Cat’s Eyes

July 23, 2014

The other night, Pumpkin appeared with one of her eyes glued shut with eye gunk. So for the next hour or so I followed her around the house with several soaking wet make-up removal pads, making a grab for her every time she stopped so that I could try and soak her eye enough for her to get it open.

Pumpkin is not a particularly approachable cat if you need to do something to her. With Peppa you can scoop her up and hold her, and she’ll wriggle about a bit but she’ll be fine. Pumpkin is a whole different can of worms. Worms with very angry sharp edges. But I managed to scruff her about five times and soak her eye a little for her.

We had to lock the catflap because Carole didn’t want her to be in a position where she went out, rested for a bit and woke up to find that both her eyes were glued shut and she had no way of finding her way home. Which makes sense, I suppose, although at the time it sounded like crazy talk.

So we did all that and went to bed with discussions of taking her to the vets and having her looked at…

Come morning, both eyes are open. It’s like nothing happened. There’s a little bit of gunk, but nothing major and she seems absolutely fine and dandy. So we stand down on the taking her to the vets in that morning plan, and adopt the second plan which is to phone the vets and have a chat, see what they suggest and go from there.

So Carole did that and the end result was that the vet thought it would be best if he had a look, and she was booked in for today.

Then today comes along and you’ll never guess which cat had the clearest eyes in all of England.

Yeah, that’s just bloody typical isn’t it?

We didn’t take her, in the end, opting instead to keep a close eye on her and take it from there, because everything points to her eyes being fine now. And she’s got enough on her plate with the kidney thing without the trauma of having to be held down and drops of something-or-other put into her eyes on a daily basis by someone – or two someones – who are acutely away that one wrong move and they’ll be spraying blood up the walls.

They’d still like us to keep bathing her eyes though.




The Second Funniest Thing I’ve Seen Involving A Bus Door

July 22, 2014

Tuesday morning. It’s early. The temperature is already hovering around “warm” on the thermometer with the promise that it will soon be hitting “warmer” then “hot” before settling into “just the wrong side of pleasantly hot” for the rest of the day. I am on the bus – the 203, for those bus spotters among you – heading to work. It’s just before seven in the morning and the bus is making its way into Dewsbury bus station.

Now, the bus normally gets into Dewsbury at about seven. It leaves at about eight minutes past seven. This leaves a bit of a wait in which, after any passengers have alighted, the driver will get off the bus and go and do whatever drivers do when they get off the bus at Dewsbury bus station. They will return shortly before departure, usher new passengers onboard and head off for the sprawling metropolis of Leeds.

This happens every day.

What happened today does not happen every day.

People got off the bus. The driver got off the bus. Then a man came tearing down from upstairs, and found himself faced with no driver and two closed bus doors.

“For fuck’s sake!” he immediately bellowed.

And he stood there for a few moments, seemingly waiting for the driver to return so that he could get off the bus.

But what he was actually doing was taking a few minutes to assess his situation and find a solution.

There is, it has to be said, an amazingly simple solution to getting through bus doors in the absence of the driver. There are two buttons above the doors. One is green, the other red. If you press the green button the doors open, if you press the red button then the doors close. However, had our fellow passenger pressed the green button then none of the joy that unfurled would have, well, unfurled.

Instead he chose to pull the doors using the handle which says “To open in an emergency, pull handle”. What this does is pulls the door open while still fighting against the pneumatics of the door mechanism. He pulled the door, it pulled him back. He got a firm hold on a hand rail by the driver’s cab and pulled the door again, this time inserting a leg into the gap he had now opened up.

Confident that his leg could hold the door open, he then proceeded to push his way through the doors, with the door still fighting back at him. Eventually, after a series of swear-marked struggles, the man was outside the bus.

More or less.

His arms were still inside the bus.

And, somehow, turned so they were palm outwards, with the thumbs on the bottom.

The edges of the doors have a rubber seal on them, so he proceeded to pull against this seal and slowly work his arms through the door to freedom.

Oh, but I haven’t mentioned he was holding a bag, have I. Just a carrier bag, maybe containing a sandwich or something of that nature, but a bag none the less.

He was, by this point, almost free of the bus. All that remained of him, on the inside, were his hands. And the bag. He couldn’t get his hands out while he still held the bag. You could see him agonising over this decision for a moment. And then, quite audibly, he just went “meh!” and dropped the bag, allowing his hands to leave the bus.

He then headed off through Dewsbury Bus Station.

Without his bag, which still waited on the floor of the bus where it had fallen.

A couple of minutes later, the driver came back and opened the doors. And there, in front of him, was the bag. He stood and looked at it for a minute, clearly trying to work out how he hadn’t noticed it when he got off and wondering which of his passengers had – for some reason – thrown the bag down near the door of the bus.

“Oh, well, I don’t understand where this has come from,” he said, as he threw the discarded bag into the luggage rack.

I really hope that curiosity got the better of him when he got back to the depot and he asked to look at the video…


The Sun Has Got His Hat On

July 21, 2014

The sun has got his hat on
Hip Hip Hip Hooray.
The sun has got his hat on
And I’m sweating through the day.

Early in the morning
Hip Hip Hip Hooray
It’s not as warm so wear a coat
I’m swearing through the day

But later it gets warmer
Hip Hip Hip Hooray
Crap air con in the office means
I’m sweating through the day.

Open up the windows,
Hip Hip Hip Hooray.
The breeze blows papers off the desk
I’m sweating through the day.

Maybe put a fan on,
Hip Hip Hip Hooray.
But that just blows the work around
I’m sweating through the day.

Drinking lots of water,
Hip Hip Hip Hooray.
A slave to my bladder I become
I’m sweating through the day.

Riding on the bus home,
Hip Hip Hip Hooray.
It’s really hot and we all stink
I’m sweating through the day.

I’m thirty seven years of age
Hip Hip Hip Hooray.
I want a paddling pool from Argos now
I’m sweating through the day.

This heatwave can go do one,
Hip Hip Hip Hooray
Everybody’s had enough
We’re all sweating through the day.

Let Us Prey

July 20, 2014

“I thought we’d agreed we weren’t going to have the back door open anymore?”

This was how Carole greeted me when she got back from the car boot this morning because I was chancing my arm by having the back door open while Peppa the mighty hunter prowled around looking for her next victim/tiny still-living plaything that she could share with us.

The door stayed open all day without incident. I feel we should have a board up in the kitchen that says “DAYS WITHOUT ANY KIND OF SMALL ANIMAL BEING BROUGHT INTO THE HOUSE” and a couple of hooks we can hang numbers onto, like a cricket scoreboard. We’d totally be up to 3 now.

I mean, I suppose it’s no coincidence that Carole spent most of the afternoon sitting on the back doorstep reading a book, now I come to think of it. In the guise of “enjoying the nice weather” she was perfectly placed to act as the first line of defence should Peppa have arrived with a mouse’s arse hanging out of her mouth and, I think we all know, her screaming would have scared Peppa away – possibly even causing her to drop her latest entry in the Stuart Little Look-alike competition and all would be well with the world.

There did come a moment though, while I was cooking tea, in which I believe we did come close to having something in the house. Because, and this is something I have never seen before, I witnessed Peppa fly through the air and dive straight into the centre of a bush like a cat on a mission. And I will admit, I was torn. I wanted to carry on standing in the doorway and see if she emerged with anything – which I would then have to wrestle from her and release to its – possibly short-lived – freedom, but I also had to attend to things in the oven and was forced to close the door, just in case.

Because it would be just my luck to find that while I was juggling some roast potatoes around in the oven, Peppa had snuck past with a bird in her mouth, sprinted upstairs and dropped it on Carole’s chest as she happily lay upon the bed reading a book or continuing to really get her money’s worth out of Netflix. I mean you can imagine how that would go – there would be screaming, yelling, swearing, crying and it would all be my fault because I had been the one who left the door open.

As it happened there was nothing. Peppa emerged from the bush about ten minutes later after curiosity had got the better of me and I was standing out in the garden trying to see her amongst the leaves. I couldn’t see her, but I do know that one of next-door’s footballs is firmly nestled amongst the branches. She kind of came out of the base of the bush with a look on her face that said, “What? I totally dive into bushes all the time. Yeah, like that. Every time. What of it…” and also “I can’t believe that one got away. I really wanted to show it to mummy…”

Still, there’s always tomorrow…

We Need To Be Better Peppa-red

July 19, 2014

We trust Peppa.

Apart from the bringing dead and/or living things home thing, we completely trust Peppa.

We’re idiots.

Because when it comes to going to the vets, Peppa is a crafty little sod. Pumpkin is  a pain to get into the cat box, but we can do it, with a bit of gentle persuasion. Peppa, on the other hand, just comes home in the morning to eat a bit of breakfast and then pisses off back out again. Leaving us, half-an-hour before we’re due at the vets, standing on the doorsteps (front and back) calling for her in a way which might have come across as a little bit desperate, before having a debate about what we’re going to do when we ring up and cancel the appointment and who’s going to do it.

Carole can’t take the shame of ringing up – we have cancelled so many appointments over the years that it’s actually quite rare for us to turn up when we’re supposed to. And, I discovered the other week when Pumps went for a urine sample, that every single one of those cancellations is recorded on their records – Cancelled: Snow, Cancelled: Snow, Cancelled: Escaped, Cancelled: Not Come Home and so on and so forth. You can see why Carole is reluctant to ring – she’s in danger of being charged with wasting vet’s time at this rate.

So instead of going to the vets we went out for breakfast, won a Minion from one of those grabby-claw machines, and went to Maplin to buy something we had no intention of buying but which has kept Carole quiet pretty much all afternoon.

And then we went to the vets, because while we were out having breakfast and wotnot, Peppa just meandered home and was happily waiting for us when we got back, having expressed her joy at not going to the vets by batting the little Lego Chief Wiggum off the mantlepiece. And as she just casually strolled downstairs and pretty much walked into the box, we figured that she really did want to go to the vets after all and that this morning was just a massive misunderstanding.

And if we hadn’t gone then Carole wouldn’t have been able to complain about not really understanding the point of rabbits as house pets while sitting next to someone who had a rabbit as a house pet.

And I’m sure they won’t mind that it meant we had to cancel tomorrow’s appointment…



July 18, 2014

We went to see Caitlin Moran last night. At Leeds Town Hall, not just calling round to hers, drink wine and talk shit all night. Although that would also have been very cool but, I think, probably wouldn’t have ended with her revealing her bra with two eyes drawn on and turning her tummy into a mouth. And it probably wouldn’t have involved topics as seemingly unconnected as wanking, menstruation, large penises, the short-comings of the film There’s Something About Mary, and wanting to climb Benedict Cumberbatch like a tree.

I was, according to the stats from yesterday, one of 68 men in the audience, while women made up a good thousand. I think, though, among the men I was probably in the minority in that it was entirely my idea to go and see her because while I love her books and her writing in general, I have never had a chance to bask in her glow, as it were. And now that I have been exposed to the – frankly – horrors of the Mooncup (not to be confused with Moonpig) I have to say that I am a changed man. Probably for the better.

And when I found out that she was hanging around afterwards to sign books and wotnot, well, it was obvious what we’d do….

We came home.

Because if you look at the stats and figure half of the people there wouldn’t hang around, that’s still over 500 women and 34 men, waiting in a hot, sweaty Town Hall to get to meet Caitlin, get her to write something in the front of your book about not being a dick and pose for a photo. That’s a lot of people to get through.

We’d have still been there. I would have had to go back to my office and we’d have had to sleep on the desks or something as it would have been too late to get home by the time we were done. And we got home pretty late as it was. To the extent that, for most of today, I have been able to say that being a feminist has properly worn me out.

And it’s not like we specially hunted out our (my) copy of How To Be A Woman, and carried it all the way to Leeds, and all the way round Leeds, and all the way to the show just to bring in back in exactly the same state – or possibly a bit sweatier – than when it left the house in the morning, is it?

Oh wait, maybe it is.


Taking The Mickey (Mouse)

July 17, 2014

Carole’s worst nightmare came true today.

Actually, probably her second worst nightmare. Because the first one would involve things that were very much still alive and scampering.

And just after 8 this morning, I received the first in what would become a steady stream of panicky texts, which came out of the blue after a series of texts concerning the washing. Which does make it sound like we’re obsessed with washing. Any maybe we are.

Anyway, this:

There is now a dead mouse under a towel in the bedroom with the door shut.

Carole’s second worst nightmare is that a cat brings a dead thing into the house and leaves it, but the key ingredient is that I have to not be there. Because when I’m there, I am able to calmly take charge of the situation (see the live shrew incident, the dead mouse at the bottom of the stairs, or the more recent holy shit there’s a starling in the front room). Without me there things do not go in a calm manner.

Notice that the dead mouse is under the towel in that text.

It turns out it wasn’t under the towel. At best, the towel was in the vicinity of the dead mouse. You see, rather than laying the towel – “By the way, we can never use that towel ever again. Throw it away!” – across the top of the mouse as a kind of shroud, it transpires that Carole merely threw the towel in the general direction of the mouse as she gathered up all her belongings and ran from the room slamming the door behind her.

Which led, later in the day to an exchange in which it was unclear whether Carole had in fact missed the mouse when covering it, whether she had covered it and it had crawled out from under the towel and died in the open or whether there were two mice in the house.

There was one mouse. That had never been covered by a towel.

Carole is now concerned about the spirit of the mouse being in the bedroom.

Anyone know a good medium?


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