Returns, dinosaurs and cat flaps.

Tach, Possums!

I shall refrain from writing another apology and yet another promise that I shall post more regularly.  It seems that every time I write such a thing, the exact opposite happens.  I was in Germany for a terrific 9 months and met some of the most fantastic people.  I also had hardly any internet, thus the radio silence.  Until I moved back to the UK nearly 2 months ago.

ANYWAY. ¬†My new excuse is dinosaurs. ¬†A friend of mine is expecting her first child at the end of the year, and naturally I’ve gotten *slightly* carried away knitting¬†for the poor thing. ¬†In addition to a bear and a starry cardigan, I’ve started on a dinosaur. ¬†Because who doesn’t want a brightly coloured dinosaur? ¬†He’s part-way through construction, has been a joy to knit, and will no doubt inspire a few sibling dinosaurs in time.

knitted dinosaur with legs
HE HAS LEGS

In addition to knitting, my furry adopted little sister had a slight disaster, and ended up spending a week at the vet’s. ¬†I think¬†that in pulling through the ordeal, she may well have used up one of her nine lives. ¬†We suspect the cause was an injury acquired in a cat fight, but because it had healed over before any of the symptoms appeared, we can only speculate. ¬†In short, she was lethargic, off her food, withdrawn and short of breath. ¬†It turns out it was a pyrothorax; a build-up of fluid, in this case caused by an infection, in the chest cavity. ¬†The vets drained 350ml of what I can only politely describe as goop, and she was on IV antibiotics for a week. ¬†Last October she weighed 4.1kg, just to give you an idea of the proportion of fluid drained in relation to her weight. ¬†(For the Imperialists among you, that’s nearly a pint of fluid.)

RIght, so now that we have a¬†partially¬†shaved feline back home, we decided that perhaps we ought to install a microchip-activated cat flap. ¬†I take my hat off to the people who wrote this manual. ¬†Sureflap, kudos to you. ¬†You clearly know what it’s like to be a feline’s chosen human.

The first thing that struck me about the manual was the helpful information for cats on how to use the cat flap:

Not suitable for fancy dress.
Not suitable for fancy dress.  Keep away from kittens.

Now, for those of you wondering why one would splash out on the kind of cat flap that has diagrams of use for your cats in its manual, then you probably don’t have cats at home. ¬†For those interested in the rationalisation, here’s an excerpt:

“This cat flap has been designed […] allowing access to your pet whilst keeping out animal intruders.”

Oops.

But this isn’t just any cat flap, oh no. ¬†This cat flap¬†learns. ¬†But a word to aspiring crazy cat people (it’s not always us women): you can only register 32 cats. ¬†I find this a shame. ¬†Any fool knows that the answer to life, the universe and everything is 42 and for us cat-crazed individuals, cats are that meaning in life, ergo one should be able to have 42 cats, register them all, have one’s cake and be able to eat it, cat fur and all.

But the highlight of the manual for me has to be the advice aimed at the human side of this human-feline partnership under the section on how to get the cat flap to register your cat’s microchip. This point is of such importance, that it even has an exclamation mark in a warning triangle next to it:

“In order to learn a cat’s microchip number, a sensor located in the tunnel must detect a cat’s presence to trigger the microchip reader. ¬†Therefore it is important to ensure that your cat either puts its head into the tunnel or passes through the flap. ¬†No amount of waving your cat in front of the flap will have an effect.”

Whoever wrote that last line clearly has a wealth of experience either dealing with scratched, disgruntled customers phoning customer support, or of having personally tried “waving” a cat in front of anything.

I also suspect that there were a few felines who managed to get their paws on the manual, as in the troubleshooting section on how to get your cat acclimatised to the new cat flap, the author notes that “strategic positioning of food inside/outside the house can also help encourage the initial use of the flap.”

All I can say is that our resident feline would never allow herself to be waved in front of anything, and aside from presently snoring softly on a bean bag whilst I write this, the cat treats have so far been successfully retrieved without the cat flap successfully learning her chip.  This one has cunning.

Damn straight.
Damn straight.
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SIGNS OF LIFE

No, it’s not the crater mass experiment, it’s me re-discovering my long-lost blog from that time I terrorised Munich for a few months and called it my year abroad.

Last year I was caught up in undergraduate stuff attempting to finish my Bachelors and then working out what form my new work-avoidance tactic would take.

I’m pleased to say that the Mile End Insitution for the Clinically Weird refused bail and I’m currently in the process of writing my Master’s Dissertation. ¬†Not about bread, this time. ¬†This time I’ve decided to succumb to the British tendency to obsess on World Wars and research radio propaganda during World War II. ¬†I shall explain all when I’ve finally submitted it and have a result back. ¬†Otherwise it could be a tad awkward if I blither on about how fascinating it all is and my markers turn around and look suitably disgusted. ¬†However I can say that I managed to write an essay on the translation of nonsense and got away with calling it “Bandersnatches, Boojums and Bald Twit Lions: ¬†The Translatability of Nonsense”. ¬†It got a good mark, too.

Oh, and I somehow miraculously passed my Bachelor’s degree with flying colours and even got a gold star for my magic speaky-speaky skills.

The main reason, however, for me taking this back up again is to a) force me to read more interesting things so I have something vaguely intelligent to write about, and b) as of September this year I will be working on the language assistantship programme run by the British Council and will be based in Gotha.  I intend to write about my experiences in my usual bizarre style of travel writing.

Not that I intend to repeat the leggings incident, mind. ¬†This time I’m responsible for helping teach English language and culture. ¬†No doubt Herr and Frau Streipze will accompany me on my travels.

In the meantime, have a look at some of the best socks ever. ¬†Admittedly they’re battery socks and not of the pedigree kind, but I assure you that they are fully integrated into my free-range flock.

 

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Inane Whittering #21

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So… I HAS A HAT.

More to the point, I knitted it myself. It’s my first ever hat, so please forgive the slight over-excitement. But it’s big, it’s slouchy and it’s oh so warm. Which in this weather, is exactly what I need. Oh, and the pattern’s reversable, so it doesn’t matter if I accidentally end up wearing it inside-out. SCORE.

Anywho, here’s a bit of early afternoon madness:

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In other news, I’m still working on the script for Herr and Frau Streipze’s debut, but it has to be finished this week, so you should see it soon. Oh, and here’s a glimpse of one of the many Christmas presents I’ve been working on:

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I have to say I’m very slightly jealous of the recipient, purely because I love these colours waaay too much.

Inane Whittering #20 Introducing…

…Mr. and Mrs. Stripes. Or Herr und Frau Streipze, as they’re known in German. This is a still taken on set whilst filming for their upcoming debut.

Filming’s nearly done – got 2 more scenes to go tomorrow before editing can begin and then it’s basically finished. The first version has to be in German, but I’ll make sure to do an English version too!

I’ll bung it up on youtube and link it back here when it’s ready, I just thought I’d give you guys a taster…

Inane Whittering #19 KITTENS

So I thought you could do with some cuteness. And hilarity.

I give you: THE KITTENCAM.

This is a foster home for rescue cats in the States, and they currently have Rosmary and her four kittens: Pepper, Sage, Basil and Mace.

There’s also sound, if you turn it up loud enough, you can hear them mewing at each other mid-fight.

Best study aid ever.

Inane Whittering #18 Questions

Right, my apologies for the 1) the massive rant which has dominated this blog for the past few months, and 2) that I now so rarely get around to posting anything.

I was getting bored of looking at the Roosevelt quote on the rare occasion that I actually loaded my blog, and I’m in need of your help and inspiration.

I am currently in my final year of my degree now and this year is worth 50% of the entire qualification, so naturally there is a serious amount of running around in the headless chicken routine and the workload is distinctly unamusing.

The sad thing is that I can’t really ever see this changing much, even once I graduate.

Anywho, like I said, I need your help. For one of my courses, I am required to do a 10 minute podcast in German. On anything I like, as far as I understand.

Except being the glutton for punishment that I am (and a massive 3 year-old), I’ve asked to do a “vodcast” (check me out) because I feel that using hand puppets and cuddly toys would make it far more entertaining a) for me and b)for the poor sod who has to sit there and grade it.

The idea was to ask you, dear readers, if you had any particular burning questions or if there was a topic that you would like the astute and enigmatic Herr Streipze (previously known as Mr. Stripes) and co. to explain/answer.

I have to hand this thing in before Christmas, so ideas are very welcome and if it proves popular (I’ll upload it onto Youtube afterwards, I promise) I can always do more…