23 February 2012

Snakes & Moggies (and a few Antiques)

Some things are funny unless they happen to you.  Doug has been saying for ages how he planned to put a segment of snake skin into cars that are illegally parked in our shop car park (despite No Parking By Youse Lot signs telling them not to).  Many people around here leave their car windows slightly open, and oh how we laughed as we imagined their reaction to finding a snake skin draped across their steering wheel.  But karma’s a bitch, isn’t it, and it’s a whole lot less amusing when the snake actually leaves the skin itself rather than via Doug being a ratbag.

Our car is always shut up tight, with no windows open at all when we’re not in it, and yet we found a 1.5m snake skin across the back parcel shelf.  And seeing how the car is a two-seater, the back parcel shelf isn’t far from our heads.  We pulled the car apart as much as we were able to, but it appeared to have used it as a quiet spot to shed its skin and then moved on.  That’s what we hope.  The last time we had snakes in the car it was a couple of tree snakes in the glovebox, who tried to come out through the bottom of the dashboard as we were driving along a highway that had no hard shoulder so we couldn’t pull over for a few kilometres.  What a jolly trip that was.  But we removed the snakes and put them in a tree and it was all good until the next week, when I found another tree snake curled up in the engine compartment.  Now the snakes taking up residence in our car are starting to get real big, but what can you do but try to ensure they’re not physically there when you get in, and then chill?

Things have been quiet in the shop this week, except that the French pastry table we put in the window last week caused an enormous reaction and sold within two hours of being on display.  Quite a number of people admired it, and several people who did not notice the Sold sticker came in especially to buy it.  It was the piece of furniture that has caused the biggest reaction in a long time.  I’m so looking for something similar during the coming trip.  Unfortunately, the semi-industrial look is also very popular in England and France so these pieces are hard to find and don’t come cheaply, but I shall stop sucking my teeth over the prices in future and just buy them because they always sell.  I’m so fixated on getting utter bargains that sometimes I hesitate over fabuloso things at good but not excellent prices, but I shall try to stop.  When I find a gobsmackingly good Art Deco piece I never hesitate, so it’s not as if I’m not prepared to spend money when necessary.  I mean, I spend money for a living so I’m sure I can steel myself to fork out the necessary dosh for the semi-industrial stuff as well as the Deco stuff.  This will have to be my special attitude-adjustment project for myself.

This week we’ve brought out our other pastry table.  This one has been in storage and hasn’t seen the light of day since we brought it into Australia in 1997.  So it’s taken a while, but eventually its time came and now this piece is taking pride of place in the window.  It’s Baltic pine, dates to about 1930 and came out of an old patisserie in Provence.  It’s lovely and more traditional looking than the pastry table of last week, but I’d be one very happy Vegemite if I could find examples of both types again during the coming buying trip.

On the moggie front, we showed them the python skin from our car and it caused a commotion.  I can’t describe the smell of snake skin other than to say it’s unpleasant and quite distinctive but the cats loved it and were sniffing so deeply they were practically inhaling it.  Eau de la Reptile was a big hit.  I’ve stored the skin in a plastic box, to be brought out for a little treat every now and then – although Calypso in particular has attacked the box with great gusto, trying to break in so she can enjoy it when she choses, rather than when I chose.  But so far I’m still able to outwit a kitten.  So far.  I clipped her scimitars this week, and what a relief it is to not be mauled through the bed sheet any more.  But while she’s no longer drawing blood, it hasn’t stopped her launching her ninja attacks on Klaatu, where she pretends to walk past him but then throws herself sideways and knocks him flat.  He’s awake to this tactic but loves it and it always results in a huge wrestling match or a game that we call Bop You - No, Bop You, where the participants lay on the floor facing each other and take it in turns to wildly flail at the other’s head.  The first one to jump up and run off – with the other in hot pursuit – is the loser.

The entire gang continue to be much admired and photographed when it’s their turn in the shop.  On Wednesday Calypso spent a great deal of time madly playing with a toy made for her by my friend Fran, and she dashed about the shop like an idiot - the cat, not Fran. Well, Fran did a bit.  She was admired so much and photographed so many times that a money-making idea started to formulate in my brain:  what if I put a large cage in the shop window and advertise that for a fee you can get in with a Bengal?  I’m often asked if she bites, and if I say only if you move that would actually encourage some people.  You might recall that I paid good money to get in a meerkat enclosure (and get bitten) and to feed giraffes (when Doug got bitten), so why wouldn’t some crazies pay to get in a cage with a Bengal?  And then another fee to be allowed out goes without saying.  This might work a bit better when she weighs more than 3.5kg, but it’s an idea I shall keep in the back of my brain for when she gets to a more suitable might-drag-you-off-by-the-neck size.

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