abendgules: (archery)
Very Very short version:

Splendid event.
Lots of weather.
Felt truly pleasant.
Met and visited with fine folks.
Ate better than most people do in fine restaurants.
The Grace hound is the most popular dog I've ever met.
We're buying a futon for camping.

I'm desperate to write up the good stuff from Raglan, because it was one of the best I remember, tail-end-of-Hurricane Bertha notwithstanding. (Over the week, two nights and one day of periodic downpours, thunder and lightning right overhead, lots and lots and lots of water underfoot.)

It was one of the most relaxed for me, because I'd decided to organise less, leaving me free to take part and help out in more.

I still pitched in: one day stewarding, one class, some marshalling for fencing and archery. Some court business, including Maistre Pol's vigil and elevation.

But I fenced and shot more than last year, or possibly even the year before. I was still crap, because of lack of practice, but I still savoured the occasional hit on someone (w/ rapier, *not* shooting anyone).

And I felt better and enjoyed it more. I felt freer to just hang with people rather than chase a schedule and that was a great feeling, something I'd missed.

But: I'm flat out again at work.

The Great Britsh Holiday(tm) is underway and half the office is disappearing for the next two weeks, leaving an even more skeletal staff than usual, with a mad schedule.

So when I get home I turn into a cat sofa, stretched out on top of the existing sofa.

(Haggis prefers to sit on a thing, on top of a thing. So given the whole floor to sit on, she'll sit on the fabric you're cutting; given the whole tabletop, she'll sit on the paper you're reading. Same applies to sofas.)

Haggis appears intent on catching up on lost loves from last week, so it's hard to move out from under a determined loves-seeking feline lump. Especially if you don't want to move that much.

Hope to remedy this soon.
abendgules: (callig_cats)
Last night's conquest: a mouse, sort of.
Feb2014haggis


I'm all over it. It won't get away.

Feb2014Haggis3
abendgules: (abbey_cats)
...the cat brings her mouse into the house to play with it, cause it's too wet and yucky outside.

Harley was a mighty hunter and a proud one, telling us all about her exploits as she trotted up the stairs with a mouthful of mouse, keeping it just a little bit alive to round out the experience at home - to share with the incompetent non-hunters who needed teaching, I suppose.

Haggis had not, til now demonstrated her hunting skills, past chasing pencils around the bare floors. This is her first fall with us.

She brought her fully alive and kicking treasure in after midnight without comment, and it was the scrabbling in the dark that woke me. It was clearly too damp and chilly to play with it outside - far better to do laps round the bedroom, warm and dry, chasing it under all the furniture, flattening herself, stampeding the herds of dust rhinos from their underbed savannah habitats as she went.

Neither Robert and I could get a handle on this mouse - we could barely see it, it was so fast - and Haggis wasn't helping. And I was tired. So I took the easy option - stuffed my ears with earplugs and went back to sleep.

Next morning, it was clear that this toy hadn't wound down yet, but we still couldn't grab it from under Haggis' attentions. What fun, a game everyone could play! til finally it vanished...somewhere near a bag full of medieval clothes that, ah, still weren't unpacked from Raglan.

Haggis was stuck, and did circuits round and round the bag, very puzzled. I emptied the bag in one great heap on the bed and shook out the bag - no mousie.

We had to go to work, so we left an exhausted Haggis flopped on the bedroom floor.

I had visions of chasing this mouse around the house; of finding a rotting little corpse under my bed; of a headless wee body, like the one Harley left for me one birthday a couple of years ago, its ghost still hanging around the bedroom like Moaning Myrtle.

After work, I carefully shook out the pile of clothes, one item at a time, and sure enough, there was a stubborn? lucky? mouse clinging in the folds of my cloak. It managed to stay put long enough for me to carry it downstairs, and didn't leap for its life til it caught a whiff of fresh air - at least, that's what appeared to happen - maybe it was just lucky with its timing.

Hunting has given Haggis an appetite - she's inhaled all her kibbles from yesterday and today. We've seen her get the 10pm crazies before, but this was new. Can't decide if we're irritated or proud of her.
abendgules: (abbey_cats)
...from the comfort of our pavilion.

July2013-3

Some of our kit was just transferred to our flat this week from the Vitus-wagon, including the pavilion canvas, snug in its Terafan-coloured canvas bag.

July2013-1

You'd think we'd made her a giant canvas cushion.
abendgules: (abbey_cats)
Haggis the helpful

Demonstrating her sterling qualities as a sewing distraction.

I had one leg entirely free suitable for perching on, but noooooo, don't want that leg, want the leg, arm and shoulder that's closest to your face. That would be the one holding the sewing.

So what if you have 4 dozen lacing holes to do by 20 year? Not my problem. Scritch me there.....
abendgules: (abbey_cats)
...has slipped her collar somewhere in the past day. We've no idea where.

We don't actually have any tag on her collar and the bell was just annoying.

I mostly just want her to look owned, because she's so friendly and outgoing she could follow someone else home, or dine out elsewhere. A collar makes her look like she belongs to someone (as much as anyone 'owns' a cat) and has a home to go to.

She's chipped, but people don't carry around microchip readers...yet.

She's really enjoying lots of neckline scritches: 'ooooooh yes scritch me there, yes yesy esyesyes under the chinnnnnmmmmmmmm' unimpeded by the collar.
abendgules: (tea in winter)
Typical explosion of unpacking in the living room, and grateful flopping all round. Robert had to head in to work today, but I booked myself a day. Seeing the drah-ma I left behind in the office, I'm glad to allow enough time for the IT fiasco to sort itself...

Also waiting for a delivery - the blessed and much anticipated operational chip-based cat flap, sent to replace the faulty one. Haggis has successfully taught herself to go in and out, which is brilliant. We now just need a flap that only allows her, rather than all her inquisitive suitors too. Spring is in the air, when a young cat's fancy turns to pilgrimage, at least into other cats' territories...

Unfortunately - at some point in the day or so before our return, there was a power cut in our neighbourhood, and our circuit breaker was tripped. So we came home to a lukewarm fridge and freezer - full of last week's shopping.

Robert was not content to return from Crown only to come down w/ botulism, so most of the contents had to go, leaving only the most robust condiments.Vexing.

Haggis is very happy to see us, campaigning for laps and loves within minutes of our return, as the novelty of having human staff on call wore off (IN! OUT! IN AGAIN! THROUGH A DOOR! MY FAVOURITE!) and she's not leaving me for more than 5 mins at a time.

Stockholm, and Sweden apparently, is dog-focused. I was really surprised at the number of dogs I saw in the centre of Stockholm, strolling about during the day on errand-bound trips with their humans - not obviously headed to the park for the necessary, but just spending the day with the pack leader.

Of course the locals who are free to stroll around the town centre during the week are at leisure, rather than headed to the office - seniors, women with kids mostly - but it was still evident it was routine to take the hund along.

I met just one cat on this trip - the resident cat at the Crown tourney site, who seemed completely relaxed and untroubled by dozens of visitors. He might have been a norwegian forest cat - med-large, longhaired, with a long face, and classic dark tabby markings,  ideally equipped for stomping through snow along a frozen lake in Sweden.

Will post more of the event and the trip soon after sorting household bumf.
abendgules: (abbey_cats)
Haggis put her paws at risk while helping me cut out hose... she was batting at the scissors as I cut.

March2013_2


Here she's helping Robert play Civ - she'd raced to his lap and leapt into place to plonk herself over his arm.

March2013_9


March2013_10


Here the mighty ham hunter tracks the movement of ham from the fridge to the chopping board.

Ham appears to be the path to Haggis' heart. She's interested in all our food, but ham gains the keenest appreciation and attention.

Robert had bought a 3kg section of cured ham, and we've been knawing it down over a couple of weeks, taking some of it to the Oxford scriptorium. Ever since, Haggis has been checking out the fridge at every opening.

Here she's keeping an eye on the cook as he chops up the last of it for stir fry.

March2013_11
abendgules: (abbey_cats)
...has figured out how to open the catflap from the outside, without it being propped open, just by pushing firmly at it. So half her training is complete - just have to work out the inside-heading-out step, without hooking the propped flap open.

This means we no longer have a wicked evil draft coming into the flat.

And next step is to fix the danged thing so only she gets let in, rather than her guests and suitors too.

(I'd note I never encountered catflaps before I moved to England - Canadians don't cut holes in their doors. Canadian cats ask to be let in and out...sometimes over and over again.)

On cheerier news - my patterns have arrived, all of them. I'm now awash in paper!

Can't wait til the weekend - I'm sick of work. this week, this whole month really.
abendgules: (abbey_cats)
I'm always charmed by how different each cat is, yet how the essence of humans = staff remains.

Harley liked laps on her own terms - Haggis will seek out laps quite assertively, making do with what's available no matter how unlikely, and flinging herself down for belly rubs and scritches. She sometimes gets her fill and wanders off, but she enjoys a lot more lap than Harley.

Someone has clearly fed Haggis from the table, based on her attentiveness to our dishes, and her interest in whatever is happening on the counter. She did succeed in snaffling some ham that Robert dropped, which will only confirm her habits. Harley, and China before her, only ate cat food, and didn't really notice human food - except cleaning out cereal bowls was a China perk. I can't honestly remember if she already knew of this treat or I taught it to her.

Both Harley and China loved being brushed. Haggis at first wasn't keen, and hopped away, but it turned out to be our fault - we were using the wrong brush, silly humans.  The wiry brush is the Haggis brush, not the soft bristly one.

And so far, despite her thick fur, Haggis has shed very little, even with attentive brushing, whereas Harley has a thin coat that shed easily, and China had the best of both worlds - a thick coat that shed in clouds.

Harley wanted to check every cupboard and enclosed space. After an initial survey, Haggis has hardly bothered with any enclosed spaces, preferring windows, and beds.

Haggis hasn't noticed the tv, where Harley watched nature documentaries, especially ones with flying birds.

Today, I found that Haggis, like Harley and China, prefers to catch her own water source, and will squish her face deep into a glass at the expense of her whiskers, for the sake of 'found' water, over water served in a dish. 
abendgules: (abbey_cats)
Earlier this week I laid out a pattern to cut out fabric, and found myself getting helped by Haggis.

First she had to ensure that any pencils under the fabric were removed, right now - it couldn't wait!

Then she had to keep checking under the fabric, to make sure no new pencils had snuck in while she'd been chasing the first one. This involved some serious pouncing and sliding up under the fabric, to make sure it wasn't hiding anything. If you've ever been helped by a cat, you know what I mean.

Then any stray threads - like on the fabric edge - had to be taken care of, as well as any loose ones on the floor.

Much more help like that and she'll be evicted from the living room...

Haggis hardly stirred when we ran the vacuum cleaner - she didn't enjoy it, but wasn't disturbed by it, and only grudgingly left her spot when we vacuumed the living room. But with the sewing machine!

Yesterday, I hauled out the sewing machine to assemble the first draft of hose for Robert, and you'd think I'd cracked open the Haggis Torment Device.

As I started it, she woke up, and started stalking the foot pedal - but very nervously, not happily the way she stalks strings and pencils. Everytime I stepped on it she jumped as if it had lashed out at her.

She eventually retired to the sofa, but as I kept running the machine on and off, she couldn't rest - kept rousing to watch the pedal, to see what fresh threats it might contain, and then watching the thread bobbin spinning on the top of the machine.

It was clearly Not a Friendly Device, but I've no idea why - I've never seen a cat react this way to a sewing machine.

Threads in general, though, are most welcome - little snips of thread that drift about in the air and collect dust - they're the bomb to chase around our uncarpeted floors. Tiny toys (needles, pins) are a hit, which is a bit worrying.

At bedtime, Haggis was still Out, so Robert went to call her In.

She replied she was busy in the schoolyard exploring, and while she wanted to come in, she wasn't sure how - all the handy holes in the fence have been thoughtlessly mended, and she'd clearly forgotten how to get back.

She eventually had to climb the metal grid fence like a ladder, which left her perched on the top of the fence, about a 12-foot drop from the ground, which was not acceptable to her.

Robert had to coax her round to a lower fence a couple of doors down. After that she accepted a scooping, and conceded to wipe her paws and dry her coat on my duvet, and tell me about it all. 

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