More April Showers

The meteors are definitely off tonight, then.

I reckon I could go into the weather forecasting business, based on the fact that I entirely called it weather-wise for tonight’s celestial activities. As I sit and write this, Thor himself is raining down a merry dance on our homestead. So probably not the night to go and stand outside and stare skyward.

Not that it isn’t tempting to let this electrically charged precipitation wash all over me because it’s been ridiculously warm today and even warmer at work with temperatures reaching a balmy “frick me!” on the walking into a room scale. And that’s with the fan heaters blowing cold air all afternoon.

Obviously that’s the hot weather over and done with now. The thunder has come and marked the end of it, clearing the air for the colder weather that we’re more accustomed to through April and May, into June and probably beyond. Apart from that one random day when it’ll be hot as buggery and every news channel will run a segment about how hot it is featuring pretty girls lying in the park. Because that’s why they do.

But then, it’s a good test for all the planting and stuff that’s been done while the weather has been awesome. It’s always nice to see how stuff recently planted out survives under a sudden heavy downpour. We’ve got a bleeding heart which is held together with a meat skewer, some washi tape (which is like masking tape but with ambition) and the stick out of an ice lolly. I dread to think how that’s holding up. And just as it was about to flower, too…

Not that I can take any credit for the work in the garden. Carole got up almost before the sun this morning to crack on with green-fingered things. And, as she is prone to, she did it silently and without announcing that she was going outside or, shortly afterwards, going to a shop to buy a further ridiculous amount of plants and some more pots. Because she likes to let her loved ones sleep in the morning and not apprise them of every movement.

She’s planning on doing the same tomorrow morning.

I might have to sleep with my fingers in my ears. No-one needs to see that sort of early morning on a Sunday…



April Showers

We’re in the middle of what is turning out to be quite a pleasant little warm snap. Obviously, because it’s the UK, we’re taking it to extremes – it’s tops off, shorts on and planning a barbeque kind of shenanigans.

Two weeks ago we had snow.

How quickly we forget these things.

But no, it’s nice. It’s been nice to be able to put washing on the line for practically the first time this year. It’s been nice to potter round the garden looking at all the stuff that needs to be done before deciding it’s too hot to do any of it and heading back inside. It’s been just a nice warm period.

Obviously now we’ve had it hot, we’re being warned that temperatures are set to fall again. Because we can’t have nice things for too long. It’s not in our nature.

But it’s fairly obvious that the weather is going to take a turn. You only have to look at what we’ve go coming up in the night sky to be able to realise that this entire warm spell is going to end tomorrow evening.

It’s the Lyrid meteor shower over the weekend – reaching its peak in the late hours of Saturday night and the early ones of Sunday morning.

They’re considered the most consistent meteor shower, and if we play our cards right we might be treated to fireballs and smoky trails left behind by falling space debris. In other words, a pretty decent show.

So it goes without saying that the weather is going to go to absolute shit at about, oo, ten o’clock tomorrow night. Cloud will roll in. Thick, thick cloud with no hope of it ever blowing over, certainly not while there’s anything occurring on the other side of it.

Even more so now that I am aware of it happening and fully intend to spend part of the night standing in the garden looking at the sky and muttering about not seeing anything. Probably while trying to stop a certain cat from getting in the house each time I pop out for a looksee.

Not that there will be anything to see. Just clouds. Lots of clouds.

If I go into it expecting the worst, I can only be impressed right?


Curiosity Gardened The Cat

It’s quite hard, I’ve discovered, to clear away the remnants of privacy bushes and such like – in fact, to do anything in the garden, when there’s a cat that isn’t yours kicking about.

And that’s not just because once you’re out of the house, you have to hope you have everything you need because you cannot get back in without a furry intruder.

It’s because she’s everywhere. And always underfoot. Which is adorable. But makes it quite hard to walk around carrying things that might obscure your ability to see your foot area. And if you accidentally knock her, she then attacks your feet for a minute to let you know that you knocked her. Which, again, when you can’t see her is quite hard to avoid.

Then there’s the fact that if you’re, say, cutting branches into a waste bucket for taking to the tip you have to hope that they fully in the bucket and don’t remain overhanging. Because if they are overhanging she’ll then take them out of the bucket. And when you try to pick them, or any other bits that have missed the bucket, off the ground she will leap out of a bush and attack your hand.

And there’s the thing where you think she’s left you alone, and you breath a sigh of relief, only for – at a random moment – her to fly out from under a bush and bat at your legs for no actual reason.

Or, yesterday, while Carole was outside potting things up – in bare feet – Trixie insisted on attacking every single wasp in the Huddersfield area and bringing them down to our patio where they would roll around in cat-based pain. Thus making the patio deadlier than that swarm of bees in My Girl.

And when she’s not outside hindering you in your work, she’s sitting on the doorstep – front or back, she’s equally bold at both entrances now – waiting for the tiniest gap that she could get into. We’ve had to buy cat treats specifically to lure her out of the house.

She’s like the raptors in Jurassic Park. For the past few months she’s been testing the fences, and now she has free reign of the whole area.

Clever girl.

Flat Mouse

It’s fair to say that we have a long, checkered history with cat toys. Because of the very fickle nature of the beasts the toys are for, some will be a big hit and others will be a dust-catcher for a period of time before they are removed.

Few can forget the time I got Pumpkin a crinkly bag-tunnel thing, knowing how much she loved to dart into carrier bags. I thought it was safer, maybe, to buy this than have her dice with death and suffocation otherwise.

And it sat unusued for all the time that it was in the house. No interest was shown in it whatsoever. So we gave it to someone else, and their cats went crazy for it.

And that’s kind of been the way ever since.

Peppa’s not a big player, she’ll have a look at some stuff but she’s generally not that interested. When she was a kitten she had six little mice, all different colours. They were her favourite toys, and she used to love attacking them. Now, four years down the line, only brown mouse remains. And he’s tail-less. The other mice met various fates – I know the pink one was sucked up the Dyson. I have no idea where the other four went.

Brown mouse is still played with though, to this day. So she definitely has the playing instinct. But she won’t play with much else. She has a “bird” on a stick that she can take or leave (mainly leave), but Trixie loves that on the few occasions I’ve played with her in the garden to try and distract her from the joys of our house.

The other day, left to my own devices in Pets At Home, I might have picked up a new toy. I was meant to be buying cat food. Which I totally did. But you’ve got to treat your favourite little black and white companion as well… so I bought her a mouse, filled with catnip. And, importantly, no stuffing.

It’s basically a flat mouse.

Peppa goes crazy for it. Because, as I say, it’s filled with catnip. She bloody loves it. She chews it, licks it, rolls all over it, pounces on it, bats it about, carries it around and probably talks to it when no one is looking. It’s amazing.

The problem with it is that it looks like a flat mouse.

From a distance, and at a quick glance, it looks like a real flat mouse.

There is one occupant of this house who does not like this fact.

Pretty much every day since it entered the abode we have had a little scream or other startled noise as Carole has come into contact with the aforementioned flat beastie. Because, hilariously, during the night Peppa likes to leave it in front of Carole’s chest of drawers. Just where she’ll walk.

I can’t wait for the day Carole stands on it. And the feeling of the flat mouse, combined with the insane amount of cat dribble that adorns it, sends nerve impulses from the base of the foot all the way to Carole’s brain in next-to-no-time. And there’s an almighty scream and, I reckon, some pretty good air time as she jumps horizontally away from the offending article.

I literally can’t wait.

It’ll be at a ridiculously early hour of the morning but, you know what, I don’t care.

That flat mouse is the best £2.50 I have ever spent.

Soil Screening

We’ve been doing various things around the bathroom – not, I hasten to add, trashing it like the last time we did various things around the bathroom – because it’s been in for a while yet and the odd thing needs dealing with, touching up and what-have-you.

One of those things was the seal strip thing on the bottom of the shower screen. Now, there’s a lot of issues with this shower screen anyway. Because there’s a school of thought – with a graduating class – that the shower screen is not the one that is supposed to go with the bath, nor is the bath the one that goes with the bath siding. Basically, there are three different curves when you reach the curve of the P-shaped bath. It is, of course, because Matthew ordered these things after we paid him for expensive and matching items, purely a choice of what was cheapest and looked like it would be the closest match.

We have long accepted that. Along with the pedestal for the wash basin not being the actual pedestal for the wash basin. Because, you know, massive fucking con artist.

But anyway, that’s by the by. The seal at the bottom of the shower screen was maaaanky. I’ve taken it off and cleaned it on numerous occasions but it was just going more and more orange which, for a clear strip, is a bit odd. And even more baffling when you think that none of the soaps we use are in any way, shape or form orange. You’d clean it, think it looked okay, put it back on and a couple of days later it’s orange again.

Bloody thing.

I’d had enough of that shit. So we went an bought a new one. Why was stuff when you can pay money for a new strip which is long enough for two replacements? It’s the new cleaning. I don’t know how much else we’ll do in a similar fashion but it’s quite liberating. And probably less likely to give us a hideous pooing disease.

We went to B&Q solely for that strip and a bag of compost.

We spent probably the better part of forty minutes discussing stepping stones for the garden path. This is our life now. I’m not sure I like it.

We left with loads of stuff. And a bag of compost way bigger than anyone thought we’d be getting. We spent about fifty quid. I mean, bloody hell.  It says it should not be carried by one person. It’s that size of bag. It’s entirely manageable by one person, but it shouldn’t be done.n

Obviously I’ve done it.

I mean Carole has string arms. So bugger it, just grab it by the join and carry it. What’s the worst that’ll happen? If I drop it on my foot it’ll probably just rebreak those toes that were totally probably broken when I dropped that ten kilograms of firewood on them but didn’t hurt enough for me to believe they were broken. But probably were.

Not that we can take it outside because Trixie is blocking our every exit from the house. She just meanders in the front door now, happy as Larry and makes her way to the back of the house where the cat food lives. We’ve had to buy cat treats so that she can be lured out into the garden.

This is our life now.

Held hostage by a cat. Just me, Carole and a massive bag of compost.

Still, at least the bottom of the shower screen’s all shiny.