A Weekend in the Garden

Another weekend is slowly winding down. A weekend filled with gardening, and trips to and from the local rubbish tip. Over the last year, the rubbish tip has been the only place my other half and I have gone together – we have joked about it being a “date” of sorts.

After a sustained assault on the garden throughout the weekend, it has slowly turned into a nice place to be once more. If the weather warms up just a little more we will begin planting vegetables in the kitchen garden. Last year we grew beans, cucumbers, tomatoes, courgettes, melons, marrows, carrots, and attempted potatoes in some deep grow-bags. I’m pretty sure this year will be more of the same. I’m tempted to plant some rhubarb – I love rhubarb crumble.

I took some cuttings from the school spider-plant that has lived in the kitchen window for the last year, and potted them in up-cycled coffee tins in the window of the study. They are the first plants ever to make their way into the study – now I just need to remember to water them each day.

In other news I’m drawing battle lines with the grey squirrels our cats are too fat/slow/stupid (delete as appropriate) to combat. We just lost yet another bird feeder this evening after one of the squirrels acrobatically leapt onto it and smashed it on the floor. I’m not sure how many peanuts he managed to stuff in his face before I arrived and chased him the length of the garden. After picking up the pieces of the feeder I discovered one of our cats pretending to be asleep in the kitchen. I imagine the other cat is busy picking bits out of his feet on some fresh bedding somewhere.


Turning into a Cat

I think I’m turning into a cat. You know how cats have favourite places to curl up or “be” that last for a few days at a time, before they move on to somewhere else? I’m like that with writing. For a while I was writing at Evernote, then a text editor for a little while, then Notion, and now I’m back at Google Docs, where I’ve been writing on-and-off for years.

Google Docs is the easy option for me. It satisfies the paranoid part of my brain that says “what if the computer goes bang in the middle of your Pulitzer prize winning blog post?” – because it saves every word as I write it. Of course this is predicated on the idea that what I’m writing has literary value (I’m humble enough to realise that I’m only a legend in my own lunchtime).

It’s Sunday morning. The clock is just ticking past 10am. I’ve been up for the last hour – emptying the dishwasher, clearing the kitchen up – the usual chores around the house. I didn’t have a shower this morning, and now feel grubby. I usually have a shower every morning – it helps wake me up. I’m not going anywhere or doing anything today, so thought “what’s the point?” – it’s not like I smell or anything. I will admit to washing my face with soap and cold water after brushing my teeth though – to try and wake myself up. It sort of worked.

I need to head out to the corner shop soon – we’ve run out of bread. It’s kind of difficult to make toast without bread – almost as bad as the time our middle daughter made a cup of tea for her Mum after we ran out of teabags. She didn’t let the lack of tea stop her – proudly delivering a cup of hot watery milk. She was only about seven years old at the time.


Time to go find my shoes and socks. At least it’s not raining today (yet).


One Less Pigeon

While making a cup of coffee earlier, my youngest daughter ran into the kitchen, pointing into the garden as she ran – our little black rescue-cat was stalking two hapless pigeons. He was crouched, flat to the floor behind a bag of garden cuttings, while they pecked around in the undergrowth on the opposite side.

After perhaps a minute of waiting, waiting some more, and waiting even longer, we all gathered by the windows, watching him. He finally exploded from his hiding place, and grabbed one of the pigeons at it tried to escape in a silent cloud of feathers.

The next few moments was unintentionally hilarious. My other half ran from the back door, waving her arms at him, ordering him to let the pigeon go (it was still alive, although slightly dishevelled, and hanging from his mouth by one of it’s shoulders). He ran across the garden with it, struggling to carry it, and vanished under a nearby hedge.

We didn’t see what happened to it after that, and he didn’t come home for anything to eat at lunchtime. I think we can work it out.


A Small Cog in an Enormous Machine

I feel a bit like a small cog in an enormous machine at the moment – going round and round, slowly becoming worn, and not going anywhere. I’m sure that’s a metaphor for something or other, but can’t be bothered to connect the dots.

After a spectacular thunderstorm last night, the temperature has finally dropped, bringing an end to the run of hot humid days. Shortly after the sky lit up and the clouds crashed towards the ground, one of our cats ran off into the darkness. We kept the door open for some time, but suspect he has a variety of places where he hides from the world. He re-appeared this morning – sitting in the middle of the kitchen, patiently waiting for somebody to fill his food bowl.

Our other cat – the massive ginger tabby – hid inside the back of the sofa. He’s always been scared of thunder and lightning. I didn’t even know he could still fit through the gap in the stitching.

We didn’t get to bed until perhaps 2am, and then of course I had to get up for work this morning. At least the commute is short at the moment… about five yards from the bathroom, and ten yards from the kitchen.

I’m not entirely sure how I got through the day. Perhaps an early night would be a good idea. We know I’m going to still be here, noodling around with the computer at midnight though, don’t we.


Life Support

It’s nearly a week since my last blog post. In terms of “falling off the blogging horse”, this isn’t so much “fallen off the horse”, as “let the horse free, and haven’t really thought about it since”. I guess you could say the blog is on life support.

Talking of life support, our cat is doing much better. After a couple of weeks locked in the house after two rounds of surgery – wiping out our bank balance in the process – he has had the “cone of shame” removed, and is allowed out in the garden once again. He wasted no time in establishing authority – bullying neighbourhood cats out of the garden one after another. Unfortunately he looks rather comical while doing so – with his back end shaved, he looks kind of like a poor excuse for a miniature lion.

Work continues on. I’m back working full time – although still working from home. For the last few days I have been running training sessions online – helping somebody build a proof-of-concept for something.

When not washing up, washing clothes, or hobbling around the house (my broken toe is getting better – but still hurts like hell), I have carried on playing with the flight simulator. My Dad chipped in to help me buy a new plane for it – knowing we are very very broke at the moment – so now I am busy learning to operate an Airbus A321 – the same kind of plane I have flown on to Germany so many times in the past.

I’ve taken part in several group “flights” now too – organised for the group to fly various simulated aircraft from and to different destinations – on Tuesday night my 16 year old daughter acted as co-pilot while we flew a Boeing 737 from Paraguay to Brazil. Her short term memory is much better than mine, which helps a lot with carrying out air traffic control instructions. For the first time so far, the entire flight went like clockwork – from “cold and dark” at the departure airport, through to power-down at the destination.

She hasn’t seen the Airbus yet.

I watched the horror movie “The Conjuring” with my eldest daughter last night – a supposedly true story about a haunted house in 1970s America. Apparently it’s the first of a series of movies about hauntings. Now I want to watch the rest (but not too late – I’ll never sleep).

Oh. More developments today. The car packed up (broken brake caliper), and my daughter’s car needed a battery replacement. Several hundred further into the red. We’re deep into credit card territory now for the first time ever.


The Last of Three Brothers

Our enormous ginger tom cat “George” is back in hospital tonight. After a major operation last week to save his life, complications arose over the weekend. We did the math, and it came down to saving his life for a second time and wiping our savings out, or having a difficult conversation with the children.

We now have no savings.

The operation went well, and he’ll be home in a few days. Our bank account may take six months to recover though. I guess we’ll be getting used to beans on toast for quite some time.