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Saturday, 28 May 2011

Fox Update - May 2011

Foxy is still visiting the garden regularly. She's looking a little thin to be honest, despite the large number of cooked sausages, eggs and dog treats we keep supplying her with. She carries a lot of the food off, so I suspect her cubs are the recipients of much of the food we leave out.

Here is a short video I took of her a few nights ago when I gave her a few sausages (click on the image to see the video):

Foxy having a few sausages this evening :) on Twitpic

Last night, we also found we have another visitor to the garden! A local hedgehog has realised that when the fox visits, it makes a supply of food available and is taking the opportunity to get some free grub. It was comical last night to see the hedgehog and foxy eating food off the same plate! (click on the image below to see the full-size image...you can see the hedgehog to the left of the plate) :

Foxy has a friend to help her eat dinner (Mrs Tiggywinkle) on Twitpic

Sunday, 22 May 2011

My Pet Fox

Ok, so the title of this blog post may not be strictly true, but who would want to read: "a fox who sometimes comes in to my garden?" :)

I thought I'd take the opportunity to post a picture of the beautiful fox who visits our garden every evening to devour a plate or two of food. You may well have heard me talk about her if you happen to stumble across my podcast. The picture isn't a clear as I'd like, but I'm not the world's best photographer (certainly not a wildlife photographer)

This little female fox began visiting our garden three years ago. We already had our suspicions that someone or something was paying us visits after something shredded a toy foam football in our garden and scraps of bread left out for the birds in our garden disappeared. One evening we saw the security light in our back garden illuminate to reveal a beautiful young fox wandering about the garden. We threw her a few scraps of meat which she gratefully ate and so began my family's love affair with 'foxy' as she became a regular visitor to our garden.

We fed her each time she turned up, often cooking sausages in anticipation of her visits. Over the course of the following year she established a pattern of visiting our garden each evening, taking the food from a small tin plate we had piled the food on to.

In the following January, it became clear that foxy was a female fox as she started to expand - pregnant with fox pups. We stepped up our efforts to keep her satiated and nourished during her pregnancy. After disappearing for a few weeks, she re-appeared, after presumably having given birth to her pups. Again, we stepped up our efforts to keep her well fed, conscious that she had hungry mouths to feed! Her diet now expanded to include eggs, chicken and sausage to keep her going - all of which she gratefully wolfed down.

Over the course of the following year she continued to visit our garden regularly. She had another batch of pups after becoming pregnant again in the winter breeding season this year. She is currently gratefully dispatching as much food as we can leave out for her, no doubt feeding her young pups who have now most likely moved on to solid food.

It may seem a bit strange to become so attached to a wild animal, but she has (and continues to be) such a source of delight to our family, that we really think of her as something of a pet. OK, we don't get to stroke her or play with her like you might with a dog. But, there is something very special about having a wild animal that will look you quizzically in the eye when she sees you through the kitchen window, will gratefully take a cooked sausage out of your hand and will sit in the darkness of the garden, head cocked to one side looking for her human friends whilst she waits for another treat.

I'm not sure how long we'll have foxy as our little friend, but I never fail to be delighted to see her and enjoy the special relationship we've built up with this lovely creature.


Friday, 13 May 2011

Humour/Humor/Hummus

As people develop and grow they move from infancy, to childhood, through adolescence and finally in to adulthood. They go through a large number of physical, emotional and intellectual changes as they develop and advance through life.

In my case, I rather suspect that some part of my emotional and intellectual development was subject to some type of catastrophic failure at around the age of 12. As a result, I just love stupid stuff.

Much as I yearn for a well developed, mature sense of humour (or humor, for the benefit of my Transatlantic readers), I am constrained to the sad world of an adult with an over-developed appreciation of fart gags, innuendo and funny shaped fruit that looks like various body parts (particularly genitalia).

Whilst coming up with the title for this article, I decided that ‘Humour/Humor’ might be a good choice (to cater for my geographically diverse audience), but then decided to throw in ‘hummus’ for no good reason other than it sounds a bit like the rest of the other words in the title. This is another example of my rather pathetic, facile sense of humour. I will endeavour to work ‘hummus’ in to the article at some stage to provide some justification for its inclusion, but apologies in advance if I fail miserably.

I thought it might be nice to get a few examples of my rather retarded sense of humour in to this article to give you some idea of the size of my affliction (...snigger). I like to hang around on the Twitter and Facebook social networks and post a few of my rather lame musings on there. I have plenty of ‘friends’ on there who are surprisingly tolerant of my adolescent humour. I often wonder if they would be so accommodating if they met me in real life. I also wonder if this explains my lack of friends in the real world, but I often brush that thought aside, blaming my demanding commitment to work and family.

I’m a big fan of visual gags, and I have a couple I’ve used a few times on social networks and sent to friends in emails. The sad part is, no matter how many times I use these gags, I never fail to nearly wet myself laughing at them. This gives you some measure of my affliction.

The first example can be seen below. The picture itself just reduces me to tears (of laughter).
The obvious comment that goes with this picture is “Wow, this guy has a big cock!”. I’m obviously playing slightly there with the abbreviation of ‘cockerel’ to ‘cock’ and the slang use of the word ‘cock’ to refer to a penis (just in case there were any questions in your mind...).

I love to post updates that say: “Look at the size of this guy’s cock!”, with an accompanying link to this picture. Then I spend several minutes on the floor laughing, thinking of all of the people who will click on the link, imagining that they too will soon be laughing uncontrollably. In reality, I suspect most people will sigh heavily and move on to their next social network update.

My second (and final) example of juvenile humour is based on any picture similar to the one shown below:
I’m sure you’re all way ahead of me on this one and I don’t need to even provide you with a title or caption, but it provides further evidence of my failings in the area of emotional development.





So, there you have it. My lifelong affliction laid bare.

Hopefully, having confessed to this rather debilitating of conditions you might ‘cut me some slack’ if you ever meet me in real life, and not be so mystified if I burst out laughing when I see a woman eating a banana, whilst in your presence.

I like hummus.

Monday, 9 May 2011

You've Got To Grin To Get It In

My mother-in-law recently joined a social club for "elderly" women who like to get together on a Wednesday afternoon for various social activities. Upon joining she found that the main activity they engage in is Bingo, Bingo and more Bingo...

She hates Bingo.

But, despite this (and with plenty of encouragement and arm-twisting from ourselves), she has agreed to continue to attend this regular social gathering to try to "widen her circle of friends" (which is extremely commendable) and to see if she can learn to love this rather facile of pass-times to avoid loneliness and mental decline.

The down-side of this little arrangement is that everyone belonging to this Wednesday afternoon Bingo-fest-club has to take along small, inexpensive donations to be used as Bingo prizes. Inevitably, as the members are all retired ladies of mostly restricted income, they tend to take in some some pretty crappy prizes (e.g. soap, packets of biscuits, discarded tissues - you know the type of thing. OK, I lied about the tissues...).

Consequently, my mother-in-law tends to not want to keep the 'prizes' that she wins for herself (unless they are, on rare occasion, alcohol). Therefore, each Wednesday evening we tend to receive one or more of these 'prizes' as a kind donation when she visits us.

Luckily for her, I'm a pig. I'll eat most things she brings along, but that obviously excludes the soap. 

This week, we were the lucky recipients of two items: a packet of fig rolls and a packet of 'Wagon Wheels'. To be honest the fig rolls have already been pushed to the back of one of our kitchen cupboards and will probably see the light of day in a couple of years time during a kitchen clearout or a during a bout of constipation, whichever comes first.

But, I was delighted to see the packet of 'Wagon Wheels'. I haven't had a Wagon Wheel for many years and they brought back many wonderful boyhood memories when, even then, I would stuff my rather rotund face with anything that wasn't nailed down.

I was also delighted (and amazed) to see that the marketing slogan for this mallow-chocolate-biscuit delight hasn't changed in the intervening years. Despite the passage of time and the ever advancing agenda of political correctness in our society, the age-old slogan remains: "YOU'VE GOT TO GRIN TO GET IT IN!" (see photo below if you don't believe me)



Incredible! Even when I was a boy this slogan invited sniggers, winks and nudges every time it was mentioned. But, despite its obvious double entendre reference to a rather adult activity, the slogan remains: a reminder of the more innocent days of yesteryear when you could have a mildly-veiled reference to a BJ plastered across a product mainly eaten by children and no-one so much as blinked.

[Photo] Chloe: bliss!

I love seeing the photos that other folks post on their blogs, so I thought I'd post one of my own.

This is my cat Chloe who just loves to sleep in the sunshine streaming through the windows of our house:

Friday, 6 May 2011

Five Minutes In My Garden [Audio]

Here's something a little quirky. I put my recorder out in the garden for 5 minutes today to see what it would pick up.

As the sun was shining, you can hear a few birds chirping. There are also a few distant car noises and the occasional breeze in the microphone (sorry, no wind-shield!).

I think the whole thing sounds quite pleasant!

Direct link to MP3 here.

Photos: Hanchurch Woods 2nd May 2011

I recently had to say goodbye to a dear friend: my Canon Powershot camera after it finally malfunctioned after 4 years of loyal service under some very difficult conditions.

I'm pleased to say that I bought myself a nice new shiny Canon Powershot and here are the results from my first outing whilst running with my new 'friend'. The following shots were taken as I ran along the canal and up in to Hanchurch Woods on a beautiful Spring afternoon.

Well, it's about time...

It struck me recently, that I have lots of fingers in lots of pies across the Internet, but not really a place I can call 'my own'.

I have plenty of web sites and am involved in helping plenty of other folks out with their web sites and podcasts, but nowhere that is specifically 'me'.

So, I thought it was about time I put up my own personal blog so that people can find me, to act as a focal point so that folks can see what I'm up to and find my various web incarnations.

Well, here it is (finally). I'm not too sure what I'm going to be doing with it as yet, but stayed tuned, I'm sure I'll manage to come up with something that will either entertain or upset someone...

Nigel.
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