5 days ago
Not Byron and Cam Hobhouse in Zitsa but cats Sian and Quincey back in Wales and snapped by a kind friend who went round to talk to them. No doubt someone in Holt will be dobbing them in on the village facebook group for non mask wearing and a failure to social distance. These cats are what i miss most about life back in Blighty which tells you a lot about how Airstrip One appears from abroad right now.
12 days ago
Greeks treat cats pretty badly. Anyone who has been here at a tourist hotspot will have been pestered by thin-looking moggies at more or less every restaurant in town. When the tourists go, the weak ones die or are killed by the locals. Only the strongest survive on rats and mice until the tourists arrive again. It is all rather brutal and something the natives would rather that tourists did not dig into, too much.
111 days ago
I may have given the impression that Canada was a semi-socialist woke hell hole run by the biggest poltroon on this planet where within a few years the economy will be such a trainwreck that folks like Darren Atwater will be forced to eat their cats. If so, I’d like to apologise, for Canada is a progressive paradise run by a visionary statesman, Mr Justin Trudeau, who wears his Eid socks to the Pride parade, or vice versa (I forgot); a chap who is eerily reminiscent of FDR or Churchill. Where this dynamic and free nation leads, the rest of the world surely will follow which is bad news for loathsome promoter Neill Ricketts and Versarien (VRS).
191 days ago
The first call was mid-morning. On that occasion it was two young WPCs. If one was a filthy old man with a thing about uniforms it would have been a bit of a treat but my initial concern was that someone had read my writings about my crime family flouting daft lockdown laws on my birthday and snitched. Oh no. It was about the floods – the two young ladies just asked if there was anything they could do for me. Well since you mention it officers…
199 days ago
When we arrived, this was a galley kitchen 1970s style with a nice asbestos roof cladding. It can be so much better as its back wall is the old brick and timber external wall from the oldest part of the house. It just needed a stack of work. This room adjoins the 1600s kitchen when renovation work is almost complete.
205 days ago
Following on from the Life Imitates arts series at Christmas, the Mrs has tidied away all cardboard boxes, plastic bags and workers’ dust sheets, leaving sleeping spaces for our Northern cats, Sian and Quincey, severely restricted. But these Scousers are a resourceful lot…
215 days ago
Heck, Sian starred on Panorama so I know my two scouser rescue cats have a big fan club. So one last treat for the fans, following my Life Imitates art series this Christmas. The Mrs bought another duck for our second Christmas which will be shared with the younger generation today.
217 days ago
So the Mrs thought about getting the cats a basket but I insisted that that was for soft Southerners and that our Northern cats, the scousers Quincey and Sian, needed and wanted only a cardboard box each as they said, in true Monty Python fashion: “when we were young we were poor but we were happy”. So she took away a cardboard box.
219 days ago
So the Mrs thought about getting the cats a basket but I insisted that that was for soft Southerners and that our Northern cats, the scousers Quincey and Sian, needed and wanted only a cardboard box each as they said “when we were young we were poor but we were happy”. So she took away a cardboard box.
219 days ago
My four-year-old Joshua has been talking of little else for days. Yesterday, he really did get a card from Santa in the post which told him that he must be in bed early so that Santa could pop in and that he must leave a drink for Santa and something to eat for both Mr Claus and for Rudolph.
221 days ago
I celebrated with you the other day that the Holly Tree here at the Welsh Hovel had, somehow, retained its berries this year. Cats 23, birds nil. And thus a stack of twigs and small branches have been cut down to decorate the house. They look pretty spectacular, just like you might see in a Christmas card but rarely see in real life.
223 days ago
We started this tale with my wife suggesting that we buy a cat basket for Sian & Quincey our rescue cats from the grim North, that is to say Liverpool. “Oh no” I objected on their behalf, “cat baskets are for soft southerners, when we were young we lived in cardboard boxes”. I put two out and the cats dreamed of sleeping in cardboard boxes. “In the old days in the North we were poor but we were happy” they said, as in the Monty Python sketch.
225 days ago
Yesterday I explained to you the battle of the cardboard boxes here at the Welsh Hovel. I had put two out in the living room for the cats to sleep in. The Mrs insisted that the cats deserved a proper cat basket. I insisted that as fully fledged Northerners (from Liverpool), they thought cat baskets were for soft southern cats and, as per the famous Monty Python sketch, they were lucky if they had a cardboard box.
225 days ago
On the lane down to the Welsh Hovel at the edge of what was once known as the jungle and will one day be a soccer pitch sized vegetable garden sits a holly tree. In the autumn it was full of red berries but I was resigned to the birds eating the lot.
226 days ago
The Mrs thinks that when boxes are emptied of Christmas presents, they should be thrown away or just plausibly used for lighting the woodburning stove. Not that she has done that once. But the cats and I know what boxes are really for.
309 days ago
The library is a bit of a mess as we clear stuff out from the dining room next door to reveal its wonders. As a result, Quincey, one of our two rescue cats, has had to change his place of sleeping during the day when he likes to be with me. What better place but the firewood basket which is where he is now as I tap away.
440 days ago
The photos below did not come out well but show the track now cut through the grass around our three fields here at the Welsh hovel where myself and the cats (pictured) went on a training walk today. Come June 13 I will complete this route 30-40 times and I beg you to sponsor me, as I look to raise the cash to save Woodlarks, now HERE. In the podcast I look at Belarus and Covid 19 referencing my article earlier today HERE, at Nigel’s dynamite expose of Tern (TERN) today and at why ShareSoc should be done under the Trades Description Act.
538 days ago
Power was restored to the whole village late afternoon. Good news thought I: light, power, internet all I need now is to turn on the heating and I can be warm too. And thus the cats and I retreated from an upstairs bedroom with two duvets on the bed to turn on the gas.
596 days ago
I start with me voting and the Mrs not being able to vote here in Wrexham earlier today. Then there are two reports I have had that the Vox markets IPO has been pulled, I wonder if Justin the Clown will mention this in his podcast or will he be too busy blowing off Neill Ricketts of Versarien (VRS) whose abject results I discuss. I look at IP Group (IPO), Purplebricks (PURP), Premier African Minerals (PREM) and Bidstack (BIDS) wondering if it will serve up its overdue warning after hours tonight? Finally there is a plea on behalf of my cats.
601 days ago
We started the day with three harvesters: myself and Shareprophets readers K and T1 and we started pretty much on time, the person normally latest to rise – myself – having been off the sauce the previous night – held no-one back. Then it was coffee and our usual healthy cereals and we were off to work. There were, however, concerns about the cat.
618 days ago
The Mrs will almost certainly vote Labour as she always does, happy in the knowledge that a victory for Jeremy Corbyn will mean an immediate 5% pay rise for here and all other underpaid and overworked sociology lecturers. I have pointed out that after five years of following Venezuala style economic policies she will be eating our cats but that is one good reason not to vote Labour. Quincy and Sian are, out of pure self interest, rooting for Boris. There are numerous freasons not to vote Labour contained in its extremist and economically illiterate manifesto, but the over-riding reason why no-one with any conscience can risk Labour winning is anti-semitism.
667 days ago
My cats are on a roll, It is horrfic. I mention this at the start just to annoy NoGold. Them ouzo for Nigel as Woodford Patient Capital Trust (WPCT) fesses up on a fake RNS. But it is still stuffed. I look at Bahamas Petroleum (BPC) as it dissembles, Brady (BRY) whose shares should be suspended, Clear Leisure (CLP) and a joke deal and Ted Baker (TBK) which seems fecked.
744 days ago
Sian, short tail female, is on top of Quincey (long tail, male). Amazingly they seem happy to sleep with their bodies so contorted in the, as yet unrenovated, dining room at the Welsh Hovel where I work at my laptop each day, when not sanding floors or hacking away at the jungle which will, one day, be an orchard or a vegetable garden.
789 days ago
Someone wants to gag the free press and has sent me a fascist and ludicrous lawyers letter. But who wants to suffer the curse of the Sheriff? make your guesses in the comments section below. It is not Neil Woodford but I discuss his woes, I look at Karelian Diamonds (KDR) and offer to back those wanting to sack the board, comment again on BlueJay (JAY) and its porky pie and look at results from Audioboom (BOOM). Finally, my cats are now showing their teeth as trained vermin killers.
790 days ago
9 AM Wrexham, vets, booster jabs for cats Sian & Quincey. 7.45 AM Welsh Hovel, the Mrs lets Quincey escape from the confinement I had arranged prior to our trip to the cat doctor. Cue a few cross words from me and frantic searching for an errant cat.
823 days ago
It has not been a good day. Firstly the Mrs left a door not fully closed and two cats have become one, Quincey has gone AWOL. Then I had to watch a crazy cat woman Carole Cadwalladr video for the sake of Woodlarks. Finally we have suffered a DOS attack. Someone does not like our exposes of fraud and malpractice. We will not be silenced. As you consider my Cadwalladr suffering please donate to Rogue Bloggers for Woodlarks HERE. In the podcast I cover Neil Woodford, Xeros (XSG), Eight Peaks (8PG), Alien Metals (UFO), African Battery Metals (ABM), Countrywide (CWD), Purplebricks (PURP) and the quoted housebuilders.
823 days ago
This website is placing scoop central. For the avoidance of doubt we do not engage in market speculation we report fact. Peter Greensmith you know that to be the case and are being a knobhead for pretending otherwise. Yes this is a bad language special covering Audioboom (BOOM), Bidstack (BIDS) and Westminster Group (WSG). I also cover Inspirit (INSP) and FairFx (FFX) and explain what has been occupying me today: we have two new cats. Finally as I prepare for a 24 mile training walk on Saturday do the decent thing and donate to Rogue Bloggers for Woodlarks HERE
827 days ago
Since the sad demise of my once morbidly obese three legged cat Oakley late last summer, my two year old son Joshua has not stopped talking about his friend who used to sleep by his cot, keeping watch every night. Our old house in Bristol is “Oakley’s House” and while you and I know that the old boy lies at rest next to the body of Kitosh and across the yard from that of his long time companion Tara who is under the rhubarb, Joshua and his mother and I have agreed that the three legged one has “gone to the jungle” where he is happy. But there is a gap in all of our lives anmd so yesterday we told Joshua we had a treat.
920 days ago
I have noted before, how the cat belong to my next door neighbours, the Chav family, has been sitting in the flower bed next to our back door, fleeing her own house where there is now a very bouncy young dog. With the Mrs away, Joshua and I have now re-opened the cat flap used by the late Oakley and are providing food.. our cunning plan is now working well.
1047 days ago
The lady at the vet called during last week and in a very sweet and sympathetic manner said that the ashes of the King of cats, the late Oakley, were ready for collection. And so on Saturday morning I drove to the cat hospital and said who I was and why I was there. "Would you like to settle your account before collecting?" said a mean faced old shrew. It was not a question.
1054 days ago
Amid a flurry of calls on various matters including an invitation to meet the new Headmaster at Warwick School tomorrow to discuss Geoffrey Eve and another abuser from the "good old days" - a matter on which I have received shocking new information overnight- I have received a call from the vets. The ashes of the King of Cats, Oakley, are in an urn and ready for collection.
1058 days ago
Following on from the photos accompanying the obituary earlier this week, the Mrs offers up three more examples of classic Oakley, the King of cats. In the first he is still playful in his final year, in the second he shows his, rightful, contempt for Peppa Pig which engrosses Joshua and Paddington and finally he is simply majestic is he not?
1062 days ago
As if the Mrs has not suffered enough during the past five years, today she has the unenviable task of explaining to our, almost, two year old son Joshua why, when they arrive back in Bristol there will be no Oakley to greet them. For yesterday afternoon, Oakley went to a better place.
1071 days ago
Shall we start with the good news, the bad news or more good news? Well let’s start with Oakley, my once morbidly obese but now painfully think three legged cat who is back in Bristol. While we are away we have a professional cat minder Tim , a bearded young man who sends us photos of him and Oakley nuzzling up together and looking happy, hence his name, the “cat molester.”
1081 days ago
If you head to a seaside settlement in the Mani right now whether it be Islington-sur-Mer (kardamili) or the Costa-del-Stoupa they will be packed with people. Head there in the winter and they are semi-deserted. Up here in the lower reaches of the Taygetos mountains, in unfashionable old Kambos, the population barely changes throughout the year. The faces I see when harvesting olives in November are, essentially, those I see now in the burning heat of August.
1287 days ago
We have not really fallen out but I have had to rebuke the old man sternly. I am staying with him in Shipston to start recording his memoirs which are actually really very interesting, not so much the later life but the years 1938 to 1956. I am not sure what I will do with the recordings but they are part of my family history but also an interesting insight into the war years in so many ways. We have hanged British Nazis, my grandfather, Sir John Winnifrith, in Churchill's bunker, evacuation with the nanny, Mrs No Cow and much more to preserve for posterity.
1312 days ago
I do not always agree with Richard Jennings of Align Research. He is 100% right about cats, 100% wrong about Israel and on all other matters he sits on the spectrum between those two extremes. But his latest missive to the FCA is bang on. I share his frustration.
1334 days ago
Of course poor Tara, the lifelong companion of my three legged cat Oakley is now at peace underneath the rhubarb plant. But this friendly soul sitting near Miranda's in Kambos is her doppleganger.
1337 days ago
George the architect is a modernist. I am a traditionalist. And thus at every stage of the design and reconstruction of the Greek Hovel he has an idea, my heart sinks, we discuss it and we reach my conclusion. And so last week we took a trip to a windows, shutters and door factory in the neighbouring village. I say factory, it was a big shed with - as far as I could see - the boss and just one employee.
1458 days ago
The Mrs is of the view that while she and her fellow public sector workers slave away with inhumanly long hours, myself and the rest of the productive sector, the private sector, the wicked bastards who earn less and have less job security than the State employed saints and who risk their capital to fund the Government payroll, sit around all day watching cats on the internet. Just to reinforce the view from underneath the great Money Tree, below is a quite awesome video of a cat from the internet. Cats are just the coolest creatures on this planet are they not?
1502 days ago
The shock is for any google pervs out there who have alighted on this page and though the photos are wonderful will be rather disappointed by their nature, The Miranda's I refer to is, of course, the restaurant next to the Kourounis taverna on the square where the road through Kambos makes a sharp right angle as it heads off to Kardamili.
1523 days ago
In my absence my gang of Greek Albanian workmen have been busy at the Greek Hovel as you can see HERE. Arriving almost straight from the airport we discussed how work was going, what was next and then came to the main point of my visit, an update on the snake situation. As you may remember this gang got hired after its leader Gregori, pictured below, boasted that he killed snakes with his bare hands.
1532 days ago
I was trying to find an article I had written on how Greek kids torture cats but instead came upon a piece about Western study of the Vlachs, the Nomads of the Pindus Mountains. I have written (in Greeks Lesbians & Vlachs, HERE) about how this is one of my father's specialist subjects and who the vlachs are. Anyhow, I stumbled upon this lengthy article "Aromanian Vlachs - The Vanishing Tribes" which included a section on my father which he will enjoy as it is very supportive of his work. This is the sort of thing to make a son very proud. It also, rightly, makes him seem a touch eccentric:
1532 days ago
If you have not spent time in Greece you may not be familiar with the restaurant cats. Every place, bar the smartest establishments in Athens and Salonika has them. In the winter, at the tourist resorts, although not at places such as Miranda's in Kambos, the poor creatures starve as custom disappears.
1539 days ago
There are two hardware stores in the village of Kambos (pop 537 including me) providing everything that we peasant farmers need: poisons, fertilisers, tools, plants. You name it we can buy it here. There is one store on the Square where Miranda's and lovely Eleni's Kourounis taverna provide two of the other borders. It has suffered a grave misfortune.
1842 days ago
Oh no, Wildes is going to have to report me to the FCA once again for market abuse in awarding the prize, a signed photo of Oakley, to myself. This contest was on my mind following news that once again a "foreign cat" has entered the house through Oakley's cat flap. What would Farage say? "These Bulgarian cats get everywhere, political correctness gone mad...mine's a pint." Anyhow the winning entry - from the many submitted HERE - to the photo below is from me and is:
1866 days ago
I was feeling a little weak. It is just so bloody hot and this one meal a day regime is not helping. My pruning is done and my frigana chopper needed a tweak down in Kambos and so I left the Greek Hovel and, being brave, made my first visit to Miranda's, the taverna in between the Kourounis taverna and the snake repellent/frigana chopper ,mending store.
I think that this is Miranda's. I have translated the sign from Greek lettering so I would not bet the ranch on that but henceforth I shall refer to it as Miranda's. The taverna itself
1881 days ago
For some reason I awoke early this morning. It is probably the knowledge that the Mrs lands at 11.30 Greek Time and so I have a fair bit of scribbling to do to ensure that you get your daily dose of golden prose and poisonous malice. As is my wont I threw open the front door ahead of doing to an olive tree what only a man can do. With a speed my morbidly obese three legged cat Oakley could not even contemplate a small cat shot past me.
1947 days ago
Thanks to reader J for this photo of the top cat from Slater & Gordon (SGH) staring at his screen wondering whether to buy Quindell (QPP)or not. With a deadline of Sunday midnight this is our latest caption contest. Simply post your entries in the comments section below.
1987 days ago
A lot of references today to yesterday's podcast covering cats and Andrew Monk's puzzles (see HERE). Today I answer the money puzzles and I am afraid there is very bad cat news indeed. So I really dont care about shares and it was not a good day for a moronic disciple of David Lenigas with 9 followers to have a go at me on twitter. As it happens I have a few things to say about Jabba who I will be nailing for good within six weeks. I also look at Nomad resignations, Auhua (ACE), DQ Entertainment (DQE), Milestone (MSG), Litebulb (LBB) and then at Magnolia (MAGP) and the wider career of Gavin Burnell.
2052 days ago
There are again lavatorial issues with our two cats Chez Winnifrith. One of them has disgraced himself or herself with a deposit just inside the front door. But it is the season of goodwill and as you can see below my morbidly obese three legged cat Oakley is taking it easy...
2089 days ago
Naturally I start with the big news of the day - an update on the annual medical of my two cats Tara and Oakley. Then it is onto explaining who gets to define boring, spitefull and vendetta in terms of my earlier podcast on overvalued junk Uk Oil & Gas (UKOG). Then why Gary Newman is wrong on Plethora (PLE). Then onto Finnaust (FAM), Gulf Marine (GMS), Centaur Media (CAU) and POS Golden Saint Resources (GSR)
2181 days ago
And so Monday dragged on with Tara the cat refusing to eat or drink more than a few sips of water despite the £300 invested the prior day in seeking emergency treatment from the vet. By the evening we took matters into our own hands. The Mrs held poor Tara tight and I forced her mouth open and with a syringe (no needle) forced her (Tara not the Mrs) to drink some cat milk. She seemed to perk up a bit and was again allowed to sleep with us.
I was keen to slumber after a hard day in the private sector but the Mrs is now on her prolonged public sector funded summer vacation and so was keen to read a book on how capitalism causes global poverty or some such nonsense and so kept the light on. And that attracted a moth.
Oakley, our morbidly obese three legged cat, followed the little moth closely but was too lazy to do anything about it. But all of a sudden Tara was once again her old self,
2226 days ago
At 10 AM today I let a debating group into Free Speech & Liberty to start our trading day two hours earlier than normal. At 12.15 I realised our cook (due to start at 11.45) was not here. By 12.20 I’d established he’d crashed his motorbike but I pushed him and he promised me that he’d be with me in half an hour. I switched on his oven and prayed he’d turn up by 12.45 as the debaters wanted food at 1.
He did not, but I played for time and at 1.15 he arrived, we served, they loved the food and had a great day. I took on a pretty young lefty on the subject of aid for the kleptocrats of Africa (she supported it, I said African need capitalism not handouts) but it killed the time while we waited for the cook.
But that period 12.45-1.15 was stressful. It is times like that that I loathe.
It is now 6.30 and we have had folks in all day. We have a big table
2241 days ago
Tara was due a vets visit two weeks ago but cunningly broke out of the house, found some food and thus got a repreieve. The Mrs was not to be foiled again and so, on Thursday night, the thinner of our two cats was treated to a wet-food treat of a supper and then put on a strict regime. She and the morbidly obese three legged Oakley were locked up away from all food.
Friday morning came and the cats were in full cry. Sometimes in unison and sometimes in rotation they mewled and demanded food. But there was no relenting and at 8.30 Tara was put in her carrying box - which she hates - and bustled off to the vets. We need to discover why a cat that eats like a horse is so terribly thin. The results arrive on Tuesday.
Suffice to say that after her ordeal and Oakley's fasting, which he regarded as a breach of his basic human rights, both creatures have been spolied rotten by both of us.
2280 days ago
The Mrs wrote me a stern list of the jobs I must do before I leave for Greece. It does not matter that it is raining cats and dogs, today was my deadline. As such I now sit drenched from head to toe having done as ordered. I trust that she is reading this and feeling guilty.
The patch between our house and the garage, where I have now been sent to work, is the garden. It is where I smoke and where the cats do “their business”
2285 days ago
I finally struggled back home to Bristol at 11 PM last night – 38 hours after leaving for London. I was greeted by two wailing cats, Tata and Oakley who guided me to where there food should have been. Cripes – the auto cat feeder had not worked.
Tara is think as a rake but eats like a horse. Oakley has three legs, is morbidly obese but is less greedy than his companion. He is just lazy. But both clearly felt aggrieved. I
2292 days ago
The Mrs. is still in India on work. Today she is visiting the house once inhabited by my great great grandfather Sir Courtney Ilbert in Shimla. It is now a luxury hotel. How nouveau. The result is that I am in residence with the cats who are in utter disgrace having caused me another day of living without trousers.
The house is perhaps not as tidy as it might be in normal times. With the Mrs. away it is back to a student routine of washing a plate before you eat rather than afterwards. I sense that before the Mrs. gets back I may be paying the cleaning lady to do a double shift to hide evidence of what myself and the cats have been up to in terms of housework. Or rather lack of it.
The cats are in disgrace.
2327 days ago
The Mrs and I were away for the weekend and so were not able to file a couple of UKIP flyers that came through the door in an appropriate place. However my morbidly obese three legged cat Oakley made his own political statement on top of them as you can see below.
Normally, when he opts to use the space where we once had a front doormat before he soiled it repeatedly as his inside lavatory, the Mrs – the woman formerly known as the deluded lefty - responds with an ASBO, that is to say locking him in the kitchen. But on this occasion she expressed a degree of pride and rewarded the old boy rather than punishing him.
Now let’s wait for the Labour flyers. I have had words with my capitalist cat Tara on how to deal with them
2366 days ago
Tara, who makes her video debut below, may not be related to Oakley but the two have lived together for all of their 13 years. She may be sleek and slim but she is the capitalist cat. Oakley does nothing all day and is thus sometimes referred to as Benefits Street. Tara believes that Greed is Good and thus eats far more than Oakley either from her food bowl or by snacking on human food whenever she can grab it. I guess she has a higher metabolic rate than Oakley and she also takes plenty of exercise patrolling the garden.
I first met the two of them in the Isle of Man after the sudden death of my previous cat Kitosh. His ashes travelled with me in the years that followed and are now buried in a wooden cat shaped urn underneath a newly planted thyme bush at the bottom of our Garden in Brislington.
At the MSPCA sanctuary as I wandered along seeking a replacement for Kitosh the sweet young kittens grabbed all the attention. But in one cage there were two much older cats Tara and Oakley. Well I was told there were two. Oakley
2370 days ago
My morbidly obese three legged cat Oakley now tips the scales at 9 llbs and so is meant to be on a strict diet. I suspect that the Mrs has been helping him snack when I am away and they lie on the sofa watching Coonation Street together. Since the Mrs works in the public sector she is not an early riser and so I hand out breakfast to Oakley and the ultra slim Tara at c 8 AM. It is now 11.30 and Oakley reckons that he is starving and begs for more
2388 days ago
Back in Bristol and the cats are in disgrace for weeing on the doormat and the temperature is minus something. The Mrs is not sympathetic and I am back in the garage at my desk wearing a thick coat, hugging my heater and still freezing. I suggested to the Mrs that the cats be forced to join me as punishment but she said that would be cruel. And so I suffer alone.
At the tobacconists the Daily Express warns of snowfall across the country and of freezing conditions. I point this out to the Mrs on my return but she thinks this is just right wing propaganda and I must continue to work in the garage.
The Daily Telegraph warns its readers
2402 days ago
Christmas was a kids heavy zone for the Mrs and I, mine, nephews, god-children, the works. From 26th December to January 2nd there were the various noises children make everywhere in our lives. In a house which normally contains two quiet adults and two quiet cats it came as a bit of a shock. And then suddenly it was all over. The last children departed and the house was just still. It seemed almost surreal.
And now the only noises we hear are keyboards tapping away, West Wing DVDs in the evening and a vomiting cat. It is not Oakley the three legged creature known as Benefits Street. Having hidden under beds and duvets for almost a week to avoid being smothered with infantile embraces he is now back to his normal routine of sleeping for nearly all of the day in what was once known as the marital bed but what he now regards as his bed. Occasionally he makes an appearance downstairs for food or to watch the West Wing with us.
It is Tara who is making the noise. Thin as a rake and very feminine Tara is the capitalist cat. That is to say she thinks that “greed is good”. Which of course it is. But when she cannot rouse myself or the Mrs to provide here with more food plus some of her Christmas treats (cat nip biscuits or 2 calorie morsels known as Dreamies) she has taken to eating bits of the Christmas tree. And then being sick in a most demonstrative and noisy manner.
It breaks the silence.
2404 days ago
For some reason I dozed off between the end of Skyfall and the tome to go to midnight mass. As such when waking up on Christmas day the stockings of myself, the Mrs and the cats were opened in something of a rush. Santa clearly thought that we had all behaved well in 2014. Clearly he does not know about how Oakley, the three legged cat, likes weeing on the inside doormat. And thus we were all well rewarded and after a splendid breakfast cooked by yours truly we wandered off to St Cuthbert’s Brislington.
Built in 1933 this church could easily hold 350. As it was with the Mrs and I in attendance there were 15 in the congregation plus vicar and organist. It is not as if midnight mass at Brislington is packed – there cannot have been more than 35 in attendance in 2013. One fears that a couple of cold winters could see just the mrs, the Vicar and I attending Christmas day 2018. We were the youngest in the congregation by a long chalk: what is happening to the C of E?
It is just that Christmas has become one great big godless consumerfest celebrated across the world by folks of whatever background. My 13 year old daughter Olivia – deprived of the alternate Christmases promised by her mother Big Nose 10 years ago, has never once attended Church on Christmas Eve or Christmas day. That I rather regret.
The Mrs and I do not take communion as I am very much lapsed in my faith and the Mrs has grave doubts. But we try to think of what Christmas is about and it is not as the Radio DJs insist on saying “all about family and friends”. However much the PC brigade insist otherwise Christmas is about Jesus. The fact we celebrate this festival and the traditions involved are down to Jesus. We give each other presents because we are celebrating God giving us his only son, whether we regard that as fact, belief or fantasy. To deny the involvement of Jesus in Christmas seems fatuous to me.
The sermon was bland enough but at least this C of E vicar managed to resist the urge to pray for peace in Palestine, the C of E codewords for “all power to Hamas”. And with that
2423 days ago
I am starting to feel quite ill and am looking forward to getting back to Bristol and heading off to bed with two cats as hot water bottles and a stiff whiskey. That is not a typo, emember my genetic origins. Ahead of that today's podcast exposed Paul Farrely MP (Lab) as a useless POS, puts the Tories on the spot on AIM regulation and covers Naibu, Daniel Stewart and the new Daniel Stewart (ZAI), Hargreves Services and Quindell. I also look at tech stocks to short: Blur, Wandisco, Mopowered and Outsourcery
2504 days ago
I had planned to stay sober until my return but I fear that I have been led astray. I blame OTE Telecom. I still cannot get on the interwebby at The Greek Hovel so spent all Sunday working from the Kouronis taverna in Kambos, run by lovely Eleni. At about 10 O’clock Greek Time I was done writing and asked for my bill. But instead I was summoned to the bar and asked to sit with four men.
Either side of me were two Gentlemen who spoke English. The younger (George) was a relative newcomer to the area, the elder (Nikos) is a greying stocky man with a walrus moustache. It was he who had cross words with me on my second day here when I supported the Krauts rather than the Argies in the football. Since then we have exchanged nothing but pleasantries. Behind Nikos was the man in the pink polo shirt (Vangelis) and behind George was another George, a Greek only speaking builder.
I was told “it is not will you have a drink but what are you drinking”. They were on the hard stuff and so I opted for ouzo. Nikos told me that they had decided they needed to know me better as I was now their neighbour.
They refused to let me pay and four hours later I was rather the worse for wear. Nikos was concerned about me biking home. He offered to drive me several times but since he was also a tad unsteady on his feet I declined
2520 days ago
For the past few nights I have heard this very strange animal noise outside The Greek Hovel at night. At first I thought it was some sort of bird but it would have been a very strange bird. Tonight the noise sounder closer than ever and so I bravely opened the door and shone my torch…it is a gorgeous little black and white cat. It cannot be much out of kittendhood.
I tried to tempt it in but the creature is obviously feral. It has no interest in getting close to humans. And so it just sat there on the entrance to the snake veranda blinking in my torchlight. I rather hope it hangs around inside the snake exclusion zone happily attacking any other members of the wildlife diversity community that dare to approach. It could start with the bats, two of whom have returned to the bat room below where I sleep.
2574 days ago
I have yet to fix up my hosepipe based shower – that is a job for this evening. And as such after three days in the hovel I arrived at the conclusion that I must be rather dirty, not to say smelly. As such, noting that a sign just outside Kambos says beach 5.5 kilometres I ventured off for an early morning swim.
A Greek kilometre is rather different to a standard kilometre, that is to say 1000 metres. When the sign says 5.5 kilometres that means anything between 3 kilometres and nine kilometres. Just treat what the sign says as a very rough guide. And thus after about nine kilometres I hit the sea and removed my West Ham 2005-2006 “We are Premiership” T-shirt, celebrating Bobby Zamora’s magnificent 57th minute winner against Preston in the play-off final. I then dipped my toes in.
2640 days ago
The procrastination has to stop. I promised myself that I would quit smoking by 40. It has been a new year’s resolution ever since. But as if 40 minutes ago when I finished my last Marlboro Light, I have started with an e-cigarette. Inhaling water vapour with a touch of nicotine has to be better news than the toxic mix I have been taking in for most of my adult life so here goes.
I am not exactly sure how many drags you are meant to take each time you pick it up but let’s see how it goes. At least I can now “smoke” inside without getting dirty looks from the cats and worse from the Mrs.
(twitchy) fingers crossed.
2649 days ago
It was one of the good ideas of the Mrs. She searched the internet and found the second most highly rated restaurant in Napfio (the first capital of modern Greece). And so off we marched. It was a little off the beaten track but she was sure that it was worth it.
In due course we arrived in the sort of residential neighbourhood that has yet to benefit from gentrification and oddly enough we were the only customers of this fine establishment with rave reviews on the internet. Inside was woman who must have been 85 and in due course her son (60) arrived on his motorbike. And then there was us.
Outside two large dogs barked loudly. But sitting on a chair beneath a table was a large black cat with flecks of grey on his fur and with one eye and half an ear missing. He yawned and the dogs fled nervously. We decided to sit outside with the cat.
The menu was extensive but as is the way in Greece nearly everything was unavailable. The Mrs opted for Souvlaki – a safe but dull call – but my eye was drawn at once to “grilled intestines.” The waiter noted that my choice was “brave” and scuttled off.
As our food
2651 days ago
In the end the Mrs could bear it no longer and left a day early to secure the release from cat prison of her two “puddings” Tara and Oakley. For the last five days of the holiday it was “only four days to the puddings” and only “three days and 16 hours” to go.
Every time we ate in a restaurant and were inevitably surrounded by a bunch of scrawny Greek cats we would both throw them bits of food to ease the guilt of confining Tata and Oakley to cat prison. “Should we order an extra portion of whitebait just for the cats” we asked ourselves.
And so at ten am the doors will open at the cat prison. The Mrs will, having arrived back in Bristol at 1.30 AM, having been waiting impatiently outside for quite some time. The reunion will be joyful. I am expecting – and am happy to pay – a huge roaming phone bill – as text images of Tara and Oakley are sent over this morning. By 10.30 the cats will be back home, being pampered with treats and sitting with the Mrs as she catches up on two weeks of Coronation Street.
Did I mention that the Mrs is hooked on The Street? I really do not understand it at all. I guess it is something for those from the Grim North only.
2660 days ago
The Mrs booked our two cats, Tara and Oakley, into what seemed like a nice cat hostel before we left. We were told about how they would share a chalet and be well looked after and it would cost £15 a day. I shall not name the hostelry but suffice to say that they neglected to mention that it was VAT on top and then compulsory insurance (60p per day per cat) and then VAT on that. Oh and they charge for the day of drop off and the day of collection as well.
For providing a basic cell and 2 bowls of food a day per cat this is money for old rope. Okay the concentration camp has now had to take two calls in six days from the Mrs worrying if her “puddings” are alright. The Gauleiter says that they are and braces herself for another call next week.
But this makes me think that there is a great business opportunity out there. The most shared images on twitter and facebook are …cats. So how about this as a business plan?
I set up a cat hotel which offers not the thin prison blankets that poor Tara and Oakley were provided with before the Mrs intervened (the darlings are used to a duvet after all) but luxury rugs. We offer twice the space of a conventional hotel and all day heating not just at night-time. And we also fix a webcam in each luxury en-suite facility. And then we stream the pictures
2678 days ago
A little bit of a misunderstanding with the Mrs and the alarm clock saw me still soundly asleep as the 4.47 AM pulled out of Bristol today. In the end I had a pleasant lie-in, worked in the morning and just after lunch (an apple) kissed goodbye to the cats and the Mrs and headed off. Now in London I will not see Bristol, or the cats, again for more than a month.
The Mrs is heading up later in the week for her Birthday and the UK Investor Show on Saturday where she will be personfully ( you see dearest, I can be PC if I try) looking after speakers in one of the breakout rooms and then wandering around with her parents who are also attending. Tes, the mother-in-law is coming to the show. Be very afraid. I am. I guess I won’t be swearing all day just in case she hears and gives me a scary and dirty look.
And then a few farewells and it is off to Greece on my own at first as I try to find the grave of my great uncle David. Thereafter the Mrs joins me as we spend a couple of weeks in the Mani where – I warn you – the internet connection can be patchy. It will be early May before I get back to Bristol, the cats, a new kitchen sort of designed by me with a lovely new Range Cooker. It seems like a long time away but I am sure that time will fly.
Anyhow my battered and well-travelled rucksack is packed and with me as we prepare to go hill walking in Greece once again. I really cannot wait.
2703 days ago
My poor cats, they must be getting culturally confused. Tara & Oakley were born in the Isle of Man although like 99% of Manx Cats they have full tails. Rescued by me from the MSPCA they then came over to England with me but having to watch me heaping abuse on England whenever the rugby is on. So are we Irish daddy?
Of course on Sunday they will suffer extra confusion as this household stands shoulder to shoulder with our Celtic brothers in Wales. Come on the sheep shaggers please put the old enemy to the sword. Humiliate them!
But the confusion gets worse for in taking them to a new vet for their booster jabs the Mrs made the appointment. Being a deluded lefty, the Mrs is not Mrs Winnifrith but has retained her own (Indian) surname. What say you? Political correctness gone mad?
As such the cats have come back with a form showing that they too now have an Indian surname. Born Manx, naturalised English, adopted Anglo Irish and now finally Indian. Such is the melting pot that is Britain today but it is understandable if Tara and Oakley are this morning feeling a little culturally confused.
Incidentally the vet said both cats were in great nick although Oakley (the one with three legs) was a little on the plump side and could do with a bit more exercise. Plus ca change on that front.
2725 days ago
The Mrs strolled in yesterday saying that she had posted some witty thoughts about, and pictures of, our cats on her Facebook page. I went to look. “hang on? I can’t get in” said I. “Oh…I de-friended you a few weeks ago” said she.
My crime was to put up some comment about how she and her lefty mates could always pop down to the local Conservative Club if they wanted as it would be a good opportunity for them to meet folks from outside the intellectual middle classes for a change. That apparently did not go down well and I was de-friended.
As a 14th February gesture I have now been re-friended. The Mrs says that if you are in a relationship you should talk face to face rather than digitally or on line. Now that I have been re-friended I shall consider it….down at the Conservative Club.
2766 days ago
Yes, I am sub-editing a book by Zak Mir. My good friend is a top technical analyst but his Harrovian education has left him not quite semi-literate for that would be an insult to the semi-literate, but with what one might term a unique style.
Zak does to the English language on a daily basis what Call Me Dave has done to the Idea of governing with basic Tory principles. He twists, distorts, invents and produces something with only a fleeting resemblance to the original.
However I have enjoyed ten years of translating, ooops I meant editing, Zak’s prose. I know that trying to sub a whole Zak book did drive my friend Contra Coffee Man Stephen Eckett to the brink of insanity a couple of years ago, but if anyone can do it, it is me. A fine book is on the way.
Naturally I am procrastinating like hell. So I am writing this piece. The Mrs has offered me the opportunity to do some tidying and to cook supper and do all the washing up as well as empty the cats’ litter tray. “No problems my dearest.” I know the alternative.
2781 days ago
I appear to have fallen out with another LinkedIn Group – the West Ham Supporters. My “crime” is that I posted links to articles wot I wrote about the Irons. Apparently to stay there I have to write the whole piece on that discussion group.
Hmmm. I am a writer and earn a living from writing articles. So how about a new business model for me? I shall stop writing for websites where I earn money and will just post articles direct on LinkedIn Groups or on Bulletin Boards and so earn no money.
Can anyone spot the minor flaw in that one?
If you are not a professional writer and you wish to post your thoughts (judging by the timings, in many cases when you are being paid by someone else to do an actual job) that is fine.
But if you actually get the cash to pay for cat food, vets bills, a round of drinks at the Conservative Club and other essential things in life by being a writer, but then give everything away for free I would suggest you have a problem.
On that basis I have quit West Ham LinkedIn supporters. A surprising number of folks from there read this website. They know where to find me…
I guess it is better to quit than to be evicted as I was from the LinkedIN Friends of Greece and UKIP groups.
2873 days ago
Oh worship the Money Tree, Bow down to the Great Money Tree. Nick Clegg you really are a prize git of the highest order. Your suggestions that all kids under 8 should get a free school meal might grub a few votes from the more innumerate members of the electorate but at every level it shows you for the fool and clown that you are and your party as an ideologically incoherent mess.
We start with the Money Tree basics. The UK is running a vast budget deficit and is heavily in debt. It cannot afford another £600 million. We are going bust. What do the Lib Dem’s not understand about that? Wake up to bankrupt Britain folks.
Aaaaaaah but what about the starving kids?
2882 days ago
I think you know that I love Greece as does the Deluded Lefty, I mean the Mrs. What is there not to love about this place? Hmmmm.
There is the Greek two kilometres. How far is it to the nearest taverna from our hotel? We asked the man at the local taverna which did not actually serve food and did not seem terribly strong on the drink front either. Two kilometres he said. Our hearts sank.
2943 days ago
I see that my recent articles on Bulletin Board Morons have unleashed a firestorm of anonymous abuse various from Bulletin Board Morons. As I wandered along the beach and enjoyed a very nice grilled octopus lunch I pondered whether the morons have a point? For about five seconds.
The morons of course never post under their own names and then proceed to say whatever they wish. If I had a penny for every time I had received abuse from the morons over the years I could buy half of Greece. Perhaps these days I could pick up the whole country. Hidden behind the mask of anonymity they say what they like.
That is fine by me. Airstrip One is a free country. Well sort of. But please do not expect me to regard dishing out abuse without revealing your identity as courageous in any way.
Among writers (i.e. those who earn money from writing in their own name) I am a little unusual in that I am happy to dish out the abuse back. I do so in my own name. And sometimes in quite a witty manner. The BB Morons however think that this is all shocking.
Some feel I should show bravery by going onto BB threads and posting as myself. Hmmmmm.
2947 days ago
Someone contacted me on Twitter to say that he always links Greece with cats. So do I. Wherever you go there are cats. Scrawny moggies which eek out an existence begging and eating what they kill. It is a fairly Darwinian existence - most cats cannot make it through the winter when the wildlife hibernates and the restaurants close down. And so as a painfully thin little creature begs at your table what can you do?
This little moggy came up to my table as I sat, almost alone in a taverna in a small mountain town yesterday and started miaowing and rubbing itself against my leg. It was my best friend. Yup.
I was eating Greek salad so offered it some bread. That was wolfed down. So how about a bit of bread dunked in the oilve oil and vinegar sauce. That was wolfed down. A bit of feta... yes please. Trying my luck, and concerned that I might not actually end up eating anything at all myself, I tossed a bit of cucumber on the floor. That was pushing it. Like my daughter the cat refused to eat cucumber.
And then being a cat it showed no loyalty and spotted another table and wandered off as it sought a new best friend who was rather keener on meat.
Wandering through that town I met two little kittens. I think that if I lived here I would rapidly become like one of those mad old ladies who has 27 cats and talks to no-one else.
3093 days ago
Every time I come here it seems to snow. My deluded lefty step mother, who ticked me off earlier today for referring to global warming as opposed to climate change, is now safely in bed. The cat & I have thus switched the heating on full blast as an inch of global warming, oops, sorry 2.54 centimetres of climate change has now fallen. Needless to say I am travelling back to London tomorrow and so expect wholesale travel chaos. I feel cursed.
3094 days ago
Brokerman Dan and others have asked for an update on my three-legged cat Oakley. The old boy seems fully recovered from the operation and life is back to normal. Sleep, eat, sleep, eat, sleep, sleep, sleep and an occasional visit to the litter tray. It is as if nothing has changed. He has never been a very active cat.
To keep his army of admirers happy I attach a few recent photos of Oakley and his friend Tara. Oakley is the one with longer hair, more body mass and er…three legs
3132 days ago
Forget the fiscal cliff, my share tips of the year or why Fat Sam should be sacked as West Ham manager in May. Forget my pilgrimage to Margaret Thatcher’s birthplace, my Christmas culinary triumphs or my witterings about music – I am currently listening to Lene Lovich in case you were wondering. Judging by tweets, postings ion the blog and emails what folks want to know about is Oakley, my eleven year old cat who as of the week before Christmas has only three legs. Quite right… first things first.
He is not quite himself but the trend is positive. No longer does he have to wear the collar of shame to stop him scratching where his leg used to be before it was removed to deal with the tumour. He can scuttle around the place at quite a rate when he wants to. Which is not often. He can now jump up onto a bed. Rather frighteningly he was also able to jump out through a window and onto a slippery ledge four stories high. I panicked (being someone who suffers from chronic vertigo). He waited until I had left the room screaming and then hopped back through the window and sat there calmly grinning at me as I rushed back in.
Tara, my other eleven year old cat, is now sleeping alongside him and seems to have come to terms with his new shape. Indeed she rather enjoys the fact that Oakley demands to be carried to food since she can nick most of his meal before he realises it is there. In some ways he is back to his old self, crawling up the bed so that he can look directly into your face all night. In other ways there is still a bit of hesitation. There is a tendency to hide away most of the time under a bed or behind a door waiting to be fetched to be plonked onto a sofa.
He seems to be slowly coming to terms with what has happened although the poor creature will never understand. It is only two or three weeks ago that his leg was removed and so I am not surprised that he has not fully adjusted mentally. But the trend is positive. Thank you for all your kind wishes. I shall endeavour to post a couple of new photos next week.
3138 days ago
I am a great animal lover and, historically, a supporter of the RSPCA (and its IOM equivalent the MSPCA from where my cats Oakley and Tara came). It provided my cats and I think of it doing good works rehousing poets and stopping domestic cruelty. And that is what it used to do back in its 1970s heyday. It was a fluffy charity everyone loved. But then it sought a wider brief moving away from family pets to wider issues of animal welfare. These days it is a deeply political organisation obsessed with foxy woxy.
3153 days ago
As promised the first photo on Oakley post op. The look on his face rather says it all. On the plus side he is able to indulge in ha favourite hobby (food) after his 24 nil by mouth hours. On the minus side he has to wear a daft collar for a while and he is only slowly learning to walk on three legs. Right now it is more falling down than walking. But as I have noted before, a cat who spends 60% of his life sleeping or “resting”, 15% eating and 5% walking between food, bed and litter tray does not need to walk that much.
And in 36 hours he will be reunited with Tara his companion of eleven years, which will delight them both as well prepare for a relaxed Christmas.
3154 days ago
Oakley (my cat) is through surgery. That is to say he now has only three legs. He is still at the vets but is expected to leave this evening. He appears to be more interested uin the fact that the nil by mouth regime is over and that after a day of fasting he can once again stuff his face. He was not known as fat cat for nothing.
There is one last trauma and that is that Tara ( his soul mate) has shifted to a Christmas home. She has showed her displeasure at the separation by a) mewling constantly and b) urinating in a bedroom c) refusing a breakfast of fine bacon. The two animals are not brother and sister but have not been separated in 11 years.
The great reunion is either tomorrow or Friday depending on other family matters – I trek back to Warwickshire tonight.
A photo of the patient will be posted later. Thanks again for all your kind enquiries and best wishes.
3154 days ago
Thanks for all the emails and the odd tweet. Oakley’s operation was delayed but his leg was finally removed later afternoon. He is spending the night at the vets and should be leaving there tomorrow. Tara – my other cat is not happy having spent her entire life with the Old Boy. But we are getting there. Thanks for all your kind thoughts. Roll on Christmas and recuperation for us all.
3155 days ago
I admit that one reason for light blogging is that I was led astray by Lucian, the Goddess and a few others at the Real Man Christmas drinks. I feel a bit fragile today. I am too old for all of this. But there is another reason for light blogging – Oakley (my cat) is back on the Vet’s operating table as we speak.
Greedy vet one clearly feels a bit guilty about the fact that he has stiffed me with an £846 bill and the operation has failed. Oakley’s leg was so weakened by the tumour that the skin cannot heal. And as such Oakley is off to a charity vet today. I shall leave without £140. Oakley will leave without one of his legs.
I know that he is just a cat. And I am all too aware that there are humans in much worse shape. But it is still not a day that I expected to come. It has all happened rather quickly.
I was trying to think of some convoluted and clever sentence involving the flag of where Oakley was born (the Isle of Man) – the triskelion , three legs. But I am a bit too hungover and worried to string words together. I am told that the Old Boy can have a good quality of life with three legs but somehow that seems a little hard to believe. To misquote animal farm “three legs good, four legs better.” It will all be over soon and then back home for a restful Christmas. Extra duck for Oakley.
3157 days ago
I am spending more time these days in Shipston-on-Stour in southern Warwickshire where my father lives with my (not wicked but just deluded lefty) step mother. I could not live there full time. The average age is about 97 and everyone seems to know who everyone else is. I just want to be left alone. But walking along with my father between the White Bear (his “office”) and home about once a minute there is a greeting of “Morning Professor”. Dad was not actually a professor just a senior lecturer but he looks the part.
Friday evening saw the Victorian street fair. Some folks dressed up in 19th century garb. There were clowns on stilts and a brass band blasted out all those Christmas carols you remember from childhood. Truly it was freezing and felt like it was very much the Bleak Midwinter. All the local societies had stalls. Naturally the Cats Protection League was my fave but
3159 days ago
The ridiculous red plaster on his paw post tumour removal has come off. But as you can see ludicrous footwear has been replaced by preposterous headwear. This is to stop him nibbling his leg but the Old boy is not impressed at all.
It is all in a good cause.
3161 days ago
The old boy had the operation yesterday. He is now back from the vets missing a chunk of tumour/leg. He is feeling sorry for himself. I am still feeling miffed at a total bill of c£750. The operation was a success in that most of the tumour was removed. But, there is a but.
3166 days ago
I thought that some Doctors were greedy but vets! Ouch. My oldest cat Oakley has a bit of a problem. And so the old boy ( pictured in his red black moriah) had to go to the vets today. Consultation and a couple of tests …that will be £220. Ouch. But it gets worse.
He has a tumour. It is benign but growing and is now affecting his leg and causing droplets of blood to fall on the carpet. An operation is needed urgently. That will be another £600. Ouch and double ouch.
3169 days ago
Today has been a day interrupted by my Christmas pudding. Last night I made it. There was stirring and making of wishes and today it has been steaming away happily for six and a half hours. In thirty minutes the heat gets switched off and it will be put in a cold dark place until I celebrate Christmas which this year, will be on Boxing day. I have always made Christmas puddings. I am a bit late this year but it is something my late mum used to do and it is great fun. For me Christmas sort of starts when I mix up a recipe.
This year’s recipe is a tad unusual in that instead of breadcrumbs I have a few oats in there. It tasted great when I scooped out the mixing bowl last night. It means the pudding is a slightly lighter brown than normal. I do not expect a crunch on Boxing day just the usual fruity taste (raisins, currants, apricots, apples, cherries with zest of orange and lemon) and obviously vast quantities of brandy. And then there will be a high octane brandy butter to go with it. I hope my cats like brandy.
But I read in the newspapers that for most folks the choice is not what to wish for as they stir but whether to buy the pudding of Delia, Jamie, Hugh or that loathsome man who advertises stock cubes like he really uses them in his 5 star restaurant.
3344 days ago
It seems as if my cats and I are going to relocate to Oxford. It is the City of my birth and I grew up in a series of villages within 40 miles of here and went to University here so I know the area well. And now I am back here. There are worse places. Cambridge obviously springs to mind. And so on this cold bank holiday a family trip was organised to the Pitt Rivers Museum.