Monday, 30 March 2009

Cattery Chattery Telephonically

It is just always like a little puzzle world around La Maison.

This was the out-of-the-blue reminder that E gave me on Saturday morning to fulfill his Friday evening task to 'Remind me to call catteries tomorrow!' But, you know... it keeps one on their toes. Or on the edge of their seat. Or on the edge of reason. And those are good and interesting places to be.

This type of Edward Lear approach works well with some people (me) and has successfully resulted in Angus's being now booked into an appropriate cattery for his own little holiday whilst we are galivanting through Wales, Ireland and Austria in a couple of weeks (and we hope not to come back to a cat filled with angst and malicious tendencies to look his people balefully in the eye and immediately wet in the corner of the room).

His vacation will be spent at Pennybeck Cat Lodge, which is to the north of Norwich. The people seem nice, facilities seem clean and well-maintained, and they have very good security (not that anyone who might thieve Angus would know what early morning madness they are getting themselves in for).

In the US, most veterinary offices have lodging for kittehs, but not here (not sure if this is Norfolk, or everywhere in Britain). Apparently, that is what catteries are for -- and this answers my silent puzzlement before now as to why there are so many signs for catteries along the roads on our drives around the countryside. Catteries in the US are breeders, and it was rather alarming and vexing as to why there were sooooooo many breeders when cats are hardly in short supply in the whole scheme of the planet. But, vexation over.

Who knew?

Kitteh is now officially ours and has a Revelation-style micro-chip implanted in the scruff of his neck proving this fact. He was the bravest kitty on Friday and didn't flinch at all for his shots or the implantation of his chip (which was through a needle almost the size of a bone-marrow needle!). And on this trip, he didn't yowl once in the cat carrier on the trip over; this went a long way toward holding me on this side of sanity, as I am traumatised by sounds of animals in distress (probably for the best that I didn't become a vet as my sign would have had to be The Weeping Veterinarian: We'll Cry Over Your Animal As If He (or She) Were Our Own. Not the best marketing scheme.)

A photo of the mad, mad, mad, mad kitteh will be inserted here as soon as E transfers from his phone.

Monday, 23 March 2009

Back to Blighty

It is good to be back in Old Blighty -- even if it has been randomly hailing today.

Most of the day (since well before 4.30am GST, landing time in Schipol), I have been mostly fine, coherent -- hyper even -- and not jetlagged... except for a brief period when washing a woolen scarf on delicate in the machine seemed logical. Said scarf semi-felted itself in annoying manner and had to be carefully separated from halfsies and stretched back into relative artistic attractiveness.

However, I have had a brief period of comatosity similar to C-A-T. This blog entry is merely a quick break in overall limpness and mental atrophy (frequently leading to drooling on pillow) to relate my recently acquired relief at getting out of Sydney Airport yesterday (although that yesterday was more than 40 hours ago. Don't try; it just hurts your brain switching time zones with flights.) as there was apparently a gang war in another terminal before my flight left... I am cravenly glad to have been happily buying small duty-free stuffed animals and missing seeing someone beaten to death, although continue to be appalled by humanity sometimes.

... still much to catch up on, but this must needs wait for another respite from drooling.

g'night, mate. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz -- taking lessons from kitteh.

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Let the Gay Times Roll!

Right -- this is a total aside from my main purpose of documenting more than the first day (and week) of travel, BUT this just makes me giggle hysterically and almost wet my pants everytime it comes on the t.v.

There is apparently an ice cream bar in Oz called Golden Gaytime -- and this commercial is just too much. Am not sure how one would culturally critique this advertising mode and stereotypes, but at the moment, the enjoyment of guffawing is preventing any academic approach to it. (Perhaps when I am feeling more intellectual and less adolescent... Or not.)

You can see there are '4 chances to have a gay time!'

Saturday, 14 March 2009

A Tale of 10 Airports

Well, it actually is a bit of a stretch -- it is only going to be 8, and that only after today's flight to Sydney. But in math, we were taught we could round numbers up to the closest five and so this aids my humourous literary reference :)

Since my journey to the opposite side of the planet began, I have been composing in my head and am thinking that I need a small gadget to help me instantly write things down. That, or a battery for the Dell that lasts longer than 4min27sec. And maybe a computer that gets its gear cranking within 10 minutes...

This expedition began on the 5th March. Ten days later to publish is unforgiveable, yes. Departure was from NWI (the international hub, where self, all carry-on baggage and liquids were examined, tested and smilingly approved -- *rolls eyes*). Then, Tracey (the newest Intl. Officer, who had not been able to travel to China the day before as planned, due to Embassy idiocy) and I had 5 or 6 hours to kill before my flight (and 8 hours before her flight). So, we walked through the museum twice, had some yummy mustard soup (a Dutch speciality -- who knew?) and then just read and watched people in dozy silence. [There is also, apparently, a new space at AMS -- and one at Heathrow -- called Yotel, which may be worth checking out as a place to sleep, refresh. If anyone beats me to it, let me know, as looks appealing, most esp. for those 5am Schipol arrivals when you are 30 minutes from home, but you have to wait 4 excrutiating hours for a flight.] We took a photo right before I got in the queue with 873 Korean people heading home (and for some reason my hair thought a forehead comb-over was the look I wanted).

I noticed on this gander, however, that AMS airport has some really nice amenities in addition to the museum, the casino (which for the record I have never visited, in case people start to get hysterically judgemental), the cow statues, and the fresh juice bar -- there is this clever little mother/baby care area, which is dim with individual curtained booth sections, tables and chairs included. Overall, I am just impressed with how a noticeable proportion of European culture respects motherhood as a valued social contribution (the whole maternity leave comparison -- along with US 'holiday/vacation' policy -- could be a veritable sticky wicket in future. I think I used this phrase correctly... cricket persons can tell me if not.)

The flight to Seoul was good, but I seemed to draw elderly planes for this trip -- with no individual viewing screens. I am becoming spoiled and expect to be able to watch at least 3 movies of my personal choice (or listen to audio books) whenever seems reasonable to ME (Eloise), esp. if I am not to be bumped up to Business or First. However, it really wasn't so bad: 3/4 of a book was consumed; higher ration of sleep:wake than normal was accomplished; and those darn Sony noise reducing headphones are the BOMB. Best recommendation ever -- thanks, Wayne!

Schipol is civilised; Seoul Incheon Airport is civilised and calm.

There are orchid beds throughout the airport; there are cultural exhibit spaces with people beating drums and playing flutes; there are quiet relaxation areas which are kind of like Zen malls (the loud shopping is downstairs) -- with massage, showers, museums, children's play areas, tv/dvd viewing rooms and these fab chaise lounge things which look out onto the mountains (I wanted to take a better picture of these as a little flock of caterpillars, but chose not to risk removing people from their meditative and sleeping states and causing them to beat me with my water bottle for disturbing their energy flow.). As a whole this makes a 5 hour layover quite pleasant -- my favourite part was the £48 hour-long Thai massage, and I truly think this helped reduce jetlag.

(tbc... am going to publish and then come back tomorrow, as this has been being typed for 3 days now and people are starting to get mouthy about no blog. -- 16 March.)