Laptop wine interface

Laptop definitely didn’t like the half glas of Australian shiraz it inadvertently took in last night.

I powered it down immediately and tissued off the worst, but I was somewhat surprised to find when I put it in my bag first thing this morning that some of the wine had made it right through the keyboard onto the desk underneath.

All the right hand keyboard keys are sticking and the and mouse buttons are slugglish.

I popped into PC World looking for a card-reader (an ill-advised office tidying bonanza at work has predictably deprived us of our camara cable) and scoped laptops while they were in there.

It seems the trend has moved away from what some call clit-pointers — PCW only stock laptops with touch pads.  Can one do intensive DTP for a day using one of those, or will I need to carry a mouse around with me?

Megane again


Originally uploaded by nilexuk.

I have been back to the dealership and finalized everything including the negotiated lower price — but it’s going to take them until Friday to knock out all the dings and get it through its MOT.

And guess what the first job in the new car is looking like it’s going to be? Picking up the cats.

Distressed cats and recently valeted upholstry are not a combination that go together too well, even if P has picked up some rather splendid waterproff cat-carriers.

Photos from the garden

When I got back from electioneering on Thursday, it was still bright and sunny , so I hopped round the garden happy-snapping at plants. It’s taken til now to find time to upload them. The full results are here, but below are some edited highlights.

We’re still following the advice of letting the garden get on with it for the first year before taking any radical decisions, so most of the plants there we inherited. The only exception is the large row of evergreen trees that the insurance company wanted us to cut down because they were endangering our foundations. Amongst the tree-stumps, I am planting veg seeds, so far runner beans, French beans, peas and lettuce. Nothing has sprouted yet.

An overview of the garden visible from the house. There’s a cat hiding under the bush in the middle, and you can just see the patio. Just out of shot at the bottom is the patio with plants in tubs, and the lean-to, with clutter. With the trees in leaf, the garden is very little overlooked — they mask the tower blocks almost completely. Out of shot on the top left is the bottom wedge of the garden, with the shed and compost bin.
This plant is growing up the wall next to the lean-to and seems to be suffering some kind of disease that is killing off half the leaves. They’re turning a white colour. I don’t think it’s variegation.
First step off the patio is this lovely yellow thing, now mostly past its best and probably in need of a prune. Growing underneath it is a pansy.
This is a well trodden animal path down the lawn–we’ve seen a regular parade of black and white cats come through the garden, and we suspect foxes do as well. It’s overdue time to buy our first lawnmower!
Eight bean poles, sixteen bean seedlings in the ground for nearly a fortnight now, but no sign of germination. Runner beans are one of a select band of vegetables I actually like. My grandfather used to grow huge quantities and freeze them.
One of the many black-and-white cats that parade through our garden every day, peeking impertinently through the French windows and wondering that we have the temerity to walk in our own garden.

There are two different pink flowering trees at the bottom of the garden.

The bench faces the birdfeeder.
The bottom of the garden looks like remote woodland, not city suburb. There’s a squirrel in that tree.

New additions to household

Yesterday we spent the afternoon at the Cats Protection League looking for cats. We had initial criteria – confident cats that don’t mind being handled (all my parents cats used to ride our shoulders, and I like that). I wanted minimum 2, P stipulated maximimum 2.

Two sets of cats at the League were an option when we got there: Fudge and Smudge — brothers, both toms — and two unnamed, 10-week old kittens.

Fudge Smudge Kitten 1 Kitten 2
All the photos from the Cats Protection League

Although I went in really wanting kittens, it was the adult cats that really engaged with us at the shelter. The kittens were timid, and the only way to engage them was to get them to play with shoelaces, and the various toys. They weren’t keen on being picked up at all, made a dash for the door whenever they could. And, harsh though it sounds, whilst they’re adorable black and white kittens, it won’t be long before they’re just another set of black-and-white cats, like the five different various neighbour cats who already use our garden.

Fudge and Smudge were different. Don’t like the names much. Fudge is really leonine, up to and including a mane. As soon as we got near his cage, he was demanding attention, rolling over into tarty poses, and he had no problem with me picking him up within minutes of getting into the cage. Smudge, however, a grey colour cat with none of his litter-mate’s longhaired tendences, is really a frightened cat. Apparently the centre found a few days after they had him that he had a collar on under his fur– it had been put on him as a kitten and never loosened, and tightened progressively as he grew. They had to cut it off him. Hopefully he’ll come out of his shell with a bit of attention over a few weeks.

In the week they’ve been in the CPL’s care, they’ve been prodded, blood samples taken, and castrated. So it’s quite surprising that either cat was prepared to be friendly at all.

When we left the cage and looked around the other pens, Fudge was hollering after us — come back! It’s us! You’re taking us home!

We need to wait now for a home visit from the CPL to check that we are a suitable home for their cats, but hopefully, we should have our new friends living here within a week.

Of course, we’ve been planning this for some time. I bought cat-dishes, a scratching post and a cat-flap when they were sale items at Lidl November last year, before we even moved home!  We bought a litter-tray when we were playing host to Libby, and in the last few weeks, we’ve been buying cat food and cat treats whenever we’re at the supermarket.  P excelled himself and found “Thank you for feeding the cat” fudge when we were in Norfolk last month, and whilst at the laundrette yesterday popped over to Mapperly Pets and bought one of those cat-pyramid things to give Smudge a little privacy and somewhere to hide.

I think we’re ready.

Lib Dem Gain

Iain leaves an arch comment on the car posting, even if it’s nothing like as arch as one I left him a few months ago.

Actually, the Lib Dems have done rather well in the elections yesterday in the East Mids.

Only six of the forty-four councils were up for election, anyway, and we made gains on four of them.

Derby City we gained three, including some new territory and regaining some marginal territory we lost by eleven votes last time. Council is NOC gain from LAB and I have yet to hear the outcome of coalition talks.

West Lindsey we gained two, leading to a NOC gain from CON. A further by-election is pending.

In Lincoln and Daventry we gained one councillor on each, doubling our numbers on both. Slow steady gains, building on bulkheads. Difficult and lonely work for the councillors who get elected in those circs. In Daventry six Tory councillors were elected unopposed, a practice that is all but dying out.

The two remaining councils are Bassetlaw, which turned blue, and Amber Valley, which stayed blue, and didn’t turn — what colour is BNP?

I *love* cars

I was just settling into another depressing what-car-might-be-ok-for-the-money trawl on the internet when Renault phoned back.

The car I liked is available again! The other people trying to buy it had only put a deposit down and weren’t able to get finance to cover the cost.


“Well, Mr Dealer, I have the money all ready now. But I’m afraid I can’t quite stretch to $askingprice. The maximum I can do is $(askingprice-800).”

“That’s quite a drop — I’ll have to ask my manager.”

“You do that – but make sure you tell him that I have the money ready and waiting and can pop down and pay first thing tomorrow.”

Mr Dealer hangs up. I pace nervously round the office and my colleagues congratulate me on my tough haggling stance. It helps that I’ve been having this conversation in my head for at least the last ten days.

I wait.

Time passes.

Phone rings. “Well, Mr Foster, my manager can do that, but he wants a deposit from you now over the phone.”

I don’t think I’ve ever read my credit card number out so fast.

I sign the papers tomorrow, I should get to drive it away on Tuesday.

They’ll even part-ex my old Skoda, although I’m doing that for the convenience of them taking it off my hands rather than the actual trade-in value, which we all agree is negligeable.

I’ve earned this

I’ve earned this

Originally uploaded by nilexuk.

I’ve been leafletting since 8am. It is polling day, so that was a really light escape. That was the earliest I could get here by public transport, and not bad since I didn’t leave here til long gone 9 last night. Everything takes longer by bus — but it gives me a cracking excuse for not turning up at 5am. Sorry, but first bus ain’t til 0705.

My feet are killing me, I’ve nearly walked through the soles of my trainers, my legs ache and my arms are dropping off because not only have I been shoving leaflets through doors, for most of the morning I’ve been carrying a ton of leaflets around so I don’t keep having to walk back to base.

My hands and arms are covered in minor abrasions from bag handles and the sharper letterboxes. Worst of all, I’ve been mauled by a sodding cat! You learn to expect the dogs – the straightforward ones that bark when you open the gate, the ones that wait to bark until you’re a bit closer and make you jump out of your skin, and the sneaky ones that lie silently in wait on the doormat and then have your finger off without warning. But a cat? This one was sitting quietly under the letterbox and the first I knew was when it launched itself claws first at the sill and drew blood from my finger.

Remind me – why do I do this?

Anyway, I’m sitting in a pub to take the weight off and use the facilities. I’m allowed – I had a letter for the landlord. Would have been rude not to have a quick drink. So I’m sitting here moblogging to avoid eyeballing a resident I just had a run-in with.

“That Deidre [candidate] must have a bob or two. I’ve had 6 leaflets!”

Six, eh? Is that all?