Day to day musings of a cat minder/ sitter in North Tyneside and Newcastle upon Tyne . For details of services go to

Welcome to CatMinders

Welcome to CatMinders

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Forgotten how to blog

Anyway it seems I have forgotten how to blog. Forgotten how to edit and make changes . That first / last post went off at half cock never to be retrieved.

I got distracted by a flurry of emails alas requesting cash advances rather than services.

I am still offering services as I said.

This morning I visited one of my great favourites whom I shall call Tiny Shouty. She is usually more of a Croaky but today she was extremely shouty. I guess her idea of what time breakfast should reasonably be served differed somewhat from mine. On a Saturday I thought eight am reasonable given she has a snack served in a feeder which opens earlier. But as I opened the door I was greeted by a barrage of screeching and the thud of heavy footsteps clattering along the wood floor of the hall. I pinned myself against the door fearing the worst (intruders arriving to off me ) and the teeny little lamb crashed into me then pointed me to the kitchen and the box of wet foodstuffs. It was a good ten minutes before she calmed herself and led me upstairs so that I could sit and read Simon Hattenstone's article on Amanda Knox with her in the sunshine overlooking the seafront . I showed her the picture of Ms K and asked her what she thought but like my own Kitty would she stared inscrutably into the middle distance. It's not so much lack of commitment as preferring you to make your own mind up.

Now let's see if I can publish this one without the whole kerfuffle of the re edit and the black line going through everything with Preview written on it. Eek.

New Blog? Or just revive the old one?

I'm still cat minding. But blogging has ground to a halt.

Writing hasn't. I've been writing in all different sorts of ways, mostly with a pen and ink. But cat minding probably needs boosting a little , with the demise of so many of my old friends , so here goes.

I'm now cat minding in a new way. In the old days I would find the cats. Or rather their families would ring me and I'd go out to meet them and it would take off from there. Now , that still happens , though less, probably because I haven't been to the vets in ages to replace my cards and I get the occasional call from the website, ok maybe twice I had calls that way , though every month I get people ringing to ask if I will take the cat that has turned up in their garden , or can I help them with a cat that's scaring them on their window sill or some such query.
Now though it seems cats are finding us.

Martin , see attached picture, has been living rough in the vicinity for ages.Likewise  another two cats  one at the back and another at the front of the house . Finally took pity on Martin and asked myself why am I keeping him out in these  freezing cold temperatures? No good reason. So he came in. M

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Yes , looks like I'm back....Happy Holidays!

For years - all my life probably - I've wanted a wreath and only ever had one , when we made one at Nat's primary school Christmas fair the year she was .. oh hang on I forgot my short term memory is no more.
So anyway this year I bought this one . I love it.

Goodbye Hedgehog Hello Bernard and Edmund

Bernard and Edmund
18 months since I added to the blog. 
So much has happened - including the demise of our beloved Hedgehog the guinea pig pictured here with Kitty our eldest cat who has unexpectedly mellowed into the most loving and loyal of friends . We initially acquired Pearl our senior Birman because of Kitty's unwillingness to act as lapcat when Nat was little , not to mention her tendency to bite scratch and kick(with claws) at every opportunity. Now Kitty appears whenever I sit down , assesses the best angle of approach ( Kitty has never been stick thin or particularly agile) and thud she is snuggling at my chest purring and crooning. 

Hedgehog had survived the death of her companion pig Tinkerbell and even in her last weeks shouted for a hand fed grape every time the kitchen was entered. At the end she moved less and less and we knew it wouldn't be long . She finally died on Remembrance Sunday 2012 early hours of, with her human friends with her. 

Kitty and Hedgehog

 It wasn't a week before I started researching rescue piggies and was soon emailing Layla at . Once Layla had checked us out and ensured we had an indoor run area as well as the hutch , we met Bernard and Edmund two piggy brothers who moved in with us around a month ago. We are realising the benefits of enrichment , ie giving the pigs floor time of at least six hours per day when they are out of their hutch and have space to run skip and popcorn as pigs like to do. We set the pen up every evening and then pigs can come and go as they please. Its easy enough , a waterproof dog car seat cover , no longer functional for the car due to the straps breaking , covered with newspaper then a £3 fleece . Enclosed by a dog puppy pen which folds away flat when not in use this gives the pigs the ideal space to run about and enough room for their hideys , food bowls, trays of hay and readigrass  and toys. 

Thursday, 30 June 2011

Elders Day Out Kirkharle and Goats on the Roof

Time for the June Elders Day .
Our original plan to investigate a secret garden not far from here had to be postponed due to the torrential rain forecast and the fact that we were in charge of the Dog. As seen above however we managed to dodge much of the rain and had coffee and scones outside at Kirkharle Courtyard , where sadly the recession seems to be closing many of the outlets , though so far not the coffee shop. Alice was not happy about the fact that we had forgotten a blanket for her to lie on , though eventually she threw herself down onto the gravel under the table . She is forced to lie straight onto her side or on her back ( most undignified ) as being a skinny greyhound her elbows and knees dig into the ground if she tries to lie down like a normal dog . hence the reason at home she always has to have a sofa or a bed preferably heated . Next time she comes with us I will remember to take a thick towel - all I could find in my bag this time was the bag my handbag came in and this spread out made a very  thin sheet for her to lie on . She wasnt very amused .
At Fontburn where the Goats where delightfully clambering on the Roof as advertised we set out for a walk along the banks of the reservoir and almost immediately were forced to seek shelter in the one of fishing huts . The much vaunted torrential rain had caught up with us and we sat around looking at photos on the walls of large trout in the arms of small children whilst nibbling on Grazebox snacks before setting out on our walk as the sunshine reappeared.
On our return the piggies were playing out and Mother Pig came to say hello bringing her seven ginger babies - how delighted we were....
... and so energised was I by the day that I managed to start a new CatMinding assignment that evening in great style by setting off the house alarm _ a thing I havent done in many a long year ( month ? )
It was lovely to make the aquaintance of a new pusscat though - an elderly girl who is very quiet and affectionate and likes me to sit down with her once the jobs are done for a chat about our respective days . .....CatMinding is just great !

Saturday, 25 June 2011

"Jack Wills : Fabulously British Clothing- The Best of British " - I dont think so!

I love my Jack Wills Bodywarmer, known to the company as the Dudmaston Gilet .
I know this because the one I purchased above last Easter in Salcombe at what seemed to me the rather high price of £98 is no longer viable as the zip has failed. At the time I bought it I had no intention of making such a purchase , entering Jack Wills only to accompany my daughter  N who wanted to try on some item or other within their hallowed portals .
 But - there you go - in order to come with her into the changing room - Readers - I picked up the Bodywarmer and -  I fell in love . And as N said to me - It might seem  expensive but it will last you forever . And I wear mine all the time. And I was on holiday .  And so I was sold .
Down the river it would seem .

I wore the jacket for a few weeks until the Summer and it was great - ideal for dog walking. Though it wasn't suitable for work and too ot for the Summer  and so didn't get a lot of wear . It was then stored until Autumn when again it got a few weeks wear , when again it was stored as too cold with no sleeves for Winter.
 I took it out three weeks ago , to find the zip had failed . I compared it to my daughter's and discovered a tiny crack in the plastic of the zip explaining why it wouldn't work.

I rang our local branch of Jack Wills and took it along complete with the receipts and they duly sent it off to their  Customer Services section .

I was therefore astounded to receive a reply from "Fabian" at Customer Services explaining that any faulty items would only be covered for six months in line with Trading Standards and that any other failing would be put down as "wear and tear ". They therefore were unable to replace the zip for me or repair it for me and were returning the gilet for me forthwith and apologised for any inconvenience.

I wrote back expressing my surprise that a quality item was only expected to last six months. As a woman of a certain age my clothes are well cared for as is reflected in the garment and Fabian would have been well aware of this in examining the gilet . My daughter's gilet is  stored on the floor of her room ( and I daresay is occasionally trodden on by passing trade)  is six months older yet her zip continues to glide up and down perfectly well . I assume therefore that my zip is a  faulty item.

I then received a reply from "Mimi" restating their case and suggesting that my local tailor might like to repair the gilet .

You know what ? I have a sneaking suspicion my local dressmakers  will make a better job of it but thats not the point .
Shame on you Jack Wills !

Doesnt the good reputation of a company count for anything these days? how much would it have cost you to have fixed that zip? Whether or not you were legally bound to or not is surely beside the point ?

Saturday, 18 June 2011

A Wet Walk at Gibside ....

Alice - sheltering in the woods- and not amused.

Floods run down the roads..

After a walk to the village and breakfast in Luis wine bar we were confident that the weather was ok and that a few drops of rain wouldn't put us off dog walking . We hadn't bargained for the fact that we always seem to have the opposite weather from Gibside .

I texted our friends who live in that direction to see if they wanted to jon us but they were "holiday shopping" ( lucky things- holiday , not the shopping! I'm not a fan of sandals and bikinis and so forth) .

As we pulled in to the car park at Gibside and noted the smaller favoured car park was closed I had an email from Chaela letting me know there were weather issues in their neck of the woods. Let's just say she didnt quite put it like that.

We wrapped ourselves up in what waterproof gear we had .
Hm . The greyhound no longer fits into her fancy Barbour type jacket so just has to get wet . Suffice to say she usually refuses rain anyway , digging her heels in at the door or if caught in a downpour at home racing back to the front door without so much as a by your leave .
Off we went .

It wasnt quite raining , and at that point I planned to take some pictures of the gorgeous allotments . Community gardens all beautifully laid out . It was not to be .

There was a craft market on , stalls under canvas and we hurried past as the rain started , intending to have a closer look on our return , assuming the shower would pass.
D is usually quite good on the weather forecasting front and muttered about north and south and this and that and as we hurtled along the drive under the trees I still had some faith that by the time we left the shelter of the trees all would be well  and the shower would have blown over . When he started asking me however , Me ? What do I know , if I could see which way the clouds were moving , and I realised that looking skywards was causing a veritable stream to gush down my front , I thought enough is enough . As we left the trees' shelter and onto the open road heading for the new Skyline Path which was our goal , we darted into the woods to take cover and the dog sat down firmly .
At this point as we stood peering out at the torrential rain coming down in straight sheets , it was clear we should turn back .

The picture from the car was one of several attempting to show the floods running down the roads . It didn't really work .

Migraine Days

Migraine Days

Flower and Bee on a Sunday

Flower and Bee on a Sunday

art on a sunday

art on a sunday