A Very Ill Bunny: Yellow poop!

Note: If your bunny has these symptoms get them to a vet ASAP!
Banacek is very ill. His poo is kind of looking like when you blow your nose – all yellow and glicky. At first I thought he had been sick, which was kinda unbelievable because rabbits are biologically totally incapable of vomiting (no gag reflex – also why you should NEVER get their faces underwater when washing them). He has been off his food all day and listless for about 3 days, he’s usually very active but he’s just been sitting in the same spot and not even moving to go to the litter tray. He smells like children do when they wet themselves – which is a different smell to normal bunny wee.
In a human, poo that yellow color means they’ve got coeliac disease or other gluten or wheat related problems, and I was very worried about this because the Christmas treats they received from a relative did contain wheat (despite it not being digestible by bunnies) but the vet said true coeliac is actually unheard of in rabbits. I hope she’s right.
I spent half an hour cleaning the carpet last night because he’d done bunny diarrhea.
There are many types of bunny poo, and bunny diarrhea isn’t the play-doh/plasticine type stuff (that’s slightly abnormal but not dangerous, just means he’s had too many vegetables and not enough hay), it’s more watery, like if you spill a thick, creamy hot chocolate over your carpet (only it smells MUCH worse than that). True bunny diarrhea means a very, very ill rabbit who needs a vet.
We took him to the vet this afternoon and he’s now on antibiotics and critical care because they aren’t sure what’s wrong with him except they said he’s clearly quite ill, they think it’s an upper GI infection because of the mucus poo.
We had to put him in his baby hutch so we could keep an eye on him, and he’s so ill, he’s not even resisting. Usually (and the reason we made him a bigger hutch) he tries to chew his way out and would be throwing all the contents of the hutch around, pooing everywhere and stomping to show us he was displeased. Instead he’s just sitting there, in his bunny bed, not really moving. We’ve given him his antibiotics and opened the hutch to put special water with electrolyte powder into his hutch, and he hasn’t tried to escape at all, which is unheard of in our fiestiest bunny.

banacek rabbit ill yellow poo
Poor baby bunny.

banacek rabbit ill yellow poo
I hope he’s going to be ok.

So we will be watching Banacek closely and feeding him fluids and critical care by syringe every 2 hours for our New Year’s Eve, but I hope the rest of you have a great evening.

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Add photojournalist to the list.

In the peculiar way my life works, today I can add freelance photojournalist to my list of jobs.

I’ve sent some of my photos to one of the editorial (news) photo companies, and I’ve sent samples in to another, and one of them (Alamy) accepted and approved several of my photos of the York floods and they’re now available for news sources such as the BBC and worldwide national and local newspapers to use.

This isn’t the first time my photos have been in the news – I was at the scene of a very dramatic-looking car crash a couple of years ago (nobody was hurt though) and I took a photo on my phone. I wasn’t sure what to do with it though so I sent it to a local newspaper – at first, they used it without even crediting me, then they put my name to it but never paid me or informed me they were using my picture, which was annoying – I found out by searching their site for news of the crash. I think using a site like Alamy is a much better way to get into freelance photojournalism, although I’m not sure my creative pictures would cut the mustard because the standards are different.

There was a lot of faffing around to get the pictures ready and they don’t accept pictures older than 24 hours (so ;my pictures from Sunday; weren’t useable) for editorial work.  I had to edit the digital data (IPTC data) for the picture to add headline, caption, image owner etc – which it turns out you need professional picture editing software to do.    Well I had no idea what I was doing with that and all the tutorials seem to focus on what to do once you’ve got the menu in front of you, with no regard for those of us who don’t use Photoshop on all our pictures, and therefore don’t have any way of accessing that digital data.

Queue long downloads and frustration – first I downloaded a program called PhotoME which totally lied and can’t edit IPTC data if you use a Canon camera.  That was a HUGE waste of time when my images were close to timing out.  Luckily I found this 15 day free trial of something called BreezeBrowser Pro which enabled me to get the digital details in perfect order to make the pictures saleable without having to spend money on photo editing software.  It’ll at least last me until the floods and Storm Frank are over.

Those of you who have been following Invoke Delight for a while will probably remember that I’m generally against photo editing because it creates an unrealistic view of an event, and I am heavily fond of natural shots in photography (which means I resent having to own photo editing software since I prefer to get a good picture first time, every time).

If I’m ever at the scene of an event in the future, I’ll be sure to take photos just in case they’re newsworthy.

In Pictures: York Floods Monday 28th December 2015

So I went out a little earlier today and found some even better pictures of the floods.

York floods inventive boat made of oil drums 2015 paddled with shovels spades shopping.
These two lads made this boat out of oil drums lashed together, and they are paddling with garden shovels and are on their way to the supermarket.
York floods inventive boat made of oil drums 2015 paddled with shovels spades shopping.
Another good picture of the boat made of oil drums.
York floods 2015 rescue team in action checking safety flooded underwater disaster pictures
Across the road, a rescue team is going door to door. Phone lines are down across the city, so elderly people are particularly vulnerable.
York floods 2015 rescue team in action checking safety flooded underwater disaster pictures
A much better, more in focus picture of the heroic rescuers, although this one makes it look like they’re on dry land rather than wading through 2 feet of water. They are dragging a boat around with them but I was struggling to get a good shot as I was about 100 feet away and my zoom lens was extended as far as it would go.
York 2015 floods people affected trolley baby possessions.
These people found an abandoned shopping trolley on the street and put their baby and possessions in it before walking past this trolley park of distinctly different trolleys. Still the family looks pretty happy. I guess you would if you spent ages walking around holding stuff then found a trolley.
York historic building damage rowntree wharf floods 2015
Rowntree Wharf, a historic 19th Century building, is underwater and the road has become a river.
York historic building damage York walls floods 2015
The water has travelled higher than the eathen mounds, which are remains of the Roman walls, and has reached York’s Medieval City Walls in places.
York historic building Red Tower damage York historic building floods 2015
This old building, called ‘Red Tower’ was built in 1490, and marks the end of the walls on this side of the city.

After yesterday’s trip around town, I was left worried about the rabbits in pets at home on Foss Islands Road because, while the water hadn’t reached them, it had cut off the whole shopping area from being accessed.
Today, I am pleased to report that the rabbits are all safe and snuggled, some brave members of staff went to Pets at Home today and opened up the shop, and I have photos showing they’re all warm and dry and well-fed:

pets at home safe buns york floods
The bunnies at Pets at Home are being looked after by staff members who braved the floods to ensure the pets all got fed.
york floods 2015 rabbits pets affected
The bunnies at Pets at Home look happy and relaxed in their warm, dry housing, thanks to the amazing effort staff made to travel to and open the store today.
York floods 2015 expensive looking car underwater
In other news, a very expensive looking car with the back window left open for some reason. I hope the council don’t enforce parking tickets until the waters recede.

Flash Gordon Failed, Then

This weekend, my town has been besieged by floods (literally, I can’t get in or out unless I get my kayak out); tomorrow “Storm Frank” hits Ireland, it’s predicted to move onto the UK afterwards, with wind gusts of up to 109kph (dunno what that is in “real” miles), with the strongest winds lasting until at least Thursday. In America, 20 different tornadoes hit last week and these tornadoes have left a trail of destruction. And in Nicaragua a volcano (Momotombo) has erupted for the first time in 100 years. I am sure there are other severe weather events going on as well.

There’s only one thing left to say:

COME ON FLASH GORDON WHY HAVEN’T YOU STOPPED MING THE MERCILESS’S WEATHER DEVICE YET???

In Pictures: The York Floods 2015, Sunday 27th December

I went around the town on Sunday 27th December (yeah it took me FOREVER to upload these to WP) and just took some photos of the damage and of the things I saw. We even saw some looters trying to get into some abandoned vehicles, but they ran away when they saw me taking photos of nearby things with a professional looking camera (pro-tip – don’t photograph the looters if they’ve noticed you; they’ll probably take your professional looking camera then resume looting).  Click all of these to enlarge if you want to see them up close.

York flood 2015 cars underwater
Your typical flood photo of some decent cars submerged in water.
York flood 2015 recycling bins underwater
Nobody will be recycling their glass bottles for a while – unless they can throw them really far.
York flood 2015 Melrosegate road underwater sewer bubbling up water.
This was around the corner from my house – the water here has flooded even worse than it would have done from the stream, because the sewers are overwhelmed and it’s bubbling up (front centre).
York 2015 floods lols stupid flood people salt bags ASDA.
This is hilarious – apparently nobody told the manager of this ASDA store (Wal-Mart) that salt will dissolve when it is mixed with an excess of water. He would have been better off using bags of gravel.
York floods 2015 james st gypsy site caravans trailers washed away by floodwaters
But it’s hard to see the funny side when your home has literally been washed away. This is the gypsy site (trailer park for gypsies) which is usually crammed end to end with mobile homes (trailers).
York Floods 2015 December police line
A somewhat redundant sign urging people not to venture beyond this arbitrary line. I did hear that North Yorkshire Police ran out of “Road Closed” signs.
York floods 2015 car stranded water level rising december
Another stranded vehicle outside a car showroom. They moved the rest of their cars over the road. Guess this one was from the bargain bucket and deemed not worth saving. The silent tragedy of being an older, reliable motorcar is that you will be sacrificed at the first sign of trouble.
York floods 2015 drama ambulance lost roads closed
An ambulance races to hospital with a patient on-board. Trouble is, it’s heading straight for flooded roads, delaying lifesaving treatment.
York floods 2015 ambulance lost stranded danger death
The same ambulance, several minutes later, has turned around and is racing to find another route to the hospital – this is the REALLY long way round. It puts the siren on, but that’s not going to part the unrelenting water.
Nobody is going out for ice-cream today, as the island of safety surrounding Frankie and Benny's diminishes.
Nobody is going out for ice-cream today, as the island of safety surrounding Frankie and Benny’s diminishes.
York floods december 2015 foss islands road
This is Foss Islands Road, one of the main roads in York, usually gridlocked at this time of day, I don’t even think pedestrians could safely get across.
York flood december 2015 boat river rescue water mooring bridge foss islands road
To the left of the bridge, the River Rescue boat is listing because it’s been moored too tightly and cannot rise with the water levels. The bridge itself being pretty superfluous given that it currently crosses from one river to another. Given the amount of people who have been evacuated, you’d think they’d retrieve all the boats they could get so they could rescue people instead of leaving them to get damaged like this.
York flood december 2015 stupid driving road
There are a lot of vans and campervans on the road, and many people driving round and round looking for a way out of the city. I think some people have used the flood as an excuse to bug out rather than because they really need to risk life and limb making journeys on flooded roads. They’ve missed the fact that the rest of the county is underwater too. There is a lot of reckless driving going on today – like this converted campervan who is doing a U turn but doesn’t slow down enough, ending up in a car park then having to back it up.
York flood december 2015 stupid driving road campervan
Suitably stuck, now they have to back that “campervan” up like a Tonka Truck.

So some laughs, some drama, but most of all, I’m just very glad that my house isn’t flooded at the moment, and I hope to goodness it stays that way.  I think this has justified the expenditure on my 40mm prime (non-zoom) lens for my camera – it’s performance in low light is absolutely stunning – these pictures are actually a little brighter than my eyes were able to see these scenes, because it was going dark as we left the house. If I go out photographing again tomorrow, I need to try and overcome my fear of photographing people because I saw some fantastic human-interest scenes today such as a family pushing their salvaged possessions in a shopping trolley, and some others standing outside a supermarket in their pyjamas waiting for friends to meet them and take them to somewhere dry, and the aforementioned looters although I wasn’t going to snap them in a million years, they were paying too much attention to my camera (although I couldn’t have photographed people very well as I didn’t have my zoom lens with me because I didn’t want it to get wet since it’s bloody expensive – I took my standard kit lens but it was just shockingly crap in the light levels so it captured NOTHING).  I always worry that I’m imposing on others’ private emotional dramas by photographing them; I guess that’s why I’m not a “proper” journalist/photojournalist yet.

It’s flooded.

So some of you might remember a little while ago I said I was worried about being unprepared for floods, since there were some not very far from where I live, which had been going on for a while.

Yeah so over the Christmas weekend the whole city flooded. Today, there’s been rescue helicopters going by every twenty minutes or so, and the pictures of the rest of the city are fairly grim.

But my house is on one of the few streets that’s totally dry. That didn’t stop us having to bail out the back garden yesterday because the rainwater had pooled at a depth of 8 inches (due to all the concrete) and was threatening our bunnies.
You will (probably) be relieved to know that our buns are all safe and dry, although their sheds are slightly damp of floor and walls and their rabbit runs are completely waterlogged. Poor buns. We debated bringing them indoors but decided they’ve got more room outside for the time being but if it gets into their sheds they’re coming in. It hasn’t stopped them from going outside and splashing around in the puddles.

We filled the bath with water in case we lose water, and we are trying to get through our laundry in case we lose water/electricity as this obviously didn’t happen on a day when we had any towels in the cupboard. Our electrical substation is next to one of the most severely flooding waterways so it could go at any minute.

Posting may be erratic if we lose electricity.

From the ashes… The Rover 75

So today, despite being barely able to stand, I had planned to go to the nearby Big City and look at cars at 2 used car lots. Then we saw a totally inappropriate vehicle that was being sold at the car place nearest my house, that was nothing like what we’d wanted, that nevertheless was £20 less than the cheapest ones we’d got lined up at Big City and not only that, we could save the train fare, making this car £50 less than the others in real terms (and £150 less than the ones we’d been most likely to actually buy).
My car budget was in the region of £500.
I really wanted a Land Rover but I couldn’t afford a whole one, so I could only pay for half, which would get me … a Rover.
I saw this Monster for £575. The Rover 75:
Rover 75 light blue

Here’s a rear view:
Rover4
Did I mention that because many of these cars were sold to elitist fascist dictators high ranking members of the government, it’s not uncommon for them to be reinforced to be bullet and bomb proof. Which of course improves the Kerbweight which means you can tow a larger caravan with it.
Because that’s how towing laws work.
Seriously, I test drove this, then I test drove a Vauxhall (Opel) Corsa for comparison (because I know where I am with a Corsa, I’ve owned 3 and had a 4th on long term lease while my VW Golf needed repairs), then I thought about the two cars for several long minutes.
The Corsa had a smaller engine at 1.2 litres, therefore tax would be at least half and I’d look forward to a refund on this year’s insurance premium. The Corsa had all the usual things a Corsa should have, everything was in decent nick, it had done 31,000 fewer miles than the Rover. The Corsa was previously owned by the sister of a mechanic. The Rover apparently had “a couple of receipts” for its service history.
The Corsa’s boot wasn’t wet and filled with sand residue, which strongly implied someone had perhaps committed suicide in the Rover, since the back seats were also soaking despite a dearth of rust, implying an acute watering rather than chronic leakage.
The Corsa was fresh in today, the Rover’s been sitting on the lot for a while.
The Corsa was a manual and was easy to drive, it doesn’t need a Cam belt change because it has a Cam Chain which means (in theory) it never needs changing.
Vauxhall Corsas are bountiful in the UK as are their parts, their manufacturer is based in Luton and parts are easily substituted without damaging the vehicle, I can do most repair work on a Corsa by myself. The (also British) manufacturers of the Rover went bust.
The Corsa had manual transmission but the Rover was an automatic, we all know if the transmission fails on an automatic, you can’t tow it and the car can quickly become scrap.
The Rover’s door mirrors weren’t working, the Corsa’s worked fine. The Rover had a tape player where the Corsa had a CD player.

So of course I bought the Rover.
I believe there’s a Banana Republic Dictator somewhere waiting to get his car back. It’s stupidly, inappropriately large, it’s basically a rebadged Jaguar and when I’ve seen these on the road, I actually thought they were Jaguars.
It looks like the horn should play something stately, perhaps the Liberty Bell March (popularized by Monty Python’s Flying Circus for irony, but that probably doesn’t stop particular people getting their flags out when they hear it). It should be leading a ticker tape parade.
Instead it’s currently parked outside my 3 bedroom semi on a council/ex-council estate where the people over the road recently sold their L-reg Nissan for £100 as a “good runner” (well the people that bought it agreed once they’d push started it) and they used the profits to buy 16 more hours of weed (and an electric card to play loud music for the duration).
At least it’ll keep next door’s BMW company, you know, the sort of BMW that screams “I’m A Respectable Businessman Who’s At Home A Lot During The Day, Not A Drug Dealer, Nope, That Smell And All Those People Coming And Going Are Businessmen Too.”
The thing about this Rover, is that it had soul, where the Corsa felt like driving a cheap mass produced transport method, the Rover felt like I was experiencing a brief and now-extinguished piece of British motoring history.
I can’t explain it, I certainly couldn’t justify the extra £130 that my insurance company hit me with, and when I fill ‘er up my credit card will cry tears of blood because, five miles down the road, I’ll be filling ‘er up again as all the carefree Corsas overtake me on their way to wherever people drive them to.
Comparing the Rover to the Corsa is like trying to compare a fine steak dinner at Claridge’s to a Big Mac. There’s nothing wrong with a Big Mac per se and they’re certainly more popular, as shown by the number of Corsa drivers queueing at any British drive thru, but if the Rover driver took the fast food option, you know they’d have a jar of English Mustard ready in the cup holder to give their meat patty some refinement and taste.
The Rover has gravitas, it has pomp, it has style and panache. I don’t know why this car manufacturer died a death and I think it’s a tragedy to the British motor industry, but this car looks, feels, drives and has the optional extras of a Jaguar from the same year.
I understand why they’re so cheap now – Rover went bust in 2005, one of the first pre-recession victims, and horror stories about availability of parts, poor build quality, unreliability and, of course, worst of all (and they whisper this one in case there’s any of *them* around), the people who made it spoke with a Brummie accent.
As someone who pronounces “cook, book and look” as “cuuuk” “buuuk” and “luuuk” (a la Scottish and Staffordshire people) under stress, I must say that’s shocking. Everyone who makes cars should speak with a Home Counties accent. Hell, everyone per se should speak with that fake British accent that American actors feel so compelled to put on, the one that sounds like Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins, which is to say, no British person ever spoke like that.
The car should have little flags on the bonnet and I would like a chauffer uniform so I can transport my passenger. I’d love to dress one of the rabbits up in a shirtcollar and tie and get them to wave out of the window.
The back of the front seats appear to have plastic tray-like compartments in them. I think that’s where the Ferrero Rocher’s supposed to go.
I can see why government officials had them.
The automatic transmission is beautiful and far more comfortable than the Peugueot 605 which was officially my first ownership of a car (I was 15, but my mother had to do some tax avoidance; I drove it once, on private land), but which used to jump forward every time it changed up or down the ratios. Since the Picasso’s cause of death was a total gearbox failure on a dangerous junction at rush hour, necessitating me to force the car to continue to safety at the expense of the engine which was too damaged by what I forced the drive shaft to do, I no longer believe that there’s any advantage to a cheap old manual car over a good, newer automatic at the same price now but which retailed for a lot more brand new, because in EITHER type, it’s bloody expensive to repair anything to do with the transmission so why not go automatic? And with a top speed of 121mph compared to 96mph, the Rover might actually get taken to the Nurburgring when it thaws out next year, if the car still works by then, to have a go at setting a time.
The steering is stately and glorious, despite this being the longest car I’ve ever driven, and having never driven a car with an arse longer than the back window (I’ve had hatchbacks and my Picasso, which is really a big hatchback), the parking was actually smooth like a good glass of Port, and it didn’t hit my house or the neighbours car despite them having blocked my drive. The steering is divine, compared to the Picasso which handled like a drunk sailor, seeming to perpetually stagger side to side whilst actually travelling forwards.
You could get the Rover 75 with a V6 or V8 engine. One day, I’d love a V8 (although I’d probably never get anything done again, because I’d just have the bonnet up and be staring at it in rapt adoration whilst asking someone to rev it for me over and over). In the meantime, I won’t be surprised if Augusto Pinochet decides to drop by for tea. I still wouldn’t let him in the house. I’ve just vacuumed those carpets. Actually even if I hadn’t, it’s the principle of the thing.
I’ve applied to join the owners club as their buyers guide was invaluable and their site is a wealth of information.
So at least something good has happened this week, although I am afraid to jinx it and will need to drive the car some more before I’m happy that it’s going to be a reliable motor. It’s put to rest a stress I’ve been carrying about vehicular failure for the past 6 months. I *knew* I should have got rid of the Picasso before I went to Aberdeen. Now I just need a job to pay off the car I just put on my credit card, and to pick a master’s course to apply for. And people wonder why I did some of the jobs I did in the past. I’ve been considering it again. But I swore I’d got out. That I’d make something of myself. That I’d go straight. Then I phoned an agency yesterday and booked for an interview next week.
I swore I’d left it behind me.
I just don’t want to teach high school science again.
I leave you with the following public service announcement from Alexei Sayle:

And I can confirm that there’s life in Peckham, but reports are mixed as to whether it’s intelligent or not.