Birds, Bees and Pea Soup

Last week I was scratching my head to come up with something interesting to write about.  But try as I might, the only things that happened were that we grocery shopped online (which is so much fun, by the way) and continued to explore our neighborhood (great dim sum just down the hill!).

Luckily, this week has more than made up for the tediousness of last.  The only question now is where do I start?  I guess I could begin with the acupuncturist I thought I’d hit up for a little energy boost but whose exam room reeked of marijuana smoke.  I lost a bit of confidence in the acupuncturist at that point.  Or I could talk about the fact that I cannot, for the life of me, find a detergent that I like here.  Wherefore art thou, oh Tide of my past?  I crave your lilac scent!  Or maybe I could tell you all about the fly who drowned himself in the butter at the base of our roast chicken pan.  And the fact that, before we could even react with anything other than some heart-felt “eeews”, Daffy peered over the edge, grabbed the fly in his (surprisingly dexterous) paw and … ate it.  With relish.

But I suppose the biggest news this week is the fact that our furniture got here.  You read me right.  THE FURNITURE IS HERE!  Praise the heavens and all that is good in the world.  Now of course this didn’t occur without some of the hijinks to which we’ve all become accustomed.  Yes, the shipping company did ask for more money.  Yes, they did tell us that the furniture would be here two Fridays ago and then change their mind and say it wouldn’t be available for pick-up until the following Monday.  Yes, then customs decided that our container, out of all the other containers that came in on that particular boat, was the one to be searched, which required an additional four days.  But, in the end, our furniture did arrive – only six weeks after the shipping company promised that it would.  I’ll keep my bitterness to a minimum, though, because I happen to be sitting at my very own desk right now!  And from this desk I have a lovely view of summer right outside my window.  Summer here in London being somewhat windy, quite cloudy and involving sweaters.

Actually, I’m not sure that I’ve ever experienced a summer quite like this one.  Not only for the changeable weather patterns (one minute sunny, the next minute raining and the minute after that both sunny and raining at the same time), but also for the wildlife experiences.  I know I’ve discussed the mating habits of virtually every living thing in our neighborhood previously (with the exception of our human neighbors – I’ll allow them their privacy).  But the nature show continues.  It probably continues specifically for Byron and me because we insist on leaving our windows open when we’re home.  And we don’t have screens (screens don’t seem to be big here), so all manner of flying wildlife ventures into our home at one point or another during any given day.  As mentioned above, flies are a dime a dozen, which is quite annoying to everyone in our flat with the exception of Daffy, who has reclaimed his hunting skills with a vengeance.  We’ve also gotten to know several wasps on a very personal level (picture me running, flailing and screaming from room to room, wearing a bright orange t-shirt and being stubbornly pursued by a series of wasps – all convinced that I’m actually a rather large nasturtium).  This has also occurred, less frequently, with inordinately large and incredibly furry bumble bees.  For some reason the bumble bees don’t make me as nervous.  I think it’s the fur.

Last night, however, was the topper.  I walked into the kitchen to see Daffy calmly sitting on the counter by the huge kitchen window.  He glanced over at me as if to say, “get a load of this”.  There, caught between the two window panes and completely terrified, was a baby bird.  He was batting around in there and couldn’t, for the life of him, figure out how to get out again.  There is a large tree just outside the window and he must have flown from the tree right in our window.  I’m just not sure how he got in between the panes of glass.  I’m also not sure how Daffy’s hunting skills don’t extend to birds.  I would have thought he’d be all over that window, batting and pawing and meowing.  But nope.  Cool as a cucumber.  All, “gee, check this out.  How odd.”  Like it was just another day in the kitchen.  Like he sees wild birds in our house all the time.  That cat is strange.  I’m not sure he’d survive a day out in the wild.  Unless he could subsist entirely on flies.  Then he’d be king of the jungle.

So I grabbed the cat, screeched for Byron and left my husband to it.  We shut the door of the kitchen and Daffy and I stood outside while Byron attempted to corral the little guy back to his tree.  This, apparently was easier said than done.  Now, since neither I nor Daffy were in the kitchen at the time, we have no first-hand knowledge of how this all went down.  We did, however, hear a lot of what appeared to be a rather one-sided conversation between Mr. Bird and Mr. Biggins.  It went something like this:

Mr. Biggins:  (Soothingly) Hey, little guy.  That’s okay.  Just right up here.

Mr. Bird:

Mr. Biggins:  (Encouragingly) That’s right.  Good job, buddy!

Mr. Bird:

Mr. Biggins:  (Hopefully) Okay.  Now just hop this way ….  NO!  NOT THERE!!!!!

Mr. Bird:  $%^&$!!!  (I’m guessing here.  I couldn’t actually hear Mr. Bird’s side of the conversation.)

Mr. Biggins:  (Out of breath.)  Okay.  Let’s try this again.  There we go, just over here.

Mr. Bird:

(Sound of flapping and crashing)

Mr. Biggins:  JESUS CHRIST!!!  THE WINDOW IS THAT WAY!!! THAT WAY!!!

(More sounds of flapping and one large crash)

Mr. Bird:  #&#*@*#!!!

(Again, guessing)

(Long silence)

Mr. Biggins:  (Relieved) Goooood job, big guy!

(And the sound of the window closing).

By the time the kitchen door opened again, Daffy and I were wide-eyed in the doorway and Byron looked like he’d been through some sort of wind-mill.  Backwards.  But the bird is fine.

Following closely on the bird incident I then broke my blender while making pea soup (which, as it turns out, I had forgotten that I don’t like – pea soup, that is, not the blender).  Long story short, I put the soup in the food processor to, well, process it, and it all began to run out onto the floor.  There was much swearing, many towels thrown down and a mad dash to pour the remaining contents of the food processor into the much more appropriate blender.  Unfortunately, the blade of the processor went with the soup.  Into the blender, that is.  I spent the next ten minutes cleaning up pea soup from all surfaces of the kitchen and then attempted to blend the soup in the blender, forgetting (and not seeing – because, of course, pea soup is thick) that I had also deposited the blade from the food processor into the blender container.  There was much grinding (the blender) and continued swearing (moi) before I figured out what I had done –which was to basically solder the food processor blade to the blender container and burn out the blender motor, to boot.  I’m not well.

The next morning, Byron decided that the blender was probably fine and had just needed a little rest and so attempted to make smoothies.  There was smoke and a bit of flame and that was it for the blender.  But the makers are very nicely giving us a replacement.  That we will not use until we are back in the states.  For now we’ve got a cheapie and we’re thrilled.

And other than setting off the smoke alarms while making lunch today and being unable to reach them because our ceilings are 20-million feet high (I exaggerate only slightly) and so causing a minor neighborhood panic, and getting bitten on the ass by what must have been a spider of epic proportions at some point during the night, that’s about it.  Another week in England.  Bet you all wish you were here, huh?

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