Saturday, 9 March 2013

What's bin happenin'

A little summary of this last week.

Poor Ivy has been neutered and is currently moping about the house.  Not because of the loss of her bits but because her head is encased in a collar.  She probably thinks it's for life.  I keep telling her it will be coming off next Friday but she doesn't seem to understand.  Combine that with her desire to be out of doors and she is one unhappy bunny - well unhappy cat.

On Thursday I went over to Liverpool with Partner-who-loves-tea.  She had a meeting during which time I wandered the Albert Dock. 

I found lots of postcards at a mere ten pence each so was delighted.  We met up again and had a coffee after which we wandered through a few shops and into Cavern Walks.  It seems that Cavern Walks has died since I was last in there.  The recession has hit a lot of the big firms like HMV, Blockbusters, T J Hughes and so on but this was the first time it was apparent to me just how many small firms have gone.  The place was virtually empty of shops - a cafe, a couple of clothes / shoe shops and the jewellers were all that were left.  Unsurprisinglty there were no customers - just the occasional foreign tourist wandering around staring at the empty plate glass windows obviously bemused by why Cavern Walks was in the Tourist Guide.

I have tried catching up with [eople's blogs. On Tuesday I was three days behind.  I am now - three days behind.  Ah well, I suppose that means that I at least haven't lost any ground. 

 Among the books I have been reading / read this week was 'Five Children and It' (1902)  (The first book in the Psammead series by Edith Nesbit).  I was reminded of this by Dawn Treader and upon reading it I'm not surevif I read it as a child or not.  It is very Enid Blyton like in its side comments to the reader about how one should or should not behave.
I zoomed through Martin Davies' 'Mrs Hudson and the Malabar Rose' (2005) - a Victorian mystery; the Mrs Hudson in question being Sherlock Holmes' housekeeper.  I thoroughly enjoyed it and shall now seek it's predecessor.
I am also well into Simon Winchester's 'The Professor and the Madman' (1998) recommended by Canadian Chickadee. It is a true tale of murder and mystery in the creation in the Oxford English Dictionary and is proving most enjoyable.
I have just started Herman Melville's 'Bartleby the Scrivener' (1853)
And finally, I am half way through a fantasy novel by David Gemmell, 'Sword in the Storm' (1998).  

I think I have received a record number of postcards this week, along with a few letters. Not all the postcards were from unknown postcrossers.  Some were from friends here, there and everywhere.  I love finding personal post on the doormat. 

Thanks to The Missive Maven I was directed to a forum thread where someone called The Epistler had written the following. I think it is an excellent summary of why one writes...

"There have been times when I was about to post a link or a comment to a friend's Facebook wall, and I decided to email instead—to emphasize that this communication was a gift to them, not a performance for the world; and then beyond that sometimes I have thought "No. That's still not a clear enough emphasis that this is for you." And it doesn't have to be really personal stuff. It could just be pointing out an author or an article or such of interest.

It just feels like a more directed, caring, generous, mindful, focused, gift-giving act to write to someone in post rather than to just post a link on their FB wall. And there are many dimensions to this: the time cost, the stationery cost, the postage cost, the extra time that writing with a pen takes, the better thought-out product that usually results, the individual expressions involved in paper/pen/ink/stamp choice (saying things perhaps about the writer, perhaps about the writer's perception of the receiver, perhaps about the writer's perception of his or her relationship with the receiver) and in the uniqueness of handwriting, the giving of a physical object that was once yours and was made with your own hands for a specific intended—much as if you had knitted them a sweater, the opportunity for the receiver to have and to keep a physical reminder of being thought of and cared about which has, among its significances, the role of being an enduring manifestation of the otherwise evanescent, abstract gift of time—the time taken to craft the letter."

In the same forum thread I came across someone who had written

"I wish I could write to my mom and dad, but sadly, they are gone."

One of the responses was as follows -

"Why would you let a silly thing like death stop you? I still write to my mother and father in Other Side Camp. Just cause the Postal Service can't deliver there, that don't mean the message ain't received....

...You could call this a mere journal entry, but it's not. Writing to someone is quite different from writing about someone, whether it's mailed to yourself and just saved, unopened, or whether you send it to Other Side Camp through the fire, it's different."

Quite thought provoking.

Quote of the week
"When the first baby laughed for the first time, the laugh broke into a thousand pieces and they all went skipping about, and that was the beginning of fairies." 

Act 1 - J. M. Barrie's 1904 play Peter Pan


  1. poor Ivy. I recently have had Goober fixed and declawed on the front. He has gotten so big he is over powering Cookie and so the claws had to come out. But I have a fantastic Vet that is very careful about how he does that sort of thing.

    love the 2nd shot of the boat. very cool!

    are you in a penpal club? wondering about all the postcards.

    1. The postcards mostly come as a result of being in a site called postcrossing. I fiond it fascinating. It has the advantage you can choose what speed to send / receive at and whether to 'make friends' with anyone and swap with them directly.

  2. Poor poor Ivy, she still has a couple more days to go before being rid of that ghastly collar. Don't forget she may have an itch or two that she won't be able to reach, so scratch around her neck for her.
    Albert Dock looks really clean, as if it had just been washed, or did they know you were coming?
    The summary by The Epistler puts it all into perspective with a great big dash of truth.
    I have been inspired by you and Monica to read some of the books you have referred to....thanks.
    The recession has taken a toll worldwide...quite sad actually.

    1. They hosed down the Albert Dock specially for my visit, Virginia. (Actually I think it's the effect of all the rain we had lastb summer and autumn). It was only reading your comment that made me realise that the UK has improved radically in one way during my lifetime. In my youth there was litter everywhere. People who went abroad used to compare how dirty the UK was compared to, say, Germany. Nowadays every town centre is clean and tidy - not even a cigarette butt or sweet paper on the floor. And even the suburbs where I live are reasonable for most of the time.

  3. Ivy will have the suprise of her life when next Friday not only will the collar come off, but also she'll be allowed out! I am sure you'll have the camera ready to document her first steps.

    Hmmm Edith Nesbit sounding like Enid Blyton? Are you sure it's not the other way round? (E.B. having lived some time after E.N., as far as I know)
    By the way, Monica's post about the Psammead books has made me go to the Amazon kindle shop and get hold of each and every one of Edith Nesbit's books I could - amazingly enough, they were all for free!

    1. I think we'll be keeping her in for a few more days - the vet advises it. She wants to let the operation get completely settled before Ivy goes off climbing trees and jumping fences. But you may be sure I'll have the camera at the ready.
      With Nesbit and Blyton it was a comparison of style rather than a suggestion of one copying the other. I think all authors of children's literature in the late 19th and early to mid 20th centuries felt obliged to do a bit of lecturing about behaviour - especially if they were allowing their characters to do 'naughty;' things. I just love it. It brings back memories of my childhood reading.

  4. I love emails for their speed, but as Scriptor so rightly says, you can't beat an actual missive on the door mat! Whenever I have something important to say, I always write it out first, by hand, with a pen or pencil. It seems to clarify my thoughts. And there've been a few times I have fired off an email, and I really should have written it out first!

    One of my favourite memories growing up concerns the letters we got from my mother's twin sister. Sometimes she included a tea bag, if she had a lot to say. A real treat was a two-tea-bag letter!

    And now I must dash -- I have a couple of letters I need to write! :o

    1. I love the idea of a two tea-bag letter!!

  5. I've never heard of Cavern Walks but it is rather sad if it's empty. I googled it and it looked as if it might have been rather expensive for independent shops - it looks quite glitzy. Maybe they should put their rents down....

    But actually I can't quite imagine what kind of a place it is

    1. It was a small up-market 'mall' as the Americans would put it. It was designed to attract tourists and had up-market tourist goods as well as cafes / restaurants (from cheap and cheerful to expensive)and a couple of the cheaper-end tourist shops (which was where I had hoped to get postcards). So far as I can recall they were all independents rather than members of a chain and perhaps, as you say, the rents were too high in this declining economy. But I suspect one could get them for a song nowadays simply to get the place filled but there are still no takers.

  6. It's hard to keep a good cat down and I know Ivy will be her old self (minus the "bits") in a bit! Love the tour of Liverpool and it's such a shame the stores have pulled out. But times are very difficult. I know our own regular shopping malls are hurting and stores are empty there too. I love getting mail..snail mail...nothing like someone taking the time to actually write with ink..heck, I'd even take it written in pencil! Have a good week!

  7. I've had cats all my life, usually females, and I've never had to put a head collar on any of them post-spaying. (Males are neutered, females are spayed.) The doc usually just says keep an eye on them, and put antibiotic cream on the sutures to keep them from itching. Not sure why Ivy has to go through such an ordeal, unless she was actively trying to tear out the stitches. Also, these days the incision area is much smaller than it used to be, and so is less likely to be damaged, and heals more quickly. If I were you, I'd call the vet and ask about the collar again.

  8. Poor Ivy. When my cats were neutered we had to keep them away from one another but neither used a collar. I know she must wonder what this is all about.

    FaceBook is a great way to stay in touch with various friends and family and even to catch up with some you have lost touch with.

    I love your Peter Pan quote. We are using Peter Pan fairies to decorate my youngest grand's room. I love their mystical, magical imagery.

    Thanks so much for your questions on my latest post. You truly gave me food for thought, and research. I found a site which I think will be helpful to answer your questions and I am also puzzled by the image I found through Google image search. I found another I feel it more appropriate and have added it and an explanation to my post. I think maybe there is more than one Irish moss, but when I typed in the Latin name, Sagina subulata I got many of the same sites telling the health benefits and how to prepare it for consumption; talk about confusion!!


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