I have decided to take my annual leave
from the blog so I will see you good
peeps in the New Year.

Have a good 'un!



I've been trying to keep busy today
(despite having a rotten cold and a fever)
to stop myself from getting sad over Archie
so I put the xmas lights and a little tree in
the lounge window.

Xmas is open.


The house feels empty and
quiet this morning.

The lounge looks huge without his bed.
No more tapping of the tail when he sees
you coming down the stairs, no
more undulating sounds when
he wants attention.

No more rubbing of the belly, no more
telling him off when he's standing
in front of the telly.

One member of the family that will
propably miss him the most
is Fats the cat.

She's not a great fan of anybody but
she had a soft spot for Archie.

He gave her a daily bath by licking her
until she looked like she'd been thrown
in a lake. I'm giving Fats extra pats
today to make her feel loved, she's
looking around thinking
"something's missing".

The main thing is there is
no more pain, just joy.

I'm sure
Siouxsie was happy to see
Arch as well. Now they can play
together and run free.



Our beloved Irish Wolfhound Archie
passed away this morning.

He had been suffering from
Dilated Cardiomyopathy
for some time, and finally
his legs gave up.

He was a big softie, an intelligent
gentle giant and we will miss
him every day.

We love you Archie,





How cute?!


Northern Lights in Rovaniemi
in the Finnish Lapland.


Paddington Bear is to face his
most terrifying adventure yet;
a police interrogation over
his immigration status.

A new Paddington novel, released to
mark the 50th anniversary of his debut,
is to be published next June.

Famously, the young bear was a stowaway
on a ship from Peru; and, lacking the
appropriate identity papers, he is
arrested and interviewed by the police
about his right to stay in England.

Michael Bond's (above) Paddington books have sold
more than 30 million copies in 30 languages since
the marmalade-loving ursine first appeared
in A Bear Called Paddington, half a century
ago. However, this will be the first
new novel since Paddington
Takes The Test in 1979.

It is understood that Mr Bond, now 83,
was reluctant to write a new novel
without first settling on a storyline that
updated the Paddington oeuvre into
a strong contemporary setting.


Check out Toyah 's new
Lesser God.

The Minx is busy with all sorts of stuff
including two new albums (her
solo and
The Humans) next year,
second series of
Belle Du Jour and
loads of other TV projects.

She's a like a whirlwind,
I don't know how she does it!


This, ladies and gents, is a jerboa, an
"extraordinary" desert creature
has been caught on camera for what
scientists believe is the first time.

The long-eared tiny nocturnal mammal
is dwarfed by its enormous ears and
can be found in deserts in
Mongolia and China.

Until now, the creatures had proven extremely
difficult to study, thanks to their minuscule
size, nocturnal nature and the harsh
desert environment that they inhabit.



Today is the
90th Independence Day
of Finland.

Happy anniversary



He weighs a massive 3,000lb (1363 kg)
and measures more than 6ft 3in (1.92 m).
Now that's what you call a load of bull!

And prize Charolais Field Marshall is
going to get even bigger because he's
still got two years growing to do.

Owner Arthur Duckett reckons the great
white whopper will pile on another
650lb in the next 12 months alone.

That will make him Britain's biggest bull,
beating the record set by his former
stablemate The Colonel, who stood
6ft 5in and weighed 3,500lb.

Field Marshall is already heavier than
a Mini Cooper car, which weighs 2,458lb
and has nearly reached the weight of
a BMW 3 series at 3,053lb.

Arthur, 78, a farmer from
Alstone, Somerset,
said: "Field Marshall is still just a teenager
When he gets angry he can do
some real damage.
Luckily, he is
very good-tempered."



My favourite polar bear Knut celebrates
his first birthday today.

He got a fish salad and a
wooden candle to play with.

Happy Birthday Knut!




Christmas is hectic for all but particularly
for Santa, who must live in
in Central Asia and make his rounds
at lightning speed if he is to deliver
gifts to all the world's children on
time, Swedish consultancy
has concluded.

Between Christmas Eve and Christmas Day,
Santa Claus's route around the planet
includes stops at 2.5 billion homes,
assuming that children of all religions
receive a present from the
jolly man in the red suit.

"We estimated that there are 48 people per
square kilometer (120 per square mile) on
Earth, and 20 metres (66 feet) between each
home. So if Santa leaves from Kyrgyzstan
and travels against the Earth's rotation
he has 48 hours to deliver all the
presents," Anders Larsson from
the consultancy said.

Father Christmas has long been believed
to reside at the North Pole, although
a number of northern towns, including
Rovaniemi, claim
to be his true home.

But Sweco's report on Santa's most efficient
route - which takes into account factors like
geographic density and the fewest detours
- shows that he wouldn't be able to
make his round-the-world trip
from there in time.

"He has 34 microseconds at each stop"
to slide down the chimney, drop off the
presents, nibble on his cookies and milk
and hop back on his sleigh," Larsson said.

Santa's reindeer must travel at a speed
of 5,800 kilometers (3,604 miles)
per second to make the trip on time.

Another report circulating on the Internet
suggested however that Santa's sleigh,
weighed down with presents and travelling
at supersonic speed, would encounter
such massive air resistance that the entire
contraption would burst into flames
and be vaporised within 4.26
thousandths of a second.



Interesting article on
the BBC

Chimpanzees have an extraordinary
photographic memory that is far
superior to ours, research suggests.

Young chimps outperformed university
students in memory tests devised
by Japanese scientists.

The tasks involved remembering
the location of numbers on a screen,
and correctly recalling the sequence.

The findings, published in Current
Biology, suggest we may have under-
estimated the intelligence of our
closest living relatives.



A 26-year-old domestic cat from Shropshire
could be one of the oldest in the UK.

Pussywillow lives in Ratlinghope and
is still "sharp in her mind and her eyes",
according to owner Lin Brown.

The black cat, who now enjoys curling up
by the stove, lived off animals she caught
herself until she was 22, Ms Brown said.

Healthy cats can normally live to about 18,
with previous world record holders
only reaching their early 20s.

Pussywillow was near-feral when she was
first taken in by the family.
"When Willow
came my son was four. He is now 30," Ms
Brown said.
"I know from my local vet
that they've always been absolutely
astonished and said they have
never known a cat that old."

The family only started feeding the elderly
feline after she survived an attack by a fox
four years ago.
"Because of her wildness
when she came she was pretty much an
outdoor cat and had an organic diet
and I hardly fed her anything,"
Ms Brown said.

Marion Micklewright, from Shropshire
Cat Rescue, said she had not heard of any
other cats living for 26 years.
"Cats are
living longer, but I'd love to know what
they fed it on. It's a bit of a rarity."



It's like an online dating servicefor
long lost gloves. No, that's not a typo.

A Texas native who experienced her
first snowflakes in
Pittsburgh last
year was miffed by the lost gloves she
spotted all over the city last winter.
Whom did they belong to? Wouldn't
they want them back? Why were
people just walking past them?

So Jennifer Gooch, who is pursuing her
master of fine arts degree at
Mellon University, started a website
in an effort to reunite dropped gloves
with their mates — and in the
process spread some goodwill.

One of her first ones lambskin glove that
someone had propped up on a ledge on
campus. She was worried about taking
it at first. What if the owner
came back to claim it?

In its place, she left a small rectangular
sticker. A drawing of a black glove is
scrawled on it and says, "Missing
a glove?

Gooch displays the gloves on the wall in
her basement art studio at the university.
There are 21 so far, each tacked up with
push pins. Small yellow Post-it notes
and slips of scrap paper hang there, too,
chronicling where each was found.

One reads, "Found by Shaun Tuesday,
Nov. 20 Penn Ave. between 29th & 28th."
Below it, the finder drew two gloves —
one outlined in a solid line, its mate
outlined with a broken line.

Some appear to be expensive, others
not so much. On the wall hangs a beige,
left-handed woman's glove, with a
dangling, sparkling rhinestone charm.

"That's a great glove," Gooch, 29, beamed
Friday. "It's leather. It's got bling,
but it's so useless now."

Gooch, originally from Dallas, photographs
each glove and puts the picture and
information on her web site, where people
can report found gloves and request
stickers. She hasn't made any glove
connections in the two weeks the site
has been live, but it's OK if that
never happens, she said.

"It's kind of whimsical and bittersweet,"
Gooch said. "It makes you feel there's
this opportunity for benevolence."

Gooch would love to see One Cold Hand
projects sprout up in other cities.
She's working with two women in New
York to start a similar effort there. They
hope to have onecoldhand-nyc.com
up and running soon.

Gooch is even talking with local businesses
about creating glove dropboxes all
over the city where people can
leave their fabric finds.

Like socks that disappear in the dryer or
plastic grocery bags that fly away and get
in trees, Gooch believes there's something
about gloves that is universal.

"If I have one person find their glove,
then the entire thing is totally
worth it," she said.