Sunday, 15 May 2016

pets old and new

A watched pot never boils.  And an unwatched pot will surely boil over, especially if it's split peas. I am having another go at making pease pudding, this time having bought some bacon to give it that authentic hammy flavour in the absence of a hock bone.  After sending rivulets of scummy water down the outside of the pan several times I am now sitting at the kitchen table to keep an eye on the peas while they simmer, to make sure they are actually simmering without boiling themselves dry and covering the Aga in white scum in the process.  In Norway they could get a whole television episode out of that idea, watching dried peas cook.  I don't know what it is about split dried pulses that they are so reluctant to boil gently.  Lentils are almost as bad.

We have been trying to introduce Our Ginger to the concept of kittens, carrying him in to the study so that he can see them and then telling him how wonderful he is until he grumbles so much that we have to retreat, then bribing him with cat treats and long lap sessions to try and make kitten contact a rewarding experience overall.  He has not yet managed longer than two minutes, and he hisses at them very rudely.  They stare up at him in wonderment and don't seem to mind him hissing.  At least so far he has consented to be placated after each encounter and not stormed off into the garden in a dudgeon, but there is a way to go yet.

The kittens have grown amazingly in the nine days we've had them.  They still have pointy kittenish tails, but are unmistakably on the way to being young cats.  They are beginning to enjoy being stroked, as long as they are approached at the right moment when they have exhausted themselves by galloping round and round the room and wrestling each other, and not while they are trying to play.  Indeed, they have all purred in response at some point.  They are all very curious about us, sniffing our feet and legs if we sit down and staring up at our faces.  Compared to day one when two of them managed to disappear inside the bookcases, and day two which they spent mostly hiding behind the furniture, they have made good progress and are on the way to becoming pets rather than semi-wild animals that have somehow got penned up inside somebody's house.

One of their current crazes is to sleep in my filing rack, one in the bottom tray and two in the top. There was a crash from the study yesterday, and when I went to investigate I found they had managed to knock the Systems Administrator's filing basket to the ground.  They have begun to unpick the seat of my bamboo and seagrass footstool as well.  Pets.  Who'd be without them?

Addendum  The last remaining Speckeldy hen has gone broody.  This leaves the old lady Maran, who has outlived all but one of the next generation of chickens that were bought partly to keep her company, with nobody to flock with.  A companion who insists on sitting in the egg box in the dark all day is not much of a companion at all.  We ordered some more Speckeldies a few weeks ago, before the current one went broody, since hens are social animals and you don't want to risk being left with just one.  The new hens are due to arrive on Wednesday, and I don't suppose the old lady will think much of them in the short run, any more than she did of the last lot.  She got used to them in time.

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