Thursday, 19 April 2012

Bits and Bobs

On some of the blogs I regularly read (and greatly enjoy), sometimes I find wonderful posts such as Scriptor Senex's Thursday Toddle around his chair, or Silke's Wednesday Mishmash, to name but a few; I always find such glimpses into your lives very interesting, and never leave your blogs without having learnt something new.

Today, I am going to offer some bits and bobs from this month; mostly because there is neither enough time at the moment nor enough inspiration in my mind to fill a full-length post for each of the subjects on their own. So, please bear with this one, or skip it altogether.

I have mentioned how much I like going to the pub quiz before; in fact, I did a whole post on the subject last year here.
Earlier this month, my regular team and I (sans Robert, who has dropped off the planet months ago; he has been replaced by Fabian, who has the jaw-dropping kind of knowledge about Classical music which comes from intense occupation with a subject - I think he once mentioned to me that he has about 400 CDs...) joined the crowd on a Tuesday night once again for the quiz.
Something a little unfair happened: We were one point ahead of our eternal rival after the first round and finished the second round with the same points, so actually, our team was 1st. But then...
...Chris, the landlord, came up to our table before he announced all the results. He confessed to us that he had mistakenly not counted one correct answer of our rivals during the first round, and of course they had complained to him about that; apparently, they had even threatened to never, ever come back again (umm... doesn't that sound a bit childish? Reminds me of a little girl in my neighbourhood; when we played together as kids, and I didn't do exactly as she wanted, she would threaten me with never-ever being my friend again...). So, to appease them, Chris gave them not only the missing point, but another one for good measure. Which made them end up 1st - and us 2nd!
Well, we love the quiz, but we do not take it so seriously as to go to such lengths... it was a little unfair on us, true, but we were there for the fun, not because we insist on winning.
Chris gave us the choice of either four bottles of sparkling wine (the usual 2nd prize) or a bottle of Vodka. Nobody wanted the sparkling wine this time, but I do like my cocktails vodka-based, and so we opted for that - I went home with this little beauty, coming in its own sleeping bag!

A week ago on Friday night, I met my girl friends for our regular night out (yes, you guessed it, I have written about that before, too). This time, we met at what used to be my favourite Indian restaurant in town. 
I say, "used to be", because my enthusiasm for going to this restaurant is rapidly dwindling. The food was good, I can't complain about that. But the lady who served us was rather cold and distant, bordering on the unfriendly; plus she practically had to be begged to come to our table for us to order more drinks, and after we finally were allowed to place our second order, we were left to our own devices for another full hour during which nobody came to our table to ask whether we maybe wanted a dessert, or another drink, until we paid and left. This was, mind you, not the busiest time at the restaurant; during that last hour of our stay, only two other tables were occupied.
Never mind - I'll probably go there again, but it is not my favourite restaurant any more.

On walking home, I arrived close to my street on a stretch of road that is only dimly lit at night. Far ahead on the pavement I saw a lump, and couldn't make out what it was until I was much closer - then I found myself coming up to this little fellow:
He didn't seem to be much bothered by my presence, not even when I cautiously stroked his back. He sat still for a while, and then decided he wanted to withdraw into the garden next to where we were. He squeezed through the fence and disappeared among last year's leaves and the still bare shrubs.

That's all for now!

28 comments:

  1. Oh, you were brave to stroke his back! apart from the prickles hedgehogs have so many FLEAS! but they are not designed to be attractive to others, despite their dear little faces and the cute way they will come up and drink milk from a saucer if you leave one out at night.
    I love them actually despite their faults. A bit like you and the restaurant. Although I have to say that surly service puts me off usually to the extent that I won't ever return, even if I love the food.

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    1. Yes, Jenny, I know that hedgehogs are a preferred playground for fleas, ticks and all other sorts of parasites; therefore, as soon as I was home, I washed my hands thoroughly (and have not seen any flea hopping about all week).
      The lady who served us wasn't exactly surly, or unfriendly, just quite close to it. Well, I am sorry if she were having a difficult day, for whatever reason; but it had nothing to do with our group, and we were really well behaved.

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  2. Hello Meike:
    Clearly pub quizzes are to be taken very seriously indeed!! However, in the event of coming second, then we should not have minded at all returning home with a bottle of vodka. This sounds to us a very fair gain!

    It is so disappointing when a restaurant which one has frequented and enjoyed over a period of time fails, for whatever reason, to come up to the mark. Perhaps it is time to find another. Good Indian food remains a favourite with us.

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    1. Hello Jane and Lance,
      In fact, I much prefer coming 2nd at the quiz, since I don't drink whiskey (1st prize), but of course it is also nice to be the evening's winning team. Hopefully, we can have another go in May.

      At the moment, that Indian restaurant is the only one in my town. There is one where the owner is from Sri Lanka, but that one is not exactly clean, and last time I was there, the chick peas were not cooked properly, and I had a funny tummy all night.

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  3. Like Jenny, I'm still wondering about hegehog-stroking. The last as one I saw close-up was riddled with ticks. I hope you were wearing gloves...?

    But they do have dear little faces.

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    1. No gloves, Frances... you see, I am not always sensible, after all!
      But in the six days and nights that have passed since my encounter with the hedgehog, I have not seen any fleas or other unwelcome visitors in my flat.

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  4. Congratulations. Make sure you drink your vodka ice cold

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    1. Of course, Marco Pasha! I can not drink vodka on its own, but I do love it in my cocktails.

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  5. Sounds like you've got some fierce competition in the "pub quiz" world! Some folks just get so competitive, it's a little too much, don't you think so? While your team was wronged, it looks like you made out pretty good with the vodka! :-)

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    1. Indeed, Mary, it should be just good fun, an evening spent with friends at the pub, not done in such a negative competitive spirit. And yes, I am glad I got the vodka :-)

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  6. That's quite a lot.
    Bits and Bobs always give readers an insight into the daily routine of a blogger, much more intimate than a well crafted and deliberate essay on a particular point. I enjoyed your ramble.

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    1. Yes, Friko, that is why I enjoy reading such rambles on other people's blogs so much. I am glad you liked mine!

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  7. When that group had threatened to NEVER, EVER come back, I wish the landlord had said, "Is that a promise?".
    Dear Meike, I am so envious of you seeing that hedgehog! And to stroke its back too! I only saw a dead one, when we lived in England, I too was walking home and it had been hit by a car. It is such a beautiful creature. Beatrix Potter drew them perfectly, just like all the animals in her books.
    Oh, and I didn't have a chance to comment on Scriptor or Silke's blog posts, if they read this, they know that I love them! And the same goes for you! :-)

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    1. Well, that particular group is huge, sometimes they have 10 or more people around their table, and they come to the quiz EVERY Tuesday, meaning good business for the landlord, so I do understand that he does not want to lose them. But those times when we came first, he said to us that he is happy to see someone else winning for a change...!
      We have plenty of hedgehogs around in our gardens here. For a while, my downstairs neighbours used to feed their cat out on the patio (the lady was pregnant and couldn't stand the smell of cat food, so her husband had to feed the cat out there). Sometimes, I heard the food dish being pushed around on the patio at night, and when I looked, it was a huge hedgehog feasting on the leftovers. The cat just observed him and never went near!

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  8. I love rambles - as you well know - so it was great to see your bits and bobs post.

    May I just make the point to Jenny that milk is not particularly good for hedgehogs. (I don't know why but I've read that somewhere - it's recommended that you give them cat food as your neighbour unintentionally did. Of course, if you haven't got a cat some cooked meat will do if you've got some to spare.) We had a family of hedghogs in our garden for a few years and we leave a log pile for them each winter but this year they have deserted us!

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    1. Hopefully, another hedgehog family will take their place; aren't they good to have in the garden also because they will take care of snails?
      Not sure about the milk thing. The same is said about cats, not to give them cow milk. We've always had cats, and some of them liked milk (and thrived on it), while others preferred water, and were just as happy as the milk-drinking ones. I guess the secret lies, as with so many other things in life, in the right measure - too much of anything can be harmful, while a bit of it every now and then makes for a nice little treat.

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  9. I'm enjoying reading your bits and bobs! I think your group will enjoy your pub quizes more for not being so wildly competitive and would love to hear your favorite cocktails with vodka. We have no hedgehogs here. I didn't realize they got this large. I only saw what must have been a baby one in the hills of Buda long ago.
    We have porcupines which are larger and not so cute. But very shy of letting themselves be seen!

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    1. Kristi, when I'm out, I like cocktails that are creamy and have some coconut or batida the coco in them, such as Swimming Pool or Bounty. But at home, for the two cocktail parties I've thrown in the past four weeks, I like Vodka Cooler: it is Vodka (duh!), Lime juice, sugar syrup and ginger ale.
      Our hedgehogs here really get to be quite big, don't now their weight, but I estimate they can reach two or more kilogramms.

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  10. Porcupines are rodents, not really relatives of hedgehogs, but they do have quills/spikes.

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    1. I know porcupines only from the zoo.

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  11. I just read that our north American porcupines can weight from 3.5 to 18 kilograms. I think I only saw one in the woods in my whole life. They're nocturnal.

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    1. Yes, I think the ones at the Stuttgart zoo are of the largest variety. And since they are nocturnal and don't jump and skip about (now, that would be a sight, wouldn't it!), people usually stop at their enclosure only for a moment, then they get bored and move on.

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  12. You are friends with a hedgehog.
    Did he make a noise when you pet him?
    I'm so pleased you got a picture, he is a beauty!
    xx
    julie

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    1. Julie, we are not on talking terms yet :-)
      Yes, it was coincidence that I had my camera with me; had it not been our regular girls' night out, I would not have brought it. And the camera on my mobile phone probably would not have shown anything in the darkness.

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  13. I remember your post on the pub quiz very well. I find taking anything like that too seriously quite strange: there are so many more important things in the world about which to be serious.

    Hedgehogs. Oh dear. Cute they may be for the Mrs Tiggywinkle brigade but, unfortunately, in places like the Outer Hebrides of Scotland they eat the eggs of the ground-nesting birds (which, given the paucity of trees and shrubs is the majority of birds). They have only been in the Outer Hebrides for a few decades but have spread enormously and I see them frequently. I find it hard to have an empathy with them however cute they may be.

    I do recall when I was a toddler being on holiday in Wales and being told by a Diddycoy or Gipsy that they used to kill them, cover them in clay and bake them in the camp-fire. The spines (and all the nasty flease etc) would all come off with the clay. They are, apparently, very tasty. My vegetarian tendencies would not endear me to the practice however.

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    1. Well, every time a species is introduced to where it wasn't living originally, some other species suffer; that is the same for plants and animals, and is happening all over the world. I didn't know, though, that it is also a problem on the Outer Hebrides. Is anything being done to prevent hedgehogs from spreading further?

      Yes, I've read about the clay-baking of hedgehogs by travelling folk in several books. When I was a child, I found the thought quite revolting, but actually, it is no worse than eating any other animal (I am not vegetarian, but not too keen on meat, either; and I am certainly not happy about how animals are mostly treated to "produce" meat).

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  14. I am the same way - I enjoy the little glimpse into people's life. Most of the time I feel uplifted by want I read in blogs. While having repeatedly bad service at your favorite restaurant is always a bummer - I love the little furry friend you met on you way back home.

    Hope you are well,
    e

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    1. Thanks, Elizabeth! I am well (as almost always), getting ready for a week in England with the family, and very much looking forward to it!

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