Who really built the first pyramids?

Shana alerted me to a Sciencemag.org article on cats, and about how long humans have been domesticating them. It seems that, if cats through the ages have been anything like our Smoky, the domestic feline has been pestering its ‘owners’ for a lick of butter off the snack plate (one of Smoky’s absolute faves) and other table scraps for around 9000 years. No wonder they’ve got so good at it. (‘Awww, he has such a cheeky little face. Go on, give him some butter,‘ is how it works in our house. How about yours?)

Impressed by ancient cats’ ability to hoodwink the earliest Egyptians into raising them to the status of gods, Shana suggested some of those Old and Middle Kingdom moggies might also have been responsible for the pyramids. We now believe the original pyramids looked quite different from how they do now. Not because, as is often said, that they started life with a facing of limestone. But because they were originally wrapped in…


Yes, Shana and I are convinced that the pyramids were the most advanced form of cat scratching toy known to man at that time. Scratchers, even today, come in all shapes and sizes. Cleopatra’s Needle, presented to Britain in the 19th century, was (obviously) simply a scratching post of a more regular shape and would have amused kitties of the time for, oh, minutes, before of course they got bored and went off doing something else. That’s the thing about cats. Short attentions spans, all of them. Probably need another nine millennia of domestication before that will change  🙂


Wagner vs Corrie

Earlier this evening, we were watching BBC Cardiff Singer of the World, a sort of ‘Eurovision song contest for posh people’, as Shana put it 🙂 when Shana, having glanced at the screen for a moment in the middle of a fraught hand of Lexicon,  suddenly remarked (indicating a burly chanteuse) ‘I bet she’d make a good lead singer in one of those Wagnerian epics.’

‘Brunnhilde?’ I suggested. To which Shana immediately agreed.

And then my comedy brain cells sprang to life. ‘Wouldn’t it be amusing,’ I said, ‘to make a Wagnerian Ring cycle style of opera telling the story of a fearless adventurer who set off in search of the perfect pint of ale, and of all the characters and ne’er-do-wells he met during his quest. It could be titled “The Return of the Rover” and the lead female role would be called Brunnhilde Ogden! Obviously, to retain a Teutonic feel to the proceedings, she would have to live on Coronation Strasse, and there would be enigmatic references throughout to a mysterious ‘Muriel’, and a backstory about three ducks pinned to a wall. They probably come alive as Austrian princesses or something in the final act.’

Shana, as usual, looked at me askance.

Then I wished I hadn’t started the plot synopsis at all. I reckon I’d need at least a thousand old envelopes on the back of which I’d need to scribble it all down. Maybe best stick to part-time waffling eh? Apparently it’s what I’m best at 🙂

Advice to spring lambs everywhere

Shana is a keen armchair sports fan. Rugby, cricket, tennis, Shana can lose herself in all of them. But on commercial telly channels it is virtually impossible to avoid all those ads for betting firms, all shown well before what used to be a mid-evening ‘watershed’. In sometimes minuscule and very faint typefaces, customers are urged to be careful with their money. No idea if these warnings work. Maybe for some. Who knows?

Anyway, this evening we were playing Lexicon and I came up with the word ‘gambol’.

‘Just wondered,’ I said, wondering aloud why it had never occurred to me before. ‘Do spring lambs remember to gambol responsibly?’

Shana was, for once, at a loss for words. I’ll say one thing: she’s never speechless when the rugby is on, with the usual coaching advice being something along the lines of ‘Run, you bugger, run!‘ With insight like that, the England rugby manager’s job could be hers for the taking 🙂

Maintenance tips for a healthy diet

Healthy eating is never far from our thoughts. Personally I believe the best thing is a balanced diet, even if ‘balanced’ does mean an equal sized bag of crisps in each pocket. (Comforting to know, isn’t it, that even though we are well into a new year, the jokes remain as reliable as ever 🙂  )

Anyway, talking of healthy food, I spotted a television ad for a booklet on how to grow vegetables, fruit, and herbs. It’s published by the ubiquitous ‘Which?’ consumer group.

The  telly ad showed brief shots of several pages, including one on blueberries (yummy), beans and peas (yummy but maybe not for breakfast) and one titled ‘Maintenance Tips’.

‘What are maintenance tips?’ I asked Shana, who chose that point to start counting her knitting stitches very loudly (THIRTY, THIRTY-ONE, THIRTY-TWO…) almost as if she hadn’t quite heard my earnest enquiry.

‘Are they like asparagus tips?’ I persisted. ‘Does one have to lightly boil one’s maintenance tips and enjoy them with a knob of butter?’

At this juncture, Shana seemed to be double-checking her knitting (ONE, TWO, THREE, FOUR…)

Either that, or (rare, this) I’d put her off her counting.

Oh well, if one hand-knitted sock turns out longer than the other at least we can blame the Which? group, can’t we? 🙂

Welcome to The Waſſail Experience

You thought you had arrived at your favourite blog: Chris and Shana’s Waffle Experience.

But no. Because, for the festive season only, it has now become Chris and Shana’s Waſſail Experience.

Someone on telly mentioned that, with it now being December, people would soon  be out and about, enjoying the traditional pastime of wassailing.

Quick as a flash (or should that be ‘flaſh?) I turned to Shana and said ‘Yes, but in the Middle Ages they all used to write the letter S so it looked like an F. So for all those hundreds of years they were not wassailing but waffling.’

‘Waffling?’ said Shana. ‘You mean, like we do? Brilliant!’

‘Yes!’ I said. ‘Or maybe even “fantaſtic!’

So this Yuletide, if you go out inflicting Chriſtmas carols on everyone else, do remember that you are in fact doing it all in the spirit of…


Note: To all those readers who think I am making an awful big deal out of a very thin joke, normal ſervice will be reſumed ſhortly.

ſo there!