Sunday, November 17, 2019

The Zip-Tied Elephant

Olga took me for a walk yesterday morning, all over Kilburn and Paddington Cemetery. I let her lead the way, and when I do that lately, we often wind up somewhere in that area. I think she likes finding chicken bones on Kilburn High Road (I don't let her eat them, but that doesn't mute her desperate desire) and she knows the cemetery contains squirrels.

We usually walk there along Iverson Road, which leads past the heavenly food-scented Saturday farmer's market and the Thameslink rail station. The past two times we've taken that route we've encountered some seriously disturbed people.

Two weeks ago, an older woman was walking a little dog and carrying a cup of coffee, and when the dog pulled and caused her to slosh her drink, she threw the paper cup to the sidewalk in a rage and began yelling at the dog and jerking it around. Another passerby and I both tried to calm her down, but she responded with a full-throated scream and made for her house, cursing all the way and dragging the poor dog behind her. It was actually pretty upsetting. I worry about that dog.

Then, yesterday, we saw a different woman with dark hair ranting at random people walking past. "I'm a professor of psychiatry!" she yelled. "So f*ck off!"

Well, okay then.

Olga and I passed houses with interesting mascots -- a one-eared pig on a couch (top photo), a zip-tied plush elephant.

Here's Olga at the cemetery, in a rare moment when she wasn't racing after squirrels and barking.

We found a beautiful hollyhock that has managed to hang on late into the season. (I did see an insect buzzing around one of our garden flowers yesterday, so I guess despite the chill and damp, there are still pollinators out and about.)

We came across this bag, lying in a hedge near the West Hampstead library. I thought, "I hope there's not a foot in there!" (I didn't look.)

When we finally got home, Dave and I went out to look at our TV dish, which -- as you may remember -- the tree-trimmers knocked askew more than a week ago, leaving us without a signal. I stood on a chair and was able to reposition the receiver enough to recover the signal. We duct-taped it in place, proving Dave correct in his practical Michigan belief that almost anything can be repaired with duct tape. I'm so glad that's fixed and we don't have to call a repair person.

Dave had scheduled a cleaning service to come and clean our oven. This is one of the few household jobs (along with tree trimming!) that neither of us feels able or motivated to do properly. The guy showed up and did an amazing job -- we now have an oven so clean we can, well, cook in it.

I spent the rest of the afternoon reading and doing little household chores, topped off with an evening martini. We started watching "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" on Amazon, and after Dave fell asleep I followed it up with "Whatever Happened to Aunt Alice?,"  a 1969 mystery/horror movie that I read about recently on someone's blog. It wasn't exactly good, but Geraldine Page and Ruth Gordon in starring roles made it worth watching. An excellent and productive Saturday all around.


  1. You can also buy oven liners. I know they sell them in the states and probably across the pond too. I use heavy duty foil on my bottom rack and if something spill, it goes on the foil. It saves a lot of work.

    My, my, you are running into some of the craziness that I run into shopping and driving. I passed up one lady driving and she gave me signs and cursed me out. I cursed her back and reach for the weapon. I am in Texas and LTC. It's scary, so you need something for protection. The world is full of craziness these days. Be careful on your walks and be aware of the area you are walking in. I would be afraid to walk in some of the places you are going in. Have a safe day.

  2. If a professor of psychiatry can stand in the street yelling "F*ck off!" then surely a tetchy school librarian can have a notice on his desk that makes the same request to spotty teenagers begging for computer chargers. As for the woman with the dog - it was outrageous that she threw her coffee cup down in the street!

  3. London can be a scary place sometimes can't it. I love the pig on a couch, that would look so good in my Bijou Garden.

  4. Unlike Crafty Cat, I find that pig to be as disturbing as the woman with the dog. Is it missing an ear?
    I would have entitled this post, "Weirdness Abounds."
    My theory on the boot is that it was a plumber's and whatever it is he'd been mucking in was so foul that even after he had put one of his boots in a bag to take home, he just gave up and tossed them both away. Now where the mate is, is another question.

  5. I let Minnie decide how long the walk is but it's always the same path out here but just because there aren't any alternatives unless we get in the car and go somewhere else. that pig certainly does look happy and I wonder how long the elephant will last out in the elements. one last thing, I'm also in Texas and have never felt the need or desire to carry a gun just because I encounter disturbed people now and then. it's the ones who carry guns that worry me.

  6. I love all the interesting things you found on your walk but I have to admit, the screaming woman would be a bit scary. Especially here where anyone can get a gun. I hadn't thought of hiring someone to clean the oven. What a great idea. I may look into that.

  7. You do see some cool stuff on your walks, but that screaming woman is not one of them. I would hate to cross paths with someone who screams at her dog. OTOH, I would prefer people who scream "...So f*ck off..." Love the pig on the couch.

  8. One wonders why the unhinged are allowed to be out on their own. Is there anybody supervising these people or are they alone in the world?

  9. @Ellen abbott: It's a choice that we have here in Texas. I've carried a gun all my years because I was in the Insurance and financial business and it is for protection only. I am not out here shooting at people and you should be well trained with a gun. I've always been a person who will protect themselves in my home and my surroundings. You had better be afraid of us carrying a gun because we won't be playing with you and stupidity. The law here is you can LTC so why not. It's very legal and a choice that one make. So you choose not to carry and that's fine, but those who decide to do so is law biding citizens who decide to LTC AND CARRY. Don't knock us who carry because we all make choices that satisfy ourselves.

  10. I love the pig on the sofa. And that photo of Olga in the cemetery is wonderful. The Hollyhocks are beautiful. There's nothing blooming in my garden now. I agree with Angelicastar, those of us who are LTC and Carry are law abiding citizens. I did not realize that one could hire a person to come in and just clean the oven. That is wonderful. I have to agree with you about folks interrupting you when you are busy working at your desk. It does make it difficult to focus on your work. You have a super day, hugs, Edna B.

  11. Yes, that photo of Olga is a great one. And good on you guys for refocussing your dish antenna AND using Duct (Duck) tape to fasten it down. That and WD-40 will fix anything.

  12. Psych cases abound. Here, there and everywhere.

  13. I do like that pig on the couch, especially with the moss growing on it.

    How heartbreaking to see someone abuse their dog and not be able to intervene. Did you see which house she went into? Is there such a thing there as calling the SPCA about suspected abuse? Some people should never own an animal of any kind. I am not a violent person but abuse of children or the child-like, the elderly, and animals makes my blood boil and leaves me shaking afterward, whether or not I am able to step in.

  14. heart breaks for dog of crazy assed woman! So sad and frightening. Dogs are used by junkies to alert them to anyone nearby that may want to rob or harm them while they are "out". It is a very sad existence. Olga is the luckiest girl! Beautiful grave yard photo!

  15. Angelicastar: I don't mean to make it sound like I'm walking in scary neighborhoods -- I'm really not. Our area is quite safe. We just have some interesting characters wandering around! There's the usual street crime, but certainly nothing that makes me want to carry a weapon. I tend to think the ubiquity of guns in the US is the problem, not the solution.

    YP: And didn't pick it up, either!

    Briony: I definitely see some odd ducks out and about!

    Ms Moon: That's a good theory re. the plumber. I wonder if the mate is in the bag too.

    Ellen: I can't imagine that elephant will last too long. I don't understand people who put stuffed animals out in the rain. Bleah. And as you know, I agree with you completely about the guns.

    Sharon: I didn't feel threatened by the screaming woman. I guess I was too preoccupied by the poor dog. As for the oven, it's worth it!

    Robin: By all means, I'd rather people take out their frustrations on other people rather than on animals.

    Red: That's the question, isn't it?

    Edna: I was surprised to see that hollyhock at this time of year. Most of them have long since gone to seed.

    Catalyst: It's true! We don't have any WD-40, but I have some at work and occasionally I bring the can home and give whatever needs it a squirt.

    Alphie: I must admit whenever I see people like that, who are obviously off the rails, I wonder the same thing as Red. Is anyone caring for them? Or are they just managing on their own?

    Jenny-O: The moss definitely makes the pig, although like Ms Moon I find it more disturbing than anything! I did see the house the woman went into, and I considered reporting her, but I haven't done it. She didn't actually strike or kick the dog, from what I could see. There was just a lot of rage there.

    Linda Sue: I often see panhandlers with dogs, and I wonder where they get them and how well they care for them.

  16. @Angelicastar I'm well aware of the laws in Texas concerning guns. your belligerent and threatening reply to my comment..."You had better be afraid of us carrying a gun because we won't be playing with you and stupidity."... only supports my opinion of people who carry guns. guns are not the solution to any and every problem but people who carry are likely to think they are. they carry because in their hearts they want to use them. lots of 'good guys with guns' use them inappropriately. everyone is a good guy with a gun until that moment they aren't and innocent people get hurt or killed. I feel sorry for you that you live in so much fear that you carry an item with you whose only purpose is to kill. I lived in a sketchy inner city neighborhood for decades and never felt the need to own a gun. Perhaps if you researched actual gun statistics you'd realize that that gun doesn't make you nearly as safe as you think.