Monthly Archives: October 2007

Do it yourself

Last week I spent some time doing some DIY in le château de grenouille.  My dining room prior to adjustments stank of cigarette smoke and was very dated. 

Here are the very attractive curtains:

Here is the carpet:

Both had to go.  Up came the carpet.

We cleaned up the tiles underneath.  That’s Tiny Tash doing an impression of Mrs Mop.

Then we put down some laminate flooring.


I haven’t got any pictures but I also changed the sockets and ran new power leads for them.  The old owners had actually chosen to use extension leads plugged into each other for power rather than doing the job properly.  You also can’t see the spiffing new brown curtains as I forgot to take a picture of them. 


Filed under le château de grenouille

The lovely lady rats

If you’ve ever tried to photograph rats then you’ll know how incredibly difficult it is to get them to pose.  Here are a few pictures of the girls that I managed to take.

Izzy as modelled by Snarly Beth. 

The other no-name sister, Anya trying to escape from Cake Worm.

Templeton the spider rat shows Little Al how to clamber.

Smudge finding ways to tickle Cake Worm and make Tiny Tasha laugh.

A bonus photograph of my chin and Smudge playing “Climb the tall guy”.


Filed under Rats, Reasons to be cheerful

Big Demon Bunny

This is Saffie.

This is Tiny Tash carrying her.  You should have an idea of how big she is from this picture.  Ignore the half unpacked boxes in the background.

Saffie taking the kids for a walk on a lead.  That’s the back garden.


Filed under It could be bunnies

Sneeze Etiquette

Now that the clocks have gone back we are officially into “cold” season.  This is time of year where people shut windows and huddle together for warmth.  A time when the common cold is at its most rampant.  With that in mind I though it fitting to address the issue of sneeze etiquette.

How to stop a sneeze

  1. Understand why you sneeze. It isn’t just a useless quirk that your body takes part in just to inconvenience you. In most cases a sneeze is the body’s way of getting rid of stuff in your nose that can cause irritation. In other cases a sneeze is associated with a cold, evacuating about 40,000 infectious and microscopic droplets that would otherwise do you harm. The only physically bad thing about sneezing is the spread of disease, which can be prevented by using a tissue or, if necessary, sneezing into your sleeve. 
  2. Know when not to stop a sneeze. A sneeze, known technically as a sternutation, is a major deal for the body. The typical sneeze removes air from your body at speeds between 100 MPH to 630 MPH (measured by JFK Health World Museum in Barrington, IL), tremendous velocities that can cause serious injury if incorrectly stifled. That’s why you should never try to stop a sneeze that is in progress. For example, do not hold your nose or block your mouth while sneezing. Doing so can cause serious injury. The force and velocity of the average sneeze, if prevented from ejection from the body, can eventually cause hearing loss and damage the blood vessels in your head, especially if you make a habit of stopping a sneeze when it’s already begun. 
  3. Apply one of the following techniques to stop a sneeze, when appropriate. These techniques do not stop sudden, uncontrollable sneezes that sneak up on you without warning. It will only work on those sneezes that you feel coming.
    • Press your tongue behind your two front teeth, where the roof of your mouth meets the gum palate or alveolar ridge. Press hard with your most powerful muscles against your teeth until the tickling sensation dissipates.
    • Pinch the tip of your nose when you feel that first tingle. 
    • If you tend to have long sneezing jags, blow your nose frequently to clear your nostrils of irritants. 
    • Tickle the roof of your mouth with the tip of your tongue when you feel the sneeze coming on. Continue until the urge to sneeze dissipates. This should take 5 to 10 seconds.
    • Put your index and middle fingers out in front of you. Touch your nose with both fingers. Push upwards.
    • Press the top of your upper lip with a finger.
    • Spread the thumb of one hand away from the fingers. Using the sharp edges of the nails on the thumb and index finger of your other hand, pinch the flap of skin between the spread thumb and the fingers.
    • Look at the darkest and largest surface you can find. Examples may include a computer screen that is off, or someone’s black clothing. Imagine yourself slowly moving into the blackness, as if you are zooming into outer space and being enveloped in more and more warm darkness. Focus deeply on imagining this, and the “sneezy feeling” will soon subside. Hint: the better you get at this, the smaller the dark surface will need to be. Also, while trying this, avoid looking or thinking of any lights or similarly bright-colored objects. This will be especially effective if you are prone to the Photic sneeze reflex (see Tips).
    • Think very intensely about the spot right between your eyebrows. Keep imagining that something is touching it until the sneezing feeling subsides.
    • It is often possible to stop a sneeze late in the build up by sucking the tip of your finger. This works right up until the point when you actually initiate the sneeze.

When not to sneeze

  • You should not sneeze when in a sealed room such as a bus or a train carriage.  Doing so merely provides an environment for the many infections that you have expelled to spread to others. 
  • You really should not sneeze directly on the back of someone’s head.  This is considered rude and is likely to irritate the person who is sneezed upon.  If you are unfortunate enough to sneeze on someone by accident then you should apologise in order to have any chance of escaping injury.
  • You should always attempt to avoid sneezing at people.  The sound and vigorous movement of a sneeze attracts attention and you may find yourself the unwilling recipient of “hard states” or “advice”.
  • If you happen to find yourself in a location where a low noise level is socially acceptable please avoid sneezing or leave the location.  Such places include libraries, cinemas, the theatre, art galleries, restaurants, museums and churches.  I’d also add your working environment to this list but this is dependent on your own job.

If you have anything to add please do so now.


Filed under Bad things happen, Modern Etiquette


EggsYesterday I had an eggsam for my OU course.  I must say that I felt scrambled by the time it was over.  I was even tempted to poach some answers from the guy in front.  I worked eggtra hard to get my answers down in the three hours and I even took regular breaks to ensure that I didn’t crack. I was eggstatic when the invigilator said we should put down out pens.  My poor finger had a blister from all my writing.  It was eggstruciating. 

No, seriously I had the exam for my MT262: Putting computer systems to work course yesterday.  It went reasonably well I think.  I’m sure that I’ve got enough to pass but I ran out of time so I didn’t do my usual self check to estimate my score.

After the exam I wandered round Pompey for a few hours waiting for The Hildy to finish work and meet me for a very late lunch.  Sadly I gave up and purchased some food from Spud Lady in Commercial Road.  This was a good plan except that it made me sleepy and I then had to look at DVDs to keep myself awake.  Hence the six new DVDs that I brought home.

Speaking of which, don’t bother watching Ghost Rider.  Nicolas Cage used up all his acting skill in Leaving Los Vegas but persists on working.  The story is full of holes, the comic book nature of which is taken just that step too far to be entertaining.  Sadly the special effects don’t make up for a bad film.  It should either have been darker and had a decent moral message to it to it or lighter and played for laughs.  Of course the former would require an actor with talent and that man isn’t Nicolas Cage.

I also picked up a copy of Hairspray, not the new version but the 1988 version with Ricki Lake in the lead role.  As with most things that John Waters writes this film is a bit off the wall but there is a deeper message behind all the silliness. 

Anyway, it’s half term next week and I’m on holiday.  Have fun and try not to miss me too much.


Filed under MT262, Reasons to be cheerful, Shitbiscuits

All wizards have long, grey beards and pointy hats.

The Caterwauls who I share an office with are talking…again!  They really need to shush!  The current topic is “Lesbians”.  OK, I wasn’t listening so I don’t know how they got onto this topic but now I’ve been dragged in to it and asked my opinion.  This is never a good idea because now I’ve been very rude to The Caterwauls.  I’ve mocked their inability to see past the most basic of stereotypes.

It serves them right for saying things like “All lesbans* look a bit different from women, don’t they?” and “You can spot a lesban* because they are ugly and have short hair”.

I’m afraid that I’ve accidentally taken my irritation out on them and implied that I know of at least one lesbian in the office.  I don’t really as I am far too irritable to actually speak to anyone in the office so it is very unlikely that a secret lesbian would actually confide in me.

All the other places that I’ve ever worked have had a pretty average distribution of sexual preference.  Most of them had one or two ‘out’ homosexuals and the gossip machine implicated a couple more.  The last place I worked even had a lesbian wedding.  It was great fun even though the kids had me running around like a headless chicken trying to stop them breaking the sound equipment.  Perhaps the office here is the opposite end of the spectrum to when I worked at social services.  Almost everyone in social services was gay.  I think it was part of the equal opportunities policy.

I’m not even sure why it’s so interesting to The Caterwauls.  Apart from gossip what does it matter what two consenting adults choose to get up to in their free time?

*They can’t bring themselves to say lesbian and have made up this new word.


Filed under Cull, Shitbiscuits

Tiscali and BT

As I may have mentioned I recently moved house to le château de grenouille.  Part of the harrowing experience that is moving house involves sorting out all the utilities and services that we, as consumers, have bought into.  Most companies have excellent and efficient procedures in place to ensure that the process of moving house is straightforward and efficient.

For example:

  • The Hung Council credited my Council Tax to the new address and sent me a bill that arrived the day after I moved in;
  • Gritish Bas sorted out my bills, transferred credits and sent me a lovely “Welcome to your new home” pack..which was dull so I threw it away..but that’s beside the point;
  • Both water companies just changed the address on the bill and reissued it to the new address.

Why then can’t BT and Tiscali be as efficient.

Tiscali cut my broadband connection off on 6th September when they should have cut it off on the 17th.  This was irritating but I figure that you’re allowed one mistake as long as you say sorry.  The call centre didn’t say sorry, in fact I’m not certain what they said as the call centre staff had such thick accents that I had trouble understanding them. 

Worse than cutting me off early they have so far failed utterly to reconnect me.  I’ve had to endure six long weeks without a broadband connection at home.  I’m reminded of poor Drunken Spaniel and how she endured a similar issue.

BT have also failed to live up to their part of the contract to supply me with a telephone service.  On Monday 8th my phone mysteriously stopped working.  I rang the free phone number from my mobile (which I’m now told isn’t actually free) for an hour in order to report the fault.  They told me that it would be fixed within 24 hours.  Fair enough, thought I, sometimes things break.  24 hours later I rang them back, the phone is still as dead as a dodo.  Every day for the past week has had me calling back to query why my phone still isn’t working.  Apparently it’ll only take another 24 hours.

Well I’ve watched 24 and if Jack Bauer can do all the things he does in that show then BT can certainly fix one little fault.  It’s hardly too much to ask is it?

Anyway, I lost my rag at them both on Friday and cancelled them both.  I’m going with Virgin and a cable service for my phone and broadband and I’m getting some TV chucked in for the same price.

If you have my Tiscali email address please delete it.  I’ll get a new one next week and will probably let you know what it is eventually.


Filed under Cull, le château de grenouille, Shitbiscuits

OK, I’m vegetarian, not vegan but this is funny.


Filed under Debate, I am, Recipe for disaster

Sur la table

I have already mentioned The Hildy’s shopping trip but now I have a confession to make:

I went into town on Sunday to pick up some essential shopping (beer) and came home with a brand spanking second hand table. 

The table was obtained for the princely sum of £10 from the local dump.  I now have a solid pine table handsomely decorating my living room.  It is mostly used to store the Sunday papers while I finish reading them.

I must say that I am surprised at the things that are thrown away.  Granted, the table needs sanding down and re-varnishing to get rid of the coffee rings but it is in fine condition otherwise.  Anyone in need of wardrobes, takes, dressers, rabbit hutches, etc would be well advised to check out the dump for some real bargains. 

Now you can call me a skip rat if you like.

In other news no-one seems interested in reading the pets’ blog.  Is this because it is silly or because you hate animals?  Eh?


Filed under le château de grenouille, Reasons to be cheerful

I want to move house again

The sign says “Please – not so fast” Good advice for any driver, I think.


Filed under Reasons to be cheerful