Sunday 2 September 2007

The clock - tick tock - on the mantlepiece

Just as I was serving up supper tonight, and taking the boss his plate in the office, I suddenly realised that it was only 8.30 pm and already dark. I have no idea when the timing of sunset actually began its annual descent into eventual winter, as I usually do not take much notice of the clock these days. Once upon a time, in a land far away (well actually, further to the east - and up a bit), I was a constant clock-watcher – my life was ruled by it. Up at 6.00 am, out of the house by 8.00 and at my desk by 8.30. From then on it was the long wait for 12.30 and … lunch…hooray. Then came the even longer wait for 5.00, when it was time to down tools for the day and head off into the traffic queues. In bed by 10.00 and then the cycle began again. It has taken me quite a long time to re-adjust to the timings at the CFZ – to be more precise the non-existence of timings at the CFZ, for time does not exist here.

The only being here that does seem to be ruled by the concept of timings (and her stomach) is Helios 7, the original CFZ feline. As soon as you go downstairs in the morning, she appears from out of the shadows and attacks you verbally with a barrage of mewls (and it is certainly not 'good morning, and how are you today?') Then follows the usual ritual - as you take the kettle to the sink, and then from the sink to put the kettle on, she is there right beside you. Then she trots in front of you as you go to the fridge for milk, and then back again. Then she follows you as you go to the office to check if there is any post, and then back again. All this accompanied by the constant meowing. I can honestly say that I have never heard a cat go on quite as much as Helios 7. And then when you do feed her, what does she do? She sticks her head right in the bowl, so you can’t get anything in it! D'oh.

At the end of the day, when she deems it is time for dinner, woe betide you if you venture into the kitchen for an innocent cup of tea. For there she is, lurking, waiting to accost whoever dares enter, with her verbal accusations at being so hungry that she cannot possibly wait another moment. She will whine, and mewl, and trip you up, lest you forget to fill up her dish. You become the chosen one for a while, and she becomes your shadow until she becomes bored, or realises it is a futile mission. This can commence any time from around four in the afternoon until her allotted tea time of 6.00 pm. And she doesn’t stop there. It makes not the slightest difference if she has just been fed, for as soon as she sees a pair of human legs pass by she throws herself at them, utters forth the complaints and starts the whole procedure all over again. For a while it worked, and she often managed to get another bowlful, but these days we have become wise to the mewlings of Helios 7.

Looking at the calendar for the coming month, it seems to be a fairly busy one. Issue two of Exotic Pets is all set for the first proof, and we are off to Kempton Park later in the month to the annual AES (Amateur Entomologist Society) exhibition. After our last sojourn into the world of bug exhibitions, I think we had better take a trailer with us so as to avoid the inevitable lack of space on our return journey! Or, I suppose, we could just leave our debit cards at home - yeah right.

In between that, Olivia (youngest daughter) is coming to stay for a few days to collect some of her things to take back to her new digs in Portsmouth, for the start of her second year at Uni, and Animals & Men is still to be completed. As for October, well we won't even go there - yet!

And what did we have for supper? Stuffed marrow actually – sausagemeat, onion, garlic, tomato puree, and sage all fried together, and then cooked in the slow-cooker for a few hours. Followed by Cumberland apple pudding as I had discovered some manky looking bramleys in the back of the vegetable rack and thought I had better use them up pretty darn quick (this is basically an apple crumble by the way, but with the added ingredient of ginger, which spices it up a treat – and as ginger settles the stomach it is always a good idea to follow any meal with such a thing, then all eventualities are covered!)

Goodness, a couple of recipes in my blog! Everyone will now think I am turning completely girly and that I am going to introduce a recipe section in my spasmodic entries. Never fear, this is completely a one off and I only mention it as I started off with a comment about dinner and wondered if anyone might be deliberating about exactly what the husband had been served up on his plate. Comments like that whet the appetite after all, and at least it wasn’t just beans on toast! But then I wouldn’t have admitted it even it was.

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