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 the mighty hunter


Norman the Newbie-ish Cat spent much of the winter perfecting her hunting techniques, honing her skills on wetas, snails, moths, leaves and socks.

She has found, through a process of trial and error, that leaving dead wetas in the shoes isn’t always appreciated by the owner of said shoes.

And that if you make excited chirpy noises while hiding in the back of the couch with your collection of 17 stolen socks, you are very likely to be caught.

And that if you insist of licking a snail it will disappear inside its shell. And, still on the snails, if you insist on flicking them around the kitchen floor they will invariably end up getting stuck under the dishwasher, which means a human/staff member will be required to retrieve the snail.

She also has daily wrestling/stalking sessions with her toy mouse, throwing it in the air and pouncing on it before it hits the ground, pulling up the edge of the mat and shoving it under there so she can act all surprised when spotting it and leaping on it later and doing powerslides in the en suite bathroom as she chases her now-bedraggled little green mouse.

We always know when it’s Norman playing because her mouse still has the bell on its tail. Well, it still has a tail, in fact. Seymour has removed the tail from each and every one of his toys. It’s the first thing our ginger ninja does when he gets a new toy: I can see his point of view … he doesn’t have a tail, and until the arrival of Norman, no one else in the house had one, either.

So very early the other morning, when I heard the sound of the cat leaping around with a bell-less toy, I assumed it was Seymour with his toy mouse.

That was until I got out of bed. There was a trail of feathers around the bed that continued into my walk-in wardrobe. Nervously, I inspected the wardrobe and was relieved to see no sign of a dead bird. I then followed the trail of feathers out of the bedroom door, down the hallway and into the lounge.

Yes indeed, there had been a dead bird. My son told me he had just found it and had disposed of the body (it was a starling, so not a native).

At this point we were thinking it was Seymour that had done the deed but weren’t entirely sure. That was until Norman suddenly bounced into the room, with an array of feathers stuck to her face.

So, our Norm has caught her first birdie. Let’s hope she doesn’t catch too many more.

I suppose it should have come as no surprise: she has put in plenty of hours watching bird videos on YouTube.

PS: She did look incredibly proud of herself for doing starling population control. I’m sure she was smiling.



Oh baby, how time flies


How did that happen? That cute little baby that featured on the cover of Nevermind is now 20 years old. That can’t be right: I remember so vividly when Nirvana released this, and it certainly didn’t feel like it was 20 years ago.

Anyway, the baby in question, the now all-grown-up Spencer Elden, re-created that famous pose last month to mark the 20th anniversary of Nevermind.

Yep, I think I’m getting old.


Neener, neener, neener … we won

That was way too scary but I suppose it was a game of two halves and rugby was the winner on the day. Well, actually, we were the winners.
I’ve just finished work and while I’m pleased the Rugby World Cup specialist pages are over and done with for four more years (take the George Gregan, you bald little pillock) I’m even more pleased our boys in black got the job done.
Put that in your croissants and smoke it, you Richie McCaw-threatening morons.


Cleaning shit up

clean_up_after_yourselfAs you may have noticed, we’ve had a wee change around and a bit of a makeover.

Kind of like Nip/Tuck but without all the nakedness, shagging and dirty dealings.

Anyhoo, I decided to keep the monkeys because, well, I wouldn’t feel fully dressed without them. But I’ve tidied up a couple of categories and moved all the books stuff in to its very own home.

No doubt I’ll still be tweaking things here over the next week or two.


Scheduled outage September 8

Icone attentionThere’s a security update happening on the server that hosts this site on Thursday night (September 8). I’ll be offline for just a minute or two somewhere between 10pm and 11pm.


The missing link

Wondering where all the book reviews have gone? They now have their very own home at Books By George.

I’ll be tweaking the site over the next few weeks but don’t let that put you off.

Oh, and I’m thinking I might just give this site a wee makeover some time soon. Should the monkeys stay or go?


Time flies and people are just plain weird


My parents shortly after they married.


My parents used to mutter comments about the speed at which time passes as you get older and I had always believed it was simply something old people said.

However, I now find myself saying the same things, which leads me to believe one of two things: either they were right, or I’m now old.

I prefer the first option.

Anyway, I’ve had one of those “where did the time go” moments today: it’s been 15 years today since my mother died. So much has happened since then but there’s no way it feels like 15 years.

It was Father’s Day when she died and her funeral was a few days later, on my 30th birthday. And even though 15 years have gone by, I still think about her a lot — both my parents, in fact (dad died April 2, 2000)  — and now that 15 years have gone by, those thoughts are all about the good times and not so much about how sick she had been before her death, or her failing eyesight or her frustrations at becoming so dependent on everyone as she became more and more frail.

My mum was a straight-to-the-point woman who had plenty of opinions and a desire to share them. She was also a lot of fun and was the person who told me some of the best dirty jokes I’ve ever heard, enjoyed a brutally competitive game of 500 or Scrabble, was partial to Bavaria Lager (do they still make that?) and black tea that had been stewing in the teapot for hours and adopted so many strays over the years it was hard to keep track (both animals and people).

I remember many, many years ago hearing her snort and snigger while reading memoriam notices in the paper, particularly if it was someone she had known: she was quite taken by the sugary sweet thoughts conveyed about dead family members by relatives who often wouldn’t have given them the time of day while they were alive. She also used to say “don’t ever put one of those in the paper for me, they’re awful” (but her phrasing wasn’t quite so polite).

Given that, I think it was rather timely that today of all days I came across the weirdest memoriam notice you’re ever likely to read: a rambling note a  dead mother that has an update on all the  living family members, has a few digs at some of them and invites the dearly departed over for a visit.



Books on the move

We no longer run a book reviews section on The Southland Times website so I’m going to separate out the books section here and keep all my reviews in a separate blog. I’ll keep you posted!


Pussies galore


Thingamabob, aka Bob, or Fluffy (click on the photo for a larger view)

There’s something quite disconcerting about waking up with three cats in your bed when you actually own just two cats.

The neighbours have a fairly new, fairly small kitten. She took a liking to the big hairy bloke I’m married to the other day and now seems to spend more time here than at her own home. She seems to be outside a lot, so I figure she’s feeling a bit lonely and know that she can always find some company and food here.

Yesterday morning I awoke to the sensation of a cat leaping about the bed attacking my foot. I thought it was Norman. Until Norman landed on my head.

Then I thought it might have been Seymour, but no … he was still asleep on my other foot.

I opened one weary eye and realised it was the next-door cat.

I’m not quite sure what we’re going to do about the wee critter. She’s quite cute but I don’t really want a third cat. And I think Seymour would have a complete meltdown if he had to share his house/staff/bed with another cat on a permanent basis.

As some of you may know, I refer to my poor, long-suffering but well-insured husband as Fluffy because:

  1. He doesn’t shave as often as he should; and
  2. It annoys the crap out of him. Particularly when pronounced Fwufffffeeeeee.

Anyway, I had been referring to our furry visitor as Bob the interloper (Bob being short for Thingamabob, because we didn’t know her name). But it would appear her real name is actually Fluffy. How’s that for a coincidence?


Bob/Fluffy with Norman




Winter. Cough.

The view this morning from my office at home.

The view this morning from my office at home.

Norman wonders what the white fluffy stuff is

Norman wonders what the white fluffy stuff is.

It’s cold, snowy and I’m still recovering from whatever lurgie it was that got me a couple of weeks ago.

The snow’s been a bit startling, hasn’t it? Norman has been enjoying it, running around like a maniac as her wee furry feet disappear into the piles of white stuff. And every time she flits off outside to commune with nature, she wants to warm/dry her feet on me when she arrives back in the cat door.

Seymour, on the other hand, is sensibly limiting his outside excursions to necessary toilet trips only. Apart from that, he’s snuggled up on his favourite couch enjoying the view.

I’m worked from home today, which is one good thing about my job I suppose: if the roads are treacherous I can stay here in the comfort of my little bat cave/office and work.

And another good thing about working from my home office: I can reach out the window to get chunks of snow for the purpose of snowball making without having to even leave the comfort (and warmth) of my office. As my well-insured husband discovered to his peril.

It's really got her baffled.

It's really got her baffled.



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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