Friday, 29 August 2008

Skirting Board Strategy Meeting

Courtesty of "Two Bad Mice" greetings cards

Thursday, 28 August 2008

Time of Capture 1703 GMT + 12

Day three of “Mouse under Siege”.

Just as I was about to dish up a pasta dinner this evening, I noticed Madam staring at the kitchen cupboard in “pounce mode”. I got the kitchen colander at the ready. A split second later, out popped Millicent, Cookie grabbed her and we got her to drop the mouse and down came the colander.

She was duly deposited outside in an area not normally frequented by the cats. She paused, twitched her whiskers and sauntered off, apparently none the worse for wear.

Cookie is still looking for her and muttering.

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Rodent Rodeo

Ms Mouse, who will be hitherto dubbed Millicent, made an appearance this evening with Cookie. We were peacefully watching a BBC video when both were seen streaking across the dining room. There followed a scene resembling the Keystone Cops, with hubby and I armed with empty rubbish bins / cloths and various things to try to catch her, all to no avail. If a cat was able to “Herumph!”, Cookie “Herumphed”. We are seriously in her bad books for spoiling her fun.

Millicent is the sweetest creature. I don’t want to set a trap. I want the cat to catch her and then I will do the heroic rescue and relocate her to the compost heap.

Madam is banned from the bedroom tonight. I don’t want her crawling under the covers with Milly Mouse taking refuge in my pyjamas.

Things that go bump....

Last night, at 2.30pm I was woken up by a primeval howling. Thinking that our female cat was sick, I shot out of bed.

Somewhat bleery eyed, I flicked the light in the living room, to find madam playing with a live mouse. A great deal of scurrying (mine and hers) took place before the mouse outwitted us and disappeared through a hole I didn’t know we had behind the kitchen cabinets.

It explains why madam has been staring for hours at the space under our fridge.

Rewind several days ago. I watched, fascinated as Mr Tom Cat Sofa Dweller dozed (seemingly) on the middle of the driveway. Then without warning he jumped up and raced head first to our retaining wall. My initial thought was “He’s finally lost the plot, he is mentally deranged”. Oh, no, he managed to catch a mouse. I called my husband and we watched him dangle the wee thing out of his mouth. But then came the funny part. He stopped and looked at us myopically, then trotted around the outside of the house several times. “He’s not sure what to do.” I told hubby. “He has surprised even himself, and now after the victory parade, he’s figuring out what is step two”.

As we were on the way out, we had to leave him to it. We hadn’t figured on him bringing the mouse inside for further entertainment. In fact, when we returned, he had that “full” look that a cat has after eating something forbidden. So we teased him for a day or two.

So, it transpires he brought the mouse to his sister to ask her what to do with it.

Dear me. A moose loose in the hoose.

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Somewhat tied up

I now have evidence that blue blood runs in my husband’s veins. His lineage on his grandmother’s side is the Hungarian aristocracy, but after this morning’s small incident, I have a theory that he may be related to the Queen of England.

We recently bought a new chest of drawers, which gave me a great excuse to sort out the old one. I was presented with a plastic box from my husband’s part of the drawers to sort out. It contained a very large supply of shoelaces – old, new, odd, matching. You name your type, we have it Guv’nor.

A small problem; my better half only owns one pair of shoes with laces. He has been squirreling away an entire generation’s worth of tie ups.
I have it on good authority that Her Majesty also collects string. She and my husband would make a fearsome pair of hoarders.

Saturday, 23 August 2008

Cannelloni Tube Dot Com

Yesterday, I discovered the BEST way to relax. I bought a box of cannelloni a couple of days ago, and for the first time in 46 years, I had the pleasure of mucking about with this seriously amazing form of pasta.

It is such fun poking meatball sauce down a pasta tube. You think I’m joking? It is the culinary equivalent of stroking a cat.

What puzzles me though, is how did the Italians come up with this little gem? I have a theory: A housewife in Pompeii one afternoon started to roll up a piece of Lasagne – because it looked cuter than when it was flat, then Vesuvius blew. The heat sealed the lasagne into a tube. An archaelogist found it next to a Pompeii cookbook and a new dish was born.

Whatever and however, it is now my favourite food and is actually less fiddly to make than Lasagne. I made the meat version. Any veggie variations, feel free to send me your recipes at the email address on my profile.
Whether it is cars, fashion, food, coffee or simply La Dolce Vita, boy have the Italians got it right.

Friday, 22 August 2008

Jerusalem Sparrow

A friend in the US decided I needed cheering up. She sent me this photo, knowing my love of sparrows. It was taken by the Jerusalem based photographer Jennifer Allen. Check out her site for more

Thursday, 21 August 2008

Yellow harvest

After a rough start to the day (aching head - again), I took a short walk around our garden. I came back minutes later with four lemons and four daffodils, each a different variety.

Yellow is such a happy colour and the tooting horns of the daffies acted as a pain relief all day.

After the fall

On Tuesday I had a CT scan of my head.

The sound it made helped my to sympathise with the crockery inside my dishwasher.

I guess this means I have been medically brainwashed.

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Foodie Fads

I'm a kid of the '60s and remember when prawn cocktail or melon balls were considered the height of culinary sophistication. It's actually very funny looking at cookery books from the 1960s and 1970s. I remember being stunned by Chicken Kiev the first time I ate it (though I have a suspicion that no self respecting Ukrainian would serve it). The Red Army would not be able to march on that Comrade!

My pet hate is greenery on a plate with the dessert. I don’t want mint/dill or cabbage leaves served with my crème caramel THANK YOU! Also, which celeb chef came up with the idea to dribble or wave perfectly good chocolate or raspberry sauce over the pud? If you want me to love you, give me a proper dollop of the stuff on the side, don’t sketch a Matisse outline with it –it’s harder to wash the plate afterwards.

Anyone remember Pavlovas when they first arrived in the UK from Down Under (and where Down Under is still a matter of bloodthirsty debate in this bit of the planet)? With all due respect to my adopted country, I’ve never understood the excitement over this pud. It is too fresh airy for me. A pud should have substance – enough to make you want to curl up and wash your whiskers for several hours afterwards. This doesn’t even deserve a cat lick.

Thank heavens that Nouvelle Cuisine has moved on. Who really enjoyed the coaster sized piece of steak with an ice cream scoop of fancy potato? We are designed to eat REAL food, not meccano constructions of pickled cabbage balanced on a soupcon of salmon.

OK, a straw poll. Given the choice between a fish pie made with a variety of fish and heaps of spring veggies followed by a treacle pud and hot custard or half a ducks breast with a glaze of sauce and three peas, which would you choose?

Sunday, 17 August 2008

Today is cancelled

Three out of our four person household (the cats think they qualify) are down and out. Hubby spent part of the night in the bathroom with Beijing Belly, Cookie the Calico threw up all over the living room this evening, and I’m dozing with painkillers.

Otto is in charge, paws in the air, from the sofa.

Tomorrow he’s on cooking and cleaning duty, but I’m hiding the car keys from him. He has absolutely no road sense.

Saturday, 16 August 2008

Beijing Gold Medals - a perspective

So far, the Chinese have a gold medal for every 49 .2 million people

The USA has a gold medal for every 18 million people

Australia has a gold medal for every 3 million people

New Zealand has a gold medal for every 2 million people.

Kind of puts things in perspective doesn't it?

Friday, 15 August 2008

1499 pieces to go

We would like it to be known that our Tom Cat is a dab paw at jigsaws. He was ably assisted by a senior economist, who took no less than three days to finish it. He claims that Otto kept shuffling the pieces.

Please collect your lost property

It would appear that the three armed butler is related to the Norse god Thor, who has been hitting our suburb with thunder and lightning for the last 12 hours.

All I can say is, I surrender. He can have his three rubber gloves back, but please enough of rapid thunder claps and electric strikes. I've had it!

Thursday, 14 August 2008

Housework - Star Trek Style

This morning I treated myself to new rubber gloves to wash up with (yes, I know, I lead a sad existence!).

I was delighted when I opened the pack to find three gloves, all for one hand.

Anyone out there have an alien butler with three right arms? If so, have I got a deal for you!

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Dwelling with coathangers

Cookie has a new nest, in the wardrobe. She has found a nook between my box of greetings cards and my IKEA five drawer storage box. She managed to snuggle under the hanging clothes so that only her nose and a dainty paw were showing. Because we have an open plan walk in closet, I was actually directly in her eyeline all night.

I was kept awake, on and off, by torrential rain, thunder and the occasional lightning flash. I am so heartily sick of listening to the torrents coursing down our metal roof (we've had the wettest winter in ten years). The walk in closet is almost sound proof because of the clothes and the boxfiles lining the shelves next to the ceiling.

Humph, if it rains tonight, Cookie can have the bed – I’m having the space between the boxes under the row of shirts.

Monday, 11 August 2008

In Memoriam

It’s been a difficult week. A long standing friend of my husband’s died suddenly, five weeks after he got married. We had attended his wedding, which was so special. It was a first time marriage for him and his bride.

He was a delightful man, very shy but with a droll sense of humour. He was the legal brain behind a significant block of our country’s legislation. At the funeral some of the senior public figures in the country spoke about him. They brought out his humour, his generosity and his community work, which had been recognised by the Governor General.

For me, I remember his kindness. I landed in this country four years ago, knowing only one person other than my fiance. At our engagement party, I was totally overwhelmed by the 89 people present; I had only met two of them before. He sensed it and it was his warm, shy welcome which endeared him so much to me. In the twinkly eyes there was a phrase hanging; “Gosh, this must be such hard work – but keep going, you’re doing ok”.

Today, I wept through the service. His bride of five weeks gave the most extraordinary testimony of him and how God was sustaining her. He has left a gap much larger than his 5’5” frame occupied.

Saturday, 9 August 2008

Beijing Opening Ceremony

Ok, so we get it, the 4 great Chinese inventions were paper, the printing block, gunpowder and the compass.

One serious omission – the Takeaway.

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Sending out an SOS

For once, I found a paragraph in our local newspaper that was good news. I will quote in full:

“A millionaire yachties’ radio call for help in the Coral Sea was picked up by Taupo Maritime Radio, nearly 4000kms away in New Zealand. Radio Taupo picked up a Mayday message about 4am on Sunday after two Britons ran aground on an uncharted reef. Mr Turner said that they had to abandon his $2.2 million yacht for a life raft after hitting the reef about 500km off Cairns. Queensland search and rescue crews were alerted by NZ’s rescue coordination centre and the pair were lifted off the life raft by helicopter”

Whoever was manning that radio at 4am, I salute you!

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Feathered visitors

I think I am just a few feathers short of being a twitcher. I love birds, and NZ has its fair share of amusing ones.

This morning I had a Kereru sighting. I may have mentioned this chappie before; he is our native wood pigeon. They were hunted almost to the verge of extinction by the Maori, on account of their rather tasty meat. It didn’t hurt that they were very slow and cumbersome and therefore easily caught.
We have an organisation in the city which keeps track of Kereru sightings. I will record our friend on their website later. I think he is the same “local” I spotted about 8 months ago. I suspect he enjoys the peace and quiet of our street and the abundance of telegraph wires to sag on. In fact, it’s a pretty good way of detecting a Kereru neighbourhood. Check out how many electricity or telephone wires dip heavily in the middle. Chances are that ten ton Charlie has been perched there for the afternoon.

Illustration courtesy Buller, Walter Lawry, Birds of New Zealand, 1873.

Monday, 4 August 2008

Normal Service Will Be Resumed

Not to the blog, but to my brain.
The doctor's verdict was "significant" concussion. I could have a hairline fracture on the skull, but as these are difficult to detect on Xrays and heal on their own, the doc wasn't too concerned. I have been told to rest and take painkillers when I need to for the headache. But I am definitely on the mend in spite of going to work as normal and doing my usual rushing around at home!
Some lessons learned: 1) You don't have to pass out to have serious concussion 2) When you land on your head, you can get whiplash 3) Good idea to go to hospital straight away and not just to carry on as normal (Duh!)
Other news. Our city has had 20 landslides in the last few days due to heavy rain. Families have lost homes - it's pretty serious.
We continue to be very grateful for our waterproofed home and I for my numb/tough skull.

Saturday, 2 August 2008

Houston we have a problem

For some reason I can post to this site, but I currently can't view it - a problem with Internet Explorer.

If any of you other folk out there are having this problem, please could you email me (as per email on my profile). Thanks.

Friday, 1 August 2008

Concussion talk

A dear friend called me today to find out how I was doing. She had seen me on Sunday, two days after I intimately acquainted myself with the concrete on our drive. She very diplomatically told me I definitely had all the symptoms of concussion then, which included not talking like my normal self.
Today our next-door neighbour told me, via my husband, that I really should get checked out with the doctor. But it’s Friday. Everyone gets sick close to the weekend. No appointments, not even emergency ones. So I took myself off to a local accident clinic on the off chance that everyone in a 30 mile radius had decided in the last 24 hours to stay healthy and safe. Not a hope. After waiting there for four hours (which included curling up on a bench and sleeping for 40 minutes), I gave up and went home. I now have to wait until Monday for a doctor’s appointment. I have to work tomorrow, so hope I don’t get a rush of customers with difficult questions. Parts of my brain are still rather slow to communicate with my mouth, and what comes out of my mouth occasionally doesn’t link up with conversations in time and space.
My eye has almost returned to its normal colour, but there appears to be a lot of furniture rearranging going on inside my head. I hope that it all fits back together soon and that no one has stolen the sofa or the bookcase.