Monday, 10 September 2012

Black cat in my garden


Recently I have been keeping a small bowl of fresh water for a black stray cat who sometimes sleeps in my garden. After seeing the cat desperately trying to drink water from a little puddle, I decided to provide fresh water for it all the time because there is nowhere in my neighbourhood where any wild animals can access to water. No pond, no water features in anyone’s garden, you see.

I have no intention of making the cat mine. Why? The reasons are: 1) I cannot afford medical fees for pets, 2) I have no one who would look after a cat if I have to be away for a while, 3) I feel I have no right to control any animals’ lives (Why make them domesticated or restrict their worlds against their wills just because I like their company?) I don’t mind any animals using my garden as their sleeping dens or their playing field as long as we can respect each other and live together happily and peacefully.

The cat has been doing fine. Now it does not run away when I go out putting my laundry up on line. I noticed that its left eye is badly damaged. Probably it’s a result of a fight or something. I don’t feed it because of the reasons mentioned the above, but it does not look starving. I usually find it sleeping most of the day, so it must be a proper stray who does not have to go along with humans’ lifestyles.

Yesterday, my next-door neighbour was asking me what I was doing when I was refilling the water container for the cat. I explained the above, and she wasn’t happy at all. She complained that a cat (not sure which cat, though) peed near her back door. (No cat does such a thing on my back door!) She complained that her little dog often had to bark too much at night because he smells and senses the presence of other animals in their back garden. Then, she said that that the cat shouldn’t be around here because it looks scruffy. (She shows no compassion for the cat’s damaged eye. She talks as if such a cat shouldn’t exist or shouldn’t show itself up in front of her!!!)

Well, I wasn’t amused with her comments and attitude, so I told her that I don’t take the cat in only because I can’t afford a pet, not because it looks scruffy/dirty/ugly. I don’t really understand this woman. After her first dog died, she started giving milk to a cat in her back garden, and then started shooing the cat madly as soon as she got a new dog. She is supposed to be a Christian who goes to her church every Sunday and read the Bible every night. I once read in the Bible said that the god ordered the humans to be in charge of the other animals. So, she might believe that she could do whatever she wants to animals. But does the god also told the humans to look down on creatures who are in less unfortunate circumstances? So much for the country of animal lovers!!!!!!

Anyway, my girls and I named the cat “Kuro-chan”, and we will keep being friends with it whatever the neighbour says.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

What I did this summer


I think I should write what’s been going on around me this summer. (I know, the British summer ended at the end of August, but it’s still like summer here, so…)

Well, I made kitchen curtains. All hand stitched!! (No sewing machine in this house, it just means.) Found a lovely piece of printed cotton curtain fabric online and cut & stitched by hand. It’s a kind of cafĂ© curtains with metal ring clips. It was a tedious job, but I actually enjoyed this little challenge. Now my kitchen looks 1000 times prettier! (Still cluttered, though…)

My girls and I went to Belfast to watch a Bollywood film “Cocktail”. This was our very first big-screen Bollywood experience. It was during weekdays, so there were only eight people in the cinema, including us. Actually it was one of the best cinema experiences I have ever had! Everyone should watch a Bollywood film at cinema at least once before they die! It’s entertainment, entertainment, entertainment!

We also went to Ulster Museum for special dinosaur exhibition and Leonard Da Vinci exhibition. It was nice to see and feel real (and fake) fossils, and there were quite many little boys who were scared to see the moving growling dinosaur models! Da Vinci’s drawing was very very very interesting. I am glad that I had a chance to see them with my own eyes! Everyone knows this, but the man is a real genius, indeed.

My biggest change for this summer was my eating habit. I started intermittent fasting after watching BBC2’s Horizon programme (the title was… “Eat, Fast and Live Longer”, probably). All the explanations in the programme were quite reasonable, so I decided to try it myself just to see how healthy I could become. So, I have been doing 2 day fasting (= acutally 500cal per day) and 5 day normal eating each week. Mondays and Thursdays are my fasting day because it suits my life style and the Qu’ran mentions it, too. (No, I don’t do any religions. It’s just a lovely coincidence.) Eating only 500cal a day is not actually difficult. Of course I don’t do anything strenuous on my fasting days, but I feel mentally sharper and disciplined. I don’t know what’s going on with inside my body, but I have lost about 2kg without struggling or feeling deprived. Now I don’t crave sweet stuff too much, which I am happy about. I found a new routine that I really liked. So, I will continue this as long as I am healthy.

During this summer, I suddenly came up with an idea for a fiction. No, I won’t tell you anything about it, but I’d like to develop the idea when I am not too busy this autumn and winter. It’ll be nice if I can write some kind of decent fiction before I die. Can’t imagine myself earning anything from this, though.

Now it’s September, but the weather has become like proper summer at last! It means I have to tidy the gardens while it is dry and sunny. If anyone wants to join me for gardening, you are welcome as long as you do what I tell you without any moaning!

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Forget the Olympic games and all the other 2012 hassles! I've got so many things to do!

It's been such a long time since the last time I wrote anything here. Amazing.

Anyway, I thought I would have more free time after finishing the short Open University course, but I was totally wrong! My luck came, and I bagged a couple of juicy long-term translation projects. (It won't make me rich, but it is the most enjoyable projects I have ever done. The blokes from the translation company are super nice, too! Lucky me!) So, I had been working full-time, and I am now dying for some creative writing/painting/sculpting.

Also, I passed the OU course! I really wanted to know how much I could do academically outside Japan, so I am pleased with the result. There are so many things I learned from the course: critical thinking, academic writing, etc. I am now more confident when I discuss (or argue about) anything in English. Probably I am more persuasive (and pig-headed).

There has been a bit of drama going on in my family. My father suffered pneumonia, and his doctors found out he had heart conditions. He is in a good hand and will have a surgery this summer. So, all of us are supporting him, and each other, of course. I have an experience of living with a heart patient, so I know what my mother is going through now. In a way, my experience was worth it because I can give my parents mental and emotional support without causing them any unnecessary upset and struggles. Fingers crossed. Touch wood, too.

My kids' summer holiday is starting tomorrow, and of course I am moaning about it already! Well, we are planning to go to Ulster Museum for dinosaurs and Leonard Da Vinci exhibitions. Of course I want a little bit of retail therapy in Belfast and probably want a slice of lovely cake and coffee at Avoca. Also, I'm thinking about buying nice fabric to make curtains for my kitchen, which could be a bit difficult for me who do not have a sewing machine but I am up for another challenge!


Friday, 23 March 2012

Yes, the British are fair and tolerant, aren't they?


I had one of the most incredible heated discussions with a woman who lives in this town today.
All she told me was some black people overcrowding a few houses in the neighbourhood, and she said that they all came from the south (Republic of Ireland) illegally. Then, she says that it’s not fair that black people were allocated to the newly refurbished Housing Association houses in the neighbourhood. Then, she went on to tell me that some of the foreigners who live next doors to her daughter’s house use a caravan in the garden for sleeping. Then, she started talking extremely suspiciously about a white van which my next-door neighbour had brought a couple of weeks ago, just because she doesn’t know he got the van. Yes, this neighbour is a foreigner.

She did nothing but badmouthing foreigners, so I felt sick in the stomach. 

When I asked her where she heard all the stories, she didn’t tell me any answer.

When I asked who said such stories, she said “councillor”. (Well, those right wing fascists, I’m sure.)

When I asked her if she had spoken to those foreign people, she didn’t give any answer.

When I asked her why she thought foreigners should live in shacks, she started saying that she didn’t discriminate anyone for the colours of their skins.

When I asked where those foreign people originally come from, she did not have a clue.

When I asked what kinds of visa status those foreign people have, she did not have a clue.

When I asked why she talked ill of black people all the time, she denied it. (But every time she mentions black people, it’s all about negative stuff. I heard that she once looked horrified to see my big girl walking with her black friend.)

Anyway, I kept telling her that not all foreigners were bad and it was very unfair of her to judge people on the colours of their skins. Also, I told her more than a dozen times that she was very unfair and accusing people without any proof.

Yes, I told her all those to her face.

No wonder quite many local kids are xenophobic.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Our mouths are made for eating, not for speaking.

I don't know why, but some of our family members have too many accidental spoonerism kind of embarrassing moments. It's been quite bad for these few days, and here are some:

We noticed a new bigger clock inside a barber's shop. Then, my wee one said, "You know, that Turkish barber's big cock..."
Yes, she forgot to pronounce "l". Since then, I haven't been able to put my face towards the shop's glass wall just in case I make an eye contact with the barber and burst into laughing...

We were talking about a TV show "Take Me Out", and my wee one said, "Paddis McGuinny". She meant "Paddy McGuinness", of course...

We were watching a TV programme on exercise, and it was talking about walking. Then, I said, "Peado-meter" when I meant "Pedometer"... My big girl told about this to her friends at school, and now they think that I am cute!!!

You see, we don't need to drink alcohol or hire a clown to have a laugh. We always manage to  surprise and entertain ourselves just by opening these big gobs.

Monday, 5 March 2012

Yeast in the air? That's what you call gobsh*te!

I made new sourdough starter a couple of weeks ago, and the first batch of bread was a big success! My correspondence course is coming near to the end, and I can't wait to do something creative in my spare time for a change. I can't wait, so I didn't wait, and that's why I re-started sourdough baking. I still have one more essay to write, though!

Anyway, here is one BIG myth about sourdough that I have been wanting to tell the world: FLOUR AND WATER MIXTURE DOES NOT BECOME SOURDOUGH STARTER BY CATCHING YEAST IN THE AIR, BUT IT SIMPLY FERMENTS BY ITSELF!!!

Want a proof? Mix water and flour to make a small ball of firm dough and place it in an airtight container. Then, leave it in a warm place for a few days. You WILL see something going on in the dough. That's how I created my own starter, you know.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Social science, winter holiday and the Green Book

It's already 2012, and my last post was... about 2-3 months ago. So, here's a bit of my update:

Still working as a freelance translator and still not earning as much as I'd like to, but started an introductory social science course at the Open University from November. Why? Well, I wanted some kind of a new challenge, and wanted to learn social science-related matters "properly". So, decided to jump into the world of academic study. I was really really really scared that my ever-deteriorating brain might not be good enough for academic purpose, but,  to my surprise, I've been doing fine. Telephone tutoring is great. My tutor is very nice, and I love asking him questions, learning from him, discussing the topics, etc. Written assignment was my biggest worry, because I wasn't sure if I could write academic essays in English. But I'm doing fine. Probably work experience and several popular science books helped. I'd like to continue studying to get a certificate, but I'm not sure if I can. It all depends how much money I can spare for myself. Fingers crossed.

Survived another Christmas/New Year season! I don't mind spending such "special" days, but the preparation was still the biggest headache.  But with this country in deep recession, many people seemed to scale down their celebrations. Didn't hear much boasting and bragging about big presents and luxury treats this year, which made my life easier. But still I don't like this materialistic season...
Had a very unusual New Year's Eve. I was at the next-door with two elderly ladies. They were alone, so I was invited. I wanted to welcome the New Year with my girls, but I was drinking Bailey's and and hugging two grannies instead... What a way to welcome a New Year!

Currently I am reading the Green Book. You know, the book by the deceased Gaddafi bloke. I have such strange book lying around in my house, and I thought that I should read it at least once just to see what was in his mind and what went wrong in him. Guess what? I don't agree with several things that he wrote, but now I see him as human. The more I read, the less I can distinguish the difference between him and other politicians of the past and the present, including those current world leaders who detest him. Well, I will keep an open mind about this big man of Africa.

Well, not sure what's in store for 2012, but wish that life will be more hopeful and brighter this year for everyone!