Tuesday, 27 August 2013

The Mum Test

I’ve just seen this on Facebook and thought it was too good not to shareJ

‘I was out walking with my 4.5-year-old son. He picked up something from the ground and started to put it in his mouth. I took it away from him and asked him not to do that.

'Why?' my son asked.

'Because it's been on the ground, you don't know where it's been, it's dirty and probably has germs,' I replied.

At this point my son looked at me with total admiration and asked, 'Mum, how do you know all this stuff? You are so smart.’

Thinking quickly I replied, ‘All mums know this stuff. It's on the Mum Test. You have to know it or they don't let you be a Mum.'

We walked along in silence for two or three minutes but he was evidently pondering this new information.

'Oh . . . I get it!’ he beamed. 'So if you don't pass the test you have to be the dad.’


'Exactly,’ I replied with a big smile on my face.

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Passing Place Mag 183


Mag 183   Passing Place


Photo copyright Steven Kelly

‘Passing Place’ Mick called it and some there were who grinned when he said it while others grimaced and turned aside.

‘You shouldn’t laugh,’ Joe grumbled. ‘It’s not decent. Last week Mrs Williams came back from there. No-one was more shocked than her husband. He thought she’d left – he’d started making arrangements and everything.’

‘That was an upset for sure,’ agreed Mick, ‘But in this job you’ve got to find your humour where you can. Life’s short and all too often nasty.’

They finished their coffee and stood up, stretching and brushing biscuit crumbs from their uniforms. An hour later Joe was removing a corpse to the mortuary. He paused when he had placed the body. Maybe Mick was right and the morgue was a place of passing souls. ‘Spirits wouldn’t linger long here,’ he thought. ‘It’s peaceful, right enough, but cold and unwelcoming.’ He left the room, shutting the door quietly behind him.

Thanks go to Tess Kincaid who hosts and organises this meme. To read more entries please click here.

fibonacci or doggerel by any other name . . .

Image by Dr. René Hoffmann, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons 

The challenge from The Imaginary Garden with Real Toads is to write a poem in the Fibonacci form - 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8. It appealed to me this rainy Sunday morning and so I over-egged the pudding, so to speak, and produced three poor examples, all reversing the sequence. The first is inspired by the Nautilus image and yes, I know it's not a mollusc, but that's the first thing that came to mind! 

Snail
Shell
Empty
Abandoned
Once mollusc’s retreat
Cast aside for eternity
Unless another entity
Chances upon it
Fancies it
Moves in
Lives
There.

The second deals with the Ashes test matches in which two nations, England and Australia, play a series of five matches to decide the destination of the Ashes, a tiny urn containing the ashes of two cricket balls. 
Dawn
Drear
Summer
Grey clouds loom
No cricket today
The Ashes have been decided
Though England’s batsmen derided
For playing poorly
But they won.
Lucky
Some
Say.


The third effort refers to our house full of dogs, with our daughter's three Labradors, spending their summer holidays. 

What?
How
Many
Dogs are there
Staying in your house this summer?
Six Labradors, one Dalmatian
Three dogs will go home next Tuesday
Leaving just the four
Who live here
Always
With
Us.



Saturday, 24 August 2013

Robin Cooper gets in the bath

Robert Popper’s alter ego Robin Cooper continues his monologue on bathing . . .

My favourite line in this made me laugh out loud - 'I'm a traditionalist.'

The guitar music in the background to these audio clips is played (and probably composed) by Robert Popper.

Robin prepares for a bath

Robert Popper’s alter ego Robin Cooper describes how he prepares to take a bath . . .

listen to ‘Robin prepares for a bath’ on Audioboo

Friday, 23 August 2013

The Entropy Gang’s August blog (formerly Conservatory Cats’ Chats)


It's a bit of a squeeze but we can still all get in the top basket together. 
Herschel: We had hoped to tell you about our adventures in the GARDEN but the Servants haven’t erected the fence yet.

Isambard: They keep talking about it but nothing seems to happen . . .

Jellicoe: This morning The THINKER said he needed to cut back some of the plants but he doesn’t want to do it while they’re flowering.

Herschel: The MAID agreed.

Isambard: . . . and then it will be too cold or too wet.

Jellicoe: We don’t really mind. We know they’ll get around to it sooner or later.

Herschel: My guess is later – much later.

Isambard: To be fair, they have got their hands full with all the DOGS. I 
must say it’s rather nice being amongst so many of them.

Jellicoe: Yes, there are twice as many as usual, well, nearly. They seem to like us cleaning their ears and noses and they’re very good about not disturbing us when we’ve taken their beds.
This is me, Herschel, with Bertie. I think Bertie might be my favourite dog.
Herschel: Jellicoe and I thought Isambard would be scared when the other DOGS arrived for their holiday . . . he is a bit of a scaredy-cat . . . He even hid from Bethan when she came to see The THINKER when The MAID was looking after Frankie and he knows her.

Isambard: I am not! I’m just cautious. We cats have only got nine lives, you know.

Jellicoe: Well, that’s eight more than everyone else.
 This is probably my favourite place to relax but I do like sitting in The THINKER'S chair as well. He's my personal Servant.
I like the lower basket - I can see who's coming into the sitting room.
Herschel: We need nine lives because we’re so inquisitive. You know there’s a saying, ‘Curiosity killed the cat’ – I hope I never meet Curiosity.

Isambard: Yesterday a stinging buzzy thing flew into the sitting room . . . what’s it called, Jellicoe? I heard the Servants say but I’ve forgotten.

Jellicoe: It was a wasp. The MAID was really impressed because we knew we mustn’t eat it.

Herschel: That’s because the Cat That Went Before, the one they called Winston, didn’t know and The MAID had to pull a sting out of his chin. We all had a really good look at the wasp but we didn’t bat it and eventually it flew away.

Isambard: Do you think The MAID has been trying to eat wasps? She got stung the other day and her arm went all red and blotchy.

Jellicoe: . . . and she kept scratching and saying, ‘Ooh, I mustn’t scratch it, ooh, uhfffff, ooh.’

Herschel: The THINKER was bitten today and The MAID said, ‘Don’t scratch it.’

 Isambard: She’s a fine one to talk. ‘Do as I say, not do as I do.’

Jellicoe: The THINKER says she’s a typical teacher.

Herschel: I don’t think she likes it when he says that.

Isambard: He’s only joking – that’s what he says, anyway.
Jellicoe: We haven’t got any further with our door-opening. That’s because we don’t have to try to get into the BEDROOM now.

Herschel: No, we go to bed with the Servants and the DOGS. It’s splendid and sometimes one of us stays up there after the Servants and the DOGS have got up in the morning and gone downstairs.

Isambard: I stayed on the bed today – it was lovely to have all that space to myself.

Jellicoe: But it’s nice to go down with them and help them open up the house.

Herschel: It’s even better when they all go out for a walk and we have the house to ourselves.

Isambard: It was raining when they went out yesterday. The MAID was drenched when they got back. She looked very funny with her hair stuck to her head.

Jellicoe:  The DOGS were really wet, too, but they always are because they do a lot of swimming.

Herschel: We all like water though we haven’t tried swimming, whatever that is.

Isambard: We watch it pouring down the drain or coming out of the hose when The MAID washes the patio.

Jellicoe: We like the bath and the shower and the lavatories.

Herschel: I think I prefer our litter trays to their lavatories. I’d be worried about falling in.
Isambard: We wouldn’t fall in – we’re too clever.

Jellicoe: Of course we are. Everyone knows that cats are very clever – resourceful, too. We’ve made a few changes to our Palace. We pulled down the curtain in the sitting room. It was nice to climb up it but it restricted our view of the GARDEN and we can reach the top of the grandfather clock quite easily without it.
Herschel: We’ve done a bit of decorating as well. It wasn’t intentional but we discovered that splatting little insects – flies and moths, that sort of thing – leaves a nice little reddish-brown mark. It might not be quite what the Servants had in mind but it’s a change.

Isambard: It’s slow work. It will take a very long time to decorate the whole house.

Jellicoe: We’ll let the Servants take over soon. We’ve made a start – they can do the rest. Now, it’s warm here, the cricket is on in the background and we’re feeling very r-e-l-a-x-e-d . . . See you soon.


Fun in the Forest

'Let me help you'
Buster doesn't need any help but Bertie is quite possessive over his AquaKong.
Sometimes Buster helps his brother Bertie!
An old(er) lady flanked by two young chaps.
Tia is accompanied by Bertie and Buster
Flotilla.
All eyes on the Kong . . . well, most of them. Frodo is not a retriever, except of biscuits.
Dear deer!
Up periscope . . . 
. . . when the signal is stationary we are informed that Jenna has 'treed a quarry'. . .
. . . as if!!
A cooling dip for Frodo . . .
. . . and a gentle swim for Foxy, always hoping for (but not receiving) biscuits.
Kersplash!
Can you see me? I can see you!
Tug of war . . . Bertie always wins.
At one of the 'new' ponds.
Left to right: Frodo, Bertie, Buster, Tia, Janice, Foxy, Jenna, Gus
Buster sits and waits for the Kong to be thrown.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

The Nineteenth Blog of Augustus Lazarus Cooke (Gus)


Hello everyone!

It has been ages since I blogged. I told you last time that we had all gone to stay with Tia and Foxy and Buster for a day and how our people went out and left us with Dean. Well, we went to spend another day with them and this time we stayed with Kiri while everyone else went out and again everyone was happier when ‘it’ was over.* Kiri had two babies to look after ‘cos Susannah had taken Frankie down the night before ‘it’ but she was quite happy to stay at home and Frodo behaved himself – he knows Kiri very well. We got home very late that night and the kittens were pleased to see us.

The kittens are really big now – well, that’s what the Humans say. Course, they’re never going to be as big as us dogs. Just as well, I think, when I look at their sharp teeth and claws.

Mr H went off the other day to spend some time with some men he knew years and years ago. They all passed out together, he said – strange, I thought, but Mrs H explained that meant they were all remissioned on the same day (editor’s note: they were commissioned . . . )

Then, just after that Mrs H went to stay with Susannah and Frankie. 

She was looking after Frankie while Susannah went to work. Mr H had to learn how to work the washing machine and he even hung the washing out on the line. It was funny watching him – he puts the clothes out differently to Mrs H, not nearly as neat and tidy.

Now Tia and Foxy and Buster have come to stay for their summer holiday. It’s fun going for walks all together. T, F and B really enjoy the ponds in the forest – there’s not much water where they live. Yesterday we went out for ages. Buster is funny. He sits in the pond with the water up to his collar waiting for Mrs H to throw the Kong. He’s just as much of a cheat as Jenna and Bertie gets quite upset so Mrs H tricks Buster and pretends to throw the Kong in one direction but changes it at the last second. She has to do the same with Jenna so that I get a chance to retrieve the ball. Tia’s a good girl – she watches like I do and then races off. Foxy doesn’t bother. She likes retrieving biscuits but Mr and Mrs H aren’t doing that with her ‘cos she’s rather rounder than she should be and it’s not good for her joints.

It’s quite warm today so we’ll probably go to Simons Wood where there’s lots of shade but only one pond. 

It’s a big pond, more of a lake really, with ducks and geese and dabchicks and the water’s clear so we don’t come home carrying lots of mud in our coats. I hope we go soon . . . I like our walks.

Be good.

Hwyl fawr am nawr! (That’s Welsh for ‘Goodbye for now!’)

*’it’ was Trevor’s funeral. Trevor is Mr H’s brother.


Wedding Anniversary



It was our Wedding Anniversary last week (August 12th, the Glorious Twelfth, start of the grouse shooting season – grouse is also a complaint, a grumble, a moan, a whinge – is there a message there for me??)

Anyway, it was forty-six years since we tied ourselves to each other and cemented the bond with four children (not all at once, you understand, like a litter of puppies – I fancied having twins but never quadruplets! In the end they were all singletons . . . )

We have never been hot on celebrations but when our Silver Wedding anniversary came round I arranged tickets for the ballet. Barry arranged a new outboard for the dinghy – we spent the actual day bombing between Gosport and Portsmouth to collect it!

Our Ruby anniversary came and went – we probably had a bottle of champagne. This year we celebrated with an inboard engine. Barry had gone sailing with Gillian and Callum earlier in the month but the winds were not favourable and he had had to resort to the engine which failed spectacularly and left them stranded not far from Poole. He called out Sea Start, the marine equivalent of the AA, who arrived promptly and towed them to safe harbour. The engine was irreparable so a new one had to be located and fitted and this was achieved before the next charter was due. The summer months are good for chartering and enable us to maintain the boat in good order and we didn’t want to lose any of the bookings.

I’m thinking of commissioning a miniature inboard engine in gold, platinum, emeralds and diamonds to hang from a fine chain around my neck . . . it would cost about the same as the full-scale version J

Volvo Penta D1-30


It would look rather fetching, don’t you think?

Friday, 16 August 2013

End Marmite neglect

Unloved and forgotten, thousands of Marmite jars across the UK are being neglected. This year alone, over 1 in 10 Brits admit they haven't opened their jar in over three months. Through this latest Marmite advert, we've launched an urgent appeal to prevent cruelty, alleviate suffering and promote kindness to all Marmite jars. Get involved now www.endmarmiteneglect.com

Marmite (known as Vegemite in Australia) is a strong, salty, yeasty spread for bread or toast. My particular favourite combination is  Marmite and banana on toast.





Thursday, 15 August 2013

Missing link

'The link to Who is watching you?' vanished! 

In brief, photos taken with a mobile (cell) phone can be used in much the same way as GPS to track the person or persons portrayed. This is particularly worrying where children are concerned as they may be traced to their homes, schools, favourite haunts without their or their parents' knowledge and you may be sure that anyone stalking children in this way is up to no good. 

There are settings on mobile phones that will deactivate the tracking capability but, as with most technology, mischievous people can and will hack into them.

It is frightening to realise how truly vulnerable we are. We guard our keys, wallets and other personal possessions so carefully but unwittingly expose those we love to danger simply by recording them and making those photographs public.

Photos taken with ordinary cameras are not traceable.

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Who is watching you?

Beware the perils of mobile phone cameras/photos. Be careful what you post for you don't know who is watching.