Oops

Apologies for the photo problems before – I’m now trying again…
IM000442

So Timothy is now getting distinctly bolder as the days go on. He is no longer scoffing all his food immediately, and seems to be learning to play. He has a particular love of his rattlesnake toy, and a small cuddly Piglet toy of mine. Piglet is getting cuddled and chewed alternately. Oh well.

However, today he excelled himself in the adventure stakes. This is how my housemate and I experienced the morning:
* Housemate gets up, greeted with joy by Timothy. Goes downstairs for a shower. Persuades Timothy not to join her in the shower.
* Timothy comes back upstairs, clearly deciding it’s time to wake me up instead. Discovers housemate’s door is open. Discovers housemate’s window is open. Decides to investigate the great outdoors.
* Housemate, in shower, hears faint crashing noise. Assumes Timothy has pulled the kitchen bin over again.
* Housemate finishes shower, comes out and wonders where the mewing is coming from. Eventually locates cat in lean-to off kitchen, behind a locked door. Housemate lets Timothy back into the house, very puzzled.
* Housemate goes back up to her bedroom to find Timothy has beaten her there and is sitting on the outside windowsill. Panics slightly. Manages to coax him back in and closes window. Goes to work, somewhat puzzled.
* I get up, go downstairs to make tea. Notice a hole a foot wide in the corrogated plastic roof of the lean-to. Investigate, and find no clue of what has caused this. In fascination, text housemate to ask if she has any ideas.
* Housemate and I put 2 and 2 together and make Timothy!

Clearly he managed to jump off her windowsill onto the lean-to roof 3 ft below, crash through it and end up in the lean-to. There isn’t a scratch on him, and he’s totally unfazed by the whole incident. I however, had to spend part of the morning ringing the insurance company to try and explain what has happened. I get the feeling I’m one of today’s “you’ll never guess what I just got told” claims. Oops.

Goodness knows what he’ll get up to tomorrow!
IM000443

Timothy

I’m not entirely sure which will be more of a shock to some of the people reading this: that I’ve finally updated my blog, or that I have brought home a gorgeous cat from Cats Protection to share my home. Please meet Timothy, who has rapidly captured my heart, starting from the first moment I saw him sticking his paw out of his enclosure at the rescue and mewing to attract my attention.
Meet Timothy
Within an hour of him arriving home, he was wandering around the living room exploring and returning every so often to check he still had food and a human to fuss him. Within 2 hours, he was curled up asleep on my lap, and within 2 and a half hours I was also asleep.

I’ve previously been extremely nervous around cats and dogs, mostly because they seemed so unpredicatable and I was never sure if they were suddenly about to jump up on me. Either that fear has suddenly (almost) vanished, or else Timothy is just an incredibly gentle cat. I think it’s probably a bit of both. He seems to particularly like curling up on top of me or right next to me and stretching out a paw onto me – and sometimes seems to be trying to stroke me if I’m stroking him.

Because he’s a former stray, he does currently wolf his food within a couple of minutes of getting it, so I’m wondering about trying hiding some of his food in a cardboard tube or similar so it takes him a bit longer to find it in the daytime when I’m at work. I know there’s other cat lovers on the wibsite – any other fantastic ideas?Having a snooze

Volunteers make the world go round

One of the best bits about my current job is that I get to work with and support a range of community and voluntary groups, and so come into contact with fantastic people who give immense amounts of time and energy for free, simply because they believe in the cause they’re supporting – be it children’s play, counselling and support services, ethnic culture or whatever.

This week (1st-7th June) is National Volunteers’ Week. And this year, it’s the 25th annniversary of Volunteers’ week. I’m just back from helping organise an event where over 50 voluntary groups have been able to have stalls in the middle of Nottingham city centre, raising awareness of the services they provide, and recruiting potential new volunteers. We’ve had volunteer dance groups performing, and a range of local musicians giving their time and skills to us for free, to help celebrate these fantastic people. At the first count, even with torrential rain for part of the day, we’ve helped organisations to recruit at least 250 new volunteers.

If you’re a volunteer, no matter how small your contribution, then THANK YOU! The time you give will have made a difference in people’s lives, even if you never get to see it.

Happy Volunteers’ Week!

Since I haven’t posted in a while…

Yes, it’s a “25 random things about me” list.

1. My first job was as an usherette at the local theatre – this mean I got to work alongside huge stars (?!) such as the Chuckle Brothers and Warrior, Hunter & Vogue from Gladiators.

2. I once quit a job after one hour – I’m really not cut out to be a double-glazing telesales person!

3. I’ve seen far more places in France than in the UK, as this was always our family’s holiday destination when I was a child.

4. Whilst growing up, I had friends at school who travelled in by hovercraft and ferry, as well as the more normal car, bus, train etc. I was on the bus, though.

5. Somehow, two friends and I managed to topple over one of those huge metal dustbins schools used to have whilst playing chase around it. We were 5 at the time, and it was full and, I imagine, quite heavy. I had no idea then how we managed it, and still don’t.

6. A baby has been born in my car. I took friends to the hospital when she was ready to give birth, and we only made it as far as the car park. It wasn’t nearly as grim to clean up as you might expect.

7. I have a “special skill” when driving, and always seem to manage to be in the wrong lane at any given opportunity on roads I don’t know.

8. I once constructed a pantomime cow costume from wire, bubble wrap, bamboo canes, material and paint. It worked pretty well, and when I offered it on Freecycle afterwards there were quite a few people interested. Unfortunately, it got binned as it wasn’t collected before I had to move house.

9. I drink far too much tea – and frequently very little else.

10. I’m not good with animals. It’s not that I don’t like them, more that they scare me. Hamsters are ok though, as they’re small, cute and unthreatening.

11. I’m still trying to stop biting my fingernails. At the moment I’m succeeding on 6 fingers and both thumbs, which I figure is pretty good.

12. I’ve only ever given 3 formal presentations in my life – twice in job interviews and once last Wednesday.

13. I have once been custard-pie’d – although it was with squirty cream, rather than custard. Unfortunately, it was good quality squirty cream, and dripped all down my T-shirt and onto the stage I was on at the time. I’d recommend using cheap squirty cream in future.

14. The lean-to on my house has a problem with its roof, meaning that in high wind and rain I have to get up on the stepladder and put bits back together again. Strong glue and duct tape are also quite helpful for this. I’m working up to having it rebuilt with a normal roof.

15. I spent 3 years learning Spanish, but unfortunately can remember very little, with the exception of the phrase “Mr Antonio Morales is the boss of an agency selling agricultural machinery”. Exactly how was that supposed to be of any use to me?

16. I hate the sound of bagpipes. Seriously, in what way are they music?

17. I am still a fan of the Chalet School stories by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer. Yes, they’re cheesy, outdated, frequently unrealistic and fairly predictable, but I like them. I’m still a few books short though, and don’t really fancy paying over £25 on eBay for the ones I’m still missing.

18. I’ve been involved in GirlGuiding since I joined the Brownies at 7. Before leaving Swansea, I ended up working with two leaders who were former Brownies of mine. This made me feel very old.

19. My taste in music is for easy, sing-along stuff. As a result, CDs in my car at present include Lloyd-Webber musicals, Take That, the Mamma Mia soundtrack and Abba.

20. More often than not, I prefer silence to music.

21. Until I went to university, I’d only been to the cinema twice – I’d seen Bambi aged 7 and Splitting Heirs just after my GCSEs. It didn’t interest me – my part-time job let me watch a lot of live theatre, which I still prefer by miles. However, thanks mostly to the influence of my housemate, I now have a ‘go as many times a month as you like’ card for a local cinema. And I rarely get to the theatre.

22. I was massively freaked out by the character of the Tall Knight from the “Dark Towers” story on Words and Pictures, which we watched at school when I was 7. Somehow, I got it into my head that I couldn’t open the bathroom door at home if it was closed because the Tall Knight would be in there. I don’t think my parents were too impressed.

23. I have once sleepwalked – I managed to get out of my sleeping bag, climb over both my parents, and get most of the way out of our family tent before my father woke up. I think he was quite surprised I’d not trodden on anyone on my way out.

24. I can be very pedantic about spelling and grammar when writing formal stuff. However, this list does not count, so please don’t all rush to point out all my inevitable spelling/typing and grammar errors.

25. I am a terrible procrastinator. In fact, that’s probably why I’m writing this now, when I should be doing something more productive.

Small town stuff

So on Saturday I went along to the Christmas lights switch-on in the small town I live in. My small town has a wonderful way of doing most things in an amateur-ish fashion, which is somehow quite charming and just feels right for its character.

So we all stood in the main square and listened to a couple of bands – one of which were all dressed as Santa Claus – and then a couple of local radio presenters and the Lord Mayor pressed the button to turn on the lights, to loud cheers. And then they followed it up with a firework display. I’ve never quite figured out where they set off the fireworks from, but it’s certainly pretty close to the multi-storey car park (see, we’re not THAT small a town!) – so I’m not convinced they’re not set off from its roof. And the entire crowd of people actually do all chorus ‘ooh’ and ‘aah’ with no hint of irony! Someoen was clearly impressed enough by the switch-on 2 years ago to film it and put it on youtube – and it hasn’t changed any in the last 2 years. You too can watch it, just here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eJhhbtHrQP8

Last year, one of the main highlights following the lights switch-on was a Take That tribute band, playing in the local Council car park on the back of a Wilkinson’s lorry, surrounded by fairground rides whose PA was better than that of the band. I had wondered if this was due to a slight oversight, with someeone forgetting to order a stage – but this year we had a Queen tribute act, also playing from the back of the lorry. the thing is that when I say ‘a lorry ‘ I literally mean it. They jut pull back the material side almost all the way, put a couple of local posters on the other side to act as a backdrop, and then let the ‘band’ get on with it.

Christmas lights switch-ons and similar events are the sort of things I’d never bothered to go to before when living in bigger cities, but they seem almost obligatory when you live somewhere like this.

It’s fun.

Overwhelmed

OK, this is a day with rather too much new computer-related stuff. Not only am I trying to figure out the new wiblog system, but I’ve also just updated my elderly computer, and am now struggling with Vista. I’m sure it’ll all be ok in a while, but it’s just a bit hard to figure out where anything is. Arrgh.

Anyway, hopefully if I can post this, I’ll be one step closer to figuring out the new wiblogs. Anyone found any Idiot’s Guide instructions anywhere?

Inspiration has run out when it comes to finding a title for this post

Wow. It’s been a while since I last blogged. And quite a bit has happened in the intervening time. I have:
* Changed church
* Bought a house
* Entered my third decade
* Started to learn some DIY skills (including fixing the roof, resealing the bath etc)
* Gained a lodger
* and quite a bit of other stuff that I can’t think of now.

My lodger is a very good friend from uni – if you ignore the fact that we really didn’t like each other for the first month or so. After uni, she moved up north, I stayed out west, and we met up maybe 2 or 3 times in about 7 years. But, we seem to have one of those friendships that survives that sort of neglect! And when she was made redundant, an initially throwaway suggestion on my part that she could always come and live with me somehow became a serious suggestion, and then a reality. And it’s fun. Odd, in that we’ve both moved on a bit since the last time we really knew each other on a day to day basis, but but really good to have her around.

And last weekend, we headed off to meet up with another old uni friend, and to go to a gig at a folk club in the middle of nowhere to hear a pub duo we used to go and listen to in uni days who were playing 3 gigs together again. And it was great. The silliness, the energy, the music, the just-having-a-really-good-night-outness. It was like being a stdent again in some ways. But somehow I appreciated it more this time – probaby because it’s been over 7 years since I last heard them play.

The Lodger took quite a lot of photos, so I may try and post a few here later. However, to give you some idea of the evening, it included:
* a dramatised version of ‘Whisky in the Jar’ involving 2 cucumber ‘swords’ and a banana ‘pistol’
* several glasses of water and a toy dog
* a bloke playing a drum accompaniment to ‘The Bear Necessities of Life’ on a bucket on his head
* the same bloke playing the mandolin using a half-drunk pint of beer
* standing on tables
* and much singing, dancing and laughing.

Sometimes I miss the days when evenings like this were normal. But, the present isn’t bad either. And the future? Who knows.

Is it just me…

…or do other people find that when a preacher says something you really need to hear, it’s most commonly a ‘throwaway’ line, and completely unrelated to their main topic?

The real trouble with this sort of occurrence is when someone asks you aftewards what you thought about the sermon or about some specific point made, and you have to admit that you actually stopped listening about 7 minutes in because you spent the remainder of the time stunned by this small point, and trying to figure out the ramifications of this point. And people never quite know how to react to that.

Today, I think I may have been given a pointer to help me understand and deal with something I’ve been struggling with for some months now. Unfortunately, we have 2 services at our church and I went to the first one today, so it was kind of difficult to talk to the preacher afterwards as he still had a second service to run. But I think it’s something I need to ponder on for a while…

I’ll have a P please Bob

PJs, plonk and puzzles – that’s all you need for a great girly night in. Blonde and I are happily quaffing wine, chatting about hen nights (hers, NOT mine) and trying to fit pieces in my Dr Who jigsaw, whilst putting the world to rights. What more could you want?

Self-pigeonholing

Sorry it’s been so long since my last post. It’s not that nothing interesting has happened, but that most of it isn’t really bloggable. Sorry. So, once again, you get my thoughts on life, and how I fit into it. If this sounds dull, please turn off now…

I’ve found myself reflecting earlier on how I’ve changed since moving up here. In some ways, it feels a bit like I’ve grown up – kind of entered the next stage of my life. I’ll try and explain. I wento to school with the same people from when I was 7 right through to 18. And in that 11 years, I obviously grew up as a person, and changed. But in some ways, because I was with that same group of people Monday to Friday, and particularly with a specific group of friends, it sort of restricted me in some ways. I had a role in that group, and I’m not sure if I maintained that role because my friends expected me to, or because I wanted to, or what. I didn’t really think about it at all – it just happened.

And then, I went to university, and it was terrifying after so many years of security with the same people. And yet, as I’m sure many people have found, it was also incredibly liberating, because I had the freedom to be me, to find friends I could bond with as my 18-year old self, rather than those who’d known me for so long. My confidence soared, and I was probably happier than I’d ever been before.

In some bizarre symetry of life, I spent almost the next 11 years in Swansea, adding to the group of friends I was with, but still keeping a strong core of those people I’d met in my first weeks and months at university. We got to know each other so well, shared some amazing high moments, and some real low ones, and just became such a strong group. When I started to think about leaving that group of friends, it was almost impossible to contemplate not seeing them on a day-to-day basis.

Strangely, though, now its almost seven months since I moved, I’m starting to feel that same sense of liberation again (NB this is NOT to say I don’t still really miss people in Swansea). Some of the friends I have up here are people I wouldn’t necessarily have expected to become close to, and they’re challenging me to push my horizons. Which is good, I think. Also, partly because of my work, I’m becoming far more politically aware and active than ever before – and am managing to do stuff I never expected to feel confident in.

Maybe I’m just too good at (or bad at) finding a role for myself in a group, and then feeling that I have to continue to fill that role in the future. I’m sure other people are far more willing to let me change and grow than I am to allow myself to. But the question for me right now is, how do I get myself out of this cycle? I’m not yet enmeshed enough with a group of friends up here to have pigeonholed myself yet, and I really want to avoid that.