Just me

Posts about me, my family and friends (yes I have some), Seymour the Wonder Cat and his not-so-trusty sidekick Norman the Newbie Cat and life in general, both online and offline

Norman’s big night in


As the smallest person in our bed, Norman the Cat takes up the most space. Most nights I wake up clinging to the side of the bed, wondering how the hell I have ended up very nearly on the floor when we have what most would consider a fairly decent sized bed: a super king.

The above photo has answered my question: the cat likes to stretch out, taking up as much space as us humans will allow. Every time I move even a millimetre, Norman stretches out to take up more space. And she likes to sleep sideways. And upside down. With her feet in the air.

Oh, and if you can see your way clear to giving her a tummy rub while she’s snoozing in the position, she really appreciates it.

I did get the last laugh though: she actually managed to fall out of be herself the other night when she got just a little too relaxed, rolled over and misjudged the distance.


Hunter gatherer


I was full of optimism when Norman the Naughty Cat got her new collar a week or two ago but that optimism was short-lived.

We bought a second collar, this time for Seymour the Wonder Cat, in an effort to stop to make sure Seymour wasn’t feeling left out: he’d taken to walking up to Norman and poking at her new, shiny bell to make it ring.

So now Seymour has a rather fetching yellow/green collar and his very own bell. And Norman no longer has her collar … she managed to remove it last Thursday.

I arrived home from work that night and she positively bounced along the hallway to greet me, squawking excitedly. Then, she turned and bounced into our bedroom at the end of the hallway, stood in front of her favourite window and hopped from foot-to-foot like an excited child (well, in Norman’s case, feet-to-feet). She looked at me. She looked down. She squawked again, then looked at me again, all the while hopping expectantly.

And there it was: a dead bird. Damn.

She was singularly unimpressed when I picked the thing up and disposed of it. However, since then, she’s been giving the birdies a break. Her latest prey seems to be plastic bags.

She “caught” a couple yesterday and dragged ’em in through the cat door : one early in the morning, the other later in the afternoon. Both times she spent about 10 minutes pouncing on them before getting inside them and having a wee nap.

At least a shredded plastic bag is easier to clean up than a shredded bird.


She has also worked out how to open my wardrobe door and had caused devastation in there the past two nights, pulling clothes off hangers and shoes off shelves.



Norman has some bling


Norman models her new jewellery

In an effort to give the local birdies a fighting chance, we’ve bought some jewellery for Norman the Mighty Hunter: a little red collar with a little red (and noisy) bell.

She seems okay with the concept of wearing her new bit of bling but she does seem confused about how it is the birds know she’s coming.

This morning she spent the best part of an hour lurking about on the patio, trying to perfect stealth mode by panther crawling around and launching surprise attacks on anything that happened to stay still long enough to be attacked: me, Seymour, a confused slater, several leaves and another stray sock (yes, another one in her haul of stolen goods).


Watching the world (the birds in particular) go by ...


The wild cat(s) of Invercargill


Seymour the Wonder Cat watches from the safety of the windowsill and Norman the Naughty Cat sits on the lower roof and ponders her next move. Is it just me, or does Seymour look like he’s planning to sneak down and push her off the roof?

The Brit media is cranking out new reports of the wild cat of Woodchester savaging a deer but I have enough problems of my own with the wild moggies residing in my own home.
Since discovering her hunting gene, Norman has taken it upon herself to perfect her skills on anything and everything, but mostly birds.

I always thought Seymour was a good hunter but even he seems a little bemused by Norman’s efforts.

On Saturday morning, I was awoken by the unmistakable sound of two cats leaping around the bedroom in pursuit of some sort of prey. I sat up, dreading what I was going to find.

All of  a sudden there was an loud chirp and a wee birdie, minus several tail feathers, ran under the bed. With Norman in hot pursuit.

Seymour, however, encountered a slight obstacle in his morning hunt: his big furry bum wouldn’t fit under the bed. He was left with just his head under there, his back end sticking out at an odd angle and his stumpy wee tail wagging like that of an excited puppy.

My long-suffering but well-insured husband joined in the fray about then, spotting the bird tucked in beside the valance and grabbing it before Norman could pluck any more of its feathers.

She was unimpressed. She squawked at him, then followed him down the hallway as he took the bird outside. After locking the cat door he checked out the poor little critter, which stunned all involved by giving another chirp then flying away. Its tail looked a tad lopsided but all-in-all, it seemed fine.

However, Norman is still peeved.  And she became even more peeved when the bird she appeared with later was also removed from her clutches. And yesterday there were three birds over the course of the day. Today, just the two so far.

Our house is now in a permanent state of feathery-ness, I’m constantly checking my shoes and under my pillow, paranoid about what offerings she might decide to hide (she likes to hide her toys under my pillow, so you never know) and every time we hear the cat door ping, we all tense up in expectation of having to wrestle some poor, bedraggled creature from the jaws of death. Well, Norman.

Tomorrow, I’m buying her a collar. With a bell. And maybe a flashing light. And a siren.





All done for another year

The annual Allison family Christmas gathering/BBQ/circus went off without a hitch and just a wee spot of sunburn. And one mosquito bite.

It was hot enough on Christmas Day but even hotter on Boxing Day at our little home away from home, aka Club Mat(aura).

rat1242900072 The fan was working overtime trying to cool things down and one of the worst things about using a generator for power is when you turn the thing off there’s no fan.

I suspect our clumsy possum friend who fell off the roof last summer was back because there was something banging around on the roof through the night. Either that or the rat we sometimes see swimming across the river got some hobnail boots for Christmas.


All critters great and small

Some photos from our visit to Wellington Zoo.


Our trip to Wellywood

I’ve been a little slack in updating here because, well, I just keep running out of time. We had a wee trip to Wellington at the start of the month and I returned home sunburnt and knackered so haven’t mentioned anything about it. Until now.

There will be zoo photos uploaded in the next day or two (all manner of cute, furry critters that were nearly as cute as our resident cute furry critters). For now, though, here are some photos from our little visit to the White House Restaurant, where we tackled the degustation menu: 10 courses of amazing culinary artwork. Here are some photos (didn’t get all the courses because I was sidetracked by a wedding party taking photos directly across the road and a wayward seagull).

The photos were taken with my cellphone and have also been shrunk down to speed up online loading so apologies for the quality! Click on the pics to view larger images.


Crudité: This was a radish grown on the roof of the restaurant. It looked like it was in a pot of dirt but some kind of savoury mousse with pumpernickel crumbs on top!


Another view of the pot plant ...


Course two was Heston’s mock turtle soup, complete with gold leaf-wrapped "teabag". Yes, it's a recipe from THAT Heston.


I don't do fish or any sort of seafood so I had the roast pumpkin and amaretti ravioli for the third course ...


but Grant does like shellfish, so he had seared scallops.


Fourth course was pork. I wasn't expecting to enjoy this, since I don't really like pork. It was fabulous. Even the dehydrated lychees were amazingly tasty.


The palate cleanser for course five was a strawberry granita with balsamic reduction and a dry ice-powered spot of drama!


The "smoke" filled the table. Click the video below for a quick action shot.


Course seven: Beef. What's not to like about a well-cooked bit of cow?


Course eight, sourdough bread with brie and pear soaked in raspberry juice. This set the scene for a couple of amazing desserts, which I didn't photograph. Sorry!


The view ...


... and the view again.


Club Mat(aura)

Spent the weekend at our little shack on the river, our first weekend there for the summer.

We had some friends come out to stay on Saturday night and have made some important discoveries:

  • I’m not the only person who plays “I spy” in the dark
  • The Eclipse mints labelled “Intense” are just that and should be approached with caution (and vodka)
  • I appear to have lost my cards mojo and am now a pretty crappy player of cards. However, I am also, apparently, a good teacher

Some days …

… you are the pigeon.

Some days you are the statue.

And some days (most days?) it feels like you’ve been the statue for way too long and the pigeons are getting organised.


Norman 2, starlings 0

An update on Norman the mighty hunter: this morning I found a very proud Norman with the head of a bird. Dead, obviously.

She had left it in the doorway of my office, a disembodied head with. And again, there was a trail of feathers that seemed far too huge to be from one little bird.

Thanks Norm.



Jillian "George" Allison-Aitken

I live in the deep south of New Zealand, where smelly dairy cows are taking over from sheep in the livestock stakes. My hometown is the small but perfectly formed city of Invercargill, which is also the hometown of the original boy racer, Burt Munro. Find out more about me here.


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