Wednesday, 12 June 2013

The Rude house guest.

picture the scene.

they come to your door, you let them in.

they walk into your living room, and their lip curls in disgust.....

they spot a picture from your wedding.
"Wow.  your dress was ugly and unflattering. and your hair, what were you thinking?"

"those ornaments are tacky"

"the carpet is rank. when was the last time you vacuumed"

"I don't know if I've ever told you this, but you have terrible dress sense"

"family photo? is that your Mum? I can tell because you've both got the same big nose"

"oh, I was glancing at your CD collection. you have awful taste in music"

anyone okay with this? would anyone out there behave like that when they go into someones house?
I would like to hope not.

so why is

"oh yuck, are those rats?" okay.

YES they're rats. and I love them from the bottom of my heart. you couldn't get more personal than expressing disgust at those that I love. how utterly rude can people be? were they not brought up to have any manners whatsoever?

why is it that people that were raised better than to tell you that your skirt makes your bum look big, or that your new haircut is dodgy, or that they don't like your decor, think it's okay to be nasty about something even more personal? your family

I will admit, I am not the biggest fan of cats. if I visit someone with cats, I do not express disgust at their pet. even if it's fat, sluggish and hopping with fleas, and there's a whiff of litter tray in the air. and some cats, when I get to know them, I quite like them.
why do I not react with disgust? because it's RUDE. I understand that to that person, that cat is a loved family member and I wouldn't say anything about them that could hurt their feelings.

hey, I'll even feign interest in pictures of someones baby, even if it has snot all over it's face, and looks like a fat, bald, old man. I'll try and find something flattering to say about their pride and joy. 

so why do people think it's okay with rats? do they think rat lovers don't have the same bond with their pets that other pet owners do? do they think that secretly, deep down, we know they're disgusting, and just like them despite that?


good manners cost nothing. if you are a guest in my home you don't get to say someone I love is disgusting. 

ever heard the expression "if you haven't got anything nice to say, don't say anything at all" ?

so if at any point you come to my house and say something horrible about my rats, the loves of my life, that bring joy to my day as soon as I walk into the room. that entertain me, cuddle up with me, and break my heart when they leave me...

then don't be shocked if I ask you where you got those hideous shoes.

Sunday, 3 March 2013

which of these rights would you care to do without?

  • The Right to life
  • The Right to freedom from torture, inhuman or degrading treatment
  • The Right to liberty and security
  • The Right to freedom from slavery and forced labour. 
  • The Right to a fair trial
  • The Right to no punishment without law.
  • The Right to respect for your private and family life, home and correspondence
  • The Right to freedom of thought, belief and religion
  • The Right to freedom of expression
  • The Right to freedom of assembly and association
  • The Right to marry
  • The Right to protection from discrimination in respect of these rights and freedoms
  • The Right to peaceful enjoyment of your property
  • The Right to education
  • The Right to participate in free elections 

These rights are all currently under the protection of the Human Rights Act.
and yet now, these rights are under threat. The Conservative government considers them a threat. superfluous to the legal system.

imagine if any other country in the world was to take away protection of these rights by law. that country would be condemned, and considered really very backwards.

the media  is ranting and slathering like a rabid dog over the human rights act. I've evens seen it described on occasion as "the hated human rights act"
hated by who, exactly? who hates having their right to a fair trial protected by law. or their right to freedom from slavery, or their right to freedom of religion. perhaps they consider their right to participate in free elections, and vote as they see fit to be nothing more than a massive inconvenience. perhaps they would rather it were legal for them to be denied an education, or that they think it would be fairer if they could be arrested and imprisoned for disagreeing with the government in power, and to have no right to meet with others to protest against injustice where they see it.

the human rights act is there to protect us all, and yet, there are those that would like to see it abolished.

anyone in favour of this really ought to think about the enormity of what dignity and freedom they could be flushing down the toilet.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012


just a small update to let you know about a really lovely web based animal magazine.
it has features on wild and domestic animals, and some really lovely stories.


not least of all, a little feature on our shared history with the rat, and why they are such wonderful pets.

I hope you enjoy it. I know I enjoyed reading the other features.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Breed Specific Legislation. betraying the bond between man and his so called best friend

I think it was quite late down the line when I heard of Lennox.

but details of the case are quite well covered here

this dog was seized from his family home, after his ears and legs were measured. like the Nazis used to measure Ears and Noses to ascertain whether someone was a Jew. due to physical characteristics, he was deemed to be a "pit bull type" not even a pit bull. a pit bull TYPE. which can mean anything that the authorities choose it to mean, really. genetic testing revealed him to be American Bulldog crossed with a Labrador.  but he was still considered to be "of type" due to some freak of crossbreeding that led him to have a similar appearence.

Breed specific legislation is a terrible thing. now don't get me wrong, I don't believe that there is a valid cause for owning an illegal breed unless you had them before the change in law. people that after this law change seek out an illegal breed probably don't want them for a good reason.

however this doesn't mean I think that the breeds SHOULD be illegal. I do not believe in dangerous dog breeds. just bad owners. and bad owners can make any breed into a dangerous dog. either through their own ignorance and stupidity, or worse through cruelty, or intentional encouragement of dangerous behaviour.

but when a dog who is proved by genetic testing not to be the illegal breed he resembles can be stolen from his family, imprisoned, and ultimately killed, there's something very wrong there.

his family campaigned for two years to have this non illegal breed dog returned to them. the dog had demonstrated no dangerous behaviour, assessed by several experts as "not a threat" and was known to not have any pit bull in his ancestry. he just LOOKED like one. now Paul Macartney has some very similar features to Ian Brady. should he be locked up on that basis?
should the non venomous scarlet king snake be killed because it has similar markings to the venomous coral snake?

sadly, because of having a similar appearence to an illegal breed, this dog was put to death.

his family were not even allowed to say goodbye to him before the wicked deed was done. what possible justification can there be for refusing this? pure spite. we can take your family member and you will never see them again.
this poor dog was removed from his home, and not even allowed the comfort of his loved ones on his dying day. he NEVER SAW THEM AGAIN. even though they loved him dearly. what must he have thought? how he must have pined for them in all that time. wondering why they had abandoned him, even though they fought for him the whole time. 
they are not even allowed to take his body home. not even to see it. they can't even say their goodbyes now he is gone.
they will be sent "some" ashes. that is all they have left of their beloved family member. no last goodbyes. no last cuddle.

this is cruel and heartbreaking. and if this can happen, where is the line drawn?

day by day we're seeing more and more that the gaze of paranoia has been shifted on to the Staffy. a dog that is known for it's good nature with children. a happy, sweet, maybe not especially bright, but loveable breed.

and when dogs can be stolen away and killed for looking like a staffy, what next? the bulldog? the pug? where will it end?

banning a breed does not stop irresponsible people training their dogs to fight, or neglecting them, or being cruel, or encouraging them to snarl and growl and make them look big and tough. banning a breed doesn't stop the people that will abuse and misuse that breed from obtaining them. responsible dog owners, who would have raised that breed as a loving member of the family get something else. bad dog owners continue to abuse that breed and make their reputation worse, as there is no longer the balance of knowing them as good dogs with responsible and loving owners.

please. write to your MPs. ask them to oppose any Breed Specific Legislation with dogs. these laws do not protect anyone from dog attacks. these laws just allow tragedies like the one that happened to the Barnes family and their loved pet.

Rest In Peace over the Bridge Lennox. the day will come when you will be reunited with your family, and I can just imagine how hard you will wag your tail, the light in your eyes and the smile on your face when that day comes. until then. rest. and play.
you will not be forgotten.

animal lovers MUST stand up and say NO to BSL.
if you tolerate this, then your children will be next

I've found a petition you can sign. please share this.
End BSL Petition. the petition site.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Food Porn. and dining with friends is good.

this isn't a great or philosophical post.

this is food porn.

one of the great things about having a food loving friend visit is that lots of good food must be eaten.

we began the visit with a trip to Yo Sushi and a total blow out.
have some pretty pictures of noms. but most things ended up disappearing before the camera could get out.  like the duck. and the squid. and the soft shell crab. and the mixed fish maki.

and some things you somehow manage to hold off and photograph even though you can't resist the wonderful burst in the mouthiness of the roe.

 considering I've photographed two dishes here, the picture of the spoils just goes to show how hard it was to hold of long enough to get a photo

is that eleven dishes? and Miso soup.
it was great to have someone there with similar taste, so we could share dishes and therefore eat more things.

can you believe it, later that day we had Curry at the White Hart Inn, Chilsworthy
The White Hart
we can't miss the curry nights. even if we're too too full.

and yesterday. well. yesterday. let me tell you about La Bouche Creole.
La Bouche Creole

a wonderful little restaurant in Launceston. it's a bit small and cosy, and almost feels a bit like you're a guest in someones home. the people there are so friendly, and remembered us from a visit last summer.

first of all. the bread. now you tell yourself not to fill up on the bread, but it was SO good. and had just been made a matter of a few hours before. it had a scattering of sea salt, and the butter was creamy and light and lovely. how can you not fill up on bread when it tastes so good.

then. OH MY MULTIPLE DEITIES THE GUMBO. the Gumbo was SO good.
it's a lot lighter than my Gumbo, a little more of a soup than a stew, but I could have eaten it all night. it was so so good. with lots of big cubes of fish, prawns, crab, oh glorious glorious. it was a tomato-ey one too, which again is rather different from how I do it, but I loved it very very much.

you can probably see how I started it, then remembered to take a picture.

it was SO good.

then I had slow roasted babyback ribs, AND chicken in voodoo barbequeue sauce, some REALLY nice fries and coleslaw. again, really good.

then my friend and I shared a chocolate and pecan brownie with coconut ice cream. even though it HURT.

so there's my few days of absolutely gorging myself. we had a light lunch of goats cheese, smoked austrian cheese and water biscuits. which is always nice.

I don't KNOW if I can do much for dinner tonight. but yum.

I'd also like to throw in a recommendation for Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter. which, according to my friend who did American Studies at University is "quite historically accurate"
so there you go. that thought amused me greatly.

please feel free to share some of your own food porn with me.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

it's time for you to meet the mischief

you're probably going to get to know these guys pretty well, so I suppose you had better be formally introduced.

animals have fun group names. like a group of crows being known as a murder.

so the critters I'm about to introduce you to are my little Mischief.

first of all, I'll introduce you to my ladies. who, if we're playing with fancy pants animal words are Does.

this is, left to right,  Juju, Zorro and Mojo.

the lovely, squishy hammock is a custom Corner Crush by
Fuzzbutt cage comforts
please check them out. her work is excellent and the customer service is above and beyond.

Juju is silver fawn hooded. the biggest of the girls, very placid and thoughtful. and she LOVES food. when she was a kitten she reminded me of Nicole Kidman. that's kind of hard to explain. but oddly true.

Zorro, the black hooded,  is damn near terrifyingly athletic. that girl spends as much time upside down on the roof as she does the right way up. she's as bright as a button and has a cracking sense of humour.

Mojo, the champagne berkshire, is a complete mummies girl. she loves her snuggles, melts for an ear scratch and likes nothing better than a good snooze in a well cushioned cleavage.

on to the boys. or Bucks. if we're being technical. obviously they don't live in the same cage as the girls, otherwise I'd have far more than five.

the boys came to me earlier this year after their previous owners wanted to find them a home that had more time for them.

both of the boys are Dumbos. which means nothing more than that they have a gene that gives them  large, low set ears, giving them a perpetually befuddled expression.

this is Scamp. he's a roan. which means you can just see the traces of a mask and marking on his back he used to have when he was a juvenile he has the thickest ever fur on  his cheeks that he loves to have scratched.

he's also a champion boggler.
a relaxed rat (mostly male rats that do this) will grind their teeth so hard that the masseter muscle, which passes behind the eyeball, will cause the eyeball to bulge and vibrate. like this.

and this is Sam. a darling little Blue boy who is prone to respiratory infections, and seems to be here purely to have me in a state of constant worry over every sniff and sneeze.
he is my heart rat. a term used in rattie communities to describe the occasional rat who just touches your heart above and beyond the usual very close bond you have with rats. he's my precious little man. when I come up to the cage he starts pawing and nibbling at the cage door, as if to get it open as quick as possible so he can give me snuggles and kisses. don't you just want to tickle him behind the ears?

so there you have it. the whole Mischief. all here to say Hi. and get  a cyber  cuddle.

The Wicked Witch of the Westcountry.

Villification of the social "underclass"

this was a topic of much discussion over on the old book of face yesterday. it was all prompted by this.

Diary of a Benefit Scrounger: RIP Karen Sherlock

and an issue also blogged about by a good friend at

Mystic Moaning

the villification in the media of the so called social underclass.

it was a rant about this that led to a friend suggesting maybe I should blog. I didn't want to make it my first post, as I don't want to pigeonhole this blog. I don't want people to see this as my thing. this isn't how I define myself. I don't want to alienate people on the grounds of politics. but I DO want to maybe give a few people a reality check.

time and time again in the press we see an image projected of people on benefits. that they all drink too much, chainsmoke, sit around in a cannabis fueled haze of careless procreation and a private life befitting a regular slot on the Jeremy Kyle show.

all in their palatial council houses, watching their massive flatscreen TVs, playing their Xboxes, planning their tacky holidays where they will return with a massive hangover and a nasty rash downstairs. a life of luxury, debauchery and not a care in the world. while the hard working tax payer eats beans on toast and wonders how to pay the electricity bill.

how many people believe this myth of life on benefits? well everyone knows someone that knows someone that lives like that, right?

someone on benefits couldn't possibly be, Oh I don't know. someone like me.
with a husband I love dearly who is not well enough to work.
someone who never once imagined they wouldn't work full time and pay into the system their whole life. with a good work ethic. good manners. a strong sense of right and wrong.
no, never someone like me.

never the widow who following the death of her husband of 60 years, finds that on her pension alone she cannot afford to stay in the house she's lived in all her life. where she was carried across the threshold, where she raised her children and cared for the love of her life in his last years.

never the comfortably off, two good, well paid jobs. who decide to add another child to their family. of course they can afford to, if she goes back to work when the child starts school. they've thought about this carefully. they can afford this. they've budgeted for the maternity leave. they can do this.
but their child turns out to be severely disabled and will need round the clock care for the rest of their life. and on one income they will struggle.

never... people like you. who knows what circumstances the universe has lined up for you.

you never think that is what your life is going to be until that is what it is.

these blogs are an insight into what life is really like when you rely on benefits.

PLEASE remember that the people who claim fraudulently are in the minority.
most people on benefits aren't in that position through choice (why would you choose to be?) and are good people.

and people always complain when they see people on benefits with any kind of they haven't saved for it, or unwisely run themselves into debt for it. or carefully budgeted for it. 

because of course, if life deals you a beating with the shitty stick, you deserve a life knowing that if you carefully save for a holiday, or are cheaply sold or given a relatives half decent old car when they get a new one, or if you have ANYTHING nice, someone will go around muttering about benefit scroungers with holidays or cars or nice things. because of course, being on benefits you deserve to scrape along and never have anything good in life.
oh, you've been through a shitty and disastrous experience in life? well you can look forward to deserving only just enough to keep a roof over your head and food in your belly? some people will say this is how it should be. that a life on benefits should never be anything more than the bare minimum. a half life.

Karen Sherlocks story is the reality of life on benefits. yes, I will say I am comfortable, and if I budget carefully I can have some luxuries. but I will always have the fear that everything can be torn out from under my feet and I'll be left with no way of paying the bills. 

and that kind of anxiety isn't good for anyone. especially people with mental health issues.

so what does the media do about it?

focus the eye of the world on the minority of benefit scroungers and frauds that work the system for every penny they can, with no intention of ever being a productive member of society.  paint that as the norm, rather than the exception that it is. 

if you turn the general public against the most vulnerable in society, then who will stand up and cry foul when they take away vital funds and resources?
 instead they paint us as lazy, fradulent scroungers. so that when benefit cuts are announced, the public are not on the side of the people that rely so much on them to get by. 
because they believe the lies that the press are encouraged to spread, of a life in a palatial council house with flat screen TVs, no worries and two holidays a year doled out to the undeserving. the hard done by taxpayer isn't encouraged to see what is really there. instead they see the lineup of the Jeremy Kyle show, getting fat off the hard won fruits of their toil.
a fiction we are all encouraged to believe.
and if it draws attention away from how much money is lost to tax evasion, which far outweighs how much is lost to the benefit fraud minority, all the better.

Camerons big society.
demonise the needy so that when you kick them when they're down, you get hailed as a hero.