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

Welcome to CatMinders

Welcome to CatMinders

Sunday, 30 September 2007

When I was away ...


Jess and Pearl , fed up , allegedly by my absence . Taken by D ......
Without my laptop , its harder to put pictures on . Without my laptop ? Where is my laptop ?

Saturday, 29 September 2007

A battered pound puppy


Found this morning . One battered pound puppy . The cats carry them around and treat them alternately like treasured kittens , or offending rodents . Take your pick .

Looking for the possible beach hut ....


To Holy Island again , this time in search of a possible beach hut . Sally , who does my acupuncture , told me her friend made a beach hut at Holy Island out of wood and assorted debris ( she s an artist ) , and English heritage came and took it down . then she built one from stone , and its been allowed .
We did also harbour a longing to see the causeway to the island flood over at High Tide , so checked the tides accordingly , and spent an hour at the island collecting crinoids ( as ever ) , then searching out , but failing to find , the alleged beach hut . We clearly need better directions . I was panicking too in case we were stranded , but even though we left after the safe time , there was no sign of water . As it looked like we would have to sit there waiting for the water for another hour , we retired to the hotel up the road for a coffee , and drove back , as we thought , with ample time . But , amazement ... the water was right across the causeway and had we been five minutes later we would have missed the entire spectacle .
The little boy in the photo right happily flew a kite and paddled in the water throughout , loving the way the water washed fast past him across the road .
There was no seals audible today . Everything silent save the bird cries .

Friday, 28 September 2007

Speed Fiends

Either I still have Immigran or Syndol in my system , or I am so laid back by the ending of the Day Job for the week . Whichever , I sleep again until the alarm at seven forty five . Well rested , I feel somehow that I have missed some of the day , slept the time away . No matter that given half a chance , or even quarter of a chance I will happily lay down my head wherever I can and sleep an hour or three , afternoons , early evenings , whenever the chance arises . But , in the mornings , it seems something has been wasted .

Still no laptop .


I fret this morning about the car .
The lettter from the Speed Fiends course ( organised by Drive Tech , and properly named a Speed Awareness Course ) makes it clear that those arriving late will not be admitted , indeed those arriving unfit to take participate properly by way of excess alcohol or drug consumption , will likewise be sent away and their file returned to the Police Authority . And the dreaded points added to the licence , no doubt . Thus , my agitation about being held up in trafic , getting lost ( despite checking the route yesterday ) etc etc , is increased last night , when , attempting to do a cat call at seven pm , the car will not start . A follow up to having to call out the AA a couple of weeks ago , pre Edinburgh , when it failed as I was driving . A coil pack , I am told , but no evidence for which one . Keep going till it happens again . And here we are , the night before Speed Fiends and its going to drop dead right when I need it most .
I turn the key enough times to flood the engine , decide to abandon it and push it out of the way so we can take D s car to the CatCall , and , one last turn and it takes off.

And , miracles , it starts first thing this morning , and due to my Lateness Anxiety Issues , I arrive at Speed Freaks with a good fifteen minutes to spare . I have brought a novel to read in the car , but as I approach the parking area , there are two smartly attired men waiting to greet me , and advise me about parking . This is a nice touch as they are polite and welcoming and let me know that once I have parked there is coffee waiting . I decide to forego my fourteen minutes reading and walk on into the waiting room . Shock , Horror ! I am not first there , as usual at such things , but the room is almost full . Of men . Sheepish , embarrased , pink cheeked , smiling and glancing furtively at the latest newcomer . But they are all men .
I can't face coffee . I sit and the man next to me smiles . Hard on my heels another man joins us , and breaks the silence , chuckling " well here we are then , the law breakers" . I try hard not to giggle myself and start to look around . I cannot believe that all of these people have arrived so early , many of them look as if they have been there quite some time .
The two welcoming men introduce themselves and check out our ID all the time smiling warmly and offering drinks . I start to relax though I still wonder , am I the Only Female Speeder in Northumberland . And then oh Joy , in walks another woman , and , would you credit it , someone I know slightly through work , from around thirteen years ago !

We all file up upstairs to computer desks and a special tutorial is arranged for a man who has never used a computer mouse before . Much of the initial part of the course involves an interactive test , the results of which are handed to you and you can see whether you have problems with speed generally , thrill seeking , reaction times to hazards , concentration , tiredness whilst driving etc .

I come out with good results on everything bar concentration and this is accurate . I decided to answer strictly honestly rather than massaging the results , and have to admit that though when aware of speed limits I always do slow right down to the limit , my problems arise when Im daydreaming . On the day I was caught on camera , doing 34 mph in Haydon Bridge ( like many of the others on the course , interestingly ) , I was never even aware of the camera , which caught me leaving the town . And though my road tests where I had to assess the rights speeds and distances etc were fine , I clearly need to concentrate more and drift off less.
I saw from my fellow Fiends that some of them had definite Issues of speeding , generally driving faster than average , closer to other cars , and in the case of some of them, using the car to " deal with emotional issues " . Now there's a thing . ( I scored low on emotion , which apparently is good . probably accurate , I'm not one to swear at other drivers , except D when he is frightening me with his Speeds , but thats another story ) .

The time flashed past , and fascinatingly some of the men started to get a little stroppy by the end , challenging the facilitators on the letters from Drivetech , and critisising the way they had not initially been offered the course rather than points on their licence . These points were all handled admirably and as a trainer I enjoyed seeing how they were manged , with a smile and a confident response .
As we all left , I joked with M about how we would all drive off at a much reduced speed , but in fact it took me several minutes to get any speed at all , thanks to my dodgy coil . Dead as a dodo. How embarrasing ......

Later in the day , I feel minded to make Rocky Road , a Nigella cake/ biscuit item which seemed fitting .
And now Im gearing myself up for more acupuncture .

Wednesday, 26 September 2007

Days like these .... ( with migraine )

Migraine again .
Awake very early again and listening to the wind and reading the Memory Keeper book again and not going back to sleep . Up early and N helping me chose a top to wear for work and all going well and looking forward to work as some interesting meetings today then suddenly as N was talking to me , bang , that feeling of " I cant see anything properly" then the familiar twizzling lights whirring across my vision and making me feel my control on things is fading .
Its time to leave for work but I go to lie down for ten minutes hoping I might be able to magic it away by the power of thought . But no , and a dose of Immigran doesnt do much either so I have to phone in sick and within minutes Im fast asleep , relief , and when I wake ( four phone calls right in my ear ) the lights have all faded but the sickness and headache linger .
It could be worse , though I cant help remembering the last time it was like this , started not too bad then got much worse the following day .
Fingers crossed .
And at least now I have all the medication to dose myself via suppositories , sorry too much information , possibly , thus saving the emergency docs a night time visit .

Our vouchers arrived for the Trowelling on Makeover Event .
My laptop is still Disappeared.
And there is a thin black cat in the garden . His name is Ivan .

Tuesday, 25 September 2007

Days like This

There are days , not many of them admittedly , but there are days when its wonderful to wake at four forty am . I lie there trying to to guess the time . Its still dark and very very quiet . No heating revving up so its pre that time when its not worth going back to sleep . And as I lie there , the rain starts . A gentle , insistent rain which reminds me of primroses in the woods , snowdrops in clumps around and about on the farm where my grandparents lived . It sounds loud , outside and the bed is warm and soft . The door is closed so no cats nipping the toes or squeaking their greetings as they sense movement . I have to know the time ....
And then my mind fills up , and the rain , still there , can't compete with the noise in my head , and though I try for minutes on end , there is no escape and finally I pick up my book , The Memory Keeper's Daughter . And before I know it half an hour has passed and I am drifting away again .

Monday, 24 September 2007

they trowel on the make up

saturday afternoon , as I sat propped up in bed with hot water bottle , trying to avert tummy disasters , a phone call from somewhere unknown , to tell me that a few weeks ago N had entered me for something . Sounded like she was saying a Mother Appreciation Event . What ? Wasnt I aware that my daughter had done this , she asked . No . Well she did and I had come out of the draw , and as a result if I could book now , myself and N had won a make over and hairstyle in a beauty salon in Newcastle and we would be there three hours and they would dress us in glamorous attire and take our photos and give us one free one and there would be absolutely no pressure on us to buy any of them and we could have that last fact in writing ( alarm bells start to ring ) , and we could bring a glamorous top if we liked but if not they would have silk sheets they could wrap us in and feather boas etc . Well ! It all sounded very exciting . I booked a date and then rang N , whop was in town with her friends . her screams I am sure were audible as far as the beauty salon , wherever it turns out to be .

then I texted my sister and she told me oh yes she had won one once and they give you a great time , trowelling on the make up in order to make you look presentable , then use a lot of clever lights and soft focus things to make upi look glamrous , but in her case they did get very shirty when she professed herself unable or unwilling to shell out the hundreds of pounds they were asking for the photos , whioch having seen projected onto the wall , she was longing to take home . But no , it was not to be and the woman even asked why she had come if she didnt intend to buy . Oh , she said , I thought I had won a make over .

I reserve judgement . For my part , however wonderful the pictures I remain sure I would be able to resist , though less sure perhaps that N s pleas will be so easy to say no to .
We shall see .
I will keep you posted .
Anyone else had this experience ? All advice gratefully received .

Saturday, 22 September 2007

tummy bug

I seem to have some horrid tummy bug with attendant temperature and bad dreams , including one of being charged by a large black cow with little meanacing ( throught straight ) horns . I ran away and over a fence and survived .
This didnt stop me making a trip to a suitcase emporium where I acquired an apple green holdall on wheels , and with a handle . I plan to open it up later and start my packing early . Im usually a last minute packer but I have a feeling it may be nice to look forward to the holiday to the sun even more bu being constantly aware of it. Every time I trip over the bag .
Off to the theatre now to see Alan Bennet play .
cats to feed on the way .

Friday, 21 September 2007

Pearlie on the pop

Click to enlarge , its worth it to see the look on her face ....


D sent this to me when I was away , Pearl ( missing me possibly ? I like to think ....) situated on top of the wine rack , right next to the guinea pigs where she can keep an eye on things .

Herriot Watt uni .... staying in halls made me think about what it would be like to be a first time away from home student . My room was fine but one of my colleagues was "down the grim end " of the block where some wit had been making large with a sharp instrument . The walls were graffiti d and when she looked closer at the etchings in the varnish on her room door , she was less than amused to read " Knock Here for Sex " . Later when recounting the story she saw the funny side . Just as well as I was near hysterical by that point ....

The conference was as conferences are . My presentation was scheduled for the Thursday afternoon which meant I had all week , potentially to fret about it . I managed to push it from my mind and enjoyed the first two days , though for someone who prefers a more solitary existence its hard work being surrounded by people all day every day . Some people thrive on that and I enjoy it up to a point , then ... suddenly the thought of home and my own space becomes very tempting .
I escaped after my thing yesterday and drove home in stunning sunshine , some rain showers and a brilliant double rainbow , and was home by seven . To walk back into the house and snuggle under a duvet on the sofa with N , who was feeling under the weather , was sheer bliss .
The cats swarmed round me , the pigs squealed even as I opened the front door . What a welcome .

Still no laptop . Im not really back in my stride blog wise and fear I won't be until I get that phone call from John Lewis. Dont give up on me ?

Monday, 17 September 2007

Without my laptop...

So hard saying goodbye to my laptop yesterday . Has been my constant companion for well over a year , but yesterday it all got too much . the lid hinge was getting looser and looser and almost impossible to get the screen to focus . Typing was a one finger only business , with the left hand used to hold the lid tightly on , pressing at an angle to get a connection . Using the mouse whilst doing this was nigh on impossible . I never knew I knew so many swear words , juts as you were about to perform some delicate operation the image on the screen would start vagueing out and then woosh , disappear in a puff of smoke .

So back to the " service desk " at John Lewis , as instructed by Judith , on the phone on Saturday afternoon , in one of those its now or never moments . What Judith didnt tell me was that no one on ground floor would have heard of the "service desk " nor indeed that they would snigger somewhat nastily when I asked where it was , then set off to find another employee who would flounce back doing the " which lady wants the "service desk" " whilst loooking me up and down like some kind of idiot .
However Judith was right and there was indeed a service desk , lurking in the corner of audio whatsits , ( maybe everyone has to bring their laptop back ??? ) and , oh , the heart sinks , there is a whole queue of people waiting there with their broken thingies . Its not as if I can just throw my beloved laptop at her and run . No , I have to wait whilst a family divest themselves of their little ipod , all the while feeling more and more panicked at the thought of no laptop , no blogging .

I cant write about the deed , but afterwards I said to Nat " I felt like giving my laptop a goodbye kiss " and she just looked at me . Though to her credit she didnt ring the store psychiatric facility .

We had lunch in pret a manger to ease the day onwards then took off to Laura s ( see the house above ) , where we overate dangerously and played Scrabble . Some tense moments indeed when the Supreme Champion ( on the throne since the demise of Grandma Batey) looked like and then , horrors , was beaten by her thirteen year old neice ( my daughter ). Go for it Nat, not a battle I would have dared to win . Nor had the skills I hasten to add . I always come last .
To be fair Laura coped magnanimously , and after a few moments alone in the bathroom all was well .

And now Ive discovered that D is quite happy to let me Blog from his pc .
I'm off to Edinburgh tomorrow to a conference . Wish me luck for my presentation on Thursday afternoon , and I will be back on Friday . And who knows maybe the laptop will not be much longer away .

Sunday, 16 September 2007

Bracelets from New Mexico




The new bracelets are the two at the top and the older one which Jo brought back from a previous trip is at the left . I couldnt resist photographing them .
Toby , our big seal point Birman boy , has appointed himself Guardian of the Newspapers . Settled between us on the bed this morning as we have breakfast in bed , he hears the arrival of the papers ( a loud bang , followed by a squeak then a shuffle as they all push through onto the floor. Toby starts awake and then dives out of the door and downstairs . When I go down to collect them about ten minutes later , he sits beside them , bolt upright , self important . We have noticed him doing this most mornings this week . When we come down and get on with things , the papers arrive and he flies out to sit and watch them .
THis my last blog before the laptop goes off to be fixed . the lid is hanging off, there is nothing visible on the screen , so touch typing it is . Hopefully I can use D's pc to keep myself going , though it wont be the same .
I feel bereft . but have the walk to the waterfall and a picnic to urge me on . I can live without my laptop . I know I can .


Saturday, 15 September 2007

Albequerque


Three years ago this Sept I went to a conference in New Mexico , thanks to the Day Job , which does have many positive spin offs though few of them would be apparent to a reader of this blog . At the time Jo ( my colleague ) and I worked out that being at the bottom of the pecking order , the real reason we were offered the trip was that no one else really fancied Albequerque . Little did they know . We had a great conference , but we had an ever better holiday before and after hours , enjoying the October sunshine , swimming on the hotel roof ( the pool was up there ) , and breathing in the wonderful mountain air . Our final day enabled a coach trip to Sante Fe and we sampled downtown clubbing and a plethora of amazing restaurants all week. Everywhere we went people spoke to us and asked us about our business , many of them assuming we were there for the soap powder conference which was in fact in a neighbouring hotel . I had hardly known Jo before but we got on like a house on fire on the trip , sharing a love of shopping , swimming , food . And was there shoppping ?? Jo adores jewellry and we explored all the jewellry outlets there , or at least it felt like it , and I even I came back laden with native american stuff . During our stay we both fell in love with the place and it was no surprise to me when Jo gave up her job here and took off back to the States , initially for a job in Texas but finally being offered a job not far from Sante Fe .

She returned to Uk this week to sort out her visa and I met her this morning for coffee , catch up , and for her to bring me a bracelet she had chosen for me . She has done this twice before for me . I describe roughly what Im looking for , colours , style etc and each time she has chosen me a fabulous piece .

Today as we sat down with tea and breakfast in Cafe Royal , she brought out two bracelets , very different , both beautiful , and after trying them both several times and looking at the prices ( wow , what a bargain , they were each half price , blah blah ) , she finally asked if I wanted them both . Of course I did and realised I just about had enough cash ..... so , that was a wonderful way to spend the morning . I sit and drink tea and the jewellery stores come to me . I then drove her up the coast to her house there which is now up for sale , as shes planning to re locate completely to New Mexico . And the even better news , flights there are cheaper than they used to be so it may be possible for us to plan a visit at some point in the next couple of years .


And now I'm planning for the picnic at my sister's tomorrow .I'm baking a poppy seed cake , and a cheesecake is formulating in my head , and all the while Im thinking of New Mexico . The heat, the desert , the food , the atmosphere ... I can't wait ! But just thinking about it will keep me going for a long time .

Friday, 14 September 2007

Yesterday


Im cross and grumpy with today's Times Codeword ( and a few other things besides ) . It features a word Orc which Ive never heard of , and the whole thing defeated me . And now Im irritated beyond words with that and the fact that my laptop is dropping to pieces but I cant hand it in to be repaired as I need it every day , and it shouldnt , in my book , have failed after just after one year's use . I'm in a bad mood .
Hopefully tomorrow will be better .
And , finally , I desparately want to speculate about what happened with Madeleine McCann but I wont because how does the endless speculation help anyone . It annoys me there is so rubbish printed masquarading as Truth .....as you may have guessed Im very grumpy indeed .
Normal service tomorrow hopefully .

Thursday, 13 September 2007

The Birds


Stressful day today for D and as there was little I could do to help , I did the next best thing and went to town , booking myself a facial and massage on the spur of the moment . If in doubt , do something special ! And special it was , wrapped up in towels and under a blanket covered in oils and trying not to engage with the therapist about my satisfaction with my current " cleansing products " . All I wanted to do was lie there and doze but she wanted to investigate my cosmetic habits .
What do you like and dislike about your current products ?
Theyre fine . I say in a very definite " no one home " voice . Silence as she presses with her thumbs and she starts to breathe heavily . Later I discover she has some kind of problem with breathing and the session takes place with a heavy breathing in the background motif . It doesnt take long before she gets the message and realises I'm there for the massage and the hard sell is likely wasted on someone like me . Bliss.
Later I go for tea ( I have temporarily given up coffee , argh , in an attempt to cut out anything which might contribute to the migraine problem ) in John lewis , and a woman is feeding a baby sitting up in a high chair . the baby is still quite tiny , and very pink , but old enough to eat solids and indeed I notice how well she is tucking into a pot of something white . After the white pot , she eats a pink pot . I get my ginger tea and a piece of cake and sit down . Baby demolishes a pot of something greenish now . I watch in amazement . Nat was never a big eater and a quarter of a pot was her best effort even when a year old . This baby was nowhere near that age .
Green pot scraped out . There now ! says Mother happily and wipes her hand . Her friend looks on with interest . Baby looks round , as it turns out , looking for the next pot . No more ! says Mother and Baby s mouth opens in disbelief . No More ! the mouth opens and she starts to scream . I'm sorry, says Mother , looking slightly panicked . Youve had three ..... I didnt bring any more . Baby is not impressed .
I am fascinated with all this , remembering how thrilled I used to be when Nat ate anything very much . I can't recall any occasion when she asked for more than we had for her .
This afternoon , we take off to St Mary's island again . Stress cant survive long against the bashing of the waves and the seabirds , and the proppect of spotting a seal in the waves ( we didnt , this time ). A coach trip of German people arrive and it is wonderful to see them all hurrying back across the causeway and noting that the tide is threatening to cut them off . they assume we are part of their crowd and include us in the merry chatter .
L suggests we visit them for sunday tea so I buy poppy seeds and plan a cake which N has been asking for . A picnic is on the cards though the forecast is bad ... oh well a picnic in the house will have to do .

Wednesday, 12 September 2007

so hard to write

Its so hard to write on the days Im at the Day Job . Not that there isnt anything , in fact my fingers itch as I notice things , interactions between people , stuff I find funny that other people seem to take for granted as part and parcel of how people treat each other . Blah blah . I'm in danger of getting into it all . But Ive learned from the blogging giants who have gone before us and trying to write about what wont get me into trouble .....

So I 'll be back later todaywhen its all over , or for real tomorrrow , when I have my life back ....

Monday, 10 September 2007

weekend ....






..trying to hang onto the weekend .
A picture of the causeway , swallows on the sail ropes , and D searching for crinoids , or St Cuthberts Beads . We found a total of around twenty , now displayed in the bathroom

the excitement ....

... the perfect end to an amazing weekend , for the first time in ages , but ages , we booked a holiday ....a proper holiday with flights , sunshine , a beach and all that ... all organised for six weeks time so plenty of time to get even more excited .
And my sister will come and take care of everything here .

All of which made up for the fun of my car packing up this morning and an exciting hour parked up near a garage waiting for the AA to arrive and watching what was going on in the garage which had a sign up saying Sorry we are temporarily closed and bollards preventing cars getting onto the forecourt. ( There is a point to all this detail ) . It was truly fascinating to watch the responses of the cars arriving to drive in for petrol and realising they couldn't get beyond me . I was effectively blocking an entrance which was already blocked . The majority of people pulled up , glanced around , tried to work out what I was doing there , scratched their heads , glanced at their fuel guage then drove off , obviosly realising the smartest move was to find an alternative station . But the odd driver screamed up , shrieked to a halt then worked themselves ( himsef , really , in the main they were men who were cross ) into a silent frenzy , furious that things were not going their way . One woman was amazing . Very stylish , perhaps about seventy odd , small car . She was wearing one of those wonderful turban jobs on her head . Anyway after grinning at me , via several big gestures she indicated that she was bang out of petrol , that she had not a clue where the next garage would be , that she had to be somewhere quite necessary , but , and her smile said it all , What the Hell , life was for enjoying and laughing at and if she ran out of petrol , she'd cope and she trusted there would be people out there in the big world who would be happy to help her .
Sitting reflecting in my car about all this , how differently people react , I noticed a woman striding purposefully towards me . One of the women who worked in the garage to ask if everything was ok , if I needed help , or a lift anywhere , or a cup of tea whilst I waited for the AA ( after I explained my plight ) . This kind of thing makes my day .... unexpected kindness contrasted as it often is with " the workaday world " where we none of us have time to take care of stuff like that .
And now I have to sign off as my laptop is giving out and typing with one finger whilst holding the lid on with the other .....though of course I still have masses to say

Sunday, 9 September 2007

yesterday...


....was one of those idyllic days when everything goes perfectly .

CatCall to start the day , and watering plants in the lovely yard there with two friendly cats for company .

It was D's birthday and his daughter and her partner and their little one ( two ) arrived bearing croissants for breakfast . These were no ordinary croissants though , they had been laid out to prove the night before and were now waiting on a tray to be baked , a variety of different fillings . Reminiscent for me of American conferences ( the Day Job) , where you arrive from your hotel at the conference to be served the most amazing danish pastries , croissants etc . Nowhere does it better ! But thanks to J and D our kitchen was a pretty close approximation . All the more appreciated as J was due to go back on night shift later ( she is a midwife not long qualified and if ever you want to watch in admiration as someone manages a really busy life at such a young age , take a look at her blog http://www.motherwifemidwife.blogspot.com/). Alina seemed to enjoy picking up tiny red hearts off the floor most of anything , but thats' how it is when youre two . The hearts had been added as sprinkles to D 's card and present , and there was a moment this morning when I spotted one sticking to his bare buttock which still makes me giggle now ....I dont quite know how it got into the bed but maybe Alina does !


Holy Island in the afternoon was magical . Very few cars there , so as we stood looking out to sea taking endless photos , all we could hear were birds and , when we walked around the headland heading for the beach , the eerie noise of the seals out on an outcrop of rocks , sounding like a cross between distant motorbikes and mermaids singing . Strange noise , which I managed to capture on the camera video function . The castle reflected in the sea perfectly for us in the sunshine for a few minutes and the same as we ate pear cake in a fairytale garden setting with a gang of birds watching us , starlings , thrushes and sparrows, squabbling over crumbs .


We sat on the beach searching for "St Cuthbert's beads ", or crinoids , the tiny fossilised remains which look like tiny beads crinoids st cuthberts beads - Google Image Search and which were spilled by St Cuthbert according to myth. Fossil folklore Incredibly satisfying to find , all different , all beautiful , and something which visitors to Lindisfarne have done over the years , and stil , with each turn of the tide , more of the beads are washed up . We left the island with plenty of time to spare , with the aim of returning at some later stage when the tide is close to covering the causeway , just for the fun of watching as the water closes in from both sides .


Saturday, 8 September 2007

Holy Island


Wonderful day at Holy Island .... just a picture for now , though there may be more , I see from the camera that we took 81.
D's birthday , the nicest day I've had in ages . He seemed to enjoy it too !

help, please ?

Just wondering if any of you people out there can help me with a blog thing ?
You will see from the last post that BetteJo has asked me a question about subscription to the blog . This is something which has long puzzled me ... when I first started reading the Freddie blog I subscribed which meant that each time Tim posted , I received an email which told me there was a new post and took me there via a link .
I hoped to set the same thing up on mine but wasnt able to find the way . Though I went through what seemed to be the right motions , having read all the blurb , it just didnt work like that though I was able with other blogs to use google Reader myself to get updates . But it was never quite what I wanted , which was the e mail way .
Now that BetteJo has raised this it has set me wondering again ... and also wondering about my other readers, and how you operate .
I'm fascinated , now I look at my stats , to see that there are people coming back and back to read , and I wonder whether you all do what I do when I read blogs which is simply to save links and log on each time .Another source of satisfaction is why people keep coming back , is it the cat connection , the pictures , the other pictures , or the bits of writing ? I started writing to publicise the CatCalls website and as far as I know none of my latest enquiries have been connected to the sites though I do know some of my catcalls families do read the blog as they've told me they do . So it all remains a bit of a mystery to me why I get returners , though very gratifying it is too, as Im sure all of you bloggers out there will know . And oh the joy of a Comment !
What I really need is to know more about you people ! maybe I should invite everyone who reads to make a comment and just tell me something about you and why you read , what else you read ( great way to find new blogs ) and what you like and don't like . Now there's a challenge !
And if anyone knows anything about Subscribe and how to , please tell me ?!!

Friday, 7 September 2007

Mini Pound Puppies


None of my cats are keen on conventional cat toys .
Moving rats with feathers for tails do nothing for them ( or me either come to that ) .
But all four of them adore mini pound puppies 6 1995 MINI POUND PUPPIES FROM POUND PUPPY on eBay, Branded Soft Toys, Soft To,( wouldn't you just love that little caramel one in the front ?) see the latest (above) I've been offered on ebay just this very minute as I sit minding my own business . That's the problem with ebay . Its hard to stop .
Months ago , I realised Kitty would be a happier camper if she had her very own supply of pound puppies . Due to some malfunction on her brain's hard wiring she views any passing pound puppy as her very own kitten and likes to carry specimens around , move them from room to room , presumably to protect them from the Horrid Humans living here , or maybe those nasty Vicious Birmans that she doesn't trust too far either . I think its safe to say Kitty has Trust Issues . perhaps simpler just to say Kitty has Issues .
N and I spent the best part of a Saturday combing the shops for Pound Puppies and found them now unobtainable so I did what you do now... you go on ebay ... and there were pound puppies galore . After several false starts , losing my nerve a few times , and balking at the reach for the stars price of the first "batch" I bid for ... I finally dropped out of bidding at ten pounds and they later sold for an incredible £28 ( for about thre or four used puppies ) . Finally however I got the knack of the thing and got myself a great bag full of the little poppets for around a fiver , all in perfect condition and providing Kitty with that Birthdays all at once Feeling as they tumbled out of the padded envelope.
Said Pound Puppies are now stored in a compartmentalised box , colour and size sorted , all ready each day for the cats to line up neatly and select the puppy of their choice to play with ( I did mention D's Tidying Issues didnt I ? )
Problem ? that despite several attempts to cancel the interest on ebay for pound puppies , I still from time to time receive a note to tell me they have found New Pound Puppies which may be of interest ....ever tried to resist clicking that ebay button ?

Thursday, 6 September 2007

Sea Monkeys ?

But you do have to find humour in every situation . Mine came after I had apologised to D for being a grumpy old misery when I was trying to speed him up finding the pills and he couldnt go any faster through my cess pits of drawers full of junk and pills .
But the humour was a private moment later when I was lying there thinking my thoughts , pain temporarily ebbed and my mind doing a re run of the night before . Just seconds before the doctor arrived I had been lying on the bathroom floor . In a final burst of action I threw up all over myself , all over the towel I was carrying and down my PJ s and , well , there were blackberries everywhere and I was choking and coughing . It went on and on , and Nat came in and the doorbell rang and D went to get it and I asked Nat to get me some new pyjama bottoms to change into quickly as the original pair were all puked . She ran along to the drawers , they got me a new pair , she came in to help me change , D showed the docs to the bedroom , trying to clear out the four cats who were all in there trying to assist ( last time Pearl went into his medical bag, tired of waiting for him )
. D made the right noises to the docs , I tried to clean up as best I could ( minging hair , face , teeth . Yuk) .
I bunged all the dirty stuff into the bidet and dragged myself along to our room .
Here I am .
I lie on the bed , D asks Nat to keep all the cats out if she can ( no mean feat to eject them all and answer questions ) .

The doc is asking me stuff now to try to work out if Ive got meningitis , if I'm always this dozy ( or just plain dim ), meanwhile teaching his student at the same time .
Nat answers a question about my preventors and suddenly D shoots off and is missing for a few minutes .
Out of the corner of my brain I register that he has gone and wonder ..... where'd he go ? Is there a problem ?

Later , after I'm injected and a bit more reasonable , he tells me two things
a) the reason he was carrying the sea monkeys in his arms during the latter part of the consult was he caught Pearl trying to tip them off the sill and it was the only thing he could think to do with them , under pressure ( you all know what sea monkeys are , right?)
and
b) no need for me to worry about the puked on clothes, he managed to slip out during a lull in procedings and pop them in to soak in the big sink downstairs . And now they're properly washed and out to dry on the line .

When he told me , I think I just stared ....

Later , when quite alone , I texted my sister .
Like I said in my profile , she and D have a special understanding .

Apart from Nat , they're two of my favourite people in all the world .
What would I do without them ?

Blackberry Crumble ....


....and this my friends was my sorry downfall on Monday night , or was it Tuesday night ? The days all merge into one . All I know is its now Thursday and its the first day Ive been dressed much less out in days .
I got two more migraines one in am one pm, on Tuesday, complete with visual disturbances and later , whilst I lay moaning to myself and begging D not to leave me whilst he waited for the emergency doctor to come out ( again, there was one here about a week ago ), vomiting of the above blackberry crumble in various stages .
Two points here , if you are not feeling well , blackberries are much nicer to eject that the usual carrots , and point two , its truly wonderful to have a lovely clean shiny bidet for that purpose and well worth the two hundred quid I splashed out on it about ten years ago . It means you can safely lie on the cool tiles on a nice smelling towel until the last minute , then lean over that ( from the floor) at the appropriate moment .
Commenting on such matters is clearly a sad state of affairs , but when there isn't much else going on for two days besides excrutiating pain in the head and neck interspersed with nausea and vomit and the dreaded almost above all else of being unable to see properly and thus unable to read.
I usually manage to contain myself , stay as quiet as possible , and talk in my head to myself about the fact that migraine isnt going to kill me ( though I sometimes feel like doing it myself to escape the pain ) , that it can go on and on and probably will keep coming back , but that like all feelings , emotions , sensations , it passes , and the pain will pass.
But it was harder this time , for some reason . Sometimes it just gets too much , the recurrence so soon after the last one when I haven't even had the chance to get to the GP to ask for another referral on , to look at changing medication yet again .
After the problems last time when I tried a new medication for epilepsy and ended up having a reaction to that over several months which affected my chest so badly that I broke four ribs coughing . Almost losing my job through the amount of time off . Watching people who have to live with me , watching me repeatedly vomiting and crying with the pain . Having to cancel things Ive really looked forwards to . Having to miss work and let people down . Etc . It goes on .
N always knows what to do , sometimes she steers clear , sometimes she comes and involves herself . On Tuesday night , late , when I was choking in the hall outside her room stayed put till I was past and the choking was over . The previous emergency night I was bending over the bidet , covered in mess and she was behind me pulling my hair back into a hairband . How did she know to do that ?
It was harder this time and I almost lost it whilst waiting for the doctor to arrive , getting in a sudden panic and begging D to get me tablets . I just think I can't keep on in this pain for much longer . My bedside cabinets are full of medications tried and tested over the months , years, and though I know exactly and in detail what they all are and how they work and how to use them , part of the migraine is that my speech becomes confused so that I can't explain myself to other people . There are anti sickness drugs , painkillers of varying strengths , anti inflammatories , and once , given by a GP when I was very lucky , again on an emergency visit , some diazepam ( oh joy, the muscles just flop and the pain seems to ooze away) .
I try to get D to find me an anti emetic and a diclofenac to take as a last ditch attempt .. but he is struggling to work out which is which ( no surprise as there are piles of medications all in different sizes and strengths and in a variety of colours and with different names . I'm asking him please just give me them now I can't wait any more and in a flurry he finds me something to take but its too late , the sickness is taking me over and that's it I'm in the vomitarium .
The doctors , when they come two of them this time , ask their questions and N knows most of the answers . I notice how she stands on the edge but takes control where needed ( having known me longer than D ) . They don't hang about and in twenty minutes or so the end is in sight ......

Monday, 3 September 2007

Blackberry Picking



Blackberry picking Sunday at 7pm .....
N joins in reluctantly but with a smile .

Shopping


Ive got my life back and now , as ever , Im a bit manic , as evidenced by working on and almost completing three reports ( which normally take a day each ) by starting at the crack of dawn , working till 4pm when my back ached so much at the pc I had to stop , then Nat and me heading for the metro centre and though we went t for two things only ( one of which we found , the other , the important thing , for D's birthday , not ) acquiring this pile of goodies on the way . Chocolate from a posh shop . We used to have this chocolate delivered once a month but its not good for us or the finances so we stopped , but Oh Bliss to indulge just once more ( as presents , not for us of course ... oh well maybe the £11 slab might be for us ? ) . Face cleansers , called cashmere silk , who could resist that , and some of that Boots No 7 Protect and Survive ( or wa sthat the name of the government campaign to get us all to use condoms a few years back , characterised by gravestones that out the fear of God into me though no one else seemed remotely bothered ) which Ive been psyching ,myself up to for months . A bikini for N some posh deodorant and what more could we want .
We drove home giggling at my attempts to sing Metromission and my pointing of of a womans hairstyle in the car in front of us " look do you see that hair-sticking-out-in-a- pointy-spike" Nat wetting herself "Mum thats called a ponytail " ... pre-senile-dementia again . Oh well . It was fun .
Returning home at seven N announces that I have two nights to sew on her school badge onto the new posh jacket masquerading as school blazer, and to turn up the too long new school trousers , so I set to with the needle and thread though she has to thread for me as my eyes won't do that any more , not even with the new Bargain specs ( the points acquired on my Boots loyalty card having funded the new face creams no less , can't be bad ) . As I sew I plot the next blog , which I write whilst also making a blackberry crumble ( we collected blackberries last night outside the cottage where D used to live before we got him ) . Disaster strikes as I rush to make the entire crumble in three minutes flat before a tv " Silent Witness" begins , and spill blackberry juice all over the surface which stains , horribly and bloodily . N insists on showing D , who is not keen on stains .
Soon my manic post migraine phase will be over . As I keep saying Normal Service will be resumed . But Today has been so much fun .

Kitty " I dont do sharing "


Kitty last night as we watch the Queen , not the Queen the Queen , but " The Queen " the film , in commemoration no doubt of Diana .
As Nat and I watch , happily bingeing on crisps , cheese and biscuits and avocado , a spider the size of a donkey flashes across the carpet right in front of us , heading towards Nat . I yell at her to warn her and she lets out a scream , one of those proper girly screams that Ive never myself been capable of . We shout for D in unison, and he comes from his room at a rate of knots , thinking some disaster has befallen us both ( and all the neighbours too ) . The spider is scooped into the crisp packet , though not before it teeters scarily near his finger .... I turn back to my crisps and say to N... "If we hadn't got D I'd have had to deal with that .." and then we stare at each other , aghast .

MeWars, or is it DWars?

Today I have got my life back . Its been someone or something else' s since almost last Monday .

Kitty ( I don't do sharing ), this morning , watching D trying to explain something to me , whilst holding the telephone receiver in his hand ready to make a call as soon as our conversation was over .
Kitty watches , her head turning from one to the other as she follows the conversation like cats don't . Her fury mounts as she realises that she does not have his full attention and furthermore that after talking to me , he will be on the phone for several minutes and will not be where she wants him , at his desk , working , with her sitting in front of him , head on keyboard doing her thing ( re formatting his documents , mostly ) . As we talk she turns her back purposefully to D , and does a sharp backwards kick at his legs ... Whap! Like a small hare , she has a powerful kick and I giggle as he tells her she cannot get away with this , that he will speak to me if he wants . It takes me a few minutes to work out that the war is not over me , but over Him and his time and attention .
Cats !

Sunday, 2 September 2007

Across the rooftops


Posted some more photos including this of Newcastle across the rooftops taken from the car park . And including some more pictures of Pearl ...and within minutes I had more comments from other artists at RedBubble .
My headache is finally gone . I can hardly believe it . Gone .
Kitty and Toby are squabbling over the best chair ( Kitty with her best ears laid flat ,I don't do sharing look on her face and Toby benign as ever tail hanging over the edge of the seat ) from which to watch " the Queen " which is presumably being shown in recognition of Diana's death just over ten years ago . Can you remember what you were doing ?
I wasn't picking blackberries which is what I did tonight , thats for sure .....

CatBed





Someone get that phone , I need to sleep ....

Better , peace at last .

I did manage to get out of bed today which was a start .

I think the cats were relieved , as my tossings and turnings as I download pictures , read the papers , talk to passing visitors annoys them somewhat , being used to having the place to themselves .

For my part I did a CatCall , albeit with a Driver , and in the afternoon collected new bargain specs . Such excitement . maybe tomorrow normal service will be resumed . lets hope so , three reports to finish and not many days left .

And no CatCalls tomorrow though there is a re start on Wednesday , some of our old favourites .

Stranger Nights




Pearl , sharing the sick bed .






Things went from bad to worse . I went out , against my better judgement , on Friday night ( food , no alcohol , but Drving , which finished me off ). By 3 am I was not coping with the knife pain behind my right eye and we D called the emergency doctor who came very fast ( minutes ) an dgave me 2 big injections which lifted me high out of the land of pain and into the land of heavy sleep . In truth , I'm still there .....
Normal service will be resumed ?

Migraine Days

Migraine Days

Flower and Bee on a Sunday

Flower and Bee on a Sunday

art on a sunday

art on a sunday