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

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  In short, she was lethargic, off her food, withdrawn and short of breath.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.”


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.

Travellings: Deutschland #18

I don’t like Mondays.

To add to the general insult of being forcibly removed from my beloved bed when it was still dark this morning, I have also discovered that I’ve run out of tea. My main stash is at home.

Seriously. Words fail me.

Oh, and you know the year abroad has finally gotten to you when you start dreaming in German.

My head hurts :(

I think I’m off to stroke something furry.

Sushi, aka Misz. Cat-napping partner in crime extraordinaire.

Inane Whittering #3

As I write this, my cat is sleeping in my bathroom, curled up on the furry bathmat. I found her earlier this afternoon in the washing machine. (I should probably add that it wasn’t on, she was sitting in it with the door open.) Oh, and she was in the shower earlier, too.

I think Sushi has a thing about water. Although, before curling up to snooze in my bathroom, she did have a good clean. Shame my youngest brother doesn’t seem to grasp the idea; the cat’s got the hang of it :|

Not that we call her Sushi at the minute, to be honest. We’ve renamed her F7. It stems from an incident yesterday, whereby my father entered the dining room to find that his company laptop (several years old, I hasten to add) had been viciously, yet mysteriously vandalised, with several keys left at an angle and the F7 key left lying somewhat discarded next to it. The giveaway, it has to be said, was the occasional white cat hairs all over the laptop.

First the cat-flap, and now a computer keyboard. I do wonder sometimes..

Anyway, my apologies for lack of whittering over the past few days – Wednesday afternoon I was rather poorly (for once, this was nothing to do with going to the pub the night before) and ended up having to be rescued by my parents, which meant I had to have my interview for my Praktikum (internship) for my year abroad at home. That was interesting – and promising. I’m now in the process of having to do a sample translation of one of their webpages for Monday.. Eeep.

I seem to remember in my last post whittering on about the Clangers, Soupdragon and various other children’s cartoon characters being a decent alternative to the current government. Whilst originally said rather flippantly, I’ve come to the (slightly bizarre and somewhat unhinged) conclusion that if it’s perfectly acceptable to have fantasy football teams and leagues, then why not governments? I’ve decided that so far, Major Clanger would have to be Prime Minister, being leader of the Clanger Clan, whilst Tiny Clanger would be good as Foreign Secretary – my reasoning being that he was the one who befriended the Iron Chicken when Major Clanger stood there and got cross. Deputy Prime Minister would have to be Mother Clanger, as second in command of the Clanger clan. The Cloud, would be secretary for Transport (it did rescue Tiny Clanger when he got stuck in the Iron Chicken’s nest) and the Soup Dragon would be my Chancellor of the Exchequer. I’ve yet to decide what role the Froglets would play.

Yes, I’m actually going to put time into this crazy idea. Why not? If you’ve any suggestions, please let me know!

Meanwhile, in the real world, Microsoft says “Adieu” to Autorun and a doner kebab saves a man’s life.

Yup, you heard me, Microsoft’s getting rid of Autorun.

Inane Whittering #1

The first post is always awkward.  Some people have that knack of just writing and avoiding the problem, whilst the rest of us tend to ramble on and on until we find something useful to say.  In case you haven’t already guessed, I belong to the latter category.

This is supposed to be a place where I record my general whitterings and thoughts about the occasional little nuggets of useful information I find during my procrastination studies and what I’ve been learning this semester; rather than rambling on about how my cat managed to mysteriously break the cat-flap a couple of nights ago.

The prime suspect, aka Sushi

In any case, I shall leave you with a link to a rather interesting article on how different languages mean you have different cognitive skills which I first saw in Feburary’s edition of Scientific American.