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

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Welcome to CatMinders

Monday, 31 March 2008


Little boat in the bay putting down lobster pots , 6 30 am .

Last night ...


Alice arranges herself on the sofa near where we paint ..... with no help from anyone .....
And finally late this afternoon , the moment I've been waiting for , when I go upstairs to find Nat lying in bed with Alice stretched out happily beside her , grinning for England , and D commenting from the sidelines .... " Its just a one off isn't it , as Nat is ill ? "
then " I really don't think she should be allowed on the water bed, do you ? " and finally
" We can't allow her into the bathroom , there's where Kitty eats her dinner , she wouldn't like it ."

Alice stretches a bit more luxuriously and Nat rubs her tummy and says " there Baby " to her .
Make your own minds up .

A Mother's Intuition ?


Nat just doesnt do this .. come in half an hour earlier than her appointed time . Fix up her room as requested and then re appear downstairs announcing that she is tired, and proceed to snuggle with the dog . She's usually way too busy .
As we were eating she announced that being unable to close her underwear drawer she had done a head count and wished it to be known that she had a grand total of 75 pairs , not counting those currently in the washing system ( perhaps ten more ? ) . She did add " how sad is it that I would sit and count them ? "
D 's comment " That's about seventy one pairs more than your mother possesses" ( perhaps a slight exaggeration here but I'm glad to note my recent frugality is being noted . )
I just knew Nat wasn't well .
Later , at around midnight , after several announcements , she was sick poor lamb .
Now we 've all had the tummy upset , bar D . And he never gets anything like that . Men just don't , do they , despite their smoking , eating of cakes on a daily basis , and less frequent exercising than us . Funny that isnt it ? Or maybe its all the calories he burns running about after us and our dog ?

Sunday, 30 March 2008

Joan's friend's Guinea Pig Smeagoul

We welcome a further Guinea Pig Guest Appearance , this time its Smeagoul , though I can't say for sure how to pronounce the name .
There was also a photograph of a Rescue Greyhound but that one has disappeared into the mists of a massive file called My Documents and cannot be located currently though no doubt it will turn up when I am not also trying to make chocolate brownies and photograph the revitalised Inner Porch for the blog , ( currently in the final stages of sanding/ painting ) .
Laura is promising a Guest Appearance of her GP s soon , awaiting pics from Felicity's camera .
Any other guest posts would be very welcome .

Wierd


Afternoon walk , Belsay Hall , spooky tree .

Sad little Greyhound


Poor Poochie still looks a bit sad with tummy upset , click to enlarge and look at that little sad eye . Dont you just want to cuddle her ?
British Summer Time starts with a walk at 6am ( old 6am ) as Alice is very unsettled . She gets me up at five forty , then again at six and then once again two minutes later . Most unusual for her ; fairly typical little greyhound who loves her routine and as soon as shes been in the yard and had her breakfast and been back in the yard all she wants is to sleep for an hour and then and not before , her walk . But this morning , she couldnt settle at all . She paced the floor , lay on the quilt , wouldn't get up on the sofa ( its usually three moves from yard , to sofa , head up to get blanket wrapped round her , head down and poked under covers to block out first light , sleep ) and her tummy was making loud wierd gurgling noises vaguely reminiscent of those of my own inner workings of the last few days . So we pack away any thoughts of an immediate lie in and head for the sea . Overcast now slightly , it was lovely at six , the sun warm as it rose and the sea breaking in perfect surfing waves across the LongSands . There were three surfers out there already but too distant for photography , and none in King Edwards Bay where they are easier to capture with the camera . An early morning fisherman trying his luck , and the three of four walkers I met all friendly and cheerful , more so than the usual eight am crowd .
Hoping that the exercise would help Alice's tummy , I ponder on my stomach bug , apparently less an issue this morning and wonder if it is possible for a human virus to cross species and affect an animal . I have had two days of gripes , including a salutary half hour spent waiting for a friend on a beautiful suede bench outside the Laing art cafe , using all my meditation skills to control myself , and trying hard to breathe menthol type thoughts deep into my lower abdomen .
I'm sure it can't be the case( human to animal cross infection ? ) , in which case I hope Alice's wound is not infected . The gash on her thigh where she was attacked two weeks ago by a Jack Russell was healing well but the stitches have either dissolved or she has picked at them on the surface layer and the wound is open again . She may need another trip to the vet but I dread the thought of another anaesthetic for her .
We walk for almost an hour , I return her to the house , read for a while " A Spot of Bother " by Mark Haddon which I am hoping Nat will also like as she loved the Curious Incident , then head back out to feed and let out my little cat down the road . She seems delighted to see me and squirms and wriggles in a pool of sunlight in the sitting room . I will return this evening to empty the bins and make sure things are tidy as M is back tomorrow and I will have less time in the morning if I am fitting in Alice's walk as well as getting to the Day Job at a reasonable hour .
I battle with the is it really seven or eight am now and if so ( which ?) is it still early enough going back to bed with the papers and my new book " Notes from an Exhibition " by Patrick Gale which I am dying to pick up . Alice has no interest in her post walk Bonio but is flat out on the sofa , and happily accepts wrapping in the tartan blanket .
I head upstairs , papers , coffee , phone .
The rest of the household is still fast asleep .
Bliss.

Thursday, 27 March 2008

Still a way to go


but getting there .
The thumping head from yesterday continued and I missed all sorts of excitements today in the road where we live .

I set off on foot to feed one of my favourite CatCalls charges , a tiny ginger puss who eats like a horse ( she consumes about the same amount across a week that my four eat , or rather don't eat but pick at ) and having let her out into her back yard and re set the cat flap so she can get back in again I wait to check the magnet on her collar is working ok . Overcome by a bout of sickness ( migraine being no respecter of other people's bathrooms ) I decide it is safer to wait until I feel better before walking home ( I had left the car there as Steve the mobile mechanic was picking it up to service it for its MOT so I can tax it ) . I sit on the sofa and contemplate the day ahead , remembering another occasion when I was ill when out on an afternoon CatCall and that time fell asleep for half an hour on a leather sofa . When I woke a very large happy cat was sitting on top of me singing like a kettle and I felt much better . That was an apartment overlooking the sea which was all decorated in white and I had been momentarily dazzled by the sparkle of the sun off the water .... realising a migraine was coming on fast I had taken one of my nasal sprays and knocked myself out nicely .....I guess it could be described as all part of the service , cat sitting being just what I was doing , as far as the cat was concerned , close company for an extra hour .

Little Puss appears back through the flap at a rate of knots and we play with a feather for a while , me somewhat half heartedly but that's the great thing about animals , they dont really comment when you're not at your best , they simply adapt and play a bit more carefully . We sit on the sofa for a while in companionable silence and I read the book titles on the wall to wall shelves , noticing how many are the same as the ones I have at home . M has more poetry books than me , and more hardbacks . Now that I'm working less I rarely buy a hardback and I also have spells when I take most of my reading from the library but still , despite our very different professions there is a lot of reading material in common . Drowsiness is setting in and I decide its time to get shifting , the joiner will have arrived to fit the door , my car should have gone , and I can see what to do about this headache . I say goodbye and lock up and walk back through the sunshine . A lovely day , the roads are streaming with cars on the school run and parents walking the primary school children to school , many of them with buggies and dogs attached . I feel a bit bereft without Alice. The joiners have arrived and it transpires that they have seen a blue Mercedes drive past our neighbour Eileen's car scraping it along its length , glancing as he went but failing to stop . The joiner noted the registration plate so D duly handed this over to Eileen who with great observational skills realised this car belongs within the neighbourood and rather than report it to the police , heads up to the house and bravely knocks on the door where the car driver's partner appears and acknowledges that he had passed the car but did not realise he had scraped it . Yeah right! Eileen has already had a quote made at her local garage and states how much she will need to have the car repaired . The consensus is that the money will be paid as likely the car has no insurance ?! Meanwhile Steve arrives and my car disappears for the day . I take Volterol and thats the end of me for the day .... but when I wake , progress , we have a door , with shiny chrome knobs and beautiful escutcheons . Bubbly glass which I have despised for fifteen years , is gone .
A horrible start to the morning yesterday . On our way back off the beach with Alice , as we steam up the one hundred and so steps we notice the fifty something man who is often at the top with his two dogs having some kind of incident with them . The dogs are an elderly labrador and a younger staffordshire bull terrier type dog . The man is usually at the top of the steps , he doesn't walk onto the beach with the dogs but sits on the seat overlooking the sea and throws a ball down the steep slope so the dogs get their exercise running down the slope of scrubland and back up to him having retrieved the ball . Each to his own . However the younger dog is yelping and we see he has it held up by the neck dangling in mid air and he is laying into the pup with his fists , the dog swinging from his blows . He curses the dog angrily as he bashes it and this goes on for some time . The labrador watches anxiously from the sidelines . We continue up the steps trying to reach the top ( never easy ) and trying to make sense of what is happening . I am trying to control my emotions at the same time . When we reach the top the man has thrown the dog to the ground and then tries to tie it by its rope to the railings . He then throws the ball down the slope and as the dog scrabbles and whines trying to run after the ball he shouts again , cursing it for doing what it was trained to do . But obviously this was part of the punishment . The labrador was to chase the ball and the bad pup was to look on .
I stood for a couple of minutes then without thinking walk towards the man . The pathway took me above where he was standing and I stand above him just staring down at him wondering what was going through his mind and how come he thought this was an ok thing to do to a young defenceless animal . I had no idea what I was going to do or what I wanted to say . I didn't know whether it would be better to do or say nothing . But somehow to say nothing would be to collude and I couldn't bear that . After a couple of minutes of my staring , the guy turns and glances back at me then realises I am doing nothing other than just looking at him and his dogs .
" What's the matter with you " he says . Hostile , obviously .
" I don't think that's any way for anyone to treat an animal " . I say . Not the most brilliant thing I could have said , but .... that's what came out .
" It bit me " he said then , with a sneer " mind your own business anyway " perhaps feeling he had given away too much .
I stood and looked at him for a while longer . By this time D had walked along to see what was happening , and I said to him I did not know what else there was to be done , so we left and walked home . I felt sick . D pointed out that maybe by my intervention he would take it out later on the dog ...... I hope not . Both dogs look well cared for , well fed . I guess he lost his temper and he thinks this is the right way to manage bad behaviour .
But I have a sneaking suspicion that his dog is going to bite him again .

The day passed in a haze , writing a court report in the office , attending a parents evening about Options ( no not hot chocolate options ) at key stage 4 . Everything is key stage this and IC that . I feel a little old . As I look at the powerpoint presentation I have to remind myself that both my spelling and grammar are rather more accurate than the presenter's , even if I know nothing of what they're trying to teach me . Luckily Nat knows exactly what she wants to do and has her options form already completed . My attendance and understanding is a formality really .
I head for home , to start painting the wood window and door frames at 8pm .
This is not a good time of day for me to be taking up a new task . My head thumps and I think roll on tomorrow ......

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Easter is over , the snow is almost ( but not quite gone ) , I woke at three four and then five am feeling very frightened of something though I couldn't quite put my finger on what , though the words( or concept) that sprang to mind were "scary pancake " . Mke what you will of that .
Minus two on the beach and athough all went well , Alice managed to open up her wound somehow upon our return .
I headed off to the day job , just a morning stint though , packing up at two pm and heading for a CatCall and then the pool . Swimming has been neglected so much of late that my card has gone missing and at the final hurdle ( the changing into the swimsuit hurdle ) I bottled it and decided to head off into the gym instead . Much less bother in the changing , drying , hair fixing dept after the exertions and a pleasant half an hour was spent remembering how all the machines look .
Immediately prior to leaving work , and notwithstanding the small carton of cottage cheese I ate instead of my usual bag of Starbucks coffee and cakes , the stud holding my jeans popped off . My final pair that fit me now gaping open like all the rest , so I call at Silverlink and try on a replacement pair ... result , one pair in my size! I begin to wonder whether all this belly expansion may signify something out of the ordinary , perhaps a large cyst filling with fluid ?
So much pleasanter than facing facts and recognising that I am gaining weight and just dont want to admit it ...?
Now how many Easter eggs are still to be consumed ?

Sunday, 23 March 2008

Remind me , no more house renovation after this . I never want to see another chisel and another window frame waiting to be scraped even if I never eat another Easter egg .
An early start with another batch of paste of lemons and flash liquid etc . As I stood scrubbing and later as I stood on a chair ( I hate stepladders , after falling off one and landing in the enamel claw footed freestanding bath and chipping the side of my own leg off I've never felt the same about them ) chiselling paint off the window frame ( revitalising the inner porch as we are ) , the electric sander having finally been brought out ,dusted down and switched on . Nichts . Loose wire . I digress .
As I stood scrubbing at the grout I thought back to my Buddhist days when working meditation was part of the deal on a retreat.
I would have signed up for such an event in a country barn priory imagining peace and quiet and serene reflection meditation etc in the sunshine and instead would find , mainly discomfort , snow , freezing conditions ,both physical and mental .
It was very similar in many ways to cleaning the shower with a toothbrush and I'm sure I did cleaning tasks there too with tiny implements and enjoyed the challenge as much ( hollow laugh ) . Funny thing about those retreats though , and I'm finding its the same with the shower , no sooner are you finished ( and driving away in the case of the retreat ) than you are planning the next trip , or cleaning stint .

There's something about meditatation , working or otherwise . And it all boils down to the same thing in the end . It usually involves being Mindful , mostly being hunched up in an awkward position ( in my case today squished up on the floor trying to reach the ground level tiles ) , focusing the mind , trying not to Distract with thoughts of Chocolate or Escape . Whilst you're at it its hard graft and you wish you could stop . But once youre done you feel great , you see the results of your labour very slowly and you begin to think it might be good to have another go , though you can't help have a sneaking suspicion yours isn't going to turn out like the one in Homes and Gardens .

After the shower event we took Alice to the beach , her first walk there since the attack last Sunday . Once we stepped onto the beach she realsed where we were and beetled off back the way she had come, terrified . When we reached her she was shaking with terror . Poor Lamb , we brought her by a different route and got her back to the beach by a different route .
Upon arrival home we realised she had bent a claw back and her paw was bleeding . Poor dog is not having much luck .

I'm not going to help with sanding the window frames .....I've bent one of my claws back .... you'll have to do it yourselves .

Yum Easter Eggs

Yum Easter Eggs ...
..and cousin Harvey to stay ....

Saturday, 22 March 2008

next year I might even make all the apostles the same size ....

We choose the coldest night of the year to be without glass in the inner porch . CatCalls: Revitalising my Inner Porch

The wind blows a gale and for once I am grateful to be woken at four am by Pearl pulling at the duvet at my edge so that she can creep her way next to me . Toby is at the right flank and Kitty at the outer edges . I assume Jessie is keeping tout on Nats bed in case she should make a late night return , unlikely as she has taken duvet and pillows to a sleepover down at the sea front . I should know , I had to stop the car on the seafront in fear of our lives when the high winds threatened to take us over the sea wall with them at seven last night .
Although my little paste of lime juice and flash liquid etc has made little difference to the carpet stain the effect on the shower tray is impressive ( the hair dye stain ) so spurred on to greater things and fresh from the shower itself I wrap in a towel and squeeze a lime I find in the kitchen .( I can hardly believe Im blogging about stains here ) .
I apply myself again , this time to the grout between the tiles , some of them at least .
It strikes me as I scrub on hands and knees that cleaning a house is a full time occupation . Something that again I'm sure is known to many , though has escaped me , as it's something with which I concern myself in fits and starts . On the surface our house looks fine . Underneath ..... well let's say a full time housekeeper would not be pleased .
After some twenty minutes application , I am clean out of paste , about a tenth of the grout is looking better and I have written " a bag of bargain lemons " on the shopping list which sits in the kitchen . I have a plan to do a bit now and then , when the mood takes me . I am well pleased with my efforts so far , though I notice also how my arm aches and again wonder how a daily cleaner copes . ( as a student I worked as a cleaner in a large residential establishment . I suppose I must have had big muscles then . Or something . )
Following my ablutions , we walk Alice in the park . The high winds make heading for the sea and the headland inadvisable .
There are numerous trees down and some path clearing is inevitable . Alice is never at her bravest in the park , which has numerous shady spots which could be housing masss murderers or small ghastly terriers , so the walk is not a relaxing one . She starts frequently , and walks with that glancing from side to side to side motion which makes me laugh .
Once she is snooozing happily on the sofa I set off to my CatCall , the fairytale garden house , and find a lovely note there from Sue . I forget that sometimes real life collides with the blog and there are real life people who read the blog . I love this ..... that real people read . The cats are sleeping but each gives me a chirpy hello .
I head back home to throw a strop over my missing cake ribbon , but peace is restored when D goes to a flower shop and sources a new one . Truth to tell I hate cake decoration ( love the baking, hate the icing business ) and love to blame him for "throwing my stuff out ". He recently transformed my "odds and ends " drawer into a second cutlery drawer and insists that everything from there is now neatly housed in a basket in the cupboard under the stairs . But the ribbon was missing . It was not just any old ribbon either , being a particular yellow one which Laura had brought me last Easter to tie round the simnel cake having queued for it in John Lewis .
Say no more though ..... having given it considerable thought as I was weaving the trellis work on the cake ( and this year it worked !!! ) though I had some trouble getting my marzipan balls all the same size , but that's to be expected , I applied the deathbed test and decided that no , wishing I had spent more time griping over lost yellow ribbons was not something I would look back and wish I had spent more time doing when my number were up .
The yellow ribbon is to be mentioned no more , until he tidies away the next thing that is .....







Alice surveys scenes of devestation at the park . Many obstructions and ducks and having consultations about how to survive till Spring .


Friday, 21 March 2008

Respectively ...

Respectively , thats the word I was looking for ..... now I'm happy .
The cute little paste will remove the stains from the carpet and shower tray respectively .
Or not , as the case may be .

Not , is owt else I've tried is a guide .

Good Friday

Today I am mostly cleaning .... though I have also made a simnel cake , it being Easter , walked the dog , though on her lead , as she is still not allowed to run lest she tears open her stitches , though methinks any tearing would have already happened as she careers about the furniture tossing her pound puppies hither and thither in excitement and steams up and down the yard when not shying away from the bangs from the wind . Her recent savageing by a beast of a Jack Russell terrier has left her alarmed by the slightest movement outside and frightened of her own shadow . So far we cannot take her to the beach until she is able to run free . Maybe next week . If I wore a skirt I think she would walk under it .
I have also mixed a cute little paste from lemon juice and some other things in an attempt to remove stains ( dog unmentionables and hair dye ) from the carpet and shower tray in that order . There's one word that describes that phrase "in that order "but the topamax ( migraine thing ) stops me finding words sometimes . It's irritating to say the least . I' m not fond of blogs where there's a concentration on medication matters but find myself increasingly fascinated by them myself , and also feel the need to explain why I can't find that word . I wrote that sentence then realised its simply not true . I do like medication matters . ..... I digress . The paste is applied . I'm not hopeful . I mention these things as for me they are out of the ordinary . I recognise that for some peope they would form a regular part of daily life but for me they have novelty value . I wouldnt have even known such pastes existed had my sister not advised me of their possibility , whilst sitting facing the dog unmentionable stain probably ..... anyway we shall see.....

The wind is rising ( fast ) , it is hailstoning outside , the cats are snoozing on the water bed ( hot) , and Dog is growling heavily in her sleep ( dreams of attack no doubt ) , causing her polka dot bandana to wave airily .
I wish you all a Good Friday .

Thursday, 20 March 2008

A Rat in the Bedroom .

I head for the bathroom at three am and round the far side of the bed I encounter a big grey thing .
A rat , next to the bed , sitting hunched as rats do . I stop dead in my tracks , as you do , and stare . Silence . Then I hear the rain lashing and the wind . I glance round , noting the presence of at least two large cats , asleep. I consider leaping back onto the bed but the consequent mayhem would stop D in his tracks , possibly .
The water bed does not take kindly to being jumped on . In the early morning light as I stare at the hunched sight I realise it is in fact not a rat at all , but a Guinea Pig . Of course ! Why would a rat be in our bedroom ?
A grey guinea pig , ( the one we call Hedgehog in fact , and house in the kitchen directly below , has clearly made her way upstairs in search of breakfast greens ) and is now resting and planning her day quietly near the Victorian fireplace ?

I feel oddly chilled by this large rat/ guinea pig and decidely reluctant to step over and around it , which I have to do to get to the door . I still need the bathroom . I am feeling the urge to run as there is something not quite right about this and I have a vague primal gnawing fear that the creature will turn and run at me and wind up inside my pyjama leg ( echoes of Dad here and the incident involving the mouse brought in by the cat circa 1968 , Stamfordham , one Saturday night after Supper, though I am sure it was his trousers rather than his nightwear which were invaded , to our glee ) .
I glance again at the bed . D and the cats breathe heavily on .
Suddenly , and without warning , the rat hunches and moves , wriggling in sickening fashion across the carpet . I am wide eyed but immobile , as it moves thankfully across my line of vision rather than closer to me . As it moves , it is joined at its right extremity by a large beige Birman cat , stretching and yawning . The rat was her bunched up tail , her body concealed by the overhang of the duvet .
I head for the bathroom my heart pounding .
For the record , I didn't wet myself .
19th Feb 2008 belated birthday memory wishes of Freddie Wills who would have been two years old . .

I couldn't get onto the blog yesterday , some problems with our connections .

It was through Fred's dad Tim and his blog describing their daily life in hospital that I started my blog .Fred

Tuesday, 18 March 2008


Three for the price of one . The cats check out the birthday paper and pay the invalid dog a visit . Killing two birds with one stone .

Monday, 17 March 2008

Blogging or Living ....

Feature on Radio Four this am as I was driving to town, about bloggers and time . Apparently most of us who blog incessantly ( and they were talking more of the young male bloggers who blog about politics and Important Stuff ) do so using the Time we would have previously spent wasting in front of tv . I find this slightly irritating as I've never been one for tv much ( though of course I do watch Holby City . This was all in response to someone ( female ) having been asked why she didn't blog , and urged to do so , replied " to what End and with what Time ". Good enough questions , for sure , and no doubt we all do it for differing reasons .
For my own part ( how can you tell I have no commitments at the Day Job this week , or not till Wed anyway ) I blog because I love to write and take pictures and I often really amuse myself in the process . And how much more satisfying is blogging than writing a journal or Journaling as they call it now .
Satisfying entirely because in my case its legible again later .( I cant read my own handwriting .) And of course the main reason , the feedback from commenters , and the Statistics record showing that week in week out people from all over the world are reading , even if most of them don't say anything .

Interesting , the word Journaling conjures up images of postmodern squirrels all reading their Foucalt as they spoon up pomegranate infused granola ( with summer fruits ) . Has anyone ever managed more than three pages of Foucalt by the way ? I'm no lightweight when it comes to reading matter ( hollow laugh ) but this is harder going than trying to give Kitty a foot massage on the occasion of her birthday . Whereas the word Blogging ( as opposed to saying Writing a blog , sounds just right . Funny that , isnt it . Its probably an example of postmodernism at its best , but since I never finished Foucalt .....

Silliyak made a comment about this and I confess as I took the pics of Alice's horrid wounds I did feel a tad guilty knowing they were for the blog but telling myself they might also be useful for the record ( what record ? ) . What is worse though is that in the very middle of the barney , as the Other Woman was examining Alice and tearing up , I did actually for a split second contemplate whipping out the camera ( it was sitting in my fleece pocket , almost whirring with indignation ) and photographing Naughtly little Molly the bad little Jack Russell . the thing that stopped me was , well there were two things . Three things .
First she might have thought I was gathering evidence for a civil suit against her and her neighbour's dog ( which I wasn't .
Dogs bite each other and its up to the adults to stop them , in my book . We had failed as much as her ) . Second she might have guessed I wrote a blog and thought I was a terrible woman using details of Alice's misadventure to tell a stupid story .
And finally D might have thought it was terribly insensitive to Alice . Oh Hold on Alice we will get you home in a minute but I must take a few snaps first .......

So no pictures of Bad Molly or her little pal ; they were working as a team .
But it seemed reasonable enough to encapsulate Alice herself before her stitching and after her op . She was delighted to hear of the good wishes of the commenters and I held up the e card of dolphins ( which are known to have healing properties ) sent by Joan for her to look at .

Resting :Such hard work


Alice manages to make even resting look like something of a trial .( I love that expression in close up ) So far so good . She knows there is a discomfort and keeps kicking her neck with her back leg , or nibbling at the good leg . But so far she hasnt managed to bite at the wound . So we are letting her off with the lampshade collar , though once she realises what is itching her , I suspect the collar will need to go on . The nurses told us they applied it three times and each time she took it off . Her neck being too skinny to keep it on . I see trouble ahead ....

Happy Birthday Nat

Somehow in the general mayhem that was the weekend , Nat's 14th birthday has been almost sucked down the tube . However , today is the day , St Patrick's Day and although she had her party proper on Friday night she is having a few friends round tonight so I am despatched off to Millie's cookies to order a giant cookie with writing on it . She ( secretly ) still likes the fact that I call her silly names so I asked her did she want her proper name piped on or one of her other names ( there are a few ) and she dares me . The young woman at Millie's goes cross eyed when after several attempts to get me to understand how it all works ( red chocolate or vanilla border ? red chocolate or vanilla piping ? and various other options mumbled in very thick accent , combined with my slight deafness against a backdrop of loud music and no Nat there to translate for me ..... it is hard work ) clearly thinking Nutter Alert ( in so far as she does thinking at all ( Oops Snob Alert ) and when she asks what I want piped on the cake and I say Happy Birthday Noodle she goes quite cross eyed .

This is a look Ive seen before .

In fact I really should be formulating my seven wierd things about the list for the I've been tagged by BetteJo business which has also been overtaken by events .

This slightly cross eyed look came over D yesterday when we were driving away from the pet hospital . Having just left Alice to her fate with me having scared everyone with my tales of having read on the net that greyhounds dont survive anaesthetic the way normal dogs do , D was quietly driving and trying to contain himself , whilst I was reading the texts that had arrived for me whilst we were talking to the vet .

Liz , having no idea that we were in the throes of such a nightmare , had brightly suggested I come to her house for an afternoon of Origami . Liz is a great and dear friend of mine who I've known almost for ever and who despite being a scholar and an academic also has a keen interest in all sorts of other things like lace making ( she goes on conventions ) maths ( she goes to maths conferences for fun) and origami . Of course I like the fact that she will occasionally drop everything and spend three hours over soup and tea in a coffee shop hooting with laughter with me about this and that ( mostly that ) .

I read her text out to D , and he repeats slightly incredulously , people are going to her house to do Paper Folding ? From 2 till 5 pm ?
Yes I say and I would have gone except that it might interfere with collecting Alice , and it feels too complicated .
Though , I muse , I could always make a little figure of a Jack Russell and then .... ( rip it to shreds , I am thinking , but I hopefully taper off and finish this sentence in my head ) .. that would be very therapeutic , I say , possibly .

D looks as me , then glances out of the window and I think again , not for the first time , that I am glad I do not know in detail the thoughts that pass across his brain .
I suppose if I had a therapist he would be ringing her now . Or not as the case may be .


As I drove into town at 9 36 am I started thinking that fourteen years ago today my labour was all over , I was back in my bed , and there was this tiny little blonde haired girl with a rosebud mouth in a goldfish bowl thing beside the bed . Across the ward from me was another woman, Ann, of around the same age as me who was also mobile , though like me , somwhat shaky on the pins after an epidural . It was a big ward and all the other women were post caesarean section , so much less mobile than we were ,and all of them bottle feeding their babies . I find that hard to believe . We were unique in that we were breast feeding . Or rather we weren't breast feeding , though we were trying very hard . Nathalia was the most wonderful baby and she did everything right , latching on , as did Patrick across the way . But I can still recall my relief when I looked up and saw the agony in Ann's face and her hands clenching when in unison with my baby , hers latched on and we were in some kind of joint agony as the midwives would say , very much in passing " you dont have to do it you know . We have ready made up bottles here you know . " The temptation . Oh the temptation . And we would reminisce about how we had been warned in our parentcraft talks about the agonies of breast feeding but that we had been too busy fretting about the labour stories to bother about the next bit ....

There was a desparate shortage of staff so although we had fabulous new facilities and a great area with drinks machines etc , we were terrified to leave our babies as it was not long before that a new born baby Abby Humphries had been stolen from her mother's side in the maternity unit . Ann and I soon staggered over to each other and got chatting and agreed to babysit for each other whilst we did our hasty ablutions and got ourselves endless coffees. ( Abby was eventually found and reunited with her parents ) .

Happy memories ....most people are so desparate to get home with their new babies . I loved those five days I was in hospital ( they used to let us stay in a long time then .... ) having my meals delivered , washing done and nothing to worry about except taking care of Nat . It was all so simple !

Sunday, 16 March 2008

Home at last ...

What a day , what a weekend ...
Alice is now home at last , her surgery has gone well and she has internal stitches and a lampshade collar to stop her chewing at the wound , but at present she is spark out on the sofa as usual .....

It was awful at the vet hospital though ( apart from paying the £300 bill I mean .... worth every penny !!!) seeing two women in tears with just a collar in their hands and no pet , a puppy that had been run over , a very ripped open dog ( accident with a gate or some wire ) and a woman and a young man distraught over a blue macau that was on oxygen and they were desparately making calls trying to get an expert to take on the bird's care . Heartbreaking stuff and such a relief to get out of there with Alice still in one piece ....


Alice is still in surgery .

Alice update

Alice is at the emergency vet hospital having her leg sewn back together under general anaesthetic . We had to leave her there , the worst part after I told her as we went in that we wouldnt leave her ....
My big concern has been about greyhounds and anaesthetics not mixing but Scott the vet explained that they would watch her very closely , use the right product and "they haven't lost one so far this week ". Ok I feel much better .
But I can't wait till 5 pm when I can ring and here how she is . We can expect to get her back much later tonight , as its the post op recovery period time that usually brings problems so she will be monitored closely by nurses for a while .

Poor Alice


Poor Alice has been mauled on the beach , not by a seal cub or an Alsatian but by a tiny Jack Russel terrier whom she wasn't even chasing at the time .We've tried telling her before that these little Teds as she thinks of them are far more dangerous than the big dogs like her, as she just stodd there screaming and refused to retaliate .( Just as well ) She is feeling very sorry for herself , cant get comfortable at all . Oh dear .

Saturday, 15 March 2008

BetteJo and BobbiJo

We have a houseful here and excitement is mounting over the guinea pig pictures . D is being urged to look , and show enthusiasm over them , and it soon becomes apparent that he would rather get on with watering the plants and checking the football scores . He loves our guinea pigs without a doubt but is somewhat less enthusiastic ( though trying hard ) than the rest of us ( females ) as we pass the laptop round and look at Bobbi Jo 's pictures from all angles , oohing and ahing ..... soon we realise that part of his confusion is to do with the names , he imagines that BetteJo and BobbiJo live together in America and he is still trying to figure out where Joan fits in . Ah well ... makes sense I guess .....

BobbiJo


I'm sure regular readers have heard all about BobbiJo who is a House Guinea Pig but who likes to spend her leisuretime snuggling with Joan or Rob .

BobbiJo


Friday, 14 March 2008

Me ? Stressed ? Nah ....

After a too strong cup of coffee yesterday I developed a migraine and woke with the words volterol volterol volterol swimming in a soup of my thoughts .
All traces of headache were gone however and the jelly legs were not a problem under the circumstances .
Suffice to say there was a lot going on and if I mention police , shoplifting and "trouble last night" you will understand I want to say no more in order to protect the anonymity of the teens .

I felt relatively calm with all this , having had occasion to spend many a happy hour myself in the police station in my twenties , working as I did in the juvenile justice Industry as indeed it was then . And having gone through all the permutations in my head and having been assured by N that she was not involved , I made a few phone calls to the other parents then decided to go about my day , first taking half an hour in Cafe Royal to calm my nerves ... just an excuse and there would have been another if not this ( Alice chasing a Yorkie , Kitty going for my throat , there would have ben something ) .

I thought I was doing fine , even the fact that ricotta and berry muffins have been temporarily removed from the menus left me unphased and I changed my order to green tea and a cinammon twist , but I have to confess, my chickens came home to roost in Marks and Spencer Food Hall .
I had selected a Colin the Caterpillar birthday cake for Nat , despite the teen thing ( fourteen next week ) she still likes her Colin cake .... two pots of salad , and decided to brave the self serve check out where you run your own card through the card reader , scan your own purchases and hey presto Bob's your Auntie you are through there faster than it takes to shoplift the basketload ( slap my wrist did I say that ... )

I arrive at the checkout area and realise I have no basket to unload , having just collected my purchases in my arms . Mistake number one .
A robotic voice makes some comment about this which I can't make out , so I ignore . Bleep!

I fluff out one of the plastic carrier bags sitting there waiting for me to load up with my stuff .

I can almost hear the machine whirring ... what is she doing ? Bleep !

I scan the first pot of salad and place it in the bag . Bleep !

" Unexpected Item in the Bagging Area " says the Robotic Voice loudly

"Please use our bag , or press the button to indicate you are using your own bag " , it adds , sounding put out .

I glance around .
What ?
I am using their bag .
There is no unexpected item in the bagging area , just a pot of their stupid salad , couscous to be precise .

I press a button , lift the salad out and re scan . Huge mistake .

This sends things haywire and the Robot starts bleeping angrily and giving out conflicing messages .
The last thing I hear is Please use our bag !

I lose it .
" I am using your fucking bag . " I say waspishly " so Fuck Off "

A ripple of tension goes through the queue .

An assistant appears as if from nowhere .
Is everything ok ?
No I tell her , and you may have heard me uttering profanities at your machine .
She says not a word ( not understanding profanity perhaps ?), presses some buttons , but becomes quite aereated herself when I move too swiftly and threaten to start the whole process off again on the wrong foot .
My final faux pas is to place a birthday card purchaed from another store into the bag and she shrieks No ! ( but at least a human shriek and not a robotic one ) . She tries to explain this will be weighed and will then alert the machine that it has not been scanned . And then ....
I scoop up the bag and make off .
Perhaps I am more bothered than I will admit by recent events ......

There were additional factors . N's grandmother was also admitted to hospital in Belfast with a clot in her lung and awaits a scan .

Overall , this was a wonderful day , with many sunny moments .
I have been tagged by BetteJo and must write seven wierd things about myself . I catch D looking at me and know he feels most things about me are wierd .
I will attend to this tomorrow , though perhaps " talking to machines as a matter of course " would count as number one . ? There is no shortage of material for this one though .....

Wednesday, 12 March 2008



" Our fur is so lovely and soft .. and we don't bite , well we don't bite people anyway , just each other "

Cling On Wars ......


You may be able to work out the problem just by looking at the picture . But maybe not . Its simple , yet complicated all at once . Kitty , as the nurse told us , is a Big Girl . In fact , so big now that she lies on her back for comfort rather than on her belly . ( In primary school I had a " composition corrected when I used the word Belly , and the teacher wrote Tummy in red pen above , so now I use Belly as an act of defiance though I know its rather an outdated term. My grandparents had a farm . What can I say ? )
The vet tells us to make her diet , but this is tricky when we have three picky Birmans who we have to coax to eat . How do you deprive one and not the others ? I don't have the answer , short of making them live separately and my life is far too complicated already without cats holed up in different areas . We already have adult / teenagers with the demarcations that brings , not to mention cats/ greyhound etc etc .
In addition to the fat she is adding ( adding value I think its called in Business now ) there is also a large area of matted fur on her back , which started as a little area , which has matted because she can't reach that bit to lick and clean herself . And yes you're right , in theory we could groom her , take a brush or a grooming glove to that bit and un matt the fur , de tangle the hair and hey presto . But , youre not taking into account Kitty's personality which is the main issue here , or one of the main issues .
Kitty is a force to be reckoned with .
Suffice to say we had Kitty booked to be spayed at the vets several times over the years and cancelled simply because we were unable to transfer her into the cat basket by any means known to woman and daughter . We presented at the vets badly cut and scratched to explain our time wasting ... and they understood completely . In fact the vet emerged from his consulting rooms at the behest of the senior nurse and said he completely and absolutely agreed with our decision to leave her at home which was "safest for all ". He inspected our wounds and suggested we absolve ourselves from further responsibilities that day .
Occasionally I read reports of the RSPCA prosecuting cruel people who have neglected their pets and left them with tumours and illnesses and all manner of things and then sometimes , of people who are deemed cruel having left their pets with terribly matted hair and my eye catches Kitty's and we exchange a look and I try to at least run my hand over the area and she spits at me and I quail ...... and I blanche and I think the RSPCA would look at my other cats and the guinea pigs and the dog and they would see how they are all loved and they would see how Kitty would rip their throats out of they tried to assist her in any way and they would see how she stares adoringly at me each night as she peers over the top of my book as she weighs my chest down as we read together .... just so long as I leave her fur alone ......
Last night , I decided enough was enough , and declared war on the "cling on" . The huge lump of fur needed a name if I was to beat it and having called it a winnet for a while in my head I then googled the word ( dont ask why ) and realised I was barking up quite the wrong tree here as winnet refers only to the cling ons left behind after poor wiping practices . Having been brought up with a younger brother who was fascinated by such things and also being quite weak stomached himself firmly believed that such matters should be dealt with by the female members of the family if there were pets with such issues ( there frequently were as we had silly cocker spaniels with rather loose bowels ) .
I digress . I threw caution to the wind , took a very sharp pair of scissors , waited till Kitty had her nose in the trough so to speak , and cut into the edge of the cling on . Result . Kitty far too busy troughing to be bothered with what was going on behind her . I snipped away feeling very smug and managed to take away a sizeable piece of the lump . Snippety snip . A bit more . Kitty turned and lashed out . I retreated , patting her head to show we were still friends .
I informed D of my progress so far and he shot off upstairs , not to be out done , returning triumphantly and unmarked a few minutes later , having filled the food bowl in order to take another ball of fluff off her .
Where will it all end .?
If the blog comes to a sudden end , hey , it was nice knowing you all !

Monday, 10 March 2008

Greyhounds hate rain


Alice dug her heels in this morning and steadfastly refused to go out in the tipping rain . Can't say I blame her . She slept in , and it was me waking her at seven or therabouts .Usually once shes had a stretch , in slow motion and edged her way out of the blankets and off the sofa ( being tall she doesn't jump off , more steps off ) she s ok to head for the food cupboard to check on the Treats supply and then out into the yard for her ablutions .

But today the storm was raging and it was not to be . Even the guinea pigs kept their counsel as the back door nearly blew off its hinges and I apologised as I even suggested she pop out for a minute . She took one look , directing me mentally to the " greyhounds don't do rain " website , and in particular the section on "Building your rescue greyhound a rainproof walkway if he or she refuses to go potty in inclement weather " ( hang on , we barely have enough space out there to park the barbecue never mind build a walkway ) and turned tail and headed back to the sofa .

Several tries later , and much coaxing and distribution of small heart shaped snacks , I finally put my waterproof on over my bathrobe and step into D's size God knows what size trainers and step out with her into the yard .I put Alice's coat on too , in the interests of fairplay . We pace up and down in the rain for seven minutes , until finally D appears at the door and says .... I would give that a miss ..... What ? ( Grumpy ? Moi ? ) I say So we let her in and she heads straight for the carpet and ....

No he says calmly , we give her breakfast then she will go straight out ......

My hair is dripping , my feet are wet , my spirit and Alice's are both in tatters .

We go inside and she gives me a " no hard feelings " look .

She eats her beef mince and biscuits in half a minute , D opens the door , no coats , she trots out obediently , heads for the bottom of the yard , turns twice as usual and produces a gallon of wee .

Result !

She races back in true greyhound style and stands happily outside the treat cupboard for her reward then leans against me for a cuddle .

What a dog .......

Sunday, 9 March 2008

My blog is now refusing to let me reply to comments . pah .
I feel a list coming on

I'm not a list person

Woke without a headache ( thats two days in a row ) , after an extensive dream of a childhood family acquaintance .
(Worked out how to spell acquaintance ) .
Walked the dog , prevented said dog from chasing small defenseless lap dog type dogs ( this is more and more of an issue as rescue greyhound increases in confidence . Climbed the 114 steps back to civilisation from the beach without suffering cardiac arrest or associated whatever . )
Topped up the water bed . ( Easier said than done . Say no more . I can't resist . This is a full scale operation complete with photographs and jokes about hearts and testicles . Not for the faint hearted . Water everywhere . Cats claws threatening the integrity of the mattress . We survived . The cat is purring in a a slightly sarcastic " you will pay " manner in her usual corner of the bed .
Baked a batch of Nigella pear and ginger muffins . Improvised greek yog with honey as no sour cream or honey . And although Nigella insists they are to be baked before breakfast and not to be confused with cake , mine have just emerged now from the oven and I am about to down several with mango tea .
I dont suppose my list is done yet but .....

... Typed up a training programme for some freelance work
Cleaned out the guinea pigs ( joint venture like the bed )
Read the papers
Finished Rough Music
Took Nat and me to get eyebrows waxed ( and remembered that the technical name for baking cases was not packing cases .... pre pre pre senile dementia bites again )
Bought baking cases at village shop .
Theorised privately about blogging and why people blog .
Cleaned bathroom .
Felt smug . ( list is usually , had headache so slept and took pills .)

Dog ? What Dog ?


Jess , back in the hot seat . Since the dog arrrived she has been wary of sitting still for long .

Kitty


Saturday, 8 March 2008

Squirrel on the menu

Its true then , my sister wasn't having me on with her early morning text . Having taken her Hexhan Courant back to bed due to the storms outside she informed me that the latest delicacy on themenu at Matfen Hall country club was squirrel with chestnuts( obviously with a much posher title) . Having done my research Dining menu this seems unlikely until I discover this Shop Supplies Posh Restaurant With Squirrel Meat (from The Northern Echo) . Oh dear , it seems fine diners in the region are indeed tucking into poor defenceless little rodents . I don't get it . Why would they ? As Laura herself noted its tantamount to eating a guinea pig and after all squirrels at the best of times are regarded as vermin surely . Who would want to eat one on any grounds ? I personally think that apart from aesthetic grounds , the texture would be all wrong . The bushy tail and nibbbling face would be at the forefront of the mind as one carved . The store of nuts and the cute way they run up treees and pose for photos . No , its just not right .
I can feel a letter to Matfen Hall coming on .
It started well . I slept beyond radio 4 snapping into action at 6 30 ( why , on the weekends ? ) and even a bit beyond the 6 45 phone alarm starting up . (I wake with no headache ). I never bother to cancel that as the dog usually gets me up before that in any event . But even she slept in today . I crept down to find her just stirring , the white Ikea humans throw wrapped round her shoulders and the blue and green tartan dogs throw round her waist and lower torso . She eases up and the tail wags once then she settles back down for another five until she is certain the food cupboard door is opening . The Guinea Pigs are rather more sociable squeaking their good mornings and hopping about their domain , stretching their necks and woffling the noses in anticipation of breakfast . The cats appear and start to swarm and trip me . Once the dog's mince is on the computer shows its 10 degrees outside and rather than nip back to bed with the book I get drawn into a blog .
I love blogs .
Today Silliyak has left an intriguing comment on mine and I start reading some of his archives . Soon I am transported to another world and a trip to China ( was it ? I think so ? ) and a potty story ( in the UK we use potty to describe the things babies poo and wee on but I know from my travels in the States that potty there is used for adult functions too , which amuses me no end ) . I find myself laughing out loud and soon half an hour has passed and I am looking at cat pictures and reading witticisms and wondering why my own blog is so pedestrian . Envy is a terrible thing . There is a seagull called Charlie who eats hotdogs and has lived for thirty years and ......
The mince is burning and the cats are not amused and I have to tear myself away . The spell is broken so I serve animal breakfast and retire upstairs , not before I notice Alice is missing , despite having demolished a hearty panful . Silence . I check the stairs . Somehow she has broken through the baby stair gate and is in the bathroom scoffing the cats' breakfast . I adopt my most hurt / cross voice and tell her what I think and then find the cats all sulking in the bedroom , horrified at this breach of the boundaries .

Alice later chases a large lurcher type dog on the beach , turbo charged perhaps by the cats breakfast and is unbiddable . The lurcher is bigger and braver than she is and bounces across rocks and through the sea. Alice follows ( forgetting that she does not do water ) but does not see the lie of the land and falls into a deep pool and sinks .

Later I have yet another nosebleed and return to the house to find the kitchen awash with teenagers making pancakes . There is a blood curdling noise from elsewhere and one of the visitors asked if the house is haunted . Nat and I exchange a look . We are not sure .

Friday, 7 March 2008

Two babies

My friend visited yesterday for a couple of hours with her two babies . I say babies , one is six months , the other is a little girl of two years . But even the elder is still a baby and her world rocked by the arrival of this new delightful thing who seems to smile at the world and what do you know , the world smiles back .
We make coffee and have flapjack and juice and get toys out and play on the floor then J sits back to try to breast feed baby ...... Little Rose strides off purposefully to D s room next door and calls out Mummy ..... silence .... Yes Rose ..... Mummy , you can't see what I'm doing now ..... J looks worried but continues to try to relax and feed baby , happy but hungry . Silence from next door but a slight scuffling ..... Mummy you'd better come and see what I'm doing now ...... J shuffles anxiously ..... I hesitate , uncertain whether we should hurry through , Mummy now I'm in the papers on the desk ...... Mummy now I'm climbing ........ another long silence . J indicates that she can tolerate no more and perhaps I should go through . Little Rose is perched on the back friendly chair ( how did she climb up there ) moving paperweights around and shuffling receipts , otherwise amusing herself quietly but clearly longing for an audience .

I wonder how on earth any parent of more than one baby manages anything , for any length of time , without going crazy , or just dropping with exhaustion . How do you split yourself between two competing people with different needs when they are little and don't understand that its not that you don't want to try , its just that it's not possible .

I dream of apples , it seemed all night long .

Rough Music

Is anyone reading Rough Music by Patrick Gale ? Its amazing .....

Thursday, 6 March 2008

Prestat choxi


Described as rich in flavanol antioxidants , which fortify the natural resistance of the body by combating free radicals and maintaining healthy blood and cholesterol levels , Prestat Choxi was what I asked Nat for Mothers Day . But fearing that she would not find it , I purchased a bar myself a couple of weeks ago .

Although not sure what free radicals are or what any of that stuff Ive quoted means , I can confirm the chocolate is very nice . It was only as I polished off the final piece though that I noticed the final sentence on the blurb . A small piece of choxi each day is a positive indulgence everyone can enjoy .

Oops , what about the pigs amongst us who just hogged the lot ? I did , in my defence , offer Nat a sizeable chunk last night but she declared it minging as it was orange flavoured .

Oh well what can I say ? I was never one for reading the instructions before I got started .

That's my story and I'm sticking to it .

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Pearlie's corner of the HotBed


Why do I never Learn ?

Long session at the Day Job on Monday with lunch provided ... sandwiches with butter which I can't eat ( so I didn't) and things on sticks and quiche , which I did . Three quarters of the way through quiche , deep in conversation ( about greyhounds .. what else ) , sudden realisation , quiches are made of eggs , mostly . Eggs for me spell Migraine ... Uh-Oh ....... too late ..... tell myself it will be fine . For years I ate loads of eggs with no problems , I've been fine the last few days blah blah .

Rest of the day: no problems .

By nine pm , trouble is brewing . Pain building in my neck , flashes in the eyes , starting to yawn and generally feel wierd . It can't be the egg: can it ?
I know it is , though I go into denial for a few minutes before taking myself off with the latest wonderdrug , the Maxmelt ...this is the one that's so hard to get out of the foil packet that if I'm anywhere beyond minute one of a migraine it completely defeats me .

I swallow the wafer and settle against the pillows in bed . Three cats have beaten me to it and Toby budges up to let me into my spot . I pick up a book having found I'm quicker to fall asleep , even with a throbing head , if I can sit propped up and read for a few minutes . If I lie flat the pain is greater and sleep comes less readily . Toby wiggles closer and then settles his head onto my arm and purrs . This is the first time he has done this and I feel oddly moved . Pearl , whose favourite spot is the corner of the bed , where she pushes the pillows to one side to make sure she is against the hot mattress ( the water bed is permanently heated but the other cats stay on top of the duvet and don't get the full benefit of the heat ) looks across as I start to move around and she comes over and burrows under the duvet and turns twice like a dog making a nest , settling herself against my thigh . Soon she is purring with a high pitched whine , almost a crooning which she does when life is pleasing her more than usual . I am soon asleep in an upright position , rambling as is the norm when D comes to check on me , subject matter monkeys and departments . Occasionally I see him laughing and even laugh myself , recognising my own disconnectedness , but unable to make sense .
The following day I am out of action to the extent that I miss Holby City .
I vow another egg will not pass my lips . It's hard though , when I'm distracted and they masquerade as other things .
I have an obsession with Onken Greek style yoghurt with honey just now . It is a rich cream coloured stuff like smooth rich ice cream with non of that off white sheepiness of some Greek youghurts .
I shall stick with that .
Oh yes and green olives . Which Iam still obsessed with .

Today despite being slightly hung over with migraine drugs , I had to drive to the ofice in D' s sporty type car with no gear stick . ( Described thus as I have forgotten the name for a car that is the opposite of manually driven though I know it has a name ) . D's daughter and her partner and two year old daughter have had to take flights to New Zealand today and he has driven them to Manchester airport needing my car for its luggage space etc . What should have been an exciting trip was never going to be straightforward as they were going to introduce their daughter to her grandfather , who had just been diagnosed with terminal cancer .
But the awful tragic news came yesterday morning that he had rung the previous night to another family member to say he didn't know whether he would make it till they got there ( their flights were booked for three weeks time ) and then that he died yesterday . So they are making the journey now for a different reason .
Life is such a strange thing at times ......how things work out , or seem not to work out .Some days I think things happen for a reason , but its hard when we have no idea what that reason is . And sometimes things can seem so cruel that to suggest there is a reason can seem callous or crass . Other days I believe there is neither rhyme nor reason to anything . And then there is the law of Karma .
Whatever is operating here , I drove with a sick anxiety this morning and I guess their long journey will be undertaken with a much greater sense of what they are heading towards .
I hope that even in the midst of loss there will be happy moments and joy for them all.

Memories of arriving in Germany at the age of seventeen to stay with my German penfriend for a few weeks . Shortly before I arrived her father's body was recovered from the Rhein , missing for weeks after suicide . This was one of the happiest holidays of my life , something of the deep sadness and sense of loss seeming to bring us all closer ?

Sunday, 2 March 2008

High Seas

Google searches

As my statistics seem to pick up , I get curious about who is reading me . I know BetteJo , and Joan , and my sister of course , and sometimes D , though I suspect he gets fed up with the silly references to his foibles etc , Nat now and then I think ( more then than now ) , Marisa maybe , one or two catcaller families , one or two friends , maybe Neil of MarketingMyNovel fame http://www.marketingmynovel.blogspot.com/ Freddie' s dad occcasionally , and then there s the rest of you that I don't know about , well I know you come back time and again but I dont know who you are or how you found the blog .
So sometimes I look at the google searches that bring people here . Makeover 2000 is ever popular . Seal pups on the beach . Dressy up clothes for the Roomba gets somebody most weeks , mostly from the States . The one I love best , that has brought people this way on several occasions is Perpetuating lettuce ....I cannot for the life of me imagine I wrote anything at all about lettice , perpetuating or otherwise , but hey there it is time and again , drawing the crowds . And there was me thinking posting a picture of a naked woman ( though not me necessarily, was the way to go ) .

Today , someone found the blog via a search for "flehming response in cats" . Now I recall searching high and low for a picture of a cat making this face , having tried for days to catch one of my four on camera . But , with digital it's really really hard . Cat makes face , you grab camera . You may even think you caught shot , but camera seems to take the pic a fraction of a section after cat has stopped making the face and is now smiling happily again .
So in the end I took a picture of a flehming response in a tapir ( having a thing for tapirs at that time ) .
Today , I follow the leads via the google search and find this , Question or comment on some vets site . I nearly wet myself laughing .
I quote .

"My big fat Tom sniffed another cat's backside. Then he held open his mouth and stared alot. What is he doing?"

Posted 1 week ago

Underneath is a neat little explanation of flehming and then loads of great pictures .... Pah !

Where was this cat's backside , and indeed his face , when I needed it all those weeks ago ?

The one where CatCaller fails at everything ....

Oh Dear . After a cracking start yesterday with the insulin injection , this morning its a whole different story . I arrive at eight am as arranged . M and G are both very friendly , G more so than yesterday , and I picture the injection going swimmingly as somewhere in the back of my mind I have a feeling there will be a hitch , though I struggle to imagine what , as she was really quite accommodating yesterday and afterwards we seemed to stay good friends .

In the kitchen , there are two bowls of uneaten food , leftovers from last nights dinner , provided by the neighbour and I wonder if this is not a good sign . Maybe they won't be hungry ? G has to be seen to eat a little amount of food before the injection otherwise it's not safe .

I chatter cheerfully to the cats , telling them about the tin of kippers I am about to open for them and about my morning so far , pausing at one point in my description of rising at 6 30 to let the dog out even on Mother's Day , to wonder about the flat's soundproofing and whether the neighbour can hear my inane prattling ......

The cats look at me with interest and G comes to the edge of the mat to watch what I'm doing , though neither she nor M seems particularly bothered about the kippers . M yesterday was definitely showing an interest in the sardines-put-out-to-temp-G by this stage of the can opening .

My heart sinks .

I think NLP and visioning the result I want and picture myself in front of G daintly eating her fish whilst I prepare the needle , rolling the insulin in my hands , drawing up the amount and then checking for air bubbles , checking and re checking then concealing the syringe in my hand whilst I tempt G to let me stroke her and bunch up her fur and ... you know the rest ....

To no avail .

To no avail .

I am a failure . G is sitting staring at the kippers . M is staring at the kippers . I am staring at the kippers .

No one has opened a mouth , except me , to make silly coaxing noises and talk nonsense about nonsense .

G has walked around the entire flat , showing me all the rooms .

I have followed her with a bowl of fish , then a bowl of chicken , then more fish .

Finally she turns her back pointedly .

I pick up a magazine and sit on the sofa pretending to read , my mind racing . I know J told me it would not be the end of the world if she missed the injection one day . That the important thing was not to inject if no food on board .

I move the food closer . The cat moves away .

I give up , write an explanatory note and decide to ring J and explain myself .

I carry out my other tasks with a heavy heart , say goodbye to the cats . G rolls over and over towards me , quite benevolent and well disposed .

Later , on the beach , a solo surfer is out there . I use my camera to film from a great vantage point . I have somehow missed the action . Completely missed him standing up and riding along the huge rolling waves . Missed the waves .

I post the clip because its Mother's Day and a great day and failure or not the sea always looks itself .

I am wearing bright orange stripey socks ( no Grumpy Cow candles to boot ) , recieved 2 not 1 card ( takes some explaining that one ) , and we got the best sofa s in Lui 's in the village for breakfast .

What more could I ask for ?

Wishing you all a Happy Day , whatever your story x

Saturday, 1 March 2008

CatCaller falls for a Crane


Its not often I fall for expensive arty things .
I have periodic obsessions , the latest being the Roomba ,CatCalls: No Greyhound CatCalls: Roombanot that that was arty , but I did really really want one , and I rode that storm and now I'm quite content again just to do the hoovering with the Dyson ( if you get my drift ) . Or rather for D mainly to do the Hoovering with me doing the odd bit now and then .....
I digress .
There was an obsession just before the Roomba but Ive temporarily forgotten what it was .
But this crane , phographed above , is something else .
Spotted this morning at Kirkharle galleryKirkharle Courtyard, Kirkharle, Northumberland, Creative Arts Centre plus Coff , it was love at first sight .
It would sit perfectly in the new , to- be- revitalised porch , albeit tripping people up as they pass .
Alice would love it . I can see her now , mistaking it for a rescue greyhound like herself , and pecking at its neck like she does with smaller , vulnerable teddy bear style dogs on the beach .
I see myself hanging sundries on its beak ( necklaces , scarves , dog leads , the like )
My sister reckons I'm attracted to it for its beak which , like Alice's greyhound snout , bears more than a passing resemblance to mine .
( And hers , for that matter ) .
Ive said it before , I'll say it again . Watch this space .

Migraine Days

Migraine Days

Flower and Bee on a Sunday

Flower and Bee on a Sunday

art on a sunday

art on a sunday