[reading: Florian Coulmas, "The Writing Systems of the World"]
So now that I'm home most of the time, I get to feed Reginald, the cat-who-doesn't-live-here.
We've carefully explained to Reginald that he doesn't actually live here. However, there are a few problems with this. The first is that Reginald used to live here, for several years, up until a year or two ago. He belongs to an osteopath who has an office at the end of the street, and this osteopath used to rent and live in what is now our house. Since then, he's moved a couple of miles away, which isn't far enough to prevent Reg making his way back here, and so Reg now officially lives at the osteopath's office. Not sure Reg got the offical memo about that one.
The next thing that I feel is interfering with the clarity of our explanation about his place of abode is that he now gets fed here. Somehow, in the spirit of Pavlov, I don't think this is going to help in convincing him.
Finally, I also sometimes get the feeling that Reg doesn't speak English.
Feeding Reginald, the cat-who-doesn't-live-here, involves opening the back door every day.
We did start by leaving food for Reg on the front doorstep (I say we, but it's not really like I got a choice in the matter). However, this had a major drawback; regardless of how effective we've been at convincing Reg that he doesn't live here, having food on the front step for him seems to do a splendid job of convincing any number of passers-by that he does live here.
As a result, when he's sitting on the doorstep howling piteously (which he does quite convincingly, even when you know for a fact he's been fed by three different neighbours already that day), I end up having to ignore the doorbell as well as the cat.
So the simple solution to that side of things is just to bring him through the house and put the food outside the back door for him.
(One of these days I'm going to lead him in the front door, through the dining room, into the kitchen and out of the back door . . and then just shut it behind him. That'll teach him.)
The back door jams every time you try to shut it.
When we first looked at the house, about nine months ago, it seemed to be in a reasonably decent state of repair. When we got as far as having a survey done, it turned out to be not quite so decentit looks like the previous owner got some handyman to do the cheapest, most cosmetic makeover on the place. So we ended up having to rewire, re-damp-proof, fix the stairs, redecorate everywhere, insulate the loft, rip up a laminate floor, unblock the bathroom waste pipe, insulate the cellar.
Of course, being an oldish house, it's also the case that none of the woodwork quite fits properly anymore (plus every single window had been painted shut), and so none of the doors, windows or floorboards quite shuts fully and cleanly. (Oh, another thing for the list: draughtproofing).
So I fixed it.