Monday, July 26, 2010

The truth about Cats and Frogs...

So I've had a pretty cool day. Starting off with a lovely meal in the local pub with my rents, my sis and my ickle nephew, watching the F1 (Alonso won - apparently!), before going to see how my Grandad was doing. We stayed and chatted for a while before taking a tour of his now thriving herb/flower garden.
The tree he's always had growing there, is still growing. The flower beds are full, and the greenhouse is full of tomatoes. Bees buzzed about the place, and the lavender and rosemary were noticable by their fragrance.

Later on, I went off to work, nothing special whatsoever. The shift came, the shift went.

On the way home, I saw in the distance, a cat. A very attractive animal of indeterminate gender, completely white, except (I swear the world does this to mess with my) its tail, which was marked in bright bands of tan, brown and black.
I approached and the cat stared at me, before scooting off a few meters, miaowing reluctantly at me. As I beckoned the cat back to me (I like animals) I noticed that its attention was directed instead at a frog, almost at my feet without me realising it. Incredulously, I watched as the cat walked back to the frog, sniffed at it, and even pawed at it in that "what are you?" type way.
The frog remained stoic throughout and didn't move a millimeter. I bent down, as the cat darted off, to see that the frog was actually a real frog, and sure enough, yep, a real frog.

I then spent five or ten minutes trying to entice the cat away from the (dark green and black) frog who was evidently thinking "if I stay very still - (on the light grey tarmac - stupid amphibian) - the cat won't notice me", and the cat was having none of it. Eventually, I whipped a sheet of cardboard out of my bag and started literally bumping this frog in the butt with the cardboard to try to encourage it to hop away from this rather put out cat.

A guy walked past, walking his dogs. By way of explanation I offered something along the lines of "To my left is a cat, to my right is a frog, I want to stop the frog becoming catfood".

Or as they sing, "Kittehs to the left of me, froggehs to the right, here I am stuck in the middle with no fcuking help whatsoever actually". Eventually the dude turned back and came back this way, even as the cat tried to paw the silly amphibian again. As he approached, I managed to piss the frog off enough to make it jump up the 10 inch wall in front of it into the garden in front, onto a load of spikey flowers, where the cat followed it beyond my reach.

The bloke came over, and his dogs started growling at the cat, which instantly arched its back. I explained my valiant frog-saving efforts to the guy, before explaining "it's not my garden".
"Do what you have to, if the owners complain, I'll back you up". Heh, sounds so noble doesn't it.

Anyway, as the dogs growled at the cat and as the cat hissed at the dogs, I butted the frog on its butt till it gor thoroughly bored and hopped into some bushes in the middle of the garden, well out of the cat's reach.

Woo, go me!

Okay, so as my sister said "It's a frog!" Which apparently makes it not worth the effort, in her eyes anyway. But then we've got two goldfish who apparently don't qualify as "life" in her eyes either. So I'll take her morals with a bucket of salt, if it's all the same :-).

Frankly, I didn't want to see a living animal get turned into confetti, and in the event, the jumpy lil guy didn't. The cat left, pissed off, but not half as pissed off as the frog would have been in the cat's jaws. For all their fluffiness, they're evil little bastards, cats.

So hey, that's today's good deed. Summary: I saved a frog from a cat. Heh.

I spose you had to be there. Still, someone out there considers it effort well spent, even if he does have webbed fingers, green skin and big goggly eyes.

:-).

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Shopping Trip!

With myself!

Yes, after a bit of waiting (or perhaps own waiting) I finally got some paperwork from the Army confirming their acceptance of me, and my start date and suchlike.
I was called in yesterday to go through some paperwork with them, so after an incredibly bad night's sleep (friday: 9am-3pm, then 11pm until 2:30am on saturday - and then completely unable to sleep before eventually getting out of bed at 8:30am) along I went, signed a couple of things (that's basically all it was), and had the rest of the afternoon to myself, with a big packing list of things to take.

See, in addition to all the shouting and running around and climbing up trees etc etc, There is actually a lot of classroom work involved in training. With this in mind, I wrote down some of my packing list, and went round a tour of the local shops to get various items on it.

First stop? Breakfast, actually. Turning up in Mcdonalds nearly half an hour after they stopped breakfast, I asked nicely if they had any McMuffins (my favourite) left, and they did.
So I sat downstairs for a while eating my breakfast and reading through various paperwork and whatnot, and eventually set off out round town. After a fashion. You see, (and I didn't know this), 3 or 4 times a year, apparently, Sheffield has a continental market (which continent exactly? There were chinese noodles, polish cuisine, flowers from holland, coffee from italy, curries from india etc etc), and as a result, the entire pedestrianised shopping area was full from one side to the other, with market stalls sellinf a huge variety of fantastic and interesting and (in some cases) very nice smelling goods. Everything from African handmade art items, wood carvings etc etc, to Chinese noodles, Italian Gelato, North Korean paranoia, and German beer.
And one of those cool things we saw in london, a huge barbecue pan thing suspended over a fire. All this under the huge circular span of the Wheel of Sheffield, which as usual was rotating in its circular type way.

For some reason, maybe it was the lack of sleep, the strange and wonderful smells from the market, the fact I had money to spend, or the lovely weather, I was in a really good mood, and for some reason, this mood persisted throughout the day. I actually found myself smiling a lot, laughing at jokes I'd normally consider crappy, and seeing a couple of toy stalls, smiling at the idea of my lovable ickle nephew playing with some of them. I was in a mood to be very nice to people, a state of genuinely wishing the world well, and to be honest, whatever the reason for it, it was wonderful :-). I dunno maybe I breathed someone's drugs in accidentally or something.

Remembering the toy stall, I resolved to buy something for the ickle guy in my travels.

So I wandered round here there and everywhere, buying "masculine hygeine" products (extortionately priced razors/blades, shower gel, etc etc) and stationary stationery (the stationery didn't move about) like marker pens, nice gel pens and other cool stuff, for all the classroom lessons.

I wandered to one of the hardware stores and bought some padlocks. For some reason, all three padlocks (they were a 3 pack) take the same key, and each padlock came with two keys.
So I have three identical padlocks with six identical keys. Bizarre!
Now maybe because of the lack sleep or whatever, I found myself blissfully drifting round most of the day, walking right past stuff I wanted to buy, several times, while trying to find it.

I also came out with the comedic concern that if those six keys fitted my padlocks, I didn't want to buy them because maybe everyone else who bought those three-packs "from any other Wickes in the country" would be able to open mine with their keys.

Fortunately I realised my incredible stupidity before I left empty handed (the hardware store was a bugger to find), blinked, turned on my heel and with a sweet smile, marched back to the counter, padlocks in hand.

Eventually, after buying some hungry hippos for my nephew (who didn't get one because he was an absolute little sod!!!) yesterday, I returned home, and resisted the urge to sleep until about 10pm when I fell asleep during a documentary on sniper rifles.

Today, I woke up, having slept well, and went out with my parents to enjoy some time in the sun at the chip shop.
Unfortunately my dad got a strop on at "being excluded" from conversations between my mum and myself (twice he's butted in and twice he's politely but firmly been told to mind his own business) and drove home, leaving my mum and I at the chip shop.

Not to worry though because the weather was lovely, and the chips were amazingly good.
Deciding we were going to walk home, my mum send me to the shop opposite to buy some bottled water, and I laughed inwardly when I saw what greeted me.

Just inside the shop, the owner had a shelf, neatly filled up with various kinds of cider, White Lightning, White Dragon, White Cobra, White Viper, White Reticulated-bloody-python, Diamond Ice, Diamond Jack, Diamond White, more diamonds than a bloody jewellers. Oh, and Frosty Jack's.
Below this he had two shelves of Lambrini. All straight at the front of the shop, opposite the door.

Now for people outside the UK (the citizens of which would immediately find this amusing) who are wondering what is funny, all the brands above, some of which may or may not exist, are firmly thought of as, Hmm. Budget drinks. That is, Cheap drinks. Inexpensive but strong drinks, usually entirely made with synthetic ingredients (In the same way that a fast-food fizzy orange isn't made from oranges, I doubt any of those ciders have ever seen an apple) that can (and usually are) be bought by underage teens with their pocket money, thus allowing even impoverished teenagers to get drunk and go round smashing windows with hammers and whatnot, and generally keep the police busy.

It's nice to see just how keenly this shopkeeper follows the needs of the local community.
Well it made me smile anyway.

Here are some pickatures. Only one of them is visible at the moment, the others I forgot to upload, but here they are anyway. I wanted to get some of my puppy, at special request, but I'm afraid I have one of my last shifts at work in 40 minutes and must go!

Bye for now :-).

PART TWO: PUB MEAL

Sunday 25th:
Had a nice sleep, and went off to the pub to have a nice pub meal with the family.
Was quite nice for us to get together and a nice day was had by all.
Popped in to see grandad afterwards, and then had a bit of a cycle ride round the park.

Also took some more photos for Lexi :-). Our puppeh continues to be a cute and awesome and affectionate little girl :-).

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Yikes, the rain! (or, "A Dog and a DS")

Well summer didn't last long!
Isn't a year weird unit of time. Short enough that you can remember back over several (or tens of, depending on your ancientness) of them, but long enough that you can forget things. Things like, oh, whether it's sunny or whether it pours it down, in a particular type of year,

Yep apparently, July - the height of British summer, despite the fact that we've had 30+C days a few times already this year, is traditionally rainy. It rained yesterday, it rained this morning, in fact, it's rained all day. But since it's July, it's sort of a cool rain, not a nasty cold one. It's the yearly equivalent of a summer break, that is, a break from summer itself, with two or three weeks of wet weather.

Anyway, all that rubbish aside, yesterday, my sister turns up carrying an unknown puppy around. She's had experience in the past rehoming animals and this one was just the latest of her temporary wards. In she comes with the puppy, and it's an adorable lil creature, black and white, with a little nose, floppy ears and HUUUGE pleading eyes. Kinda like this.

Off I go to the shops with my nephew, to fetch some milk. When we get back, my mum says she has a surprise for me. When I ask what it is, she gestures to "our new dog". Yikes, didn't take long for my sister to find a new owner, but us? We've not had a dog for ages.
Still, my dad is retired and in another 10 years or so my mum will be the same, so I guess little-dog (as my nephew named her) will be good at keeping them company.

Also yesterday, my brother's wife/sister in law/whichever she prefers, gives my nephew her DS, which I thought was extraordinarily nice of her. My nephew had been DSless since some point in the indeterminate past where he left his own DS outside, on his garden trampoline, overnight as it rained heavily. Yeah, real good thinking, little fella. I'm amazed it didn't get nicked before it got wet, as the residents of my sister's old neighbourhood seemed to (in general) be a very light-fingered bunch. Still. He's delighted because now he can play on "his" DS with the games everyone's bought him, and better yet, he can play his favourite game boy advance games too. Though sadly, not his old game boy ones. Still, he's looking forward to playing "the indiana jones" game (Castlevania: Circle Of The Moon) on a backlit screen for once.

Not only do we have an awesome new doggy (who loves nothing more than chewing people's hands/feet, and weeing on the carpet), not only does the lil dude have a DS again, but, we've actually found his camera too!!

Okay, none of you guys knew anything about this - last time we went to twin lakes, he took his camera with him. It came back too, in fact I was even sure I'd seen it in the house afterwards, but it was nowhere to be seen, and we've turned his room upside down. However we found it earlier today, in his car, so now he has "his DS back" AND his camera back.
And we have a new doggy!

Finally, my nephew has already started going on about things he wants to put on his... ...list. That list, the list, you know? Where you ask for presents and stuff!!!
Yikes, it wasn't until October last year that he actually started thinking about what he wanted to put on his list.

We tidied his room together too earlier, and by that I mean I tidied it and he took toys I'd just put away out to play with them, while I put them back again.
Now, I have an odd habit when tidying, which I inherited off my mum. Don't ask her why or where it started but it's always been "the done way" in our family - or as my sister cruelly observes "just you and mum" - to listen to music traditionally listened to at the time of year where certain lists become quite important, while tidying. Which got me in a rather festive mood. In July. Which wasn't helped by me then becoming all festive and nostalgic and watching last year's home videos from that ol' festive time, which, you'll notice, I'm deliberately not naming, so no one can accuse me of talking about that while we're still in July.

So hey, in the meantime, the rain continues to come down, and the festive videos continue to get played. I'm gonna eat an angus burger later, and maybe have an early night.

Here are some sparkly pics in the meantime: (Well, one. I forgot what the second was and couldn't find the third!)

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Yikes, the sun!

Would you know, we're actually having a genuine summer here, complete with nice weather, hayfever and everything.
I guess it's important for me to emphasise to myself that we do in fact have summers, because last winter seemed to go on for ever. But then I guess winters always do.

So what's been happening? More of the same I guess. My nephew continues to swerve unpredictably between being awesome and cute, and being infuriatingly badly behaved, work continues to be as sociable as it's ever been, and I'm trundling through life quite happily, I suppose.

I did decide to throw a little bit of cash at my iPod though. Having bought all sorts of weird and wonderful ayapps, as well as organising loads of videos and suchlike to view here there and everywhere, I was a little put out when my faithful earphones finally stopped working a few weeks ago.
I was much more put out when the seller I bought the replacements off, first sent me some fakes, and then told me he'd send me a second pair after the first pair fell to bits.
I am still waiting for the second pair. Not that I care anymore, as I've made alternative plans.

Yep, after saving moneys and whatnot, I finally decided to buy some nice and shiny Klipsch Image S4i earphones, with shiny integrated remote control type thing, and I have to say that they sound absolutely awesome. £90 well spent (They're available for less, but last time I spent "for less" I got "less" and had to buy a second time).

I also bought a Zagg Invisible Shield to protect the ipod, and while fitting it was an absolute sweary swearword, it seems to be doing its job quite well. The protector hasn't got so much as a scratch on it, which makes a nice change because the cheap plastic ones I used to use, used to last a couple of weeks before needing replacement.

So hey, that's it, that's all, there is nothing going on in my life at the minute, apart from...

Yeah my sis, nephew and I finally went swimming again a few days ago, and it was nice to get back in the water. Afterwards, we went to a local chinese buffet type place, where I had a very good meal of all sorts of things, washed down with ice cream, various unidentified but tasty foodstuffs, and lots of toffee cheesecake. Not a bad night out. Must have more of them.

Now, let's see if this heatwave arrives. Today's supposed to be very hot. We'll have to see, hehehe...

PS: Don't mind my half-assed photo, I was in a rush.