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Well, that's it. Gark Towers (or as the University of Bath insists on calling it, Cotswold House) is no more. We've spent our last night under its flat roof, and the vast majority of our belongings are now gone. I say vast, because the amount of stuff that we'll need to move out over the next week is still quite substantial. We need to get better at this hoarding malarkey.

I'll probably write something longer on Monday, but for now suffice it to say that I'll miss this place. It's a great house, even if it does have its pecularities, and being on the edge of a university campus means that our summers have always been blissfully peaceful (even if the rest of the year hasn't). We're now off to the new place in Southampton (which we bought in January), and which is tentatively named Gark Villa.

Of course, I've not been able to say goodbye to the cat, since she still runs from the sight (and sound) of me. Plus ca change.

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[livejournal.com profile] ias and I are hoping that carpet stains, unlike bad luck, do not come in threes.

I got back from a gaming weekend in Derbyshire with [livejournal.com profile] meryc, [livejournal.com profile] purplestuart and others at lunchtime (sorry [livejournal.com profile] hsw - I was one of the people trying to persuade [livejournal.com profile] meryc to stay another day). [livejournal.com profile] ias, on the other hand, had spent all morning manning the picket lines as part of the industrial dispute between the universities and the AUT. Either last night or this morning, some darling little shit of a student had lobbed a pair of eggs into the kitchen, possibly through the catflap, possibly through a small window. Result: egg on the kitchen table, the radiator, a chair and in two places on the floor. Dried on quite nicely too. It's going to be nigh-impossible for [livejournal.com profile] ias to do anything about this, though it seems possible that it might be related to some recent disciplinary action she had to take.

So, after a quiet afternoon in this house ([livejournal.com profile] meryc - "* * *"), we were just about to go out to the shops to pick up the remaining ingredients for pancakes (making pancakes for the RTs is a social activity, and not something which would involve us crossing a picket line). The cat was somewhere downstairs and scampered out of the house (as usual) as we came downstairs to the study (one level above the kitchen). When we got to the kitchen, the reason was clear. She'd caught another small rabbit (making the current score Westwood Rabbits: 0 Parkin Cats: 3 1/2), dragged it through the catflap and was beginning to eat it. Small rabbit was minus part of its face, had a detachable ear and front paw, and had contributed to the carpet stain situation with a couple of good bloodstains - right in the middle of the carpet, naturally.

Small rabbit is now in the dustbins. I'm hoping that a hapless student doesn't come across it while trying to find space for their rubbish (the bins are very full), although the thought of hunting down the egg culprit, breaking into their room while they sleep and leaving a dismembered rabbit in their bed is strangely appealing. "You disrespect my family..."

(this sounds like a letter to a women's magazine's household hints column: "Dear Bertha, how do I remove blood and egg stains from my carpets...")

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We have a cat. She is not the brightest of creatures, but we love her anyway. Even though she has urinated on our bed twice, even though she runs from the very sight of me.

However, she cannot handle the catflap. Not the hole that the flap fits into, but the flap itself. So far, this has been rectified by the use of a pair of clothespegs to prop open the catflap so the poor widdleums creature won't have to use her delicate wittle head to lift the flap (this from the creature that used regularly to fling herself at closed windows - a piece of clear perspex presents insurmountable problems). However, we now have a Squirrel Problem.

You see, squirrels are generally clever creatures, possibly as clever as the cat herself. Like the cat, they don't have difficulties coming in and out when the catflap is pegged open. They're certainly bold enough to come through the catflap when I'm in the kitchen. We've found bits of bread that they've pinched (time to invest in a breadbin, perhaps).

This morning, we awoke to find lots of muddy little squirrel sized pawprints all over the sideboard, all over the snowglobe we brought back from honeymoon, and all over the bowl of nuts that were left over from the wedding. That is now sans nuts. The fickle feline can bloody well learn to push the cat flap open herself from now on.

I wonder where in the garden the squirrels have buried the nuts?

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Just got back to the house from honeymoon (watch out for a mega post on that topic in the next week) to find that the cat a) had remembered that she gets fed in this house b) had worked out that it was possible to use the catflap when there are no people in the house and c) had the common sense to come in out of the cold when it was below freezing outside. Yet to find any stained furnishings, but given that she was locked out of all rooms bar the kitchen/dining room, I very much doubt that even she could cause much damage. Hurrah for the cat!

Maybe we should reevaluate her IQ towards the double digit region now?

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As the fabulous [livejournal.com profile] ias has also noted, the damned cat has pissed on the bed again (making this the second time for our own bed and the third time for beds in the house in general), which is of course exactly the sort of relaxing event that we need in the run-up to the wedding (three weeks today).

I've been mentally composing notices to put in newsagents' windows, but they all come out something like "Affectionate yet neurotic, plaintive and incontinent adult cat to go to good home with ample opportunities for defecating and urinating on soft furnishings, beds and other objects of value. Potential owners must not mind the smell of cat drool, and should preferably be deaf. Extreme level of tolerance essential."

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Nick Gibbins

August 2010

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