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

Friday, 29 February 2008

Mother's Day

Some days I need memories of summer as I sit huddled listening to the storm .
Last Saturday Nat asked me what I might like for a Mother's Day present so I suggested a bar of anti oxidant chocolate .
Today when I went to town to conduct a financial transaction of my own and found myself perusing the Smelling Goods in John Lewis , eventually purchasing something for my own deserving Mother whilst there ( and one for me , so impressed was I by the smells ) , I concluded that had she instead presented me with the Grumpy Cow Uplifting Candle this could have been a source of some amusement for us both .
I would have loved to buy one but alas ! grumpy is not a word that could be readily applied to my mother or indeed her mother before her .
I think both my sister and me though would be prepared to hold our hands up to that one . It can't be genetic then can it ? Must be the pressures of Modern Life then . Or some such ?
Answers on a postcard please .....

Wrong lyrics wrong time wrong place

More new graffiti down at the beach .
There are days when this sounds just about right , and the jury's still out on whether this is one of them .
I think not though .

Bravissimo , you got it , flaunt it !

D setting out for an important meeting this morning , unusually for him had rejected the usual briefcase in favour of a small pink Bravissimo promotional bag . I had stretched our usual walk somewhat so he was running late and I saw him stuff several files into this little bag without really thinking he flew about looking for his missing mobile , he suddenly looked at the bag and then at me , then back at the bag . And then at his watch . Already fifteen minutes late .
And off he went , bag pressed close to his chest .
If you've got it flaunt it , I say .

Young seagul following us ....

Thursday, 28 February 2008

recalling how Pearl yawned at a passing hamster in an attempt to look ferocious

hamster visible in tube above right ....

Revitalising my Inner Porch

It all gets very complicated .CatCalls: Etched glass and a bespoke door ? Not only does a pitch pine ( bespoke )door have to be measured for , but the design for the glass has to be selected , the glass itself chosen ( reproduction or traditional ) , then apart from the door and its panels there are all the surrounding bits of glass which I had planned on keeping plain ( away with all that bubbly stuff , away ! ) , but as Bryan points out helpfully ( albeit confusingly ) a fine line exists between keeping it simple and looking like one simply can't be bothered . And frankly , since not being bothered is one of my main areas for self improvement , as identified in my imaginary self -coaching-for-life-skills-mastered-whilst-dropping-off-to-sleep-and-why-bother-paying-fees-for-an-echt-coach Bryan probably has a point there ....
So I acknowldege that I am open to persuasion and D lets it be known that he has been sitting now for more than five minutes which is three minutes longer than his limit in a stained glass studio/workshop and on our way we go leaving Bryan to his devices .
But I digress and that was then and this is now and today and Bryan is here measuring up and showing me designs and D is on the road and Alice is sighing her heart out after an exhausting morning chasing Rocky on the beach and watching the swimsuitboys running in and out of the surf and the crashing waves .

And we are excitingly close and there is a wonderful Charles Rennie Mackintosh design with tulips in muted colours , and talk of brass knobs and tear drop escutcheons and I see it all coming together . And wonder of wonders , a proper old fashioned lock with key . For some reason the thought of a new door , with new keys is quite an amazing one ....the smell of the wood at Easter when it will arrive mingling with the smell of Simnel cake and chocolate .

Boys in the North Sea ... look no wet suits !

Click to enlarge to see the boys in the water ....
Alice on a real high from early until we got out this morning . Usually she is to drag from the sofa if her post breakfast snooze is not complete but she was wild today . The sea was crashing and banging and a couple of lads seemed to have caught the same bug and were running to the shoreline all stripped off and oblivious to the thermometer reading of 4degrees .

Hell is other pigs

New graffiti seen amongst other ( very rude ) graffiti , the shack on King Edwards Bay at first light .
Enlarge for detail .

Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Did the earth move for you ?

Joan asked me , did the earth move for me , referring to last night's earthquake , the biggest in twenty five years , experienced here apparently at around 1 am . The short answer is no . In fact I had no idea about the thing until I found a text on my phone as I sat at my pc at the office and my sister told me that her son who is at Uni in Liverpool had been woken together with his friends by the earthquake . I texted back . Yeah right , in his dreams , thinking it was the usual alcohol induced fantasy .......But then as I read the text out to Tracy she confirmed that she had actually been woken by her bed shaking , and it started to dawn on me that nothing of that nature would register here . We sleep on a water bed and what with four cats changing places , diving on and off , squabbling and jostling for the best / warmest spot , D sneezing repeatedly ( allergy to the cats ? ) , and my good self adding to the mix with my constant sleep talking and commenting , and general insomniac tossing and turning once 4 am is past , we are rocked like a fishing boat heading for the Farne Islands in high winds whatever is going on beyond the bedroom . When one cat changes position far left , this creates waves throughout the bed... we all move ......when one person climbs out we all sink .....

Just as I read Joan'c comment adding that a friend's parrot ( in Peterborough , I think ) had gone mad , my sister e mailed to say she had heard on the radio that a Peterborough parrot had fallen off its perch . Could it be the same parrot I ask myself . I will await Joan's further comment the next time she visits the blog .....

I have experienced an earthquake twice before , once whilst staying in Germany after finsihing A levels and on another occasion whilst working in Uganda . Both were unmemorable events , with a few things sliding off shelves , and a bit of a rocking feeling going on .
But George and his friends in Liverpool thought a lorry had crashed into the side of their student flat , or a bomb had gone off .
I'm now regretting that I slept through it or if I didn't , I put it down to one of our usual nocturnal rumblings rather than anything out of the ordinary .

Saturday, 23 February 2008

Me Nervous ?

Nah ! Look at my teeth ......

Swans and Geese at Bolam Lake Northumberland

Windy walk this afternoon .
The wind makes Alice nervous and she glances repeatedly from side to side like Private Somebody or Other ( Marbles Moment ) from Dad's Army played by Ian Lavender .
Equally tall and skinny and usually with a piece of greenery sticking out of his hat , just so like Alice out on a walk on new territory . She glances round , checks on D and me , licks her lips as if her mouth is dry and if approached by anything bigger than a squirrel presses herself between us until the Danger is safely passed .
On "her" beach of course its a different story . She 's full of herself , assuming there are no boxer dogs about , and charges at anything and everything , full of gusto and sometimes rushing at little teddy bear type dogs as if there was no tomorrow , rolling them over and pushing them around . Most of them love her and like to chase her , snapping at her ankles until she gets too rough .
But bring out that wind and put her in a different field and she's a different animal .
What is that man's name ...?

The day CatCaller learns to inject insulin

I don't usually refuse anything much and consequently find myself doing all sorts in the name of cat minding . Most tasks are fairly obvious , and its some of those I would never have thought of that I enjoy the most . One of my longest standing families have a wonderful garden known to us as the fairytale garden and numerous bird feeders all of which have to be replenished on a daily basis . This is idyllic in Summer but even in Winter as I slip about across the flagstones as the wind chases me and the watchful cats , its still a source of some joy just to be doing something I wouldn't normally be doing at home .
This morning was learning how to inject a diabetic cat with insulin . I had felt fine with this until just a few seconds before the insulin , the syringe , the needle and the list of instructions loomed large before my eyes at nine thirty . Then suddenly it hit me . Not only had I to follow the directions to get the right amount of drug into the syringe with no air in there and then catch the cat ,by then lurking in the bedroom , I then had to somehow jab the cat with the needle in the right place . And , the poor cat had to have eaten something prior to this assault . And poor lamb she had never met me before . After a quick chat we adjourned to the kitchen and I learn how to roll the insulin gently rather than shake it . A quick break in the proceedings . I need to remove a few layers . I do the rolling and then pick up the syringe , eyeing up the needle . Another false start . This is going to call for my glasses lest I draw up an air bubble or the wrong amount of stuff. J , who is showing me the ropes , is very patient and calm . I'm not sure how I would be in her shoes .
Suffice to say the insulin is soon drawn up , air bubbles expelled , and the syringe is all ready . Now , where is Puss ? We find her in the bedroom . She is exactly the cat I wanted when we got our Kitty . A black and white cat with little white paws and white whiskers . Cute and gentle and not too wriggly given that she is being chased by an incompetent attempting to conceal a needle in her hand , tension starting to mount although the overall feeling still being that once I was close enough the deed would be done in seconds . As indeed it is . Lifting the skin , angling the needle and that was it . J had made everything easy by giving very clear instructions and seems pleased with how things had gone . Puss seems happy it is done and bears no grudges setting up a loud purring and later bringing me her toy ball with a yowl as if she is delivering a fresh mouse .
CatCaller learns a new skill ... not bad for an hour on a Saturday morning in February....

Friday, 22 February 2008

The Queen and her Left hand Man ( Who's Your Friend Ma'am ?)

Click to enlarge .

Can't help wondering if this is a genuine photograph or a bit of clever airbrushing ? Any thoughts ?

What causes recurring dreams ?
Mine is of a huge old house , well known to me in the dreamtime though not somewhere my waking self recognises though I can recall it perfectly when I wake and could reproduce it in a design or drawing if I had those skills . Mostly its a sense of a house , a feeling of a place , a sense of texture and rich details . Its a place I seem to return time and again , often when I have or have had headaches . It doesn't make me better , but there 's something about it .
The rooms are on many levels and I spend time wandering up and down the levels , sometimes on staircases with wide stairs , sometimes using glass escalators which move with great speed . At the top of the house on one occasion I found a roof terrace , with a coffee bar open to the sky with Mexican colours and palm trees . Yet we were bang in the middle of Linskill Terrace , North Shields . How about that for detail and surrealism . You would have to know North Shields to make sense ( or not ) of that . The roof terrace was hosting some kind of open air party under the stars and everyone was there , happy and relaxed . There was a shiny coffee machine right in the middle of proceedings , making all the right espresso noises . No escalator or grand staircase that night , just a simple stair way down the back of the building and off to a field where someone ( but not me ) was keeping some red hens and some white chickens .
That was one particular version of the house .
It comes in many guises .
Early this morning the version was more traditional . The one where I am staying in someone else s home and I am wandering round looking for my room and aware that there are a variety of rooms I could sleep in and each with a bathroom nearby . There are no bathrooms en suite . The house is too old and unreconstructed for that . The bathrooms have doors but many of them also have heavy brocaded curtains pulled back with tie backs adding to the sense of drama and grandeur .And always as I wander this sense that I have been here before , and indeed , as I pass along a particular hall , that I have slept in these rooms many times , and that I am not chosing a room in which to spend a night , but that these are all my rooms and I can sleep in any one of them , and that there are friends who will sleep in the rest of the rooms .
Where do these dreams come from ?

I love how she sighs

Especially when her sigh lasts a full minute .
I am multi tasking in the sitting room , post coffee in cafe 22 with Debbie , which means I am reading the Times , trying to do the Codeword , and keeping my eye on GoogleReader at the same time , watching what the blogs are saying , as befits a very windy and very lazy Friday afternoon , with the occasional foray onto Facebook to reply to messages from one of my nieces .
Suddenly a whole host of people much younger than me have noticed that I am there and messages are appearing faster than I know how to deal with them. Its much more complex than say aol messaging or dare I say Blogging .
I'm also psyching myself up to this afternoon's newish CatCall with three delightful cats and a complicated arramengment of fish cooking and roast chicken carving . Or should that be arrangement ?
I sit there , doing what I do , the cats all dozing upstairs on the water bed , apart from Kitty who still favours the middle of the landing for her own brand of cockroaching , Alice the rescue greyhound at full stretch on the sofa having pulled two cushions over her face and a tartan fleece over her person , and a mobile goes off , rock style , next door .
D falls over himself to answer it as usual , some inbuilt terror of missing a call which I fail to grasp with my own one in five rule on answering phones ( one in five chance it will be for me so four out of five times I leave it .... usually works fine ) .
He starts an intense conversation of a business nature with a local solicitor and I try to concentrate on my own affairs whilst blocking out his conversation . Difficult . Loud voice . Much repetition . Etc . My codeword is sticky and the Times is boring . Etc . He is at the start of the conversation again and re repeating . I do that too .
Alice sits up slightly , her peace disturbed and one of her cushions lands on the floor . She raises herself and stares at the floor . Then at me . She looks at the door . At the voice . Presumably breaching the peace . She stays silent but glances at me and I smile at her . The voice continues , then states , in summing up , ..if that all makes sense . Silence . " Oh No " says the voice . Hello . We understand the voice is cross , irritated , has lost his signal and been cut off possibly at some point a while back , possibly even before the first repetitions .
I hold my breath and do my utmost not to snigger unhelpfully . It is a banana skin moment .
Alice has no such qualms . She sits up , lies down again , readjusts her fleece and her remaining cushion and sighs for a full minute .
I kidd you not .

Thursday, 21 February 2008

Today the head is mostly green

And when the feeling in the head is green , its hard to write . Yesterday the feeling in the head was also mostly green . It started out that way at 4 am . Bad sign . When that happens , regular readers of this blog will know I usually take pills and sleep till it passes . And sleep , and don't do anything else . Yesterday , the sleeping went on and on , and one pill led into another , until I'd gone onto the final stage of the neurologist's recommended list ( as carried around in my bag, somewhat crumpled now ), and the greeness did fade a bit and was overtaken by the open blood vessel feeling which is more pale yellow and involves a wonderful muscle relaxed feeling and complete spaced outness which is pure bliss when all expectations of continuing with what passes for normal life have been let go . Once the worrying stage is through which involves concern about all that should be being achieved , what is being missed , when will it all be caught up , then its time to start the story telling in my head . Sometimes the relaxation stories involve summer fields with butterflies and streams and green things and flowing water . Sometimes its the beaches of Costa Rica with the noise of monkeys and parrots in the background . As the images and the sounds mingle with the effect of the drugs I find myself letting go and dozing off and the pounding in the head lessens as I sleep .

Today The head was green again . Sometimes green changes to flaming red , shotting out of the top of the head , but the green persisted . I took pills at 5 am and went back to sleep to dream of a Day Job seminar and sitting at a table and having to run off to a bathroom in an old house where I used to live to be sick . The sickness went on and on . I woke and slept on and off , got up to go out and feed cats on auto pilot , luckily a house where I know the routine like the back of my hand so all was well . Back to bed and three of my cats all joining in purring and singing and trying to keep their squabbles to themselves .
A new CatCall late afternoon where I did everything very slowly and carefully , walking as if I was wearing a big padded snowsuit . Two of the new cats were thrilled to see me but one was alarmed and hurried off to watch me from above . A quick walk with Alice on a new windy beach , which she didnt much like . She seems to associate new places with being abandoned or left behind and looks hastily from side to side every few minutes , constantly checking that we are still there .
I am slipping back towards sleep .
I hope you are all better than me .....

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

Tuesday afternoon : Chilly on the beach

Background A and J recently engulfed by a big wave .....

Foreground Nat and Georgie and Alice

Monday, 18 February 2008

Nat has been away

and has forgotten how stupid the dog can be .....
today she took to walking about with the blanket wrapped round her shoulders like some erstwhile Noel Coward while the rest of us worked .....( the dog not Nat )

Sunday, 17 February 2008

CatCaller from Hell

Today was a lovely relaxing peaceful day but everything went wrong at the CatCall .

I fell over myself I don't know how many times .
And no excuse , this is a house I know really well , its pristine clean and tidy , so all my own fault , except maybe the bin liners were substandard as one of them definitely sheered right in half as I pulled it out of the pedal bin .

The bigger bin bag spilt twice over splashing used kitty litter and poop and liquid something or other all over the floor in the kitchen while the cat looked on in horror , aghast at my profanities .
Things got worse when we ran spark out of litter ( why families they not leave litter ? ) , and I went to poke in the garage ( ever enterprising , never let it be said I didnt look ) then fell over the patio step and tore off the heel of my boot . More profanities . Kitties open mouthed and staring by this time .... when I say the heel I mean the rubber tip bit , easily enough replaced and banged back into place but all the while I'm trying to listen on Radio Four to " Fortunes of War" with Joanna Lumley as the narrator ,and I'm disturbing even mysef . I want to tell myself to shut up and I'm sure the cats feel the same , they were probably meditating quietly before my arrival like the CatCaller from Hell .

Its a sunny day with the temperatures swinging from minus two degrees at seven am , to around three degrees later in the day , but as the sun is out I open the patio doors and let the cats out onto the lawn . There is no cat door so the family suggest leaving them out from one visit to the next but I'm not keen when it may be freezing overnight so I decide to wait till they come back in . Its precisely three and a half minutes I'm waiting .... That long ! They would much rather rush back in and up to their first floor room in the sun . Wise animals .

My own cats have noted the freshly changed sheets and duvet covers and deposited the contents of their stomachs on D s side of the bed , near the head bit . Why ? the bed must measure seven or eight feet across . The room itself is large . What's to stop them do what any self respecting beast would do and barf away from their nest if you please and thank you .
As if D hasnt enough to contend with .
I asked him why he was so quiet this morning . He said he wasn't . Later today when embarking on another box of stuff to clear before storing in the attic , he discovered that today was the anniversary of his father's death 27 years ago . The actual date had slipped his mind , or at least he had not consciously been aware of it . Amazing how the mind stores these things at some level . He told me again the story of how his dad died whilst playing the church organ at a funeral , and how after the initial shock and horror of his demise at such a young age , the family used to smile wryly at how amused his father would probably have been at the way he went , wondering how it was for the family of the deceased at whose funeral he was playing and how it was for them when he suddenly lost his tune . Oh dear . Alice listened carefully throughout the telling of the story and then uttered a deep sigh . I could swear that little greyhound understands English . Or Emotion anyway .

Saturday, 16 February 2008

Birthday Boy

Happy Birthday Dad , with his little dog tucked in behind him ....
...and the cat livid at us disturbing her peace .
Mind you there were nine of us .....and a tall skinny dog ...

Alice thinks bears are so last week .
Corbridge main street 16th Feb .

Spring is here ?

Late afternoon walk by the river at Corbridge . Everyone seems to have large corpulent black labradors . As we approach an older ( ie older than us ) man and woman deep in conversation who we see have met on the river path and whose ( almost identical ) dogs are exchanging tail sniffings , I joke that they will be swapping flatulence stories ( in genteel English accents , of course )
" Bertie is horribly flatulent of course these days . I simply stick him out in the utility room and say :Bertie old chap , do your worst and don't come back to the drawing room till you're done , I won't abide the stink "
" Oh yes my dear , and Freddie is more or less the same , I've taken to giving him probiotic yoghurt when Henry has his at breakfast , blah blah blah "
Then' as we draw alongside ,lo and behold if the pair of them aren't indeed deep in conversation about their dogs , their ages and respective ailments ....
" They're just getting onto Wind Issues now " I whisper as we pass by .....D tries hard not to look at me or the very old dogs .
Poo , what's that?

Friday, 15 February 2008

Surf Man Still

Click if you want to enlarge . He looks so cool . He must have been freezing .

Facing the wall . In the rock cave . CatCalls: Yesterday Alice bit me then .....

View from the rock cave

Sitting facing out to sea in one direction this is the view ( dog optional ), of the rock cave CatCalls: Yesterday Alice bit me then .....

Surf Man King Edwards Bay

Probably not the most brilliant bit of surfing this unknown man has ever done but I'm very happy that Ive finally learned how to post a video clip .

And I'm impressed by anyone who can get into the North Sea in February , wet suit or no . I've been in in August at the end of a red hot day and I can tell you its enough to freeze your toes off .

Yesterday Alice bit me then .....

....she ate the valentine chocolates while we were out . Definitely something going on there then .

The shells are symbolic of yesterday . A long story . On Tuesday , early , a man was huddled on the beach against the cliff face , partly concealed in a semi cave of rocks . We spied his dog first , intent on digging a large hole and then sitting in it . The impression was that despite the early morning chill , at 8 am , man and dog had been there some time , sitting there and the dog was bored and looking to entertain itself it .

Initially as we came down the steps to the beach I thought the dog was alone . the beach was deserted and , just as when I saw the baby seal , anything like this fills me with a sense of foreboding . Why is a dog wearing a collar alone on the beach . Where is the owner ? Is he/ she collapsed somewhere , or worse , gone into the sea ?

There have been people here who have abandoned their clothes and their lives and walked in , their bodies showing up weeks later .

Then suddenly there he was , red gore tex , sitting on the rocks , almost in a cave , deep in thought . We continued on our usual path which gave him a wide berth but allowed us to see that he was simply there , sitting , whilst the dog dug and dug , for perhaps the thirty minutes it took us to walk the length of the beach and back , then along the concrete walkway and round the promenade as we do each morning . He was still in situ on our return , as if he hadn't moved .

As I worked at home that day , finding myself wondering if he was ok , I returned to the beach at four pm with Alice , and found him gone , and no pile of clothes and no forsaken dog staring out to sea . I went to where he had sat and Alice dug a little where the dog had dug and I sat where he had sat , saw the roll up he had smoked and the pattern made of the shells on a rock .

I wondered what he was thinking ....and how his story unfolded .

And yesterday , I sat in the same spot myself , distressed by Alice 's bite , and looked again at the shells and wondered how it is to walk into the sea .

To be continued .

Thursday, 14 February 2008

Alice bit me

Maybe she was mad that nobody sent her a Valentine card .
I felt like my heart was breaking , not to mention my arm . She was flying towards me on the beach and forgot to stop and I didn't see it coming and didn't swerve out of the way . Her teeth seemed to go right through the fleece but I don't know if they did . Either way I was upset with her ( and a few other things besides , but she wasn't to know about that, I don't suppose she has had many dealings with lying teens ) so I knelt down on the sand and squeezed out a few tears ( the beach was deserted ) thinking that might get across to her this is not ok . She had played rough a few times too many with D and I don't want her doing this again with me ... it hurt too much . She looked bashful and stared at my arm in dismay as I peeled back my fleece and showed her the line of pink flesh which will turn to bruise later . I tried to imagine what was in her mind as she stared at me , her mouth downturned and her tail still , all emotions on the surface .... " You great big pathetic jessie you ! " possibly ......

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

mad half hour .....

Caught Out

Sometime yesterday , Alice caught out , having wrapped herself in the Throw which is not really meant for Rescue Greyhounds , and is kept neatly folded on the back of the sofa in case Humans get cold .
One of Alice 's own ( much softer) fleece blankets can be seen to the left , cast aside in favour of the white one .
Such is life .

Sunday, 10 February 2008

Fog on the Tyne ? .... complete with surfers ...

Woke this morning to hear the foghorns , then half an hour later , as I dozed and contemplated my good fortune now that Alice ( rescue greyhound) sleeps in till at least six forty five , a passer by , possibly still on his way home from his night out , singing the opening bars of " Fog on the Tyne " . Glancing at the clock realised that the girls had in fact only recently taken themselves to bed ( at two forty five am ) , with much clattering of the stair gate .
The fog was still much in evidence on the beach at half nine . The four boys above appeared out of the mist with their surf boards held high and was one of several eerie shots I took without really being able to see what I had in my sights .

Friday, 8 February 2008

Dog masquerading as invalid

or frail cantankerous old lady .... ready to snap off your hand if you look at her the wrong way or lean on her wheel chair without permission .
The reality of course couldn't be further from the truth .
Alice is the sweetest natured puppy ( or two year old rescue greyhound ). She smiles and grins and would offer her last Rolo. She would do all the cleaning if she could . The washing ? No problem . Help the cats with their homework ? I'm your Dog .....
But since D has all that under control thank you very much , I'll just take up root here on the sofa till my next dinner , if nobody objects too much . Ok ? Oh , could I just trouble one of you to adjust that cushion under my ear slightly , I cant hear properly like this . Hate to miss anything .

Hideous bubbly glass ...

..soon to be replaced by aforementioned etched glass and elegant bespoke door.

Thursday, 7 February 2008

Etched glass and a bespoke door ?

There's nothing like the prospect of some beautiful etched glass and a bespoke door to raise the spirits .

I rarely have anything done to my house these days , mainly because so much has been done over the years and really , at the end of it you do reach a certain equilibrium where you begin to grasp that one more tile ( or indeed a hundred more ) , one more towel , and one more bit of this or that really aren't going to increase your happiness the way you imagine . ( ( No , its the aquisition of that rescue greyhound and the box of kit kats in the kitchen that lead to perfect happiness ...... )

However having living for nigh on fifteen years with the hideous bubbled glass in the entrance porch I have finally decided its time to move on and Bryan Curtis came round this morning to give us some advice on etched and stained glass and the like . Bryan Curtis Stained Glass Ltd - Quality & Excellence First. Customer Service . So now we are in line for a bespoke door and probably some etched and plain glass to our design , and I'm trying to remind myself that a few pieces of glass and some wood really arent the answer to all my problems , but right at this minute the prospect of a starburst as I open the outer door every day , the feel and smell of the new solid wood all helps to add to the happy weekend my -sister-is-coming-to-stay feeling .

have a good one yourselves everyone .....

Another seal pup on King Edward Bay

8am this morning , another seal pup . I missed this one , having stayed in bed with my latest headache , Alice's increased confidence meant she danced circled around wagging her tail and this baby growled loudly at her .
Later . we went back to the beach at noon , all gone . the tide had been in and out again , taking the baby with it . Apparently she/he had been trying to head back out to sea anyway .
maybe we are destined to see more of these lovely babies over the next months .

Sunday, 3 February 2008

Chipmunks , figuratively speaking .....

Wake in a dustbowl at five am , my mouth full of seeds and bird feathers and all manner of hot dry things .
Spitting out and rinsing and swilling as they used to advocate at the dentist ( I say used to , when I went private . Now I'm an NHS patient there is no time for such niceties and one is left with the dross until its all over . Mind you what's a bit of grit and old tooth decay in the mouth for ten extra minutes as compared to taking out a fresh mortgage every time one needs treatment ? ) reveals a single cat hair and the usual ( for this week anyway ) banging head .

I take pills , settle myself upright and try to relax .

The head is full of red squirrels and as finally I reach inside , figuratively speaking , to attempt to lift one of two of them out and set them free to scamper off down the bird feeders strategically placed for Toby's entertainment via the front window , it comes to me that these are not squirrels but chipmunks .
A squirrel is indeed a scampering creature , husbanding its resources , looking from side to side , and has no interest in my torture . Chipmunks however are fast moving , and would not be averse to banging against the edges of my skull in passing , as they swapped places , climbed bars and dropped to the floor with a sickening thud from time to time . They would not stop to rest , to look around them , to pose for photographs like those squirrels of our caravanning days when Nat and me at six am would watch them as the sun rose .

My mind struggles valiantly to escape the inner beasties hammering away , and takes me on a peaceful tour of those days . In my head I collect the wherewithal I would have needed to take with me to the shower blocks , my bath towel , my hair towel ( super absorbant ) , my shampoo , the conditioner , a hair brush , a shower gel ; finally my mobile phone connecting me to the outside world at home via texts . I walk across the little winding paths through the tall pine trees , past the slow hopping wild rabbits from the woods , sometimes spotting a deer and her fawn , occasionally another early riser trying to catch the first shower of the day before the eight am onslaught . The rhododendrons in full bloom , or the honeysuckle , maybe the primroses in the little glades used as dens by the older kids .

I walk back now from my shower , clean , fresh , ready to grind and brew coffee .

The pain killer is starting to take effect . Alice , the early rising greyhound has slept in , and if I pull my pillow flat I can probably get in another half hour sleep before she tells me she needs to go out . Failing that D has probably seen me taking the pills and will more than likely offer to go down .
Another day .

Saturday, 2 February 2008

cream of tartar

Having spent most of yesterday migraining it between bathroom and bed ( though mostly in bed, and squeezed between three purring Birmans and one surprisingly unratty Kitty ), I am not at my best today , though I drag myself out at nine when Alice will wait no longer for her morning constitutional ( though to be fair D did offer to go it alone , and having spotted me on the edge of the bed at five am swallowing pills he did do the early shifts too , the first yard duty then breakfast half an hour later , with brief spells back in bed ).

The waves are high and the snow is less today , and the wind has dropped . Altogether it is pleasanter , but I am easing my way back into Life as we know it .

I sit staring at my laptop , sipping ginger tea and thinking my thought as he revs up to his usual pace and plots his next Action .
The Shops .
What will we be eating tonight ? I try to calm my stomach and being the sensitive soul that he is , he backs off slightly and tries to ascertain what he needs to know without talking Pork and Chicken in quite such a stark way . I drag myself to the cookery books and with bad grace read out the ingredients we will need for an old Delia recipe .
He is off and I am left to my devices in the armchair for an hour with the Saturday magazines . Bliss .
After an hour , my mobile rings .
The tone is apologetic " Is cream of tartar the same as tartare sauce ? " he asks . " What does it look like ? "

I describe the baking section , the paper tubs etc reminding him that earlier in the week when I had added this to the memo board I had described how he would find it next to the bicarb of soda and the baking powder .....but I fear there has been a memory slippage.

I suggest he asks someone . He tells me he has tried this but will try someone else .

Ten minutes later , a triumphant text appears " Got it " .

It is the modern day equivalent of the dripping stag , freshly killed , or the fat boar , strung on two sticks and carried home at the end of a big day out . And will , as my sister texts my later , when we ponder the subject , be presented with a flourish .

It's no wonder I hate shopping so much . Except when I'm in the mood of course . Then its safer to go on my own . My lack of coherent method , tendency to hoy everything into the bags willy nilly , and occasional giving up the ghost half way round in a fit of ennui just drive him to distraction . To him shopping is a great challenge , something to be achieved in the shortest possible time . To me its just a mild bad dream , something I'm delighted to forget about whilst I flick through the clour supplements .

He's back . Better go and help with the unpacking .

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Migraine Days

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