Sunday, 29 July 2012

29/7/12 Nails

I have decided to paint my nails today as am feeling quite summery. (Although in typical British summer fashion, the minute I decided to get my toes out it rained!)

Having given myself a DIY manicure including an absolutely foul smelling hand mask, fiddled about with the cuticles a bit and done some filing I was ready. Now decisions, decisions, what colour?

My preferred choices were: candy floss pink, turquoise, a darker sea green or steely grey.

I opted for the turquoise as it always stands out bright and fresh.

Bubbles couldn't give a monkey's what colour my nails are. She just enjoyed supervising my manicure efforts from her vantage point on the top of the bannister!

28/7/12 Pruning

Today, my aching muscles suffered once again, as this time I tackled the front garden, where three bushes seemed to have morphed into one! I quickly set to work pruning the shrubbery with a pair of sharp secateurs.

I was quickly reminded of why I would fail abismally at hairdressing. Every customer would enter asking for a "trim" or "tidy up" and leave completely bald!

Having completed the backbreaking task of pruning the garden shrubbery, I stepped back to survey my work. Not bad really as I have managed to create two rectangular shaped shrubs and one tree shaped one (not the image above - my efforts were slightly less symmetrical!).

Bubbles spent the entire time supervising my efforts through the front window. I'm sure she wanted to come outside to help and was most put out to be confined indoors.

I was rather relieved not to find a resident hedgehog among the shrubbery, as we do have a friendly little fellow who seems to frequent our front garden, sniffing around and racing along at a tremendous pace for such little legs!

I can already see the weeds starting to peep through the paving slabs again in the back garden so no doubt will soon be slaving away at them again.

When did I ever find time to study?

27/7/12 Olympic Games London 2012

Tonight was the opening ceremony for the London 2012 Olympic Games and what a spectacle indeed it was.

I particularly liked the way the honour of lighting the Olympic Cauldron was passed onto the next generation of young, aspiring Olympic athletes; which really epitomises the way England and Great Britain have been working to inspire young people to take part in sport through schools and many other activities and the importance of and achievements reached as part of this.

Bubbles sat on my knee for the final part of the ceremony, patriotically sporting a Union Jack headscarf but probably wishing she was, instead, partaking in the "Cat Olympics" sport of cat napping, treat eating or mouse chasing!

Thursday, 26 July 2012

26/7/12 Happy Birthday Bubbles!

"Happy Birthday" Bubbles, who is six today!

Here she is, waiting for some birthday fuss whilst sunbathing on her birthday!

She has received a very exciting ball with a feather tail and a catnip mouse for her birthday (the carrier bag containing presents had to be quickly smuggled in and concealed in the wardrobe before she got a whiff of any catnip!) However, she did eye me and the bag suspiciously when it was brought in yesterday afternoon.

Today, I think Bubbles intends to spend most of her birthday sunbathing, sleeping, relaxing and eating.

I think I might join her....

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

25/7/12 Peeking


I'm not the only one who has been doing the gardening this week. So has my cousin Francesca, whose cat Pierre was also kept indoors during the proceedings.

Pierre, however, found a most unusual way of spying on his owner; peeking through the letter box, which Bubbles found highly amusing!

24/7/12 A Run

With my aching muscles threatening to seize up even more, I decided some serious action needed to be taken; in the form of going for a run.

The temperature today has risen to a glorious 26 degrees, so I think my run today could probably be classed as more of a jog / walk / jog / walk. Still, I give myself ten out of ten for effort, as I pounded the pavement, slurping away at my water, with sweat dripping down my face!

On arriving home I collapsed in the garden to cool off much to Bubbles' delight as she enjoyed a lovely, relaxing lie down in the shade; whilst I puffed and panted on the grass next to her (hogging most of the shade I must admit) while trying to get my breath back and trying to feel human again!

23/7/12 Ouch Agony!

Ouch! Today I can barely move thanks to my gardening efforts on Saturday having caught up with me. Sitting down is somewhat painful on the hamstrings and when I crouch down to check Bubbles' litter tray, I can hardly stand up again! I definitely cannot straighten out my legs and my hands feel as though they are going to drop off!

Well, five and a half hours worth of gardening certainly made me discover muscles I never knew I had! So an easy day today with a lot of TV watching and some gentle cuddles from Bubbles, who seems to sense I am in pain and has not divebombed me at all!

22/7/12 Fridge Cleaning

After my gardening frenzy yesterday, I was certainly feeling in the mood for a bit of spring cleaning... so like a whirlwind whizzed round doing the washing, organising the cupboards and cleaning the fridge out.

Bubbles was enjoying a lazy day of relaxing under the bed in the cool, probably thinking it was best to avoid me incase I accidentally popped her into the fridge or in one of the cupboards; which reminds me of a story:

"Once upon a time, there was a much smaller cat named Bubbles, who was, in fact, still a kitten. One day, her human owner was busy making breakfast and had accidentally left the fridge door open.

Well, being a very inquisitive little cat, Bubbles' eyes went as big as saucers as she sat under the fridge door, gazing up in wonder at all the food lying on the glinting white shelves and sniffing the cool air which cascaded down from the shiny interior.

Bubbles desperately wanted to know what lay inside this large, delicious smelling contraption; so she crouched down on her haunches and with ever such a light spring, launched herself up, landing neatly on  one of those lovely, white shelves.

Bubbles wasn't sure about this new seating arrangement, as it did feel slightly cool on her bottom but decided to make the best of it and investigate her surroundings.

Meanwhile, her human owner, humming contentedly to herself, turned to replace the butter in the fridge and froze, butter in hand, gasping in horror!

'You naughty girl!' she remonstrated, swiftly removing the rather surprised kitten, who had just discovered where the ham was!"

Needless to say, I was rather late for wherever I was going that day, as instead of just eating breakfast and going out as planned, I suddenly had to schedule an entire spring clean of the fridge into my morning routine!!!!

Every time I open the fridge, to this day, I always push the door fully shut; just incase a certain someone decides to explore it again!

Ok, so our fridge isn't QUITE that big, or for that matter quite that full of wine or chocolate puddings but one can dream!

21/7/12 Gardening

Today I decided to tackle the meadow that is my back garden! So out came the lawn mower (retrieved from the shed by my other half in view of the fearsome large spiders residing there!) He did offer to do the gardening but I wanted it to be my mission, and a mission it was!

Five and a half hours of mowing, re-mowing, shearing the long grasses, pulling weeds out, pruning, edging, hoeing and sweeping and the garden looks FANTASTIC!

Bubbles spent the entire afternoon watching me through the window. Knowing her fear of the loud mower engine it was best to keep her inside where she could supervise from the safety of the lounge. On completion of my gardening efforts, however, she raced outside at high speed, only to skid to a halt on the short spiky grass. "This is not how it was!" I could see her thinking as she padded carefully across the lawn. "Where is my meadow?" I could sense her disappointment at the long grasses being cut down, as she does love to play at lions; pouncing in the long grass!

But as she sprawled out to relax in the shade on one side of the lawn, I decided she was probably quite pleased with my efforts after all!

20/7/12 Results For Some

Aaaaagh! Officially I still have two weeks to go before my final results for my degree will be released by the Open University. However, just to freak me out completely, today the OU have released several module's results TWO WEEKS EARLY!

Now I know I (and probably all my fellow OU comrades) had psyched ourselves up to begin checking the week leading up to results day but suddenly having the possibility of them being revealed two whole weeks early was quite a surprise.

Now the clicking begins: "click, click click" on the course page. "Refresh, refresh, refresh!"

The computer will probably explode from overuse!

A great big "Good luck!" to those still waiting for results (including me!) I hope you all receive the results you are hoping for.

Bubbles, meanwhile, just does not understand what all the fuss is all about. She has received lots of cuddles and pats while I mutter to myself, clicking away at the computer.... She thinks it's great fun!

19/7/12 Baseball Cap

Hilariously, in the lounge tonight, Bubbles suddenly decided my other half's baseball cap was, in fact, a new cat toy! The hat had fallen off the settee and was lying at a rather jaunty angle on the floor, half tipped over.

Bubbles walked up to it, side stepped quickly around it then got into perfect position, wiggled a bit and pounced - before the hat could move!

The hat, being a very dull and unresponsive prey, received a bit of patting. Bubbles then picked it up in her mouth, shook it about a bit, then proceeded to floss her teeth on the peak, whilst we sat about laughing silently; lest we should put her off her hunting manoeuvres.

18/7/12 Dinner at Mum's

Yum, yum, as always when I go to my Mum's house for tea I am fed as if I never eat at all for the rest of the week.

Tonight was no exception with a roast chicken dinner and a choice of trifle or strawberries for pudding.

When I arrived home, stuffed full to the brim, Bubbles sniffed me suspiciously as if to say "What have you been eating and why have you not brought me any?"

17/7/12 Cat Behaviours

As a follow on to my "Cat Etiquette" post, I wondered whether some of you might enjoy this (very professional) analysis of cat behaviours!

Bubbles is most put out to learn that we humans have them sussed!

16/7/12 Cat Etiquette

I found this poster and thought I would share with my Blog readers, as I feel it is very appropriate for cats the world over!

Now, a checklist to analyse whether Bubbles is behaving according to "Cat Etiquette":

1) Remove kibbles from dish.... (Yes, often)

2) Be sick on the rug.... (Yes, always) (Bubbles excels at this, in fact she even did it into my other half's slipper the other week!)

3) Stand on owner, facing with bottom.... (Yes, often)

4) Scratch furniture when feel like it.... (No, very rarely) (Bubbles' furniture scratching is pretty much accidental and only occurs when climbing up something)

5) Kick litter all over the floor.... (Yes, often)

6) Shed fur everywhere.... (Yes, sometimes) (Bubbles usually just sheds on the bed where she sleeps but occasionally she finds a nice pile of white, clean towels on the bed, which then receive a coating of black fur!)

Not bad! A grand score of 5 out of 6!

Please share your cats ratings of "Cat Etiquette" on my new poll!

15/7/12 Robinson Crusoe

A slow start to my reading of Robinson Crusoe (the next book on my long list!) I am hoping the story will get more exciting as he sets sail and departs for his seafaring adventures.

Having moved my reading location to the settee, Bubbles is now able to watch me read from her vantage point of her activity centre. Her favourite place for keeping tabs on what's going on both indoors and out in the garden.

Having posted yesterday's picture of the fantastic indoor library, I now feel my reading collection may be better stored in something like this!:

Wow! Imagine?

14/7/12 Antigone

Today I managed to complete my reading of the ancient Greek tragedy Antigone, which I must say I thoroughly enjoyed. Bubbles kept me company for most of the day while I read in the quiet solitude of my bedroom.

This book now complete, I will soon be onto the next one....

I have a feeling I might need something like this in my house in the very near future:

13/7/12 Friday the 13th!

Whilst some are highly superstitious about Friday 13th, I did try to take no notice of the date. That was until, walking along the pavement I spied a ladder right in front of me, proppeed up against one of the terraced houses, completely blocking my route!

"Hmmmm, to walk under it or not?" I asked myself. "Not!" replied my subconscious so I went out of my way to ensure I stepped off the curb and did not walk under said ladder. Some may say this was more dangerous than actually taking the risk of stepping underneath the ladder. Superstitions aside, however, there is a good reason for this as I do remember a rather unfortunate incident as a child, when my father had been carefully painting the outside of our house (up on a ladder) and he came down to receive a cup of tea from my mother. Whilst standing, chatting away at the bottom of the ladder, the paintpot (which he had left balanced precariously at the top) somehow tipped over and emptied its contents entirely over his head!

Now, I wouldn't have wanted to walk under a ladder (on Friday 13th or any other time) and risk this happening to me. (Sorry Dad, for the embarrassing anecdote!)

Arriving back home in one piece (no paint on MY head) Bubbles and I went for a race round the garden, with no ladders present at all!

Sunday, 15 July 2012

12/7/12 Sleepy Me

I could hardly keep my eyes open this evening after tea. My other half cooked a nice tea for us while I did a bit of work on the computer, sorted out the washing then dozed off in front of the television.

Bubbles was also feeling quite chilled out, as she settled quite early with us in the lounge; entering dramatically by flinging the lounge door open wide, marching across the room miaowing loudly (just incase we hadn't noticed her arrival in the room) then clambering up onto her (our) beanbag!

She proceeded to lie on this, in the most uncomfortable looking position imaginable; balancing precariously right on the edge but half hanging off the beanbag!

11/7/12 Ironing

It's funny when ironing is to be done, the way I always think "I'll just iron one top, or maybe two, for tomorrow as well...." Suddenly the ironing pile grows to immeasurable proportions and takes about four hours to complete!

Bubbles sauntered into the lounge, then suddenly noticing the contraption jumped a mile and froze into a crouching position! "Silly cat!" I laughed. Embarrassed, she lightly ran past, pretending not to care but giving the ironing board sideways glances as she went past it!

She soon settled up on her activity centre, where from a high vantage position she felt in control, surveying my ironing procedure, whilst flicking her tail back and forth with disapproval!

10/7/12 Full of Cold

Today was the annual Race for Life, however, being absolutely full of cold and with the ground soaking wet and yet more ominous weather approaching; my Mum, my friend and myself took the decision to pull out of the race. The money we paid to register will still go to the charity so we at least feel we have made a small contribution.

I felt terribly guilty for not partaking in the race, as have taken part for the previous few years but realise that I'm not really very well so it was more sensible to stay inside in the warm and dry. My Mum cooked a delicious pasta carbonara with salad and I went from her house home early to bed.

Bubbles was unimpressed when I arrived home smelling of a combination of garlic bread and Fisherman's Friends cough sweets. She took one sniff of me then galloped off upstairs to hide well away from me, under the bed!

9/7/12 Rain

Today, I think the weather has played a deliberate trick on the population of Great Britain. For quite a few hours it appeared sunny and I even had to open some windows and remove my cardigan! Bubbles even managed a bit of garden time. Then suddenly at about 8.00pm the sky blackened and the rain just FLOODED down.

It was nice to be able to cosy up indoors but I did feel sorry for anyone who, taking advantage of a seemingly mild summer's evening might have gone for an evening stroll and got a good soaking!

Once again Bubbles and I spent our evening indoors; the sound of the rain hammering against the windows really intrigued Bubbles, who kept trying to look through the darkened glass. The noise and excitement proved too much for her and she began skittishly plucking the carpet on top of her activity centre platform then raced off upstairs for a mad half hour!

Sunday, 8 July 2012

8/7/12 Reading

Ah reading!

Today I will start the reading for my Masters course. I have several set books to get through before the start date in three months so I had actually better get cracking.

It feels like just the kind of lazy Sunday activity I am in the mood for.

Bubbles is fast asleep in the spare room chair and my other half is enjoying watching motorcycle racing; so the distant buzz of motorsport TV provides a nice, familiar Sunday atmosphere.

Yes, ready to relax with a book then cook a (hopefully) nice meal later this evening!

7/7/12 Dog

Tonight, my partenr's friend called round, bringing his new puppy with him for me to see. He is a very sweet, calm, gentle dog who enjoyed a good fuss!

When I went back inside, I found Bubbles hovering in the hallway, glancing accusingly towards the door. She obviously realised we had a visitor of the canine variety. Not being used to dogs I did not know what her response would be if she saw one, but was definitely not going to risk a face to face encounter.

Instead, I carefully picked her up and carried her into the kitchen to look through the window. Meanwhile, outside, our friend lifted up his puppy to also look through the window. The two animals looked curiously at one another. Neither hissed, barked or stiffened and they were able to each view the other species with the safety and reassurance of their owner and a double glazed window.

Unfazed, afterwards Tonka the dog got back in his van ready to go home, while Bubbles went off upstairs to play with her ball then have a good rest in the comfort of the spare bedroom chair!

6/7/12 The Flood

No, I have not plagiarised one of Take That's pop songs. Today, there has been yet another freak weather occurence; with one month's worth of rainfall falling in just one night and day. Roads around many parts of the country have been affected, with people's houses being flooded and access to many areas has been restricted.

Venturing out in my car this morning, I had to turn around and find another route as I discovered a main road near my house was completely flooded. Some people had attempted to drive through the water and had got stuck. I decided there was no way I was going to even try to get through so did a dodgy turn in the middle of the road and found another route!

Scarily the water has been deeper in some local places including the road pictured above. Yes, this is ACTUALLY A ROAD! Luckily the bus was not carrying any passengers and the driver (pictured) was ferried to safety in the rescue boat.

Whilst having my breakfast this morning, Bubbles and I looked out of the window as the rain pelted down in huge splashes. Bubbles looked totally fed up as she realised this was another non-garden day!

5/7/12 Summer!


Today has actually been a baking, glorious, sunshiney, cloudless, warm, sunny, hot, boiling, sweltering, sunburning, gorgeous, (am running out of adjectives) summer's day!

Which was pretty lucky because I have spent the day at the zoo! This would not have been a pleasant occurence if the weather had been as foul and wet as it has been lately. But no, the Great British weather did it's thing and proved to be fantastic when needed!

Most of the animals seemed to be enjoying either splashing around in their water environments; cooling off from the heat of the day....

....or just lazing around sunbathing and basking in the glorious heat!

When I got home this evening (rather red from the sun), Bubbles enjoyed a lovely play in the garden whilst I collapsed on the settee, tired but happily full of vitamin D

4/7/12 Chocolate

This evening, after tea, I felt a bit peckish. Actually I felt a bit greedy and went scavenging through the kitchen cupboards to find a vast array of treats to devour.

Excitedly, I discovered a Crunchie Bar and somehow thought it was mine. Now this was a  serious error of judgement because I had actually eaten a Crunchie Bar a few days ago. I had also been the person who had BOUGHT the Crunchie Bars, so knowing I had bought two and eaten one should have brought me to the conclusion that the remaining Crunchie Bar in the cupboard was, in actual fact, my partner's chocolate bar. The chocolate bar which he had been saving!

Returning to work on the computer I forgot about my greedy treats and got on with my typing. Bubbles was fast asleep in the chair, after also enjoying some treats, of the Whiska's Chicken & Cheese variety!

A little while later my partner arrived home from an evening out with friends. We called "hello" to each other then I carried on typing; vaguely aware of him downstairs in the kitchen opening and closing cupboard doors.

"Have you seen my Crunchie Bar?" he called upstairs to me.


3/7/12 Hanging Around

This evening I went to my Mum's house for a meal; to be greeted by the sight of yet another eight legged arachnid loitering high up on the wall.

Now Mum and I like to watch a particular drama series, which I was attempting to concentrate on this evening. The only trouble was that I ended up with a cricked neck from turning every few seconds to check that the spider was still in its place on the wall and had not somehow, freakishly made its way down the wall and crawled across the top of the settee to climb onto me!

Mum refused to remove the spider incase it inadvertently got squished on the wall (she has recently had decorating done!) I certainly wasn't going to attempt to remove it incase it decided to jump on me.

Bubbles would be very jealous, had she realised I spent the whole evening eyeballing a spider hanging around in the lounge. I should have taken her with me, then I would be sure to know the spider was still safely in place, as Bubbles would definitely not let it out of her sight!

2/7/12 Pink Panther

Here is a joke for you....

"What did the Pink panther say when he trod on an ant?"

"Dead ant dead ant dead ant dead ant dead ant dead ant DEAD ANTTTTTTTTTTT!"

Ok, so we are not currently being visited by our tall, pink legged friend, however, we DO have an invasion of horrid little red ants on the outside front porch wall. Yuk!

Sometimes these imposters are also present on the wall in the back garden, where they like to congregate; plotting their next invasion!

Bubbles usually takes one sniff then turns her nose up in disgust as these miniscule monsters are not even worth her bothering to eat. She would much rather focus on larger garden pests; such as spiders and flies, which always seem to provide an excellent workout during the "chase" with a delicious meal at the end!

1/7/12 Shepherd's Pie

Today is our ninth anniversary so we celebrated with a romantic meal of Shepherd's Pie. Now there is some confusion over whether it is actually called Shepherd's Pie or Cottage Pie. I believe it is differentiated by whether lamb mince is used (therefore giving the shepherd aspect of sheep farming!) Or whether beef meat is used. But what beef has to do with cottages I will never understand!

Anyway, I used beef mince so technically I suppose what I cooked should actually be termed "Cottage Pie." The trouble is, "Cottage Pie" conjures up yukky images for me of grotesque sloppy canteen offerings and I am not sure I want to associate my delicious dinner with those unpleasant images! Whereas "Shepherd's Pie" always reminds me of my Mum's homemade cooking with lovely crunchy bits around the edges.

So.... Shepherd's Pie it is!

When Bubbles was a small kitten, before I realised how sensitive cats stomachs are, I kindly gave her a small helping of Shepherd's Pie one day; thinking she would really enjoy the meat and gravy taste and texture. BIG mistake, which I soon realised when I discovered the Shepherd's pie had been eaten then immediately projectile vomited out all over the kitchen floor!