Saturday, 4 May 2013

Should cats understand deferred gratification? And some other things I've learnt this week

In answer to the first question: Should cats understand deferred gratification? 

Well of course not, they're cats!  In a way reminiscent of small children and babies they just go on plugging away at you until they get what they want or attention or both.  My mum is particularly fond of the Simon's Cat cartoons on YouTube.

A man is sleeping in bed, there is a cat sat on his chest with its mouth open, meowing at him.  There are cat toys under and at the foot of the bed.
Image from "Cat Man Do" a Simon's Cat cartoon

In the "Cat Man Do" cartoon  - there's a link in the caption above -  the cat tries in increasingly more violent ways to wake the man, whilst pretending that butter wouldn't melt in his mouth and he's really just a purring bundle of (hungry) fluff.

My cat has a similar set of attention grabbing strategies - she scratches at the wardrobe door, she yells loudly, she jumps on the bed and meows right in your face, and I did once, just like the man in the cartoon, wake to find her pawing at my cheek.  It is absolutely no good ignoring her, the noise and interference just ramps up and up.  I tell you, she can really make that wardrobe door rattle!

Possible solutions:
a) get up and feed her, b) get up and put fresh water in her bowl, c) get up and clean her litter tray, d) don't get up, but stroke and talk to her as she sits on your chest until she falls asleep and you can too,
e) get up, put the light on, make us both something to eat, sit up in bed trying to type whilst stroking the cat who is sitting in between me and the keyboard.

The main problem is until you've tried each one of the above, in that order, you don't actually have any way of knowing which one it is she wants. 

Other things I've learnt this week - besides there being no hope of my cat ever progressing to reasoned discourse about her needs - include:

Put Alt text on pictures in blogs; this is something I read about on one of the Blogging against Disablism posts this week.  Sharon Wachsler points out in her post that pictures and videos are often central to our blogs adding interest, and explaining or depicting the topic.  In order that everyone can enjoy your blog they should be described - in the caption, the text below or in the alt text tag which can be picked up by a screen reader or printed in Braille.  I hereby promise to do this from now on.

Pacing myself, or setting limits, means that I can still have a good time; yesterday I decided I'd spent long enough on my Open University essay so I hitched a lift with the OH when he finished work and went along to the Barnsley CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) Beer Festival at the Elsecar Heritage Railway

A large marquee in a concreted yard, with trees in background, has people spilling out of it into the sunshine enjoying drinking real ale.  There are some casks at one end of the tent, empties maybe?
The Beer Tent at the Barnsley CAMRA Beer Festival
I served beer for about two hours, the bar manager fixed me up with a bar stool to sit on and I was at the far end of the bar, where the stool wouldn't be a trip hazard for the other staff and there was a counter turning the corner for me to lean on.  It's not often you get a chair behind a bar - usually bars at beer festivals are far too hectic.  These days I generally have to take job selling beer tokens which is always quite a distance from the bar - and the beer!  I was able to try four different mild beers, about 3.4% abv, in small measures because as a member of staff I didn't have to pay for the beer so I could just have tasters.  It's been years since I was able to serve at a bar - I particularly enjoyed finding suitable beers for a group of young men who seemed to have been persuaded to attend by the father of one of them.  They said they usually drank lager and fruit cider.  They found they actually liked light, hoppy beers!

At six o'clock I left, regretfully, because I was having a nice time, but it was what I had decided in advance and despite feeling quite happy after the beer and the interaction with lots of people, I knew that if I didn't go I wouldn't be doing myself any favours. 

Good friends - don't mind if you don't see them very often, they are just the same when you talk to them even if six months or a year have passed.  Thank you to all the friends I saw yesterday for being so nice. 

Disability access - ask and make a fuss if necessary.  The ladies toilet at the festival was the one on the railway station platform, and it was also the disabled loo.  It was accessible by ramp and when I tried to use it ... it was locked.  I trotted back to the help and membership desk in the festival - I must confess to privileged information here, the membership secretary is my mother in law and I knew she knew everyone - and asked if it could be unlocked.  The Heritage Railway main man was standing nearby and overheard, he apologised profusely and went over with the keys.  Inside I discovered that they'd tied the red pull cord (the one for emergency calls) up in a bundle near the ceiling ... so it wasn't in the way?  so when I emerged I went and found the chap again and asked if that could be sorted too.  He was very helpful and said that he thought the station master had locked up as usual at closing time, forgetting that the beer festival was going on until late.  Doesn't explain the cord but at least it was sorted. 

Heating and hot water - our boiler can't cope with running a bath and warming the radiators.  Note for future reference, when it's a really cold morning and the heating isn't on because you turned it down to save money, turn it on first and go back to bed for half an hour before you start running that nice warm bath to sooth the aches and pains of doing stuff the day before. 

Fluff - there's a lot of fluff behind my bedroom door.  And on the beading on the back of the door and on the skirting board behind the door ... further note to self, remember to close the door when hovering and dusting so you get that bit too!  And go and look behind the other doors, but maybe tomorrow ... pacing applies to cleaning too!

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