Finding weaponry

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Not a wildly exciting day today, but I found this cannon in the office garden. Maybe someone is preparing for that Covid Apocalypse. I will keep a close eye out for tanks and fighter planes, and keep you posted,

In more important news, I had a dream last night that one of our gardens was filled with hundreds of tiny sloths (you could fit a few in your hand). They were definitely sloths and had little sloth faces, but they were also a bit slimy and could run about very fast, so they weren’t your average sloth. I told my boss about the dream and suggested we should work out where you can buy them and she reluctantly agreed. So hopefully I’ll be working with slimy sloths soon.

Now I’m watching Tiger King (a few months late as always) and wondering if you’d have the same fuss over sloths as pets. To be clear, I think keeping tigers OR sloths as pets is wrong, but I still imagine sloth breeders being a bit more chill. I guess it’s difficult to be macho over a sloth.

This is who she is!

statue with a weary unimpressed expression

So I posted a picture of this statue a few days ago. She was looking down on me with a withering gaze while I was squirting toxic plant juice in my eye. I was trying to work out what she was holding (it’s a kitten, definitely) and Calmgrove wondered who she actually was and if she was holding an owl (clearly not, because it’s a kitten). And now I know, she’s one of the three Graces (you can see part of the face of another one on the left.)

The number of Graces varied in different legends, but usually there were three: Aglaia (Brightness), Euphrosyne (Joyfulness), and Thalia (Bloom). They are said to be daughters of Zeus and Hera (or Eurynome, daughter of Oceanus) or of Helios and Aegle, a daughter of Zeus.

From www.Britannica.com

To try and work out which particular Grace this is and whether she is, in fact, holding a kitten, (I mean, she is, I’m simply being polite). I’ve had a look at a few other pictures and statues. It’s actually pretty rare for them to wear clothes, although they often have a bit of draped material.

Here’s what the Louvre museum thinks:

Eternally young and lovely, they represented charm, beauty, and human creativity, and were depicted naked, originally holding attributes such as apples, roses, and sprigs of myrtle.

From other statues they only seem interested in draping over each other and gazing into each other eyes – which is all very romantic, but not very productive for people who represent creativity. However, the Grace in my picture has defied all their expectations: she’s got dressed, clearly has bigger and more tragic things on her mind than looking pretty and she’s holding a kitten. I think this statue must represent the three Graces once they’ve grown out their frolicking about naked stage. These days Aglaia (Brightness) works in a food bank and plays the drums, Euphrosyne (Joyfulness) volunteers at Samaritans and does chainsaw sculptures, and Thalia (Bloom) is, of course, a gardener who takes in homeless kittens. Which answers all my questions.

Fight! Punched the wall! Woke up.

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Today was one of those days when I wonder if I’m out to get me.

First I dreamed about a fight. I’m not sure why I was having it, but definitely it was something heroic and Matrix-like in its cool. There were (probably) spinning kicks and majestic dodges against my huge male foe who was almost certainly evil. And then I punched him, and woke just as my fist hit the wall next to my bed. It hurt, but apparently even majestic fights are quite puny when they leave the dream world, so no damage. A definite sense of Oh you fucking idiot, though.

Then I went to work, and I had to cut back some large Euphorbia. Euphorbia can be nasty because it has poisonous sap that oozes out all over you when you cut it, but I’m lucky and don’t react to it, it’s just sticky and annoying.  What I was more bothered about was the insects living in the bed that didn’t like my invasion of their space. They started biting me, not unreasonably. But I noticed that they bit less the more sap I got on me. Aha! I thought. Nature’s insect repellent. Because of course that is why Euphorbia has toxic sap – to keep away biting insects. So I smeared some on my arms and legs and the insects left me alone. I felt so clever.

Then in the afternoon I got quite dusty and wiped my arm over my face, then carried on chopping – Mahonia this time. My eye started to sting, but I assumed it was the dust and blinked it away. But the pain wouldn’t go and was getting quite nasty. I staggered out of the bed and poured some water on my eye. A friendly builder working nearby asked I was ok. ‘I think so, I just got something in my eye,’ I said. ‘It’s not Euphorbia sap is it? Because that’s really dangerous if you get it in your eyes.’

And I realised that of course it fucking was, so I went back to base and spent the next ten minutes trying to wash the toxic sap out of my damn eye. And for anyone following this blog, yes it was the same eye that landed me in Urgent Care a few weeks ago.

That afternoon I was working in the same bed, trying to not be a self-sabotaging fool, and I looked up and saw this face looking down at me from a nearby statue. Pitying, exasperated, unimpressed, I have a feeling this statue has seen many idiots before.

But more importantly, is she holding a kitten?

statue with a weary unimpressed expression

 

 

 

 

 

Found someone hiding…

model penguin hiding behind a shrub

My boss asked me to clear out a corner of the garden under some shrubs. Hidden away behind a wall, under a load of Fatsia leaves, I found this penguin. He was about knee height.

I asked my boss and she said that he was out in front of someone’s house a few years ago and she hid him. Apparently penguins are not appropriate for our gardens. I think he’s great, I shall be saying hello next time I’m there.

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Covidworld

So, I’m back at work and it’s great to see everyone again and be outside tackling some plants.

It’s all quite odd though, everything is not quite the same, little details have shifted. I’ll get some pictures tomorrow. It’s as if someone gave all of London a makeover. And then almost all Londoners have changed too. We hide our faces. We aren’t rushing, instead we keep our distance. No more stand on the right, walk on the left on escalators, now everybody stands. And there are police everywhere.

At work, my colleagues are just like they always were – cheery, lovable oddballs. But with longer hair. The guys have either slicked back styles or new wavy locks.

I feel like this is a puny blog, so here is a fella I read about this morning, the monkey slug caterpillar, Phobetron. They aren’t anything to do with monkeys or slugs, but they are caterpillars. Aren’t they incredible?

Click on this to go to the site I nicked it from
Definitely click on this photo to see more photos from the Maryland Biodiversity Project

And then a cat happened…

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Feeling much more sprightly, I had plans to do stuff today. Do some writing, go to the garden centre and buy pots, but the title should give you a clue as to why I didn’t.

I always say, if you’ve got a cat, then your day is sorted. You don’t even need entertainment.

This cat walked in when I opened the front door and without introduction she had a wander around. She kept acting surprised to see me there. Almost as if I’d invaded her space.

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We got to know each other. She’s a fan of friendly biting, which I’m not. And her tail shakes as if she’s having a fit. Oh and she likes lying on the floor, which I also don’t, but obviously I did for most of today so I could hang out with cat. I tried to tempt her onto the sofa, and she did jump up quite happily and snuggled up against me. Then she got up, moved along a bit and fell over, and then got up and moved further away and fell over, then walked back and bit me. Which was much more active than I was hoping for.

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Cats and Sundays go together well. I hope she comes back tomorrow.

Anyway, TLDR? cat.

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PS: My eye is much better now!

Superhero in training…

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There’s this guy that I’ve seen at the end of my road a few times and I’m trying to figure him out. He’s tall, good looking with little dreads and always wears shorts and a singlet. The first time I saw him was a few weeks ago, he was outside my house when I was on the other side of the road and he was sprinting up and down, as if in a very small race. The next time, a few days later, he was at the end of the road having a dance. There wasn’t any music playing, but he was boogying away. An older gentleman looked over as he passed and dreaded-guy gave a ‘Cuh! Funny old world, isn’t it?’ expression.

I saw him a few days ago standing on the steps of what I guess is his house, just up the road, which is a fairly normal thing to do. But the way he did it was just a bit too superheroey, you know? Hands on waist, scanning the street for trouble. It was spoiled briefly when a little old lady who I guess also lives there, asked him to move.

Then today I got a shock when I saw him four feet in the air. He was standing, steady as you like on a pavement bollard. I went to my doorstep and looked back and he was still there, but threw something (looked like a cape) to the ground and then leapt down.

Now bloggers, you’ve helped me before, what’s going on here? He doesn’t look distressed or unkempt in any way, in fact just the opposite. So is he:

  • A superhero in training?
  • An exhibitionist who is used to getting compliments, but is missing out due to covid?
  • A malfunctioning robot who’s escaped a lab?

 

 

Smile! No one can see it anyway!

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wondermonger – one who promises miracles

vincible – that which may be overcome

Tried wearing a mask out today, but no one in my part of London is wearing one. It means everyone stares at me and i feel as if I’m the outsider insulting strangers with my foreign ways.

Some of you might remember me writing about being on a journey to work last year and some guy started acting like he was going to punch me. I still see him around. Sometimes he’s following people. One time he waved at me, so I waved back. He can be a bit scary, but clearly has serious problems to deal with, so I always wish him well (in my head anyway).

Today I saw him sitting on a mattress with a lady friend (who also had difficulties to deal with). They looked like they were having a picnic in the park – a couple of cans, some snacks, plenty of sunshine. Except they were at the side of a busy road on a mattress in the middle of a pandemic. They looked happy.

It’s not an ideal situation, but take your smiles where you can, I think.

 

little Corona life

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The most interesting things of my day

Parent fox left the three cubs alone in next door’s garden where they climbed over each other for a while. I guess they’re getting big enough to be left alone.

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Went to the little Sainsbury’s since it’s the only one that usually has a combination of food and no-queues winding up the street. Which was the case again.

I bought some veg and bread and milk and although there was someone at the checkout, I figured the self-checkout is fairer because it doesn’t put the cashier at risk. Anyway, I happily beeped through my items until I got to my loose potato. It has no bar-code, so I pressed the Look up other items button and Veg. No sign of potato. I pressed the Popular items button. No potato. I pressed the help button and a Sainsbury lady cautiously approached, I did my best not to breathe and explained about the lack of potato options.

The cashier shouted over from the tills, ‘You can’t buy a potato at that self checkout till. You have to use that one.’ He gestured at another self-checkout that was occupied. ‘Or this one.’ He gestured at his own till. The Sainsbury lady gave me a Whoops, that’s foolish! expression and I had a chuckle and then bought the single potato at the front till. It cost 39p.

It’s these little moments of the ridiculous that make my day.

Oh and the foxes.

Life’s entertainment has got much smaller, but I don’t think it’s got any less entertaining, although that might be my simple brain.

How about you? Any small moments that made you smile?

 

Me vs. Tree. I lose.

Red Fox cub
As you can see from the watermark, I nicked this from Warren photographic

I’ve been keeping busy in the lockdown.

I was hanging out at the end of my garden today. I pruned the apple tree in winter and I’ve been terrified it wouldn’t bud. However, it’s sprouting like a trooper, blossom abounding, so I was getting a close up look. Then I noticed a fox the other side of the tree, standing staring at me. So I stood and stared at her for a bit. And she stared at me. I thought, This is nice. We’re having a moment. Then she ran over to the fence where a small animal was trundling through a hole into my garden. It looked like a puppy, squat and dark brown, with a stubby tail. I’ve seen fox cubs before, but they didn’t look like that. The fox tried to nudge the pup back through the hole, and when it wouldn’t go she gripped it with her mouth to try and pick it up. I shifted around the tree to get a better look and saw there were four or five of these little puppies squeezing through the hole, ignoring the fox trying to get them back out again. They were crawling underneath her while she tried to sit on them so they couldn’t, all the while still gripping the one pup by the neck. She kept looking over at me warily, no doubt thinking I was up to no good.

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I decided I needed to get my phone to try and get a picture and quickly turned, smacking my face straight into a thick tree branch of my lovely pruned tree. I didn’t knock myself out, but had to sit on the ground for a bit with my head in my hands. When I looked later my eye had gone a bit purple, and there were scratches and bumps across the lid and up my forehead in a clear line.

Anyway, now I’ve looked it up, those dog-like pups are exactly what fox cubs look like when they’re very small. No wonder the fox was protective and suspicious. Hopefully, having seen me walk into a tree she’ll have realised I’m not even slightly a threat.