Cat in Distress
May 13, 2010
Today, as the sun came out and the cat pranced around in the garden, little did I know what would come to pass.
The noise a cat makes, well mine, when it wants to attract attention is a plaintive squeek. Not a rusty squeek, more a half squeek; sort of hitting the nerve endings and disturbing the subconscious.
It began at around 1425. The half squeek, hitting my subconscious, and then, by a process close to osmosis, making me feel disturbed and anxious. Was that the noise from a cat in distress?
I dismissed it, for a while, until the subconscious started prodding. Then adreniline set in, and I was up and searching. Where was the half squeek coming from? Was the cat in trouble and distress? Had it been caught, run-over and crawled back from the road with all limbs smashed? I searched all the nooks and crannies inside the house, even though I knew the cat was outside. I searched the length and breadth of the garden, calling out. At this point my wife joined in too. We searched parts of the garden even foxes are scared of, while rattling a carton of Whiskas Temptations and calling out his most familiar phrases. No sign. No trace, nothing.
Back into the house, for both of us and then, after a few minutes that half squeek again. Nerves on edge. Where is the cat, where?
Then wife, who had recently downloaded a game called Virtual Villagers, Tree of Life, demonstrated a sound emanating from the game when the mouse selected a small baby. The half squeek!
That's another 30 minutes I could have done without...the cat strolled up later for snacks.
In Praise of Mice
Jan 24, 2010
Wee, sleekit, cowrin, tim'rous beastie,
O, what a panic's in thy breastie!
Thou need na start awa sae hasty
Wi bickering brattle!
I wad be laith to rin an' chase thee,
Wi' murdering pattle.
A Close Run Thing
Jan 12, 2010
It's Tuesday and we had not been out since Saturday. The cat was growing more concerned, as diminishing supplies of pouches and kibble were beginning to resemble the final meal at The Alamo. Although the weather was warmer than of late, there was still a quantity of slushy snow on the road, on the slippery, dangerous, downhill, twisty, insurance-claim road.
The weather forecast was also a concern. It was suggesting some parts of Dartmoor would get up to 10cm of snow. However, the forecast for my locality was for sleet, and later, for heavy rain. This changed later in the morning to just sleet; no mention of snow or rain. What to do? The forecast for tomorrow was for thick fog. Should we go now, and get home before the sleet and (possible) heavy rain or wait until tomorrow, when all the snow lying around would be washed away by the rain, but with the added hazard of fog?
It was 1315. The sleet was forecast for 1500 and the heavy rain (now removed from the forecast) later in the night. So clearly, the weather was forecast to be warming and we would not have a problem with ice or snow. Let's go then, off to the shopping centre near Torquay, about 20 km away. The traffic was flowing freely, the roads dry and clear. But, as we reached the shops at around 1350, it began to rain, quite heavily.
We rapidly did the shopping, restocking with essential cat foods, water, fruit juices, milk, breads, croissants, some ready meals for emergencies, and lots of vegetables. By this time it had started to sleet, quite heavily. It was 1440.
Setting off back in the direction from which we had journeyed, the traffic was still flowing freely, but the roads were wet. A gritter sped by spraying rock salt onto the soaking wet road. That would be washed away within minutes. What a waste!
We passed through the urban area and headed for the country road. The sleet was heavier, but not a problem. It was 1500. Another gritter ahead did a U-turn at the roundabout, and headed back to the depot for fresh supplies. The sleet was now rapidly turning to snow. We were on the last leg.
It was the last few kilometres before we had to negotiate the twisty, uphill, dangerous road. A slow moving Jeep ahead was taking its time, as the snow began to fall heavily. It was driven by someone either taking great care, or someone who had just passed their driving test and was returning home having recently discarded the 'L' plates. It was 1510. The snow was clearly going to win at this rate.
At last, the turn-off appeared, and we went up the twisty road in a, careful, low gear, negotiated all the bends, slopes, avoided the granite walls, and gingerly crunched through the rapidly deepening snow. The drive came into view and we swept in, and ran for cover after unloading the supplies. Within a few minutes the car was covered in snow and within 30 minutes the car tracks had disappeared under 2 cm of snow. (By 1900 some 10 cm had fallen).
We had made it by the skin of our teeth. The weather forecast was still saying our locality was to have some sleet. No mention of 10 cm of snow. And it's now 2030, and it's still snowing. The local roads are all blocked, and people have been stranded on the notorious Halden Hill a few kilometres away. So much for local weather forecasts!
Architects and Global Warming
Dec 9, 2009
>>>A few days before, I had written an opinion piece with the rather attention seeking headline Is global warming hot air? I’d wanted to see if my readers, who are mainly architects, agreed with the line now adopted by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) that ‘man made’ climate change is the greatest challenge facing the profession. Given that about 30% of them have lost their jobs in this recession and some of them will never work again, I wondered if RIBA might not have some more immediate issues to address. >>>
See the link for more.
Out of Work
Oct 2, 2009
Work, what is it? Well, I think it's a way of rich people getting richer and poor people working. We toil to feed ourselves. But most of the results of that labour feeds a rich person, their pension fund or both.
My pension fund has been depleted by IFAs, regulatory incompetence (and government denials), bankers and their greed and stupidity and also, I have to admit it, a neglected mattress.
When you are working for someone, you receive a wage, but in return you are a slave.You also have the vague promise that when you are too old to walk properly you will get enough money to pay for cat food.
I now think this was a lie. You get nothing for cat food or yourself and family.
So out of work, including that laughable retirement phase, is the only time you don't save for a pension. Joy!
Boots Photo Processing
Jul 3, 2009
On Monday this week I found an old film in my camera and after dusting it off and polishing it a bit I wondered if it could be processed. Then I remembered Boots had a film processing thing in its shop, so I took it along. I selected the three day option since I am poor. That means you hand it in on day one and you collect it on day three. How wrong can you be?
I went on day three to be told that 'The till does not count day one as day one, it doesn't start counting until day two and so you really shouldn't be here until day four'. Bother!
I sent an email to Boots and this is what it said:
'Thank you for contacting us about our film processing services. I can certainly understand your concerns that you were told to return on the fourth day, after requesting a 3-day service. I do hope I am able to help.
The three day service would not start until the photo lab had received the film and had started the processing of the film. Our 3-day service is based on 72 hours. So if, for example, you took your films to be developed at 2pm on Monday, they would be ready 72 hours later. This would mean you could collect them after 2pm on the Thursday. However, we don't name the service as 72 hours, as the service is only available on working days, and occasionally Saturdays.
I'm sorry for any disappointment this has caused you, and i have passed the details of your email to our Photo Team so that they are aware of your feedback.
Thank you again for contacting us, please accept my sincere apologies for any inconvenience that this may have caused you. If you have any further questions, please contact me on the number below, quoting your personal reference number xxxxxx'.
Now, I just want to point out that the photo processing lab is in the shop. I will report on further developments, but I'm hoping for some compensation, an apology and a High Court ruling in my favour.
Jun 18, 2009
The government has published a weighty report on the subject of 'Digital Britain'. The headlines in most newspapers focused on the new tax being proposed on every fixed line user of £6 pa to pay for a universal service delivering broadband access of at least 2 M bps.
I find this most irritating-not the newspapers' focus, but the government interference. BT was privatized and the telecommunication market was liberalized to take it away from government meddling. Let's face it, almost everything the government does with taxpayer's money is wasted. And why should taxpayers support BT or any other private company?
I will not go on about 'too little, too late'. When it comes to broadband, BT is a laggard on the international stage; always has been and always will be. It is still run and staffed by civil servants.
Another example of government woolly thinking.
Back to Researcher's Personal Space