Sapphy discovered something important tonight: cats and curry shouldn’t mix. Every so often my ESOL student makes a bit extra of whatever they’re having for dinner and gives me some to take home for me and MrPloppy. Tonight’s dish was a rather spicy lamb curry. Really tasty, but with quite a bite. Sapphy could obviously smell the lamb, and was sitting under the table as we ate begging rather insistently for a bit. So in the spirit of scientific enquiry (and because I have a nasty streak) I gave her a little bit to try. Cruel, yes, but incredibly funny – you should have seen the look on her face as the chilli hit. She was trying to back away from her own mouth! Of course, I wasn’t cruel enough to make her suffer for long – I ran straight to the fridge and got her a bowl of milk to cool the pain. I’d like to think this will teach her not to beg from the table, but I bet she’ll be straight back tomorrow night.
Anyway, what I’ve been up to for the past couple of weeks (why does time always fly so fast between diary entries? I always have such good intentions, and then suddenly another two weeks have gone past unrecorded).
Ffuzzle went home (or at least, to her new home in Nelson) on the Tuesday after Labour weekend. Before she left I made sure she was well inducted into the world of bookcrossing and took her for a release walk around the Arts Centre. She released a couple of books, and I released… a lot more than a couple We tried sitting and watching one of the books to see if it got caught, but despite several people stopping to look, nobody picked it up. Anyway, she seemed pretty hooked, and had plans of releasing a few books at the rest stops on the bus to Nelson.
I had a lovely surprise last week. We had an end-of-year party at work (yeah, I know it’s only October, but the semester is over, and a lot of people are heading off on research trips over the summer, so it’s the last point in the year when all the staff will be around). Nice boss gave the usual speech of thanks and congratulations to various people, and not only singled me out for particular thanks for all the extra work I’ve done this year, but presented me with a gift from the staff in two of my departments. And even better, Jenny had been in charge of picking the present, so I got something I actually wanted (as opposed to the kind of nice but non-specific gifts more normal to work functions): Terry Pratchett’s latest book, Unseen Academicals. Now I know why she asked me so many times over the last couple of weeks whether I’d read it yet
Saturday was meetup day, brunch at the Coffee Club OBCZ. Only rarsberry and me there. Theoretically we were supposed to be there until 12, but after an hour we decided nobody else was going to show up so we went for a walk instead to release some Halloween-themed books around the town. I inherited lytteltonwitch‘s stash of Halloween books when she left, so I had some great titles: The Ghost in the Picture, Skeleton Cave, Second-Hand Magic, Entombed, Twilight Ghost, Phantom Fear, The Ghost School, Family Phantoms, Journey into Fear, Strange Matter, Trick or Treat, Kiss of Death, A Ghost of a Chance, Ghost Twins, Mr Corbett’s Ghost, The Haunting of Grade Three, True Horror Stories, Twilight Ghost, Frankenstein’s Bride, Georgie and the Noisy Ghost, The Birthday Spell, and The Necropolis Railway.
I’ve already had three catches, too, for The Birthday Spell, Mr Corbett’s Ghost, and Second-Hand Magic.
We decided we must be being haunted by the spirit of lytteltonwitch, because we kept encountering weird things. First there was the hundreds of motorbikes that went past while we were trying to cross the road (which I later worked out was the rally protesting the increase in ACC charges). It was an impressive sight, actually (especially to see big guys in leather on huge Harleys riding happily alongside people on tiny scooters :-)), and an even more impressive noise. I’ve never been a great fan of riding motorbikes, but there’s something about that sound… especially when you get a large number of bikes together.
Then there was the kilted busker who offered to strip for us (put your tongue back in, lytteltonwitch, he only took off his jacket), but then told us off for sitting in the wrong place (I was more interested in getting a good view of the book I’d just released than of his show).
Oh, and Rars kept getting attacked by low-flying birds. First a duck flew between us close enough that we almost felt its wingtips, and then a sparrow dive-bombed her head.
When I got home I realised that having released all my Halloween books meant I didn’t have any to give out to trick or treaters, so I raced up to the dairy to buy some lollies. Halloween is kind of annoying, actually. I don’t mind *that* much that it’s an American thing that was never part of our culture until TV introduced it (although strictly the tradition of trick or treating comes from Scotland, so I suppose it should be part of mine – we never went trick or treating when I was a kid, anyway). Like it or not, American culture is sneaking into our lives in all sorts of subtle and not-so-subtle ways, and there’s nothing we can do about it. But what’s really annoying is that it hasn’t become a real tradition yet, so you don’t know what to expect. In America, everyone knows there’ll be loads of kids knocking at their doors, so they can prepare appropriately. But here it’s not that predictable yet. Some years we’ll be all prepared with lollies and spooky books and not have a single trick or treater, and other years we’ll just say forget it and not get anything, and of course then have a steady stream of knocks on the door, and end up having to give out boring stuff like fruit because we don’t have any lollies in the house.
Needless to say, after making a special effort to buy some lollies this year we had a whole two kids turn up. So we’ll be eating jellybeans for the next month.
Must be about time for a cross-stitch report. I got so frustrated with all those greens in the one I was working on that I decided to set it aside for a while and work on something easier. So while I was down in Alexandra I started on a nice shiny new project (yeah, I know I’ve got several on the go already, but new is good). And now I’ve nearly finished it – just a bit more back-stitch to go: