Monday, 15 August 2016

TRY A LITTLE TENDERNESS

She cried a little in the car,Yum-Yum, on the way to the vet's but responded to my many GoodGirls said, even so, she wasn't happy; not a car cat, her only trips had been to the vet and she didn't like me, anyway; she was mrs ishmael's cat, inasmuch as she was anyone's.

She and her brother, Co-Co, had just arrived one day, in the byre, their mother having been the second generation of feral cat to occupy that space,  they were beautiful, like all new-born kittens, she ginger with a hooped tail, he dark grey with a white  chest.

It has just become a fact of life, these past ten years, that we clean and renew their bedding, feed them, catch and drag them to the vets as and when and heat the byre on cold nights.  There's an old Rayburn in there but I haven't been well enough to sort it out and so there have been a series of electric radiators plugged-in, through the winter months;  crazy, but what can you do; anthropomorphy murders Reason.

When Buster passed away we tried briefly to domesticate the pair of them, have them indoors, and while I think Yum-Yum  wanted to, her brother certainly didn't and he howled like a banshee if they were separated.  I tried, one night, bringing him in to the kitchen but he ran around the walls and across the ceiling, like a demented cartoon cat.

We had compromised this last year by having  a cat-flap fitted in the new, £600 back conservatory door and before I knew it there were beds and litter trays and feeding apparatus everywhere, and I couldn't even get to my saw, never mind use it;  the whole place, packed with good quality, cased power tools, since my shed blew down in a gale, was impenetrable.  I may as well just have had  a wooden hammer with a loose head and a Quality Street tin of rusty screws.

I am however, relentlessly patient and where many blokes I have known would put, as they say, their foot down, big-time and evict the semi-feral animals, I just grumbled from time to time, well, probably more than from time to time but certainly not all the time. I'd never make a farmer, I squirm at the thought of poisoning wood beetles and since I stopped eating meat, a couple of years back, I have grown worse, if worse is the word, I dunno.

Yum-Yum, anyway, was diagnosed a year ago with something horrible in her mouth, after some antibiotics she picked-up for a while but had been almost imperceptibly going down hill for a few months; she still walked the garden, along the walls; she loved basking in the sunshine, she would still greet us imperiously when we arrived in the car and I had taken to buying her the very best cat food I could find, tiny little tins of what must have been the feline equivalent of Beluga caviar, at about a pound a gramme, which was varied with stocks of haddock and kippers from the freezer, dating from when we still ate fish.  I never begrudge those expenses, I may have mentioned previously an experience I had as a kid, working in a hotel;  the old battleaxe housekeeper, Margaret, every other lunch time, would buy from the bar a small brandy to take out; it was for her ailing cat, and I suspect a sip for herself, too.  You may mock, young ishmael, she reproved me, but them no point in 'avin' 'em, me duck, not if you'm no' gonna look after 'em.  I have never forgotten Margaret and her cat brandy.  And my old friend, Hodcroft, the poet; we had a meeting scheduled one night, some pretend board meeting of a pretend charity;  Hodcroft sent his apologies, which I, true to my then form, mocked;  he had to stay home with his beloved cat, Sampson, who was dying.  Sampson was one of those expensive -Ese cats, Siamese, Burmese, I dunno, who dominated Hodcroft, then a confirmed bachelor, completely, but he was right, of course he was, to comfort his companion animal as she died.  I have never forgotten that, either, my crassness. 

Yum-Yum's recent cosseting, therefore,  owes much to people she never knew.

I speak as though her care was all my doing but it wasn't, it was mrs ishmael who worried and tended and fed both the cats.  I think all I did was not be the sort of man I may have been if I hadn't met Hodcroft and Margaret and mrs ishmael and all those gracious enough to comment and guide here, down all these years.

Today's care, however, rightly fell to me.  I soothed her in the car and I carried her into the vet's antispetic little room. I had expected her to show signs of distress but either her illness had made her indifferent to her surroundings or my attempts at trancing her out had borne some fruit.  I learned some self-hypnosis from mrs ishmael, who, as well as papering the walls with degrees is a qualified hypnotherapist, and I learned some Zen just from being. Maybe it's just age but somehow I have learned how to share and spread a calm centre.

In any event, today's  was quite the nicest and best of those experiences.  I stroked Yum-Yum for five minutes -  something  she had never let me do - while the sedative worked, GoodGirling  her constantly and then just a few seconds after the intravenous injection she very quietly just stopped living.

We will not, though, by her gentle passing, be completely spared Sorrow and Guilt.
Yum-Yum and Co-Co were like one animal, often curled-up together, tails entwined and although he would go roaming most days they were always reunited by bed-time. It's dusk, now, and he hasn't been since since lunch-time but I expect to hear him shouting soon. 

I obtained a sedative for him from the vet, to be sprinkled on his food, for a while, to calm his anxiety; but his loss will not, like ours, be alleviated by Yum-Yum's gentle death;  these two have been together every day of their lives and his loss, therefore, will only mirror that which we must all face, most of us, one way or another.
I'll go and look for him, try to ease his worried mind.
Some chance.

93 comments:

Dick the Prick said...

Ah, poor Co-Co - he will have known she was poorly for some time but still, where the fuck is she will be going round in his head. Well done though - St John's ambulancing, food banking and cat flapping new doors - accommodating, sharing, helping in times where needed; good on ya both.

Never easy putting cats to sleep but it does make you think those Dignitas fellas have the right idea. Sure, one would hope that medical technology is slightly better than veterinary but to get given the option when fucked either way seems a rational kindness.

I know a few people these days who have house cats - literally never let the fucks out because of busy roads or fear of their escape and that's some sharia shit is that; fucking weirdos, get a fucking goldfish. Woman down the road keeps rabbits in her cellar over winter and it absolutely reeks - seriously, went round once and nearly projectiled on admittance. Pets are ace but, yer know, let's not take the err...piss!

Hope he turns up alright - he may have gone to the kitty pub for a few days on the lash.

Anonymous said...

Mr Ish, that's a fine essay, as was the Buster elegy back down the road. The following is a sonnet by Don Paterson; seems appropriate. It's in his "40 Sonnets" and was also published in the Guardian, whence I've copied & pasted the text.

v.//

"Mercies"

She might have had months left of her dog-years,
but to be who? She’d grown light as a nest
and spent the whole day under her long ears
listening to the bad radio in her breast.
On the steel bench, knowing what was taking shape
she tried and tried to stand, as if to sign
that she was still of use, and should escape
our selection. So I turned her face to mine,
and seeing only love there – which, for all
the wolf in her, she knew as well as we did –
she lay back down and let the needle enter.
And love was surely what her eyes conceded
as her stare grew hard, and one bright aerial
quit making its report back to the centre.

call me ishmael said...

Thanks, mr dick. It probably is as you say, that Co-Co will have known she was ill and may even know, by the same intuition, that she has left. He does have visiting rights at the barn in the neighbouring farm and perhaps he'll just upsticks and live there, with company.

The house cat situation which you mention is just a confirmation that it simply isn't their world, the pets, companions, whatever you call the animal friends and is partly why we live relatively remotely, well, there isn't a busy road for some miles. The world is just not safe for unacompanied animals; regularly, even here, one hears of cats and dogs mown down by people who haven't a nano-second to spare. It happened to us in the Midlands and when, three-dogged-up, we were looking for a home here it had to be down a track, off a lane, adjoining a B-road and with a big, walled garden; that meeting those requirements has proved delightful for us is just a bonus, an unsought reward.

Thanks for your kind words, I hope he is on the piss, drowning his sorrows in novelty, perhaps.

call me ishmael said...

Thanks, mr verge, that's well put. I was spared that momentary resistance - "she tried and tried to stand" - although it wasn't as though Yum-Yum was "co-operating" or anything like that; there was just a smooth gentleness about the whole procedure. I was calm, the staff were calm, Yum-Yum was pharmaceutically calmed and things just flowed until she stopped. I know that moment which Paterson describes,of the light going out in the animal's eyes, I had a Yorky die in my arms after being hit by a car driven by a man with no alibi, save that he didn't care about things, and that's no alibi at all - little Frankie could just as easily have been a kid, kids just come out of nowhere, you need to be watchful, in the suburbs, you need to be watchful everywhere, but Yum-Yum's eyes just closed, gently. Maybe, too, not being a poet, I didn't wring that moment out of the event; I just wanted things calm and peaceful, for all of us, no drama, no petry. And yes, I did - indeed am - reflecting on that Dignitas thing which mr dick mentioned. We learn so much from them, the other creatures, don't we?

Mike said...

That's a sad story Mr I, although it was the humane thing to do. Please keep us posted on Co-Co. I often say to people that I love my pug more than my kids - its true. It scares me when these sort of thoughts go through my mind.

call me ishmael said...

I'm afraid you'd just be the latest in a long list who've expressed those sentiments to me, mr mike and it is perfectly understandable that people imfantilise their companion animals - we will never communicate with them other than through conditioned, tonal commands and through some strange closed circuit of babytalk; we are talking to ourselves, really, aren't we, most of the time, expressing our kindness, of which the dog becomes a repository and a representation, of course we would rather lose anything than lose what the dog represents of ourselves. Almost every dog-lover I have ever met has said the same thing as you. I say it, too. i mean, kids just grow into people with whom you differ, marry ghastly people you don't like - or only pretend to like - , whose parents you definitely don't like and then present you with grandchildren that are only a little bit to do with you and expect you to empty your pockets to them now and forevermore and shit yourself in gratitude for them fucking each other, and giving you, as they say, grandchilden. Nah, gimme a bogbloke any day, even the neighbours' dogbloke is better than kids and grandkids.

Strange thing. I was in the Inverness Holiday Inn the other night, going down in the lift to take Harris for a pee and when the lift door opened there was a trio of Chinese geezers blocking my exit from the lift. The fat fuck on my left was staring from me to Harris with a look of revulsion on his face, I guess he was amazed by there being dogs allowed in the rooms, the trio was frozen, Harris and I couldn't get out and they couldn't get in. I leaned right into the fat Chinaman's face and snapped Move! Now! And they all did, muttering. I barged past them hissing: This is my country and we love dogs, we don't fucking eat them. They gave me a wide berth at breakfast.

Doug Shoulders said...

I have a cat too Mr I. She adopted me, as folk say. Turned up one day ten years ago. I fed her once or twice and she decided she’d stay. Couldn’t get her into the house though..she’d want straight back out..didn’t trust me I suppose.
Stayed in the garage at night and slept in the garden all day. And that was it…resident. Winter came and she got one of those cat bed things bought for her. There’s a door at the rear of the garage which has an aperture cut in there for her. It’s the size to suit a cat flap but I didn’t get round to installing one.
No thanks for all that..just a disdainful look as she passes on her way to her favourite spot. ..a sun trap in the corner where she lies baking in her black coat until she decides she needs the shade.
I have little time for the bloody thing. If I understood cat language I’d say that all the meowing when I appear in the morning and when I get back from work is just her saying…where the hell have you been? Where’s my food?
She's smart enough to know which side her bread is buttered on but not smart enough to know that I know that too.
Or maybe she is smart enought to know that too. After all, she has the upper hand in the relationship.
We'll be leaving this house soon. She'll be coming with us. She probably knows that too.

Mike said...

Mr I: since Mr Pug became a member of the family I've observed he is very intelligent - can't speak for other dogs. His sense of hearing, sight, smell and taste are way beyond human comprehension; he can run faster than me and jump higher. He can count - he knows his daily allowance of treats. He has moods and displays them with his facial expressions. A German scientist would note that the size of his head (brain) relative to body mass is equal to or greater than that of a human - ergo who is to say that his power of reasoning is not greater. He generally dislikes TeeVee, but likes to watch the nightly news. That we talk to them in infantile language and they choose not to respond is a measure of their understanding.

I think we overestimate our superiority.

Dick the Prick said...

Your calling in Anglo-Sino diplomacy has been a loss to the nation, Mr Smith. That cunt Kim Il Jung (is it, can't remember - the porcine NK dude) is reported in the Daily Angry as advising his prisoner citizens to eat dogs with the best preparation being to beat them to death to add flavour. What a cunt. It's obviously an outpost of China's foreign policy, their reluctance to swat the cunt to task but it exposes a fucking horrible aspect of their culture.

As mentioned, i'm planning a bit of an expedition eastwards and no-one has a good word to say about China or its natives. A vegetarian paki mate of mine went with her sisters for a while, after their mum died, and they all ended up living on McDonalds for the duration, which is rather fucking drastic. Even me and my Polish work colleague (whose love of red meat is either cultural or neurotic) had to draw the line at more than 2 visits to Maccy D's per week. Hoisin sauce perhaps is their only gastronomic victory yet I assume any member of any Women's Institute would deride me as being an ignorant buffoon stating that it's an inferior jam that never receives a medal or is even judged in anything other than the girl scout category.

Eating cats and dogs may have something to do with vermin infestations maybe - feed the rats to the cats then boil up the cat, but if not then it's just fucking disgusting because chickens and rabbits are so much tastier and cheaper. And how the fuck anyone can justify inhumane slaughtering methods is beneath contempt - cheeky bastards.

sammo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
sammo said...

yes, you prick, Dick: 'tis an inferior jam they eat, a jam made from the first menstrual issue of all first-born goats, and yes, it IS capers, adding that ticklish bite. Call yourself a man of the world? Piffle. I heartily recommend eating dog whilst in China -- so tasty. If you have false teeth and the meat hasn't been prepared well there's occasionally a stray hair to pick from betwixt the plastic and the palate, but no more than when muff-diving your Missus on her birthday.

all the best, Ishmael,
Maureen from the WI.

Doug Shoulders said...

As thon eedjit politician declared during the horse meat brooha. "We don't eat predators in this country"

Dick the Prick said...

Thanks Maureen - sounds delish! Seriously tho, I had rice noodles for perhaps the 1st time the other week and obviously they're subsistence food but, ffs, compared to egg noodles they're shite.

call me ishmael said...

I obviously phrased that badly, mr mike, and have put it better in other contexts; I think it was to mr dick, no, it wasn't, forgive me, it was someone else, it'll come to me, maybe mr richard, about how Harris is attuned to all the creatures in the grounds and in the fields beyond, whilst I see only him and the odd bird and the cows. Harris likes Radio Three but none of the others and he tolerates televisoon but is happier without it.

Theirs is a different sensory perception, it is said, although I don't know how anyone knows, that dogs see only in black and white and I'll never forget Desmond Morris saying that a dog's sense of smell is thirty thousand times as strong as ours, that they see in smells.

I didn't mean that they are inferior -although they could not survive without us, most of them - just that our conventional, iner-personal forms of communication are, at best, inadequate.

Whatever we do, though, the worms will have us all, in the end, which is the beginning.

call me ishmael said...

One thing I know about Chinky cuisine, mr dick, is that the emperors of old ate only the crispy duck skin, throwing the flesh to their inferiors, that shows you what a bunch of cunts they are, well, it shows me.

You are still bent, I see, on traversing a troubled and risky world, when you should be standing as an independent conservative in an election near you, somewhere. This is no time for Easy Riding.

call me ishmael said...

Thank you, mr sammo, but permit me just to mention that mr dick is native here and to the manner born but even if he were not I would eschew the calumnising of his ora-genital habits, if he, indeed, engages in such; this is a courtesy afforded all who visit, regularly or occasionally.

As for the eating of dogs, well, apart from anything else, it's just so fucking uncouth, isn't it?

call me ishmael said...

It was the crook, Grant Schitts, wasn't it, mr doug, said that we Brits don't like DobbinBurgers, because we don't eat predators, although what he said was animals wot eat other animals. This was on Question Time and if Bullingdon Dave Dimbleny was worth a farthing of his salary he'd have ripped strips off the stupid, worthless, thieving cunt.

Doug Shoulders said...


Don't know who it was but worthless all the same.
Any interviewer worth his/her salt would have had a right go at him for that. But there are none and in any case, tearing strips off is reserved only for those who are not with the PBC agenda.
They tried roughing up a Russian ambassador once on QT…At every turn he provided them with a lesson in how to deal with stupid arseholes and stupid arsehole questions.

call me ishmael said...

Have you sorted a new house, then, mr doug, for you and the cat?

Dick the Prick said...

So they were saying that the horse is a predator? Maybe they were blinded by the undimmed light of their fuckwittery - sort of a brain delay whilst triple checking what had just happened.

Yeah as per buggering off for a bit. Still seems to be a plan of action. Get my house fixed up (for which potential letting requirement is being used as perhaps the only incentive) and just see how it goes. I've got quite a bit of cash but am in a bit of a pointless job and am sort of vaguely aware that my motivation has got up and fucked off. Usually I would be putting my effort into getting another job but i'm not sure i'd be much inclined to do that at the moment. May only fuck off for 6 months or so and what with internet stuff being so convenient, well, there appears to be some logic to it all. In fact, if I hate it that may prove a massive bonus - come back saying 'you know that rest of the world place, it's shite' - hee hee!

call me ishmael said...

It was Grant Schapps, he said that British people didn't like eating horsemeat because they didn't like eating animals which ate other animals, honest, not invent; he was a government minister at the time, although not for eating, or farming or horse-racing and he should, of course, be in jail, like most of them.

You must travel as you will, mr dick, it is just that we will fret about you being burned alive in a cage by Ahmed and his mates, he has mates even where you're going, he has mates everywhere.

That rest of the world is shite maxim, it's what I breathe every time I turn into my own quiet bay.

yardarm said...

Very moving post, Mr Ishmael

call me ishmael said...

Just thinking out-loud, mr yardarm, quietly.

Doug Shoulders said...

Not quite there yet Mr Ish. We’re looking for a doer upper. Something to put our own stamp on and work away at. In my part of the world, when that kind of house comes up, it ends up a bidding war and we’re not making daft offers.
There is one that we’re looking at right now but there are two factors that need close consideration. 1. It’s too bloody big for just the three of us. (And my daughter will be leaving soon anyway). It’s too bloody expensive for the missus to handle the mortgage on her own before I sell mine. The two home tax that the gov introduced means I’d need to stump up nearly 8 grand if I don’t sell mine.
We don’t need the house but we want it. Is that so bad? We both liked it the minute we walked in…why? Just cos.. something about it.
It still has the servants bells working and all that kind of palaver, the staircase might be oak, couldn’t really tell at the time….all sorts of nooks and crannies…what’s not to like?
For the first time in my life I find myself in a pleasant predicament.

DtP said...

Dear Mr Smith

I live in Hudds, more Ahmeds than you can shake a large stick at - typing this on my mate Abdul's 'pute after waking up here after an awesome evening. He's a teacher and has been helping me remember how to be a hobo - how to stop working; 20 years ambition was for Brexit, not for me. It's taking a while to realise what victory is. Thailand isn't that mental to the casual observer, namely me - they just had a referendum whereby the peeps voted to maintain military coup because their Prime Ministers have a habit of embezzling their cash and buying Manchester City Football Club for nearly a billion quid. Peeps objected. Some blogger did get imprisoned for taking the piss out of the King's dog tho- 3 months! We can both agree we could do with more details - both sides of the case and all that!! Don't take the piss out of a man's dog unless you want your head caved in. They have a rich culinary tradition too - they use the chicken wisely.

When you can't even visit France without doing Ray Mears' advice then the fan's already covered in shit. One of those 7/7 bombers came from a couple of miles away - my mum knew his mum - the Rubicon was just a stream and all that.

My best mate has a couple of kids with a fucking mentalist yet she's taken them to Skye for the week with her best chum; not just best part of England in weather like this - Scotland is the best part of the world on days like this.

Love to you and hugs 'n' kisses to yours

DtP

mongoose said...

We do seriously need organised religion banned. Do whatever you want to do but the moment you demand anyone else do anything or respect anything you can take a hike, as the Cousins say. Fucking muslim-only sessions at swimming pools? Are we insane? Where are the Jedi sessions?

And why do we need to ensure that yesterday's locked up joker does not radicalise anyone in prison? Do we not have dungeons? An oubliette yet. Hopeless deceitful fucker - too pissed to pass his med school exams is what I heard. He's gone all uberAbdul to cover his own failure and anger. Arse. Needs a kicking.

Did the other cat turn up yet?

SG said...

Ah yes, Mr Mongoose,  Andy!! Here he is in earlier, perhaps happier, times:

http://i1.mirror.co.uk/incoming/article8645165.ece/ALTERNATES/s615b/PAY-Anjem-Choudary-pictured-swilling-back-another-can-of-lage.jpg

I was trying to find an clip of a debate between Andy and some  Muslim Scholar broadcast on Canadian TV some while ago, in which the latter ripped the former a new one, as it were, basically exposing him as a fake sheikh - but I ain't turned it up yet. In the meantime, here's Mr Condell, back in 2010,  if you can stand him, on the same subject. To be fair, I think he had the measure of 'our' Andy:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=winu_C_X5mw

Bungalow Bill said...

These things do matter. The Mower by the Hull misanthrope, Mr Larkin, is worth a look if you don't know it.

call me ishmael said...

I have about three and a half thousand square feet, for two of us and Harris, mr doug, and I might downsize, as that say, to three thousand, if I could get a few more acres. Sometimes, all I need is the air that I breathe. The issue with size is one of maintainance and heating, not one of being able to use the space. I don't know how it came about that so many settle for living on top of one another, Buy big, and then you won't need to be wasting money on holidays. That house sounds good.

call me ishmael said...

I agree, broadly, mr mongoose, and was hugely impressed by one of the Republican presidential contenders, Billy Singh, I think, who said, amongst other things, we don't need no more hyphenated Merkins; if y'all wanna be Asian-Merkins y'all should stay in Asialand. If yer comin' to Merka it should be to become Merkins, not Asian-Merkins; it is superficially trite and uncaring, heedless of separate cultural heritage. Blind Boy Blunkett proposed something along those lines but he's a nasty fucked-up moron. There should just be a bit less worship of Diversity. I remember that damned hobgoblin, Robin Cook, gobbing-off, patronisingly about how Chicken Tikka Masala was noe the British national dish; bollocvks, isn't it, filthy fucking rubbish. I'd go and piss in that swimming pool if it was near me.

The reason that we don't throw folks into an oubliette, as I am sure you know, is not just that we would forget about them but that we wouldn't want ourselves or are blessed and gifted children to be thrown into one and therefore we don't have them at all. It's the price of love, that some will eschew reform and redemption, that many of lawnforcement and legislature are criminal, those are adjuncts to the fact that we neither hang, flog nor forget. And anyway, I don't understand this radicalisation stick with which they beat us. Tony Blair, New Labour and the Tories have radicalised millions all across the globep; who gives a fuck about this guy; he looks like Cat Stevens to me. He's another one, isn't he, Cat Stevens.

Organised religion, you and I, we've been through that and this is not our fate, yet there is something important to me about Choral Evensong on Radio Three, about many coming together to recite and pray and worship, about the idea, at any rate, of mr bungalow bill's observations and duties, even for agnostics. It was you, first raised, here, the notion of the Islamic Reformation and it may yet set ablaze our own part of the world.

No sign of Co-Co, I have been up to the local farm and he has never-ever been there, they tell me; I'll search further afield, up on the high ground, although he doesn't travel by road, does he?

call me ishmael said...

And to you, mr dick, and to you.

call me ishmael said...

This guy has passed me by, mr sg, with all his infamy. I though the Capo di Capi was that poor man with no hands, wossisname, Hamza, he won't have his sorrows to seek, will he, being a guest of Uncle Sam, in one of his torture institutions, being radicalised some more.

call me ishmael said...

Thanks, mr bungalow bill, short'n'sweet, that. Dwelling in a universe of infinite paranoid possibilities I am always cautious, on my mower, of rodents and birds' nesting places and even so I do mass murder. The geese nest here, on the ground, and the farmers hate them, driving over the young in the nests with some slicing attachment behind their tractors, they think it's great sport.

And rich Italians come in groups to shoot the geese, not to eat them, just to kill them. Oughta be a law against that. At least the ghastlies, down in Scotland, make some pretence of eating the grouse which they joyfully slaughter.

I think if I caught a farmer doing that, I'd punch his teeth out, in the public interest.

mongoose said...

A re-education camp then, Mr Ishmael. We could send the lad up to you in Orkney. And you could have him bury the goslings. Farmers, eh? I have spent some time recently with some dairy types and good grief, they are a grim bunch.

These are though different ends of the telescope. A daft lad stirred to hatred and stupidity is much the same in Afghanistan as Armagh, Connemara or Basra. That violence breeds itself is understood. But Andy Abdul is built of darker stuff. He is the IRA Quartermaster safe in his bed while his nieces and nephews are providing fodder for the Paras. The bastard spouts a completely spurious and vile 2000AD comic book version of Islam, and causes children to meet death and moral destruction merely because he is a wastrel cunt. To his version of hell with him.

And yer man could look for the cat too. There is time yet for one of them to return to the fold.

Doug Shoulders said...

Indeed, it’s a 5000 quid a year energy bill according to the home report. I don’t know how they work that out though. Huddling round the fire would be the way to go..wouldn't be the first time..
When I were a lad it was one of my jobs to put the fire on in the morning before I went out and did the paper run.
My dad would get up when I was away and then get the water heated. This was done by the coal fire. You’d pull a plate at the top and the flames would be drawn underneath the back wall to a boiler situated there.
Doubles the efficiency of a coal fire.
These days folk have a log burner in their house for ornamental purposes. I’d like to have one and use it along with a back boiler.

call me ishmael said...

it's a whole other thing, energy, mr doug; we have all sorts, a Rayburn which heats part of the house and cooks beautifully, and burns some rubbish, there's a good source of used pallets locally - you can buy an adequate chain saw in LIDL for less than eighty pounds and the work of sourcing and stacking is enjoyable; my ordinary jobs and projects generate kindling and once you start seeing it there's just a blizzard of laflets and free 'papers and magaziners and a mind-bending amount of packaging, especially from Amazon and in the winter we don't walk to the compost heaps but dampen the fire down with peeliongs and what have you but mainly we use coal; newer log burners, I understand, are more efficient; we have an oil-fired combi-boiler heating radiatorts and water and we also have a couple of open fires, and some storage heaters; we have just renewed thirty windows and some doors, and in Scotland there are all sorts of government schemes to help with energy efficiency, especially insulation.

Some people grow and burn willow, in some mad eco-furnace; there are ways of being a bit self-sufficient, fuel-wise. We have just bought a biggish shredder and I am working my way through hundreds of metres of old hedging and trees which need drastic pruning, the green stuff goes to compost but the old, dry wood goes to mulch and it could equally well go in the Rayburn.

I think only the smarmy metrosexuals on Grand Designs ever get the energy equasion quite right, for the rest of us, it's one of those things which keeps us interested and alive. I'm always knocked-out when I see those German and French houses with tons of neatly chopped logs piled-up alongside and I wish we had moved there, instead of to the best part of England; never mind, in another lifetime, maybe.

If you do buy a big old housee the local coluncil will have loads of people just desperate to give you free energy advicer and maybe access to grants. Be brave.

call me ishmael said...

You had me lolling out loud, there, mr mongoose. AS I said, I didn't follow the career path of Mr Andy but I am sure your assessment is correct and one wonders why our government didn't offer him a place on the Great Latrine of State, as it did with Mr Kneecaps and Mr Gerry KiddyBeast; maybe he needs to kill three thousand, maim ten times as many and cause billions of poundsworth of damage to be considered worthy.

More widely I have often suggested some open-air, non-militaristic national service as a remedy for loutism and corrosive idleness, there being simply not enough lottery money to make millionaire athletes/advertising personalities of all our young nitwits. Five million pounds apiece these medals have cost us, and another crop of ghastly, grinning, braying entitlementistas pollutes the media. I am sure it'd be cheaper for everyone in sport just to take drugs. And I wonder what Andy Mutant and his team of coaches and fluffers and hangers-on have to with Olympic ideals. Is it nearly over, this showbiz shit, hop-skip-and-jumping fuckwits desperate for celebrity millionairehood?

Doug Shoulders said...

Thank you Sir, for your advice. There are plans for range cooker of sorts, hopefully one that will burn stuff too.
I chuckled a bit when you mentioned how you go about cutting stuff. A friend of mine has a log burner and bought the LIDL chainsaw. He gets his fuel from stuff washed up on the beach. Don’t know how that saw deals with the sodden wood and occasional hardwoods that he finds.

mongoose said...

Excellent! Guess who last winter broke his chainsaw beyond repair?

Woman on a Raft said...

It is a long-shot, Mr Ishmael, but do you have or could you get hold of valerian tea bags? They are usually sold as sleep-inducing, which indeed they are. The odd thing about valerian is that while to my mind it smells like old socks, to cats it is one of the best things they ever sniffed.

If you strung up some valerian teabags near the catflap or Coco's customary haunt, there are few cats which could resist coming to rub against them. You don't have to make the tea - let alone drink it - the cats come to investigate the source of the smell. It does mean that every cat will come, but if Coco is amongst them at least you will know where he is.

SG said...

Not to worry Mr I - Uncle Sam has found a good use for Abu Hamza:

http://www.shipoffools.com/gadgets/home_garden/media/abu_hamza_hooks.jpg

Every home should have one - dead handy so he is!...

Caratacus said...

Late arrival here, Mr. I - apologies.

This connectedness with other species is a precious thing. And I really believe that anthropomorphism sometimes has little to do with it. Because I used to work with wild animals many, many years ago - big cats, bears, elephants etc. - I was quickly disabused of any that old nonsense and realised that if my work was to proceed with any kind of equanimity I would have to become one of them, rather than expect them to behave like recalcitrant humans. We settled down to a mutually respectful relationship which taught me much over the three years I was there. In later years, as the Memsahib insisted we share our home with a succession of dogs and cats, I have employed similar standards to good effect ... much to the surprise of some people. To behave like a dog is to risk being viewed with some distaste in more rarefied circles. No I didn't piss up the neighbour's roses, neither did I shag anything that moved - but power play and pecking orders have to be ruthlessly applied if one is to enjoy anything like a peaceful life.

Mr. Coco may surprise you yet as he settles to his new existence ...

SG said...

Meanwhile, your old friend, Gideon, has surfaced in 'Nam Mr I - playing with big boys' toys... I wonder who he was aiming at as he was loosing off them rounds?...

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/watch-george-osborne-go-rambo-8660787

call me ishmael said...

Only electric ones, mr mongoose, not petrol, but fine for my purposes, pallets, telegraph poles, sleepers, and any hunting parties which might happen by.

call me ishmael said...

Yes, don't go for an oil-fired stove, mr doug, the fire is the elemental thing, the smell of woodsmoke in the air as you come home. You can get used ones for next to nothing, my Rayburn Royale is from the 'fifties, I paid a hundred quid, years ago, and it works fine and you can stil get parts. Chimney sweeping is crucial but there is a new, kind of flail-brush, which operates on a long flexi-cable from a normal drill, you just shove it up the flue until it comes out at the top, thirty five feet up, in my case; it is said to be sensitive at the ends and so only dislodges soot and not stonework, I had a guy do mine recently but next time I'll investigate the tool, myself, althougfh I have done it for years just with rods.

Mike said...

Be careful burning sleepers and suchlike. They are impregnated with creosote and other noxious chemicals. Burned these once on an open fire and nearly died of poisoning.

SG said...

The 'limpicks' and 'Andy' in perspective:

http://hitchensblog.mailonsunday.co.uk/2016/08/peter-hitchens-gold-for-synchronised-sunburn-and-self-delusion-goes-to.html

I am not a regular frequenter of The 'Hate' on Sunday but there is much in what the 'Hitch' has to say here...

Doug Shoulders said...

Chimney sweeping? Blood hell. Still ‘suppose …chimneys don’t sweep themselves. And if there ain’t no chimney sweeps left as far as I can see

Come the Apocalypse, or the country being overrun with ne’er-do-wells, all these skills will be essential.

SG said...

There's shit loads of them down here Mr Doug, but then we do have a lot of old houses with fireplaces - demand and supply (the correct way round)! We do have a few 'ne're-do-wells' too, albeit that there's not much demand for them. That said, they do support the local pub and betting 'industries' - a symbiotic collaboration between the State and Capitalism (supply and demand I suppose...).

tdg said...

While on the subject of socio-medical interactions, that medicine is subsidiary to social trends, even when they are obviously counter-intuitive, is elegantly illustrated by the story of the unnaturally superior south African athlete who has been labeled as a woman with high testosterone. In fact, though nobody says it, she has an xy phenotype and is just partially resistant to androgens. She differs from a man at only one genetic locus, and even then only partially: a link in the androgen signalling pathway. In a sane world, she would be described as a feminised man.

Mike said...

Mr tdg: I understand she has balls but no cock, according to those who undertook the review. To the casual observer, she didn't look much like the other "women" in the 800m, although there was a Kenyan who looked like a man, or ape.

Doug Shoulders said...

Wonga and Betfred are thriving here mr SG. Relieving the poor folk of their money.

I saw that Kenyan too…and I thought Grace Jones was scary.

Dick the Prick said...

Dear Sir

The weather's been rather fantastic. If the Maldives thing is accurate then i'd chip in to some ice cubes or something; I think Venice is doing it!

Of course Orkney is the birth of faith - it's only the elders who can remember the last time it was warm!

Like a cactus, Scotland blooms. I love the notion of one party state. Has Scotland ever been a one clan state?

As always

DtP

Alphons said...

DtP said:-
I love the notion of one party state.

So does Putin.

Doug Shoulders said...

It would take a badass dictator to stop Scots fighting each other. Idi Amin was the last king of Scotland and even he couldn’t do it.

SG said...

This is interesting - especially when he talks about what went on in Benghazi on Hillary's watch back in 2012:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=fx7N2lsCHD0

SG said...

You've gone damn AWOL again Mr I - I hope you're OK...

Alphons said...


SG said...

You've gone damn AWOL again Mr I - I hope you're OK...

I too would like to express my concern, and a wish for your swift and safe return,

Dr Yllek said...

Dear Mr Ish,

hope you are doing well. We could do with some reassuring smoke signals though.

Caratacus said...

Just a brief wave of the hanky would suffice, Mr. I ...

mrs narcolept said...

I hope Co-Co has come home.

Doug Shoulders said...

Mr Ishmael?

Anonymous said...

One ping please?
_richard

Mike said...

Trust you are well, Mr I. Just a bout of writers cramp?

gasky said...

My daily visit to your brilliant blog is starting to become a vigil, I, like everyone of your followers am becoming worried.

SG said...

Yes - I very much hope that your absence is not on health grounds Mr I. Your voice is greatly missed especially with such a rich seam of material to work with just now. With Best Wishes!

Woman on a Raft said...

Thinking of you.

Anonymous said...

Me too. Wondering if all's well and hoping that it is.
-richard

mongoose said...

You cannot still be looking for that cat, Mr I.

There is much to talk about, mon brave.

Dick the Prick said...

Intrigued by Orkney being centre of faith - Observer article but maybe the locals know sommet? Hugs and stuff xx

Gary said...

Hope all is well?
You're being missed....

inmate said...

Trust you are well sir

Alphons said...

Come back...all is forgiven

Anonymous said...

Hope your well, And if not then a sure recovery will suffice..
We need more Ishmaelites in this country, they annoy and cause thought to happen in arrid places.
I dont agree with your every opinion, but I am missing your witty intemperate rants and put downs.
Youre kinda like a dog with a bad disposition, which, if you handle it wrong will try and bite you, and also make you want to kick it up the arse..

I miss you, there, I said it.

Gary said...

Now I'm getting concerned.....

Anonymous said...

A million Orkney voles currently in silent vigil...
- richard

Caratacus said...

As are we all, Mr. Gary ...

Alphons said...

Is the island of Orkney devoid of sources of information about the well being of Mr. ishmael?

The NightJack said...

I used to be The Night Jack. I have always held this blog in the very highest esteem. I live in hope of more to come but if this is all there is, it has been more than enough.

Bungalow Bill said...

I very much echo that, Mr TNJ - your hope and gratitude. If that is the last then there are words in it that make it fitting.

Anonymous said...

Well, they just gave the Dynamite Cup for Scribbling to Andy Blob; I'd like to think our host would be amused, appalled, and pleased, though not in equal measure.

Cold round the campfire in Ishmaelia; early winter is ycumen in.

verge.//

Alphons said...

It is a very sad business. My view of matters is as above. We may have lost one of the best communicators of our time, but I desperately hope we are all wrong.

Gary said...

Yep,
We lost the great Captain Ranty,not another I fervently hope.

And I live in hope....

Juliet 46 said...

I'll keep on looking every day for your return, Mr. Ishmael.

I hope you are busy finding the perfect place to downsize to, and that you will let us know when you are settled in your new home.

Does Lincolnshire appeal??

http://www.lincolnshireecho.co.uk/house/story-29808909-detail/story.html



Doug Shoulders said...

I got the house Mr Ishmael. I got the house...
I need advice on chimney sweeping.
Visiting here every day hoping for you return.

Woman on a Raft said...

I'll keep checking by.

There's a theory going about that somebody has invented the Improbability Drive and is testing it. How else do you account for Dylan getting a Nobel prize, two UKIP MEPs having a punch-up at work, and Chuck Berry deciding to release an album now that he is 90?

Mike said...

Mr I: I hope you are watching The Donald vs Hillary. I still think he will do it.

The mad yanks seem determined to provoke Vlad into a war.

Alphons said...

I think Vlad should be provoked under a bus.

Swiss Bob said...

I hope all is OK Mr Smith.

Regards

Swiss

Caratacus said...

Missing you about the place, Old Horse, and fervently hoping that no news and all that sort of thing ...

Woman on a Raft said...

Missing you.

Philip Brandon said...

He must be ill to miss today. Get well soon.

Dick the Prick said...

Dear Mr Smith

I'm very happy that we're all together.

You mentioned Beethoven a bit back. I tried to get Huddersfield and then Kirkwall but authoritarian, fascist, capitalist scumbags charged for it!

Love to you and yours :-)


http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00g4bvc

DtP