Merry Christmas!

Chocolate and cheese Advent Calendars, both empty...

Merry Christmas everybody!!


Today's a mega-cooking day but, since they're Christmassy, I thought I'd belatedly do the Friday Five.

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Santa's littlest helper is ready to roll:

In case it worries other people as much as it worried me when I noticed, I've since swapped the Mediaeval and Renaissance Drama anthologies, so they're now in proper chronological order.

I still haven't heard from the RSPCA. After a couple of days, I stopped being upset and started being sneaky -- "When they come, I'll tell them to check the shed" (because the door was stuck fast and I wanted it opened) -- but now I'm just pissed off, so, if they ever do bother to turn up, they'd better be wearing tin hats.

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I came back off holiday on Wednesday and stepped into a Kafka-esque nightmare.

The front door was stuck, but that wasn't a problem. (I got in through the back door and managed to open it from inside).

The heating was broken, but that wasn't a problem. (The wind had blown the pilot light out).

The problem was a note from my brother, P, saying (suspiciously, I thought): PHONE ME WHEN YOU GET HOME NOTHING TO WORRY ABOUT (my italics).

It seems that someone has reported me to the RSPCA for swanning off on holiday and leaving my cat to fend for itself.

I don't have a cat.

I've never had a cat.

My brother phoned the RSPCA to tell them that I don't have a cat. It took him half an hour to get through to someone.

P: She doesn't have a cat.
RSPCA: We still have to follow up a complaint. We need to talk to her.
P: She's not here. She's on holiday. I'm just coming in to feed the fish and water the plants.
RSPCA: Are you feeding the cat?
RSPCA: We still have to follow up a complaint.

I phoned them myself, first thing Thursday morning. It only took me a quarter of an hour to get through.

ME: I don't have a cat.
RSPCA (as if the informant might have mistaken the species): Do you have any animals?
ME: Just some fish.
RSPCA (as if making an important note): Fish...
ME (breaking down): Surely you can understand how upsetting this is? I would never be cruel to a cat. I don't have a cat. There are cats living on my street, and I sometimes talk to them, but they're not my cats.

Never let yourself get upset when you're talking to a complete arsehole. It will only encourage her to treat you like shit. Yes, I know that the RSPCA is doing an important job, but treating a person as if they're guilty based only on some anonymous person's random accusation is a slippery slope, however good the cause.

I've been waiting for over two days for an inspector to call, and...

Well, how can I prove that I don't own a cat? Obviously, saying that I don't own a cat (until I'm blue in the face) isn't enough. And the absence of food, a litter tray, and a cat flap might merely prove to them what a crap cat owner I am.

God, I'm fed up.

Some ramblings...

I'm setting off on holiday tonight -- a week in Krakow with my brother and sister-in-law -- so I've been very stressed, what with deciding what clothes to take, washing them, packing them, weighing my suitcase, finding my passport and travel insurance -- nearly forgot those! -- cleaning the fishes and clearing out the fridge, and doing all those last minute things at work that just have to be done before I go away because, well, the business will fall apart otherwise. Obviously.

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I'll be taking pictures of Krakow and will post them when I get back ;-)

The Shieldmaiden, the cheese, and more of the 100 Questions

I'm not mathematical enough to know whether it is amazing that the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day should have fallen on a Sunday, but it's very appropriate. At the same time, it feels like there's no possible way to properly commemorate the end of something so apocalyptic.


I had a busy couple of weeks, then it took me another couple of weeks to recover, and then I got so behind with work, and so worried about it, that I got up at 6 am yesterday morning to catch up, only to find that, when I finally put my mind to it, the totally impossible took me less than two hours!

Unfortunately, posting here has also slipped...

But, thanks to bogwitch, who did some research for me and then suggested a body-swap solution, my ridiculously-expensive-but-bought-off-ebay-for-only-£16.99 Eowyn doll no longer looks like one of Michelangelo's female nudes...

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Well why would it work? And some birds.

Sod's law: having decided to make the effort to post here more, I discovered that I -- and at least some of my f-list -- couldn't see the pictures I was posting, or only see them intermittently. In recent posts, I solved the problem by using LJ Scrapbook to host the pictures, but that didn't fix my earlier posts...

Cue lots of support requests to LJ, to my service provider and, since I've done something I've always said I wouldn't do -- imported my journal into Dreamwidth -- to Dreamwidth, too, because although there's no problem with the pictures there, crossposting isn't working for me. Honestly, why would it?

It turns out that LiveJournal handles images hosted anywhere that doesn't uses the https protocol via a proxy, causing all sorts of firewall and timing problems. My service provider has now whitelisted the IP addresses LJ provided, so the pictures are back -- fingers crossed! -- and they've also told me that 'you can call your images over https'. So, belt and braces! I'm going to experiment with https under the cut.

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Some Photographs of my Narrowboat

I've found a few pictures of the boat. They're old transparencies, which I've scanned, so the quality isn't great and some are a bit... well, hairy!

Here is the narrowboat Akhenaten:


It was 30 feet long, but the rear six feet or so was D's workshop, so the living area was about 18 feet, half of it sitting room -- with wood-burning stove, seating, TV shelf, and lots of bookshelves -- and half kitchen, loo and wardrobe/storage. The middle porthole (in the picture) was over the sink, so we could see to wash & wash up, the opposite porthole was in the loo.

The front deck was big enough for two folding chairs but, in the end, we spent most of our 'outdoors' time on the back deck.

The boat was named after the Egyptian Pharaoh, Akhenaten (Tutanhkamun's father -- that's him in my icon). I painted the cartouches; D did pretty much everything else!

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Questions 15 - 20

After a hair-raising one hour phone call to Canada (or possibly the US -- not sure) I think I have sorted my ticket problem, except that I have now received several emails from Ticketmaster which don't quite seem to relate to the phone call and one rather dodgy-looking, misspelled one that says

There was some sort of issue with the payment. Contact first your financial institution to see if maybe there denied the charge because it was oversees? Then call us back at 1800-653-800 to attempt another try to charge the card.



More answers!

15. Have you ever been on a road trip?

Britain doesn't really lend itself to road trips; there are few places you can't drive to in a day, though our roads are very busy so driving for several hours can be tiring.

I suppose the closest I've come to a road trip was actually a boat trip.

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