Friday 1 March 2013

Wood you?

I saw this on my ride to work was great to be back on the cycle after a bit of a break because of the weather, skiing and general apathy....

Had to pop into one of the shops on Bermondsey Street yesterday, and whilst browsing spotted a wooden item (for reasons to be explained sometime in the future, I can't say what) and asked the shop owner about it.

"It's Amazonian wood" he proudly declared.
My jaw dropped.
"Is that a good thing?" I replied
"Well it's only the roots"
"I think it's recycled"
"It's very lovely isn't it?"
He stuttered and blubbered.

I was horrified, turned on my heal and left...surely EVERYONE knows that the destruction of the Amazon is wreaking havoc.  This may have been a legitimate item, but there was not certificate, no authentication so I doubt it....really disappointing.  Next they'll be trying to sell me ivory.....

P.S. I've updated yesterday's post so you can now see OC staring down OD

Thursday 28 February 2013

Office Dog

Whilst the internet is full of cats, I don't detect the same level of interest in dogs.  I don't mind either way, cat, dog, rabbit...they're all just balls of fur that like their tummy tickled.  I grew up with plenty of dogs, a few rabbits, a number of guinea pigs, a pair of gerbils, a shoal of fish, even the odd budgerigar, and more cats than you'll find in a pharoah's tomb.  So it was very nice when Office Dog moved in.

But, it has to be said that OD is ODD.  He's one sandwich short of a picnic.  No, he's an entire round of sandwiches short.

When he first arrived he wouldn't actually come in the door.  He has a phobia of wooden floors.

Not long afterwards we had Office Cat come to visit for a couple of weeks.  In true cat fashion, OC sat staring at OD daring him to come in for hours.

Eventually, OD was bought neoprene socks.  If I came in wearing latex, there would be a few raised eye-brows I can tell you.  With socks on, he gradually (over the course of several days) dared to put firstly one foot, then another, then the third and finally all of them in the office.  It took a little longer before he would actually walk forwards.

OD leans to the left.  No I don't mean he votes for the Ed Miller Band, I mean he leans to the left.  So when he comes in in the morning, he rubs all along the passage wall on the left.  And when he leaves, he does the opposite.  On a daily basis, this proves difficult because the way the door opens, means that he becomes trapped between wall and open door.  That doesn't help him leave.  At Christmas, the first year, it caused a problem because the Christmas tree  is sited on the left hand wall.  OD couldn't walk round it.  He had to walk through it.  Our twelve days of Christmas were spent picking up broken or bouncing baubles.  So the second year we moved the tree to the other side of the room, away from left or right hand side walls.  Sure enough OD still had to walk through it.

He likes his luxury, so always manages to find a warm patch on the floor, where the underfloor heating is.  I can't blame him for that, as there's many an occasion I would like to curl up in the warm.

Going from one end of the office is erm interesting.  All the desks are along one side of the office - where the windows are.  There's a large area on the otherside, ideal for swinging a cat.  However.  However.  He can't walk through the open area, he has to scrabble under the desks....first in one direction, and then the other when he returns.  Naturally under the desk is where all the cables are.  Daily we have to re-plug the computers into the network.

Food is his one great love.  It always is with labradors, but he is a particular enthusiast.  Indeed, there is a clear hierarchy of love dependent on how much food someone gives him.  The Spanish Girl gives him the most; I give him the least.  He rarely comes to see me and the greetings in the morning are cursory.  Things have changed since I started giving him the odd twiglet or two.

It's been a hard couple of months as the vet has insisted he lost eight kilos.  At least we can feel his ribs now.

You never want to get too close to him after his lunchtime walk.  He has a habit of eating sh*t.  I mean literally eating faeces.

There's only one thing he loves more than food, and that's walking home.  When it's time to go, he's up and off like a rocket...though bare in mind the sixth paragraph above.

The other day he had an almost unfathomable dilemma.  I arrived in the office at lunch time with my lunch, and at the same time also eating their lunch was Andy Pandy, Soon-to-be-mum and There's Lovely Girl (OK, I confess to missing them off my cast list).  The trouble was, it was time for OD to leave.  It was like a short film on a loop, with him running to the door, returning in the hope of food, and then running to the door before returning in the hope of finding some food.  It could have gone on all afternoon if he hadn't been dragged out by his collar.  Evidently he was unusually hesitant on the way home too.....

He barks whenever the door buzzer goes, and sometimes when the phones ring too, and has terrified one of the delivery drivers who comes along every week.  In the office his favourite game is 'peek a boo'.  I hide behind the pillar, occasionally poking my head out out and then hiding again.  This keeps him amiused for hours, and me away from doing what I should be...

So that's the Office Dog....I hope you like him as much as we do

Tuesday 26 February 2013

A cast of thousands

Trust.  It's one of those things the world seems desperately short of at the moment

Last year, around the time of the last petrol crisis last year...the pumps were running dry and just after it was serviced, I suddenly found that my motorbike was smelling of fuel.  A leak.  If I filled up, I would be high as a kite by the time I was at the end of the road.  Not that this stopped me riding it, I just filled up half-way, which meant that it was only semi-comatose on my journeys.  Mind you, you could still smell it when the garage door was closed and stood at the other end of the drive.  Of course, the general idea that petrol is leaking from the tank and on to the engine should have made me worry about going up in a puff of smoke...but like any teenager I thought I was invincible.  One day I will grow up.  Anyway, I took it to the dealership who solemnly declared the tank was leaking, couldn't be repaired and I would need to splash out £1100 on a new one.  Gosh that's a lot I thought, and continued riding it.  Eventually it was due for another service.  I decided to take it to another garage, and played the innocent.  "I think I can smell petrol" I said.  They had it for a couple of days, found that a valve had been removed and placed in a compartment under the seat.  So could you please vote on whether the fist garage was a) incompetent and wanting me to spend £1100 or b) had deliberately removed the valve so that I would spend £1100 and so they would acquire a perfectly good fuel tank

I don't suppose anyone really wants to know about the great time we had on our holiday, so I will just introduce a few of the characters:

1. The Muffins.  We went with all the Muffins.
2.  Lord Poddlington.  That was me.  Evidently my breakfast was excessive.  Bacon, sausages, tomato and fried egg.  Followed by a bowl of fruit.  Followed by two rolls with butter and jam (apricot).  Followed by cheese and ham.  All washed down with fruit juice and a pot of coffee.  Nor did it help when I cut out one course...the bowl of fruit.  I have returned as excess baggage
3. Michael The Farmer.  The first instructor for Papa Muffin and The Cat.  A local who helped out at busy times.  He'd been skiing  since before he could walk.  But he couldn't speak English.  So The Boy translated...even the technical stuff.  At the end of the lesson, he walked off and we never saw him again.
4.  Mythical Steve.  Our last instructor.  He was English, but had lived in Austria for 25 years.  he was a good friend of the ski school owner, but none of the other instructors had ever met him.  He was everything you would expect a ski instructor to be.  Bleached blonde, tanned and with an unreformed outlook on life.  So every time a female sixteen years and older got near us, he would let us know it was 'a great view'...especially if they bent over to do up their boots.  He was fast on his skis, but very impressed The Boy could keep up with him "I've never seen anyone who hasn't done a season ski that well" he said.  Meanwhile I was left on the mountain by myself.
5.  The Bonnie Scot.  Our main instructor.  He had done the BA part of his degree in engineering from Strathclyde, and taken a year out to be a ski instructor.  My money is on him never going back.  The mini-Muffins adored him of course.
6.  Frau Fuhrer.  The owner of our hotel.  She was coiffured like nobody you've seen for fifty years, and charming as could be if you were a guest.  I'm guessing working for her was not so easy.  She was delighted to have us staying and made us feel like the best of friends.  Hotel management as it should be.
7.  Boris The Russian.  And his pretty blonde wife, half his age.  If you've ever come across travelling Russians, you'll realise that he is big, bald and brutish.  They sat at a table quite close to us and generally engaged in polite conversation with the child that was at their table.  Half way through the week, the boy disappeared.  The last evening Boris was very agitated indeed, and you couldn't help but feel that one wrong word and your skull would be crushed.
8.  The cast of waitresses...all lovely, helpful and permanently smiling (not in an American way).  Some things got lost in translation.  One said to me "You make me very happy" which was not half as inappropriate as it seems here.
9.  Leopold The Lion.  Our waiter.  Possibly the most nervous man in the world.
10.  The Barman.  The Boy thought he was grumpy.  The rest of us thought he was very pleasant.
11. The Swiss Family Robinson.  Guests on the other table near us.  She was also beautifully coiffured.  Not an eyelash out of place.  He wore either a sleeveless yellow cardigan, or one with sleeves.  As he was 70, it prevented  me wearing my own yellow cardigans.  That was the only reason.
12.  Sleeping Beauty.  The Cat's Mother rarely, if ever, made it down to breakfast before the rest of us had finished. She doesn't ski, so would spend her mornings and afternoons reading in one of the mountain cafes.  One suspects that gluhwein was inhaled.  We were grateful for her attendance and good humour.
13.  The Irish Family.  Lovely as they were, we couldn't help but feel that making their four-year old sit down for dinner at 8.00 after a long day on the slopes was a mistake.  It may have been his catawailing and crying that gave us the clue.

14. The Boy.  Our final ski instructor.  Yes, I'm pleased to say (chest puffed out) that the ski school were desperate to take him on and verbally offered him a job for next ski season...his gap year is probably all organised.  And I might get cheap ski-lessons too.

Sunday 24 February 2013

There's news, and then there's important stuff

A lot can happen in a week.

We have returned to find that the UK has been downgraded to the same credit level rating as those third-world outfits the US and France.  As the downgrade has been made by the same people that gave the mortgage bonds which ultimately caused the financial crisis a triple A rating in the first place, I, quite frankly, don't give a hoot.

I was disappointed to have missed the news that trial by jury is a nonsense as the one judging Vicky Price wanted to know if they could use information given as evidence neither by the prosecution or the defence to come to their decision.

Whilst we were away I had some great news about George,  "I went to see him yesterday and he is now aware of stuff going on around him but he can't talk and only opens his eyes a little bit. That is pretty big progress though.  They think he will be fine judging by the brain scan. He is having a 4 hour hip operation today. That's a big deal too."

After that there was a second piece of good news about George, "Op went well - later and longer than planned but he's back in ICU.  Apparently facial op is planned for tomorrow - waiting to speak to doctors about that. at least by tomorrow there shouldn't be any more surgery"

So I'm just waiting for an update about that.