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

Friday, 17 August 2007

CatCalls

Catcalls this morning a joy with no headache but still spaced out enough by medication from yesterday to need to do everything at a slightly slower pace than normal . Four calls this morning and I head for the Fairytale Garden first . The bird feeders are empty as ever , the wire feeder knocked to the ground and pigeons marshalling the grounds waiting for my attention . The cats are much less insistent , both outside in recognition of the sunshine , the house deserted and though one of them follows me round the garden pledging allegiance I know she can't wait for her proper family to return .
At the second house , where there are two quite wicked kittens , mayhem awaits . The cupboard door in the kitchen is open , despite being firmly retaped yesterday , and they have been inside pulling items to the edge as best they were able . No mean feat for a cat . The vegetable baskets are overturned and one of the portraits of the family dog has been hooked off the wall and has flown some distance across the floor . Toys are mangled . They leap at me in delight and as I go into the utility room to collect food and wash dishes , the boy cat nips me playfully on the back of the leg . As I bend to bring out a tin of food I notice him clamber into the sack of cat litter wood chippings and begin to settle himself down ( probably to do what cats do best in cat litter .....) Argh , I scoop him up and tell him he has a properly appointed place for such matters . Later , when I empty the tray , clean it and replace the newspaper which lines it , before I have the chance to fill it with litter , the little girl has jumped aboard and started to produce a very long wee, looking around and blinking proudly at her skill in managing to thwart me where her brother failed . Oh well .
At my fourth house , I am delighted to see that Mr Upstairs is home , though attempting to confuse me by lounging on a leather beanbag downstairs . I am not used to seeing him after day three of a stint , as he tends to get bored and move in with one of the neighbours , but here he is though making it clear by the disdainful look he gives me that he is not welcoming attention . Ms Downstairs is cheery as ever flitting about in front of me and landing on chairs so that she is at the right height for conversation . I am tempted to water the garden , but mindful of the forecast decide to leave till this evening as it is likely to rain anyway . Though I will go out there later in any event as there are raspberries promised , and possibly even a strawberry .
At the final call ( usually I go to her first but as she is alone in the house I wanted to spend more time there today ) there is a sombre feeling as I approach . I know that a young man has died and I can't help noticing a shiny black car parked outside next door and wonder if its connected . Two nights ago as I sat the car outside waiting for a lull in the storm I noticed a solitary seagull on the chimney stack in the pouring rain , keening loudly , seeming highly distressed .
The little cat , also not much more than a kitten , races to the inner door to meet me . I have brought her a little toy white mouse as we have dozens of them at home and her toys seem to have disappeared . She pounces as I throw it then tosses it in the air for herself whilst I organise food and litter tray . We then play hide and seek until she returns to her food and I know her priority is breakfast rather than play .

Safer South Tyneside


Turning the corner on our bikes near the sea front in South Shields , we are confronted by a policeman in uniform and immediately feel guilty for riding on the promenade area , and certain we are about to be given some friendly advice about keeping South Tyneside safe .... but no , he asks have we heard about the Safer South Tyneside community bike stamping event , and invites us round the corner in the environs of Minchella coffee shop where we were planning on stopping , to tip our bikes upside down and have them etched , photographed , and thus logged with the police , very handy should they be stolen . In return for stopping and taking part , we are to be rewarded with a combination lock each . Sounds too good to be true . Whilst I unfasten the decidedly uncool ( Harvey had to remove it when borrowing my bike last week ) bike bag as I don't want the contents all over the footpath , a group of boys approches , one of them sans bike . He explains to the policeman in charge that he has locked the bike over at the " skatey" ( skateboard park ? ) and now he can't get the combination right to unlock it . He
explains which number he put in , how he changed it ( reason for change not given ) and now neither will work . How is it that I know that in weeks to come , when the policemen are long gone , and I am over the other side of the water ( we are a long way from home here , having travelled on the ferry this morning ) that I will be that boy ( figuratively, or do I mean metaphorically , speaking ) wrestling with the lock and a variety of possible combinations rattling through my mind whilst I become increasingly irritable .
The man on the phone is the man calling for assistance to unlock the boy . There is always an answer .....

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