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

Monday, 30 April 2007

And finally , Im delighted to report that Teenage Business is now sorted , calm and order are restored and numerous photos have been taken of the cats resting in the laundry basket , taking their morning showers etc .
I managed to get that sunflower photo on the blog , so it shouldnt be too great a leap to get some cats onto what is after all a cat site , though catcalls this week are few and far between .
More great pictures of Freddie on his site . I find myself wondering how he is .
The Times today includes an article on NLP and Paul McKenna . Happy memories from 98 when I did this course ( it was abit less expensive then ) , as I read I realise he and Richard Bandler are still teaching what sounds like exactly the same stuff they showed us almost ten years ago .

Mind you , it was one of the happiest , funniest experiences of my life and I didnt regret a minute of it .

Can he change my mind?-Life & Style-Health-Features-TimesOnline
Steve mysteriously asked me to meet him two streets from my house to deliver the car back . Transpired he had had a major falling out with my next door neighbour and as he has recently ( unknown to me ) had a mini stroke , he is trying to keep his cool and not get drawn into a further row . Until a year ago he didn't know the neighbours but now his son is going out with their daughter .......
We met as arranged , what bliss to be back behind the wheel in a high up Renault scenic albeit with a dodgy engine . I can open the door and simply step in , and , when I need to get out , just open that door and step out . No craning my neck wondering where the winch is to hoist me out of D s two seater , constant thoughts of Bone Scans and the like . Restored to my own car I feel fit and well and even young again . Miracle !
I wont go into the £371 .43 bill . Whatever I write here wont alter the fact that I have to pay it .

Oh , and the chocolate brownies went down really well .
Up at six am today to make chocolate brownies. One of my groups at the Day Job is finished today so I was inspired to take in some cakes but when ten pm arrived last night and they werent done , my energy failed .They're sorted now , resting quietly on the bench with a tribe of interested cats swarming round them .

Something of a crisis laden weekend one way or another , various labels for the posting spring to mind with Teenager Business being the most pertinent but unfair to detail on here . Difficult to decide the balance of what to include . Each day brings so many different possibilities and not all appropriate to include .

Had my first comment left on the blog , such excitement , reminds me of when I left my first comment on a blog and how I hesitated , thinking " they dont know me , they'll think its wierd me saying anything "but it seems its what its all about . We all inhabit our own worlds but its great when someone else steps inside our world even if only for a moment .

I gave my sister my blog details and am awaiting her add ons with bated breath . She s been away this weekend but I know she 'll come up with something as soon as she has a minute . What a challenge Laura ......!

Hoping to get the car back tonight . Its been off the road since the Thursday of Petula Clark and can't wait to see it again . Steve tells me its now had all its major bits ( water pump , cam belt ? and timing chain ) replaced and it will run for another 50 thousand miles now . Timing chain and cam belt were replaced just recently the recent exploding water pump has re damaged them plus some other things . Apologies to anyone who knows what these things are and for any technical inaccuracies . We shall see . He was remarkably quiet on the subject of the Bill . Usually he warns me in advance but , well I can only imagine as its been in his care now for seven days .

Seven am and time for raising the household .

Sunday, 29 April 2007

YouTube - Sweet Tired Cat
I loved this .
We have had several litters of kittens here , partly for the sheer joy of watching them doing stuff like this .

Saturday, 28 April 2007

Now is the time right?
Why is it that the time is always set wrong ?
More overnight reading , Carol Shields " A celibate season " , which I finished at 6 am . Must dog out a new book for tonight . Up by eight for first breakfast ( somehow I managed to have two and a half by eleven am ) and since Laura and co were arriving to drop off Harvey at nine decided to produce some orange and white choc biscuits from the Sunday Times Style magazine no less. The first batch of these were in the oven by half eight .

No Cat Calls today though visit from Debbie and Sally and we talk about the website , advertising etc and consume croissants and biscuits and ponder the Day Jobs .

By this time Laura and Peter are heading for Manchester . My car is still missing , and I finally manage to track down Steve who tells me it will be ready Monday afternoon and doesnt disclose how much it will cost ... though he tells me Im lucky it was able to be fixed and took him several days and the engine was damaged by the water pump disintegrating and the timing chain has .......

Sally really came to give me acupuncture and we disappear upstairs with needles . Something must be working as I feel wide awake and dont fall asleep which is usual once the needles are in place .
An alarm engineer rings from the Day Job and asks me if Ive changed the code ... involves various texts to the manager as she might have , and failed to tell me ,leads to a volley of texts as she wants to know why Im at work on a Saturday , I'm not but .........all takes explaining .

And then , wonders , the digital camera we ordered about three and a half minutes ago from Amazon arrives . How did that happen so fast ?
You request a service from a heating engineer or (case in point here ), the man to fix the boiler and it takes literally weeks for it to happen . So , you get used to things not working out , then order a book or a camera and the doorbell is ringing way before you expect it .

Now , once we have figured everything out , I can take photos of the cats and the fish quay and N s new dyed hair and ... the list is endless ..

Ive looked at a few blogs over the last days but Freddie is the only one I read without fail . This morning there is a little note on it to say it will be posted later as the draft was not copied off the laptop when Dad went home for the night . Odd how needing to know how Fred is has become part of my life here .

Friday, 27 April 2007

The clock must be set up at the wrong time somehow on here . I m not really posting at 4 am , though I was reading at three am , couldnt sleep .
"Issues " continue from the day job and then there was the scan . What was wierd about that was the apparent lack of awareness of the scanning staff .
The injecting crew were great , joking and making sure the punters are not going to pass out at the sight of a needle , an awareness that there might be some fear about being injected with radioactive stuff and asking how you plan to spend the three hours before coming back to the dept for the scan . I'm fine with needles and .. so far so good . I watched the colourless liquid going in , then some water being injected too , and told myself it wanst going to do me any harm .

Into town , lunch , a quick look at the digital cameras , cashed in a voucher in M and S , and then back for the scan . Different experience altogether , different team , a friendly guy intent on chatting with a student . But not with the patient .
Got me up onto the trolley , settled me comfortably and told me I shouldn't move for the time the camera was on , expected to be thirty minutes . I wasnt at this stage even sure where the camera was , or which piece of hardware it was . Talking away to the student about unrelated matters , he told me to close my eyes if I wanted as the camera would come very close to my face ( how , from which angle , how long would it be close ? Then what ? )

The room became very hot and I started to panic as something was closing in on me . I had no idea whether the process was started or not and whether I needed to keep still as the pair seemed to have moved off into the distance still talking about this and that . I could sense something above my head and realised that if I wanted to cut and run , in fact I couldnt as the camera was so close it would pin me down . Flicking my eyes open and shut I realised just how close it was and that there was no sign of the radiographers . Heart thumping I tried to calm my breathing and asked " Is this as close as the camera comes ?" , anything to make contact and let these people know I was in a mess.
" Yes " said the guy . Full stop . But he must have glanced at me and he said to his colleague , not me , " Its very hot in here " and he came into my line of vision and switched on a fan .
Still not a word of reassurance or even any acknowldegement in my direction . I began to get a sense that the camera above me was moving . Up till then I wasnt even sure that it had begun its work , or that the process had started , and this helped as I convinced myself I could handle it , that I could breathe , that nothing was actually touching me or harming me and that if I closed my eyes again I could pretend I was anywhere . Tuning in to the conversation that was off right , I could hear him talking her through the process . His voice was friendly , considerate , intent on being helpful . How come he didnt see how terrified I was initially ? Wierd .

I wouldnt even consider myself as having major problems with claustrophobia , though lying under that camera I knew I would find it impossible to go into one of the tube scanners Ive seen pictures of . Maybe with a dose of anaesthetic first ? Or several gins ? Hope it never comes to that .

I know I should have said something afterwards about what would have been better for me . But once I was off the table ( and when he asked if I needed help to get down ... eh ??? ) I began to wonder what he had seen on the scan , why he thought I would need help ? My imagination running riot for thirty seconds till I told myself most people coming for scans are likely to be elderly and it probably is hard for them to get off the table . Once down I scuttled off as fast as I could and back out into the sunshine . D quite happy to listen to my tales of panic .

A new cat call this morning for June . Two cats , family who feel cats happier at home than in a cattery . Long conversation on the phone explaining how it works and explaining that I'm happy for her to visit where I live or provide references if required . Having acknowledged some qualms about just handing over keys to a stranger we agreed to meet mid june to finalise arrangements and she jokes that I sound trustworthy .
It used to surprise me initially how ready people were to hand over keys without any checks or references . Most people once they met me said they had no worries , it was clear I loved their cats and they didnt they I looked like a burglar . One woman said if their house was cleared out a week or two after their holidays I would be their first port of call so it wasnt really a worry .. which made sense .
And in the final analysis most people are far more concerned about whether someone is going to feed , clean up after and cuddle their cats which is what its all about .

Thursday, 26 April 2007

Last night I noticed they changed the Freddie 'blog title to We love you Freddie .
He wont get well .

This morning my solution focus emails offer the following , and though Im not sure why the posting it seemed to fit :

"God brings no man into the conflicts of life to desert him. Every man has a friend in Heaven whose resources are unlimited; and on Him he may call at any hour and find sympathy and assistance."

Robert Hugh Morris American stateman.

Is it ok to take out God for those who dont follow a religion and change to " No one is brought into the conflicts of life to be deserted " etc . Universal application ? I think its ok though there will be those who believe God's role is fundamental and its not ok .

I have my bone scan today .
Im changing my hours at the day job . The bone scan means the Dept of nuclear medicine , injection ( ten minutes ) , into town shopping for a while , back for the scan which will take an hour . I hope its not too claustrophobic in there .

Longsands beach
The beach looks amazing this morning and at the time of writing this there is one person walking there , no dog . Earlier , at 8am there were more , and dogs .

Saturday, 21 April 2007

No cat calls this weekend , and one booked for May cancelled .

I am still much taken up with Freddie and what is happening with him . The blog is upbeat for a couple of days as the baby's pain relief seems to be fixed so he isnt in so much pain and is happier when he is awake . His parents decide to have him christened as time is running out and the service which they were dreading goes well . The move to a local hospital is on again and they now have to face saying goodbye to individual nurses some of whom have helped them care for F since they started living at the hospital last summer . Impossible to imagine coping with that but Im sure they do because they have to and there is no choice .

There are some wonderful photos of Freddie on the site , he looks peaceful and happy , but I find it hard to look at the pictures of his parents as their despair is there and cant be disguised .
Todays blog , of yesterdays events , sounds jaded . I dont know how his dad keeps on writing it day after day . But he does . Get Well Freddie

Thursday , I am offered a ticket to see petula clark at the city hall and despite my car blowing up ( water pump incident ) its fun to be out after so long at home . I get the giggles in the foyer at the prospect of seeing petula who is now in her seventies , and have to curb myself for fear of lynching during the performance . The city hall is not full by any means but those who have come along are very much in favour and clearly dont share my views of the poems and lyrics she has written (which she refers to as "The Lyric ") . Petula Clark Live reviews Guardian Unlimited Music

Thanks to the temporary demise of my car I am occasionally driving D 's automatic toyota . As I try to pull away I take note of all his advice and as I lift my foot off the brake it starts to nudge forwards gently . So far so good . Then it slides to a halt and Nat looks at me somewhat anxiously . Its way past her bed time and she has had to come out in her pyjamas with D to rescue me , whilst he tries to get mine home ( on the back of an AA truck , at the end ) . " have you broken this one too " says the look on her face . We sit for a while as I try to apply logical thought . Foot off brake , nothing happening after some slight movement . " I think you have to do something " says Nat and I twig .. oh yes foot off brake and onto accelerator . Whoosh , we' re off and we take off up the street .
I'm sure I ll get used to it .

Wednesday, 18 April 2007

Get Well Freddie ?

Another bright sunny morning and the get Well Freddie blog tells us that Fred has maybe two more weeks of life , maybe a bit more " before he goes " . Just impossible to imagine that in a different part of the country there is a hospital room where parents are watching their baby doing what he is doing while I contemplate getting out of the house into the sunshine , walking in the direction of the sea towards Amber's house , and that Amber will be chasing rubber bands and rushing at her food and out into the yard to tear around and make sure everything is as she left it in her world .
The news programmes stay full of Virginia tech and the student who shot 31 people . 32 including himself .

They were hoping that Fred would be able to travel to a hospital nearer home , Torbay , on Friday ,and then spend some of his time at home but it seems this is not possible . His parents are finding out that to continue the best care possible he will need to stay in the children s hospital in Bristol .

Tuesday, 17 April 2007

Deb is back and Im looking after Amber now . Ive known her for a while , shes a tiny ginger cat who eats for England , 3 pouches per day , amazing as she really is tiny . My own four , two of whom are large , share five or so per day and most of that gets scraped into the bin after they've examined the edges . But Amber flies to her bowl as soon as its down and pounces.
All in all shes a great cat to care for . She looks forward to visitors and whizzes around at speed to see whats happening next , bombing out into the yard then back again to see what Ive brought for her to play with . She has a thing about rubber bands so any spare time is spent flicking them for her to chase .

Monday, 16 April 2007

And all that was yesterday before I had caught up with the Get Well Freddie 'blog, life was going on much as usual , cats , foghorns , bikes and the sea in the sun .
I started reading Fred's dad s blog along with one or two others when laid up with chest problems , and found it compelling , wanting to know how the baby was progressing , how his parents were coping .
There had been mention of a rogue cell in the middle of last week but I found myself reading and re reading what was written late the night before last , picturing the parents having to face putting it in black and white , posting it for all to see. Once its said , no going back . No more hope of a cure , or of more time , another transplant , just facing the fact that his treatment hasn't worked and their time with him is a few weeks now .
A shadow over the day ........

Sunday, 15 April 2007

No mice today and Miss Downstairs only appears when Im washing the food bowls and trying to work out where the plastic bags are , always a challenge in someone else's house . You learn from experience to bag up any leftover food if you want the house to smell fresh each day . No sign at all of Mr Upstairs ; I check under the beds and call a couple of times but he is clearly out already in the sunshine . The fohorns don't start till later today .
Miss D follows me around rolling in the sunny patches and I sit down with her for a few minutes . She s a friendly little cat who resembles an owl but the corpses tell a different story . Once there was what looked like a complete family on a cushion on the sofa , all tiny and perfect and only when I picked them up for disposal in a tissue did I realise they were all unharmed , too young to have died of fright , possibly . I placed them carefully back out in the garden and hoped for the best , though with a heavy heart .
D is waiting for me with the bikes and we ride round the coast along the sea front in the early sunshine .

Saturday, 14 April 2007

The foghorns are quiet

The foghorns are quiet and the mist is gone . Tulips outside in pots at the first call of the season , April is here and the holidays are starting . We do get CatCalls in Winter , people go away at Christmas and for New Year and the odd February trip away , but the warmer weather is a sign of things to come . People packing their cars and off to visit friends , City break weekends , the occasional longer holiday .
Deb s house is quiet , ticking clocks and silent cats . An upstairs cat and a downstairs , with clear lines of demarcation . The downstairs cat hears my arrival and flies through to show her appreciation . Im already on my guard as she saw me here last night and , yes there it is , a tiny perfect field mouse presented on a shiny colour supplement . A protocol exists for all these visits , and an established way of doing things . For the mouse its a shroud of tissue and the compost heap and a few words in my head . Prior to the compost heap it was more of a coffin in the rubbish bin .
Catcalls was set up for people going away for short stays who didnt want the bother of putting their cats into a cattery and preferred them to be able to stay at home with people coming in to feed and take care of them . It suits families with " multiple occupancy " cats . We dont charge more depending on how many cats you have , unlike catteries and we dont inisist that you have your cats vaccinated either which is an advantage for some , especially with elderly cats who dont go out much now and are at less risk of infection .
Some also like the idea that their house is being taken care of too , a watchful eye cast over everything .

Later I call to feed and water and check on Deb s cats and the house , all quiet and both cats are out , hopefully not hunting for more gifts for my morning call .
I check under both beds as I sometimes text to let her know if both cats are safely tucked up for the night . Theyre not so unless she texts me to ask I will wait until I have seen them both in the morning .

The mist has settled again and the foghorns are much in evidence near the sea . Inland , where we 've been visiting , it was sunny and warm , cats playing on lawns . Quite a different outlook here .
Close the house up till tomorrow and back to our shouting cats and squealing guinea pigs .

Migraine Days

Migraine Days

Flower and Bee on a Sunday

Flower and Bee on a Sunday

art on a sunday

art on a sunday