As we’re heading into Spring, I assume that somewhere nearby, frogs are spawning.
Why do I assume this? Because the bloody Bengal is having a field day, bringing frogs into the house.
Now, first things first, did you know that frogs scream? I didn’t, until a couple of years ago. It’s the weirdest thing/noise, and doesn’t half freak you out the first few times.
Also, I assume that they exude something on their skins that tastes really nasty – so most of the time, the Bengal brings the frog through the cat flap and just goes “Ptuh!” and spits it out in the kitchen. She then stands around licking her mouth/face, watching the frigging thing crawl and hop around.
Sometimes she then ‘plays’ with them, and I’ve come home a couple of times now to frog bodies with catastrophic damage, but that turn out to still be alive (or at least still with plenty of automatic twitch responses – I’ve not wanted to study too closely) and need to be removed from the house.
Cats. They are just such a joy to have around the house…
Three years ago, soon after I moved in here, I got the cats a big base thing, which they turned out to love.
It’s done well in that time, but obviously it’s three years old, so I made the decision to get a new one.
In recognition of the Bengal’s intolerance for change, I was lucky enough to find the same base again, and got it delivered.
It’s all installed now, and the monsters seem to be settling in to using it, even though it obviously all smells different and new and Not Catty.
But my God, the old one was vile – you don’t realise as it’s there day to day, but yeah, dismantling it I got covered in old fur and scabby stuff.
Mind you, if the new one lasts three years too, I’ll be happy.
A while back, I wrote about not being practical, yet still getting stuff done when the need arose. A similar thing happened last week, and I’m equally chuffed with how it’s worked out so far.
Basically, the fence panels around my back yard haven’t been treated in a long time – since the cottages got revamped, at a guess, which is probably about ten years now. I’ve been in mine for three years, so I know for sure it hasn’t had any treatment in that time.
So basically, I decided to do the whole wood-painting thing, and sorted it all out. Basic preparations got done – purchase of supplies, and cleaning off the fence etc. of all dust, spiderwebs and general grut. The paint is ‘woodland green’ – I kind of like it, and if the landlord doesn’t then I can paint over it easily with something darker when it comes time to move on/out.
And on Sunday, because I was up horrifically early, I just got on with it. I’m really pleased with the results, too. Even better, I didn’t cover myself, and didn’t cover the rest of the yard with it either. Some small specks, but nothing major.
I’ve got a couple of bits still to do – one of the fences also has a lagged water-pipe against it (don’t ask, I’ve no idea) and I still need to do under/below it. (I hadn’t bought any small brushes to get into those tight spots, but I’ve got some now) And it all dried nicely, to a decent colour – and without being trampled through the house by the bloody cats.
I’ve got some other ideas for the yard, for doing some extra stuff with it in the next couple of weeks – once I get ideas in my head, I like to get on with them – but all told it’s been remarkably positive, and I’m deeply cheered with how it’s gone so far.
I’ve come to the conclusion that in some circumstances, I bloody hate dogs. Well, more the dog owners, rather than the dogs themselves. Let me explain…
Every time I walk around the village in daylight (which I do a fair amount, due to an increased rate of exercise etc.) there are areas that are just covered in dog shit. Particularly in the area where it’s footpath across fields, any time you step off the pavement (for a cyclist, or other people) you’re at risk of stepping in shit. It’s even riskier in the evenings, because you’ve no chance of seeing the fucking stuff.
There are shit bins at either end of this particular footpath, but no, these people just allow their dogs to shit and leave it. They also let it happen in the alleyways between houses – as a houseowner there, I’d be debating CCTV and/or violence. I wonder how they’d feel if I went and took a dump on their doorstep one day?
As a prospective dog owner (or indeed an actual dog owner) you must surely understand that picking up dog shit is part of the deal. I always understood that, and would pick it up wherever possible – obviously if they’ve run across miles/fields and there’s no-one ever going to go in that direction, you’re less likely to pick it up – but if it was ever near/on somewhere people would regularly walk, I picked up after Hound.
The facilities are there. Fucking use them. People piss me off.
It’s not often that I get envious of someone else’s job – but over the last month there’s been one man on TV whose life I could envy deeply. That man is Giles Clark, a tiger expert based at the Australia Zoo in Queensland. (Which is the one founded by Steve Irwin, which explains a lot)
He’s been the subject – well, the human subject, at least – of the BBC series “Tigers about the House”, where he raised two Sumatran tiger cubs by hand in his own house.
The Australia Zoo’s tigers are all fully acclimatised to having humans around – which allows them to go for walks with their keepers and so on, as well as lots of enrichment and stimulus that simply doesn’t happen in most zoos around the world. It’s been quite a spectacular thing to see – particularly the tigers leaping into their huge pool (tigers love to swim) with the cameras right there with them – and yeah, decidedly envious.
Additionally, because they’re so acclimatised to people, it means the Zoo can also offer “Up-close experiences” with the tigers (and other animals) for a fee. All the money made from those experiences – as well as photo-opportunities and the like – goes towards tiger conservation projects, and the series included Clark’s trips out to Sumatra to see those projects as well, and be involved with them.
I’m not a great fan of zoos in general – I don’t like seeing animals in cages, regardless of the size of those cages – but recognise that they now have a massive use in keeping certain species from extinction. But if there’s got to be zoos, I’d far rather they were like this, providing so much more than just “animals in enclosures”.
But yes, definitely envious of that kind of job. It’s one of the very few times where I look and think “If I’d could go back now and re-do secondary school etc., knowing what I do now, that’s the kind of work I’d aim for”
- Episode one is on iPlayer here ’til the end of January 2015
- Episode two is on iPlayer here ’til the end of January 2015