30 April 2007

Loft update

My mate Dave came round last night and had a poke around in the loft. I'm very relieved to learn that there is no evidence of squirrel in the loft, and the birds' nests are between the roofing felt and the tiles. We've decided to leave them be until the birds fledge, and then Dave will fetch his ladders round, remove the nests and bung up the holes. There was also a small, extinct wasps' nest.

I really must get round to boarding my loft though. I had visions of Dave plummeting through into the bedroom. He's a bit braver than me!

So, big thanks to Dave and Jules for coming round to have a look and making me feel a whole lot better about it :o)

29 April 2007

House under attack

My neighbour's daughter, Natalie, knocked on my door about 20 minutes ago, to tell me that there was a squirrel trying to get into my house. I stepped outside, looked up and sure enough, the offending beastie was on the edge of the roof. As we watched, it scuttered down the wall and then, from about 12 feet up, it launched itself onto the path and ran away.

Natalie's dad then invited me to walk down their driveway to see the state of my roof. Now, I've always been aware of a small piece of loose mortar and had it down as a 'round to it' job. However, it was far worse than I'd thought. From the vantage point of their driveway, I could see that there's actually two whole tiles-worth of mortar missing. I have at least two nest in the soffits, starlings and tits. If the birds can get in, so can squirrels.

I'm not a very happy bunny now, because Vic told me that the mortar was missing before I moved in - so why didn't the surveyor pick it up? Apparently the previous owner was well aware of the missing mortar and the birds' nests, but never bothered to do anything about it.

I am currently feeling not very fluffy at all. I don't like the idea of turfing out the baby birds until they're ready to leave, but I really don't want squirrels rampaging in my house :o(

I think I'm going to have to get a few quotations from roofers to see what needs to be done and how much it's going to cost me. I think I could do with a lottery win.

26 April 2007

chewing things over

David Crausby, the Labour MP for Bolton North East, has launched a campaign to put a tax on chewing gum, in order to cover the costs of clearing the stuff off the pavements.

Nice idea! Strangely, it's exactly the same idea that the Liberal Democrats had back in 2005.

and whilst I'm on the subject of time off work

My rant about smoking also applies, in a way to parents. Just because my colleages have kids and I don't, doesn't mean that I should have to cover all their work when they have to rush off home to see to little Billy's snotty nose or grazed knee.

Yes, I know kids need looking after, I don't have a problem with that, but I don't see why I (or other childless workers) should have to do extra work for no extra pay.

I worked in one place where a lass was constantly being summoned to pick up her child from school, or leaving early to take the child to bloody ballet or swimming class. Everyone was pissed off with it, yet we couldn't do anything about it. I'm sorry, but if you can't work the hours your job specifies, change your hours or get a different job.

A child is, in the main, a lifestyle choice, not a necessity. If you choose to have 'em, you also choose to manoeuvre your life around them. That's fine. Just don't expect me to have to manoeuvre my life around them too. Your kids, your responsiblity and, on occasion, your problem.

I know some people who have given up their jobs completely in order to look after young children. It's not an option for some people, but those I've seen who have done it, have managed to bring order into their lives - not an easy thing to do with kids.

Me, I'm childless by choice. I can do what I want, pretty much when I want and I can keep the bottle of bleach and the box of aspirin wherever I want. So many of my friends whinge about how lucky I am that I can do all the things I do, and I just smile and say "yes". Selfish? Damn right.

Despite my lack of interest in kids I will, of course be happy to babysit for anyone. My rates are £5,000 call-out fee + £1,000 per ten minutes thereafter ;o)

Non-smoker? Here, have some extra work!

So, it has now been suggested that, in advance of the smoking ban on 1 July 2007, smokers should be given time off work to quit the habit.

Tell me this, then? Whilst all the nicotine addicts are off work, just whom do they think is going to do all the bloody work? Yep, all the poor non-smokers. Will they get any extra pay to take account of the extra work they'll be doing? I very much doubt it.

Years ago, I worked at a firm where smoking was allowed in the office. Several people complained, so the boss ordered that all smokers had to go outside to get their fix. It made the office environment so much nicer. However, the smokers used to be outside for about ten minutes a fag, at least four times a day. So they got an hour's dinner and 40 mins fag time. Yet, if any of the non-smokers got caught idling by the coffee machine for two minutes, they got lambasted.

On one occasion, my boss made a sarcastic comment about me not doing my work and said "what exactly are you doing then?" To which I replied "I'm having my fag break." "You don't smoke!" He said. "No, I don't, but if they can have 10 minutes away from the desk once an hour, so can I." He looked me up and down, smiled and said "OK, yeah, fair enough, but don't take the piss". I think I made my point.

I think it's great that smoking is going to banned in public places and workplaces; I might even start going out to the pub more often when I can guarantee I won't come back stinking like a stale ashtray. However, I don't see why the non-smoking workers should have to suffer workload-wise so that the smokers can give up outside the office. Surely the best place for them is IN the office, where they're not allowed to smoke - no temptation to light up there.

25 April 2007

It is better to be thought a fool...

Why is it that people ask really stupid questions without actually thinking about it first?

Very often, people ring my office and ask when we hold advice surgeries. So I respond:

"The first Saturday of each month, at 10:30", and the dimwits say "Is that in the morning?"

or "The third Friday of each month, at 4.30", and the dimwits say "Is that in the afternoon?"

Of course not! We work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Work it out, stupid!


19 April 2007

Please help to catch a dangerous criminal

Got this on the wires, any info, please contact the Yorkshire Scooter Alliance.

Just got news through that one of the guys and his 12 year old, yes 12 years old passenger got kicked off by a power ranger near Rawdon on the outskirts of Leeds, the pair of them are going to be in hospital for about a week, thought those days were long gone, really taken the edge off a fantastic day.

Further info :

blue and white bike / blue helmet with black visor

The lads were relatively lucky in that the rider only had broken ribs and bad gravel rash, and the nipper only had skid burns to his back, that that's nasty enough as it is. If the perpetrator gets caught, I hope s/he gets done for attemped murder, because that's what it sounds like to me - deliberately causing an accident and then leaving the scene.

If you know who it was, do the right thing and tell the Police on 0845 6060606, Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or the Yorkshire Scooter Association.

16 April 2007

Paranoia rules!

I wish the media would piss off and stop fueling paranoia in the UK. There's news stories today about a firm marketing slash-proof hoodies, to protect paranoid teenagers. Only last week, there was a new mobile phone incorporating a GPS 'bug' designed for little kids, so that parents can track their movement. FFS! They're little kids, the parents should know where they are - either at school or with a parent or minder. Little kids can't be made to carry bloomin' phones - they'd either get left somewhere or not taken out at all.

Get real, folks. Let kids be kids. If they're too young to be left unsupervised, don't give them technology to keep tabs on them - who will you sue when it fails? Parents need to be more responsible for the little ones. The older ones should be set free, not tied down with spy bugs and paranoia.

How the hell did people of my generation ever survive? We used to go off for hours, get mucky, have fun and go home for tea. We didn't need to be tied to our mothers' apron strings all the time.

15 April 2007

Rules for life - teenagers take note

Rule 1: Life is not fair - get used to it!

Rule 2: The World won't care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.

Rule 3: You will NOT make £60,000 a year right out of secondary school. You won't be a vice-president with a car phone until you earn both.

Rule 4: If you think your teacher is tough, wait 'til you get a boss.

Rule 5: If you mess up, it's not your parents' fault, so don't whine about your mistakes, learn from them.

Rule 6: Before you were born, your parents weren't as boring as they are now. They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes and listening to you talk about how cool you thought you were. So before you save the rain forest from the parasites of your parent's generation, try delousing the closet in your own room.

Rule 7: Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life HAS NOT. In some schools, they have abolished failing grades and they'll give you as MANY TIMES as you want to get the right answer. This doesn't bear the slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in real life.

Rule 8: Life is not divided into terms. You don't get summers off and very few employers are interested in helping you FIND YOURSELF. Do that in your own time.

Rule 9: Television is NOT real life. In real life people actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs.

Rule 10: Be nice to nerds. Chances are you'll end up working for one.

If you can read this - thank an apolitical, non gender-obsessed, sexual orientation indifferent and pragmatic teacher with a firm grip on reality.


Last year, the lovely Ug gave me a breadmaker. He'd never really got on with it, so I thought I'd give it a go. The first couple of loaves were an absolute disaster but, for the past six months or so, I've enjoyed lovely fresh preservative-free bread.

Today, being absolutely starving mad hungry and not prepared to wait the three hours to make a loaf, I went to the supermarket and bought a small white loaf. When I tried to slice it, the loaf just squashed under my hands and wouldn't cut, so I thought 'buggerit' and got my little electrical slicer out - one of those with a circular blade - great for slicing fingers off. However, the loaf still deformed and I ended up with a strange-shaped slice.

Having managed to cut a couple of slices, I tried to spread the butter on it, and the bread just ripped, even though the butter was soft and I was being really gentle. The bread was all squidgy and soggy and really unappealing. Still, I was hungry and persevered. I wish I hadn't bothered. The bread was gooey and tasteless and before I'd even finished eating the slice, I felt quite sick. I think I'll stick to home-made, if that's the best the supermarket can manage. The birds will have a bit of extra food today, because I have no intention of eating any more of that revolting loaf, but I wonder if they'll be able to take off after eating it.


10 April 2007

Sad loss of an old friend

Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today, to mourn the passing of an old and faithful friend. Magimix, my trusty food processor mixed its last batch of gingernuts on Sunday morning, after thirteen years of loyal service. In its final moments, dear old Magimix expired in a puff of smoke and a nasty smell before being carried out into the garden to the wails of "Oh bugger!"

You will be sadly missed, old friend. Rust in pieces.

03 April 2007

Chocolate Jesus

I had to laugh at this.

The report on the Today programme described the statue as 'anatomically correct'. How the hell would they know? No-one even knows what the bloke looked like, let alone the size of his todger!

It's just a publicity stunt for the artist. He depicts a naked hippy and tells everyone it's Jesus and he proposes to unveil it during Holy Week. The Christian groups all go mad and way hay, instant world publicity for the artist. Nice work if you can get it!

However, I do agree that it's rather insensitive to make a sculpture out of chocolate when millions of Christians the world over have given up eating chocolate for Lent. Talk about temptation...

02 April 2007

Wicca Lite

This was on UK Pagan, from where I have shamelessly copied and pasted it because it made me giggle.

Wicca Lite... Looks like Wicca, but with half the commitment and one-third the responsibilities...

Rather than celebrate festivals and moon cycles on their given date, W.L's settle for observing these activities whenever they can schedule time between their Pilates class and their appointment at the tanning salon.

Skyclad is reserved for those who are either young and perky, or those who are old and surgically perky.

Hand-made and lovingly decorated ceremonial robes are substituted with plain white sheets... to facilitate the transition to the toga party afterwards.

The traditional hand-written Book of Shadows has been replaced by... yeah,you guessed it... "The Idiot's Guide to the Book of Shadows"... Available through Amazon.com (buy in bulk, and qualify for free shipping).

Cakes and ale has been substituted with granola and green tea... or donuts and Red Bull... or tostitos and Coors Lite... depending on the circle.

The sword, wand, athame, bolline (or burin), salt and water bowls, besom, bell, cord, thurible, and pentacle are no longer used for ritual... These items are a pain in the butt hauling around, and besides, no one really knows how to pronounce half the words, or what to do with the objects anyhow...

By the same token, the altar has been considered superfluous, since it blocks the TV, which works just fine for holding the cakes and ale. Besides, access is needed to the DVD player, so everyone can watch that fantastic documentary, "The Witches of Eastwick".

Circles are too hard to form in the living room, so the Sacred Square has been adopted. For the convenience of the coveners, the furniture has been sanctified, so everyone can be comfy during the ritual.

Summoning spirits is strongly discouraged! No ones knows how to speak Enochian, or even ancient Hebrew, or even modern Hebrew, or even proper English, and it has been determined that the spirits do not respond well to text messages or email, so who needs 'em? They also have a nasty tendency of hiding in the corners of the Sacred Square, and no amount of Febreze will convince them to leave...

No deities will be called into the circle (or Sacred Square, as the case may be) whose names possess more consonants than vowels, or who possess any aspect other than the one of Peace, Love, and Warm Fuzzy Feelings. At the moment, our high priest and priestess are still searching for at least one suitable deity to fit our parameters... Glenda (not quite a deity, but close enough) is our most promising candidate, although we're a bit suspicious of her almost gleeful reaction to when that house fell on her sister...

Scrying, divination, astral travel, meditation, and other self-enlightening exercises have been deemed too time-consuming (not to mention, darn hard!),and have been substituted with drugs, therapy, and a copy of "The Idiot's Guide To Why Nothing Is Your Fault Or Responsibility".

We will gather together from time to time to discuss candle magic, crystal magic, healing magic, herb lore, and the like. Our discussion will include why these magics are too inconvenient to actually practice, and we will conclude our discussion with personal accounts of why life is hard and there's nothing we can do about it.

Other discussions will include:

  • "Why we love the Fey" (because they're so CUTE!)
  • "How to approach your Totem Animal in the Wild"
  • "Which deities will accept ritual substitutions, and which ones will fry your ass for the insult"
  • "Alternatives to cleansing with sage" (Lysol, Febreze, Fairy Dust, Nag Champa, etc)
  • "Can your home security system be programmed to act as a Watch Tower during rituals?"
  • "The ethics of using a Banishing Ritual on your in-laws; how to protect yourself from the Three-fold Law"(see our website "Wicca Lite for Life" for more discussion updates).

Wicca Lite is open to all comers, except smokers, who have been linked with Global Warming and will be the cause of the death of us all.

Bright blessings of Fairy Twinkles to all...

Lady Whitebutt of the Towelhead Tradition