Monthly Archives: September 2012

Pin-Ups of the Week – Florrie’s Kittens

You’ll no doubt remember the flufftastic Florrie from Stoke Newington in London who posed as Peacockshock’s pet pin-up a year ago.
Well – fabulous news – she’s had four kittens and brought them up terribly well from her headquarters in a bedroom drawer.
Here they are. And, as you can see, they’ve inherited all of Florrie’s kitty cuteness. We wish them well.


Moley (tortoiseshell) chastises brother Jerry


Florrie in 2011

S is for SEO

Confuse your kids with a French bird alphabet tapestry!

When I was little, in the 18th century, A was for Apple (as in Cox’s Orange Pippin rather than iPhone).

But would that make sense to a modern toddler I wonder? Do they eat apples? I have no idea. They’re probably too busy on their Mothercare laptops, googling teddy bears or sonic hedgehogs or whatever those things are called.

As you may have noticed, when you type a single letter into Google, it gives you a mini drop-down menu of search terms. And these have intrigued me recently.

Are they organic (as in apples)? Or sponsored? Or based on my history, or my cookies (which we used to call ‘biscuits’ in the old days)?

So I deliberately typed the whole alphabet, letter by letter, and this is the alarmingly corporate result Google gave me –

A is for Amazon (company, as opposed to legendary Scythian giantess)
B is for BBC (good – at least it’s not commercial)
C is for Comet (shop, as opposed to luminous celestial object comprising ice and dust)
D is for Debenhams
E is for eBay
F is for Facebook
G is for Google
H is for Hotmail
I is for Ikea
J is for John Lewis
K is for KFC
L is for Lottery
M is for Matalan
N is for Next (retailer, as opposed to ‘immediately afterwards’)
O is for O2
P is for Paypal
Q is for QVC
R is for Rightmove
S is for Sky (media company, as opposed to blue thing consisting of exosphere, thermosphere, mesosphere, stratosphere and troposphere)
T is for Tesco
U is for UCAS (finally an academic one)
V is for Virgin
W is for Weather (the actual weather – a non-corporate entity at last)
X is for XBox
Y is for YouTube and
Z is for Zoopla

Now hold hands, walk in twos and say after me –

Humpty Dumpty (Hamleys £17.99) sat on a wall (Wickes – it’s got our name on it),
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall (should have gone to Specsavers).
All the king’s horses (brought to you by My Little Pony) and all the king’s men (wearing D&G autumn collection)
Couldn’t put Humpty together again,
So he joined Bupa.
Bupa – Helping Humpty Find Healthy.

Oldest Photograph of Human

I stumbled on this photo today.

Taken by Daguerre in Paris in 1838, the exposure time was around 15 minutes, so all movement disappeared into an invisible blur. With one exception: an anonymous shoeshine boy and a chap having his shoes polished.

They unwittingly stayed still for long enough to become the first humans ever to be captured in a photograph. I wonder who they were, what they talked about, and what became of them …

1838 was the year of Queen Victoria’s coronation (she was still a teenager), the serialisation of a new novel called Oliver Twist, the publication of Casanova’s memoirs and the premiere of an opera about fairies – the debut of a young composer called Richard Wagner.

Pin-Up of the Week – Coati

Yes. The pin-up of the week is back for a new autumn season. This week’s pin-up is a ring-tailed coati.

Coatis are also known as Brazilian aardvarks, pizotes, hog-nosed racoons, Panamanian gatosolos, crackoons and snookum bears.

Unlike, say, cacomistles, their rings go right round their tails. So now you can tell a coati from a cacomistle. An important distinction in these difficult times.

Coatis are double-jointed. Their ankles can rotate beyond 180°.

Like tour guides with umbrellas, they keep their tails vertical so they can stay in groups even in tall undergrowth.

And there are wild coatis in England – in Cumbria to be precise. ‘I wandered lonely as a snookum bear’ might have been written by Wordsworth, had he lived in 2012.


my new acer and midwinter fire plant


Thank you to the Hertfordshire Mercury for making my Van Hages meerkat pic their Photo of the Week.

Cat Adopts Liliger

Breaking news from Novosibirsk Zoo in Siberia – The world’s first liliger has been born
Kiara’s dad’s a lion. Her mum’s a liger – half lion, half tiger. So that makes her a liliger obviously. She looks like a lion cub but has tiger stripes on her forehead.
Sadly her mum wasn’t able to feed her properly, but Dasha the cat (100% cat) came up with a solution by adopting her. Dasha belongs to one of the zookeepers and lives in a house on the zoo grounds.


‘I’ve not been feeling too clever recently,’ intoned the frail Mitfordish old lady in Waitrose.
It’s ages since I’ve heard ‘clever’ being used in the sense of ‘well’. Peculiarly English I suspect. And it only makes sense if delivered in a tweedy county accent.
I hereby call for a revival of archaic terms for ill – queer, peaky, woozy, wibbly, indisposed, below par, off colour, under the weather.
Long live invalids, consumptives, valetudinarians and all archaically ill people.


I went on an expedition to the north coast of Kent with Fran and Sarah the other day.
We had a fabulous lunch at the Michelin-starred Sportsman in Seasalter (smoked mackerel starter highly recommended) and were impressed by the highly civilised response of the staff to my spectacular smashing of a wine glass.
We then repaired to Whitstable to forage for books and saunter along the shingle beach. Then we sat in Sarah’s idyllic garden which is several hundred miles long, having a nice chat with Stuart and Rufus the cat from next door.


Me, performing one of my druidic rituals

Eric, James and Mila

Spooky birds