Purple Ponty

It never fails to amaze me just where Kaff sometimes takes me. Take last night, for example. I thought I was going along with her and Geek-Boy to meet up with Fenty (a top bloke who we all used to work with) and go to an event in The Blueberry Hotel in Pontypridd.

Admittedly, while Kaff, G and even Fenty had registered, I hadn’t and so Kaff smuggled me in a bag (as usual – not very V.I.S.) but, as I blog and live in a valley, I did actually have every right to go along to the inaugural Valley Blogger Meet Up, which is what we were going out to.

But when I forced my way out of my (I’d love to say limo here, but you know it wasn’t, it was a bag) transport for the evening, I was confronted with a purple haze. Hey up, I thought, what’s going on, where are we and what have I let myself in for? I was expecting to see dancers of a certain kind appear any minute.

Sadly, they didn’t, but the evening was great fun despite this minor disappointment.


I have Hay Fever after my first ever weekend camping in the famous Book Town. Okay, okay, so technically the campsite was just outside it and over the border in England, but still. I was there!

Although I’ve been to the Guardian Hay Festival many times in the past, I’ve always gone up there for the day and come home again, Kaff being too much of a skinflint to shell out for some deluxe squirrel-friendly accommodation. I don’t know what happened to her this year but somehow Joycey persuaded Kaff to camp over the first weekend and she booked a Yurt for the three of us. It was smashing. We had enough room inside for two single air beds, a table, two chairs and plenty of space for my travel hammock.*

Hay was fab. Plenty of squirrel-friendly treats, like macadamia nuts, pistachio ice cream and amaretto and cherry fudge during the day and coconut curry in the evening. I wore my trendy festival gear and made lots of new friends. I think it’s fair to say that I was quite the hit. No doubt everyone I met will be back the next time I appear at Hay to promote my very own decalogy, The Adventures of Squizzey. I should think next year for Volume 1. The wench must surely have finished it by then?

*A travel hammock is slightly less salubrious than my usual hammock, with no paint job but still with palm trees (I do have my standards, after all!) but it stands up to the rigours of being on the road much better than the posh Floridian hammock does, and I would hate for that to get damaged.

(Many thanks to Kaff’s mate (@ViolaMaths) for the pic.)

April blossoms

I scampered up to my former stamping ground of London yesterday and fell a little back in love with it again.

In the 10 years in which I’ve been away from London and in my new home of Wales, I haven’t really missed the hustle and bustle and smell and grime and rudeness of the big city. I love my new home and the big back garden, which would almost classify as a park if it were in London, but more often than not looks like a meadow (too much rain to cut the grass, is the standard excuse around these parts).

However, yesterday Kaff and I stumbled around London – we weren’t drunk, this is her term for just wandering aimlessly around – and sat and had lunch in Green Park with one of her friends. That was quite good fun. How I laughed at the people on their lunchtime workouts – there was one particularly sad group of three, who’d hired a personal trainer between them. He was not worth the money and it didn’t look as if any of them broke a sweat, not even the lardiest of them.

Once we’d dropped Kaff’s mate off back at her office, we walked on past the Canadian High Commission and into Grosvenor Square where we found this lovely park filled with blossom. I snuck out of Kaff’s bag and had a little scamper around while she sat and people-watched for a while.

Happy Easter!

I am so incredibly happy and beside myself with good thoughts aimed in the direction of my bestest mate in all the world. Yes, Kaff, I mean YOU! I actually do mean it this time as well and I said that with a straight face. (Okay, slight manic grin but I am sooooooooo happy.) Just look what a stupendously nutty Easter Egg the lovely Kaff found for me and my crew this year. (Between you and me, I ain’t sharing it with them!) While it is from every little helps Tesco, they do seem to know what makes their squirrel customers tick so I’ll let them off just this once, given it’s a holiday weekend and all. Those are whole nuts – almonds, brazil nuts and hazelnuts – actually melted into the dark chocolate shell. And it gets better, because not only is it a chocolate shell, but that chocolate is Belgian Milk Chocolate. I am in squirrel heaven. I have seriously never had such a brilliant Easter Egg before and I am going to now go and attack this with the gusto it truly deserves.

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday weekend, however you celebrate it.

Luv ‘n’ nuts,

Squizz x

South Chocolate Bank

When my mate Kaff got me up at stupid o’clock yesterday morning, I did wonder if the time had perhaps come to end our albeit immensely rewarding relationship. Not only did she get me up very, very early in the morning when most self-respecting squirrels – and even some of us reprobates – are heading to our hammocks, but she also told me we were going to London for the day. Yes, yes, I know. Wildly exciting and the place-to-be and all that congestion-charging traffic to dodge but really folks… I’ve lived there, I’ve done London like an American tourist could only dream of doing it, I’m an old squirrel and, quite frankly, not only do I have the t-shirt but I have the jumper as well (see picture if you don’t believe me).

Still, days out with Kaff are almost always fun and they usually involve road snacks, which are not the same as road kill, in case that’s what you were thinking. One of Kaff’s better (only?) qualities is that she is happily very squirrel-friendly. No, road snacks means chocolate or nuts, and sometimes both combined in a deliciously-wrapped but easy to open package.

The beginning of the trip started off at Victoria train station. I know what you’re thinking, less than auspicious. My thoughts, too, until we bumped into Kaff’s very lovely Swedish friend, Catti and her colleague. Apparently, that’s why we were there. Kaff and Catti (which is Swedish for Kaff – I don’t know why she picks friends with the same name as herself but she will insist on doing so and it is confusing, trust me) hadn’t seen each other for 7 years. Can’t really be that great friends then, if you ask me, but Kaff insists it might have something to do with the fact that they live in different countries and she isn’t a fabulously successful writer who can afford to jet around seeing her bessie mates yet. I told her, she shouldn’t be gallivanting about in London but perhaps ought to stay home and finish my decalogy of books. That’s when she zipped up the bag I was traveling in and wouldn’t talk to me for a while. Some people just don’t like hearing the truth.

So, she did let me out at lunchtime and we had a very pleasant, enjoyable time with Catti and colleague in benugo at the BFI on the South Bank but it was sadly over all too soon and we saw them off into a taxi so they could catch their flight home. But, en route to finding a taxi, Kaff and I stumbled across something rather wonderful – a Chocolate Festival! Yes, stall after stall of chocolate (and a goodly proportion of nutty) goodies. It was just the thing to wander around until it was time for us to wend our way homeward. We met up with a Twitter friend, the lovely @marmadale from Rococo Chocolates. This was brilliant because we’d only recently been unable to make it down to London for a chocolate tasting at Rococo when it fell on a school night. We made up for this by stocking up on some goodies and both Kaff and I love their Scorched Almonds and Scorched Hazelnuts – absolutely delish. (I have to say that neither of us were that sold on the Earl Grey chocolate though. Kaff drinks EG tea but doesn’t think the mix with chocolate was great.) We also made new friends and discovered some amaretto chocolates, which were sadly a bit bleh due to the low cocoa content choc used. I was so disappointed with those – amaretto is, after all, my favourite tipple. However, we also found some lovely nutty chocolate from the fine folks at Artisan du Chocolat – they gave us a selection which were super-yummy.

As you can see from the picture, Kaff made sure that I brought home a fair stash of goodies for me and the crew and they all went down very well, and very quickly. I wonder where my next nuts are coming from…

Sid’s birthday blueberries

This is Sid, our local squirrel from the woods out back. It’s not really his birthday today, at least, I don’t think it is. He’s a bit of a strong, silent type is Sid, so I’m not sure he’d tell me if it were his birthday, to be honest. However, seeing how excited he got about the little feast I laid out on the patio for him today anyone would think that it was. He practically swung his way through the trees and couldn’t get here fast enough for not only were there the usual peanuts and seed mix that we’ve been putting out for most of the winter for him – see? NO, birdies, it actually wasn’t for you, but luckily, Sid is a caring, sharing type and didn’t mind too much that you saw fit to swoop in and half-inch quite a lot of his winter feed – but there were also some blueberries that Kaff had bought and promptly forgotten about when they were pushed to the back of the fridge never to be seen again until they were all wrinkly and inedible.

Sid’s birthday, like I said. He loved them. All I hope for our shopping budget is that he sees it as a one-off treat and doesn’t come tapping on the window expecting them again. Just saying.

Squirrel Kisses Kitten Shock

Because I’m quite bad in this life – let alone past ones – I have to share my pad with a pussy cat called Tux. I know! It is a rough life that I lead and not at all as glamorous as you might assume for a squirrel of my standing. Anyhow, I guess most of the time it’s okay because the dear thing does sleep rather a lot and I am usually up high somewhere out of her reach – sitting on Kaff’s desk or in my hammock, which is even higher out of reach up on top of Kaff’s desk. I think you could safely say that we tolerate each other’s existence at best. What annoys us the most about each other is that we usually want to be where the other is in the evening – namely snuggled up with Kaff on the sofa. I like being here because Kaff likes to a) eat chocolate and b) sometimes does this while watching a half-decent television programme, such as Fringe or True Blood. She will sometimes sit there and read but hey, as long as she has chocolate, I’m happy. The trouble starts when Tux decides that she’ll jump up and cuddle in and that’s when I usually get displaced or knocked over or tumbled to the floor.

So as you can see we’re not best mates, which is why when I saw this picture of a squirrel smooch attack, oh how, I laughed. And imagined myself and Tux re-enacting it. I quickly dismissed that idea – I’d get her fur all over me, the creature molts like she regrows new fur every day, but I thought the pic was fun and every so often I do imagine myself springing a surprise luurrve offensive. It won’t happen but this is kind of cool, all the same and the pic comes courtesy of one of Kaff’s Twitter pals, Miss Fizzy Duck, who is brilliant and funny and worth a follow, if you’re on that social network.

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY, Everyone. Pucker up now!

Squirrel Appreciation Day 2010

Two of my favourite days combined in some kind of cosmic alignment wotsit today – not only was it National Hugging Day, but it was also Squirrel Appreciation Day. You mean, you didn’t know there was either one of those?

I don’t know who started the first one but Squirrel Appreciation Day was started by Christy Hargrove at WNC-Rehab.org. There are no official events as such but Christy suggests that you put some extra food out for the squirrels in your neighbourhood. Great idea.

Other ways to celebrate:-

1. Make peanut cookies… and then eat them

2. Listen to some cracking tunes by the Squirrel Nut Zippers

3. Watch for squirrel cameos in your favourite films. You’d be surprised how many times a squirrel pops up.

What I did was to spend the day with my crew and the lovely Kaff got us some of our favourite chocolate covered peanuts – made by Cadbury, so we felt it our squirrel duty to eat them before the Americans get their hands on the secret chocolate recipe and they start tasting like the chocolate in America. Eugh! We might also have had a wee glass or two of amaretto which was lovely and warming on this chill winter night. So, all in all, a pretty relaxed day – I can’t party like I used to – but enjoyable and fun.

Snow Day

F-f-f-freezing my paws off...

Goodness me but my little corner of south Wales doesn’t half seem to be getting its fair share of the white stuff. We’re snowed in again and can’t get the car off the drive, let alone round the corner and up the hill. Ho de hum! I can’t say that I’m too gutted about it because it means that my hordes of fans won’t be expecting me to grace them with my luminous presence and I can have some rest at home. This is a good thing. I am a little pooped.

Kaff and I had some fun in the snow this morning. We went out to scamper around, throw some snowballs – she’s not such a good aim as I am and is now retrieving the remains of snow from the back of her neck, tee hee! – and we made a snow squirrel. Very fine he was too until the neighbourhood brats decided to run their sleds into him. Honestly, they are so uncultured and don’t appreciate true snow art when they see it. Plus, being from the south Wales valleys, they have no driving skills whatsoever. How was your snow day?

A squirrel is not just for Christmas…

All I wanted for Christmas... was another squirrel

So Christmas Day was fabulous. My nut store runneth over. I hope Santa Squizzey could read your writing and brought you all you hoped and wished for this Christmas, too. I had a fun day spent with Kaff and her rellies, odd bunch but fairly squirrel-friendly, apart from Bertie, the dog.

On Boxing Day we headed north to the heady heights of Valleys to see Geek-boy’s parents and spend some time with them. There was more present exchanging and  imagine my surprise when this little fella started to fight his way out of the wrapping paper. I had thought our squirrel crew complete and Geek-boy wanted reassurances that this was the case. So to be scuppered by his own mother must be truly gutting. Hottie – not my first choice of name but that’s what he came labeled as – seems very forthright and chatty and I may have to watch this one. He has delusions of power, methinks, and I will have to watch that he doesn’t try and muscle in on my cushy Kingdom.

Oh, don’t give me that, “But Squizz, he looks sweet and I’m sure you’re being paranoid” rubbish. The little fella has been in his new home for all of 30 minutes and he is already snuggled in amongst my crew in my usual position and telling me that I can go upstairs and ‘play’ on the computer, he’ll look after things downstairs and protect the nut stash and amuse my crew. I smell a very tricky rodent, which is just what I didn’t need this holiday with my stuffing reserves depleted and being in need of a good rest and not at all in a position to overcome an attempted coup. Life is never easy, is it?