Wednesday 15 August 2018

Small kittens

Litter brothers Walter and Khan have joined Gareth and Nina's family. 


The current incumbent, Sebastian, has expressed some displeasure.

The Latest Lunacy

Complaints have been made recently about a ‘straight’ actor being cast as a ‘gay’ character. There are ‘so many gay actors, why couldn’t one of them have been offered the role?’  This is political correctness, or sensitivity, or equality, or whatever else one could call it, gone stark raving bonkers.  Using this argument, one could insist that only straight men should be cast as straight men, or train drivers as train drivers, soldiers as soldiers, paedophiles as paedophiles.

Aren’t they all actors? And isn’t the whole point of being an actor that he or she should inhabit and symbolise the character being presented?

I don’t know what letter of the alphabet represents you – there are so many nowadays – L,G,B,Q,T for example. How about adding a few more? F for Fed up, D for Disinterested, HTWIWB for Happy The Way I Was Born, GINGUITCW for Glad I’m Not Growing Up In This Confused World.

While on the subject, or one associated with it, there are people being given gender assignment or reassignment surgery on the NHS, the much loved and now elderly and creaking public service available ‘free at the point of delivery’ in the UK. I have some issues with that surgery being offered although I appreciate there is a very small minority of people truly troubled by the belief that they have been assigned the wrong sex at birth. See this fascinating TED talk by Paula Stone Williams.

However, what I really cannot stomach is the complaints that have been made by a few that they are unhappy with the results and want them reversed (!) or improved (bigger breasts, for example, because the recipient is suffering mental stress.)

I will write a post about the NHS another day.

For now, I will finish this by stating that I will never call myself ‘cis’. I am a female (and yes, I am becoming a Grumpy Old Woman, but better to be a GOW than a COW!)
From Wikipedia: Cisgender (often abbreviated to simply cis) is a term for people whose gender identity matches the sex that they were assigned at birth. Cisgender may also be defined as those who have "a gender identity or perform a gender role society considers appropriate for one's sex". It is the opposite of the term transgender.

Tuesday 14 August 2018

 The Entropy Gang’s August 2018 blog
(Clicking on the photos enlarges them . . . usually)

Herschel: It’s more than a year since Zula joined the family. She’s still tiny but very determined. She loves the GARDEN. To our sorrow, not many birds venture into the GARDEN these days.

Jellicoe: The MASTER calls me the assassin. I’m the smallest of my brothers but probably the quickest. This year I’ve caught a rat, a mouse and a young blackbird. I was told off for the blackbird but the MASTER and the MAID were quite pleased with me for keeping down the rat population.
Jellicoe up high on the arch and watching . . .
Isambard: I’m still not very interested in hunting, though my attention was attracted by a fly the other day. Lenny is the hunter of butterflies and dragonflies. He eats the butterflies.
Herschel: The butterflies have been coming into the conservatory. They laid eggs and the caterpillars from the eggs ate the plants.

Jellicoe: Lenny spends a lot of time with us. He’s still a bit frightened of Zula. He sleeps next to the MAID’S pillow and I sleep between her and the MASTER.

Isambard: I always sleep on the MAID’S feet and Herschel lies on the MASTER’S legs but he spent all night in the gymnasium the other night.

Herschel: Yes, I went to keep the MASTER company while he was exercising. I must have been asleep when he left and he didn’t see me.

Jellicoe: The MAID was in the garden (not hanging out the clothes) when she heard him miaouing and rattling the door handle, so she let him out but he wasn’t cross or hungry.

Isambard: It’s a good thing it wasn’t during the Very Hot Weather but the MASTER didn’t go in the gym then.

Herschel: No, he concentrated on swimming. We like to join him in the pool, not in the water, you understand, just watching.

Jellicoe: Solomon and Zula spend long days in the garden. Zula drinks from the pond. When she was very small she trod on the water weed, thinking it was grass, and fell in and got wet. She hasn’t done that again.
Isambard: Solomon and Lenny have been scratching a lot. Poor Solomon had to wear a body suit to stop him scratching. Then he went to the VET to be tested for things that might make him itch.
Herschel: They’re called ALLERGIES and it turns out he’s allergic to NINETEEN different things.

Jellicoe: Now he has to go to the VET for injections to DESENSITISE (that’s a long word!) DESENSITISE him.

Isambard: Then Lenny will have to be tested. We don’t have to go to the VET. We’re strong Ocicats.
Herschel: Oh, oh, I had to go to the VET recently. I cut my back foot. The VET said I had severed one tendon and half-severed another. The MASTER and the MAID don’t know how I did it.

Jellicoe: They think he might have done it in the garage. He likes to go mousing in there.

Isambard: But now he’s only allowed in there for short periods and Lenny isn’t allowed at all.

Herschel: That’s for a different reason. (whispers) It’s because he uses it as a litter tray, even though we’ve got lots of litter trays as well as the GARDEN.

Jellicoe: We still love the dogs, especially Bertie and Roxy. Zula loves the DOGS, too, but I don’t think Solomon and Lenny are quite so keen.
Herschel sleeps on Bertie
Jellicoe shares Roxy's bed
Isambard: I’ve seen Lenny rubbing round the DOGS sometimes, but not Solomon. It’s us three brothers who love them the most. It’s funny to remember how frightened we were when we first saw them.

Herschel: Time to go now. The DOGS are going out for a walk soon. How funny! WE don’t have to be taken out for walks.

Jellicoe: It’s been very quiet at home. Frankie, the small SERVANT, has been away on holiday. He’s coming home on Friday.

Isambard: I like Frankie. I like to scramble onto his lap and he likes that. Zula is his little cat and she sleeps under his bed every night. TTFN.

Sunday 12 August 2018

The photographer

Barry is usually to be found behind a camera whenever we have a family gathering or go out. This means that for most of their young lives our children, grandchildren and now our great grandchildren, were only able to recognise him if he had a camera in front of his face.

As the curator of the family archive, spending hours cataloguing the hundreds of photos Barry takes, it began to bother me that there were very few photos of him.

However, there are occasions on which it is possible to extract an image of him. The first one here is taken from an image caught in Callum's sunglasses on a recent sailing trip.

  The second is taken from Kat's sunglasses. Kat is Callum's girl-friend.
 Sometimes, though, he is the subject. iPhones can be very useful! Thank you, Callum.

Charlie is 3!
It was Charlie’s 3rd birthday yesterday. It was a busy day for a little boy, with cards and parcels to open.

He had a very special party at which he was the only child. Later, next month, when his friends come home from their holidays he will have another party, lucky boy.

Charlie played with his toys . . . 

. . . and so did his parents.

 At different times he was an astronomer, (or ornithologist) . . .

. . . a fireman . . . 
. . . a spaceman, and a gardener with his lawnmower. (He expressed a desire for a sit-on lawnmower but that wish was not realised)
There was delicious food, of course, and a lovely cake.

There was washing up to be done. It required rubber gloves. You have to blow into them first . . .
. . . then pull them on.
Add washing-up liquid . . . 
. . . and lots of water.
Like all good washer-uppers Charlie looked around for more things to be washed . . .
After that, the gloves had to be washed . . .
. . . inside . . .
Today he went go-karting.  

Sunday 18 February 2018

The Amazing Talking Dog

The Amazing Talking Dog

This is my retelling of a story in our local community magazine. Clicking on the photos will enlarge them - usually.

Walking along a quiet road I passed a house which had a sign tacked to the tree by the path. It said, ‘Talking Dog for Sale.’ I was intrigued so I rang the bell. The man who came to the door told me his dog was called James and he was in the back garden. He invited me to go and see him.

I found a beautiful Dalmatian sitting on the grass. I said, ‘I hear you can talk. Is that right?’

‘Yes,’ said James and wagged his tail.

I was very excited and asked him to tell me his story.

James yawned and scratched his ear then said, ‘Well, I discovered I could talk when I was just a pup. I wanted to help the government so I asked my owner and he approached MI5 for me. They were very interested and in no time at all I was travelling all over the world, sitting in rooms with world leaders, eavesdropping. No-one took any notice of me, other than to give me a few titbits. After all, who would suspect me of being a spy, even though my name was James?’

I could hardly believe my ears but James had more to say.

‘I was MI5’s most valuable spy for eight years but I was getting tired of being on the move all the time and I wanted to settle down so I applied for a job at Heathrow. I did undercover security work there, observing suspicious characters and listening, always listening. I thwarted some major plots and alerted the police and customs to some serious crimes. I was awarded many medals, for bravery, for initiative, for being the best in my sphere of expertise. I was very proud. After I left Heathrow I met my wife and had some puppies and now I simply enjoy my retirement.’

I was amazed and decided I would love to have James. I asked his owner how much he was asking for the dog.

I was astonished when he said, ‘Ten pounds.’
‘Why are you selling him so cheaply? He’s an incredible dog.’

The owner smiled and said, ‘He exaggerates. He’s never even been out of the garden.’

The  story, of course, is not true, but it gave me an excuseto post some photos of  the late, great Frodo the Faller, my velcro dog.

Wokingham Rocks

Wokingham Rocks

Clicking on the photos enlarges them - usually.

While walking in Simons Wood one day last week we noticed a coloured pebble in a tree. Clearly it had been placed there deliberately. We examined it and were curious but thought little more about it. A few days later we saw a few more painted pebbles and then met a fellow dog walker and her little girl. They told us about Wokingham Rocks

On their website they say, This is a 'just for fun' community art activity where you can paint what you like on rocks and hide them around Wokingham.’

It has added a new dimension to our walks! It is fun for children and adults alike to paint and hide their works of ‘art’ and I think it’s something Frankie might like to try. We shall see!

Some have been painted by children, others by adults. On the back they have 'Wokingham Rocks', the date and a link to the Facebook group page. 

Saturday 17 February 2018

Bright winter days

Bright Winter Days

Clicking on the photos enlarges them - usually

I never complain about the cold weather when the sun shines for surely everything and everyone feels better then? Our weather can and does change very quickly some days and behaves in contrary fashion to the meteorological prediction. We can set out in bright sunshine, believing that because rain has not been forecast there will be none. On many occasions we are caught out. 
On this occasion it threatened but did not deliver
It makes little difference to the dogs. They may not care to venture into the garden when rain is falling but the woods and forests are a different matter.

We regularly walk in Simons Wood. 

It is full of ancient trees, some gnarled and twisted, some ramrod striaght.

Silver birch bark
Which way is North?

The dogs often find a ball., thoughtfully left behind by another dog. Here Bertie is holding it and Gus and Roxy want it . . .
Bertie drops it and Roxy gets it!
Bertie says, 'Which way are we going now?' Jenna waits patiently.
One might be forgiven for feeling one is being watched. Can you see the faces in the following photos?

Fungi are abundant and often very colourful. 

Almost the first thing  Roxy does when we reach the woods is to pick up a stick. Sometimes, as below, she finds a ball. A ball outranks a stick every time . . .

In the following photos she is brandishing a fair-sized branch and her hackles are up though no strange dog is near her.

Back to the car and then home and - eventually - supper!
Bertie, Gus and Roxy - little Jenna is hidden!
Bertie,  Roxy, Gus and Jenna - happy dogs.