Thursday, 23 February 2012

Wall watching

Hello, it's me - Four-legged-friend - again. I'm worried. And just a little bit puzzled.

What is it with walls and humans?

Mum usually says something along the lines of, "I'm not going to watch it now; I've got too much to do." And then she does! She stands, or sits, or lies down watching it. A wall!?

Sometimes, it makes her laugh. Quite often, she sits on the edge of a seat watching it. I've seen her cry in front of it. She even uses that dangerous, hot, spitting thing to flatten clothes, on a board, while staring at it - the clothes don't get flattened very well!

I can't see the attraction myself. It's just a small grey wall. Yes, it does make noises and the only other wall I have found that does that, is the one at the back of the cloakroom, which gurgles a bit when the drains swallow something. But mum doesn't find that wall fascinating.

I like to let her know that her behaviour is hurtful - how can she find a wall more interesting than me? - and I grizzle and yelp now, whenever she goes wall watching - this works, because anyone else watching the wall with her says, "Take him out!" or "Is he hungry?" or best of all, "Does he need a walk?"

Monday, 20 February 2012

Palindromes and sweet dreams

Tomorrow has a palindromic number for its date: 21.2.12. There was one in January, on 21.1.12, and there will be more this year - the 21st of every single digit month, and November.

The same will happen next year, starting with 31.1.13 and after that there will be no more palindromic dates for a long while (does 02.1.20 count?)

This got me thinking, in a strange-over-tired-out-of-the-box sort of way - besides names like Hannah and Eve, and Dad and Mum - what if other things in life were palindromes? Are there any physical palindromes? - an egg timer, exactly half-poured, laid on its side? Is deja vu, in fact, a palindrome in linear time? - probably not, unless one thought is the exact reverse of the other. What about the infinite reflections when you stand half way between two facing mirrors? And finally - final, because I need to sleep; could counting sheep be palindromic? - what about Newton's Third law of motion - every action has an equal and opposite reaction - if the point where equal and opposite meet is the equivalent of the month in the dates above and the equal and opposite forces are the date and the year, then surely this is a palindromic law of physics?

None of this matters of course, but a bit of trivial nonsense is good for all of us from time to time.


Saturday, 18 February 2012

Too much of a good thing?

The good thing in question is Littlest's vocabulary: she's at the stage where she collects words - funny ones, such as discombobulated; rude ones - she lists four which she says she is allowed to know, but not to say - they are the ones that start with 's', 'f' and 'b' and the one her brother apparently says a lot which starts with an 's' and rhymes with spit; then there are the big words that she enjoys using, usually correctly, such as established - as in, "I have established that it is my turn to choose which film we watch"; and there are the adjectives and adverbs that tend to spill out of her mouth in her enthusiasm to make her point.

She has just returned from a visit to her godmother's house, where she and her godmother's daughter had a midnight feast, that was "completely, utterly and absolutely not at midnight - in fact, it was at the polar opposite to midnight, at about nine o'clock!"

And no, I made none of that up - think she might need a little revision over what constitutes a polar opposite, but she definitely made her point.

Too much of a good thing? No. Because we'll miss it, when her language conforms to the bland rules of adulthood.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

How to melt your heart

Valentine's dinner -



Sticky (in preparation), but delicious and extremely successful pastry made by Littlest - door-handle, light switch and tap cleaned by the cleaning fairy.




Surplus cheese, sweetcorn, bacon and pasta bake - wonderful! Filling!!!




Lemon pudding - mmm! Gluten free!! Bain marie - science and floor-mopping lesson. 

And all cooked by Littlest and sister. A happy half-term afternoon: lots of time writing out the menu, recipes and drinks list; doing the candles; giggling; hiding ingredients from parents; whispering; choosing the music to cook to; covering Four-legged-friend's backside in flour; and giggling some more.

Happy ... and very full parents. 
Thank you.

xx

Monday, 13 February 2012

So glad I am neither rabbit nor hedge. Warning - contains BIG rant!

Rabbit footprints everywhere, much to the puzzlement of Four-legged-friend.




I'd rather cope with the panic-buying British masses, encouraged into a state of frenzy by forecasts of terrible snow and deadly cold, than have to be a rabbit and scrape frost and snow off my meagre bit of frozen grass.




Think Four-legged-friend agrees - a bowl of food, presented at regular intervals to your nose, is much easier.




But I would be rabbit rather than hedge:

Whenever I see this, my heart screams, "Aaaaaaaaaargh!"




Why subject our heritage to this? It's so, so ugly!!!!

The definition of flail is to beat or flog and the word is derived from the Latin flagellum or whip. To flail is therefore to punish by whipping. What warped form of countryside stewardship devised this brutal destruction of our historic hedgerows? Think of Constable's paintings - the hedgerows of rural England are little changed since then, except now they are beaten into submission. No-one would do this to the plants in their garden - unless the intention was to kill them! And the Hedgerow Protection Act of 1997 prevents removal through over maintenance that results in death. Supposedly. 

Actually, here I have to tame my rant-that-was-going-to-be-a-mega-rant and admit that although species like the Brown Hairstreak butterfly are in decline, because winter flailing destroys their eggs, defra and numerous other countryside organisations  support a regulated (carefully timed to avoid bird breeding seasons etc) programme of non-over-zealous flailing, as it has been found to be good for biodiversity.

While I am all for biodiversity, however, it strikes me that the elephant in this particular room, or field, is the fact that hedgerows are only protected where they are continuous and I suspect husbandry practices which mash the stems of bushes and splinter the trunks of trees will result in gaps and the inevitable drop from the current estimate of 70% of English hedgerows being covered by the protection act. And maybe in this day of mega farms that is the point. Or am I being too cynical?




And changing the subject, somewhat, from rant to lighter note, while I would hate to be a hedge, how much worse would it be to be made of snow?







Sunday, 12 February 2012

Because ...

Because I like these pictures

Four-legged-friend



Littlest and big friends




"Reindeer prints?"




Saturday, 11 February 2012

A snowy tale of Littlest and Four-legged-friend

Once upon a time - a bit earlier today -

Littlest and Four-legged-friend decide whose turn is it to run rings round the other.



Littlest wins. "Think there's a path under here somewhere.Follow me!"




"I'm drawing a line in the snow in case we get lost. It might get blizzardy or something."




"I dropped my precious stick! And it's got buried!"




"You're a naughty boy for running off with my stick!"




"I'm tired. And my toes are freezing! And now my nose is frozen too!"




"Do I really, really have to walk?"




"Pleeeeeeease carry me!"




Remarkably, and with a little help from their friends, Littlest and Four-legged-friend got home before dark.











Monday, 6 February 2012

Temptation, virtual strawberries and a pretty useless tooth fairy

Littlest in the car on the way home from school:

"What does tempted mean?"

"And determined - isn't that the same?"

Somehow, we got onto strawberries and in particular the last strawberry sitting, lonely, on a plate.

"So, if I'm tempted to have the strawberry that just means that I'd really like it. And if I'm determined to have it, then I'm jolly well not going to share it, and it's mine, no matter what."

Think she got that one!

She's also tempted to sack the tooth fairy who has forgotten every night for the last 2 weeks to deliver payment for her tooth and if I might speak on behalf of the tooth fairy, there is equal determination on her side to remember. Maybe.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Weather forecast - accurate ... and ignored



Weather forecasts? - forecast the weather - so when it is going to snow you can prepare by doing things like not going out for dinner, or if you do go out then by clearing the drive and salting it before you go; then the car may not have to be abandoned where it slid to rest. Also, if an outside job - such as erecting a fence has been started and there is a clear, frosty day in hand, then perhaps it would be sensible to complete the task - instead of waiting for the forecast to fulfil its prophecy and finishing it in the snow.




Putting jobs off until tomorrow is one thing, but putting them off until it snows is a novel way of making them more difficult. Four-legged-friend never puts any job off - whether its eating his meals, chewing his bone, worrying a stick, curling up on his mat, or chasing the vacuum cleaner across the floor - he's a man of immediate action. Maybe I need to take a leaf out of his book.




The man of action was not sure what to make of the snow, or of the new fenced area next to his run.

"This pallet hasn't got hinges! How do I get out of here, then?"




What he would really like to have done today was helping to eat the dinner - instead of just the carrot tops and whatever potato peelings strayed onto the floor where he waited, wedged between me and the bin.



This rather odd looking roast was a direct consequence of the snow - or rather of the forecast for snow and the resulting panic-buying which meant there were no legs of lamb left, no large chickens, no broccoli, no cauliflower, and no more than one bag of parsnips. 

Still as friend who came for lunch at 4pm (!!) said, "Nom, nom ...", meaning it filled a spot. Twice. His spot and several others, actually; all human - Four-legged-friend had to make do with a few of the scraps.



Snow babes

Baby snow man



Busty snowman (what happens when a teenage boy does the sculpting)




The snowman family with Four-legged-snow-dog-friend






I can't find my bone, Mum!

7a.m. - this is what I found outside the back door. 

I'd just woken Mum up and waited patiently, drooling all over the floor, while she warmed the water for my breakfast. And she always sends me outside when I've finished. But honestly, she might have warned me.



How's a dog meant to find his bone?



It wasn't over there



Or over there.

Littlest is jumping up and down, chattering about something called a sledge - I get the impression that my walk could be fun later ...