Benny the Puppy

We got a dog!


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And then there were two… my new room mate has arrived!

Sharp-eyed readers or those in the know will have spotted a couple of things in the photos from my last post which will make more sense after this one!

I’ve wanted a cat for a very long time – my family have had cats on and off for at least the last ten years, and when I moved out I missed having them around. For a while I did have an illicit pet mouse in my room in college (somewhat an inadvertent acquisition when my neighbour bought one and then discovered she was allergic to rodents…) but as adorable as Stilton was, she was not very good at cuddling.

For the last month or so I’ve been wrangling with the RSPCA, who were very helpful but for various reasons not very efficient, and the upshot is… please welcome Paige! Continue reading

My Fail-Proof Exercise Plan

There are several reasons why I should exercise more.

One reason is that although I’m only about a centimetre taller than I was four years ago, I’m several inches away from fitting into my Leavers’ Prom dress. And it was a very nice dress. The prom itself was rather a mixed bag of drunken friends, embarassing dances and painful goodbyes, but the dress was and still is lovely. Pity I can’t fasten the zip any more.

This is the best my hair has ever looked, before or since

Another reason is that I have a faint memory of maybe, at some point, possibly quite enjoying exercising. I’ve got the glimmer of a memory of getting up before dawn in the depths of winter to trek across town and exhaust myself skating around in the freezing cold air, and then running three million times around an 800m track while other, sylph-like, greyhound people whizzed past me. Even now, my traitorous legs sometimes start to twitch with an increasing insistency and will only be satisfied when I shut down the laptop or turn off the TV or close the book, and walk out of the house.

This is definitely not the best my hair has ever looked

But the main reason that I brave the unpredictable elements and staggeringly steep hills is this:

"Are you busy? You don't look very busy..."

Somehow the thought of a pink dress or the memory of my team isn’t as effective as those chocolate eyes and the quivery anticipation in his tail when I look like I might be thinking of going out, and the sheer exhilaration when he realises that YES we ARE going OUT right NOW in the GARDEN for a WALK is much better than another ten minutes on Facebook. Even if Facebook doesn’t come with flies and hills.

Did you hear the pitter-patter-thump of little feet?

No, me either.

This morning I schlepped across Paris to go skating at the Hotel de Ville, which is something I’ve been meaning to do for ages but putting off because it takes nearly an hour to get there. It was worth it! They had the best ice I’ve seen in a public rink anywhere except Scandanavia and actually better than some there too, and it wasn’t crowded despite being midday on a Saturday. Best of all it was free! I’m planning on taking Daughter One and Sole Son at some point (possibly Daughter Two as well although it’s a long way to make her travel and she can’t actually skate – much as I feel it is my duty to teach everyone in the world how to skate, I am a bit worried about teaching a child who asks “when you ice skate does something pull you along?” whilst keeping an eye on two other people).

Anyhoo that was pretty fun. I had been supposed to be coming back to take Daughter One somewhere but she isn’t well so it was cancelled. I got back to the house to find that its occupants had increased in number, not only because there were visitors but also because…


Yes, the three “female” rabbits have managed to produce a litter of kits. We’ve figured out which is the mother but have no idea which is the father, so we might well be looking at a further litter before that one is resolved…

Great excitment amongst the under tens, of whom there are currently five in the house.




(Much) later: the only “patter” of feet going on at the moment is the stomping of some drunken ceilidh dancing going on two floors above me. The Burns Night party is apparently a roaring success, quite literally. It’s much louder than anything I had to put up with at uni, but obviously I can’t exactly go and ask them to be quiet! On the other hand they don’t come home at 3am from Cindies every week.

I want to sleep 😦

Alone, ah woe is me

My mum and stepdad have a habit of going off on holiday and leaving me to feed the three cats, one dog, one duck and multiple chickens. They do it several times a year and they’ve done it this weekend to spend three nights in London. I don’t begrudge them it because frankly I go on far more holidays and anyway it’s quite nice to have the house to myself, but it does mean that I have been left the responsibility of keeping the fire burning in the stove, or alternatively trying to wear all my clothes at once and stay near the cats to keep them from turning into feline icicles.

In other news, I went shopping yesterday! I have found the most adorable and brilliant antique shop in the next town over, which sells beautiful things for a ridiculously small fraction of their value. At once point we had a stupid situation of reverse haggling, where I was insisting that £5 was not enough for what I was buying (and it really wasn’t – it must be worth at least ten times that) and the shop keeper gave me a further discount because apparently she doesn’t really want to make a profit or even break even because it’s “just a hobby really”. The upshot of it is that I have done almost all my Christmas shopping and bought a lot of very beautiful things that I really want to keep but will give to people worthy of them. The most expensive thing I bought all day was my lunch.

Today has been less exciting, I got up earlyish to learn how to look after the hens in winter (mostly defrosting water containers and breaking the ice on the ponds) and then lolled around with a cat for the rest of the day. Oh and I rang Student Finance, and a very sweet girl answered after only about fifteen minutes on hold and seemed to not really know what she was doing (she forgot to ask my name for the first two minutes or so) but told me to go on the website. Sigh.

My London plans are semi-finalised: I’ll be around from about 5.30 on the 16th Dec until about 7.30am the next morning when I have to be on a plane, and then I’ll be around after the New Year for as long as I can find someone who wants to put me up for the night. When I say London, I am speaking broadly – so far plans are taking me from Marylebone to Heathrow to Swindon to Guildford, so if you’re within about two hours’ train journey of what can be called London then I’m game. I’ll have to get a job in February, you see, so I’m making the most of it now.

Goodness I am cold. We’ve had more snow, it snuck up when I wasn’t looking and confused me because the weather forecast had suggested it would be getting warmer this weekend.

ETA: Having now looked at my pending comments, I will just add that I am feeling a lot better and heard from the hospital (by the backdoor route of my mother asking her boss, who happens to be the person who will be reading my application, which I kind of disapprove of but not enough not to have applied) that I have been shortlisted for interview. Which will probably happen in January so I might have to come back from London gallivants for that, but that’s ok because the marvellous Wrexham and Shropshire trainline has ridiculously cheap tickets that bring me close enough to catch a bus or three home, so I can come up for a day and go back to London! It is mad that it’s cheaper to get to London from here, a distance of 200 miles, than it is to get to London from Cambridge, by quite a lot.

What a difference a day makes…


Yesterday I went down to the village to get my hair cut, which is a twenty minute walk each way, so instead of taking Midge for a walk I took him into the field with a tennis ball and my camera.

I’m going to do a bit of a photodump because it was fun and I took some cute pictures!

(This is one of my favourite pictures – they both went for the ball but Mirrie thought Midge was coming for her.)

And today? Well, take a look at the field from my bedroom window this morning.

In particular note that the fields on the other side of the valley don’t have any snow! That’s mad. The garden out the front looks even snowier, and when I got up at about eleven there were no footprints, even though my mum and stepdad had both left the house about three hours earlier – it came down fast.

In other news I can now see out from under my fringe which is a big improvement! The hairdresser in our village is a girl called Bethan who cuts my hair really well, especially considering she usually spends her days giving OAPs perms and silver rinses, and she’s really nice. Also it’s the cheapest hair cut I’ve ever found – she charges about £6 for a dry cut and £11 for a wash and cut, which even added together is still cheaper than anywhere in Cambridge.

I wasn’t sure what I was going to do today until I discovered that I had left the Sims 2 in my DVD drive, so it wasn’t packed into a box in my dad’s garage after all. Hurray for terrible time-wasting video games.

You guys should definitely come and visit and give me something else to think about! It’s much more fun here with other people around and the cats love visitors. I love visitors too!


I took the dog for a walk today. Actually I took him for a walk yesterday too and I’ll probably take him again tomorrow but that isn’t the point. Today was the first day I woke to see the pond was frozen. My goodness today was cold. We only managed about twenty minutes before we were both about to say goodbye to our extremities and lie down on the ground to die (I might exaggerate a little but not a lot).

In Cambridge I got used to a coat being optional, particularly if I was going out on my bike or something. Here, not only is a coat definitely mandatory but so are two pairs of socks, gloves, thick woolly jumpers and boots.

It’s pretty though! The scenery is amazing and when the sun comes up or goes down, which it seems to spend most of its time doing at the moment, everything turns golden and shimmers. And it’s peaceful too, the only real noises are from the farms or birds singing. It might not be the most lively place on the planet (correction: it is the second least lively place on the planet, after Sunshine City, Arizona) but I guess I am here for peace and rest, not parties. Which is just as well really.

Highlight of today: these little loves.

Miriam and Morag, who we still call the kittens even though they must be at least three by now.

Midge, of the laser eyes.

And Moritz, who wouldn’t come down from the top of the cupboard for his photoshoot so you’ll just have to trust me that he’s very handsome.

I still miss little Stilton but after that lot you can understand why she couldn’t come with me.

I think the cats like having me here – they’re treating me like a centrally-heated cushion.

Update: seem to be coming down with a sore throat again. If I keep this up for a little while longer the NHS will finally agree to let me have my tonsils out! (You have to get tonsillitis five times in 12 months – I’m currently at three with another bout just hanging out waiting to strike.)