Friday 27 August 2010

A funny thing happened to me on the way to the kitchen

Yesterday, a combination of Jon feeling a lot better and a telephone call in the morning telling me that Olivia’s bridesmaid dress was ready for collection spurred Jon and I into adding a trip to Barnstaple to our already planned food shopping trip to Bideford.

The error of my ways in having a last cup of coffee before we left home dawned on me once we had parked in Barnstaple. I had noticed as we drove in to the car park that there were signs for ladies, disabled etc so once I had picked up the dress I headed towards these signs of personal comfort. Much to my embarrassment, and my bladder’s frustration, I realised that the signs were in fact the usual designated areas for disabled, and mother and child car parking! Somehow, in my mind’s eye, I had substituted the child for a stick man and had assumed the completely wrong thing. What a klutz - my need had completely clouded my vision and whilst excited at the prospect of alleviating my urgency, I had to disappoint my bladder into having to wait longer.

Its selfish demands were complied with at the next stop however, and here I shall finish the tale about my body’s lack of timing.

A few hours later, we returned home and unpacked the car. The first thing I removed from the back seat was the most valuable of all – the dress. It had been packed for transport in a large zip-up bag but I wanted to get it hanging properly as soon as possible so headed for the washing line that hangs over the Raeburn. Old fashioned we are here – the kitchen is reminiscent of a scene from Upstairs Downstairs in some ways.

What occurred next could have been a scene from any slapstick comedy. Jon was just taking off his jacket as I approached from behind – well not so much from behind as I was about level with him. As he swung his left arm to remove it from the sleeve I was just on the point of passing him and I got a slap round the kisser for my trouble. If the sketch had followed as it should have done, I suppose I should have fallen over backwards, lost the grip on the dress and dropped that in the dog’s water bowl whilst flailing around with my other arm and pulling everything off the dresser in a bid to stop my descent, whereupon the vicar would have entered and Jon would have exclaimed “Oo er, it’s the vicar”. However, I was gallant and ignored the ‘assault’ and continued my way to the washing line to hang up the prize.

Poor Jon was distraught at the thought of attacking his wife. I just laughed and poked him with the walking stick in retaliation.

Later on I splattered the kitchen with beetroot juice and made beetroot and coconut soup (a combination that may sound odd, but it is very tasty). And it was after serving that that the kitchen was the scene for another strange occurrence. I had served everything up and had taken Jon his dish of soup, before eating mine. When I returned to the kitchen with the dirty crocks Biggles was staring at the dresser with ears up and head cocked first to one side and then the other. Hmmm I thought. Then there was a rattling from the bottom cupboard and he looked even more alarmed. Had the house poltergeist decided to throw my plates and dishes around now? Biggles seemed convinced that something odd was occurring in the dresser but then I had an idea (up popped that lightbulb). And I opened the right hand cupboard door – nothing. Then I opened the left hand door and eureka. There was the cause of the rattling. None other than....Spider the orange cat. I have no idea how and when he had gone in there to investigate a cosy place to park his bones, but he was ousted pretty darn quick and scolded for his audacity in no uncertain terms.

Saturday 21 August 2010

Trumpets abound, parades are's..............

Jon’s birthday!


Happy Birthday!

And here is a picture of birthday boy himself, doing an impression of a gnome on a toadstool, complete with rather dubious looking stain on the wall. I hadn't realised Biggles had sneaked into the village hall last Saturday! What a clever boy to act out the first two lines of the last verse of Lindisfarne's Fog on the Tyne (to spell it out for those who have no idea what I am talking about, if my subtlety was a wee bit too subtle!)

And off we go again.....

Oh seems that our little pussy is spitting fur balls again. It appears that the little puss is not only elusive but arrogant as well. It seems that any time anyone writes anything that does not necessarily support its spluttering, it assumes that they are automatically ‘CFZ supporters’. Has it not the humility to contemplate that a comment made against its fur ball coughing may actually be from a member of the human race who - just simply - does not adhere to its outbursts? They do not have to be ‘CFZ supporters’, you know puss...there is rather a large population out there that does not support the CFZ just like there are those that do not support Bigfoot organisations, the Tory party, banning the hunt, BCIB, and so on and so forth. Believe it or not, pussies are not high on many people’s agendas and likewise neither is cryptozoology.

And by the way – when does sharing discoveries amongst those other researchers that are involved in such matters turn into a ploy for getting them to pay for something? How do the mechanics of that work exactly? These days scientists across the world share information – it does not mean they are being asked to pay for something – and, what is more, it also does not mean that they have to join in on the research either. They have the choice to politely decline for whatever reasons they may have, but they shouldn’t really bad-mouth the people who politely offer to share. But then, I presume that those who were not invited would have puss speaking on their behalf with accusations of exclusion from the research.

Many independant [sic] groups over the years have worked with the CFZ . Very few, if any, continue to do so today.” That is an interesting statement – perhaps puss could name those to whom it refers, along with the reasons for them no longer wishing so to do – I would be very interested to hear these details. And please let us hope that puss does not decline so to do, for that would be a very predictable action to not back up such broad accusations.

I was only aware, by the way, of one person mentioning legal action, but your phrasing tends to imply that more than one has warned of such. But you do seem to enjoy fluffing up your accusations by adding an extra ‘s’ here and there. Does it go towards making your chest puff out perhaps with more of that self-gratifying hot air? Does it bolster your over-inflated ego so you think you are more like the big stripey puss in your name than the little Highland puss?

Pussycat of the Highlands, whilst you sit back with a face that looks as if you have stolen the cream thinking that you are so clever and untouchable, remember that the bigger those fur balls become the more you are in danger of choking yourself.

Now to the rest of this rant.

To Mr Shaun Stevens: “The guy is sadly an eccentric self publicist, who wouldn't have a had single thing published if it wasn't for the wonderful world of vanity presses.” Firstly, you are incorrect in the first part of your statement due to the fact that Jon has had many things published which have not been under the CFZ Press heading. And secondly you really should look up the meaning of ‘vanity press’ before you start accusing people of using such a method of publishing. Or are you trying to be clever with the English language? Ah, times have changed since you, Jon and I sat in the pub at Watchet after the BCIB conference that was hosted at Tropiquaria. A conference that was hosted by Jon (to help BCIB out) when Mr Fraser became ill with a bad back. Which then led on to the fact that Mr Moiser was keen to hold an annual big cat conference there in the future too. Hey presto, that then, of course, was twisted around too wasn’t it, to infer that Jon was trying to take over the BCIB? Why was that? Because it was a relative success where others have not been? Who really cares.
To Mr Mark Fraser: “And the fact of the matter is I cut ties with the CFZ because you allowed the nonsensical attacks on British Big cat researchers, and that’s the truth as you know it. But you cannot admit it.” Erm do you actually confirm that we do not censor our blogs now? Wow! Admit it, you do not like Neil Arnold so anything written by him is subject to hostility by you. You silly little man.

Why we want to get involved in your research is beyond me, you need to pay for this yourself not get others to pay for it.” As mentioned above, since when did Jon ask you to pay for anything? I cannot find any record of that occurring. Please direct me to this request. Or is it a case of: “Truth of the matter is you are twisting things again” as you so ineptly put it in accusing Jon?

BIG CATS IN BRITAIN? OK we could have said it another way I suppose: LARGE FELINES IN THE UK or ENORMOUS FELIDS IN THE SOUTH OF THE UK or ..... well the list goes on undoubtedly, but quite simply BIG CATS IN BRITAIN is really the most obvious thing to write and it is purely a coincidence that your organisation’s name has used the most obvious words. But, there you go. You are a bit paranoid Mr. Fraser aren’t you? Now why is that?

Instead of getting annoyed, I am seriously wondering about his health, and beginning to feel sorry for the man.” Gosh that is nice of you Mr Fraser. Jon is actually quite seriously ill but refuses to give up and lie around in bed like some with his illnesses would. Thanks for the show of concern. I am sure it warms the cockles of his heart to hear such sentiments.

Well it is Sunday. So here endeth the first lesson. And it is by no means the last.

Tuesday 17 August 2010

If you go down to the woods today......

After all that preparation and angst, the Weird Weekend is now done and dusted for another year. And, what is more, with the help of that special brand of washing up liquid that is manufactured for those ‘hands that do dishes’, I have a pair that are as soft as my face due to the mammoth washing up operation after the cocktail party on Thursday night so it can’t all be bad.

Old friends were welcomed back and new friendships were made. And, of course, the weekend was fuelled with the excitement of the discovery of leopard hairs in the local woods. Lars Thomas and the Danish TV crew (Margit, Linus and Michael) are still here finishing off their project with Lars and it has been lovely to have doing this.

The ladies who prepared all the meals at the Community Centre did a marvellous job feeding us all again and we thank them all very much for their hard work. Sunday turned out to be a hot day and the kitchens must have been extremely uncomfortable to work in and we much appreciate their efforts.

Anyway, to take the subject away from the last weekend, so much was going on that I never introduced you to the new addition to the ‘family’ that Max brought down with him on Monday – a late birthday present from Jon and him. So here is a picture of Mog the cane toad who loves nothing more than to sit in her flower pot or her own private swimming pool. Not the usual run of the mill creature to share your dining room table with I am sure you will agree. What is more, the ever-present look of wisdom upon her face does seem to infer that a conversation on the writings of Pliny may well be more up her street than a run-down of the shenanigans that took place in the recent episode of Coronation Street.

So... life will soon return to normal here at CFZ HQ - whatever normal is - but preparations are, as usual, already under way for next year's event. And we haven't even put everything away in its proper place yet.

Ah well.......

Sunday 8 August 2010

Biggles joins the 'Terrible Twos' Club today

Happy Birthday to Biggles!

Today is the day that you can have your cake and eat it
(well it is made for dogs and looks a bit unpalatable to us humans so he has no fear of anyone trying to purloin a slice - apart from the cats maybe)

Here at the CFZ we are certain that he will join the Club with great gusto, and will gain many achievement badges congratulating him for behaviour befitting of such an esteemed Club.