A Shout in the Night

It’s been a lovely weekend of blue skies and warm sunshine in London. Just a soft breeze and the temperature somewhere in the mid 20s C. Pretty perfect. The neighbours stayed quiet last night, no loud voices or braying laughter drifting through open windows until all hours, something that happens all too often for my liking in warm weather. So MasterB and headed off to bed bedtimes. I read for a while, finished a crossword and fell asleep.

Around two in the morning I woke as someone shouted “Put your hands up”. I thought at first I’d Been dreaming then realised there were quite a few voices. MasterB was growling, and when I opened the shutters to look out of the window, for once he didn’t leap up onto the sill to look too. Whatever it was, he didn’t want to get any closer.

It turned out to be lots of police officers and one man not in uniform. He was the one with his hands in the air while his pockets were searched and he was patted down. I heard an officer tell him he was under arrest and to put out his hands as he was to be cuffed. Continue reading

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Beautiful, Happy Boy

As some of you know, MasterB has not been very happy in our garden for some time. The problem, or rather problems, being the local cats who have designs on his territory.

However, last week in the few unseasonably warm days we enjoyed, he sat outside with me while I got on with some work and he was obviously relaxed, obviously content. It was like having my cat back again. I hope we have more days like these in the summer when it comes.

With bluebells

Showing his stripey jumper

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Pitta Pattying!

I’d been thinking pitter patter when I wrote last night’s post, but today that became pitta patty. I was working away from home this morning, but back in time for a late lunch. I stopped off at Oli’s and bought some pitta bread, the wholemeal type. While my patties cooked, I prepared salad and warmed the bread, slitting one to slide one patty inside plus a lot of greenery and some hummus. It looked good, but how dud it taste?

Pitta patty

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Pitter Pattying

A quick post before bedtime while MasterB enjoys some Outside Time for the first time in days. He’s having a good sniff around, and seems quite confident, so I was able to come back indoors without the sense that I was abandoning him. The thaw has come. It was all amazingly quick. Yesterday morning the trees were staring to drip, but the pavement outside chez Isobel and Cat was still snow covered and icy. By the afternoon it was clear. A few bits of snow cling on in corners, but our snow people have almost gone, their hats lying on the grass. Yesterday was still very cold, but today, in comparison with last week, was almost balmy, 7℃ according to my thermometer. It was possible to walk down the street bare-headed and bare-handed without the imminent threats of hypothermia and frostbite.
I’ve been baking biscuits which is both good and bad. Good, because I enjoy it and it’s helping me work my way round my new oven. Bad because I eat them all very quickly. I have also been continuing to make fritters. Or rather patties. I thought I’d check what the definition of fritters was, and it says something cooked in a batter. I tried rissoles, but I think that said something encased in pastry. At last patties, which my concise OED (second prize in a crossword competition 1998) defines as a small flat cake of minced meat etc. I’m not entirely happy with this description; they have no meat and not very flat, but for the moment the name will have to do. Obviously this interferes with my plans for a volume of recipes Cooking for the Fritterati as the highway to wealth (still no luck with the lottery tickets. I hope the opera buffs are grateful for my continued subsidy). I have not so far thought of any punning title that includes patties, let alone the literati.
On the plus side, I still think they are delicious. I am mildly addicted. The current batch where the main ingredient is Carlin peas taste wonderful. I really must try to recall what I put in them.
I’m starting to explore the possibilities of aquafaba. It has become quickly apparent I am not on the same page as the most prominent vegan writers. I rarely use tinned beans, and chickpeas are just one pulse of several in my cupboards. Stubborn searching revealed aquafaba can come from various pulses, and you can make it at home. Then it becomes a bit vague. How much aquafaba equals one egg? How exactly do you include it? Where can you use it? I have no plans or desire to make meringue or macaroons any time soon. So I think the current aquafaba I have in the fridge is likely to be thrown out, but just keeping it has been interesting to see how it has thickened. I was put off an aquafaba page which said no references to animal products would be tolerated. I understand people have strong feelings, but it hardly wins hearts and minds when non-vegans are tentatively exploring possibilities. It could just request that people respect it is a vegan page. I agree with much of what vegans say, but when they claim the high moral ground and start lecturing, I find it irritating, and my inner teenager, never far from the surface, wants to stick my tongue out at them and walk away.
There was story I read as a child that has stayed with me. It was about the sun and the rain having a competition to get a man to remove his coat. The rain went first and tore at the man’s coat, summoning the wind’s help. The man was buffeted and pushed around. He drew his coat tightly round him. The rain conceded defeat. It was the turn of the sun. It directed its warmth at the man, drying his hair, allowing him to stand up without fear of the wind knocking him over. His coat steamed and began to dry. He unbuttoned it, and as the sun continued to gently warm him, removed the coat and carried it over his arm.
It’s my belief more people will be won over to veganism or flexitarianism through gentle persuasion rather than sledgehammer tactics.

Action Cat

Most photos of MasterB that I post here show him lying down, sunbathing, sleeping, or looking out of the window, maybe sitting in the garden. The most active images show him taking a leisurely stroll. So it would be perfectly understandable if some of you thought of him as a fairly static cat, a sedentary cat. Understandable but wrong.

This may look like a flat to you and me, but to MasterB it’s a racing circuit, a feline version of Brands Hatch combined with elements of Aintree.
He races about it, leaps from one piece of furniture to another, weaves between chair legs, refuels with some biscuits in pit stops.

I’ve been trying to work at home, but no work can be achieved until we have had interactive play. The current favourite toys are the play cube, now somewhat battered, and the equally battered fishing rod feather toy.

So here are a couple of shaky hand videos to see the boy in action.

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A Year in the Months, and a Happy 2018

I’m ending the year feeling much better than I anticipated this morning. The cold which I started on Christmas Eve was gazumped midweek by a much more aggressive version which has left me in no doubt that I am not stoic invalid material. As a headache gripped my brow in a rusty vice and left me feeling sick each time I bent down I yearned for my health to be restored so I could enjoy my cat, my home, my life.

Friday was a particularly low day. I went out to work telling myself I’d be fine. My nose ran almost constantly and grew redder and sorer by the minute. I began to feel self-conscious and embarrassed at the number of times I had to blow my nose and find yet another bin to dump a wodge of used hankies. Yuk. I went to bed early, then up betimes yesterday for another day at work. Less nose blowing, but still gripped by the vicelike headache and prone to sudden outbreaks of sustained coughing. However by the afternoon I was convinced I was on the mend. Home via the shop to stock up on more boxes of paper hankies where I realised at least half the local population is in the same boat as I am. I nabbed two of the last three boxes of my favourite brand.

I made myself stay up until half past seven and then climbed gratefully between the sheets where I slept for twelve hours with some interruptions for coughing, nose blowing and glasses of water. I thought I’d be fully rested and on the road to health this morning, but instead I should have gladly turned over and slept some more. MasterB desperately needed time and attention from me and was keen to play. Off I went to work feeling as though my body belonged to someone else somewhere else and my feet were not truly making contact with the ground.

Then magically, mid afternoon, something shifted. I’m still coughing, still blowing my nose rather frequently, but it’s almost eight o’clock and I don’t think I’ll be in bed for at least an hour. I’ve eaten a meal with pleasure rather than out of a sense that I need the sustenance, and I have a glass of wine at hand, my first for nearly a week. Admittedly I’ve not drunk any of it yet, but just looking at it makes me feel more festive. I’ve even lit the candles and decided the Christmas decs can stay up for another day or two. Continue reading

Over-Attachment Therapy

At some point I am going to move home. Don’t hold your breath, it’s not imminent or anything like. But I am starting to look around at other neighbourhoods.

I’d like to stay in this neighbourhood, but I don’t think that’s going to be possible, or at least I have to face the more than real likelihood that it isn’t.

And that’s a problem. I may have to have therapy. I’m not joking. I’ve lived in this patch of south London for all my adult life. It’s become part of me. I have become part of it. My life’s history has become totally enmeshed with this place. I realise my memories of how it was are now of interest to local and social historians. How many of us still remember the milliner’s that vanished when a swathe of small shops was demolished to make room for a supermarket?

Not many. Continue reading

Weekly Photo Challenge: Repurpose

This week’s photo challenge Repurpose is one that presented me with many opportunities as my home is full of inherited items, things my father made out what he had to hand in the years following the Second World War, trunks masquerading as tables, and my mosaics which are largely made from broken china and found objects.

However, the plan was to go and see my cousin Russell’s beautiful bench, which is made partly from recycled plastic, and to which I included a link a couple of posts ago. Due to the weather forecast, the plan was postponed, so no pictures after all.

So I decided to post a picture of this:
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It’s a panel from a ceiling that I found one day in a skip in London’s West End about twenty years ago. As you see, it houses all sorts of treasures. It’s a well used and well loved item in my home.

Friday 13th

I have been out and about a good deal this year, mainly work, but some treats including last night’s trip to the pantomime at the Theatre Royal Stratford East, and, at the other end of theatrical experience, to see Juliet Stevenson and Lia Williams in Mary Stuart at the Almeida Islington. But more about them perhaps in another post.

Now I have a free day, am at home and the evidence of my comings and goings is all around me in unfolded clothes and unread newspapers. Of course I could put those unread papers straight into the recycling, but I have missed quite a lot of the news this week. Octavia filled my astonished ears last night with the Donald Trump/Meryl Streep story as we travelled home from the panto. So actually reading some of the papers this morning seemed a good reason to gather my strength and make a plan.

So I am a bit more up to date with what goodies are on the way in the arts, though I realise I have already missed some. I am hoping SSGB which I saw being filmed in Greenwich at the end of 2015 will be on when I am in Northern Ireland next month and I get to watch it with Cousin. I have flicked through the cookery supplements and consigned them to the scrap heap. The recipes look delicious, but the long list of ingredients for each one makes me tired before I start. In last Saturday’s Guardian magazine I found several gems. Clive James very much on form, quite like the old days; a restaurant review containing the words ‘the food is to subtlety what Trump is to interior decoration, but the effect is blinding’.

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