Thursday, December 20, 2007

PJ's Christmas present

Yes, a stalk of sprouts. For some reason, he actually likes these little works of Satan. I will merely point out that when Heston cooked his perfect Christmas dinner last night, he used leather odours, myrhh, and reindeer milk -- but no sprouts.

I rest my case.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


Gross stupidity on my part yesterday morning. I'd ordered a book last week from the UK's largest online retailer of books, one that I needed to write an essay for my course. As it hadn't dispatched, I went into the site, checked my order, and checked back to the original entry -- which said that it was available to ship in two to three weeks. Curses! I hopped over to Alibris, found a second-hand copy that would ship in the next two to five days and ordered it. I then went back to "the other store" to cancel my order, only to find that it was being prepped for dispatch and I couldn't cancel it. Which means I now have two copies turning up. Curses and swear words!

Hmm, time to regift. I'm sure one of my family members will be delighted to receive a copy in their Christmas stocking.

Nuts to you, too

I think the birds in our neighbourhood have been spoiled. They have been ignoring our generous offering of a bag of nuts ever since we hung it up a couple of months ago. It's close to my "office" window, and I was hoping that it would act as a lure and provide me with entertaining activities on the part of our little feathered friends. No such luck. The bag remains untouched.

However, I had better luck today with a nub end of bread. The male half of the blackbird partnership that nested outside our kitchen window over the summer appeared to wolf down some of it. Success!

Of course, this was no ordinary bread. [Cue Groove Armada music]. This was middle-class, handcrafted, organic bread, with a mix of hemp, linseed, and sunflower seeds. This is Norfolk Dumpling bread.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

So there ARE some things that are better in the Netherlands!

Speaking of house prices, we're trying to buy a house at the moment. I say trying, because it is. Very trying. And it goes something like this.

1. See house, like it, put in offer.
2. Bit of back/forwards, offer accepted.
3. Wait to see if vendor will get the house they want to buy.
4. Hurrah! It's all going ahead.
5. Survey done and mortgage arranged within a week. Environmental search comes back, house not going to fall into a big hole. Hurrah! We're on course.
6. Wait for water search. Get hassling phone calls from the estate agent. "Is everything going ahead? Vendor is ready to exchange tomorrow!" Explain we are waiting for water search.
7. And waiting.
8. More phone calls from estate agent.
9. Still waiting on water search. Inquire with vendor/estate agent re: possible exchange date. Will they want to move before Christmas?
10. Silence.
11. Vendor is NOT actually ready to exchange "tomorrow." Vendor now has problems with access to their proposed purchase. May not, indeed, be ready to exchange before Christmas, let alone complete.
12. Meanwhile, still waiting on the water search.

So, we're 2.5k down (searches, solicitor's fees, survey, gas boiler check) and have no guarantee that we'll even get to buy the damn place. Am rapidly going off the idea of moving.

I am shocked. Shocked!

According to my favorite rag, The Daily Mail, hedgehogs aren't hibernating properly and are being injured as a result. This heartbreakingly adorable photo accompanied the story (online, at least). Surprisingly, the Mail blamed the problem on climate change, rather than the usual gypsies and immigrants, and failed to mention the undoubtedly catastrophic impact on house prices that this will have.

We live in disturbing times.