Quiet for a while

I leave the office at 1pm today and won’t be home again until Friday night. I can’t guarantee having web access until then, so things may be quiet on here. I will attempt to do something stupid to blog about on my return or, failing that, I’ll tell you all about cleaning the loos at Rios one night.

Don’t have too much to eat before reading that one.

Matrix signs

Shooting Parrots today has a post about an idiot common at this time of year: the fog light fan, who doesn’t know the difference between the rear screen demister and the little button that blinds the driver behind you.

Anyway, I’ll let you read his waffle about that and move to another thing that tee’s me off. It’s not drivers. It’s not speed cameras. It’s the matrix signs.

For those outside of the UK who maybe don’t know the term, these are signs randomly dotted up and down the motorways of the UK. They’re simple dot matrix things, usually square, made up of several light bulbs and can display various messages, often fictitious, sometimes wildly apocryphal. In a way, they’re like temporary traffic signs. Only whereas traffic signs warn against a permanent, known issue (give way, danger of frogs crossing, old people who’ll get trapped in your wheel arches if you don’t go over them fast enough and so forth), the matrix signs are designed to deal with temporary or emergency situations.

Sadly, they rarely work. I don’t know who controls them, but they’re either taking the piss most of the time, or they just connect the control panel to a room full of epileptic chickens and flash lights at them for a giggle and see what happens.

The resultant displays seem to fall into three categories:

Stating The Bleeding Obvious – “FOG”. Yes. I know. I can see it. Although for one brief moment, I thought there were 3000 Jamaicans at the side of the road getting high. Or the other favourite “QUEUE”. No shit, Sherlock.

Taunting – “40”. I’m in a queue of traffic. I’ve not moved for 30 minutes. I *want* to do 40. 40 would be paradise. But please tell that to the 185,256 cars in front of me who don’t seem to want to move.

Just plain wrong – “M1 closed J35 to J32”. No. It wasn’t. It was open and had been all day. Instead you directed people on a 50 mile detour down the A1. Why?

The one remaining alternative is for them to remain blank. This usually happens when there is a closed lane or something ahead. Let’s face it, they’re a great idea. They just never bloody work.

The aftermath

Sorry I didn’t get back last night. There was far too much on the TV and half midnight by the time I finished being goggle-eyed. Teachers, some forensics thing on CH5 and then Boomtown, which seems to still be good but has changed the way it “works”. Hmm.

Anyway. Cat. Scissors. Scary.

I let Kim do the cutting while I held KitKat down. This proved to be much harder than I expected it to be. She really doesn’t like people messing with her back end (KitKat, not Kim, though Kim might. I don’t know about that).

Grabbing her scruff, no problem. Keeping her still initially, no problem. Only when she’s flat on the sofa there’s no way to get at the hair round her back end so we had to dangle her over the edge of the sofa. This is OK, apart from the natural reaction when you “scruff” a cat and lift it up… the tail tucks up and runs up their belly. So when I put her down, the tail’s tucked between her legs – exactly where we don’t want it.

So, I’ve got a cat’s scruff, I’m forcing her shoulders onto the couch, trying to pull her tail out from underneath her. This bit, at least, is just awkward. Then the scissors come into the equation.

She’s fine until the end of each *snip*. At the point when the scissor blades come together she starts to struggle. The tail flicks, the back legs start to kick and she had a bloody good go at squirming out from under my hand.

No real danger to either of her two amateur barbers, but it’s hard to trim hair when there are paws and tail flying close to the scissors. Someone suggested using a towel, but she seems to have some kind of phobia. If she so much as sees a towel, she’s off and hissing. I’m guessing this has been tried in the past with little success. And much bloodletting.

Anyway, we managed to get some hair off, but not a whole lot. Frankly, I’d rather knock her out and shave it but that would only lead to far too many disgusting jokes from you lot so I won’t bother.

She did seem OK once we let her go, though, which surprised me. She even stretched out next to me and snuggled while I was watching Boomtown. So I’m either forgiven or being lulled into a false sense of security.

Cat. Female. It’ll be the latter. I await shit in my bed.


Tonight is going to be fun. I have a task to undergo. It’s a quest I’ve set myself and injury may result. Death, possibly, but it would be a slow one by poisoning or blood loss through many small cuts.

You see, the problem is this: KitKat has taken to going out in the evening for her late-night ablutions. This is a good thing in that it means she’s less likely to use her litter tray (and in the process cover the bathroom floor with grit when she “digs”). Conversely, it has its downfalls in that she inevitably returns with “clunkers”.

This is a Kim word. My scatty housemate has coined this term as an alternative to “winnets” or “tagnuts“. Look them up, be disgusted but hey – she’s a cat with long hair. These things happen. Mind you, these lumps are half the size of my thumb in some cases, so something must be done.

Hence tonight’s task. With Kim’s aid (not that I’ve asked her yet), I aim to pin KitKat down (using the neck scruff / rag doll technique) and clip the hair around her rusty sheriff’s badge.

If I can still type with two fingers, I’ll report once things are done. I don’t know who’s looking forward to this the least.


Resting against the side, it stared at me. Daring me to go near it. A look of pure evil and a glint as it reflected the strong overhead bulb made me back off suddenly in fear and revulsion.

How was I to deal with this perilious situation in which I found myself? No weapons were within reach and to use my bare hands just wasn’t a thought worth contemplating – a horrendous fate would surely result.

Instead, I let it lie there… taunting me. It polluted its immediate environment, the stench starting to reach my nostrils. I could see patterns in the water as it leaked outwards, spreading its foulness.

I could take it no more. I reached out. And with a desperate move… I flushed.

Someone should really do something about the plumbing in this place. Far too often, I find floaters left lying in wait for me.