scribbles tagged ‘cat’

Sampo instruction manual

Saturday, July 26th, 2014 | tags: , , ,  |

Basic interactions

  • Cautious. Ignore her and she’ll come to within an arms length of you – stroking distance
  • Companiable. She likes to be in the same room as everyone else, out of reach, where she can see and hear but not be ‘hassled’. She’s companionable in a cautious way.
  • Picking her up. Not easy. She doesn’t like it. With me she’ll tolerate it for a few minutes. I’ll pick her up, stroke her then put her down before she starts to struggle. Best to pick her up when she’s dozing in a favourite place before she’s fully awake to run away.
  • Toys. Her favourites are small balls, she’ll watch string and ribbons but rarely really goes to the kill
  • Night singing. In the evening, sometimes at night. She will wander empty rooms ‘calling’ in a deep howling sound. As if she’s calling her kittens to her. I normally let her call a few times then call back. She reacts by running to me in an excited way then we have an intensive stroking session as if she’s pleased and relieved to have found me.
  • Other cats. She is fascinated by them, likes to watch them. Is terrified when there is no ‘glass’ between her and them. One neighbours cat gave her nightmares and made her jumpy for days. She hasn’t learnt that her sheer size makes her scary. She doesn’t chase them off, but she runs after them when they’ve runaway from me!
  • Tail wagging. She uses her tail to express her emotions. Very cute, almost like a dog! She chases her tail when she’s bored or frustrated
  • Chatting. When I come home after a trip she will ‘chat’, meow, for 10 to 30mins depending on how long I’ve been away. She also chats when she wants me to go to bed or something is happening (another cat in the garden). She’s used to this being a ‘conversation’ she meows, I imitate her…  …feels good to me, I think she likes it too

Bodily functions

  • Food. She appears to have a poor sense of smell, she doesn’t react to catnip, cheese, fish or fresh meets. I’ve tried her on all sorts of cat ‘treats’ she doesn’t seem to react to any of them. Prefers dried food. She’s used to being fed twice a day (8am, 7pm)  on dry food. She prefers her water to be placed on her normal house roaming route rather than by her food. In my house this turns out to be on the landing or in the hallway. She does drink out of the toilet if the lid is left up.  She likes to eat spiders, flies and butterflies. Spiders are fun.
  • Regularity. She’s fairly regular within an hour or so of eating. She likes to be fed around 6am but can be ignored
  • Sight. Laser lights?  She doesn’t appear to see them, don’t bother
  • Sound. She is more sensitive to sounds than the average cat. Talk softly to her and she’ll warm to you
  • Sheds. Loves to be brushed. Needs to be brushed. Moults more than the average cat. The sound of running your hand over the brush will normally bring her running towards you.
  • Sleep. She likes me to go to bed around 10pm. She goes to my bedroom and starts calling me. If I ignore her she comes downstairs and starts walking on and around me. She’s used to sleeping on the bed with me at night


  • 6 beds. I mainly use these to reduce the amount of cleaning in the places she likes to sleep
  • Green chenille throw. Once it was nice, then she got her claws into it. When I put one of her beds on it she prefers to sleep next to her bed on the throw
  • Scratching post. She likes to run to this, and around it. Its as much about being a toy as a scratching post
  • Jute hall rug. Her clear enjoyment of lying on this has made it hers
  • Clockwork feeder. Good for weekend trips away
  • Continuous food dispenser. For 3 night trips
  • 2 carry cases. One is the case she flew into Britain in. I find it too big for standard vets trips because she’s so heavy. The wicker basket works well to take her to the vet for her annual check-up
  • Micro chips. She has 2 microchips in her neck, a USA and a European standard chip. They were used to record her rabies status, and the USA one is associated with a long since unused website that has my Seattle address registered as owner. Only a USA vet can change this.  I’ve let her rabies vaccinations lapse.
  • Balls. For fun, I’ll bring her current collection with her
  • Brush. Only the one at the moment. Probably good to have a few. Always brush her outside because of the sheer volume of fluff generated
  • Nail clippers. She actually bites her nails, keeping them short herself. This is a good way of her cleaning her teeth. I check them every now and then by stroking her when she’s next to me then quickly whipping out the clippers and doing a claw at a time. For some reason she seems to be fairly tolerant of this as if she knows it makes her life more comfortable


Sampo instruction manual
3 votes rating 4.67

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Queen of the Orangerie

Tuesday, May 6th, 2014 | tags: , , ,  |

Sampo is the Queen of the Wendy House Orangerie. Here we see her surveying her Queendom, making sure the rug doesn’t escape and no unanticipated guests can sneak in through the new French doors. Sampo doesn’t trust those French doors.


Queen of the Orangerie
5 votes rating 4.6

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bluebells, whitestone, orangecat

Thursday, April 24th, 2014 | tags: , ,  |

SampoFrom 7.8 to 6.2 KG in one year is great progress for Sampo’s diet.

We’re aiming at 5KG so still some way to go this year.

I love her cuddliness.

Seeing her get perky, running around more often, as a slimmer cat is really pleasing for both of us.

Here she’s parading around the recently pressure washed patio of the Wendy House, soaking the  sunshine in the warm inviting garden.

bluebells, whitestone, orangecat
2 votes rating 5

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mourning of the funeral

Friday, December 6th, 2013 | tags: , , , , , , , , ,  |

Poppy checks funeral detailsDad’s funeral was just right for him. The funeral directors were excellent. A man from the funeral directors in a top hat with a silver-tipped long cane walked in front of the hearse as it approached the crematorium. Something wonderfully reverent, respectful, about this little show. I couldn’t deal with the physical presence of Dad’s body. Being in the same room as the body that no longer hosted the dad I knew was overwhelming. From the moment the hearse pulled out in front of our cortege car I was in full mucus-soaked tears, unable to pull words together.

Despite dearly wanting to say some words at the ceremony, I opted put, unable. I hadn’t anticipated being the blubbiest of the family though I was well prepared with multiple thick white cotton handkerchiefs. Everything went smoothly. The funeral was a very traditional, Christian, event. The archaically expressed Christianity didn’t speak to me, the sentiments and shared respectful kind words were good to hear in the company of so many people who’s lives he’d touched. My brother’s tribute was spot-on, as was Dad’s ex-boss’s.

I didn’t wear a hat (Mum’s request), I didn’t wear black. Mum requested that I wear my new dark-blue tailored suit, she wanted me to look good and talk bout my new job with the guests. Only a couple of people wore hats, they looked good.

I wonder how the funeral process will change over time? Live twitter feeds with hashtags projected on the wall relaying condolences from those who can’t be present? Live camera shot of the coffin moving to the incinerator?

The wake made much more sense than the funeral. It was good for me and I hope for the guests. More emphasis on the wake please.



mourning of the funeral
5 votes rating 5

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cat cuddles

Friday, October 11th, 2013 | tags: , ,  |

ghostly catWendy: I’ll need some quality time with my cat because she won’t understand why I’ve been away for a month

Colleague: Do you know how that sounds?

Wendy: yes (giggles)

Colleague: (giggles)

cat cuddles
2 votes rating 5

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holiday camp

Sunday, May 26th, 2013 | tags: ,  |

Sampo - settle'dSampo was near-feral when she joined the USA based wendy house in 2003. She liked cat’s, not people. The idea was that her and Matrix would bond and entertain each other during my long work days. Matrix was a lap cat, Sampo was Matrix’s companion, not mine.

When people come into the house, Sampo hides. Sampo’s never been a lap-cat. Since Matrix’s passing she has voluntarily ventured onto my lap for short explorations. Sampo’s increasingly tolerating my picking her up. Something near impossible 3 years ago. Toleration is definitely her experience. I’m hoping that the advanced stroking that accompanies being picked up will eventually lead her to relax and enjoy it. Mostly our separate silences work to bond us well. She’s taken to talking to me when I get home from work and she likes to follow me around the house. She’s companionable at an arms-length distance.

When I go away, my neighbours pop by to change her water, feed her, and they’d like to pet her.  They rarely even see her. When she hears the key in the door she runs upstairs and hides between the boxes under my bed. Looking after her is not a rewarding experience for my neighbours.

For the route 66 trip I’ll be away for nearly a month. I’ve decided to take Sampo to a cat kennels where someone can actually keep an eye on her elderly body. She’ll be seen, and the comings and goings of the kennel will keep her entertained. She’ll have her own view of bird-filled trees.


holiday camp
2 votes rating 4

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Today is a day for going belly-up

Saturday, June 23rd, 2012 | tags: , , ,  |

Sampo goes belly-upA month’s worth of rain falls overnight, 96 flood warnings in the UK. Sampo’s gone bellly-up. We’re expecting Trouble, and that starts with T which rhymes with P and that stands for Pool, which is bigger than a Puddle which rhymes with Trouble.

I suspect Sampo will float if the Thames decides to rise up to the Wendy House garden.

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tunnel vision

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012 | tags: , , ,  |

Watch as a narcisistic Goldcrest headbutts the window trying to connect with the reflection of himself in my elderly parents bungalow

He’s so focussed on his own image he doesn’t notice the cat…

Dad shot the video and edited the photographs into this piece. He can be a whiz with modern technology when it doesn’t involve using the phone.

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the cat ate my homework – again

Monday, April 2nd, 2012 | tags: ,  |

SampoI think sampo’s diet might be a bit indigestible

She keeps eating my homework before I’ve had a chance to do it

She’s eaten the:

  • dirty laundry
  • washing-up
  • scum from around the sink and bath
  • dust from the window-sills

She’s still pretty plump too. And then all the stuff re-appears in the house. We need to have an executive wendy house meeting to sort this out

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does my bum look big in this?

Friday, July 15th, 2011 | tags:  |

Very little equipment is required to conduct this scientifically reproducible experiment. It’s the application of Time And Relative Dimensions In Space (TARDIS) to Schrodingers cat principle. Is, the cat in the box? Is the bum of the boxed (or not) cat big (or not).

Here we see a Maru, a highly trained research cat investigating time, space and existence.

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Sampo’s arrival in 2003

Saturday, November 27th, 2010 | tags: , , , ,  |

Warning <long soppy story>

Brother and sister kitties exploringI rescued Matrix and Nexus from mad cat woman in Southsea, she told me that I had to give them a home, that they’d always lived together. They joined the Wendy House in June of 1995.

They were rarely more than a few feet apart, they slept, played and hunted together. Ying and Yang.  Three years later I noticed that Nexus was loosing weight and strength. A trip to the vet diagnosed him with feline Lukemia, he was dying slowly with no hope of a cure. It cost me £1.26 to have him euthenaised and the liklihood that Matrix was also ill, was high. It cost me £70 to find out that she was not infected.

The emotional cost was immeasurable. The effect on me, on you, on Matrix. Nexus was put out of his pain. No long lingering death, no fading away gradually. The end of Nexus’s pain was the start of Matrix’s. She constantly looked and called for Nexus, she cried for months. Cudding didn’t help, you wouldn’t let her sleep with us so I started sleeping downstairs on the sofa with Matrix, it helped her, and me, to sleep.

I asked the vet if getting her a companion would help. The vet said Matrix would associate the arrival of a companion with the departure of Nexus so they would not get on well. I had to wait until Matrix had finished grieving. When Matrix stopped grieving she seemed happy enough chasing the local birds and brawling with the local cats. But when I moved to Seattle the coyotes and cat-on-alead-condo-rules reduced Matrix’s ability to entertain herself. With my long days at work, she needed entertainment. A companion.

Cats at christmasI visited all the local cat rescue centres. There were so many. The cats were stacked in rows and rows of individual cages. It was heartbreaking. I wanted to take them all home. In the Bellevue rescue centre they had a large room where the cats could socialise and roam around. I sat in the room watching them. Sampo was wondering from cat to cat, licking each of them. She was elegant and affectionate to other cats.

It took the Bellevue staff two hours to catch her, she was elegant, affectionate to cats, slippery and very people-shy. The Bellevue adoption papers included the condition that I arrange to have her neutered.  The vet said she was about 3 years old and had already had at least one litter of kittens ‘she’ll be prone to putting on weight’

Over the years I’ve systematically tried to overcome Sampo’s fear of people with some success

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who’s the cat’s mother?

Sunday, October 17th, 2010 | tags: , ,  |

Using a ‘quick and dirty’  survey of all the British staff (n=3)  in the office at lunch time revealed the reliable result that

she is the cat’s mother

being watchedaccording to all of our mothers. Apparantly the phrase is meant to illustrate the imprecision of the use of ‘she’ to refer to a person, the listener might not be able to work out who is being referred to.  We all agreed that we were taught that it was rude to refer to a person who is present during the conversation as ‘she’ or ‘he’.  The phrase is a rhetorical technique used to point this out because presumably we know the name of the cat, but we don’t know the name of the cat’s mother, who is unlikely to be present. When a person is present you should use thier name as a reference point for example  ‘wendy spilt tea in your keyboard’ as oppose to pointing and saying ‘she spilt tea on your keyboard’.

Though I need to make it VERY clear that I was no actually the culprit, I drank all my tea, all 6 large mugs of it.

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long cat

Saturday, August 21st, 2010 | tags: ,  |

Poppy has always had a length inferiority complex. Her short legs make her shorter than the average cat. She wanted to be 2 inches longer. Poppy and my blog posts have both been called short. I tried to explain to her that it’s only the tall cats that make her feel short. It’s not a problem, its an asset. But Poppy feels pressured to be like the other cats.

Poppy’s daily health routines involve at least 10 length stretches to help her reach her desired length. My daily writting regime involves one blog post, approximately 3 paragraphs long. 

Sometimes I stretch to 4 paragraphs.

Or 5.

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fine coat

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010 | tags: , ,  |

vet: she’s got a very good quality coat for a cat her age

wendy: you don’t think euthenasia is the right choice?

vet: I’d feel uncomfortable with PTS, but given her age and heart condition it should definitiely be considered

wendy: good, lets not euthanase her

vet: call me tonight if things dont improve

wendy: no pills?

vet: no pills, the injection should solve it

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caring in the hood

Sunday, August 1st, 2010 | tags: , , ,  |

knock knock

neighbour: hello, I live opposite you over there

wendy: hello

neighbour: is your cat ok? the black and white one

wendy: I think so, she’s quite old and has a heart condition. Not as active as she used to be, why do you ask?

neihgbour: we were worried because we dont see her sitting on your bedroom window like she used to

My neighbour was worreid because her 15 year old cat had died recently.  She knows how upsetting this is. She thought that maybe my cat had died and I needed someone to check that I was ok.  How sweet is that? I love my ‘hood

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fat Sampo stalking supper

Tuesday, July 20th, 2010 | tags: , ,  |

Sampo has been on a diet for nearly 2 months.  Since starting her diet I’ve noticed the following changes:

1) Sampo is losing weight.  Yes, she was a lot fatter than this.

2) Sampo is much more determined to successfully establish alternative food-sources.  The rather stupid, local, wood pidgeons have presented this opportunity.  Sampo stalks at dusk and dawn.  She has managed to get a few loose feathers but not yet got a meal out of it.

3) Sampo shows much more public affection to me within an hour of scheduled feeding times.

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immitate Sean Connery

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010 | tags: , , ,  |

Sampo has a duff sense of smell.  She ignores catnip, freshly cooked fish, chicken, meat, any and all cheeses and cat-treats.  Sampo compensates for her lack of olfactory sensitivity by being hyper-sensitive to sound.  Her favourite sound is me immitating a Sean Connery accent. 

Tip #1 for winning Sampo’s affection – immitate Sean Connery

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back in place

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010 | tags: , , , ,  |

All the wendy house blog posts dating back to February 2005 are back, BACK!   With a few bonus letters appearing as-if by magic.

My back is BACK. Sneaky little vertebrae untwisted by Paul’s expert manipulation.  Hoorah!

Matrix is back chasing birds, and Sampo is starting a weight-loss diet to get BACK to being lythe

Normal service is…   …..BACK

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myocardial infarction

Tuesday, May 18th, 2010 | tags: , ,  |

For a millisecond, when the vet said myocardial infarction,  I was pleased that I already knew what that meant.  I  didn’t have to add more ignorance to the unnecessarily overwhelming emotional blustering this conversation was producing. 

I had already been put in my place as an ignorant person.  When I told the vet I wanted to try and assessment Matrix’s quality of life I was told in no uncertain terms that the task was impossible and that he, the Vet, couldn’t help.  The suprise at the vet not even trying to help at that point nearly prompted tears.  I managed to hold the tears back until after the phone call. When I assumed the role of ignorant listener to the Vets prefered agenda I managed to sneak in a few questions tothat helped me get to the information I needed, for peace of mind and confidence in being able to make the right decisions for the rest of Matrix’s life.

When making significant life influencing decisions it shouldn’t be quite this hard, professionals should listen first then respect the percieved needs of their paying clients. Me.

Thankfully I now know that my perception of Matrix having a fairly high quality of life is likely to be accurate and that without the outrageously expensive (financially and emotionally) heart treatment Matrix is most likely to pop-her-clogs with a suddent heart attack or a stroke that disables some limbs at which point the vet would recommend euthenasia.

It’s how my grandma died, not the euthenasia, the stroke.

I wish euthenasia had been an option for Gran, she wanted to go, she didn’t want me to see her but I sneaked under the curtains around her bed while my aunts and uncles were squabbling over who had been the most attentive.  Grandma cried when I hugged her.  I got to say I love you, goodbye.

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kitty litter cover-up

Monday, January 11th, 2010 | tags: , , , , ,  |

There is a national shortage of kitty litter.

The National press are conspiring to supress this story.  Some regional press are sneaking out reports. The Burton press managed  this excerpt:

Tesco, on St Peter’s Bridge, sold out of cat litter on Thursday as customers grabbed supplies to use as a handy and effective substitute for gritting salt. Sales have rocketed by 70 per cent in a week.

The East anglia times noted panic purchase of pussy essentials

Customers at Tesco stores in Kesgrave and Martlesham are reporting a shortage of eggs, bread and milk, while there was also word of rapidly emptying shelves at Sainsbury’s in Warren Heath.   Anti-freeze products, boots and thermal underwear have also proved popular, alongside a surprise best-seller – cat litter.

Local councils are running out of grit for the roads so private citizens are stepping-up to fill the void left by the hording and abusing of  the litter of the cat.   This reduces supplies for normal cat toilet abilities.   There could be unanticipated consequences.

Your eyewitness, on the spot, roving reporter  [ME!]  is out and about interviewing the kitties that matter, those  suffering from this very shortage.

In this revealing interview footage we listen to

  • a vey frustrated, unlittered cat
  • icicles melting
  • the police sirens as they chase people deliberately over-purchasing kitty litter for elicit purposes

sinkingMatrix has difficulty walking on the snow and fails to find an acceptable toilet.     Her experience is similar to that of many of the UKs mainly outdoor kitties.

What will happen next?

How can I improvise when my stocks run out and my indoor kitties refuse to conduct their ablutions in the snow. OH!

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frozen flaps

Thursday, January 7th, 2010 | tags: , , , ,  |

My fluffballs are indoor kitties with their own kitty-litter box.

Many british cats are outdoor-indoor cats with their own ‘cat-flap’ in the household door, window or wall.

Cedar in cemeteryHow does such deep and freezing snow affect outdoor cats?   How do they get through a cat-flap that is below snow level?   Even if their human digs out the snow by the flap where do they make the cat pathway go?   Cats like to bury their doings, how do they do this when the earth and snow is frozen?

I’m concerned for the many  cats that do their doings outside.   It’s not made national news yet but  given cat ownership in this country it is a pending disaster.    Worse, on a personal level  I’m running low on my supply of kitty-litter.

What to do with indoor kitties that need doings doing and no litter for doing it in?

(obligatory local snow scene picture)
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sparky sockets

Friday, October 2nd, 2009 | tags: , , , ,  |

British Gas sent a comedy duo round to deal with my Sparky sockets.  

British Gas Electician (BGE):   My cat died yesterday,   he was 15,

Wendy: Matrix is 15

BGE: he looks it

Wendy:   (silence)

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Wednesday, September 9th, 2009 | tags: , , , ,  |

flashless felineMatrix starts chasing her tail.    She has never chased her tail before. I stop making the bed to watch her playfulness,   she is bearing her teeth and growling.   She falls over, her bowels open and her body twitches wildly.   After  less than a  minute she stops convulsing and lies still.   I pick her up and carry her to a warm soft bed on the floor by the phone while I call the emergency vet.   Matrix and I cry as I dial.    

While  the vet questions me. Matrix stops crying and starts to walk around.   Yes her breathing is normal,   yes her movement is normal.   She’s not dragging her back legs.   Her pupils are no longer dilated.   The vet advises me to keep her warm,   let her eat and drink and  watch her closely for an hour.   The vet says it is fairly common for aging cats to have seizures.

I called mumzie.   “Oh yes dear,   Jason had a seizure while he was sleeping,   about 4 years before he died.    He hardly noticed it,  I did because he emptied his bowels all over our nice new sofa, what a mess

Peacefully, Matrix watched while I cleaned the mess.

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crazy sheep

Monday, August 17th, 2009 | tags: , , , ,  |

Term of endearment or insult?   Sometimes it can be difficult to tell.  

The first time my college roomate from Sheffield called me a ‘Mardy cow’,   apart from having to ask her what ‘mardy’ was, I was a tad offended.    No-one had ever called me a  ‘cow’  , to my face, before.   Clearly I’d had a sheltered youth.   My  Sheffield room-mate quickly put my right on this one,   cow is a term of endearment.      Apparantly ‘Mardy Cow’ was an affectionate expression to convey her extreme disappointment that I wasn’t going to be joining her for an evening of heavy metal music appreciation.   Not really my bag.  

I’d rather be a crazy sheep listening to the likes of curiosity killed the cat,   I can’t help admiring the lyrics and  behatted lankey body movements of the rather charming Ben.   But not my room-mates cup of tea.   I called her a mardy cow and she replied by demonstrating how her long hair accentuated the head-banging experience.   Excellent.

Curiosity killed the cat sang Misfit

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cat celebriteedom

Saturday, August 1st, 2009 | tags: , ,  |

Casper the cat rides Plymouth’s number 3 service.   The Cornish passengers make sure he get home okay after his ride,   just like they did with me.   Casper loves Lorry’s and Buses.   He’s a very well behaved cat that likes to roam

“He queues up in line with people and just sits patiently in the queue good as gold – it’ll be ‘Person, person, person, cat, person, person.’

A white cat that the bus driver has named Macavity catches the 331 from Walsall to Wolverhampton for one stop to the fish shop

cats, busses and passengers are a  recipe for happiness.

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stress reduction clinics

Tuesday, June 9th, 2009 | tags: , ,  |

DozyMatrix is considering expanding her fundamental skill set into a profit making business by running stress reduction clinics for busy professionals.  

The main obstacle is that she’s way too busy (sleeping).

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wild wendy home life

Wednesday, May 13th, 2009 | tags: , , , , ,  |

An action packed weekend in the Wendy House garden:

  • a fuzzy-buzzy bee feeds on a rotund allium
  • a Peacock butterfly feeds on another allium
  • the garden robin feeds on insects attracted by my recent digging
  • a harlequin spectabilis ladybird takes a break from aphid eating on one of the acers  
  • Matrix snoozes under another acer
  • A large hornet (2 inches) found its way into my bedroom.   I didn’t know it was a hornet.   They look scarey.     I panicked, squeaked, opened the bedroom windows,   wrapped myself in a curtain and wafted the corner of the curtain at the hornet until it  took the hint and  left via the window.  

Real bee feeds on Allium Peacock butterfly feeds on Allium The local Robin harlequin spectabilis ladybird on Acer cat under katsura acer

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Thursday, April 23rd, 2009 | tags: , ,  |

sleepy sunday catIn a highly controversial move Matrix’s photograph  appears on a website of  cats impersonating Hitler.      She’s not a cat you should risk appeasing,   I’ve tried and lost my favourite chair and the side of the bed nearest to the radiator.   She’s ruthless.

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google earth at home

Saturday, April 4th, 2009 | tags: , , ,  |

Sneak preview videow   (pixellated  for privacy reasons  by google earth*) that demonstrates weekend chit-cat about a recently observed pigeon at a  House family  household ….     …can you bear the excitement?

” photograph of Google earth camera in operation on Schrocktthehouse

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being seen to

Tuesday, October 7th, 2008 | tags: , , ,  |

waiting room receptionist:   are you being seen to?

I had my cats ‘seen to’ as a condition of adopting them from rescue centres.      

Wendy:   someone has been notified of my arrival

Cunningly avoiding providing information on the impending existence, or not, of my reproductory organs.  

Phew,   near miss!

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