Four go mad on catnip

Everyone who has ever been owned by a cat will know that there are any number of indignities that we just accept as being a natural part of being in thrall to our dictatorial, mercurial, fluffy overlords. We try to communicate by replicating their assorted squeaks and mews knowing full well that they find us faintly ridiculous (and always worrying that we’ve just said something unspeakable in Cat).  Sometimes, however when we really want a point to be ignored, only our own language will do so here are some things only cat slaves ever really have to say:

  • Get your head out of my coffee mug, I am not sitting up playing laser pointer all night whilst you’re caffeining your tits off again.
  • Get out of the bathtub, I’ve only just hoovered it.  Of all the places that you could chase your own tail like the Tasmanian Devil on crack, why there?  Oh yes, because it makes the most noise at 2am, silly me.
  • I really wish she wouldn’t sit right in front of the television. For the first week of Master Chef I thought all the contestants had cat arses for heads
  • Please stop licking the Christmas decorations, you know I find glittery turds unnerving
  • My sofa appears to be snoring
  • You are neither a pot nor a pan so do not get into that cupboard young lady!
  • Do not knock my wet laundry onto the floor, when I’ve just hung it up. No, licking it does not make it better
  • Stop screaming at me when I’m trying to pee! I don’t start screaming every time you head for the litter tray do I? Afterwards sometimes, admittedly
  • Seriously guys, can’t you just do kittybix and chill?

 

Having written this, I suspect that parents of toddlers may have some familiarity with the concepts. Cats are basically just toddlers that you can leave alone without being arrested and who are fractionally more likely to shit in the right bucket.

You can’t help but be kind of fond of the malevolent little gobshites though.  Despite their insistence on taking part in every phone call I make, their uncanny ability to know when I’ve had a truly awful day and produce Exorcist levels of vomit in response and the refusal to accept that a bowl can still contain food if they can see even a suggestion of the bottom, they are kind of cute.

Also, we could learn a lot from them sometimes.  Despite their insistence on total human domination and their usual desire to bat several shades of shit out of each other over lap based rights they can come together for the common good.  The common good in this case being sharing the rights to the warmest spot in the flat.  It’s like the Gaza strip could be if cats were in charge of war (which would only take place at 2am and involve considerably more tinkly balls)

 

cats

Night of the living not dead, just a little under the weather thanks for asking

Went to the cemetery to visit my dad’s grave today. To avoid those awkward conversation gaps one has on social occasions with deceased parents, I decided to do a bit of weeding and tidying up.

Now this particular cemetery is built on the side of what is basically a small mountain and dad resides right at the bottom so the return journey with my dodgy ankle and slightly wheezy chest was something of a challenge.

Upon finally reaching the summit I saw a couple walking past the gates and offered a friendly, yet muted and respectful greeting such as befitted the solemn occasion. They recoiled in horror and took off in the opposite direction which frankly seemed a little rude.
Glancing in my rear view mirror as I got in the car, I noticed that in my gardening endeavours I had managed to transfer some mud from the back of my hand to across my face. In fact I was generally looking a little unkempt and mucky.

Then it dawned on me that this poor couple out for an early evening stroll had been confronted with a pale, dishevelled, hobbling creature emerging from the  graveyard with fresh soil all over its hands and beneath its finger nails. Not only that but said apparition was emitting the shallow, ragged breaths and slight groaning noises that only someone who has just climbed the burial ground equivalent of Everest can produce, along with sporting the red, bloodshot eyes of the hay fever sufferer who has spent the last hour surrounded by decaying funeral flowers. 

On the plus side, my dad would have laughed til he puked. 

Happy zombieversary Dad!

This might be why I’m no longer welcome on public transport

Now I will freely admit that I am not the world’s best driver. I have scant regard for speed limits, I park by reversing until I hear a crunch, and I have a very volatile relationship with the Highway Code.

So why do I drive? Well due to circumstances beyond my control which may or may not be related to these incidents, I have spent some time on the train lately and that question was answered forever.

 Edited highlights of my adventures include: 

 – Explaining to a bemused fellow passenger why I was pretty sure that the Pope was hoarding all the flying monkeys and refusing to share. The man has a gold embroidered cap and shiny, red slippers, what more clue do you need?

 – Finding myself crushed between an overly familiar folding bike with proctology aspirations, three trolls in suits and someone determinedly trying to nasally rape everyone in a three metre radius using a copy of the metro; I decided it would be unreasonable to try to get my book out to read. I did not however think it unreasonable to insist that those that did have such a literary luxury should be made to read out loud to everyone else. Perhaps insisting that they start their book from the beginning and do all the voices properly may have turned the tide against me 

 – Following this situation, the next time I got on the train I immediately locked onto the holy grail of London bound commuter trains; an empty seat right in my eyeline. Focussing on this to the exclusion of all external stimuli, like a homing pigeon for weary backsides, I vaulted the aisle and threw myself onto that fuzzy felted beacon of comfort in the style of a rugby World Cup winning try scorer. Admittedly this was somewhat to the alarm of the lady who had sat in the seat next to my hard won prize, but I figured anyone would have done the same right? Basking in glory and smugness I glanced up to discover that the previous train had been delayed and had only left moments before mine taking many of the usual passengers for my train with it. This meant that the usually bursting with seething, wrath filled humanity carriage was in fact empty. Except for me. And a now terrified woman. So that was awkward. 

 – Possibly not quite so awkward however, as the day when I was trying to clamber out of my seat to get off a completely packed train whilst not putting to much weight through yet another ankle sprain. This meant doing an uncomfortable shimmy across the legs of a stern looking besuited man who was determinedly trying to look like he was doing important type things on his iPad but was blatantly just playing candy crush.  Climbing out involved a strange combination of hops, gyrations and what probably appeared very much like twerking (which I believe is that dance move that sort of replicates the shuffle dogs do across the carpet when they have worms only in this case, into the face of an elderly tourist who just wanted to go and see Buckingham Palace). Eventually suit man grew weary of my evident discomfort and swung his legs aside to let me pass. Unfortunately he manged to catch me behind one knee which meant that I ended up sprawled astride his lap with his face pressed firmly into my cleavage and all thoughts of confectionary destruction driven from his mind. Due to not being able to put weight through the injured ankle, I had to basically do a kind of sideways belly flop into the aisle which being full of commuter, resulted in a sort of crowd surf effect only using briefcases and horrified revulsion rather than the upstretched arms of adoring fans. Not so much rock and roll as crash and burn really. And I laddered my tights.

I may have to find a job closer to home

Packing for cat owners

Packing basically sucks on multiple levels right? There’s the mind numbing tedium, the endless decisions about what you can part with leading to Gollum like hissings over items you haven’t touched in years (none of my friends will help me pack now even after I stopped doing the thing with the fish), and of course the inevitable bit where you realise that you’ve packed all the plates in a fit of efficiency and you aren’t actually moving for two weeks and now you have to live like a savage because you don’t know which box is which.

And then there’s cats. Packing with cats is a whole different beast and goes a little like this:

– Find an empty box

– Remove cat from box

– Repeat

-Shut cat out of room and block your ears against the unholy shrieking that can only come from a tortured banshee, a death metal band that have run out of coke, or a cat that thinks it’s missing out on something

– Put items in box

– Remove cat from box, close window

– Locate bubble wrap

– Unravel cat from bubble wrap, noting that stress relieving properties of bubble wrap diminish in correlation with severity of injuries inflicted by furious feline intent on creating stylish yet practical armour that will scare the shit out of Fluffykins next door during their next bitey skirmish.

– Throw as many items as possible into box, no longer caring what they are, whether you want them or whether they require any protection other than a fine layer of cat hair. Remove cat.

– Note absence of packing tape and coincidental strange banging noise from the kitchen

– Enter kitchen in time to see huge hole appear where there was once a cat flap. Gape in horror as the cat flees down the garden begarlanded with a packing tape neck adornment.

– Spend the next fifteen minutes attempting to coax your packing tape adorned, mocker of humanity down from a tree. Use any and all blandishments at your disposal. Momentarily turn away from the mountain of fish, meats, tinkly balls and cat treats around the tree trunk and realise cat and packing tape have vanished

– Sob softly

– Return to house. Remove cat and packing tape from box

– Abandon hope and drink wine. Do not attempt to explain to neighbours why you are lying drunk next to a kitty tree shrine, frantically popping bubble wrap and rocking back and forth wearing nothing but packing tape

Zombie vindaloo anyone?

So in an attempt to pretend that I’m all about the team spirit and all that shit (I have an appraisal next week) I decided to do some workplace bonding (after I looked it up; yeah totally not what I initially thought).

We went out for team ice cream, which in retrospect I should probably have known was a bad plan as I don’t really do well with vast quantities of sugar in the middle of the day. On the plus side, I couldn’t actually sit still long enough to email most of my awesome ideas to everyone in senior management, which was probably just as well as it turns out that flingyourownshitfriday is not all one word.

Anyway, after taking advice from the highest source of workplace etiquette wisdom (reruns of The Office and a couple of American sitcoms) I realised that chatting around the water cooler is the way forward. Armed with an only mildly psychotic grin I sallied forth (I’m not really sure what that is but I think it involves a sort of determined stride/hip shimmy combo which does nothing for my sciatica).

My fine intentions were somewhat stymied on arrival by the sight of a colleague from another department, lying prone beneath the water machine, one upstretched arm clutching frantically at the tap. Turned out he’d been on a curry and beer marathon the night before and was suffering disastrous aftereffects. So much so in fact that he now needed to make a rapid, if somewhat soggy dash to the nearest staff convenience.

Priding myself on a job well done in the social interaction stakes, I headed back to my office only to be interrupted by a blood curdling howl.

Some moments later I encountered my bhuna bothered friend, now more wild eyed and shaken even than before. It would seem that in his vindaloo and vino induced stupor, he hadn’t taken in the announcement about the generator test due to take place. This meant that at the crucial moment of his internal exodus, the power went out plunging him into darkness. He didn’t know whether he’d blacked out or the world had ended.

Now I like to think of myself as a sympathetic soul. It’s not true of course but I like to think it. I defy anyone however, to maintain a kindly yet concerned demeanour when confronted with the image of a hungover, bhaji stained therapist who believes that he has just shat out the apocalypse.

I think I’ll stick to paintballing in future.

On a side note, this incident did get me to thinking that I am woefully underprepared for the inevitable zombie apocalypse. The risk of being caught pants down, either literally or metaphorically can’t be underestimated. Luckily for me, I am now equipped (thanks to a fine and understanding friend) with an instruction manual that will ensure the survival of all that I hold dear in the event of zombie attack. My new mission is to follow this manual and build fortifications, gather stores, drill troops and arm bears (or something like that) despite any opposition from confused hardware salesman, irate neighbours and council planning departments.

Who’s with me?

By my reckoning I’m about 75% indestructible now

It’s been a difficult few days strewn with catastrophe, however while contemplating which of my misdemeanours might most have dismayed the universe I hit upon truly amazing answer. An answer that basically makes me invincible. Intrigued? Come, join me on my meandering path of practically infallible logic……

The first incident occurred as I was innocently driving to work on a cold rainy morning at an hour when all right thinking people should be just getting home from a night of mayhem and debauchery. Bravely heading into the pitch darkness, preparing myself for a day of giving my all to the well-being of others (ok, thinking about how much I was looking forward to coffee as soon as I got to the office), suddenly there was the most almighty crash, a sense of plummeting into the bowels of the earth followed by a hissy, explodey noise like a nest of vipers had been overinflated with a balloon pump.

I hauled my wounded vehicle out of the abyss only to find myself hurtling towards the three other vehicles that had encountered the crevasse moments before. Clenching my buttocks and screaming like a banshee at an old folks home in flu season, I managed to abandon my metaphorical ship in the last remaining gap in the graveyard of deflated automobiles.

Looking back at the road behind, this was no mere pothole that had tried to claim me. This was a full scale collapse, opening up a path straight to Hades. I could hear the screams (although that might still have been me) and smell the roasting flesh (which may have been the nearby house making bacon sandwiches). I was lucky to escape with just a change of tyre and underpants.

Basically despite me having wished it many a time, this was the time the earth literally tried to swallow me up.

Now to the second incident where upon reaching for a towel it appears that the airing cupboard has become a really crappy aquarium. The sort where all the water floods into your house and all the fish are spare bedding and clothes you shoved in there in the vain hope that one day they would fit again even though they’ve been in there so long the fashion has come back round and gone again. I thought briefly that perhaps my flat was destined to be the Noah’s ark of the modern world but then I realised that I only have cats and dust bunnies so that might be less effective than a magical boat that held all the creatures of the world including the ones that no-one had ever heard of. Also my flat was clearly failing to float.

Somehow, despite the grim determination of my home to lure me into a watery grave, the deluge was halted. Luckily for me I have an awesome plumbing type friend who was able to restore heat and water while I stood there giggling at words like ‘stopcock’ and ‘ball valve’ which are apparently totally real things. Plumbing is basically being paid for making smutty remarks about people’s pipeworks. Well that and the whole restoring heat and water stuff anyway.

Despite the mounting evidence, I still didn’t appreciate what was going on until today when out of nowhere, all manner of bleeps and flashy lights erupted in my car and then went silent again. Now it’s a well established fact that cars are not my strong point so I wondered if this was just a little eccentricity. Being a modern, capable sort of woman I immediately texted someone who knew about cars and explained that my tin man light had a little disco then went back to sleep but it was probably just to cheer me up on a long journey.

One slightly mocking reply and an intimate encounter with a dipstick (snigger) later and I was able to confirm that indeed my car was an oil free zone but as I was nowhere near a garage I headed off for little drive about until I found one. Apparently this was the wrong thing to do as it can turn your engine into a gigantic ball of flamey death. Ooops.

Miraculously unflamed, I found myself having the following conversation with mechanically minded man (MMM)

Me: ‘There are a lot of oils, shall I just get the one in the nicest coloured bottle?’
MMM: (sigh) ‘No you need the one that says (erm I forget what he said but something not related to aesthetics on the front).
Me: ‘but that one says it’s for older engines. That seems unkind, could they not say it’s for mature engines like they do with skin cream so we don’t all just give in and die of moisturiser related shame?’
MMM: ‘Just buy the damn oil’
Me: ‘Ok I have oil but I have no idea how to get it in the dipstick hole (double snigger)
MMM: ‘No, do NOT do that. It goes in the other hole, the one with the oil picture on it’
Me’: The one with the genie lamp? You want me to put oil in my genie hole?
MMM: ‘No, just no. I don’t even know what to say to you now
Me: You’ve given my car an age complex and now you’re ruining all my wish based hopes’

Conversation becomes unrepeatable from here.

So in effect in less than a week I have survived attacks from the forces of earth, water and fire. This has got to mean that if I can make it though whatever air has in store for me I can never be killed. Based on a pope related conversation I had with a slightly bewildered man on a train over the weekend, I’m pretty sure it’s going to be a flying monkey attack.

Bring it on

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I bet the real Santa wouldn’t tolerate this crap

The local radio station runs a delightful campaign where people are asked to donate an extra gift for a needy child who might otherwise get nothing for Christmas.  This is a beautiful thing and the year that I was asked to be part of it, I knew it would be so very special.   And special indeed it was.

—————————Wavy lines——————————

So I joined social services all young, fresh faced and full of enthusiasm.  I was going to right wrongs, restore harmony and generally do the right thing, goddammit.  Now this was misguided for many a reason and the year that I became Santa was just a tiny drop in the ocean of cynicism I was to develop.

But anyways…..a large sackful of gifts appeared in our office from the radio show.  Who would be in touch with more needy children than social services after all?  I had visions of grubby little urchins holding up their outstretched palms like marginally better fed Oliver Twists, tears of joy sliding down their little faces as they received the first presents they had ever had.  I saw families who had hitherto spent the kiddies Christmas pressie fund on fags and sky tv being so touched by the kindness of strangers at this miraculous time that they recanted of their shameful ways and abandoned the vodka and crack pipes in favour of homework time and extra cuddles.  Through my willingness to distribute the benevolence of others I was going to help create a new generation of doctors, academics and artists from those who might otherwise have been hanging around street corners with headgear at ridiculous angles and trousers filling with rainwater where they were puddled around their knees.

I know, I totally had it coming right?

So having leaped forward to volunteer myself for this mission, I gathered the massive pile of gifts and headed out into the gently falling snow, humming a festive tune, heart full of joy and face full of chocolate.

That all was not to go quite as I imagined first became clear as I arrived at the first house.  Now I am aware that poor deprived urchins probably don’t live in the most salubrious areas but manoeuvring through the burning tyres and used durex mountains was startling.  There was a flood of wide eyed salvation army collectors streaming past my car uttering oaths that I’m fairly sure were not in the Bible.  A group of carol singers huddled by the wayside, weeping softly and not even in key.

Undaunted I parked up and headed for my first destination.  The front door bore the welcoming notice ‘go rond bak’ so to the garden I duly headed.  Now I’m good with dogs, even the most slavering beast with extra fangs doesn’t faze me.  This family did not have a dog.  What they had was a hate filled bundle of furry, fury that launched itself on spring loaded rear legs straight for my throat.  Hideous screams filled the air, though whether from me or the hell beast I could no longer tell.  Luckily this brought the family to my aid.  Well I say aid, if aid means going ‘daft bitch is scared of the fucking bunny!’, anyway.  Seriously though, that was the shit scariest rabbit that ever existed outside of Monty Python.

Gifts were handed over, jugulars were bandaged and criticisms were uttered about the lack of willingness of the local populace to hand over Xboxes or Benson and Hedges during the festive season.  I’m guessing no-one thought those were ideal for a seven year old but that’s because they aren’t in tune with the youth of today who are all about the gaming and befanged cottontailed demons.

Several near death experiences later, I went to drive out of the estate on my remaining two wheels.  The softly falling snow was now a howling blizzard and  the roads were slick with ice and Special Brew. My car, unlike a sleigh did not rise above this and I found myself in a sort of bobsleigh of terror with no idea which  way I was facing let alone how to escape this hell.  I became grimly aware that should I survive this I was going to need a change of career and underwear although probably not in that order.

Escape I did however, and after flinging the remaining gifts in the faces of the now hideously threatening and peril strewn ragamuffin population with naught but a hastily muttered ‘ Mer’ Chrissma’ before dashing to the safety of my rapidly disintegrating vehicle, I headed for sanctuary at the local hostelry.  After telling my tale of woe and restoring my festive spirit by imbibing large quantities of gin (the most festive of spirits) I was able to regain both my perspective and control of my bladder.

But much as it pains me to let the truth get in the way of my story, it’s only fair to say that actually, several dicey moments aside the majority of people took my presence and presents in the manner they were intended and were genuinely touched that anyone could be bothered to think of them and their kids at a time when most of us think pretty much entirely about the irritations of fighting red eyed hordes for the last furby on the shelf or how many calories it’s possible to consume before actually turning in on oneself and inadvertently devouring planets in our newfound gravitational force (NB this may not actually be how physics works but if it turns out in the future that it is, you can share my Nobel prize).

Also my expectation had been all about the beaming, bright eyed seraphim and lo and behold generally they were beaming like little cherubs, well if cherubs were armed with flick knives and a vocabulary that would make Quentin Tarantino flinch.

So I learned three main things:

1) People are both much better and much worse than you think

2) Expectations are all about you.  If you think other people will go along with them or play nicely then you are doomed to a life of bowel bothering terror or resentful fury.

3)  There is a reason Santa wants nothing to do with you while you’re awake and he is a fucking genius.