Month: February 2013

Here comes the tuna woman!

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Flossy, our cat, has had an ear infection requiring yours truly to clean her ears and administer ear drops. Flossy is far from placid. It could be said she is a feline with some serious attitude. The kind that bites first, asks questions later. Fearing for my life and wanting to keep the skin on my hands and face, I did a little research to see if I could find out how best to get the ear drops in without losing a limb. I read an article on the internet advising a treat both before and after the drops so that the cat would associate getting the ear drops with getting a treat, sort of Pavlov’s dog, only Chicken Road cat. And you know what? It worked. For her. Yes, that’s right, now she demands tuna morning and night whether she needs ear drops or not. We have conditioned her not to tolerate the ear drops, but to expect tuna twice per day. This morning I walked into the living room and was greeted by a delighted cat, chirping happily and licking her chops at me as if to say “hey you! Tuna woman! Get me my Tuna!” Oh yeah, somebody is being conditioned – and I think it’s me!


Words of Wisdom (and red, red wine…)

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Biffo is another artist in residence here on Chicken Road, and every now and again, Biffo has ‘Words of Wisdom’. Usually dispensed with all the drama of the Oracle of Delphi, but instead of a dusty cave filled with psychotropic fumes, Biffo’s Words come from a comfy arm chair, wearing a reindeer onsie  (with hood and antlers) and red flannel dressing gown.

Past Words of Wisdom that have punctuated normal civilized conversation like a volcanic eruption include:

“We need to be Spartan or we’ll all have gout…”Oracle_of_Delphi__by_hybridgothica

And the enigmatic-

“When the cupboards are bare, shit tastes like nectar…”

Truer words were never spoken. Today, Biffo’s ‘Words of Wisdom’ concerned the demon drink.  As it was Happy Tuesday on Chicken Road, we were communally imbibing the product of the vine while waiting for the Chicken and purple potatoes to slow roast – our own little bacchanalia, when Biffo suddenly sat up, cross legged like a naughty imp on a mushroom, thrust her wine glass into the air and declared:

“Red red wine… slides down the throat like a serpent and bites like an asp…”

Yes, this is true, “if you drink too much of it…” Biffo mutters while spluttering cheap Spanish red “and I like too much of it…” she continues.

Yup, she does. After all, she is an artist. Of sorts… I like a mojito myself. If it was good enough of Hemingway it’s good enough for me. Which makes me think of my herb farm, the one in my head. I love growing and using herbs and I dream of having a herb garden to potter in. Lavender, sage, rosemary, and mint. If I want a good Mojito, I need to grow some mint. Time to get into the garden…

It’s that day of the week again…

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Yes folks, its Happy Tuesday here on Chicken Road! ‘The Child’ is gone for another week, all other pesky relatives have been ejected, my mother’s bible study is over and I am about to joyously trudge through miles of mud and sheep poo to get to the grocery store and buy wine, nuts and cat food (and maybe a few other less essential provisions). Then, when I get back I’ll smother that chicken in olive oil, cracked black pepper and sea salt, stuff it with sage and onion stuffing, surround it with potatoes, parsnips and carrots and slow roast it… Ah yes, happy Tuesday 🙂

Cat fight on the front step…

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Well, almost. It was remarkably mild this morning, positively balmy for February. The sun was shining (another rarity at any time of year) and the sky was blue, again, odd, I know. I decided to sit on the front step and drink my coffee in my fluffy slippers and flannel, leopard print pj’s, classy chick that I am. I’m sure the neighbours got a laugh .

The open door let in that inexplicable smell of fresh, and not at all freezing, air which drew the attention of Flossy the wonder cat and she came out to join me, with some trepidation as she is essentially an indoor cat. She wandered out of sight around the corner and at that precise moment, another cat appeared as if by magic, doing figure 8’s around my ankles and purring. I tried to reason with the beast and tell it that if it valued its life it should run, now, fast. The foolish creature obviously had a death wish as it ignored my pleas to save its life.

You see, Flossy does not like other cats. AT. ALL. Then, the purring stopped and the friendly-stupid cat made that crazy woooooahhhh wooooahhhhhh! noise that fighting and/or amorous cats make. Flossy had returned and found an imposter between her and her own doorstep. Worse still, her trusted servant (me) appeared to be fraternising with this enemy! Her retribution was swift and merciless…

Friday Flashback

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Tynemouth Priory

I’ve been thinking about my past… No, it’s not deep and sordid, but it is interesting. I’ll have to sort though all those old photos of my travels currently in a shoe box under my bed and show you some. Highlights? Taj Mahal, Sphinx, Mayan Pyramids, Egyptian Pyramids, worlds longest reclining Buddha and to many castles to count. But I do like a good castle, especially a ruin that I can clamber around.

One of my favourites is the Priory in Tynemouth, the chapel of which dates back to the Thirteenth Century and the site itself is thought to have been occupied since Roman times. It has a moat which I was convinced used to be filled with crocodiles, a gatehouse and Keep with portcullis (for all that boiling oil) a well (for wishes) and a graveyard in the middle.

These days the only way in is through the box office and a hefty fee, but it didn’t always used to be that way. The Priory perches on the edge of cliff, overlooking the River Tyne and the North Sea. Bits of it have fallen into the sea over the years which is why they way I used to sneak into the back with my friends is now gone.

The sure footed among us could clamber up the cliff face and get into one of the old ruined windows. They’ve either been enclosed to prevent cliff side assaults by nimble kids or fallen into the sea altogether. Shame, there’s something quite magical about sneaking into an old ruin….

Something fiery for Valentine’s day…

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Flossy the Hellcat or let’s call her Hob’s cat – one feline with more bite than a scotch bonnet. She survived the vet, and so did we. However, the vet failed to clean the cat’s ears – leaving that particular suicide mission to yours truly. She does not like it. I get my mother to hold her by the scruff while I clean out her dirty ears and put antibiotic drops in followed by an ear massage. You can imagine I am sure, her wrath… We begin the process by opening a tin of tuna and allowing her to smell it before her ear torture begins. I’m hoping she will come to associate ear cleaning with tuna eating. Sort of Pavlov’s dog, or in this case, Hob’s cat. And Hob’s cat is currently hiding, in disgust, under the sofa.

And in case you are wondering if this is all I have going this Valentine’s, you’d be wrong. I woke up to a Valentine’s card from the object of my desire this morning (see, I’m not a sad old cat lady, honest!) and a date to look forward to later 🙂

Happy Valentine’s Day from me, him and Hob’s cat.

A good (zombie, vampire, cannibal) ghost story….

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It’s V.E.T. day for the cat, there’s a blizzard blowing outside and the Internet is down. Although I am writing this at noon my time by candlelight, I’ve no idea when it will arrive in cyberspace… So while I am cut of from the collective, I’ve thrown another log on the fire, stirred my cauldron and picked up a book, a gift given to me by a very good friend before I left Edinburgh. It’s a book of Scottish Traditional Tales, so that I wouldn’t forget my time in Scotland, and those of you who know me, know how much I love folklore…So gather around.

I let it fall open, the candle flickers and page 50 begins “Once upon a time…” great! It’s all about a miller and his pregnant wife. She is craving liver in the middle of the night (can anyone say zombie apocalypse?) and sends him into town to buy some. Well, the shops won’t be open for hours and the miller, wanting to please his wife but also wanting to get some sleep, cooks up a cunning plan. Remembering that a corpse has very recently been buried in the graveyard, he digs it up, removes the liver, takes it home and cooks it. Perfectly reasonable. The wife is unaware of the origins of the liver and gobbles it up! Later on, the miller goes to work and there’s a knock at the door. It’s the corpse. Obviously. So she asks it why it looks rotting and why it’s entrails are hanging out and where oh where has its liver gone (again, don’t you love the logic of folktales?) And ‘It’ shrieked, “you ate it” and tore her to pieces, naturally. The End.

Part of me thinks this is a little unfair – the woman had no idea she had consumed the liver of a dead corps, her husband the miller, dug up the corpse, removed the liver, cooked it up in the middle of the night and fed it to his pregnant wife… Great guy… I know, I know, cautionary tales keep us on the straight and narrow, teach through gruesome and grizzly stories what not to do. In this case, eat dead humans. I can see the value of this in the light of CJD (mad cow disease), Ebola and a whole host of other bad things, like becoming a zombie, a vampire or just a common or garden cannibal. And clearly, ignorance is no defence! Which is why the wife, ignorant of her crime was torn to shreds.

However, what really struck me is the section of the book this tale was in – Children’s Tales. Teach ‘em early…