I have looked accusingly at the cat, who is either telling me I need to get up and feed her earlier or is not doing her bit to cull the local wild life.
I have looked accusingly at the cat, who is either telling me I need to get up and feed her earlier or is not doing her bit to cull the local wild life.
And this Easter vacation has been about trying to wind down, before the study leave kicks in, whilst wanting to Get On. I know how I deal with being tired. It makes me tired. So mostly I keep going, and keep going, and that is that. Stopping is usually the mistake. I thought I had programmed in down time this term, but it does feel full on in retrospect, and even times away have not been down times. Hotels are not offline.
There's been a kind of non-specific flu-ey sorta thing around since Easter, and Easter was weird because of the need to tidy up and having a bit of a panic attack having suddenly felt very content and belonging. Friday, despite feeling shit, I went up to London for a meeting, and afterwards spent three hours with a Phd student at St Panx Bux. I took a slower route home so I didn't have to walk this end, and retired to The Doves for some binging.
Next day: ouch. Not only did I all but sleep through the day, but the knee was aching again. I had a bath and bought a paper, and then limped to the bus stop to see a comedian. I discovered the shop was shut and the cafe didn't do sandwiches, so foodwise I had to made do with two fruit salads, a giant biscuit and a small tub of Pringles. I nearly left the comedian at the interval. I ignored instinct and went back to the pub, but the person who I thought wanted to talk was not there after all. Hobbled home. Slowly.
More pain Sunday. Watch Doctor Who, Heroes (I fear I am too far oerstepped now to give up) and nearly got stuck in the sofa. Laminate floors are a nightmare when you are having difficulties standing up. Feet just slip. I can get into bed, but by a sort of somersault - getting out is more complex. My right leg will not bend - I feel like I have glass paper at the top of my leg. I take more of the industrial strength paracetemols I have from last time. I've slept for about half the day.
Laptops are no use without a proper lap, and rested on a chest is hard to operate. I can't type clearly enough without seeing the keyboard. Not from this angle.
Monday I make a doctor's appointment, but he can't see me until 7.20. Some of the day I can spend in bed. The news is dull - or too surreal. A volcano. A LibDem landslide. I seem to hear the same three programmes trailed. I know In Our Time is on line. I thought it had been for years. There is, of course, the toilet - and I cannot easily sit down. I can however ( look away now ). Dressing is fun - left foot will go into trouser leg, right foot... will hardly lift up and clear the cloth. When it does I can't bend down to pull them up. Socks will have to do. These shoes don't get tied, but need loosening to fit. Eventually I know it's time to go - but to deal with the OCD I have to make sure the door's shut and locked before I phone a taxi. It's a bit of a shuffle to get in - I have to pick up my right leg. The driver cheerfully tells me how bad damaged knees can be. I manage to sit in the waiting room, and to stand again, and eventually have to hobble through. It's the doctor I saw for my Bp three or four years back - the supposedly empathetic one, who forgot to tell me about fasting before blood and urine tests. It doesn't seem as bad as it might be, but it be slow.
Monday is another early night and Tuesday I face the issue of one or two trips to town - I have a therapy session, but not til four, and I need to get the pills he's prescribed. I don't want to go to come back, or hang round, but I need to leave enough time. There's also the matter of whether I've enough cash for a cab. I stay in bed in the morning - seduced by a nature programme which dropped the item it has trailed all morning. A documentary on madness in nineteenth century literature has the gall to be called Madwomen in the Attic, despite a) only one of the three spend time in an attic and b) they've interviewed the coauthor of The Madwoman in the Attic and not thanked her for the title. I receive a second email warning me a parcel may be delayed due to the volcano. I'd thought it would be coming from the UK? I specifically ordered one for the speed of it. Tilda decides she likes sleeping on my right knee. Geroyafookeeurgh is my repeated response.
I find a time when I judge it safe to call a taxi - leave the house, lock the door, call a cab - and it's only after I'm in that he suggests I could have gone in the front. I ask to be taken to the bank, but he forgets, and goes to Boots - but fortunately it's under a fiver so I've the money to pay. I fill the prescription, then limp to a sport shop for a support bandage. I explain I need to know where to look because I don't want to hobble all over the shop - and I discover two kinds, both out of reach. Eventually I get the goods and hobble to therapy. I should have cancelled. Three flights narrow stairs. Yah. Even normal stairs are difficult: raise left foot and push, pull right leg and together. Downstairs, lower right foot - try to avoid adding weight - lower left foot together. I ponder whether it's quicker to walk home or for a taxi from there. Not much in it, but my hobble is slower, despite being much better today. Sitting down clearly hurt. There's a taxi I can climb into, and it gets home quicker than envisaged -- there is not much of a rush hour. Now to take three pills in five hours... Tilda seems to be happy to let the incomer eat her dinner. She is being lazier than I.
I've sat for an hour or so at my desk on Tuesday, Wednesday afternoon I spent there, answering student emails, trying not to gnash too many teeth. We have our first volcano excuse. The radio was dull - with a comedy which makes you wonder how they can produce diamonds like The Vote Now Show and this dross, much ruder and unfunnier than the comedy which apparently used the word wanker at 6.30 recently. The parcel arrived, from Greenwich, and hasn't been under a volcano as far as I can see. I have a degree of bend in my leg I didn't have yesterday, but my back is complaining - either from too much lying or twists to sit up. Getting out of bed can now be done in less than five minutes. It takes a certain amount of work to straighten my leg again, but it's not as painful as it was yesterday. Tilda has been skittish all day, but shows no sign of wishing to engage with invading cats. She does, however, view my leg with some desire. Maybe there is some magic cat cure she can provide. Maybe not.
So I've not seen Marlowe for a few weeks now and I fear either the worst, adoption or getting lost.
Tilda has now ramped up her lurve, and is insistent on sitting on me, either on the lap, or balanced with her claws and chin on my shoulder and back feet on my gut. Purring.
She also lies on me in bed, even if I'm on my side, and her new trick is to paw at the duvet, crawl up and turn round, then nestle into my arm pit. Even though she often goes off if I then turn my back - or reach to turn out the light - I am going to have to think about my sleeping habits.
This photographic evidence spares you the most flesh.
Draw a veil.
I am insanely pleased with my I Pod Touch and the ability to post from the Carbuncle (curiously the Secret Campus does not support them, so Eduroam will allow me to go online at the campus on the hill but not my employer). I am also pleased with my new Macbook, and Scrivener, although the wireless keeps falling over.
Marlowe clearly would like to come to the pub with me - and some evenings I am half way down Oxford Street before I shake her off. In such cases I hear a crying when I get back to Lime Kiln Road and she appears, having presumably waited all along. Failing that the chances are she'll be at the end of the ten foot, or appear over the fence of Guildford Road. She's getting good at walking to heel. Oddly she has stopped going upstairs - with the exception of today - and how Tilda has made this her territory is not clear. I thought Marlowe had stopped yuvving me, but today she was all over me and weally weally yuvs me (and is clearly jealous of the laptop).
Tilda has stopped bringing me presents, but (and she's just appeared there now) has fallen in love with Dave's old bed and has been there more or less constantly for the last fortnight. I will have to vacuum the duvet and put a sheet over it. My sleep is thus uninterrupted by cats - just my thoughts and bladder - but it is disconcerting to wake up and see a cat staring at you via a mirror.
I skipped out on seeing a couple of the Edinburgh warm-ups at the Carbuncle - I wish I'd seen Pappy's Fun Club, but they'll be back - although I saw Adam Hills and Brendan Burns tonight. I can see why Hills is used as a compere, and I can't believe that Burns's miming of singing "The Rainbow Song" via the slit of his penis wasn't offensive. In glorious and hilarious bad taste, in a way that Julian Clary's show wasn't (that was the first night of the tour, pre-Edinburgh, but using the word ring and playing with butt plugs isn't enough to be funny).
Meanwhile I saw the Festival brochure, and little stands out as unmissable - although I note Reginald D. Hunter, Sarah Millican and Stewart Lee. Tickets bought for them. I can't be bothered with Alistair McGowan.
23 Sep: Sammy J. in The Forest of Dreams
17 Oct: Reginald D. Hunter
21 Oct: Sarah Millican
24 Oct: Stewart Lee
6 Nov: Milton Jones
7 Nov: Jim Jeffries
12 Nov: Daniel Kitson
21 Nov: Sean Hughes
27 Nov: Mitch Benn and the Distractions
8 Dec: Lee Mack
I'm going to be a social bunny - sitting on my own in the dark.
Did I mention I might be an extra on the next Ross Noble DVD?
I need to get reading and viewing for the seventies book - it's slow work.
Having sat on two Sofacinema dvds for a month I'm determined to get my money's worth this month, but I'm also trying to watch the second series of Ashes to Ashes which I recorded (then Skins, The Inbetweeners, a fistful of Clint Eastwood movies, and various other films). Today I watched the first half of Blackpool, in which I think Tennant wins against Morrisey in the battle of the Davids and I ponder which things I've seen have had Sarah Parrish rather than Sarah Lancashire. Amusing to spot the Doctor Who exhibition in one shot, but I'm less convinced by the lip syncing - it feels too derivative of Dennis Potter. The author went on to do Desperate Romantics - which I've yet to see, but appears to be about a generation later than even the Next Generation (most of whom died before the originals: cf the dates of the Six Blokes of Romanticism, Blake, Coleridge and Wordsworth vs Byron, Keats and Shelley).
I feel the urge to go somewhere this Saturday - maybe to Eastbourne or (again) Bexhill - but I ought to be good and work. I probably ought to do St Leonard's before those bookshops close too.
Toward teatime I got home and uncovered the cat flap, before taking two bags of used litter outside. I pause in the garden. Marlowe edges towards the threshold, and sniffs the world, jumps down. Is free. Behind her, Tilda, bigger but more nervous, and then there is a sprint outside. They pause on the lawn. They must have seen grass.
I dump the cat litter, and then figure I should be documenting this. The light is fading. I'm just too late.
I go to get the camera, and when I'm back - where are they? There's Marlowe, blending in with the bush, whilst Tilda investigates the fence and then behind the shed. She's gone from sight. Scary. I reach for Marlowe and pick her up, place her on the shed roof, just as Tilda appears. Marlowe leaps into the unknown.
I don't know about them - I've had enough. I get the cat food from the fridge, and put it down. Marlowe is there straight away - Tilda takes a little longer. They eat, I lock the back door. I go and watch Red Riding. I hear some scratching, and Tilda shits in the dining room. On a pile of newspapers. Thanks.
Marlowe sits at the back door, waiting for it to be gone again. Tomorrow. Before breakfast.
When I come back indoors - there she is.
The only thing I can think is that she got through the letter box.
Today, however, she did a parrot impression.
From a couple of days back:
First time for everything.
They recommended Lakeland and Steamer Trading. No joy in Lakeland. They don't do them any more. Into the basement of Steamer Trading - and I get a webpage from someone who used to pack them for a living, but they are not stocked.
That leaves the department stores with kitchen sections - nothing in Debenhams, nada in Nason's, zilch in Fenwicks.
And while we're at it, zip in Tescos and a complete blank in Sainsburys. Walk to Morrisons or bus to ASDA?
I decide that a pet shop is called for - after all, I cannot be the only pet carer left with half eaten cans.
A pause for a delivery from Tesco - cat food for 96 days and litter for I hope 96. And a free Daily Hate Mail, which I handed back, but could have used to line the tray with. But I don't want the beasts to be put off their stride.
Wander down to pet shop - and they don't have, but can order for Thursday week. I think there's a Pets at Home or some such on the industrial estate. In the meantime, I try the hardware shop next door to the pet shop. They don't exactly have a whole section, but they sell multipacks with several sizes, for about the price I'd expected to pay for one.
I also have two catnip mice - which are studiously being ignored.
I persuaded them not to be in the front room went I went to the pub - as I didn't want them to exit just yet. They were hiding in the spot when I came back. I tried the Look on B-- at the pub, and he asked me to stop as it was disconcerting him. That's a new skill then.
And thus to bed - and all the paper crap I have yet to tidy is joyously rustle-able. Every so often there was a boing as one of them forgot themselves and got on the bed. I believe Tilda was there most of the night. Marlowe has moments of thinking she's a kitten, and bounced half way up the door frame to the second bedroom, clearly wishing to do a sloth impression.
Today I had to leave them to go to work until 7, and it was nearer to 8.30 time I got home. They at least came to greet me, but again had been shut out of the lounge to avoid escapes. As I ate my dinner they studious ignore me, and that's been the pattern, aside from one of my kitchen visits, and when I was really trying to finish three exam papers: Marlowe wanted the lap and to purr and be friendly, but not to be tickled underneath. Oh no. A little nip.
And now I realise the tidying remains undone - rustles await.
Sadly, I have had to swap my cameras for the cats. Better than a handful of beans.
Maybe it's one of those social things I don't get, like when people say, "You've had your hair cut."
o mi ghod - that's where the hair all went.
So they are here, and liberated from baskets, and have used the litter tray at least once. Mostly they are ignoring me, and hid by the back door. I have just let them upstairs, or rather into two of the upstairs room, and both have gazed out the back window, and sat on the keyboard. The jingling ball has been ignored. Molly/Marlowe is having a bath. Trixe/Tilda is out of sight.
One minor hissy fit. Not by me.
I suspect an escape party at some point - but I'm guessing that I ought to keep them in for now. They are less than a mile from their old house, and both are prone to roam.
Just a shame that there'll be no photos ( ... )
Today (yesterday) was the day of the external validation for the new degree programme that starts next September and we managed to get both external examiners there, and one of the three students (technically we needed four but hey, it's the summer vacation), and three of the four tean members and an acting HoD. We were grilled for three hours, and the good news is that we can run the new degree from next year.
(The bad news is running the new degree)
Some minor corrections, some conditions, some recommendations.
Naturally I've been to the pub, which is probably a bad move as I have a meeting all day tomorrow and have to get to East Station for 9.15 to be picked up.
Last night (night before last) Pushkin showed up as I got home from checking the documentation (in the pub) and decided to help me in the gathering of a few more documents I figured I'd need. He did a lot of keyboard sitting, figured how to turn on the speech synthesiser, and eventually dislodged enough paperwork to find a space to sleep on. I'd bought myself a packet of pork scratchings from B as a treat - well, actually, he gave them to me - and everytime I tried to eat one, he (Pushkin, not B) took a sudden interest.
Eventually Pushkin joined me in bed, and lay at my feet. After a few hours he decided sleeping around my head was a better deal, and needed to rest a paw on my eyelids. The claws were a bit worrying. By six he had won control of the pillows.
I snuck in tonight without him joining me - I need to get some sleep after all.
And tomorrow (today) I'll get to be the returning hero. And will try to sit silently through an away day.
Now all I have to do is write/edit 60,000 words on Pratchett, read five novels, fudge a course outline that's not been done, write a PowerPoint for Monday, write one lecture and revise five lectures for the week after next, write a new lecture, put a booklet together on the dissertation course, work out whether a mate is visiting Saturday, Sunday or Monday... Simple.
Boing, said Zebedee.
Even when in the house, he didn't seem inclined to go to bed, so I left him to it, and half an hour later he finally joined me. He sat under the bed, in such a way that a squeaking noise came from my right and a pumping bicycle wheel came from the left. Clearly he was in the mood to scratch and purr. Eventually I did fall asleep, and he was still there at eight, for once showing no inclination to leave.
I went and stuck the washing on, and then he waited patiently by the front door. I think he may have left a couple of little friends behind last time, Monday night, when he followed me in. No itching so far, but you never know.
Oh, hold on.
Scratch scratch scratch.