Friday, June 09, 2006


Jezebelle in winter

We had three days under 2º this week – a sudden blast of winter to make us sit up and take notice. That's about 35º in the old measurements. The cat was glued to the electric heater every morning.

There was fog some evenings, and one morning frost lingered on the back lawn until after 9:30. It was quite a wake-up call after the mild winter we had last year.

This of course meant that I should take some precautions to prevent damage to my book collection. I hadn't worried much last year, but weather like this meant I had to start running the heaters in the attic for at least part of the night.

I hadn't been up to the attic for a while, mostly because I was afraid of what I might find. Last time I was up there I discovered one of Julie's cat had started using it as a toilet; that wasn't so terrible but in the tidy way of cats she'd tried to cover it up using any books or magazines she could grab.

I had to throw out half a dozen books (including a nice copy of The Saturday Evening Post Book of Sea Stories). I know some people who are adept at book restoration but there's not much you can do with a volume that's been soaking in cat urine.

But this time it wasn't so bad. To my relief, there was just a bit of cleaning up to do on the floor, with no damage to the books. I was particularly glad to see that some boxes in front of the far bookcases had protected my collection of P.G. Wodehouse and Edgar Wallace. (I have everything arranged in roughly alphabetical order, starting with A near the rear window and going clockwise around the attic.)

I ran a long extension cord from the electric heater to the off-peak power-point so I could heat the place economically. Just a few hours a day is usually enough to stop problems with dampness and mould.

Sarah Key, a physiotherapist who's written a book titled The Body In Action, was interviewed on morning radio this week. She had some discouraging things to say about how the body handles aging and the loss of elasticity and flexibility. I guess I should do something about an exercise programme, something that will stop these twinges and occasional back spasms.

The BBC7 website have been running a 3-part serial based on John Wyndham's The Midwich Cuckoos [a.k.a. Village of the Damned]. I can't work out if I've heard it before or whether the serial is so faithful to the book that I feel as though I've already heard it.

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