scribbles tagged ‘Sampo’

calm in a storm

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014 | tags: , , ,  |

My bed is a wreck.

2 days of lemsip enabled battling with my bed sheets before I regained post-flu levels of physical and mental calm.  Without Sampo’s sturdy and steadfast body to weigh down the bedding it’s much more likely to find the floor, the walls, the ceiling, the staircase…..

The 6 earrings that I never remove were neatly paired and placed on my bedside table. Apparently, in the middle of the storm I decided to remove and place them in an ordered sensible fashion. I don’t recall doing this, or have insight into why I would do this.  Were the studs weighing me down during some essential battle with some imagined foe of my fever? They’re back in place now.

Full steam ahead…




calm in a storm
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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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Sampo’s leaving home

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

Sampo gardenerSampo’s had her move date confirmed.

I get sad just thinking about it. I’ll get to stay the first night with her. I’ll get to visit her before I leave.

Her new family will post pictures of her on Facebook. She’ll be happy, she’ll be much less stressed than travelling in the hold of a plane for 9 hours then moved from temporary home to temporary home. The flash makes her look a bit woozy in this picture, but there’ll be no drugs involved in her journey. She hates the car, and cries all the way. It must hurt her throat. I’m not looking forward to moving her. I am looking forward to her being moved and settled.

She’ll probably even forget me.

After moving there will be many more blog posts, Minneapolis is just so interesting and very beautiful. Today a lady was telling me about the cherry tree blossom in spring, how it’s magical like a fairy-tale world. She talked about going north to see the fall colours. She clearly loves it here (I’m in Minneapolis). The skies are often blue, even in the winter.

Sampo’s leaving home
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they all looked the same to me

Friday, July 11th, 2014 | tags: , , , ,  |

and your point is?Sampo has found herself a new home near Birmingham. Upgrading her home to a quirky Georgian house with an adult family. I’ve known one family member since 1987 when we dated for a year. We visited mum and dad in that time. I tried to prompt mumsie to remember him

Me: “The tall skinny one with a curly quiff”

Mumsie: “They were all tall and skinny dear”


they all looked the same to me
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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
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Laundry ship set to sail

Sunday, February 16th, 2014 | tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,  |

Laundry ShipAnother stormy weekend chez Wendy House.

A temporary break in the flood production system. No rain this morning.

Laundry to be washed and dried. No modern tumble-drier accessories. My laundry its catching some rare sun rays in the Wendy House wind-swept garden.

Extra ballast had been added to the ‘airer’ to prevent it attempting a take-off garden tour. Bricks.

The ships that carried lumber from Seattle to San Francisco, to build the beautiful houses there, carried stone back to Seattle as ballast to weight the ships appropriately on the return journey. The stone was used to build many of the Historic buildings in the Pioneer square area of Seattle. Awesome.

Sampo stretchSampo is staying in.

The RSPCA has warned that cats are likely to take-off in these strong winds. Despite her own substantial personal ballast, Sampo’s a cautious cat.

Sampo’s not risking any unplanned flights.


Laundry ship set to sail
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smiling in her sleep

Thursday, December 12th, 2013 | tags: , , ,  |

pumkin chooses an odd sleeping postionThe cats at Mum’s house are calm and carry on. Some of their habits have been disrupted but they don’t seem too put out.

Sampo is so glad to have me home she’s sleepy smiling. The cats don’t show sympathy, they appreciate here and now and get on with being a cat. I find their being around very grounding and comforting.

I’m getting increasingly tired, everyday has less sleep than I normally need and more stuff to fill the day. The funeral wasn’t a relief and I just want this to stop. It’s only been 3 weeks since his death.  I’m hoping that being patient keeping active and engaged with normal life will bring back restfulness and a background of good cheer. I need to be more patient.

smiling in her sleep
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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
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snowed under

Saturday, January 19th, 2013 | tags: , ,  |

Snow-covered glass roof Iced tea and Tennessee Bourbon on the menu today at the wendy house. We don’t often get snow so this is a bit of treat.

iced tea in the garden?There was an impromptu party in my local convenience store. Groups of young folk were discussing what essential supplies they wanted in case food deliveries are blocked by snow. I wandered around slowly, enjoying the cheerful young folk and sensibly dressed adult impersonators. Alcohol, tea, bread and milk were selling fast.

Snow on the roof of the wendy house orangerie is keeping the heat in without blocking the light. It’s my own little igloo-style roof. Meanwhile Sampo snores with unabashed contentment in prime position by the woodburning stove

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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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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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Sampo’s going to be a script kitty

Saturday, March 17th, 2012 | tags: , , ,  |

SampoThe wendy house business support team, including Sampo the fat cat, are on stand-by. We’re excited by the thought of earning money from Matthew’s javascript code hosting suggeston

Unfortunately, Matthew seems to think there is no cost for us hosting his code. After chatting with the crew here, we’ve given him some insight into our current business charges. We’re not cheap, but we’re worth it. If this flow of interest from marketters continues the wendy house might have to go so public or become Limited!

Do you think Matthew will

  • write back?
  • ask me directly for my bank account details?
  • rely on his script doing direct evilness to my cupboard?

Matthew Phishing Replying to Matthew's Phish

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ways of describing the vernal equinox

Sunday, March 20th, 2011 | tags: , , , , , ,  |

Ostara, in the form of a hare is cohorting around the garden today, delighting the local adult children (Sampo and I) celebrating the shift from more than 12 hours of night to more than 12 hours of daylight.

With a clear view of the sky, in the Wendy House orangerie, the circular dining table has taken the role of an altar dressed in green cloth, laid with candles, flowers, seeds, pen and paper. Drinking large mugs of hot spiced apple juice from the caldron on the woodburner. Yummy. In a small celebration we’ve danced a clockwise circle round the table, written our hopes and desires on the paper, burnt the paper. Tomorrow I’ll put the ashes in the garden, plant the seeds where the growing daylight will nourish and draw them towards the sky

That’s the vernal equinox described in story form. The focus is on the people words that draw images and emotions, describing what people do and how they do it. This writing style is traditionally the domain  and humanities.

I find the scientific style of writing which often deliberately excludes explicit reference to people and beliefs fascinating in itself. Some ‘social sciences’ have included people by treating them as the objects to be studied, for example psychology that conducts research with human participants (not called people) and produces research papers written in the scientific tradition of the passive 3rd person. Wikipedia articles are examples of writing in the 3rd person passive, which I understand as core to the current scientific style. Wikipedia describes the vernal equinox in detail.

Here’s a few things I found out written in a more scientific style:

The word “vernal” is of Latin origin and refers to the season – spring. The word “equinox” is another word of Latin origin that means “equal night”. The vernal Equinox is a time when day and night are of nearly equal length, 12 hours, across the world. Today is the March equinox, which is the vernal equinox in the northern hemisphere and the autumnal equinox in the southern hemisphere.

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hand immobilisation

Saturday, January 1st, 2011 | tags: , ,  |

Sampo hatching her catchDespite her recent loss of wieght due to an effective diet, Sampo still persists in using her previously successful prey-immobilisation technique.

Prey? My hand

My hand is evil and should be immobilised at all costs

Sampo achieves this by a swift placing of her ample stomach on my hand. She then delivers this self-satisfied-success sneer while securing the position of my arm with her carefully placed claws. It’s effective

Sampo hatching her catchThe sneer doesn’t last long because Sampo is ever-aware of the friendly ghosts in the house. Matrix. Maybe Matrix is loitering upstairs ready to release my hand from its fluffy flattening

PS 100 word post before the PS
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hatching the bottle

Friday, December 3rd, 2010 | tags: , , ,  |

Mirror above fireplaceSampo has developed an outstanding new skill. It’s as if she wants my hot water bottle to hatch. Even when it is hidden beneath a duvet and wooly blanket combination Sampo can find the bottle and lie on it. When I wake in the morning the bottle is still warm because Sampo has been incubating it all night.

Here we see Sampo trying to hatch a cushion infront of the Wendy House woodburning stove.

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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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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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camouflaged cats

Friday, October 31st, 2008 | tags: , , , , ,  |

 Can you see them?


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PMT treatment #4: strikingly ordinary

Sunday, July 27th, 2008 | tags: , , , , , , ,  |

Today I am focussing all my emotional energy on striving to achieve the dizziest heights of most strikingly ordinariness.   The cats have already fallen into snore-laden sleep.  

I’ll let you kno ho it goes,  though it ont be anything special, so maybe I ont let you kno ho it goes.     e’ll see if its orthy,   after a bout of affly indecisveness of extremely ordinary proportions and hacking my mini-hammer on the wwwwww key.

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Popular conversational topics #3: kitty settling

Monday, July 7th, 2008 | tags: , , , , , ,  |

“how are the cats settling in?”

Thankyou to everyone who  inquired after the wellbeing of my darling  fluffballs.   I am happy to confirm that they have quickly adapted to this Wendy House and are exhibiting a full range of healthy fluff-ball-ee activities,   most notable of which is the Monaco-ish,   formula-1-ish speed and agility,   dangerous-staircase dash.

Dangerous-staircase dash

Starts in the garden where Sampo cues-up Matrix by strutting backward and forward in front of her just out of paws reach.   Next,  Sampo runs for the front-door gathering sufficient speed to arrive before Matrix,    maintaining sufficient control to take the entrance-hall-front-room 90 degrees doorway-bend.   Occassionally Sampo misses the bend and ends up in the bathroom where she is cornered by Matrix and has clearly lost the chase.   After several months of practice she has the hall-front-room doorway-bend almost fully mastered.

The subtle curve on the approach to the foot of the stairs occassionally causes loss of footing on the bare floorboards and is invariably accompanied by liberal doses of meowing from both teams.   The main course-obstacle is the dangerous-staircase u-turn.   The dangerous-staircase u-turn either involves a headlong crash into the front-room wall for those missjudging their momentum,   or falling down the first couple of steps for those misjudging their paw-friction.   Sampo tends to crash into the wall due to belly-induced-momentum,   Matrix tends to slip on the steps.   Once past the first few steps,   if Sampo is still ahead of Matirx she’s pounces  safely to the finish line on the first-floor landing and is ready to start the next round.     Fresh water,   views of local trees and birds are provided on the landing at the end of the course for the competing kitties.

The cats are regularly able and willing to practice this tricky F1 course on a daily basis  often  changing  chaser-chasee roles and investigating route variations including the dinning room table top,   sofa-bends and comfy chair corner.

Ringside tickets are available.

Corporate bookings and sponsorship considered.

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Easter cats

Sunday, March 23rd, 2008 | tags: , , , , ,  |

On the 1hr drive to Reading from the Gatwick Animal Reception Centre Matrix rode gunshot purring, chatting and rubbing the journey away. Sampo silently hid under her food dish. Within an hour of being given free reign of the Wendy House Matrix had eaten, drunk, pooped, then snooped into every cat-sized orifice she could find. Meanwhile Sampo slurped a sack of water then watched the goings-on from the safety of under the dining room table before a tip-toe exploration.

Then. They both got on with the serious matter of snore-laden snoozing in front of the fake-real fire.

Pleasing the kitties was a primary influencer when selecting a new-old Wendy house. The main bedroom, conservatory and fake-real fire are already big-hits. Phew.

Tricky-test passed.

Now champagne and kebabs… Hoorah!

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BIG boo-hoo-meow-ing

Tuesday, November 20th, 2007 | tags: , , , , ,  |


Today I’m  catless, carless,  surrounded by dissembled furniture and half packed suitcases.  

Goodbye blubbing by me and soulful wailing  by Sampo.   Matrix looked her normal relaxed self.

Matrix and Sampo can’t join me in the UK until the last 4 months of their  PETS passport process,    6 months quarantine,  is finished.    Today they moved to their  US  foster home.  

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falling over: the Limerick edition

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2007 | tags: , ,  |

I like to test the diverse effects of  gravity in different countries and continents.   normally with the help of a curb.

While walking home from the atmospheric,   smoke-free,  Tom Collins pub after one,   well two,   actually three, definitely not four pints of Smithwicks,   while crossing the road I tustled with the uneven curb and ended up sitting in the gutter

Passerby:   Are you alright?

Wendy:   I’ve twisted my ankle

Passerby:   No dancing for you tonight then!

I scooped myself up and hobbled home.     Once back in the US I hobbled myself to a medical center to be triaged by my fabulous nurse:

nurse:   what have you done this time?

Wendy: twisted my ankle,   I wasn’t skiing,   just crossing the road

The last 3 times we met she confirmed that I had broken a bone during a fall while downhill skiing.   She’s recommended that I stick with cross-country skiing.     No broken bones.   I have got the ankle wrapped-up in fancy medical bindings with streamline black velcro.  

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crackling paper party

Friday, March 10th, 2006 | tags: , , , ,  |

Do cats have an informal, accurate, theory of static electricity?

My kitties adore paper.  I leave sheets of crumpled paper on the floor aound my home. They prefer  rolling and writhing  on the paper than the carpet.   The carpet is not natural fibre.   Rolling on the carpet builds static electricity.   Rolling on paper does not.  

Coincidence or clever kitties?   You decide….

Matrix and Sampo play in paper
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Why do kitties like being on paper?

Sunday, November 13th, 2005 | tags: ,  |

why, Why, WHY?

I’m not complaining. They’re very easy to please… …dare I say – ‘like me’?

Wendy Wondering-Why

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