The Curious Incident of the Cat in the Night Time

"Miaoooooooooooooow? Miaoooow? Miaooooow? MIAOOOOOOOOOOW!?"

Plaintive, wailing and for hours at a time. Night after night. World without end.

Theo and I are doing the most scarily accurate impersonations of pandas at the moment. (You know, dark-ringed eyes? That sort of panda, not the red ones... although they are cute and furry and I do need to shave my legs...not that I'm that ginger, more a hint of chestnut... and it would be immodest and inaccurate to describe myself as cute, particularly as I'm in my late 30s and cute isn't generally an adjective that applies to someone crashing headlong into middle age...although I do have the general figure of a panda, sort of round and I quite like bamboo shoots, as long as they are in a nice gingery, garlicky, spring oniony sauce...but I digress...) Oh yes, and the lack of sleep is also not helping my concentration very much either, nor my temper or craving for sweet things.

Mew? Miaow? MIAAAAAAOOOOOOOWWW! *scratch scratch scratch*

Outside the bedroom door. Night after night. Ceaseless, relentless, tireless.

We had thought that we'd fixed the feline "vocalisations". We read almost everything on the subject and came up with a range of solutions. We tried knackering the furry bugger out with energetic play before bedtime; changing feeding time to encourage post-prandial snoozing; the administration of tryptophan-rich drops to food and -the one we thought had worked - the use of a pheremone diffuser.

"M-otherf*cking-IIIAOOOOOOW, human slaves! MIAOOW, MIAOW, MMMMMMIIIAAAAAAOOOOOOWWWWWW! *bwha ha ha...*"

The last week or so, the howling has been back with a vengeance. We had thought it might be down to a run-out diffuser, but we changed it and the howls continued.Theo and I are feeling haggard and despairing, wondering what the hell has set the fluffy one off again? Is it something we've done? Is she traumatised? In pain? Bored? Evil? What has happened that is making the howly-yowlyiness so urgent and persistent?

"Mew. Mew. Mew..."

I am thinking of looking for an exorcist, just in case she is possessed or haunted.

Next stop the V.E.T. for cat tranqs/anti-depressants...
- Do you think she knows this and is just after the drugs?

Civic Duty...

Oh bugger.

I've been called to be a juror at the local High Court. As you might imagine, I'm delighted by this. Joy unabounden. The prospect of having to spend days 0n end jammed in a courtroom listening to the grim details of some sordid crime fills me with the same sort of glee as paying a large bill or queueing - it's an irritation and yet I know it's something I have to do as a " good citizen".

It's not my first bout of jury duty either - I was called to the courts in Norwich during a long vacation at Uni. Then, I was terrified of the ordeal, imagining untold bloody horrors or worse - a re-enactment of scenes from Rumpole of the Bailey. In the end it was grim, but nowhere near as grim as I'd feared (in fact the worst bit was being holed up all day with my fellow jurors - I remember getting incensed at some random bloke's discussion of Star Trek:Voyager as being "that series with the 'ranga* woman and the sooty Vulcan" - the casual racism was the bit that did for me. And the dismissive sexism I was met with - being told I was being a silly little girl and to let the men speak - when I attempted to challenge him on it pretty much confirmed my worst fears of the jury system: the people who make decisions in juries just aren't equipped for the job of being dispassionate, disinterested and just. It's a miracle of the legal system that justice is ever done...)

Anyhow, it's not for a couple of weeks, but I thought I'd get my grump in early. I'm just hoping that even if I get called as a juror, I don't actually get picked to serve on a jury. (Of course, I will get picked - it's sod's law and one to which I am often susceptible. Grr...)

* 'ranga= orangutan- late 80's/ early 90's slang for person with red hair.


BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Leona Lewis to pen autobiography

(Extract from first draft...

"I went to school and stuff. Then I left school and I worked at a pizza place. It was alright. Then I entered a singing competition and won. Then I released a single and lots of people bought it, and I released another and more people bought it, even people in America. Then I sang an old song on top of a double decker bus in China. I sang with an old man who could play guitar a bit. It was very high up and I had a nice dress like a fairy princess. Then I sang another song that was by some sort of rock group but so it would sound different it sang it really, really slowly. Then I got paid lots of money to write about my life. The END. " )

Next - Sunday Roast Urban Kidman's Autobiography; "Things I Have Done in my Nappy: a life in pictures"

"Morris dancing 'extinction' fear"

BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Arts & Culture | Morris dancing 'extinction' fear

No! Morris Dancing must be preserved! It's very nearly all the English have got left as a unique expression of Englishness!

Maybe if they remarketed it as a dangerous sport it would have more appeal... Or if the Morris outfits were to be re-fashioned by Wayne Hemingway or Paul Smith... Or if it didn't look quite so daft... Hmmm...

(BTW, Happy Slightly Soiled -but still within guarantee- New Year. The Seasonal Festivities thing all sort of happened in a blur - more of which some other time - but 2009 has started OK: long may it continue! Well, until 2010 at least...)