Google+ London Calling

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The Lucky Cats

These little guys sit on my desk at work. They make me smile, and they annoy my boss (apparently it makes my desk messy!).

The best bit of all about these 'lucky' cats though is the Amazon review I read which persuaded me to buy them (I needed a lot of persuading as you can imagine!).

My Story - By S. Altaf on 4 Feb. 2014Verified PurchaseI originally bought these as I was looking for some minor, unobtrusive decor that I could place on my office desk; nobody would really notice it and as I was pondering problems, I would pick it up and play with them in my hands (they are tiny). That's what I told myself. The real reason was that and I could do with a bit of luck in my life. The description mentioned that it was white for health, pink for love and black for protection. Just what I needed.
Soon after buying these, I started to feel a cold coming on so I began carrying the white one in my pocket wherever I went. I put it in my shirt pocket on my morning train commutes, as London trains are places where sicknesses are exacerbated. Surely this would keep me hale and healthy! But no, it made no difference. As was typical, traveling in the tubes made my cold worse and I had to stay at home for a few days, missing important work deadlines. Even during the worst of it, I would take the little cat out and bring it near my mouth whenever I coughed or sneezed - thinking it would somehow stop - but nothing happened.
Thinking the white one defective, I put it away with the thought that I would return it later; it was time to test the pink one. There was a co-worker with whom I had become friendly recently and was hoping to ask out on a date. I began carrying the pink cat in my shirt pocket, and as we were making afternoon coffee one day I began asking the question as I reached for the spoons which were on a low shelf. I was only a few words into the sentence at this point when the pink cat fell right out onto the carpet. I stopped and we both stared at it. I in horror at any judgment that may be cast upon me for carrying it, and her in surprise. But this surprise turned into a delighted squeal as she quickly reached down and snatched it up. She was smiling from ear to ear and it seemed to have quite an effect upon her, she found it very cute and adorable. But before I could even continue asking her out, she had run off back to her desk. Over the next few days, her attitude towards me had completely changed. She had the pink cat on her desk - my pink cat - and would give me an icy stare of death whenever I walked past or simply ignore me. But I would often catch her wistfully smiling and playing with the pink cat - my pink cat - quite often throughout the day.
It was a lost cause, and at this point I didn't think I'd be able to get any kind of refund back; I let the pink cat go and moved on to the final one. The black cat, for protection. To avoid any other mishaps, I started carrying the black cat in my back pocket. There was no chance this would fall out now. A fateful day arrived - as I was walking home one night, a group of thugs surrounded me. They demanded my wallet and phone (promising to return the SIM, these were civilized thugs after all). Knowing that I had the black cat for protection, I refused. One of the thugs got angry at this and pushed me quite hard. As I stumbled back, my foot got caught on the curb and I twisted as I fell. I ended up falling hard on my stomach and face. The thugs laughed and searched my pockets, taking my wallet and phone. They found the black cat but put it back where it was. Some protection that was!
So that was it - I was very angry and had decided to complain to the sellers about the spate of bad luck that these things had brought me. I would demand a refund even if the pink cat was not part of the returned packaging! As with all major decisions, I decided to sleep on it before ranting at them in the morning.
The very next day, when I woke up, a realization hit me. You see, these cats were exactly what they said they were in the title - *they* were the lucky cats. The white cat hadn't fallen sick - it was lucky in health. The pink cat had been taken by my co-worker - it was lucky in love. The black cat was protected by my fall - it was lucky in protection. It wasn't that these things would bring me luck, they were exactly what they said they were - these were lucky cat kittens. Only a fool would think that inanimate objects can bring luck to them, the universe doesn't work that way. My mind had been opened and freed at last. The epiphany was enough for this product to earn a 5 star rating from me. I happily went back to reading my horoscopes for the day to see what else fate had in store for me.

I guarantee this will make you smile, even if you don't end up buying three small lucky cats!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Shaken Not Stirred?

In advance of the latest James Bond movie the debate re-ignites on the perfect Martini. Gin Mare got in touch with me to share some interesting information on the perfect recipe for Bond's iconic cocktail.

Mixologist Stuart Bale from Strangehill shared his findings to make the perfect martini.

The perfect martini should actually be stirred (not shaken), made with gin (not vodka) and ideally (probably depending on the gin used) garnished with a strawberry (not an olive).

Olives were used in drinks to help release flavours but using a small amount of salt works better, a garnish of fruit helps release the botanicals in the gin.

Below is the recipe shared by Gin Mare:-


50ml Gin Mare

25ml Lillet Blanc

0.5ml salt solution*

1 small whole strawberry 


Add all ingredients to a metal mixing tin filled with ice. Stir for between 20-30 seconds, until the drink is chilled and diluted appropriately. Taste using a straw, until ready and strain into a chilled, stemmed or coupe cocktail glass.


Half a strawberry on cocktail stick

*Salt solution

20g Sea salt, dissolved in 100ml water

Sunday, September 20, 2015

My other animals... part 3

A few weeks ago I was writing about one of my favourite books "My Family and Other Animlas" - so here is the second of a series of posts about my "other animals".

Pigeons are a huge part of our garden community. Half a dozen years ago we had a couple of feral pigeons (nicknamed by MiL as Anthony and Cleopatra) they were easy to spot with very distinctive plumage. Over time we have now collected a huge community.

We have a couple (they are a couple as well) of coloured doves. We also have a few extremely large wood pigeons (they are really rather large birds) and an absolute gang of pigeons. Some of these are kept by a neighbour at the bottom of our garden, some of these are feral, some of these are rock pigeons and some even now are the brown feral pigeons often seen over in the City of London.

Birdwatch 15

This is part of the pigeon tribe (mostly the rock pigeons) waiting for feeding time sitting on top our bedroom roof; you can hear them inside doing war dances (!)

This is one of the over-large wood pigeons. The are the absolute epitome of bird-brains! I have watched on walk up to the peanut feeder, wander around, work out that to reach he needs to climb on the brick, get a peanut, go back to the ground to eat the peanut... and then start the whole process of how to reach the peanut over again!


The collared doves are always hanging out as a couple, they look our for each other and raise their families together


My mother has a delightful family of collared doves, they bought up their brood in a rather precarious nest behind the satellite dish on the house next door, and used to leave the babies on the patio table whilst they were off hunting.


Babies resting in the sun and parent keeping an eye on the rest of the world.