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

Thursday, 31 January 2008

Kitty is back

Of all our cats , Kitty has found adapting to Alice the hardest . She probably has most direct contact with the dog , coming nose to nose through the baby gate at the top of the stairs and refusing steadfastly to back away when the dog bounces up and tries to break through to get at the cat's food supply and their lovely resting places on the beds and in particular on the hot water bed . But its the Birmans who have slowly but surely made their way back down at nights when we are all in and the dog is safely esconsed on the sofa usually flat on her back legs in the air cockroaching , and Kitty has kept out of the way unless to plod down occasionally to remind us we have missed her tea time or some such .
But today , this morning , maybe its the storm ( its snowing as I write ) , here she is , firmly established on D 's desk and ready for the next round of Desk Wars .
Oh Joy .

Big Old Fish

Big old fish on King Edwards Bay . very tricky for Alice to approach . Waves threatening to engulf her . Also the smell , and her nerves to take into account , plus her memories of the baby seal pup CatCalls: Seal pup on the beach , King Edward's Bay Tynemouth and how it snarled at her when she was trying to be friendly that day . Better approach this one a bit more carefully .....

Has it got teeth ?

Gettting Closer ..

Whoa , look at this , just like that pollock they fed me when I wasn't well .

Don't go to school Nat ....!

Stormy night and the wind howling all night . Nat up in good time for school , came down and sat staring into space . When I asked is she ok she says Yes , its just so wet and windy I think for once Id just like to stay at home . At that point the dog drags herself off the sofa , no mean feat , as shes been glued there since her breakfast , staggers over and gives Nat a big hug . Its like she's making a pact . Ok , you stay home with me . Lie on the sofa with me and we 'll just do nothing all day . You re not allowed to watch tv or go on the laptop mind you . nat gets into the swing of it . Yes right ok and we 'll have a litttle bell to ring and mum can bring us food and snacks all day long Alice how about that ?

Sunday, 27 January 2008


It's that time of year again , the time when D takes against the current car and decides its past its best and time to get a new one . He invariably plans a WRX but this is the car he's currently got his eye on . I haven't seen it but I'm not complaining as its automatic and although I cant quite drive those I love trying ....
I myself have purchased a jewellry travel case from e bay , taking part in an exciting bidding war and winning by fifty pence in the final minutes . All for under a tenner .

That where were you happiest moment ?

In my case , tonight , 7 30 pm , lying at full stretch on the sofa , squashed up against a hot greyhound , reading the Sunday Times news review and idly listening to the sounds of D clearing up the Sunday Dinner debris in the kitchen ( I should add we had cleared up together but he always re clears for a further half an hour ) . Reason for my sudden joy ... coming unexpectedly across an article explaining the Paxman underpants thing which I've been failing to grasp all week Paxman and me, a briefs encounter - Times Online having missed the leaking of the original e mail Paxman allegedly wrote to M and S complaining about the decline in gussets and elastic supports etc . The article had me laughing out loud and reading out bits to Nat and I urge you to peruse at your leisure and enjoy the various descriptions of Mr Rudd's most intimate bits by his wife ( It looks like a dog's nose had me howling and i knew just what she meant and I've never even met Mr Judd ) .

And now Ive lost my place on the sofa . He' s finished the clearing up .
Oh well all good things must come to an end .

Meanwhile perfect pet mark two

Resting quietly at home , Tinkerbell , Hedgehog's pal .....

Rude Scrabble

We visit my parents and my sister is there with one of her sons so the teens insist we play Scrabble . We agree as this is a tradition we have instilled , however we try to suggest that this time there will be no rude words after things got out of hand at the post Christmas game when some of the words on the board were too new even for me . The teens although cringing when anything remotely risque comes up in a film are quite happy to place slang words suggestive of all manner of sexual practice on the scrabble board regardless that Grandma is looking over her glasses at the words and may require further details at any moment . I myself have fallen into that trap , to much hilarity , the Christmas before last , when I looked quizzical over a word beginning with J . And ending in Z . I shall say no more . But it was not a word I had used .
We thought we had agreeent on this , and split ourselves into teams , Laura and me , Harvey Jess and Nat , and Grandma working on her own . I am not a natural Scrabble player , I have to admit . I love words . I love the letters , and the board and the promise of the dictionary and the hilarity that always comes with a family board game ( in this family anyway ) , and the memories of games played at the farmhouse when my grandmother started us all off when we were younger than our kids are now, the competetive spirit that has been handed down from her to my sister and has been taken up by my daughter probably who competes now to win and no mistake . As I said I am not a natural . I am so accustomed to my sister racing streets ahead within minutes ( twenty years ago it would have been my grandmother , in ten years it will be Nathalia , possibly Harvey ) that I don't really give it my all shall we say . In fact I stare at the board , the letters , words , enjoying the moment but making little effort to fit words to the high scoring areas on the boards , happy just to come up with a word now and then , thrilled with myself if its amusing and delighted if its even slightly rude .
Nat and Laura on the other hand are quipping for England , sparring and alert , their beady eyes ever watchful . They know each other scores and likely next scores even before the tiles are on the board , before their hands are in the suede bag to select the next letters . And for Nat , when its looking dubious whether she will beat Auntie Laura this time , it's simply not any good and the rules have to go . Its Rude Scrabble no matter what she said , as she has a T*** , a c***, and a c*********** which would all score very highly indeed on all fronts and we are all agreed aren't we that we can change the rules .....
I have to admire her spirit .

Saturday, 26 January 2008

A rabbit away somewhere .....

I collect a few little things amounting to about four quid in Ikea food section to save me baking a cake to take visiting this afternoon . D is in the queue for the larger items .... we were looking for something to store the cookery books in in the kitchen , preferably under the bench and between the cat litter box and next to the raised greyhound feeding platform ( deep chested dogs have special feeding needs ) . Instead , we found a soft wool throw , to save us fighting with the dog for the blanket on cold winter nights in front of the tv , some vanilla scented candles Ive been sniffing around for for ever having noted a divine smell in one of my CatCalls houses ( lots of perfumed smells give me migraine ) , some dog poo bags ( very cheap , you really can't fault Ikea on these things ), a picture frame for a print of Lindisfarne castle I bought D for his birthday way back in Sept .
I digress . I usually do . There I am , collecting my stuff in the food section , arriving at the chcekout , no queue , handing over my card for my cakes , my bag of fruit gums for my sister , and I hear the boy say " You can take your card now " . I take the card from the machine . As Im taking it , I notice the message on the machine saying Please Wait , and at the same time he says No ! Sorry I say , I thought you said Take it Out . I did , he says . I did say that , I thought it was finished but its not . Its been ages . Maybe its ok . Lets hang on and see. I finish sliding the card out and wait , card in hand , feeling silly for some reason , like I've grabbed the sweets before I was allowed to .
Oops sorry he says . It says Card declined .
Oh its always doing that , I say . It will have to go through again I suppose .
He looks at me doubtfully and starts again . With hindsight I guess he would rather I had juts gone away or given him some cash . Never occurred to me .
The process restarts .
Pin number entered.
Pin correct .
Ive got the Pin right I say , a little triumphantly , and he nods , noncommital . He knows what he knows .
Card Declined .
Its declined again he says .
Does it again .
A queue is building up .
D has arrived and is standing to the side , watching .
I examine the card , starting to look for another in case this one refuses completely to honour me . I realise though its the right card , the expiry date is 07 10 . Oh look . I say to the boy . This card ran out last October , or so it says . But I used it yesterday . And the day before .
He looks very fed up by now . I cant see them , in fact I have no awareness of them but D tells me later that the queue is unsettled and beginning to wriggle . There are tuts and turnings of the head .
He takes the alternative card I offer . I am loath now to give him the cash , as I fear he thinks my cards are frauds . This I wont tolerate . he puts through my next card and it works like a dream . But I confess I am rattled . How come the Visa card sitting in my wallet expired in October and I have been using it several times a week since then ( more times than I care to count ) , and yes it rejects perhaps twice or thrice in that time ? And no one notices it has expired . There is a rabbit away somewhere , I think to myself , and return to the car , and there is the answer staring me in the face . Rabbits ! The Vets ! I took the card in my fleece pocket to pay for some coat conditioner we ordered at the vets whilst out on a walk with the dog , not wishing to carry a handbag . And never replaced the card in my wallet . Why do I carry an old card in my wallet ? Good question !

Arrive home dying to check fleece pockets . Neighbour asks who N's new friends are as one of them has shouted out of our sitting room window at her . It was not something polite which was shouted . I apologise and enter the sitting room to a teenage fug, where a film is being watched on dvd , and ask for an explanation . The finger is immediately pointed at one of the boys , who I say must immediately apologise . To his credit , off he goes . On his return I ask what he says and he states that he said sorry for using profanities and causing offence , which apology was duly accepted . The other teens ask what profanities are and I think of the three years I spent studying Durkheim and the Sacred and the Profane twenty odd years ago . Happy days .

Thursday, 24 January 2008

A new comment and a new reader

Two new commenters today and One of them a proper reader I think ! Always so exciting for a blogger like me with a small but loyal ( I think , judging by my figures ) readership , or should it be visitorship , maybe people come to look at the pictures ....
Im always intrigued as to how people find me in the first place . Many arriving by accident having Googled something odd by chance and landing on the site and moving swiftly on . And most people don't comment , either because they dont care to , they dont know how , or they're lurkers by preference .
I read a number of blogs myself , most of them American and find that most of them have many many regular commenters , and many of them have vast numbers of visitors too especially the famous ones which have been featured in the press which is how most of us knew about them in the first place .
I've concluded that we Brits are very reticent about leaving comments so I am just so happy when someone passing through and hopefully coming back ( like Joan from the Midlands ) leaves a comment and introduces herself . I love the feeling of knowing that someone is reading and something about her life , and next time I'm in Berwick I will know to post a picture .
And of course I stay ever grateful to the continuous support of regular commenters like the wonderful Bette Jo who is always here ....

The perfect pet ....

Don't know why they bother with all those cats CatCalls: Just keep doing what youre doing Dog , and that dog really . CatCalls: Feeling much better ... More trouble than they're worth ....

Stick with Pigs .....

Just keep doing what youre doing Dog

..And youre finally going to get your Come Uppance ...CatCalls: Feeling much better ...

( I dont think anyone has noticed I myself have my bottom in the olive tray ...... a much prized Christmas present from Jennie )

Feeling much better ...

... Thank you for asking ...
and now here I am lying here like butter wouldn't melt thinking how much pleasanter its been this last day or so rather than braving the elements just to hop off the sofa at five am and do my wee on the carpet near the door then trot happily to the top of the stairs to let people know Im up and about and need to go out , and poke my nose through the stair gate that stops me breaking through and nicking the cats food and " taking away their privacy " ( yes I hear the talk ) . Kitty the scary tortoiseshell fatgirl cat is always there waiting for me , she pokes her nose through and sniffs at me and I whine to let them know I'm here and I hear Her scramble out of bed as fast as She can in case she misses the boat . Little does She know Ive already been .....
She calls me nice things and we run downstairs and she lets me out in the yard and I run about and I come back in and Shes puzzled until She steps in the puddle in Her bare feet . Silence . She looks at me with that face on and I climb back on the sofa and I pull a face as well and She goes back to bed . She knows Ive been unwell so She doesnt say anything .....
All I can tell you is its also easier for me to do my pile in here as well . That yard is cold out there at six am ....and what the hell . ....
So as soon as Ive been I think Id better let someone know . So up to the top of the stairs again . Its Him this time . Down He comes . He looks straight in the room( He always seems to know, She s a bit more gullible and trusting , ) and heads straight for the cleaning stuff . He doesn't say a word either .

Then I'm sitting here and dozing happily and I can hear them talking whilst theyre having breakfast , and I'm fine . Im feeling much better thanks . But fancy talking about Poop whilst you're eating croissants and enjoying your fresh coffee . Not my cup of tea , Move on I say .... That's so last week .

But whats this ? Sleep in the hall ? Ruining the carpets ? Wood out there .... make her a bed out there ?

Get me the Fostering agency number someone ......I didn't sign up to that .

Monday, 21 January 2008

Celebrating ....

My first whole day since New Year's day without a single tiny semblance of even an ordinary common or garden headache much less a nasty old migraine .
Spent at the Day Job , working with a group , 9 till 5 30 , snow and rain falling .
Pedometer count ( my latest obsession the abysmal count of 1913 , instead of 10 000 ) .

But Alice is well enough to be Very Silly again and I have No headache . If I keep saying it it must be True .
Off to celebrate by reading the paper . Too snowy to do anything else . Have a good night !

Sunday, 20 January 2008

Alice was comatose most of the night . We settled her on the sofa wrapped in a blanket as her back was cold . Her belly , which is largely hairless , is always a hot water bottle waiting to happen . I worried about leaving her downstairs on her own , especially as she had not been out since 5pm and was resolutely refusing to shift , closing her eyes firmly when any suggestion of the yard was proposed . No food , no water all day . Vomiting several times . I'd scanned various websites and convinced myself she had Bloat ( the stomach in deep chested skinny dogs flips over , ominous phrases like Time is of the essence , get ye to a vet without delay, ringing in my eyes ) but D pointed out that the number of Bloat symptoms she didnt have as well as the ones she did .
I went up at eleven , came down at midnight , two am , D was down at four , and I got up with her at five thirty am . At that point , she looked so weak and wierd I decided she needed to drink no matter what it took . I brought water to her and tried to pull her upright , not easy when she is in the cockroaching position and with sad eyes to boot . But she got the message , staggered up from the sofa and followed me shakily into the kitchen where , wonders , she started to eat ....

I stayed up with her till 6 30 am , wrapping myself up with her on the sofa , until D came down looking for me . I then slept till 8 .
How do people with new babies manage it ? Im exhausted now , and I didnt even miss that much sleep . I just want to sleep for a week .

Saturday, 19 January 2008

Toby exhibiting the Flehming response in bed this morning ....

Well , Ive searched high and low for a picture of Toby pulling the face that is him Flehming , or failing that , one of the other Birmans Flehming , or finally , any old cat found on the net Flehming , but sad to say all I could come up with was this picture of a tapir , (and after all I have an affinity with tapirs CatCalls: The Tapir)doing the business .
Those of you who have spent any time around cats will be familiar with the face that goes on when one of your friends smells a smell he or she appears to find quite gross ( but is perhaps perversely quite interested in in a hormonal kind of way ) .
Toby had snuggled himself between us this morning and finding himself hard up against D s left upper arm , breathed in and then whee hee , he was Flehming . Its the greatest look , unless of course its your armpit that's been tagged .... the lips draw back , the cat kind of stops dead as if he can't bear to move , breathe, anything . In fact he looks aghast .. then he takes a long slow breath in all the while the mouth open and the lips back , still managing to look horrified , eyes big , pupils dilated . he may move his head around from side to side in very slow motion , as if saying to the world at large " hey you people Get This ... what a whiff ! "
Then just as you alert the embarrased armpit owner ( who usually hurtles off to the bathroom ) , and reach for the camera , he gives himself a little shake , gives that Who Me look and yawns and settles down again for the day .
Maybe thats why there are so few Cats Fleming pictures on the net or in my portfolio?

This pedometer lark..

Pedometers - John Lewis Since I can't get out and count steps I will at least post you what I will be counting steps with , and tell you that yesterday , after arriving home with my purchase at three pm , and attaching it to myself at roughly four pm , it having taken me around an hour to get the thing out of its packaging , get the battery cover off , get the battery into the right place , find the " inner ring " which it cautioned me against losing , and then programmed ( what is my weight in kg ? upstairs to the scales , oh shit I do need this exercise so badly , what is my stride length in cm , and later after consulting with my sister via text , how come hers is 50 cm if mine is 90 cm , I mean my legs are marginally longer than hers but .... ? ) and then deciding whether to attach it to my belt , carry in my bag , carry in my pocket or wear around my neck , I managed to clock up a grand total of almost four thousand steps by eleven pm , and given that ten thousand is the suggested number for weight loss and optimum health then this is Promising . And I checked and it doesn't include little shuffling steps taken around the house between kettle and fridge and chocolate supply , nor stairs , though if I stride purposefully along the hall and back whilst waiting for the toast to brown then these are added . No cheating there then .....
This pedometer lark could be fun .

Oh and for anyone who is wondering why I didnt purhase the five quid version , the shops are all sold out . And I'm far too impatient to wait to order one online ....after all I have done without my Roomba and my clothes .....

The very day I'm attached to my pedometer ..

Alice is unwell . No wonder she was not interested in her new coat from Iceberg Creations .... she didn't wake us at five thirty am today and when D went down to investigate he found her sitting in his office looking bemused and staring at a large Pile on the newly cleaned ( by him ) rug . I didn't even hear him say " Oh Alice , why not come and ask ? " so he must have said it very softly , but when she didn't follow him into the kitchen which she normally does whilst he prepared her breakfast , he assumed she was feeling a bit guilty . I woke up and smelled the coffee , as you do , and arrived in the kitchen just as he placed her freshly cooked and cooled mince on her mat , and just in time to see something I've never before seen , Alice sniff at her food then walk off . We stared and stared . We followed her and D threw his arms round her lest she should still be feeling sheepish . I hugged her and told her he wasnt cross . She looked at me then sat down . Unprecedented . Alice doesn't do sitting . She either lies at full stretch or on her back . Sitting must not be comfortable for bony greyhounds . Then she started retching , so we headed her for the yard . Since then it's been either her lying on the sofa in her blanket , or retching out the back . Poor lamb .

And the very day I'm attached to my pedometer for the first whole day ...... counting steps ..... my numbers are likely to be low .

Yes , I succumbed to the temptation to buy one , but it was after all in the interests of pursuing the twin Gods of Exercise and Health , and I did read earlier this week that even Alzheimers can be pushed that little bit further into the distance by the former .

And , speaking of cravings , so far , I havent bought a Roomba and I haven't bought any new clothes . My New Year's Resolution is Intact . How many of you can say that , 19 days into January ?

Friday, 18 January 2008

And now its properly on I'm refusing to look at the camera .....

Such a shame she disapproves , the fleece is so soft , the reflective strips are very flash , she looks thoroughly silly in it , yet silly with a touch of style .

Hopefully she will get used to it .
I think its the having to step into the front legs she disapproves of , its not very Greyhound after all . And I guess the cats are all going to laugh like mad when they catch a glimpse ....

Oh well , I love it .
I wonder if I should have got the bigger size though ? Its just like buying clothes for me !

I'm sorry I just don't think it suits me .

Thursday, 17 January 2008


Alice's new coat has arrived , according to a card ( and not the much longed for parcel ) through the door whilst I was drying my hair this morning .... how come I always hear the people demanding money , but not those delivering goodies ?
But it has been quarantined by the post office who have taken it away and will not bring it back until I pay the £ 13 plus they tell me it owes in Customs Dues . How does this work ? If I order something from the States , do I have to pay the Post Office ?
The thing that really gets to me is the thought of that long snaking queue going from the post office counter all round the car park twice and back ... oh well thats tomorrow .
And then Alice will have her fleece .
Roll on snow and ice ?

Ms CatCalls the actress .....

I've convinced myself that even with my red nose and bulging and streaming eyes I look like an actress . Or actor ? Isnt there a backlash against the word actress ? I digress .

I pulled up at the barrier of the premises of the building I was visiting this morning to have a conversation about some freelance work ( fostering and therapy , rather than acting , I should add ) , and was waved through without having to leave my car to enter the security guard 's hut as is the norm to explain my business . I should explain that the fostering project I was visiting shares the premises of a local tv company ( anyone out there heard of Robson Green ? ) .

I feel fairly certain the guy waved me kindly through because it was raining and he could see I had just washed ( and straightened , no less ) my hair , but when I arrived at the project and they expressed surprise that no one had phoned ahead to inform them of my imminent arrival , we all agreed it must have been because he mistook me for someone famous .

Obviously incognito , judging by the state of my car , which looked very grubby and somehow vague parked beside the altogether sharper looking four by fours , little mini cooper things with personalised plates and tinted windows , and the occasional advertising vehicle ( fostering ) .
Maybe its time we had a car wash .

Wednesday, 16 January 2008

not much of anything

No Blogging for days , in fact on reflection not much of anything for days .... nothing except coughing , blowing the nose , taking sudafed and headache pills in various strengths and juggling between this one and that one , trying to work out is this a migraine or a sinus pain or a rebound headache or blah blah .... its boring which is why I wasn't blogging .

And apart from that trying hard to keep going at the Day Job , and just about managing , ....

Dogs seem to have an inbuilt sense of when its raining . Alice has two mornings running scampered to the top of the stairs( where the stair gate stops her coming any further to give the cats some privacy ) to raise me as usual at five thirty am , for me to stumble down pulling on the thickest bathrobe as I go , tripping over cats on the stairs , to find she has already lemonaded on the sitting room carpet ... rather than go out into the drizzling rain in the yard . pah ! !

I have several comments , if she has to do this , why not at least let me sleep on , so that at least I get the benefit of a slight lie in ( she likes her breakfast at six anyway ) .....

furthermore if she really cant hang on , or cant bear to go out , why not widdle on the wood floor . At least two thirds of the floor area downstairs is wood , with two carpeted areas , and where does she chose ? Double Pah !

Ah , but when I give her a Look , she looks so chastened ....and draws herself up very small as if to say , " I know but look at me , I'm a teeny little greyhound really . "

And later , this afternoon , after work when I took her to the beach and she played Silly Dog , fleeing after nothing and crashing into me and wagging that big skinny tail , she looked as if she was saying where would you be without your big daft greyhound .

And shes right really .

Sunday, 13 January 2008

I can still look ....

Though I'm not buying clothes , it still being only twelve days into January and thus nowhere near the end of my New Year s Resolution , I can still look . This blissful coat , not at all my usual style , caught my eye ....Duffle Coat from Celtic Sheepskin

Saturday, 12 January 2008

Miserable Git

Am I the only one finding it hard to write at the minute . Harder and harder in fact , to write , to do anything ? I didn't even manage Alice's walk this morning . The hacking cough , which gets worse when I'm upright and outside in the cold ( conversely hardly troubles me at all when lying flat watching a dvd or in the warm bed , preferably with a paper or a book ) , the difficulty I had dragging myself back up the hundred odd steps off the beach up the cliff side yesterday at nine am when the temperature was five degrees higher , and then D saying to me " you go back to bed , I ll take Alice out " , all came together in a wonderful conspiracy to get me back up those stairs .
Later in the day I vacillated between the various plans we had considered and eventually yes , the bed won . Yet even when D brought me a second newspaper and a kit kat , I couldn't be shaken out of my Miserable Git feelings . Largely underpinned by fear ( I fear ) as the cough bears a striking resemblance to the one of last Winter which succeeded in breaking four of my ribs ( How did it do that ? Do I have an underlying condition like osteoporosis ? These are thoughts that flash through my mind but seem not to trouble the medics who have examined my medical records and x ray results . Thus was it ever ? ) and threatening my job in the process. Coupled with the fact that there has not been a day since New Year's Day when I havent had a headache , albeit most of them chased with pills and tablets , but disheartening non the less .

I've concluded that staying in bed never did anything to lift the mood , and am now plotting ways to raise the spirits .
I have a feeling that until this streaming cold and cough move on , and the headache gives up the ghost , the Miserable Git may take some shaking off .

Friday, 11 January 2008

The seal pup has gone from the beach ...

... but look at me , I'm quite cute here parked up on the sofa . The seal pup CatCalls: Seal pup on the beach , King Edward's Bay Tynemouth was gone yesterday and none of the local news reports mentions it so we assume it went safely back into the sea , though maybe thats just us and wishful thinking .

Tuesday, 8 January 2008

Seal pup on the beach , King Edward's Bay Tynemouth

We have a very perceptive greyhound . The beach was deserted this morning . This usually means that after a shifty look around when Alice ascertains that all 's clear and there are no Big Nasty Dogs out there just itching to get at her and bite off her head ( or worse ) , she will happily flee after balls , seaweed or all manner of things thrown for her ( though admittedly she doesnt really do Fetching yet , though occasionally she will shock us by landing at our feet complete with ball , drop it at our feet and sit waiting for a reward . She maybe has played with a ball at some stage .....
I digress. The sea was calm , the tide far out . I was streaming with cold and coughing to boot so had left the camera behind ( this becomes relevant later ) , but we had a great walk . the temperature was recorded as three degrees but with no wind , it was considerably warmer than yesterday , or the day before .
But ... there was something not right with Alice and as we headed up towards the hundred and odd steps to leave the beach , D commented that something was not right , that she was not relaxed . She then headed off over in the direction of what looked like a washed up plastic bag or a pile of debris washed ashore .
As I walked closer I felt my heart start to sink , as the thing began to take on some sort of shape . Way too big to be a body .... but ..... there was something about it . A dead dog maybe . ? Alice was getting closer and keener . And as I looked at it I saw it move , then realise a head was trying to raise itself . Worst nightmare , the body of a baby or child washed up by the waves ? I shouted to D " its moving " and as we ran closer , relief and wonder ..... a baby seal .
As Alice poked it tail end with her nose it was trying to raise its head to look round at her . D approached it and it made a baby snarling noise at him , showing its teeth .
We stared in amazement , wondering what next ? It loooked fit and healthy but a long way from the water 's edge . As we wondered what to do , call the vet , the coastguard , the RSPCA , a car appeared on the cliff tops and drove as far as it could down the ramps towards the sea , lights flashing . Oh Joy ... someone else , hopefully someone who had been called out already and would know what to do .
A man appeared and explained he was a marine mammal medic , was keeping an eye on it and the pup was fine . It had been examined , was fit fat and well , had taken a pounding probably in the high seas overnight and was now resting and sleeping on the beach . Once rested it would make its way back into the sea and all would be well . He was clearly posted to prevent people like us , well meaning but possibly trying to move it and upsetting it in the process .
We were thrilled to see such a beautiful baby at such close proximity . The one day of all days I had picked the camera up then put it down again . D had his phone camera but ....the quality is less . Its fur was indescribable . Various shades of grey , soft and thick . The baby looked warm and soft and very much like a baby . Seals I've seen before have looked sleak and shiny , their fur like rubber wet suits .
The delights of living by the sea , turning out to walk a greyhound on a damp morning in January . You can't beat it .

Sunday, 6 January 2008

Clutter Clearing ?

Almost over but not quite , the poinsettia is still good .

And look at this , spurred on by the clearing of the tree and the decorations , I've cleared away at least part of the "things " that usually clutter the fireplace , almost without thinking . There was no big build up . I didn't make a Resolution about it ( For unusual Resolution this year see CatCalls: Socks and Things ....), didnt plan or put if off for ages . Just took the tree down and went for it .
So far so good .

Hmm my link isnt working . Oh well at least I tried . Back to the drawing board .

Well several hours later , Ive made the link work the way I always did . Oh well ....

I hate Christmas ...

...... When its all over .....Black bauble spotted on a tree in the foyer of Malmasion in Newcastle when we met C and N there to celebrate our joint birthdays all coming in December ( D now has an honorary one shared with N on Dec 2nd . )

Our own tree has now been dismanted at a fast pace , leaving a clear corner which I am wondering how to fill ( possibly a new state of the art cat house climber thingy the proper name of which escapes me , though it strikes me that with the cats still spending not a lot of time downstairs , we may also need an additional downstairs cat / kitten to make it a worthwhile purchase . )

I can tell you that Roomba s do not seem to be much in demand in UK . They are not advertised yet , nor are they available in the mainstream department stores , though the first generation is there in John Lewis . But my sister texts me to say the Mail on Sunday You magazine ( which I am sure she has purchased for its free Brideshead dvd ) is today advertising a Roomba alongside an ad suggesting the reader take some time to relax .
And not five minutes earlier I had said to D , you mark my words , this time next year the whole country will be dossing on the sofa while the Roomba does the work . Or at least if not , there will be articles and ads about them everywhere .

Friday, 4 January 2008

Today I have been mostly

shopping for birthday presents .

A trip to town is so much easier when the migraine is under the control of Sumatriptan . I'm wondering if its on its way out now , this being the one that started after the consumption of egg whites in the Baked Alaska on New Year's Eve . Its been well controlled thanks to the Topamax and high strength ibuprofen for three days after the initial Immigran ( to reduce the brain inflammation which the consultant explained can continue for three days . But when still in evidence this morning I resorted to a five am dose of Immigran again and went back to sleep . Alice Greyhound wasn't keen on the beach yesterday so D took her out for a quick run and I stayed put , where I dreamed I was staying in some kind of outdoor boarding school where I had to trudge through pools of slop( my sisters name for mud , living on a farm as she does ) to get to the lavatories ( which of course had no proper doors on them ) . Fairly standard medication induced dream that one I think .
Woke at nine still with headache but got up and stayed up as over sleeping is as likely to cause as to resolve problems , and finally went shopping at lunchtime .

Shopping is also much easier all round when the New Year's Resolution is still an issue , ie to attempt not to buy any new clothes at all ( note use of the word attempt ) , apart from of course socks and things , see previous post . And by the way I've been meaning to ask this for ages , can anyone explain to me how to do that clever thing where you link to a previous post ? ie at this point I would add a link which would give you a direct route back to my post about the new year s resolution ? Or about socks and things and how I am premitted to buy them . I have tried to achieve this on numerous occasions , with no luck .

So I was able to spend all my time pottering in the gift type depts , perusing things I would like to receive myself that are not clothes , even buying one or two little items . And whilst passing bags , a place I would never usually have the time to stop , so busy would I be trying to get to clothes , I spy a pale green bag that takes my fancy . I move on swiftly , until ten minutes later , joining the queue to pay for socks ( cashmere , since I am not allowed to buy clothes I can have cashmere socks ) I realise said queue is long and snakes back right through bags , taking me right alongside pale green bag . I ignore bag . Queue moves forwards . I am parked up now right opposite bag . Without moving towards it I have a feeling it is an expensive sort of bag . pale green , as said , with a leather tag , silvery studs all down the side . I could go on . I hold back from looking , touching or smelling the bag . I do not pick it up . I barely look at it . But I feel it looking at me .
I pay for the socks and hurry out of the store and back to present buying .
Then food , then I am over on my parking ticket , but that bag is calling out to me .
I have not tried on clothes , thus I have more energy . I have no more money than usual as I rarely find anything I like , so I rarely spend money , but much energy attempting to find the perfect item . And there it was , in Bags , just waiting for me , and I didnt even touch it .
And , its on my route out , back to the car , almost .

The bag is with me now .
I am putting off that delicious moment when the tissue paper is removed , and my things are placed carefully inside , and the pile of excess baggage from the old bag is discarded .
Bliss .


We don't get much snow here being on the coast but the online widget has some cute snowflakes showing up yesterday morning alongside the temperature guage and the forecast for the east coast indicates severe weather warnings .

We take the car nearer the beach as there is no point dragging a reluctant greyhound all the way there on foot with rain threatening when its just around freezing . She hops out and as we slam the doors shut and the wind hits us full blast off the north sea we stare at each other as best we can through half closed eyes and wonder why we are not still in bed . As we approach the hundred and odd steps down to the beach we see a solitary man struggling back up with a large wet golden retriever. As we pass , he can't even bear to wish us a good morning . Its that bad .

Once on the sand we chase the ball as usual and watch the waves chase us . The tide comes in fast and as you jump on the rocks watching the ferry out at see there's the ever present danger of being caught out , up to your knees in water . We still find it hard to resist and keep back , on the shore where its safe . But this morning the water looks so icy .. it takes us all our reserves to get Alice running after the ball , chasing and sprinting and learning the art of retrieval . Before she came to us she didn't appear to have played with a ball or a toy , though now she loves a variety of things , a white kitten , a green monkey , and occasionally she helps herself to a pound puppy from the pound puppy box which was set up for the cats .

On our return she waits in the porch until her feet are dried then takes up residence on the sofa , occasionally sticking her head under a cusion or the fleece blanket if she thinks there is any indication of a further stepping out .

N and I have appointments at Bravissimo in town and the snow starts in earnest , huge soft flakes though coming down fast and furious ; they cause us few difficulties but later in the day my sister texts to say she has been unable to get home to the farmhouse from shopping and has had to take refuge in the pub .

An e mail arrives from Jeri at Iceberg Creations to say that Alice's fleece coat is finally on its way from Colorado . The delay having been caused by snow at their end and an elderly man having demolished part of their post office . It should arrive here in time for the next blizzard . I can't wait . Neither can Alice though I have a feeling the warmest coat going won't endear her to getting her feet wet and her ears chilled .

Wednesday, 2 January 2008

dressy up clothes for the Roomba .....

oh look now I find I will be able to get dressing up clothes for my Roomba .
How can I say no to this ? No More Naked Roomba :: Recent Entries

No Greyhound

I'm still obsessing over the Roomba . Or the idea of one . I've been researching and so far I've come up with about two negative comments and both of those relate to the old ones , the so called First Generation Roombas , which were allegedly a bit noisy and prone to get stuck under your coffee table or snagged up on your rug tassels ( no one has yet mentioned what happens if they come up against a spilled drink or a pile of poopy do or a veritable kebab centre stage ) , but compared to the pile of positive comments, nay accolades ,I can tell you I'm nearly sold .
But not quite . I tell myself , if I had just spent whatever it is ( I haven't really worked that out yet ) on a robot vacuum cleaner which is likely to be open to scrutiny and ridicule , particularly if I'm a man ( I think , women being much more supportive of the folly of their sisters , urging each other to go for it if you want it then not laughing later when it turns out to be yet another damp squib ) then would I be likely to slag myself off in public by giving it a negative critique ? Maybe not ?

D comes in and asks what I'm doing . Most of the day I'm actually sloggng away at a court report , but in my break times , I do a google search on blogs and research roomba . He catches me watching a little promotional video which goes on and on , has two inane types ecstatising ( is that a word ?) over the cute little thing in a kind of carpetted sand tray type arrangement set up for the camera , spinning and turning and lighting up when it hits a bit of kitty litter or a grain of sand . Its later seen hopping right over a tangle of cables and gliding seamlessly over the tassles of a chunky rug . But as I say , still no mention of barf or dog-sausages . Fur Balls ? No thanks .
But I'm getting eager to try it .

D turns to Alice whose head is under a cushion in case he should suggest a walk . She can hear the rain battering at the windows and despite the books telling us that her memory lasts only thirty seconds so its pointless telling her off for the pool on the mat when she doesn't fancy going out in the rain ( as if ..... ? ) she seems to have a remarkable memory for the cold and the rain and I can almost see the run on the beach in the biting winds this morning etched on her face " Don't make me go ! Please , I 'm not really here on this warm sofa . You don't really have a dog , you just think you have . Oh please dont make me go out ! "
Look Alice says D companionably ..... its just like when we got you . She researched for ages , talked about nothing for puppies and dogs for weeks . Internet , books , papers , talking . Then suddenly , quiet . Thats' when it happens . It goes quiet for a couple of weeks then Bingo , you moved in ! Next it will be the Roomba . You watch !

Alice stays under the cushion . Nothing moves . Its true . She is a figment of our imagination .
We have no greyhound .

Hoy ! Quck ! That Dog has got her nose in the nuts !

The cats take up post as guardians of the Festive Goodies , signalling their disapproval when Alice does Silly Greyhound things like sticking her nose in the bowl of pistacio nuts , sneezing and rejecting " too many irritating shells " and then snorts into the dry roasted peanuts .

Tuesday, 1 January 2008

Socks and Things ....

Ask me at the end of any given year and the chances of me remembering what my new year resolution was at the start is remote . Not much new there then . But as far as I can remember Ive always had one or two floating around in my head on 31 December . I'm not sure at what point they mostly fly out of the window .

A couple of weeks ago I read an article about a young woman 's attempt to desist from buying any new clothes whatsoever for a year . What a challenge . Now I'm toying with the idea of trying that one out . Other people's reactions have been varied , often according to their age . t
Teenagers look on in amazement ; further evidence of insanity . My sister was aghast at the idea of "no shoes for a year "having something of a shoe fetish herself , and shook her head in disbelief that no new clothes would indeed mean no new shoes . Casting a quizzical eye at my feet clad in the same boots I've been wearing for the past three years , she said thoughtfully " But you possibly could manage it ..... " and the slight stretch of her lips said it all .

D said nothing for a while , assimilating the information possibly , then commented on my proposal's lack of practical application . " You will need socks and things " he said , carefully . " what things ? " I ask but he doesn't elaborate , in company . After all it is New Year's Eve and a serious game of Scrabble is underway and Jools Holland is Hootenannying in the background . Indeed A Baked Alaska is in the offing . A few minutes later , having presumably given the matter some thought , he elaborates . My socks are so low in number that they can be counted on the fingers of one hand , apparently , in addition some of them are in such a state of disrepair that they will not see the Winter out much less last the year . N 's are no less plentiful and he has noted ( a fact which has escaped me ) that she has taken to filching
mine . There is no hope , he says , if my ban on clothes includes socks and things . Things are of more concern to me .
Hence , with a view to considering this resolution , I had paid a visit last Sunday to Bravissimo to stock up so to speak before the ban . However , leaving it until 3 pm was not the best idea and there were no fitters " on the floor " . She rebooked me for this week , thus , I may stretch a point and acquire a few "things" before the ban starts proper .

What was your New Years Resolution ?
No one else in our party would admit to one apart from P who plans to take up a sport .

Happy New Year !

Migraine Days

Migraine Days

Flower and Bee on a Sunday

Flower and Bee on a Sunday

art on a sunday

art on a sunday