could have served up that bee and had enough leftover for a Monday Beeherd Pie. 

And then, when I continued my pretence at The Bucolic Idyll by letting out the hens and doing some 
a-scattering  of the corn, Primrose did a very convincing impersonation of a Chicken Who Is About To Drop Dead, but then, equally as quickly, reverted to her normal Chicken Who Is Going To Live One Hundred Years. I do not know what that was all about. Constipation, maybe? Some form of transcendental yoga?

'Joke,' says Primrose. 'Just to keep you on your toes.'
'Not funny,' says I.
'Very funny,' says Primrose. 'Now get me some grapes.'

And talking of fruit, Andy has been eyeing up our apple tree which is positively groaning with apples this year, possibly to make up for the poor showing last year.
'When will they be ready to eat?' he said.
'Not just yet,' I said.
'But they are going red,' he said. 'How do you know they aren't ready to eat now?'
'I just do,' I said. 
'Well,' said Andy, who can be very persistent when the occasion arises, 'how can you tell when an apple is ready?'
'When you can cup it in your hand, give it a gentle twist on the stalk and it plops off,' I said.
Andy looked disappointed. He is convinced the birds and the insects are going to snaffle the apples before we can.
'You can try one if you like,' I said. 'But don't blame me if it takes the skin off your teeth.'

So off Andy went. He returned shortly thereafter.

'That was quick,' I said.
'It wouldn't plop,' said he.

Friday, 9 August 2013


When I was 15, my Grandad died quite suddenly. It was a shock, especially as he had been a big part of my childhood. And then, the Summer following his death I was walking around the edge of the small market garden that he and Gran ran, and a voice remarkably like his said in my ear, 'The beans will be good this year.'

And they were. 

Now, I wasn't sure at that time whether the voice I heard telling me about the beans was the product of wishful thinking because I missed my Grandad, or that is was actually him, speaking from beyond the veil, as it were. Anyway, it was a comforting experience and I thought not much more on it and life continued.

By the time I was 22 I was expecting my second baby and moving to a new town with my then (not Andy) husband. And my new neighbour took me under her wing. She was, still is, a writer, medium and healer, and in the years we were neighbours I learned a lot from her. I sat in a spiritual development circle with her and she was a source of great inspiration and spiritual teaching. We also, I seem to remember, got through a lot of cake together!

Anyway, she taught me well, guided me through the use of Tarot and crystals as spiritual tools, and even better assisted the start of my training as a channel for healing. It was the healing experiences that I really loved being a part of, and over the last 25 years I have, on and off, continued to do bits here and there, including absent healing and conducting the occasional reading as and when needed by friends and family. And occasionally getting a message through for random people which is a bit embarrassing if they are the person in front of you in the queue at Sainsbugs. Hey ho!

And here is the thing. All has been quiet around me these last few weeks. All has been still. Hello, I have been thinking. I've had this feeling before. This is the feeling that presages a Shift in My Universe. At times like this I try and be still, and listen. I don't look for clues, per se, but then I find I notice things more clearly. And today a random page appeared whilst I was surfing da net ( as you do when you should be doing other things like cleaning out the chickens and sowing more rocket because your rocket supply is fast dwindling). It was a page linked to the Harry Edwards Healing Sanctuary. 

I visited this place two or three years ago. I thought about doing a formal healing qualification then, but then, as it transpired, was not the right time. But now it seems the right time is approaching. I have been nudged. I am being called. At the moment it is a Whispered Call, but it is a Very Definite Whispered Call. 

Why am I telling you this? I do not know, other than it is Suddenly VERY Important and p'raps I need to  make a public declaration of my intent. I realise some of you may not approve of such activities. Or that some of you may poo-poo the whole concept. But that is okay. I am still me, you see?

And so today, other than fostering an ENORMOUS pimple on my chin, the like of which has not been seen since one day in 1979 (I was a rare and very lucky teen who remained virtually spot-less of face) I have dragged out and re-read many of my old spiritual teaching books, dusted off my absent healing record diary and my several sets of Tarot,  and found a teaching and healing retreat about half an hour's drive away that offers formal qualifications in both spiritual healing and Reiki. I am on the verge of rearranging my arty-crafty writing room to accommodate a different set of energies. I know that art and craft will be an integral part of this Shift in My Universe. (If only I could get to grips with that darned sewing machine!) 

What else do I know? Not much else at the moment. I suspect I shall be going with the flow. No planning. Just letting things happen.

And now I have to go because Tybalt is on a Fly Hunt and the fly is determined to hide behind Receptacles Containing Fluid (tea cups and vases) and Tybalt is determined to get the fly!

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

9 Years

I forgot to mention that last week that, whilst waiting in the queue outside Buckingham Palace and feeding myself with an egg and cress sandwich, that (in accordance with my approachable face theory) a complete stranger chose me out of a crowd of about 200 or more people, to direct a question at. Me. The only person in the crowd of 200 plus people who, at that VERY moment, had a face full of sandwich. To wit, therefore, my reply to her question was, 'Mm....mphhhh...mpffffffh....' 

Why choose me? I thought. There are more than 199 other people here who are not, at this very moment, consuming of an egg and cress sarnie. You could ask them, you foolish woman. It would be better all round if you did. And I don't even LIKE London. 

Anyway, I digress. Today was mine and Andy's 9th wedding anniversary. And in keeping with tradition, we bought each other gifts linked to the theme of the anniversary year, the ninth being either pottery or willow. At least I did. I bought Andy a kit with which to make willow lanterns. I was well pleased with my pressie find. Practical, requiring some skill enhancing input and aesthetically pleasing all at the same time. They'll go beautifully in our revamped garden, I thought. (Although I am a tad anxious about what will happen when one adds the candle to a construction of very thin wood  + very thin paper.)

And my gift from Andy? Something willowy, also? Something pottery-ry? No, my friends! It was far more subtle than that! It was a textile art picture of a deer in a field full of poppies! ( The field, not the deer. Although the deer might have been full of poppies, too, if deer eat poppies. Do deer eat poppies? I don't know.) 

And what, are you thinking, is the relevance to the 9th anniversary? Well, I shall tell you. Plunged into a fit of panic because he couldn't find anything he deemed suitably willowy or pottery-ry, Andy researched what flower was associated with 9 and it is the poppy. You see?! Thereby is the link, albeit loose, to the anniversary. It is a lovely picture. Tres bonne!!

Global news - I have received two postcards this week for my new Post Crossing hobby. One from San Diego and one from Saint Petersburg. A lovely American/Russian alliance which is delightfully ironic given the news about the American so-called spying chappie who has been granted asylum for a year to stay in Russia. 

Chicken news - Primrose has taken to tap-dancing in the hen water bowl. Four times I had to fill it up today. As soon as it is full, in she hops and does a pretty impressive impression of Gene Kelly in 'Singing in the Rain.' It is very annoying, and I have told her thus and so has Daisy who does not appreciate having to drink water from a container that has had Primrose Feet jiggling around in it. I do not know why Primrose does this, and neither does she. But she needs to stop it. NOW. Because if she doesn't she is going to have a bit of a shock come the first freeze of Winter. 

Allotment news - beans, potatoes, basil, shallots, courgettes, lettuce and more cucumbers than you can shake a stick at. Many, many tomatoes but not one of them red yet. Baby aubergines forming beneath aubergine flowers. Swedes coming on at a very pleasing pace, ditto broccoli, carrots, parsnips, chard, radish and beetroot. Still beating mare's tail into submission. Eager anticipation of autumn raspberries. Very bold Robin resident on da plot. 

And that is about it, really. Nothing wildly exciting. Nothing wildly hilarious. A time of calm and reflection. Of enjoying being at home, pottering in the garden, catching up with 'just' jobs. Reading and knitting. Listening to good stuff on the radio. 


Sunday, 4 August 2013


So this is what I spend my Sunday afternoon doing. Very therapeutic, very enjoyable. Feeling a bit bug eyed now as it was a very fiddly, tiddly project, so off to cook a spot o' dinner before the excitement of the new Doctor Who reveal takes over.

Happy Christmas!!

Fidgety Tybalt and Thank You!

Tybalt is a lovely cat. He is a solid and dependable cat. He is a good-looking cat, with impeccable white paws and a particularly well-proportioned face. He started life, ten and a half years ago, as a Stray Scouse Kitten, who travelled down to Kent via train (and with Andy, I hasten to add - he didn't just take it upon his teeny kitten self to hop on the Virgin connection at Liverpool Lime Street, underground it from Euston to Charing Cross and thence to Maidstone where I was waiting with the limo to transport him home. Gosh, that was a long, bracketed interlude).

Anyway, he is a Northern Cat by birth but has adapted remarkably well to living in The South. No-one would know he wasn't southern born and bred. He even waxes his Gallagher eyebrows and trims his McCartney Mop Top to disguise his less than auspicious roots. (That was a joke, by the way, before I get lynched by Liverpudlians, and yes, I know that The Highly Attractive Liam and Noel Gallagher are from Manchester. I went to Manchester once, for the Commonwealth Games. It rained buckets and a then some. I have never been so drenched in my LIFE, not even when swimming in a proper swimming pool. Sodden, I was. Travelling on a Park and Ride bus in wet pants is not a happy experience.)

Back to Tybalt. One of the endearing things about him is his Celebratory Wee Run. In the morning, after he has eaten his breakfast, and rubbed my feet down with his face ( I suspect in lieu of using a flannel and some nice soap like a normal cat) he trots off to the litter tray to perform his Enormous Daily Wee. No wasting time doing a series of little wees during the day with Tybalt. Oh no, get it all over and done with in one big tiddle, that's the thing. And once he has performed his Enormous Wee, which can take a while, time enough to do an easy Soduko, he celebrates it by LAUNCHING himself from the litter tray like a rocket, and racing through the kitchen and up and down the hallway making a racket not unlike a small horse galloping on heavy going turf at Ascot. 

And sometimes, if it has been an especially long Wee, he gallops up the stairs and back again as well! It is very, very entertaining. (Especially this morning as he returned with a cobweb on his head. Lord knows where he'd stopped off to collect that, but I must have a word with the maid.)

And this has become known as The Celebratory Wee Run! 

And as tomorrow is the start of National Thank You Week, I'd like to say Thank You to Tybalt for giving us a smile with which to start each day.

Today's blog was brought to you by Random Ramblings -For All Your Stream-of-Wee-Consciousness Needs.

(P.S Tybalt has asked me to say that he IS the new Doctor Who, but please don't tell anyone as it will spoil the grand reveal on the BEEB this evening at 7p.m.)

Thursday, 1 August 2013

A Jolly Day Out In London Town

Firstly, I should like to say that Her Maj the Queen keeps a jolly good gaff. Bit ostentatious, bit bling, and too many gold snakes creeping out of the top of what would otherwise be a jolly nice pale blue vase, but hats off, Buckingham Palace is a top crib and I guess HM doesn't have that much say over the day to day interior design.

Anyway, I should now like to report upon the Day as a Whole, so excuse me for a second whilst I place my tongue firmly in my cheek...

'We alighted on the platform of the small countryside railway station, having deposited five and one half of our finest English pounds for the honour of parking our horse and carriage for the day. Already the station was bustling with fellow travellers - business men, elderly ladies, young women with their many, many off-spring who, despite the earliness of the hour, were already giving full vent to their lungs.

The train arrived at three minutes past its due time, but what is three minutes in the aspect of time, unless one is boiling an egg? We climbed aboard, receiving only mild jostlings from the gathered crowd whose ebullience we put down to the excitement of a visit to our glorious Capital City. Alas, it soon became clear that the train of eight carriages was fully seated, mostly, it transpired, with the school children of our Continental Friends, Les Francais. I remarked to my Husband that maybe it would have been wise of the train company to make the train of more carriages, it being rush hour and the season of general holiday. But then I remembered to add, 'What do I know about manly subjects such as trains, since I am a mere lady?' and so we resigned ourselves to a bracing hour and ten minutes standing in an increasingly crowded corridor, by the lavatorial facility.

I attempted to distract myself by the Reading of a Novel, but then, what better entertainment could there have been than the Jolly Party of French Children taking it upon themselves to sing loudly and vigorously a goodly medley of obscure French ditties, interspersed with snippets of Abba, Justin Beiber and One Direction? Again, I remarked to my Husband that perhaps this could be the reason why our Gallic Neighbours never win the Eurovision Song Contest, and why their poetry is so lacking in scansion and finesse. Yet immediately I realised the unkindness of my comment, it due solely to my feeling of discomfiture at travelling standing, by a lavatory, with a stranger's armpit in close proximity to my nostrils. And for this honour a mere twenty English pounds a ticket, a bargain when cheese is so dear.

Later, as we approached the vicinity of London Bridge and its delightful array of local graffiti art,  a young couple standing nearby struck up a conversation about the demise of a family cat. Such sad occasion seemed to cause much mirth to these young people, and brought threat of a tear to my own good eye, the conversation raising as it did memory of the recent demise of my own dear Pandora Kitten. My wish was to shout 'Shut up, you heartless, arrogant b*****ds!' but my Husband, who is wise and devoid of confrontation, counselled me against this course of action, declaring it to be both unladylike and inviting of verbal retribution from the aforesaid couple, and so I contained myself and in due course we disgorged from the train and into London itself.

It seemed the Whole of The World was visiting London! Pavement space was at a premium and queues were lengthy. I confess to being mightily shocked at the price of refreshments, their cost being more than adequate to cover our annual household electricity bill. We had fancied to dine well in one of the finer local eateries, yet time conspired against us as we made our way to the Palace, and thus we sufficed our appetite with an egg and cress sandwich from (keeping up the French theme) Pret a Manger whilst standing in the queue for our entry to the Palace. 'Tis lucky,' I quipped to my Husband, 'that I am well versed with standing today...ahahahahahaha!' 'Indeed, Wife,' rejoined my Husband, 'and think of all the calories we have spent by standing and walking and dining on a sandwich.' 'Are you saying I am fat?' quoth I? 'Heaven forfend,' said Husband, taking a quick step backwards.

Our Palace visit over, we began our lengthy promenade back to the railway station for the journey homewards. I confess, dear reader, that my demeanour was not at its fragrant best at this point in the day, but justified my uncharacteristic crabbiness by having worn my second best comfy shoes in favour of my first best comfy shoes, having previously been assured that standing and walking activities for the day would be kept to a minimum. Nonetheless we boarded an earlier train than anticipated thus securing ourselves of a seat.

Our journey home was comforted by chocolate and relative peace. Our arrival home was comforted by banoffee pie and relative pizza. 

Whatever that is.

And thus, as the dusk drew on and I tucked the hens to bed, weary from the Exertions of the Day (me, not the hens - they had spent the day crocheting antimaccassars and drinking elderflower cordial) I declared NEVER to visit London, ever, EVER again.'