This is Connie.


My wife found her as a tiny kitten, barely a few weeks old, inside a rag bin where she worked. She brought Connie back to our place, and she’s been a vital part of our lives ever since.

She’s also the devil.

What will eventually come to be known an exhibit A.

What will eventually come to be known an exhibit A.


I mean she’s actually Satan’s earthly form.

This is a short list of things she’s done in the last seventy-two hours.

  1. Ran across the house, hopped up onto my desk, meowed at me and then ripped off the worst cat fart in recorded history. She DESTROYED that room for forty-five minutes. This is not the first time she’s done this.
  2. Woken from a deep sleep in order to bite my big toe.
  3. Woken ME from a deep sleep to bite my other big toe.
  4. Bolted her food and then wailed about the lack of food in her bowl.
  5. Barfed in her own water bowl.
  6. Barfed on my foot.
  7. Attacked my bigger cat Harry despite the fact that he’s four times her size.
  8. Traumatized Harry so badly he’s now hiding in my room.
  9. Eaten a phone charger cord (not plugged in).
  10. Gotten stuck in a drawer.
  11. Hidden inside a hat box on top of a wardrobe for the express purpose of bursting out of it once everyone else had gone to bed.
  12. Leapt off the wardrobe onto me when I didn’t wake up sufficiently.
  13. Woke me up at 5am because breakfast.
  14. She woke me up by biting me on the face. Again, not the first time.
  15. She did that by somehow getting into what I could have sworn was a locked room. I’m making this an extra point because I’m pretty sure she broke the laws of physics to do it.
  16. Run up my legs and onto my shoulder when she wanted a cuddle. With her pointy, pointy claws.
  17. Curled up, purring, on Harry’s favorite chair. Harry again traumatized.
  18. Run off with the touch pen for my surface. You might think this means it went missing and I blamed her, but you’d be wrong.
  19. Made a concerted effort to get trapped in the freezer.
  20. Turned into a furry angry glove when the tummy rubs she was getting became somehow insufficient.
  21. Attacked my foot…while I was walking past.
  22. Gotten into a fight with another cat.
  23. Gotten into a fight with a chair.
  24. Gotten into a fight with her own foot. It went something like this: “What’s this thing? I must bite it!” “Aaaargh something bit me, I will kick it in the face!” “Something kicked me! Bite!”
  25. Hidden inside my duvet cover.
  26. Shed enough fur to make a second evil cat who is also the Devil.

And is now curled up into a tight ball next to the heater, purring contentedly. Apparently the true path to happiness is being an evil furry little terror.

Still, Harry is no longer traumatized.




This roof animal thing has really gotten out of hand, and I’m bitter.

Why am I bitter?

Because it’s almost one am there is a bloody rat on my roof. A really big rat. He will not leave.

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This is not the rat in question, but it does represent his vile nature.

I’m going to call him Frank. Frank the Rat…which does make him sound somewhat less like a rat and more like a 1930’s gangster.

Anyway I threw an empty egg carton at Frank and let me tell you, Frank could not have given less of a shit. You have heard the expression ‘couldn’t give a rat’s ass?’ well I found the rat, the ass belongs to him and he isn’t giving it to anyone.

My cat Harry followed me outside. Harry was disinclined to intervene with Frank on my behalf. Harry is a very big cat, more like a small purr filled bear than a tabby, and it’s not like he’s never eaten a rat before…however Harry is not what you’d call motivated. 

So, unwilling to throw anything else onto the roof, I’ve some back inside and stuffed tissues into my ears so I don’t have to listen to Frank scurrying about on my roof. I don’t know what he’s doing. Rat stuff I guess.

I’m going back to bed.

Dammit. Frank has started a fight with a bird which is loudly screeching at him. This is a surprise because it’s one am and dark and birds are supposed to be sleeping.

Why won’t you sleep Mr Bird?

Why do you hate Frank so much?

Frank as far as I can tell is still on the roof and Mr Bird sounds like it’s in the oak tree so I don’t think Frank is hurting Mr Bird but Mr Bird is seriously pissed at Frank. Maybe Frank, true to his nature, told one of Mr Bird’s secrets.

Did Frank start an animal mafia war in my garden?

Mr Bird has gone quiet.

This is ominous.

Did Frank whack Mr Bird?

I may never know, because while I was typing this a mosquito bit me and in an effort to kill it I just smacked myself in the face. I’m taking that as a sign that reporting on my garden’s animal mafia’s turf wars can wait for another night.



Late last night there was a possum on my roof.

It knows when you're trying to sleep.

It knows when you’re trying to sleep. Not my photo, but rest assured the possum in my life looked like this, but worse.

This in and of itself is not that unusual, and because I’ve had bad insomnia of late I often hear them grunting and hissing their way from one edge of my roof to the other while on their way to do what it is that possums do late at night (from the sounds of things huck up furballs and fight with rats).

However last night was an unusual night, with an unusual, some might even say unique, possum.

This possum will come to be known as Humpy, for reasons that will become clear.

He did not start as Humpy, at three am he was simply ‘that possum that seems to have been on my roof for about an hour, and is really cross about it’. There was grunting, there was growling, there was hissing. There was a great deal of skittering back and forth and then an extending bout of growling. I have a metal roof, so all of this sounded like Godzilla was undertaking a mating dance right above my head.

3.15: I am wide awake cursing. I consider getting up.

3.30am: Odd, sporadic thumping sound begins.

Bong. Thump.

Bong. Thump. Thump.



3.32am: I say a series of rude words about possums in general and this one in particular.

3.35am to 3.50am: Fifteen solid minutes of growling.

4am: Thumping returns, it’s just now distressingly rhythmic.






4.10am: Thumping sound has now become so rhythmic it occurs to me this blasted possum is humping the hell out of my roof.

In my head, I name him Humpy.

In reality I pick up an elderly jandal from out of the closet and go to do my manly duty, namely to stop this possum making sweet, sweet love to my rooftop.

The jandal in its natural habitat: lost at the beach.

The jandal in its natural habitat: lost at the beach.

4.15am: I am unable to locate Humpy the amorous possum without getting on the roof he is attempting to fornicate with. I decide not to climb up on the roof at 4 in the morning.

4.20am: Bong. Bong. Bong. Bongbongbongbong…

4.22am: I hear my biggest cat Harry clamber up onto the roof. Harry is enormous, like a small bear, and not sneaky at all, so I can hear his progress across the roof. I silently hope Harry will scare away the possum without getting into a fight with it (New Zealand possums are nasty, diseased creatures).

4.33am: Harry stops. I think he’s assessing the situation.

4.34am: Harry very clearly decides that while he’s up for dealing with Growly the Possum, or Fighty the Possum he is not paid enough to deal with Humpy and that he’s going back to bed.

4.40am: Bong, thump, bongbongbong…

4.42: I return to the great outdoors.

4.44: I catch a glimpse of grey tail in front of my flashlight. I manfully hurl the dilapidated jandal at Humpy. However I am still very weak, so instead of a rubberized torpedo of possum scaring justice I gently toss Humpy a piece of iconic New Zealand footwear. After a few moments Humpty takes off with it and vanishes into the treeline.

4.47am: I return to bed, victorious after a fashion.

4.48am: I realize what Humpy is probably doing to my jandal.

4.49am: Resolve never to wear jandals again.


I was going to write a post called ‘all the way down in the dark’ but I accidentally mistyped it as ‘all the way down in the duck’ which seemed like a much better idea for a blog, and it reminded me of the time my brother got attacked by a goose.

It’s not the first time this has happened.

While he was in the middle of a farmer’s market, a goose launched itself at my brother in a flapping, feathered ball of rage. This was in no small part because geese are vicious, ornery creatures at the best of times and tend to unleash hell at the slightest provocation. The ancient Romans used to use them as guard birds because they are so territorial.


There are many kinds of goose, and they all hate you.

Despite that, I find it hard to blame the goose, because it was mostly my brother’s fault.

The problem was not that he was bothering the goose in any meaningful way, it’s just that he does an amazing impersonation of a goose. No one is quite sure how or why he’s developed this amazing skill, or why he can do something that looks an awful lot like a mating dance while honking in an uncanny fashion. I just assume he was blessed or cursed by some sort of careless goose god.

I’m not 100% sure why the goose was even there. But while my brother was considering a purchase a solitary goose wandered up behind him and honked.

He honked back.

As I said he does an absolutely incredible goose honk.

The goose wiggled and honked and seemed friendly, so he did his goose dance for it. This requires no small amount of effort, especially in front of a crowd of people who are wondering what the hell you are doing. According to him, shaking your metaphorical tail feather takes a lot of skill.

Anyway everything seemed to be going well. The goose was suitably entertained and so were the people watching, until he made a critical error.

You see, no matter how good his impression of a goose may be, he does not in fact speak goose.

And at some point in his dancing and honking, he had somehow managed to say ‘motherfucker’ in goose.

The goose took it badly.

It pursued my fleeing brother across the length of the market and eventually latched onto his leg and started biting him. My brother is very careful about not harming animals, even when they’re attacking him, so he stood helpless for a moment while he was subjected to the world’s most embarrassing savaging. Eventually the goose got in a properly nasty bite and he decided to at least try shaking it off his leg.

This worked a little too well, as they were standing next to a small hill.

The goose rolled all the way down the hill, took a moment to assess the situation,  decided that begging for bread was a better use of its time and waddled off.

Sadly for my brother, people had noticed. As he walked through the market he heard whispers of ‘…kicked a goose’ and noticed a rising tide of anger. He wisely decided that no one was going to believe him if he tried to tell them that it was merely a good goose dance gone bad and he’d better leave.

In reality he managed to get out of the market without any more trouble from man or bird, but in my mind’s eye I like to imagine he was pursued off the property by a pitchfork wielding (it was a farmer’s market, it could have happened) mob made up of equal parts furious market goers and enraged geese.

I like to think there’s a good lesson in this for all of us: don’t mess with geese.