abendgules: (knitting)
This week has been pretty rubbish, with a lot of worry about Mum burbling in the background of my self, prime example being the Friday night phonecalls and emails as Mum went to ER for the 3rd time in 2 weeks.

I'm not thrilled about finding out that I had a new manager the day she started work; my existing mgr had said nothing about it during our last round of objective setting and annual appraisal bumf.

I'm still waiting for my stupid cough to pack it in. I blame Nordmark and its determinedly egalitarian and democratic approach to life; everyone can share the misery.

Trying to exert control over what tiny areas I can, I cleaned out my clothing drawers and put 2 bags in the clothing and fabric charity box.

This tidying was to make room for some recent semi-impulse purchases - where you go in for 1 thing (running shoes on sale) and find yourself buying 2 shirts off the 'reduced' rack and 3 sets of socks at 3 for 2.

I now have more shortsleeve running shirts than there are days in the week, and either shorts or leggings to go with them.

I cannot justify any more running or fitness clothes til something hops out of the drawer and goes to the gym without me.

Yesterday I spent a chunk of money on yarn - lots of it - for a longterm knitting project. I'll have to hit [livejournal.com profile] zmiya_san up for use of her yarn swift, or else I'll get RSI skeining all this yarn.

Today I spent on household linens; it's been long enough since my last purchase that the linens shop has changed name and I couldn't find it online at first.

I don't tend to use retail therapy, not really. I think about buying something for a long time before actually finding the time or inclination to shell out.

When I do buy, I tend to buy lots, and then I'm done, finished.

I've been planning these purchases for ages. However, this weekend I think online shopping gave me something to do that was in my control.

Sometimes I do buy myself treats after a long day, or if I'm out of my usual routine.

Last week I was on training for work that brought me into the City. There are no longer any bookstores on Fleet Street; the Waterstones packed it in, and the legal publisher is gone too. So I had to trek to Waterloo station (a roundabout way home) to find the Foyles that is now there, and treat myself to some paperbacks, as well as Rev Richard Coles autobiography.

Control efforts have not reached my fabric stash, however, or my fencing bag.
abendgules: (well dang)
...possibly a refit of my entire torso. Depends on what the mechanic says.

I'm now on about day 6 of a truly grotty cough, with complementary cold and fever. I've not usually had fevers but I can't explain how I, not usually a warm-body person, can be comfortable in our flat with the heat off several days running.

The coughing makes sleeping difficult; every time I change elevation (lying down to sitting up and vv) I cough. But I can't sleep sitting up - I've tried. I don't know how the Victorians did it, and don't know how their spines survived the experience.

Haggis is enjoying having human-on-tap, and is currently assuming the heraldic pose 'cat irritant', that of a cat lying across your arms as you type. But she's not impressed by my coughing either.

Broadly she prefers Robert for laps; he probably sheds more heat, and he sits more still for longer, whereas I tend to be knitting, sewing or doing other handwork that involves shifting occasionally, interrupting feline snoozes.

The cough has scuppered my plan to take part in a demo, my first in years; I'd agreed to attend Redemption a convention in Coventry, to support the proto-incipient shire there, and the lovely folks who were running it, recent participants in SCA fencing.

I'd even worked myself up to looking forward to it, as a fencing practice with a change of scenery to boot, playing with good people, and getting an inside view of a small con up close.

I might be technically not sick by Saturday, but probably not well enough to trek a couple of hours out of town, be 'on' for several hours, and trek home again.

Once again I'm grateful for Time Team; ~2 hours of archeology relieving the tedium of rediculous people shopping for aspirational houses to 'express themselves', and truly awful reality TV, interrupted only by PPI-seekers (hasn't everyone reclaimed by now?) and 'have you been hurt in an accident that wasn't your fault?' ambulance-chasing lawyers.

There's been 2 days of really lovely sun, and I'm sorry to not be able to go running in it at lunchtime.
abendgules: (Haggis)
Powersharing: sharing the seat of power, sort of: January 2015

P1100007

Benign autocracy: she who sits longest wins (same day)

P1100010

Gracious in victory

P1100013

Not certain who's in charge here. November or December 2014

PB300193
abendgules: (Haggis)
...is to lose weight.

It's official. We are keepers of a Fat Cat(tm), with her carrying about a kilo too much.

When your total weight is 4.6kg, that's a lot.

Haggis had her first visit to the local vet in NW London, and demonstrated some of teh worst kitteh manners I've ever seen from her: kitteh swearing, vet-dodging under the table, growling and general poor behaviour, at least til the vet got the feline Vulcan Nerve Pinch on her.

This is in contrast to her past subdued behaviour with our Hackney vet Brian.

Apparently there are no native English vets in London. Our practices appear staffed entirely with antipodeans, including our last vet, and this new one, though the nurses are English. Is Australia and NZ and ZA just breeding too many of them? Weird.

So we've been given a prescribed amount of food to feed her. Measuring it on the kitchen scales, we have certainly been giving her more than this, so this is definitely a reduction.

I think it's also the change of home: we previously lived in a house built around its stairs, and she went up and down them several times a day. Now stairs are entirely optional, though the preferred Evening Place is at the top, and her catflap is right next to her food.

She's due for a weigh-in in a month. Sigh. It's free, says the nurse, which is a blessing because it's £18 return in the cab.
abendgules: (Haggis)
On our return from holiday, we began to think that there's now a bit more Haggis to love than there was a few months ago.

In part, it's because the street kitties we found in Spain were so slender and trim (with some ranging into the skinny and somewhat careworn). Even mom-cats or mom-to-be cats were not very big, making their bellies swing even more than on a 'normal' cat.

So coming home to our classic stocky cobby tabby made her change all the more evident.

In part, we suspect she's not getting all the exercise she used to in our previous maisonette, which had 2x as many stairs to run up and down.

Any trip outside required stairs, as did the return journey. Any trip from outdoors to food to litterbox to bed needed stairs.

Now she spends most of her time on one level and, since encountering the thuggish local tomcat, not very far from the patio.

We kept the patio door open as late into the year as we could on fine days, which encouraged more Out, but it's no longer feasible.

English flats have neither screen doors nor vestibules. You're either In or Out, and if the door is open in winter, You're Letting in the Draught(tm).

SO: I'm embarking on a feline exercise plan with the entertainment classics of a broken arrow, some butcher cord and a few short pencils (Haggis' favourite toy on hard floors).

One of the neighbours brought in a range of cat toys while we were away, but Haggis does seem to prefer the old standbys: string on a stick, a pencil, OR whatever she can knock off the dining room table.

So far so good: I can distract her into 5 mins of chasing round the flat and up the stairs in the morning, and upon arrival home.
abendgules: (home sweet canvas home)
...means never worrying about finding fresh produce.

Our modest high street doesn't have many chain stores, and they're concentrated at the other end of the street from us. But it's very well stocked with local shops, run by mom & pop & older brother & brother-in-law & cousins and everyone else who has moved from the home country.

On the very end is the 'Gulf bazaar' offering an Arabic-speaking barber, abayas for 60% off (any colour so long as it's black), and a fresh juice bar that also serves fresh cane juice: they crush a length of sugar cane straigth into a glass while you wait.

Our closest food shop is an Arab grocer, with fresh bread, a halal butcher, every spice you could want, 8 different kinds of olives in bulk, loads of fruit jams, syrups and sweets, and a goodly variety of fruit and veg.

The Iranian kebab shop serves the most delightful lamacun (lamazhin), and fresh bread from their huge flatbread ovens. The guys running the shop seem to know most of their customers as friends, with a warmth and cheer that is suprising in London.

The next shop is a 24 hour grocery run by Eastern Europeans - some mix of Poles, Ukranians, Romanians and Hungarians. These aren't the newly-arrived Romanians from 1 January: these folks have been here long enough to establish grocery supply chains and a market to feed.

There's a bakery upstairs, a fresh meat counter, every variety of preserved meat that a pork-loving culture could enjoy, followed closely by the cattle-loving culture for the yoghurt and fresh cheese supplies.

In fact, the yoghurt and cream cheese are hard to tell apart; the drinking yoghurt tastes cheesy, the 'yoghurt balls in oil' are much more like cream cheese to me; I'm not certain they're labelled correctly, but they're very tasty.

The busiest shop, though, is the Asian fruit and vegetable shop; there's a continuous stream of deliveries to the front and the back, perpetually clogging traffic as they unload stacks of crates. The shop is packed with customers every time I pass by, with 3 cashiers working continuously.

Quality control appears to be the Indian and Sri Lankan grannies and aunties of the neighbourhood, who look over offerings with pursed lips, and grill the attendants suspiciously, 'Is this fresh? when was it cut? has it been sitting out for hours?' God help any goober who tries to pass off yesterday's watermelon to them.

...means you're in a car-based neighbourhood. In these suburbs, 95% of the front yards have been paved over to make extra parking space for the second and third car. Clearly, the good life requires four wheels or more.

...means if you find your favourite beer in a shop, buy it all. The 'ethnic' communities here are not traditionally big drinkers. The two pubs within walking distance seem populated only with ageing Irish builders who seem happy with lager and Strongbow.

Even the pub near work, which is now run by a former Medieval Baebe, doesn't yet have a tasty beer. In this aspect, I miss Hackney a lot, where we were spoiled for choice and price.

...means the parks seem empty; there is not the same dog-owning and dog-walking community here that was in Hackney.

When I walked through a park almost anytime of day in Hackney I'd see dogs and their owners; there was a regular group of morning walkers on my commute, and I enjoyed seeing the doggy social dynamics. The dogs seemed so happy to be out and about in the morning.

Now, there's the occasional single dog walker on my way to work, and an elderly gent walking a geriatric dog outside our building - the kind of couple where you're not certain who is walking whom.

Instead, the morning run is the parents towing children to the school next to us - crossing 4 lanes of traffic with lousy traffic lights not designed for pedestrians. The options for non-car-users are just appalling. Sigh.
abendgules: (Haggis)
The glazier showed up today, to remove a pane in the lounge and replace it with one with a cutout sized for the catflap...about 6 weeks after initial contact with them. Not quite a Monty Python cheese shop sale, but a near thing.

Cat 'owners' reading this will appreciate just how much this change matters to our household.

Robert stayed home to supervise but had to run to work before ensuring both the 'in' and 'out' worked for our microchipped puss, so I get to set up and test the features this evening.

We've already established that fresh batteries are needed - stale ones cause it to error.

More interesting was chatting with the local-boy glazier, who says a big house stood where our block of maisonettes now stand, and he thinks our shared garden is on the old pond where he used to swim. He seems to remember problems with the building early on, because of subsidence; if it really is built on a pond it's no surprise!

I'm pretty sure this block is over 50 now, so hopefully it's slid as far as it's going to without prompting from tremors or something.
abendgules: (Haggis)
Robert is at May Pageant (which sadly I've begged off, because I'm just not feeling up to being 'on' for SCA and the public, particularly as a fencer).

It's spitting rain and very windy in NW London, so I suspect the same conditions apply on the edge of Epping Forest. Sigh.

Haggis is shamelessly taking advantage of the door services.

Q: How many Pelicans does it take to get a catflap installed?

A: Two, apparently, plus a glazier who returns calls.

We now have all the components, and the glazier has visited to measure our window... nearly a week ago.

At this rate we could learn glassblowing and make our own window glass faster than it's taken to do the classic British 'have a man in' to do the work.
abendgules: (Haggis)
Beautiful day on the first long weekend in May. Haggis is enjoying our new garden, particularly the birdwatching options.

This wall is probably a 7' jump from the patio - over my head anyway.

May2014

Enjoying outside

May2014_2

Realising I'm there

self_sourcing

Self-sourcing kitteh is self-sourcing: always tastes better if you catch it yourself. (From our old home, but scenario doesn't change.)
abendgules: (self-portrait)
I spent a few days with [livejournal.com profile] badgersandjam this week. Her flat is very conveniently located close to a train station, so it's easy to reach. While there's a bit of road noise, it's beautifully naturally lit, and there's no screaming-neighbours noise that we put up with regularly.

We watched the news of flooding carefully - some streets in the Oxford area were closed, and Oxfordshire was expecting snow this week, though I don't know if it actually appeared.

I'm still watching because I'm headed into Berkshire for a dance workshop, and staying in Wokingham, and hoping it doesn't flood.

Looking at the maps of the flooding, I think our former house in Caversham would need sandbags, if not actually be flooded this year.

Ari and I puttered on quills (with me *still* getting the cutting sequence wrong, but will sort for Scriptorium3 next month, I hope), books - her library even impressed Giano, the most dedicated bibliophile I've ever met - and making wire rings.

Her neighbourhood is home to the better sort of charity shop - in fact in Summertown (posh part of Oxford) there was the ordinary Blue Cross shop, and then the 'vintage' shop further down the street. I've never seen original art in a charity shop before, but you can buy it in the Oxfam in Summertown. I'd be very happy shopping on this strip, and fought off the temptation of buying yarn in one.

I enjoy visiting; I also enjoy getting home to my cat-fur-covered comforts, and getting kneaded and purred into cat furniture again. Haggis has stayed close while I've been home. At Ari's flat, I swear I kept seeing movement out of the corner of my eye, and expected it to be a cat.

On the new-place-to-live front, not a lot of progress. I'd hoped to spend the rest of this week viewing, but I'm not getting a lot of response from agents. I'm beginning to get a bit nervous.

Robert commented that some of the agents he phoned were surprised he was calling about places when we don't have to move til end of March - implication being it's way too early to look at what's available.

This helps a little, though I'd still much prefer the matter settled, and honestly can't remember how far in advance we booked in past househunting efforts. I don't really want to spend the coming month gambling on finding somewhere in the nick of time.
abendgules: (monsters)
The Tube has been on strike for the past 2 days.

Unlike strikes in Canada, though, they are short, timed events. They announce them well in advance, and both sides (unions and TfL) proclaim that they are actually the ones who have the best interests of London at heart, and pretend to apologise for the inconvenience to the public.

Fortunately I could dodge this, this time, working at home. It's not as efficient as being at work. Only one screen, relying on a virtual intra-net, the laptop has software setup glitches; it doesn't belong to any single person, so noone has taken the time to sort it, always handing it back in before getting them resolved. It's fiddly to keep phoning my coworkers instead of just turning around to talk to them. The chair and desk aren't comfortable for hours at a time.

But my god, waking up at 8.45 and being home for an extra few hours feels sooo different. It's the hours at the end of the day that feel so different to me. Home at 5pm, 5.30, 6pm, 6.30! Luxury.

Robert simply walked to his office - 45 mins, almost the same as being on the (regular) bus, definitely faster than waiting for buses this week.

Next strike is set for next week. Lather rinse repeat.
abendgules: (callig_cats)
Last night's conquest: a mouse, sort of.
Feb2014haggis


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

Feb2014Haggis3
abendgules: (prickly)
Does anyone else find IKEA absolutely maddening to shop in?

First of all, every IKEA is in the suburbs. I think this is partly because they appeal to middle class shoppers and partly because they need cheap acreage for their enormous stores. You never find a 'local' IKEA. So every trip has to be planned, and even though they provide public transport directions, it's a tortuous trip every time. I think my last visit was about 2005, and I swore never again.

Last week I decided to go after work to visit IKEA. I need a new mattress, that fits the bed frame I have (landlady found the cheapest available model - neither bedframe or mattress model are still in the IKEA catalogue), and had done all my research online. I wanted to confirm which mattress to buy with a quick lie-down on the instore model before ordering.

TfL says it's 37 mins from my workplace Tube station. Liars. I takes over an hour, because the bus stops that are 'close' to the station nearest IKEA are close only for a given value of 'close'. The roads in this part of N London are in-city highways. One of the stops 'close' to Brent Cross is on the N Circular...that would be for the service that runs 3 times an hour and appears to be a milkrun for schoolkids, grannies and other 'local people'.

The return journey is worse; the bus route that took me there does not have a matching stop on the return route. Nooooo,  the return route stop is on the other side of said North Circular (picture a highway size of Don Valley Parkway, only with stop lights and turning circles where it intersects other major roads). This is a 15 minute walk at least.

Desperate, I hop on the next bus that comes through and end up on a scenic tour of northwest London via Edgware Road, ending at Brondesbury (close to my first flat with Robert) in Kilburn, where I wait for the next Overground. Overground is 3-4 x an hour, and is not as fast as the Tube.

I left work at 6pm, and get home at 9pm, with only 30 mins of that in the store.

Setting aside the location, what I really really hate about shopping at IKEA is the manipulativeness of the store. It is deliberately designed to make it hard to find what you want and get out; the design obliges you to meander through displays regardless of whether that's what you want. The signs point to different areas, but don't tell you how many other displays you have to walk through - the 'maps' are deliberately disingenuous by leaving out the details.

You think you're lost (did I miss them somehow? was the first display the entire display for beds?) but you know you haven't passed what you're looking for, so you have to forge on.

If you knew how far you had to go to find mattresses, for instance, you'd go through the 'exit' direction rather than the entrance, becuse the journey is shorter.

The only other place I find this manipulative layout is in the duty-free shops at Heathrow, where you have to wind around the perfume and booze store to reach the seating in the 'food court'.

All stores aim to distract, tempt and create associations between products based on where they position products, what height they're at, what they're next to. But the inability to find what you want quickly backfires, for me, in an IKEA and I'm irritated enough by it that I'm not cheerfully distracted by displays.

So it takes me about 15 mins of stomping before I reach the display of mattresses for lying on to test. I spend about 10 mins testing, and then another 5 minutes trying to leave the store.

The upshot: got my 10 mins of mattress-testing in, and have ordered it for delivery. And hope never to darken their doorways again.
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: (monsters)
As [livejournal.com profile] larmer and Isabel and L passed through our flat this weekend (an extra day in London courtesy of the airlines, hurrah!) he mentioned an expression attributed to Lincoln: If I had nine hours to chop a tree, I'd spend six hours sharpening the axe. (assorted versions online)

So today was the day we'd make a silk banner for Crown. Got the silk, got the silk paints, got the stretching frame, just need...

- to clear the living room to lay stuff out (1 hr Genevieve - just back from a revel, and just had guests)
- to clear the kitchen counter to accommodate a banner 2.6m long (1 hr Genevieve - dishes, putting away stuff, tidying)
- to fix the frame with reinforced corners so it stayed square (1 hr Robert)
- to press the silk (20 mins Genevieve)
- to measure the banner frame (<2 mins Robert)
- to cut out the silk (20 mins Genevieve - takes awhile because I pull threads to get straight of grain before cutting, and this silk is very fine)
- to roll out the craft paper and plan the banner full size (1/2 hr Robert and Genevieve)
- to pin the silk to the frame (1/2 hr Robert)
- to measure out the banner on the silk (1 hr Robert)
- to draw and cut out templates for charges (1/2 hour Robert)

...before we get to actually apply any paint to silk.

So it feels like I spent a lot of time sharpening today.

Good thing we really like heraldry.

And despite my best efforts, the kitchen surfaces are still cluttered, the living room is still cluttered, though differently cluttered from this morning, the ironing board is still stacked with stuff, and I still have laundry drying.

And it's freaking freezing in our house. This stupid cold snap seems to be seeping through the cracks everywhere, and we can't keep our space warm enough for comfort. Haggis gave up on us providing any laps, and nested upstairs all afternoon.
abendgules: (abbey_cats)
The past couple of weeks have been full of company chez nous.

Nerissa and Alaric have used our space as a staging ground before their departure - appropriate as they used our flat much the same way on their arrival in Thamesreach, after wandering around the UK for a couple of months.

On Friday we also welcomed Alex Darlington and his lady to ours, passing through en route to Oxford and to TORM.

Sunday we had [livejournal.com profile] aryanhwy J, and walker Gwen to visit; Ary and I kept Gwen (mostly) occupied while Robert and Joel worked on creating a mould for pewter casting. The results were excellent - Robert teaches well, and Joel asked thoughtful questions, so they both had a fine afternoon and evening working together.

I had the pleasure of introducing Gwen to her first chicken and pig, at the local city farm. The catch was that it started to rain, and was quite cold, though she seemed oblivious to it...and did not want to be once more stroller-bound, and even meeting the charming goat wasn't sufficent to make up for being trapped in the stroller. Do Not Want!

Back at ours, the only consolation was meeting Haggis, who bore up with some toddler loves for awhile, then absented herself from further attentions. I was relieved she (Haggis, not Gwen!) didn't swat, scratch or bite, but simply moved out of reach as needed.

And this week Alaric and Nerissa were staging through ours again after a last-minute squeezed in trip to Cork. We caught up with Kev, Ozbeg, and Soph at dinner at the Dove, and I had the most delicious honey stout from St. Peter - it smelled like a jar of honey, it was amazing.

I love company. I also love saying good bye and having the flat back to ourselves and the puss.

Here's to home this evening!
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)
After some discussion, we now think that our puss's name is...Haggis: Haggis of Haggerston. Or maybe 'Aggis, here in the East end.

She's round, and brown, and delightful, and she loves belly rubs, just like the, uh, native species. What's not to like?

ETA: I should clarify. She does not have legs shorter on one side than the other, to help running round hills faster like the Scots variety.

Meet Coco

Feb. 19th, 2013 12:54 pm
abendgules: (self-portrait)
We have a 'trial' cat, currently named Coco, courtesy of Poorly Paws (FB page), the east-end cat rehoming charity. The woman running it works at another branch of our vet's practice, and thus has a steady supply of cats that need new homes.

In this case, an owner 'signed her over' (which I think means asked the vet to take over her care) because his new girlfriend didn't like cats. His loss!

She's a lovely classic tabby, with black stripes on grey on legs and tail, and a swirled pattern on her side. She's beautifully symmetrical, with one white patch on her chest, 'eyeliner' highlights and a light-brown tummy. She has a solid chunky body build, but her tail looks a bit short and thin for her size - very different shape from Harley.

For those who might remember Puddy, she reminds me of Pud - cobby body, thick fur, lovely markings.

The conditions of trial are pretty relaxed - one or two week, or 'whatever is needed', to determine if Coco is a good fit. Aside from character, we want to know if she'll make Robert sneeze, but it's been pretty good so far.

Coco is exceptionally friendly - she'll visit with anyone who is offering head scritches, and chats with you when she's excited (hurray, breakfast! hot diggity, Going Out!). She has a gargling sort of meow, and a very quiet purr.

She seems to be looking at us for cues a lot - gazing up at us with an expectant look. I have no idea if we're passing muster, or are failing miserably.

On Saturday, after carefully investigating our house, she had a drink and a nibble and then continued with the reconnaissance, coming back with dust on her whiskers, to eventually settle on the sofa for a bit for a lengthy groom. Her fur is quite dense, and evidently requires a lot of care.

Feb2013 004
A couple of hours after arrival - trying to cope with the stress of moving.

However, brushing was *not* welcome on day 1. We'll keep trying, to see if she'll come to enjoy it.

Beds are the *best* venue for sprawling - they give the most options for stretching out but keeping in touch with the human. And she already knows one of China's tricks: if you tap humans very gently on the face with a sharp-clawed paw, they wake up easily! Very useful.

She's litter trained; she had to ask three times for directions from the clueless staff, but once she found the box was quite happy.

Harley was outdoors-trained, and nothing could convince her otherwise. I don't know if there's any way to broaden Coco's options to include the outdoors!

Right now, we're keeping her indoors to get used to us, but she clearly wants More Out to explore, and she led Robert a fine dance yesterday morning when he was headed out to work - Not Finished with Out, thank you!

We need to replace the current chip-sensor cat flap, because ours has a fault, but after that, we're hoping she can manage her own ins and outs. I allowed her a short Out this morning, and she wasn't impressed with being scooped up to hustle her back indoors. This evening there was a longer Out, at least til we ran into a strange cat - then her skinny tail just about trebled in size..

 She's so outgoing, and so inquisitive, we're a bit concerned she won't come back if we let her out unsupervised. I think it's better to let her out hungry (with promise of food at home), Robert thinks we should let her out fed, to keep her from scrounging. Any opinions?

In the meantime, string-on-a-stick is a very welcome diversion; in fact, strings and fine threads are *so* marvellous we may have to keep a closer hold of our sewing tools. Pencils rolling on the bare floor provide a rewarding rattling noise and are also a hit.

Feb2013 006
Helping me with patterning hose. She appears to be a natural in this role.

We're not certain if Coco is a permanent name; being medieval geeks we'd rather she answered to something historic, but we haven't found the right name yet. Since she doesn't answer to anything so far, it's not a great issue.

Feb2013 009

This evening's pose. It's foreshortened, because this paw was at full extension in search of perfect comfort.
abendgules: (seneschal_cat)
Work is taking off like a shot, and even my refreshed virus free brain is struggling to keep up.

Went on training yesterday offsite; interesting to see someone else's office culture. The geek culture has moved on since I worked in a startup, and also since I worked at Oracle - but by Internet standards Oracle is old school fuddy-duddy.

I'm not certain I could work long-term in a hot-desk office, where *noone* has a permanent seat. My impression: it's cluttered and messy. Maybe it feels young, fresh and busy (we're too busy doing exciting stuff to put things in cupboards) but it doesn't look that way to me.

OTOH it disarms the pissing matches over preferred seating - something my colleague who is assigning desks in our new office (we're moving buildings later this month) is dealing with right now.

Robert is away to Investiture this weekend, and I'm staying home for a change; mix of worry about my health (2 colds in 2 months + back stupids) and work fatigue has made me shy of another indoor winter event. Will be using the weekend to shop, read, think, knit. And of course roll on the dancing boys.

Finished my scroll assignments last night for Investiture. Not terribly happy with the guilding (consequence of feeling rushed) but overall pleased. Will post when I can.

It's rather charming that when I'm doing a piece all I can see is the mistakes; coming back a couple of hours later I think 'hey, that's not so bad for someone who doesn't know what she's doing'. I felt the same way when I wrote essays in school. :-)

Gave blood this week for the first time in 2 years - I was kicked off the donor list for a year because of anaemia, and was slow to go back to the MD to get tested again. While my MD prescribed ferrous sulphate, the nurse who explained the results in the bloodmobile said simply, 'eat 3 apricots a day. Works for everyone I know.' So I've been eating my apricots, and sure enough I'm now good to donate again. 

In shire news, I'm stepping up as seneschal for 6 months again, to bridge the time between our outgoing, and our next incoming. The latter has to finish his studies first, and I'm happy to pick up for a short period.

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