So, Apparently White Cats Can’t Jump

But Boss sure as hell can. I just watched him clear a five foot dresser.

I went into his room to clean his litter (which I am doing twice a day because even if he hasn’t sprayed, Tomcat urine smells worse than Satan’s taint), but I also brought his dinner in, and thought I would clean the litter and vacuum and then feed him, so I put his food on the dresser, and as I cleaned his litter, home team said “I’m tired of waiting,” and launched himself up effortlessly. I just sort of cocked my head and wondered if I was seeing things.

So now I am going through my entire house and removing all the things that used to be safe from Tunch’s grasp. I’ve thrown out every piece of gum in the house, because I don’t need him eating it or knocking it off so the girls do, as well as tons of other stuff.

152 replies
  1. 1
    Amir Khalid says:

    Let me be the first to say it: We want video!

    ETA: First indeed! Yee-ha!

  2. 2
    aimai says:

    Oh, yes, gum in his fur, just like Paddington Bear. Could mean having to rush him to the hospital when you think he can’t move because of internal pain but its just a wad of gum. Good idea on removing it. Maybe what you should do is go ahead and empty the house of everything and move all your stuff into a storage shed on the property? You could move in too, and just keep a mattress for you guys in the big house? Just a suggestion. Best to be safe.

  3. 3
    Biscuits says:

    Also, if you let him in the backyard, he will probably be able to clear your fence. Just sayin.

  4. 4
    Tokyokie says:

    I long ago resigned myself that no place is safe from a cat with Siamese lines. (Siamese tend to be especially good jumpers.) Even if they can’t making it from the floor, they can usually find something they can jump onto from which they can achieve their objective. The only place they haven’t gotten to yet that can’t be closed is the dish rail hung next to the ceiling, and that may only be because they’ve never noticed it.

  5. 5
    Alexandra says:

    Seen my sister’s cat leap and scale an eight foot wooden fence from a crouching start. Got about six foot up and kinda scrabbled the rest of the way over… and it wasn’t even being chased or running away from anything.

    It’s remarkable how they can do it.

  6. 6
    Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism says:

    My much-missed Alex used to leap straight up to the curtain rod above the sliding patio door. From a sitting start.

    All this has reminded me that the Twin Terrors are showing signs of having finally matured sexually. They’re both developing jowls, and it’s worth your life to clean the litter boxes without a gas mask.

    Time to ask my new vet what drugs they use to sedate kitties.

  7. 7
    Tokyokie says:

    @Biscuits: Fence? Of course a cat can clear that, unless you’ve put concertina wire angling inward at the top.

  8. 8
    ixnay says:

    You’re so right about tomcat urine. Absolutely eye-watering, on a par with skunk. The good news: about 48 hours after he’s neutered, the smell greatly decreases. Cat pee is still strong, but without the hormones, it is more bearable.

    And yes: moar pix.

    Will be interesting to see if he keeps his jowls. Interwebs sez sometimes yes, sometimes no.

  9. 9
    jayackroyd says:

    Image from Dante: A naked Cole with his nose in Satan’s taint.

  10. 10
    Princess Leia says:

    Now you know why were laughing at that gate!

  11. 11
    LS says:

    Delurking again. So glad,you got another cat. Boss sounds adorable! Got my Tunch apron today and cooked up a storm in memory of the big fella.

  12. 12
    raven says:

    I know we are still mourning but that cat couldn’t have jumped if it was shot out of a CATAPULT!

  13. 13
    Karen in GA says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    Let me be the first to say it: We want video!

    This. A thousand times this.

  14. 14
    Corner Stone says:

    I’m still pretty sure that reading the term “aggressive lover” makes me think of Antonio Banderas.

  15. 15
    gelfling545 says:

    If you have places you definitely don’t want him to jump onto, let me recommend the Tattle Tale. It makes a ghastly noise when disturbed and was the only thing in the world that kept my hellion from jumping on the kitchen counter or dining room table – and I tried dozens of methods.

  16. 16
    maya says:

    You could always put a gravity belt around Boss, ya know, like race horse handicapping. It would take a bit of trial and error to get the right weight so that he could only jump Tunch high. Then you could leave your gum parked on the lampshade as per usual.

  17. 17
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    @Princess Leia:

    No shit, I laughed when I saw that. Our ol’ MC Tommy would have cleared that effortlessly. That gate is a suggestion to a MC (and many other breeds), not an obstacle.

  18. 18
    Wayners T says:

    I am glad this hell week is finally over.

    I picked the wrong week to stop sniffing glue.

  19. 19
    Ann Marie says:

    I’ll never forget my first smell of tomcat urine. I was in the waiting room at the vet’s and a male kitten had been rescued and brought in. He was scared so he peed copiously. The smell was overpowering.

    As for jumping, I was unpacking boxes after a move and came downstairs to find my (substantial) cat, Hugh, sitting on top of my flat screen tv — which was wall-mounted, fairly high. He looked very pleased with himself but I panicked and shrieked, forgetting how sturdy the mounting was. My shriek frightened him so he jumped down, but in the process scratched the screen. No serious damage, it doesn’t affect the picture, but if I had just let him come down on his own there would have been no scratches. I think he got up there by jumping up on some boxes of books that were about two feet away. Since then, I have always assumed he can get anywhere.

  20. 20
    Emerald says:

    You’re gonna be sorry you gave away that cat tree. MCs love to climb. Actually, you’ll probably have to construct one about twice as big for Boss.

    How are your efforts to save sweet little Snowbell going? Please let us know! At least two of us on this blog care a lot about that little girl. (And thanks thanks thanks for making those efforts!)

  21. 21
    YellowJournalism says:

    @Corner Stone: “He was very vigorous, father.”

  22. 22
    mellowjohn says:

    had to quit buying flowers/house plants for my wife because there was nowhere in the house that the cats couldn’t get at them.
    then they’d throw up in technicolor.

  23. 23
    Tara the Antisocial Social Worker says:

    My late MIL’s cat (now our cat), who named herself Honey, likes to jump up and take naps in the sink.

    No, I haven’t turned the water on, but I’ve thought about it.

  24. 24
    gogol's wife says:

    I have never had a cat show the slightest interest in gum. Oh well, I guess better safe than sorry.

    Rubber bands, on the other hand — keep them put away.

  25. 25
  26. 26
    Mnemosyne says:

    You’ve forgotten what it’s like to have a (relatively) young cat — a 6-year-old cat is barely middle-aged in human terms, and Boss probably spent a lot of his time outside running and jumping. So, yes, he’s going to be able to jump up to places that were impossible for the more elderly and floofy Tunch.

  27. 27
    KRK says:

    It’s amazing how different they can be. My beloved Gus (RIP) had not a speck of white on him, nor did he approach Tunch’s mass, but he was supremely uninterested in whatever might have been happening above his head. He’d jump onto the bed or chair, but that was about it. A barrier pretty much only had to be 3′ high to be a complete block. When I got Clyde last summer, I found myself with a climber. He always wants to be on top of the tallest object in the room to survey his domain. Barriers pretty much have to block an entire opening for him to give up. My favorite thing is that when he’s outside with me, he becomes a standing long jumper, shooting four feet forward in pursuit of voles and bugs while his belly barely clears the grass tops.

  28. 28
    SectionH says:

    @Alexandra: That was our Miranda. And she could also squeeze under and through spaces you wouldn’t think a mouse could.

    And John: she also regularly opened doors of all sorts. Cabinet doors, closet doors, and so on. Once when we wouldn’t let her outside, she hopped on the table by the sliding door, reached across with her front legs, and proceeded to push on the handle to open it. Fortunately though the cat brain was clever, the cat body lacked adequate mass to make That one work. Round doorknobs also defeated her if the door was tight shut, but she wasn’t polydactyl. Just sayin’.

  29. 29
    NickT says:


    That’s what the watch tower and coaxial lasers are for.

  30. 30

    I’ve always wondered: Just how bad does Satan’s taint smell? Now I’m a little bit nearer to the answer–almost as bad as tomcat piss! ¡Muchísimas gracias!

  31. 31
    Princess Leia says:

    @Odie Hugh Manatee: True, dat. Mine just opens the door – to rooms and to the refrigerator- when he wants in. Cole is in for it!!!!

  32. 32
    kindness says:

    Just wait till Boss makes it outside.

  33. 33
    furlyfly says:

    If there is one thing Ball Juice needs it’s yet another cat post from Cole talking about shit nobody gives a damn about. I think wr0ng waay Cole finally figured out how to get rid of me that has nothing to do with his pathentic technical attempts. He decided he would just bore me to death!

    At least he doesn’t try post about shit he knows nothing about like mistermix does. Basically anything involving economics or politics or ….intelligence.

  34. 34
    SG says:

    @LS: HA! I already had two Tunch aprons (FEED in navy and OBEY in white) and the matching t-shirts I ordered just arrived today.

  35. 35
    The Other Chuck says:

    He’s going to start opening your cabinets next, JC. You might want to get some of those babyproofing latches for some of your cabinet doors.

  36. 36
    NickT says:

    @Princess Leia:

    I worry much more about this happening:

  37. 37
    Princess Leia says:

    @NickT: I couldn’t even watch that!!!!! God help us all. Just another reason not to live in Florida.

  38. 38
    Keith G says:

    Cole, I came here years ago inpart because I liked your writing voice. Over the last year or so, I have missed that since you began posting less frequently than Sarah Palin quotes Shakespeare. I am glad that Boss has inspired you to type about more than portobellos.

    Keep it up.

  39. 39
    NickT says:

    @Princess Leia:

    I know – imagine those super-hybrid pythons that are breeding in the Everglades. I just hope the sharks with frickin’ laser beams come on stream for my security moat before the pythons make their move.

  40. 40
    NickT says:

    @The Other Chuck:

    That might give a whole new meaning to kittyporn.

  41. 41
    Quinerly says:

    I thought I had been following along closely this week but I haven’t read anything about the Boss cat’s past. Was he in a home and given up for some reason? An indoor/outdoor kitteh? And why on earth was he adopted out without being neutered first? My experiences with shelters in NC and MO is they never adopt out unfixed kitties…especially grown males. If this cat has been an indoor/outdoor kitty or mostly outdoor kitty, Cole is just going to have to keep him in the house if possible, even after he is neutered. He’ll clear any fence or obstacle.

  42. 42
    Keith G says:

    @furlyfly: Some of us are cat people, but other than that, you must know that your views are vastly out numbered. Relax. Life is too serious as it is.

  43. 43
    opiejeanne says:

    @Alexandra:Our Maine Coon, Tommy, could do that even when he was getting to be an old man, age 13 or 14. He weighed 15 pounds. He only scrabbled getting over the fence the last year we lived in that place.

  44. 44
    Princess Leia says:

    @NickT: Damn straight. I can handle bugs and critters of any kind…except snakes. That video is horrifying!!!!

  45. 45

    Boss Kitteh Yogi can jump anywhere he chooses including top of the kitchen cabinets close to the ceiling cat. Tall bookcases, no problem, Mallory Kitteh will climb it because it is there.

    ETA: Mellow yellow, who is Tunch’s sister in girth, on the other hand has shorter legs, so she is not much of jumper, though even she can launch herself on top of a chest of drawers a little over 41/2 feet.

  46. 46
    Flying Squirrel Girl says:

    My dad is a retired carpenter with a quirky streak and he has made some of the coolest cat towers I’ve ever seen. They currently have 2 indoor/outdoor cats and my dad has built a playground for them around the vaulted ceiling of their living room. They access the upper area by skinny slanted wooden planks that zig zag up one wall, and once up high have catwalks all the way around the room. He cut wooden dowel rods and placed them against the walls, then added plastic rings and various things for them to bat at, then put the catwalk boards against the dowels, allowing their toys a few inches between the walls and catwalks so they can play with them. The cats spend all their time indoors up high on the catwalks.

  47. 47
    rikyrah says:

    video please

  48. 48
    rammalamadingdong says:

    I told you to name him Lebron.

  49. 49
    Roger Moore says:

    So, Apparently White Cats Can’t Jump

    Something tells me it was the fur color that made him a non-jumper. Logic suggests it was the fat.

  50. 50
    NickT says:


    I get the strong impression that your interlocutor doesn’t really care (or know!) whether the front pagers know their subject on any given day of the week.

  51. 51
    Pogonip says:

    @NickT: At this rate the Burmese python will be renamed the Florida python.

  52. 52
    Teddy's Person says:

    I’ve been enjoying all the pet blogging and comments on Balloon Juice lately. People being kind and loving to animals restores some of my faith in human beings and lifts my spirits. Also, I don’t feel like crazy dog lady when I do stuff like make Teddy dog-friendly cupcakes for his B-Day and homemade frozen treats for the summer.

  53. 53
    Gex says:

    Oh didn’t I warn you? Simon, my Maine Coon, could jump up to the top bunk bed in our cabin. No climbing or scrambling involved. Just straight on to the mattress.

  54. 54
    p.a. says:

    Not to be overly prissy, but I always thought taint was considered a pretty offensive word. Or does the association with Satan negate that?

  55. 55
    Mino says:

    Museum putty. A clear gel that anchors stuff pretty solid without staining or damaging the finish.

  56. 56
    Pogonip says:

    Reading Balloon Juice and complaining about too many pet stories seems rather like reading early Stephen King and complaining about too many bad words. I. e. what did you expect, moron?

    I have noticed Stephen King’s recent works have toned the language considerably. I figure either the grand kids read Grandpa’s books or the early naughty words were to make him stand out in the crowd, and since he doesn’t have to do it any more, he doesn’t.

  57. 57
    Gex says:

    @Quinerly: Given up because the previous owner couldn’t take the cat to a new place, I believe.

  58. 58
    Pogonip says:

    @p.a.: No, it’s offensive (as is Satan, for that matter, and he enjoys it). Now that Stephen King has eased up on cussin’, Balloon Juice is the best place to get your Recommended Daily Allowance of crudity (and also, given John’s culinary talents, your Recommended Daily Allowance of crudites).

  59. 59
    Constance says:

    The Muffin, a very fat, white 12-year-old cat with markings like Tunch’s, in calico, couldn’t jump more than 18 inches and had stairs to the bed. Sweetums, a tabby, was small and slender. He could spring up onto the kitchen cabinets with ease, up to age 17. The day he died he had jumped onto a kitchen counter and eaten the leftover stew. They both died the week before Christmas 2012. Life with only the two orange guys is much quieter and well-behaved but a lot less interesting.

    Boss seems a great addition to the Cole household. But I would consider a cat fence. They work.

  60. 60
    Corner Stone says:

    @p.a.: I taint sure what you mean by that.

  61. 61
    Linda says:

    It’s hell adjusting to a young(er) cat that doesn’t have arthritis, isn’t it? My Rocky can jump on a washer and get between the floors of the house when he feels coerced into things he doesn’t want to do, like see the vet. It’s a whole adventure in pet ownership.

  62. 62
    dance around in your bones says:

    That kitty was motivated – I have seen cats jump crazy-ass heights for something they wanted really bad. Hell, I had a beagle when I was a kid that used to scale 8 foot cement block walls to get out of our backyard. I have no idea how, but he did.

    You are in a new zone of kitteh experience after the Tunch. Flow with it, dude. I have to say that it sounds like you have handled the experiences of the last week in your own inimitable way – which means your way and exactly right for you.

    Rock on, JGC!

  63. 63
    gbear says:


    You’re gonna be sorry you gave away that cat tree. MCs love to climb. Actually, you’ll probably have to construct one about twice as big for Boss.

    Here’s the one I’d recommend. It’s not twice as tall, but it’s easily twice as sturdy (and twice the cost). I’ve got this one for my cats and it’s great. Heavily weighted base so that it shouldn’t tip over.

    Those aren’t small cats in the photos. I’d guess by the size of my cat that the two cats in those photos are in the 14-16 pound range.

  64. 64


    Again one would ask as to how you find yourself here when you find the content so objectionable? Are you perhaps a masochist? If that is the case then I would ask you “do you enjoy sex and travel?” If the answer is yes then fuck off.

  65. 65
    YellowJournalism says:

    @kindness: Heh:

    “Boss! Boss! Where are you, Boss?!”

    “Gladys, that crazy neighbor guy has finally lost it. He’s outside yelling for his boss.”

  66. 66
    Msskwesq says:

    @furlyfly: just go, not comments necessary. Most of us like his cat news.

  67. 67
    Amir Khalid says:

    If furlyfly is who I think it is, it comes here specifically to object to the content on offer, whatever it may be. It could be cats, dogs, music, food or politics, as long as furlyfly can complain that it isn’t about Obama’s real or imagined shortcomings.

  68. 68
    YellowJournalism says:

    @Msskwesq: He’s just jealous because nobody has changed HIS litterbox today.

  69. 69
    Keith G says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt: I have a few questions for you re England.

  70. 70

    @dance around in your bones:
    My darling long gone Nelson, he of the one eye (he lost his eye to fleas as a kitten) would constantly jump from one surface to another and almost always completely miss due to his lack of depth perception. His attempts would always be followed by a crashing sound and him swishing his tail and looking as if he was saying “whoever did that it certainly wasn’t me”. His most spectacular fall from grace however was when the house flooded due to Hurricane Floyd, He was stuck half way up a tree and wanted to jump to the cat tower at the front door. You could see him trying to figure it out and when he jumped he went “splash” right into the two feet of water. The look on his face was priceless as he crawled up to the cat tree absolutely and utterly sodden.

  71. 71
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @furlyfly: Obviously, since your post was number 35, no one cared about the topic.

  72. 72

    @Keith G:

    Go for it I am here.

  73. 73
    Steeplejack says:



  74. 74
    gbear says:

    @YellowJournalism: John will have to work on his Eddie “Rochester” Anderson voice.

  75. 75
    dance around in your bones says:

    @Amir Khalid: Look at the tells in furlyfly’s comments – ‘Ball Juice’, ‘wrong way Cole’, the boasting about his ability to get around the technical blocks put in it’s way – all that’s lacking is the Kewl Kids Club jealousy.

    I have a dozen iterations of this sad persona in my pie filter. Incoming!

    @Litlebritdifrnt: I had a three-legged cat that was just as agile as any four-legged. She climbed trees and leaped and landed like a gymnast. I can see how the one-eyed thing would screw up your landings. How does a kitty lose an eye to fleas? Jeez.

  76. 76
    Msskwesq says:

    I’m a dog mom and very allergic to cats sadly. Cole’s cat blogging has let me be a cat mom vicariously for years now. I was torn to pieces about Tunch and now revel in his Boss posts. I get bored (and stressed out) with just political posts and love the other topics we discuss especially the pets and gardens! I agree Cole needs to post more again!

  77. 77
    Violet says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt: Ha! Made me laugh!

    Cole, be wary about letting him out in the yard. Your fence is probably not tall enough to keep him in. And like others have said, we need video!

  78. 78
    Keith G says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt: I plan on heading that way (England) next year. I love medieval history, so my focus will be on the cathedral cities of Rochester, Winchester, Salisbury, York, Lincoln, and Durham. I’d like to set up a base camp twice, once in the south and then in the north – finding a B&B near a high street. I want to then use trains to get to the cities in the area the then back and then hopefully get to know the people of which ever neighborhood I am staying at.

    Any insights? Resources?

  79. 79
    Violet says:

    @Keith G: I can tell you that right now it’s very hot in England. Family member is in Scotland at the moment. 84 degrees inside the house and no air conditioning because why would you need it in Scotland. Was 98 at Heathrow when the plane landed earlier this week.

  80. 80
    TG Chicago says:

    I love this from the NewsMax headlines:

    “Ted Cruz: Obama Uses Trayvon to Attack Guns”

    Translation from wingnuttese: Obama dares to mention that when an innocent child is killed in gun violence, that may not be the ideal outcome.

  81. 81
    TriassicSands says:


    Formerly Balloon-Juice. Now, Boss-Juice.


    …a 6-year-old cat is barely middle-aged in human terms…

    When I was a kid (long ago), they translated cat and dog years to human years by using a fixed 1 year = 7 years (or something close to that). That never made any sense to me. Not many 7-year-old people can procreate. And most house cats outlive dogs by quite a bit, especially if the dog is question is a large breed (typical life span of a Great Dane = only 6 to 8 years).

    Today, thankfully, they have come up with much more realistic age charts for cats, but they still don’t relate well to humans at all.

    For example, 6 for a cat is supposed to be about 40 in human years (as you said), but comparing the physical abilities of a typical six-year-old indoor cat to those of a typical 40-year-old (Western developed country) male is a joke — a 6-year-old cat (unless he/she is obese) doesn’t appear to have “slipped” physically at all. Yet, strangely, depending on the source, a cat is considered to be a “senior” at the age of 6 or 7. I’m not sure how that makes any sense relative to a human senior (age 60? 65?).

    I have three cats, all about 12 years old and on the feline age chart that puts them all in the area of human 64 years. In fact, this year, all four of us will be about the same equivalent age, with the cats pulling well ahead by their 13th birthdays. At 12, there is no comparison between the cats relative physical abilities and those of a mid-sixties human.

    In short, trying to relate feline years to human years is pretty iffy.
    From what I’ve seen, cats mature much faster, seem to have a much longer plateau, and tend to decline much faster than humans.

    (For dogs, there is simply no comparability at all, since size (i.e., weight) seems to be the primary determining factor in canine longevity. Small dogs live as long as indoor cats (maybe even longer), while the largest dog breeds rarely make it to ten. Inbreeding has also taken a significant toll on dog health.)

  82. 82

    I need suggestions. What can you do with port instead of drinking it. It is too sweet for my taste and it was a gift. Thanks!

  83. 83
    Steeplejack says:

    Couple of movie recommendations for the elderly shut-ins here tonight. (All times EDT.)

    Sundance is showing The Professional (a.k.a. Léon, 1994) at 8:00 p.m. Excellent noir action movie with Jean Reno, Gary Oldman in one of his best crazy-villain roles and a very young Natalie Portman (her début, I think).

    Epix is showing The Cabin in the Woods (2011) at 8:00 p.m. I have not seen it,but it has gotten a surprising number of rave reviews from Juicers and others. “Bad things happen when five friends go to a remote woodland cabin.” Duh.

    HBO is showing The Bourne Legacy (2012) at 8:00 p.m. Can’t imagine it’s as good as the trilogy with Matt Damon, but what the hell. You’re home on Saturday night, right?

    And I can’t not mention Gaslight (1944) on TCM at 8:00 p.m. A classic suspense film with Charles Boyer, Ingrid Bergman, Joseph Cotton and possibly the only screen appearance of Angela Lansbury where she doesn’t look at least 50 years old.

    Bonus: Denzel Washington’s Antwone Fisher on Sundance at 9:45.

  84. 84
    TriassicSands says:

    Why don’t I have permission to edit my own comment?

  85. 85
    Violet says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: Make a port wine reduction and serve it with a beef dish or some other robust meat. Yum.

  86. 86
    Keith G says:

    @Violet: I have some flexibility, so I may trek there in the spring – before the traditional summer travel season.

  87. 87
    Violet says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: Also, too, see this thread for a variety of suggestions: Pears poached in port are delicious.

  88. 88
    Keith G says:


    Inbreeding has also taken a significant toll on dog health.

    Yet the House of Windsor seems relatively unphased.

  89. 89
    dance around in your bones says:

    @Steeplejack: I really love your head’s up! on the movies – I watched Jules and Jim last night for the first time in years, on your reminder.

    Love The Professional as well, may be my go-to movie tonight. Not into scary movies like the Cabin in the Woods (’cause they scare me!).

    Started The Bourne Legacy one night and just couldn’t get into it. Matt Damon owned the Jason Bourne role, IMHO. I’ll watch the Bourne movies anytime any one of them is on.

  90. 90
    Anne Laurie says:


    Oh, yes, gum in his fur, just like Paddington Bear.

    Even more dangerous: Xylitol, in “sugarless” gum, is really poisonous to cats & dogs — like antifreeze, it destroys their livers so they die quickly & horribly. Vets used to think cats weren’t attracted to sweet stuff, but plenty of cats have killed themselves establishing that something about xylitol tempts them.

    Mouthwash and toothpaste are dangerous, too also — and some ‘dietetic’ candies / desserts — but most people don’t absentmindedly leave open packets of toothpaste where the cat can get into them.

  91. 91
    quannlace says:


    Don’t know if everybody would have the same thing, but on my local PBS station, ‘The Sunshine Boys’ at 9pm

  92. 92

    @Keith G: @Keith G: @Keith G:
    I love your itinerary because it does not concentrate on London which so many peoples do, and you will certainly find much more medieval history in the cities you are visiting because a great deal of London’s was lost to the great fire. If I may suggest once you are in York that you hang a left over the Pennines and visit my home town of Lancaster in Lancashire. We have a brilliant castle which dates back to 1066 which was the site of the Pendel Witch Trials as well as a wonderful old Priory that dates from the 11th Century. I think if I was going to suggest accommodations I would say (totally out of the box) you pick a B&B in Glastonbury, I know it is not on your list but it really is the most magical of places and the B&B’s are epic, and you can fan out from there in the south (as well as checking out Stonehenge). As for the North I would suggest a B&B in the Shambles in York, I would advise however that as they are sought after they are going to be expensive but you can make up some of the cost in the fact that they will feed you a breakfast that will keep you going until dinner. There is no way that you would even think about lunch after you have eaten one of their breakfasts. You say that you are going to visit Durham so I would also suggest Whitby, if only for the fact that it is where Dracula came ashore in the Bram Stoker novel. I hope you have a wonderful trip! It is hard to point out places that you should visit but the best part about it is that places that we think are “far away” are by US standards a mere skip and a jump. Oh and if you decide to take the trip from York to Lancaster be prepared for sheep sleeping in the road!

  93. 93

    @Steeplejack: Speaking of movies saw Constant Gardener yesterday, was disappointed, since I loved both Tinker Tailor and Smiley’s People. Ralph Fiennes puts me to sleep.

  94. 94
    Keith G says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: The pastry chef that I trained under used to make a dessert topping – a wine reduction sauce with fresh fruit. You might want to give that a go with your port and then use it to top ice cream or pound cake.

  95. 95
    Violet says:

    @Keith G: March can be iffy on pricing because of spring break so watch your timing because fares can go up then. Also around Easter fares are higher, although this year we got a good price for Easter weekend, so you never know. I think late April/early May is early enough that you can avoid the more expensive fares.

    Be aware that summer has been “starting” (as far as temps go) later and later, so May could still be wet and cold, although the days are getting longer, which is nice.

    Get some guidebooks or start poking around online to get an idea of how well the trains work. In my experience they may not go everywhere you want to go, but my info is probably out of date because we usually hire a car. Check Megabus because they offer cheap transport from city to city and if you buy your ticket ahead of time, they can be super cheap.

  96. 96
    Cassidy says:

    @Steeplejack: Cabin in the Woods is a lot of fun. It messes with horror movie conventions the way Scream did.

  97. 97
    Anne Laurie says:

    @Keith G:

    Yet the House of Windsor seems relatively unphased.

    What rude anthropologists called ‘the milkman effect’. There were nasty rumors about the late Queen Mum, and of course still are about young Harry. Even really stupid humans have options not available to purebred captive animals.

  98. 98
  99. 99
    Steeplejack says:

    @dance around in your bones:

    I love the ending of The Professional! (No spoilers following.) So many thrillers fall apart at the end, and this one is so good that all the way through you’re praying that there’s not going to be some sappy, bullshit, feel-good ending, but you care about Léon and Matilda so much that you don’t want some nihilistic apocalypse either. And then the ending is genius! A perfect fit.

    The Matt Damon Bourne movies really hold up. If I’m flipping through the channels and land on one, it’s almost impossible to tune away from it.

  100. 100
    geg6 says:


    Damn, wish my PBS station was playing that!

    Instead, we’re doing 42 on PPV. Anybody see it yet?

  101. 101
    dance around in your bones says:

    @Steeplejack: Well, holy hoohaa, here’s The Bourne Identity at 5pm PST on A&EHD whilst I am trying to find the Sundance channel…..hmmm – tossup.

  102. 102
    Violet says:

    @Keith G: Also, if you just want to stay in the north, consider flying into Manchester. The prices are about the same–sometimes more, sometimes less–as London, but it’ll save you the hassle of getting in and out of London. Manchester airport is nice and much easier to navigate. Alternatively you can get an open-jaw ticket (that’s what they call it)–fly into London and out of Manchester or vice versa. The pricing on that is usually about the same as going in and out of one city.

    Also, if you want something outdoorsy in the general northern part of the country and near Manchester, try visiting the Peak District. It’s lovely.

  103. 103
    NotMax says:

    @schrodinger’s cat

    Can always stir a little into spaghetti sauce while it is bubbling on the burner.

    And something a bit off the beaten track:

    1 can or jar (about 1 lb.) applesauce
    1 packet (3 oz.) cherry-flavored gelatin
    1 tsp. grated orange or lemon peel
    ½ cup port
    ½ cup water

    Heat applesauce slowly until boiling (stir to keep from burning on bottom)

    Add gelatin and stir until dissolved. Remove from heat.

    Add rest of ingredients and stir well.

    Pour into lightly oiled or sprayed mold and chill until firm.

    Unmold. Serve with a dollop of sour cream or yogurt.

    Also, if the particular type/brand of port is too sweet for your taste, try slicing a lemon and squeezing the slice’s juice into it, and put another slice into the glass.

  104. 104
    quannlace says:

    Today Sundance was replaying ‘Rectify.’ What a strange, odd series.

  105. 105
    Violet says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt: Staying in the Shambles in York would be wonderful. York is a gorgeous place to visit. You could probably spend several days there and be happy.

  106. 106
    catclub says:

    @dance around in your bones: yes. Our lazy girl found a way to get from one back porch to the one directly above. Possibly standing on the thin metal rail and jumping straight up. Possibly scaling the brick wall and then scrabbling. Who knows. We learned she could do this one night it was pouring rain. Was she at the front door? No, on the second floor balcony, and wet, and crying.

  107. 107
    Keith G says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt: Thanks. Your response makes me all the more excited.

    Yeah, I decided to skip London (I bet the White Tower and Westminster would be great) due to the cost and the time-suck of a busy place. I feel the same way about Canterbury. I watched a friend’s video and noticed that there were so many people. It looked like Main Street at Disney World.

    I’ve thought about Lancaster. I’ll give that a closer look. If I can finagle more time I have thought about spending a bit in the west, like at Hereford. Alas. That may have to wait.

  108. 108
    Mayken says:

    @NickT: OMG! Now I am going to have frakin’ nightmares about this! Why did I have to click on that link?

  109. 109
    catclub says:

    @dance around in your bones: Ever see Ikiru by Kurosawa? Great if you have as a spare 3 hours. My favorite movie. No samurai, btw.

  110. 110
    Steeplejack says:

    @dance around in your bones:

    Yeah, but The Bourne Identity is also coming on again four hours later (at 9:00 p.m. your time).

  111. 111
    catclub says:

    @Mayken: Now that is how I know we have a varied community. I couldn’t stop laughing when I saw it.

  112. 112
    dance around in your bones says:

    @Steeplejack: Well, I cannot seem to locate Sundance channel (all I get is Sundance has moved to channel whatever and when I go there, no joy) – so The Bourne Identity it is!

    I prolly would have ended up there anyway. I’m not good at planning ahead – I tend to just dial around until I land on something. Again, that’s why I love your reminders!

  113. 113
    catclub says:

    @Anne Laurie: Interesting! I have a cat that loves to lick my beard after I have brushed my teeth. Did not know I might need to worry about it. Maybe that toothpaste is sweetened with regular sugar.

  114. 114
    Keith G says:

    @Violet: The Peak District does look fantastic. I agree that York may be where I spend a lot of time (and if it’s cold, hell I was grew up in NW Ohio – a place that used to have hard winters).

    And I neglected to mention that Norwich and it’s magnificent Norman cathedral is a must on my list. So places west and north west may get squeezed out this time.

  115. 115
    NotMax says:


    Forgot to mention that if you happen to have a jar of maraschino cherries hiding in the nether regions of the fridge, add maybe a quarter tsp. of the liquid from them (reduce amount of water added accordingly).

  116. 116


    One year during my two weeks leave from the Navy instead of me going abroad which I usually did I decided to take me and my mum to visit England. We had an absolutely wonderful time visiting the North West and East. We found a wonderful B&B in the Shambles which had the most wonderful creaky old stairs leading up to the most wonderful bedrooms which I am convinced were haunted. I could have spent weeks in York and alas only got to spend a couple of days. I have spent other such wonderful times in B&Bs in Glastonbury, Bath, Helston in Cornwall and various other places. When the DH and I were spending time together in Scotland we found a brilliant B&B with a pub attached right on the edge of Loch Ness. It was an old fashioned place that did not have en-suite rooms but had a communal bathroom which sported the most magnificent claw footed tub that easily accommodated the DH and I and could have fit two or three more people. You don’t forget places like that.

  117. 117
    dance around in your bones says:

    @catclub: Yes, but a long long time ago – why, is it on tonight?

    @Steeplejack: Well, gol-dang, but I still can’t find Sundance. I know we use to have it on the old cable system – we changed not too long ago (I am so lame, I have to write down the channel numbers for the various stations I watch or I forget them. Like, in ink, in a notebook. Incipient old-timer’s, I imagine).

  118. 118
    Anne Laurie says:

    @catclub: If the toothpaste has xylitol in it, it should be listed in the ingredients on the tube. I’d check, to be sure!

  119. 119
    Violet says:

    @dance around in your bones: Don’t you have DirecTV? On mine, Sundance is Channel 558

  120. 120
    Violet says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt: That sounds excellent. I’ve only visited York on day trips because of staying with family who live nearby. Wish I could play tourist there too, but my trips are always tied to family stuff.

  121. 121
    Violet says:

    @Keith G: How long is your intended visit?

  122. 122
    scuffletuffle says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt: I adopted a kitten from some folks who tried to give it to our local shelter with one eye hanging out of its socket. Of course they were going to put it down. I had them remove the eye and took him home in an e-collar. The little shit spent the next two months trying (and mostly failing) to jump up onto all the furniture. If it wasn’t the bad depth perception, it was the e-collar catching on something and plop, down he’d go everytime. Best part was that he never stopped trying. That little guy had the strongest will to live that I have ever seen and gave me some of the best laughs of my life.

    Miss you still Pekoepet, little buddy…

  123. 123
    AnnieB says:

    Congratulations on your new kippy dip. I’ll always miss Tunch, but Boss is clearly an excellent new buddy. I’m happy for you both!

  124. 124
    JPL says:

    @Anne Laurie: My vet a fairly large sign about the dangers of Xylitol, in every room. My first thought was why would someone let their animal near artificial sweeteners, but accidents do happen.

  125. 125
    dance around in your bones says:

    @Violet: Wow, you have a great memory!

    Yes, Sundance shows on 558 but is all greyed out. Then it says Sundance is moving to 557 but of course if you go there nothing happens except they want you to ‘add this channel’.

    Screw it, I’m watching Matt Damon.

  126. 126
    JPL says:

    Since John posts on twitter, I just took a peek. It appears that he’s not happy with Jake Tapper. I’m shocked, just shocked.

  127. 127
    Violet says:

    @dance around in your bones: I just checked my guide. Ours has both HD and non-HD channels showing in the guide. On 558, it’s Sundance and I flipped to it and it works fine. On 558-1 it says “Sundance is moving to Channel 557” in the guide.

    The movie on Channel 558 is not showing as HD, but I don’t watch Sundance often, so I don’t know if it’s just that particular movie, but I can tell you that when I see a channel followed by the “-1”, that the “-1” channel is the HD channel. Oh, also the title of the 558-1 channel is “Info”.

    Edit: Also, you can search for the title of the movie if you can’t find the proper channel. Click on Menu (below circle of the black arrow buttons), go down to Search & Browse. Right arrow over to Smart Search and select. Then you have to pick each letter of the movie title individually, but you can find the title of the movie and then it’ll tell you on which channel it’s playing.

  128. 128
    Elizabelle says:


    Watching Gaslight now and waiting on my pasta to cook.

    Tomorrow is National Ice Cream Day.

    Third Sunday of each July.

    Decreed by Saint Ronald Reagan.

  129. 129
    dance around in your bones says:

    @Violet: Thanks for your searching, Violet.

    I think my daughter got some deal when she first changed over to DirecTV that we are not getting anymore – i.e. no more HBO or Showtime or Sundance among others. So I missed the endings of Game of Thrones, Dexter and a few other shows I had been following.

    I’m sure I could watch Fox News if I wanted to, however – which I do not want to go to there!

  130. 130
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @JPL: Slate is also trolling for hits with a Cavuto mark about Obama’s speech “stoking or calming racial tensions?”, though the actual article doesn’t seem to take that line. Interesting that the Village, which couldn’t see racism in birtherism, teleprompterism, release-your-transcipts, foreign, apologize, learn to be an American, welfare president, foodstamp president, and can’t see it in voter suppression laws even as several state-level Republicans have come right out and said it’s race-based, now worries about Obama stoking racial tensions. In fact, CNN just hired the guy who coined “foodstamp president”. So, yeah, fuck Jake Tapper and all who sail with him.

  131. 131
    Violet says:

    @dance around in your bones: Yeah, they offer three months free or whatever when you sign up. You (or she) can always ask if they have any deals like that available. I end up calling every three months or so to renegotiate the contract. It’s amazing how much money I’ve saved. Tell your daughter to give that a try.

  132. 132
    Elizabelle says:


    I loved Rectify. Glad they will produce more episodes.

  133. 133
    dance around in your bones says:

    @Violet: Good advice! I will tell her about that – I am more of a TV watcher than she and her husband are (they have little kids, so when they/we watch movies together they tend to be kid movies) so I rely on Netflix a good deal for my viewing habits. When I am lazy I just scroll through the guide and generally end up watching something I’ve seen before that I know I will like – like the Bourne movies or Galaxy Quest….I usually have one eye on Balloon Juice at the same time so I am multi-tasking, haha!

  134. 134
    Keith G says:

    @Violet: At present the plan is 6 nights. 3 in the south – from Rochester to Salisbury. Then 3 in the north – York, Lincoln, Norwich.

    If I can keep my lodging costs minimal, I could extend it a day or two since the largest cost is the flight and that will not vary much at all. If I can find more bookings closer to £70.00 – £80.00. I can hang around a bit longer.

  135. 135
    Origuy says:

    @Keith G: I agree with flying into Manchester and heading for Lancaster. I wish I’d done that instead of staying the first night in Manchester. Lancaster is lovely, but there’s not much in Manchester for a tourist. From there I went through the Lake District to Carlisle and on to Scotland. I came back and stopped in Durham and York. Both were great.

  136. 136
    Anne Laurie says:


    accidents do happen.

    Ask any poison control center how many little kids eat or drink stuff their parents had no idea might seem edible. Manufactuerers are finally adding a bitter-tasting substance to antifreeze, not so much because of all the dogs & cats poisoned by puddles, but because kids will drink the sweet stuff.

    And not just ‘edibles’. A friend’s dog almost killed itself chewing on electric wires, which seemed extremely counter-intuitive to me, but when I mentioned it at a dog-training class one of my classmates turned out to be a pediatric endodonist. He said toddlers with damaged gums from chewing electric cords had put his own kids through college — apparently the mild shock can be seriously addictive for beings who don’t understand how dangerous it is!

  137. 137
    Steeplejack says:


    I don’t think Sundance has an HD channel. At least it doesn’t on my system (Cox Cable).

  138. 138

    @Origuy: @Origuy:

    If I could suggest an itinerary then I could not recommend a better one than Orig just posted. Oh and if you decide to stay in Lancaster then I could not recommend a better hotel than The Royal, in the shadow of the Castle, and smack damn in the middle of all of the most historical areas. An absolute beautiful place in walking distance to everything of interest.

  139. 139
    J R in WV says:

    Our first cat was black/Siamese, mouthy as all get out. When we first brought her home to my parents, we were all amazed to watch her walk all the way around the kitchen, on top of the cabinets, along the door frames (somehow) and along the tops of doors…

    When I got out of the service and we moved back to the home town, she developed the amusing habit of getting on top of the fridge, right by the door to the kitchen, and pouncing the top of your head the first time in the morning you entered the kitchen. Then she would cackle in cat language and dive behind the fridge where we couldn’t abuse her.

    When we got a kitten, intending that they would play together, she terrorized the little guy, til he learned he could hide under a bookcase she we too big to get under. That’s when she learned to roll a tennis ball back and forth in front of the bookcase, until Timidthy lunged at it.

    I think Tunch just wasn’t motivated to jump. Boss may have needed to jump very badly in his past – we can’t imagine what he had to do to survive as a little cat.

  140. 140
    Violet says:

    @Keith G: Late to the thread, but you might want to think about what kind of traveler you are and if you want to spend one day on the road–which, if you’re traveling by train–you probably will do, given the availability of train schedules. Of course that can be part of the charm. Otherwise, you might want to pick north OR south and just stick with that. Six nights is a relatively short time and depending on how well you deal with jetlag, you might not get as much sightseeing in as you expect.

    You might also want to think about renting a car. It can give you flexibility that trains cannot. Given the weakness of the British economy, you might find the dollar is stronger against it so your trip is cheaper–no way to predict that head, though. It’s really great when it happens!

  141. 141
    Keith G says:

    @Violet: Thanks. Part of my selection process has been to consider places with agreeable rail links. And you’re right, I will need to pare down my expectation when I begin locking this all in.

  142. 142
    Violet says:

    @Keith G: Can’t wait to hear your itinerary as you get things more settled.

  143. 143
    SlothropRedux says:

    Hey @JohnCole! If you are smelling the cat urine, you are using a crap litter. I know this sounds like some crappy advertisement, but years ago a student of mine who owns multiple cats walked in to my house and told me from the front door which crap brand of litter I was using. She had three cats (two late-neutered toms, one neutered female) and I never smelled ANYTHING at her house. Her recommendation was EverClean (which comes in multiple varieties). It is a clumping litter that has charcoal in it. It does an EXCELLENT job of keeping the scent down. Here endeth the cat piss lesson.

  144. 144
    mai naem says:

    @Keith G: My sister just came back from the UK. She said the traffic is atrocious – we are talking about driving around for 25 minutes looking for a parking spot. Also, I would avoid the summer. Go in the spring or early fall. Many places have no a/c and no fans with very high humidity levels. Very uncomfortable. Also too, Devon is a really pretty area(very English) as is Cardiff. I know we went to a major cathedral around that area but the name escapes me.

  145. 145
    Jackie says:

    I have a 19+ yr old petite momma cat. She weighs 7.2 lbs and can still clear the top of a 6′ fence at top speed when she deems it necessary. Yes, she’s an indoor/outdoor cat (cat door) and has no clue she’s supposed to be an Advanced Senior Citizen. Her fav indoor spot is snoozing on top of my 6′ dresser. The only thing showing her age is her territory has shrank to mostly my yard – but not always. I still have to sneak out to do my early a.m. walk – otherwise she’ll follow me and I have to turn around and lead her back home.

  146. 146
    J R in WV says:

    When we moved into the old farm house/shack (no running water/central heat/wiring/insulation) and I was upgrading it, we learned that Timidthy couold run up the side of the house, which had elderly lap siding of cedar, evidently he had no problem getting his claws into it.

    We were driving up and saw him rocket across the front yard, slam into the wall, and jet up and into an empty slot below a new window (shorter and wider than the old ones).

    Cats are amazing…

  147. 147

    @J R in WV: Yes they are magnificent little panthers, who allow us to serve them.

  148. 148
    Funkula says:

    One of my friends has a Maine Coon, who’s been with them for many years, and a younger hyperactive dog (Chihuaha/JRT hybrid, if you can imagine such a dynamo). They put up a baby gate to keep the dog out of the back of the house, so that they could leave food down for the cats to nibble on (and also get some respite from the relentless energy of the dog). The other cat hops over the baby gate whenever he wants, and the Maine Coon is perfectly capable of doing so too. However, he really resents the imposition. Why should HE have to jump over a barrier that was put there by humans? So while he’ll go over it if he’s really motivated, his preference is to just sit next to it and bitch until someone moves it so he can saunter past.

  149. 149
    J R in WV says:


    Feline Pine – we had 5 cats and no smell to speak of.

  150. 150
    LS says:

    @SG: Uh oh! I’m way behind! I guess I’ll just have to order more Tunch gear.

  151. 151
    ET says:

    I had a cat growing up who got on top of the trim above the door in the kitchen. The only thing I could surmise was that she had gotten on the refrigerator but I could never figure out how instead of facing away from the refrigerator she was facing the refrigerator.

  152. 152
    horatius says:

    Haha pink monkey!! You are dealing with a “HARD” level boss now. Tunch was easy mode (May allah bless him, peace be upon his magnanimous soul, and may his other 8 lives be as lucky as this one).

Comments are closed.