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Attack of the Bed Bugs in Wick

In my mind’s eye I pictured Wick to be a picturesque Scottish fishing village with enough activities to keep me occupied for a week. The B&B I’d booked faced the harbour, so I would be regaled with mesmerising views of the Northern Lights every evening. In short, it would be a magical time. After two days I had run out of things to do, it was freezing cold, the Northern Lights hadn’t appeared and I had bed bug bites. And there was still five days to go. Wick was turning out to be more nightmare than dream destination.

IMG_1236I’d had bed bug bites before in Scotland, at a flat in Edinburgh. They swelled up so dramatically I’d had to go to the A&E to get treatment. Then I got bitten again in Florence at a hostel. But I didn’t realise they can come in all guises, so when I noticed a rash on my forehead I didn’t immediately connect it with bed bugs.

My sister happened to be on What’s App? at the time so she wanted a photo which I dutifully sent through. “Oooh that looks nasty”, she commented with sisterly concern. I figured it must be a product I was using that I was allergic to, but I couldn’t think what.

On further discovery I found lumps on the back of my neck, and hip area, “oh no”, I messaged her “bed bugs!”. “You have to leave the hotel, you have to fumigate your clothes, you have to throw away your suitcase!” she messaged back frantically. Not the advice I really wanted to hear. I thought it could be managed so I stayed an extra night. Big mistake. Bed bug bites appeared on my forehead in a Southern Cross pattern (were they trying to tell me to go home?). I had to get out of there.

IMG_1238I found another hotel that looked more upmarket and rang them to book a room. To be fair the B&B felt a bit grubby and I couldn’t face another night with crawling critters. I confronted the owner with my bites, which were now big red lumps. He couldn’t really deny I had issues.

“We’ve never had this problem before, have you been out hiking perhaps it’s midges?” he countered weakly before agreeing to give me my money back.

I packed up and moved out, a knitted hat covering the evidence and trying not to scratch madly I checked in at the Queen’s Hotel. Since I didn’t want them to think I’d infest their hotel I didn’t mention why I’d left the B&B, and luckily they didn’t ask. By now the bites were red, swollen and painful. I’d bought some antihistimine tablets and cream in Boots but it didn’t seem to be working. Perhaps I should go to A&E since there was a hospital practically next door?

This turned out to be a fat waste of time. While curious, the NHS emergency staff pleaded ignorance as to they actually being bed bug bites and I waited some ungodly amount of time in a small room for a consultant to finish consulting on a ‘real emergency’ and come and see me. They never showed. So I left. Went back to the hotel consulted Dr Google who advised I buy 1% hydrocortisone cream. I tootled off to Boots again with my hat on.

IMG_1240The next day the pain had lessened though I was still sufficiently covered in lumps not to be able to take advantage of the free breakfast. It just felt wrong to sit at breakfast with my hat on. I couldn’t do it. Luckily there was a bakery across the road. And a takeaway pizza shop down the road that I could visit in the cover of darkness.

Eating greasy food I realised was really the only thing you could really do for fun in Wick. Apart from visit the Old Putney Whiskey distillery which had free drams to take the edge off the misery.

In a way I’m glad I got bed bugs in Wick because trying to heal myself gave me something to do for a couple of days. I’m mystified as to what I would’ve got up to otherwise.

 

 

 

 


A Strange Hotel Experience in England

When booking hotels online all you have to really go on is photos and reviews. If the photos look nice, it’s in a good location and the first page of reviews is ok, then I book. But you don’t always get the experience you expect.

Case in point is a hotel I stayed at recently in England. It was just for one night and reasonably close to the airport and seemed to be a friendly hotel based on the few guest reviews I read. It was around a 15 minute walk from the nearest train station but that was ok, I planned to get a taxi in the morning anyway so a 15 minute trek with my suitcase wouldn’t hurt.

I rocked on up to the front door and buzzed. I waited for a while. Nothing. I buzzed again. I was about to ring the number when the door was flung open and a woman speaking heavily accented English greeted me. She bustled me in to an elegant entranceway and through into a formal reception room. We discussed my needs briefly and I had to say what time I wanted breakfast and what time for the taxi. Easy enough. Breakfast 8am, taxi 9am. I’m a bit of a stickler for being on time anyway, and if they had a tight schedule then I could acquiesce.

The woman showed me to my room, on the ground floor because of my suitcase. Fine too. Except when she left the noise of the road was quite loud, so I thought stuff it I’ll ask for another room. This was handled with grace and ease. Yes, of course, the second floor room was available but I would have to wait until her husband came home from work to bring up the suitcase. I gathered she didn’t want me lugging it up the stairs and perhaps ruining the carpet. Fine.

The room upstairs was actually nicer as it was in the attic and had a low beam and a cute bathroom. I didn’t need to mind my head either as the sign said.

bedroom

I had a look at the dinner menu, the meals were all kind of basic, lasagne, shepherds pie, fish and chips, and quite possibly would be microwaved meals though they cost around 10 pounds each. She’d said I needed to let her know what time I wanted dinner as she would have to ‘cook it herself’.

At around 4.30 pm I rang and said please could I have the fish and chips and cheesecake. Yes, no problem. Is is ok to eat in my room? Yes, no problem. Right, great. What time do you want to eat? 6.30? No problem. Oh and what time is your husband coming home so I can get my suitcase? He will be home at 6pm. Ok, thanks.

Sigh, another hour and half to wait. At 5.50 pm there is a knock on the door. It is the husband with my suitcase. He is puffing and looks exhausted. Oh dear, surely it isn’t that heavy? Thank you I say, I hope you didn’t injure yourself. Oh no, he says, it wasn’t heavy, I have been working all day and now I’ve come home. Right, well, yes.

You’re having dinner? Please could you eat downstairs, as we have to think about the carpets. They charge us 100 pounds to get them cleaned. Oh, right, of course, no problem (even though your wife said it was ok). He stands there for a bit longer. Ok, well thank you.

Dinner time rolls around, and I just know I’m going to be sitting there by myself. Sure enough I’m the only guest for dinner. I still haven’t seen or heard anyone else. The door marked ‘staff only’ flies open and the husband comes out and ushers me in to the conservatory. He says I will not have to wait long as the fish is in the pan, it is frying, and it is very fresh. He explains about the condiments on the side and that there is salt and pepper. And in that jar is sugar because another guest thought it was salt. He goes off to check on the fish.

He comes in again shortly with the meal. The peas are very green and the fish is very fried but it looks ok. The husband hovers, it is ok? Yes, thank you. Is it enough? Yes, thank you. Will there be anyone else coming in for dinner? I ask. No, I think not, maybe later. But there are other people here? Oh yes, it is Saturday the hotel is always full (strange I haven’t heard a peep).

fresh-fish

However, when I’m halfway through my fish a car pulls up and some people arrive. I hear the husband checking them in, whew guests at last. But they don’t come in for dinner. The husband ventures back into the dining room and leans against the door. How is it? Good thank you. It is cooked well? Yes, thank you. There is now another guest, just after I told you now there wasn’t, he says. He is coming down shortly, he is having the lasagne and the cheesecake like you (good for him, I think).

He disappears back into the kitchen. I haven’t seen the wife so not sure if she is in there cooking up a storm or doing her nails. I’m kind of getting used to the husband but there is something decidedly strange about his manner, or perhaps he thinks being overly attentive is part of being a good host. Either way when the other guest shows up for his lasagne, I’m relieved. Now the attention will be diverted.

The husband sidles in with my cheesecake. You can have it in your room, he says. Huh? But what about the carpets, I think. But I’m off the hook so I’m relieved. Except that I have to pay for the meal. Can I do it in the morning. No, now would be better he thinks. Ok, I have to get my purse. I will come with you, he says. Great. So you don’t have to come down again. Right.

We head upstairs. So do you have two jobs? I ask. Yes, he says, during the day I work on a building site and then at night I come home and I help my wife. But it’s not my job. We reach my room and he hovers in the doorway while I get the money. Luckily I have the right change as otherwise there would be more tooing and frowing. As it is he helps me to identify the coins ‘that’s a 1 pence, that’s a 2 pence’ in case I’m not sure.

At last I’m left alone and feel like I’ve had a lucky escape but there is still breakfast tomorrow. Sure enough when I head down at 7.55am I’m the only person there again. The husband comes out and queries me about the full English, I can hear sizzling coming from the kitchen. Oh no I hope I didn’t give his wife the impression that I wanted a full English. Luckily he seems ok with just my request for cereal and toast and goes off to get the toast. Since he’s so willing, I also ask for some fruit.

He comes back with the toast and fruit, then hovers. It is ok? Yes, thank you. It is foggy today, I say conversationally to get him off the topic of the breakfast. He grunts. Is it? I haven’t looked outside yet, he says. He tuts and looks at the clock. There are also guests coming down for breakfast at 8am, he says, but they are late. I will have to ring them, their breakfast is getting cold. He goes off.

At this point I nearly get the giggles, because surely they wouldn’t start cooking their breakfast until they come down? I can imagine them getting a curt phone call. Please come down, the full English is waiting. Eventually the couple shuffles into the room and the full English is immediately whipped in front of them. They don’t seem to mind though and just start eating it.

I take my chance and quickly head back upstairs before I’m questioned anymore about the breakfast. At least that was included in the price so I don’t have to count out my money under a penetrating gaze. But there is more. He has said that he will be up at 8.50am to carry my suitcase down. By this time I’ve realised he’s a complete control freak but at least I don’t have to worry about him not being on time. On the dot there’s the knock.

He carries it down but only to the bottom of the stairs. You can put it over here, he says, gesturing to the door (could you not have carried it a few steps further?). The taxi driver arrives 5 minutes early (thank you lord) which is pointed out to me by the husband and he shepherds me outside and hovers. I do what is only polite, thank him and then as I’m not sure what else to do, shake his hand, which he looks surprised about. Although he is probably the oddest person I have met for a while, there is something that makes me feel a bit sorry for him. But I’m glad I only booked one night, I really can’t imagine having to go through the whole dinner/breakfast rigmarole again.

A few days later I checked the online reviews of the hotel to see if anyone else had thought it was all a bit odd. Sure enough a few pages in there were a few comments about the ‘strange mannerisms’ of the husband and the ‘hovering’. One guest had said that he’d knocked on their door at 6.45 am and said that the hotel hairdryer was needed and that he’d driven another guest’s daughter to tears. As strange and uncomfortable as it was though, it was kind of funny, and certainly not at all what I expected.


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Sighting the Northern Lights in Iceland

There’s no guarantee of seeing the Northern Lights in Iceland, or anywhere for that matter. They appear when they want to appear, and if you happen to be there that’s excellent for you. Which is why spending quite a few hours driving around the back of beyond in Iceland on a bus tour looking for them was always going to be on the cards. I just hoped that the night I’d booked would be my lucky night.

I’d booked the tour 6 months ago and when I got to Reykjavik there was going to be high activity for the Monday night, according to the Aurora forecast. But there was also going to be clouds, wind and rain, not the best conditions for a sighting. After driving out of Reykjavik to escape the light pollution we stopped several times and got out and stood around in the freezing cold hoping something would appear in the sky…a tiny bit of light…anything, but nada. The tour guide was extremely apologetic, but it wasn’t her fault. The Aurora were just playing hard to get.

A guy I met from the Reykjavik hostel had booked the tour especially to see the lights as it was his last night in Iceland, and because the Aurora forecast had been good. He’d already seen them two nights ago, so I told him he was being greedy. Luckily for me, a non-sighting meant that I could re-book the tour.

The next day dawned bright and clear, with hardly any clouds, it looked promising. I checked the Aurora forecast and activity was high, so instead of waiting until Wednesday to recover from last night’s 1.30 am return, I decided to go again that night. I’d read earlier that if the sky was clear then you should take the chance and go. Actually I decided I might as well go every night until I saw them since I’d already paid for the tour!

Based on the guy I’d met telling me he’d gone earlier in the evening I changed the tour time from 9 pm to 7.30 pm, just in case that was a better time. Oh it was! The hotel pick-up started at 7 pm and on the way to the tour bus terminal I overheard a girl telling the group behind her she’d just seen the Northern Lights in the sky for ‘three minutes’ outside her hotel when she was waiting to be picked up. She’d taken photos and there was lots of ooohing and ahhhing. When we arrived at the terminal the group started ooohing and ahhhing again and pointing up at the sky. Sure enough there were long streaks appearing overhead. I started to get excited, this looked like it could be the night.

We were so busy peering up at the sky the hotel pick-up driver had to remind us the bus left in 5 minutes. On the bus there was a frisson of tension, our driver ‘Otto’ said that three things were needed for a good sighting: clear skies, cold and activity. According to him we had all three.

The bus took off with Otto giving us a running commentary about the Northern Lights and how to take photos of them. He actually repeated the photo information about three times, reiterating ‘no flash’, ‘manual setting’, ‘infinity’ and ‘tripod’. None of this really applied to me except the ‘no flash’ part as I had a Canon point and shoot. True it had a manual setting but only a basic one, and I didn’t have an infinity setting. I was just going to have to make do if the lights appeared.

After driving for a while out of Reykjavik’s light pollution we pulled off to the right and Otto stopped the bus. Apparently there was activity here and we were going to stay for an hour. After driving around last night from place to place an hour sounded like a long time. Everyone piled on their jackets, scarves and hats and piled off the bus into the freezing darkness.

We stood silently looking up into the sky. Was that slightly brighter glimmer the Northern Lights? Perhaps? I started walking up a scoria pathway where it was darker. Otto was ahead and telling people not to stray from the bus. We looked some more. The lights got brighter and started forming long white streaks. I decided I should try and take a photo, it came out like this:

aurora1

Wow, it definitely looked better on camera, really green not white at all. I took some more. I’d set the shutter speed to the longest time possible, 15 seconds, and the exposure to the greatest +2. That was the extent of my manual settings. But they were capturing something. Then it morphed into swirls.

I saw a mossy rock and decided to perch on that, with my diary on my knees as a flat surface. I also remembered Otto saying to do a self-timer so I used that too. I started getting some ok shots, like this one:

aurora2

So I just kept going until my fingers were frozen and the lights had faded. In hindsight perhaps I should have looked at them with my eyes a little more, but they did look a lot better on camera. This is probably the best one of all:

aurora3

I like the way you can see the silhouettes of people taking photos underneath, as truly that’s what everyone was doing madly (and some even using ‘the flash’ despite Otto’s strict instructions).

After hanging around for a bit longer to see if they reappeared, Otto decided to go to an abandoned ski field on the way back to the city. But although there was activity he said it wasn’t anything like what we’d just seen so he drove us back to Reykjavik an hour early. To be honest that was fine with me as I couldn’t have done another 1.30am’er. Northern Lights in Iceland? Tick.

The moral of the story is, don’t stress if you don’t have a fancy camera and tripod, you can still take photos of the Northern Lights with a point and shoot. Ok they may not be the clearest but as long as you keep it reasonably steady and use the longest shutter speed and brightest exposure, you should get something to prove that you’ve seen them.


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Singapore Airlines – The Best of the Best?

Singapore_AirlinesSingapore is consistently voted the world’s best airline. So good is their ‘Top Gun’ service many people won’t fly with anyone else.  I was curious to experience this for myself, since everyone raves about them.  This is my completey biased and subjective account of my long haul flight from Paris to New Zealand (NB: this artice was written under the influence of jetlag).

Upon entering the departure lounge in Charles de Gaulle the first thing I noticed is that instead of having one door for passengers to embark onto the plane, they had three. Celebrities and business class passengers didn’t have to mingle with the plebs, except in the confines of the departure lounge. Boarding was reasonably efficient, apart from a small delay of about 15 minutes.

Inside the plane it was definitely more plush than some airlines I could mention. It felt spacious, the seats were generous and there seemed to be more leg room than normal. Not that this is usually a problem for me being 5 foot 2. An added bonus was two extra seats beside me so I could put the armrest up and stretch out if I wanted.

This comparative luxury consoled me for the extra hour we waited for the plane to actually leave the ground.  A slight ‘problem’ meant extra fuel needed to be added.  We weren’t told what the problem was in any detail but this is standard procedure for most airlines, never give out too much information! Safety did seem to be uppermost in the airlines mind however, and I liked the fact there was a video to watch rather than a bored stewardess standing in the aisle wearing a life-jacket pretending to blow a whistle.

The wide video screen consoles were fancier than I expected, and the choice of movies was so good I ended up watching about four or five.  The food selection was also great, with generous portions and my choice was always available (there’s nothing worse than desiring lamb stew only to be told it’s all gone).

Service-wise I was impressed with the professionalism of the stewardesses.  Since our flight was late quite a few passengers were getting antsy about missing connecting flights.  These fears were dealt with efficiently and compassionately, and passengers were reassured they would be getting to where they needed to go.

The first 12 hours passed relatively quickly for me, which was good as I’m usually fidgeting and getting impatient near the ‘five hours to go’ mark.  My only complaint would be the temperature of the cabin, it was freezing!  To the point of needing my coat on as well as a blanket.

After a layover in Changi Airport in the Ambassador Transit Hotel, where I got around 6 hours sleep, it was back onto another Singapore plane for 9 hours.  This is the leg I hate the most, you’re tired, fed up with airline food, sick of watching movies and other passengers are starting to irritate you.  Yet, I was reasonably comfortable and able to endure it serenely. The temperature of the cabin for this leg was perfect.

Overall the combination of friendly service, comfy seat, good food and entertainment system made this the best long haul flight I’ve experienced.  Would I fly Singapore Airlines again?  Yes, without hesitation. Plus my luggage also turned up in Auckland, which gives them extra bonus points.


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Hidden Naxos

For many people a visit to the Greek island of Naxos will involve walking up and down the harbour strip, and finding the quickest route through the small town to their hotel. They might perhaps take a trip to a few beaches south of the main port but few will actually explore the rest of the island which is the largest in the Cyclades group at 429 km2.

Fortunately for those who like to do more than sit by the pool, there is a tour which takes you into the inner regions of Naxos and proves there’s more to this island than first meets the eye. The Hidden Naxos Tour is run by British ex-photo journalist Stuart Thorpe who has lived and worked on Naxos for over 25 years.  The tour basically involves being driven around the island for a day with seven other people, and Stuart behind the wheel giving you the low-down on what makes Naxos tick. And there’s not a lot about Naxos Stuart doesn’t know.

He tells us the tourist industry on Naxos is so firmly ensconced near the Chora (or main town) this means cheap land for sale everywhere else. On our journey he points out buildings in progress dotted around the landscape, well the concrete structures at least. The concrete can take some time to dry out before the house can be constructed and finally painted in the typical whitewash with blue trimmings. He says whitewash is the cheapest paint to use which is why there are so many white buildings in the Cyclades islands. Its use is also practical as it reflects the heat better than any other colour.

Although Naxos relies heavily on tourism in the summer months (at least 15-20% of its income) it is largely an agricultural island and is famous for its potatoes. Another industry, though one Stuart says is becoming more expensive to run, is that of marble importing. Naxos has entire mountains made of marble which get slowly chipped away as the marble is removed in blocks and ground down into sheets.

Stuart’s tour takes us right through the heart of the marble mountains and even stops off at a marble producing factory. Be warned though, if you’re expecting pamphlets and guided tours you’ll be disappointed. When we arrived there was just a machine grinding down a huge block of marble and lots of marble slabs everywhere. The workers were nowhere in sight. Stuart explained it was such a long process that they’d probably set the machine running and gone home for lunch.

As we discovered, when we also stopped at a traditional taverna a bit further on, lunch can be a time-consuming process. No ready made food for us, the potatoes were literally being peeled in front of our eyes. This did give us time, however, to try the locally made wine which was very drinkable, especially after the second or third glass.

Hospitality is the one thing you may not find in some of the cafes and restaurants in the tourist area of Naxos, but out of that sphere it’s alive and well on the rest of the island. Home grown potatoes, Greek salad, olives and fresh baked bread with locally made olive oil were set cheerfully before us by the owners of the restaurant and we were even able to try a bowl of the lentil soup the owner had made for his lunch.  As we were leaving, the wife pressed apples from their tree into our hands which was a nice touch.

There’s lots more to discover on the Hidden Naxos Tour but you’ll just have to find out for yourself once you go on it. I found cheap tickets to Naxos from Athens flying Olympic Airlines, and Athens is a major tourist destination so you should have no trouble finding cheap flights going there from any city in the UK or Europe.


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Ode to Edinburgh

New Zealand and Scotland are closely entertwined, and have been ever since the first Scottish settlers emigrated Down Under in the mid 1800’s.

Between 1853 and 1870 Scottish immigrants made up around 30% of New Zealand’s fledgling population, which was more than any of the other UK immigrants. Up to half of these were agricultural labourers from the highlands seeking cheap land for sale, and ultimately, a better way of life.

Bringing with them traditions, sports, poetry, recipes, music, and of course language, the Scottish settlers made an indelible impression on the New Zealand way of life.  Southlanders especially hark back to their Scottish roots, and still roll their ‘rrr’s’ and use words like ‘crib’ and ‘wee’.

Some of the Scottish immigrants were artisans and small traders who came from in and around Edinburgh. This is the place where many Kiwis feel a kinship to the Scots, especially those from its sister city of Dunedin. Dunedin is the South Island’s second largest city and its name, Dùn Èideann, is the Scottish Gaelic name for Edinburgh.

As a New Zealander, visiting Edinburgh is always akin to a kind of pilgrimage, as I feel I come home to the source of part of my culture. Even though most Scots congregated in Southland, the rest were pretty much evenly spread throughout New Zealand. In Auckland I grew up eating porridge, scones and shortbread, spent hours of my childhood knitting and watched pipe bands parading down Queen Street whenever there was a special event. Perhaps this is why Edinburgh feels familiar to me, and why I chose to live here for a year when I was doing my two year overseas stint in the UK.

I was recently given the opportunity to do a two week house-sit in Edinburgh, so I jumped at the chance to visit my Scottish home away from home once again. If anything, this trip has solidified my attachment to Edinburgh even more. I’ve been: on a walking tour learning precious nuggets of history, up the 287 steps of Scott’s Monument taking in the 360 degree views, to the Writer’s Museum, the National Musuem, the Bank of Scotland Museum, an exhibition on Scottish film, reading about Edinburgh’s lost architectural heritage, appreciating bagpipers, eating shortbread, and getting drenched in the unpredictable weather.

I’ve been listening to that lilting burr on buses, trains, in streets, in shops and it reminds me of all the Scottish people who gave up homes, friends, loved ones to travel half-way round the world to a tiny, unformed country to start a new life.

But then some of Edinburgh’s best known writers left this fair city in search of adventure. Robert Louis Stevenson, he of Treasure Island fame, was born and bred in Edinburgh and ended up living in Samoa. He had a love/hate relationship with Edinburgh, its climate didn’t agree with him but when he was away he thought of it constantly.

He wrote in his book Travels With A Donkey in 1879 – “For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move”.

I think this Scottish pioneering spirit has inextricably found its way into the Kiwi mindset. For many of us, as much as we love our homes, we also need to be constantly on the move, discovering, experiencing and enjoying life.  And if there’s one thing the Scots know how to do, it’s how to have a good time, whiskey or no whiskey!


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A Wee Scottish Hoose

Small designer houses are becoming all the rage in Europe. So I read in Easy Jet’s Traveller magazine on my flight to Edinburgh the other day. Eco-friendly hobbit holes with all the mod-cons are sprouting up all over the country side, as people become more aware of how living frugally is better for the environment and the wallet.

With this in mind I moved into my house-sit in Edinburgh to look after two cats while a couple went on honeymoon. The Irish girl who lived there with her Scottish partner had warned the apartment was small. This didn’t bother me in the slightest, my own apartment in Auckland was only 32 m2, could it be smaller than that? Yes, it could, a lot smaller.

Small houses can be an advantage when the temperature drops into single digits when it comes to heating. However, the heater working isn’t the issue, not having any hot water is. Something is definitely wrong with the water heater, I’m not sure what. Perhaps she did quickly mention the heating breaking the day before, before they rushed out the door to balmy Mexico but I didn’t catch on. Luckily the shower is still producing the hot stuff otherwise I’d be starting to steam myself. Or trying to wash in the sink that has been designed for elves.

The envelope-sized elf sink!

Small houses are also fine if animals can go outside but the cats I’m looking after are indoor cats, they never go outside. You have to feel sorry for animals that are cooped up in a small space day after day looking longingly at the garden from the window. So I’m not surprised one of them attempted escape.

Last night a well-meaning neighbour popped down to introduce herself. Unfortunately for us one of the cats took its chance and scarpered outside. Then ensued twenty minutes of coaxing from the neighbour as the cat had wedged itself in between a precariously balanced old stereo and a load of dusty bikes. At one point I’m blocking the garden door cat flap and receiving icy blasts around my calves, while the Scottish woman is crooning “There pet, oooh come oon pet”. I tell her to grab it by the scruff of its neck and she looks at me like I should be had up for animal abuse “Ooooh I’ve never doon that”. Eventually we get the cat inside.

I think it’s been so traumatised with it’s foray into the outside world that it’s quite happy to be back in the cozy lounge made for hobbits. As are my frozen calves.