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
Following on from the post about “Alone vs Lonely“, I’d potentially feel very different about things if it weren’t for the two cats I’ve got. Yes, they annoy me intensely on occasion, but it’s still other creatures that (for the most part) like having you come home. OK, they’re cats- so it’s more about just providing food for them and so on- and they’re hugely independent at the best of times but it’s still some company in the house, rather than it being completely empty except for me.
In a similar way – and I’ve said about it before – it makes life better to have a couple of room lights on a time switch so I don’t come home to a darkened house.
Without those things, I suspect I’d be a lot less comfortable with my current situation.
In an ideal world, I’d still go back to having a dog as well. However, I still know it wouldn’t be fair to do so until life’s more settled. If I could sort things out enough to know I was working from home for a long time – or even knowing what the routine would be for a decent period of time – then I’d consider it, but it’s not looking likely for a while.
Of course, it would take a lot of changes, a lot of organisation, and a lot of settling-in for the cats to handle a new addition. I think it’s not something that’ll happen for a while – for some things, life’s too short – but it’s on the list of things I’d like to do if I get the chance.
With the exception of one present that hasn’t arrived (despite being ordered on the 3rd) it’s all been pretty easy this year. Of course, it helps that I don’t buy stuff for loads of people and all that, but even so it’s all come together and been organised way in advance. By mid-month I didn’t need to buy any more presents – things had suddenly come together for the two more-awkward-to-buy-for people through odd confluences of coincidence, none of which I was complaining about at all.
I’ve managed to avoid all the festive retail bullshit – some of which was due to being organised, some due to the absolute joy of online shopping and letting the stuff come to me – although I did have to make one collection from a local food store. (Mind you, even that was organised to happen between 7 and 8am, enabling me to go in, collect, pay, and piss off without the hysteria of other people’s panic-purchasing) The rest of the supermarket food shop was done online and delivered painlessly – although working from home has helped on that score too, enabling me to be available when I’d usually be at work.
I’ve even got a number of things organised for next year – even down to having pre-booked the necessary parking requirements, as well as pet-sitter/feeder and the like.
It’s really quite worrying – things aren’t supposed to run this smoothly! But I’m going to appreciate it for the moment, and all well and good.
This week I needed to sort out one of the regular bulk purchases of cat litter and cat food sachets, so it was time for a trip to the local Pets at Home. (I’m sure there’s places that’re slightly cheaper, but Pets at Home is fine for my purposes)
Once I’d got the necessary items – plus a new scratching post – I stopped to have a look at the rabbits and hamsters – no particular reason, just had a look before getting to the till.
One of the store assistants came up, and asked “Are you looking for anything special”. And oh dear, my mouth went into action before my brain.
“No, not really. I’m just seeing if anything appeals as a Christmas Meal treat for my cats”
The look of utter disgust on her face should leave me ashamed, but actually it was just funny as chuff.
Earlier this week, I got a catflap installed in the kitchen back door – which has already made a major difference to the warmth of the house. Prior to this, the cats have been going through an always-open kitchen window (which only opens on to a secure back yard, so it’s never a problem to leave it open) which is fine in summer, but less than optimal in cold weather.
At the moment, while the cats are getting used to this new entry policy for the house – and in fairness to them, neither has ever had to use a flap before – it’s propped open, so there’s still a bit of a draught, but nothing compared to how it was with the open kitchen window.
Of course, the Bengal in particular is (as expected) extremely unhappy about the changes, and keeps yelling at me that She Is Trapped, and It’s Not Fair. She’s using the flap, because it’s now the only way in and out – but it’s still under duress, and the cause of much complaint.
I’m quite sure that the same will be true when we get to the next stage, and I un-prop the flap so that they have to go through the flap itself.
For right now though, having the flap as an open route will allow them to get used to it.
One step at a time, and all that rot.