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

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Welcome to CatMinders

Saturday, 28 June 2008

Seagull Splatt

My car is still semi knackered due to an excess pouring in of oil when in fact oil was not required . I mis read the warning lights in a mild panic at the side of the road on Wednesday night but then I was on the side of a dual carriageway with CatCalls awaiting me ( two delightful cats with a hefty litter tray ) , a migraine chugging away in the background trying to rise above the Topamax and rain threatening in the rush hour traffic .

Admit it , it could happen to anyone . I pay the AA two hundred pounds a year to come and rescue me in such circumstances but when the head is banging one really cannot face a stranger with his kindness and his questions and having to put together a coherent sentence and be polite sometimes defeats me .

So instead I called D and like the knight in shining armour he is , he rolled up bearing oil and with the dog in the back of his car ( a strict no-no due to his smart leather seats and said Dog's long pointy claws ) and following my instructions and without questioning my belief that the light which had ignited was the oil warning light , poured in oil .

He then handed me the book which explains what the lights mean and I realised that it was indeed a "toxic fumes warning light"... oh poop. However as the oil had disappeared down the tubes D confirmed that the car did indeed need it , so as I drove home at a snail's pace and the car was still chugging and sputtering and refusing to rise above thirty mph , asked him to add more . He gallantly took me the rounds of my CatCalls , poured in oil , checked levels later and looking rather anxious stated that now we seemed over rather than under the limit .

Car was then handed over to mobile mechanic , who discovered a coil pack was the issue , fixed it and didnt mention oil .

Today , car was booked in to Renault dealers to have mirror fault recall rectified . Apparently it is likely to set car door on fire if this is not fixed ( though has not done so in previous five years ? ) , but whilst Renault folks had the car in their grasp they kindly did a " safety check " and now tell me my car has twice the required level of oil in it blah blah . Yes yes I say wearily and D says Yes yes , a mistake .

The point of this rather wearying tale is that Nat and I get to take D' s rather dashing little car out with us when we go shopping for her suitcase for her upcoming holiday to Europe's finest destinations . Regular blog readers will recall my difficulties with the automatic transmission of his previous sporty car , but Nat is in control now and manages to multi task , calling her chums on my mobile while issuing instructions at the same time as I gingerly stare at the- thing- which resembles- a- gear- stick ...
" No Mum .... No ..... D not P when you want to move forwards P means park not drive ...... " in a soothing yet warning voice ...... Sorry Paige just sorting my mum out here ...... "
Its a while since I have driven this particular car . I love it and am actually quite keen on it but there is this tendency to scrape the wheels ( sorry alloys ) and recently D has taken to chauffering me round if there is a need rather than simply handing over the keys . But today Nat and I needed some bonding time , and this was achieved in delightful fashion over a huge pink glitter suitcase , a mango frappucino in Starbucks and a quick drive poseur style along the seafront just in case any of her pals should be out .... ( or mine come to that ) .
Happy Days .
And to think it was only six hours ago that a massive seagull splatt narrowly missed landing on my head in the village . What a portent !

Friday, 27 June 2008

Pema Chodron post ! Oh NO !

Oh NO !
Idly flicking through my own post ( who does that ... what a saddo .... ) I realised the names of the books were highlighted at Amazon . I clicked and Guess what ? Had a I written about them , then purchased, I could have obtained a used copy at Amazon for £2 something very little . pah ! I paid something sky high like £ 8.99 . Times two books means almost twenty quidlets . Not that I'm a cheapskate or anything . But pah and double pah !

My car has just cost £ 116 and several pence for a new coil pack .
Oh well , its just money and as I must remind myself , If I re read Esther and Jerry Hicks , all you have to do is Ask and You will be Given , metaphorically if not in real shiny notes .
Though those might come in handy as well , sometimes .

Pema Chodron , This Week

Last Sunday we head for Silverlink. It is the usual story . My sister is staying for the weekend and part of the deal is that living on a farm she doesnt get many shopping opportunities .
Harvey needs new trainers . This comes up about every four weeks ( Teenage girls and boys are so different ; girls "need" shoes frequently but its a different kind of need . Harvey really does need them , but he certainly doesnt " want " them , and he definitely does not want to go shopping for them with his mother and his auntie whom he regards as the flip sides of two particularly boring coins when it comes to this particular monthly excursion .
Today may not be quite so bad though as at least he has his mate with him .
The trip goes amazingly well and I am soon in Borders looking for a new Patrick Gale novel .
Thwarted( where are all the Patrick Gale books , where ? ) , on a whim I purchase two Pema Chodron books , ignoring my resolution to use the library at all times ( I have been sticking to this , honest ) thus keeping my visa card firmly in my bag .In a nutshell , the visa card is in the machine before I can say "need " and "book".
And this is after all Pema Chodron , so helpful to me in former times ( how I adore that phrase , which I first learned from my German penfriend Zita who used it in almost all of her letters to me circa 1970 to 1975 , when it seemed to drop from use , thus I took it up instead ) .
I first read " When things fall apart " when things were indeed falling apart for me , and I read it and read it and re-read it and haven't really stopped reading it . Then I moved onto " Start where you are " and ... I digress . Who cares about all this ?
I'm talking about this week nownot five or so years ago , or I should be . Dulwich Divorcee has got me thinking about my past after I found her blissful blog last night . I recommend it to everyone . ( see my comments if you need a link )
So , this week .
I started reading Pema Chodron's 2004 offering " The wisdom of no escape " on Monday and it made such perfect sense that , given that at the time I was headache free I was able to start to believe that indeed , this is exactly how it should be .
Suffering from a modicum of Topamax induced aphasia as I do ( notwithstanding my tendency also to digress ) I cannot outline in a simple blog post the basic tenets of Buddhism but there is something exquisitely true about Chodron's writings .
This life that we have , is the perfect basis for our reflections . We need not wait for the right relationship , more money , better health , the best possible situation to come along .
We can start right now , as someone living with pain , in suffering , with bad health , in a crappy place in whatever respect and just use that as the springboard for doing what we need to do to make sense of it all , to practice what we need to practice , if youre getting my drift . ( And I accept that you may not be . I'm not even sure I am . )
Tuesday I had an almost complete day without any headache or migraine . Keeping the diaries as I am now for the research this is quite a rare occurrence . Wonderful .... I skipped into the office feeling like I was floating and wondering if I ever felt this good in the past. Did I appreciate my life before ? Was I really ever completely aware of how wonderful and light and just how free the head feels when there is no thumping going on in there , when the eyes are seeing straight , when the banging is absent , when there is no sickness blurring everything and .... well you get the picture . Was I ? Did I ? I doubt it . I was probably far too busy moaning about something else , or wishing I could something different .
Tuesday also I had a message from home telling me a small package had arrived from me and an envelope from the National Lottery . How intriguing !
Clearly the first was the Piggy toenail clippers I had ordered online and the second ; had I not quite by chance read in the Times that the winning numbers had not been claimed I might have had half a day imagining I had won a tenner !
Either way I was far more excited about Piggy toenail clipping .
But as it all came crashing back down around me with a boiling in my head by Wednesday night it becomes harder and harder to accept anything at all .
I ask myself how do people who live with constant unrelenting pain do it ? If the pain is in your head , so you cannot think , how do you keep going ?
I keep going because it isn't every single day . Because with a variety of medications I can still live a life and work and have a laugh and read my endless books and dream my dreams .
Footnote : It was the Piggy toenail clippers . And lovely they are too .
I didn't win the lottery .
And my car packed up big style on the way home on Wednesday .
But today my head is better and I had a sausage sandwich in the wine bar with Alice taking up residence in the doorway , by way of celebration . The trick is to make the most of the good days ?

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Keira's got balls

Sunday morning at the sailing club . We settle down to watch as a crowd of university types appear to pull a boat out of the water using the line up with a rope and pull hard method . The sun is shining and we have time on our hands , me , my sister and D . Alice rests quietly on the sand , trying to catch up on lost sleep as there are too many of us at home and too few sofas . She is lacking sleep . Greyhounds need 23 hours per day as she keeps trying to remind us and she is running dangerously near empty . She can function on 22 but after that its a close call . There have been teens sprawling all over her territories for days and she is close to snapping point . Meanwhile we are enjoying the sun and the water lapping at the shore and the feeling that the teenagers are all still asleep , and rather idly hoping that just possibly there will be a comedy moment when the rope will snap and some of the boat pullers will fall in a line rather like dominoes . I have my camera at the ready . We half heartedly contemplate offering to help but know instinctively that its a case of too many cooks etc etc ..... Meet Charlie. Charlie is the black terrier who appears in the first picture , accompanied by a rather lovely Keira Knightley lookalike , who is towing two toddlers and a plastic truck on a stick . Me , my sister and D are all envious of that truck , in particular of that stick . In our day , we towed our children on their trucks on bits of string or rope and a precarious and tedious , indeed backbreaking job it was at times . But Keira sails along with her children , and it looks so easy and ,truly , we are happy for her . And here is Charlie , who is the double of my sister's terrier Grommit , one of Alice s best mates , and Charlie bustles into the picture and heads towards the action and cocks his leg as boys do and paddles about and has some fun and chases a few stones and watches as the toddlers fight over their truck as toddlers do even if their mum does look like a film star , and hang on what is this , here is a little female cocker spaniel wiggling happily over to Alice and we watch lazily with half an eye on the boat action ( the boat trailer wheels are now well and truly caught behind a large ramp ) , and Alice is thinking of making friends , and hey up Charlie has snelled a rat and his whole face is a quiver and he is there and his nose is up and under her tail and before we can say " he likes the smell of her bottom " he has mounted her from behind as naughty little terriers do , and the little spaniel's owner has noticed and is running at some considerable speed towards the action as Charlie is wasting no time and oh look Keira has noticed too and is making her way towards us . Alice is still lying down ( after all she is quite exhausted ) , and we watch with interest as Mr Spaniel Man is clearly quite cross , and we imagine that Keira will be mortified . But none of it .... she strides over purposefully as Mr S shouts loudly at Charlie and dislodges him efficiently with his suede shoe .... remaining perfectly pleasant and civilised she states very clearly " Your dog is in heat isnt she ? " . It is not exactly an accusation . It does not say , your dog should not be out , tantalising poor Charlie and his wayward private parts .........and yet ........ Mr Spaniel is completely caught off guard . " Well he stumbles . " Up till now I didnt think she was " " well, I think now you know she is " . Keira is now in full control , but still smiling pleasantly , cheekbones flashing . I am in awe .Does this level of confidence , of balls , of being completely able to resolve a situation in seconds with a smile directly correlate with the wearing of a leather cap worn at just the right angle ? Of being six feet tall and with a body mass index more generally seen in Vogue magazine ? Whatever it was it was wonderful , and if I ever have a boy dog who goes out on the sniff I shall remember how it was done . I'll let you know if I manage to carry it off ?

Sunday, 22 June 2008

Letter to BobbiJo

I mentioned a few days ago that Joan one of my regular commenters was back from her holidays but had some things going on . Joan had e mailed me that her beloved guinea pig BobbiJo was very unwell , that she was at home with them for a couple of days but they were in a process of saying their goodbyes .
Joan has asked me to post these photos of Bj again and to include a letter she has written for her :
Dear Bobbijo With a tear in my eye and an ache in my heart I write about your life,We saw an advert in a shop widow ' 2 guinea pigs for sale, unwanted present ' I went with a friend to collect you both, and with paws soon under the table we named you 2 sisters bobbijo and Thelma louise (Lou), Your sister was bigger than you, bit of a bully! but you loved each other, (I remember when Lou had a poorly eye you used to lick it better for her) Soon after you arrived the run became detached and we lost you for a hour, we were frantic, we finally found you in the a flower bed! At the age of 2 Lou got sick and overnight she died lying beside you, The vet thought you may die of grief, but you flourished, with a unique character, a proper little girl, that loved snuggling up and chatting with us, you loved us all but preferred your dad (tolerated Mark!) and would walk from my lap to your dads!! You loved chin tickles (Mark was best at that!) but didn't like anyone touching your paws!, your favourite foods were cucumber, baby carrots ( had to be chantery ones) and dandelions, and spent lazy summer days in your run,You had a favourite cushion (declined any other one) and a little wooden (well chewed) house.When I was poorly with my heart, your dad used to bring you up to me and you would snuggle up, to make me feel better, you gave us so much love, a sparkle in your eyes that would melt any heart,Then at the age of 6 the vet found a nasty tumour in your tummy, you lost that sparkle in your eyes (and so did we) We knew when it was time to let you go, (and I think you did too) spent your last hours on dads lap, before mom took you on your final, dignified journey, I held you in my arms to the very end and let you fall your little house is empty and so are we,But do you know bobbijo, when we look up into a cloudless night sky, and see the brightest star we can all sayNite nite bobbijo.

Friday, 20 June 2008

Food intolerances and Migraines .....the things I gave up so far

I haven't done this in ages .... Ive given up all cakes that contain eggs .
I'm hoping the research programme I've applied for will accept me , and via that I will find out which foods I may ( or may not ) be intolerant to . ( migraines)
And that way I might discover that I gave up scones and cakes for nothing . ( oh please )
So far I stopped eating them to avoid eggs but I still have headaches ..... ( and it's done nothing for my general fitness or weight so far as I can see ...... !! ) . So it would be good to know .
I still use the occasional coffee .....
If that proved to be one of my things , well that would be a test .

Dog Fartiness

There is a horrid air of Dog Fartiness chez CatCalls this morning post Dog Walk ( yes Greyhound we're looking at you ) . I am expecting two separate series of friends this afternoon and then my sister and her son and his pal for the weekend . Harvey and Steven , who hails from Kielder , is allegedly quiet and wears a bandana ( so will get on famously with Alice ? but there we hope the resemblance ends .... we have enough trouble with flatulence already ) are unlikely to be bothered by the rotten eggs aroma but some of the other guests may take note , so I rack my brians ( or even my brains ) for a Kim and Aggie ( how clean is your house ? ) solution How Clean is Your House? - Kim & Aggie's Cleaning Advice from and thus find myself at ten am sprinkling bicarbonate of soda mixed with essential oils ( cedarwood , eucalyptus , geranium , and a relaxing mix of ylang ylang and some other whose name now escapes me ) all of which I find nestling under the tv just waiting for the day when they can refresh the carpet .

Lovely ! Pearlie Birman pokes her head round the door alerted no doubt by the new aroma and looks on in amazement as I run around throwing white powder all over everything , and now I sit waiting for it all to penetrate before vacuuming . What could be simpler ?

And of course ... I catch sight of Alice's numerous beds , quilts , monkeys , dollies , teddies , pound puppies apporopriated from the cats , all looking a bit grubby so they are all tossed into the washing machine . Alice has closed her eyes firmly against the horror and is feigning sleep .

Thursday, 19 June 2008

Why do you get migraines ?

Guilt is a wierd thing . Its one thing having another migraine day to fill in on my topamax calender ( it looks like a chequerboard , full of black and blue squares , though there was a lovely clear week recently , not sure what that was about but it was great ) but the add-on feelings of guilt are another thing altogether .

Alice and I didn't enjoy our walk today . She seems to pick up when I'm dragging , and on top of that it was windy and the wind makes her nervous . Her first week with us coincided with a windy spell and we could hardly get her out of the house . Scared of her own shadow the idea of squatting for a wee was terrifying with bits of twigs and leaves flying out of nowhere and coming at her from all angles . Now she's much braver but it doesn't take much to set her off course . It didn't help when I had a little vomiting episode out on the headland , and then sat for a while staring at the grass and wondering how I was going to make it home , my mouth dry and my legs shaky and the head pounding . But , make it home we did , and the thought of my bed full of cats and no other commitments that couldn't wait kept me going . And therein lies a tale .

As I climbed back into bed , and my head hit the pilow and the pounding was almost over due to the heavy duty pills but the sleep- need was overwhelming , I felt guilt like nothing else . Guilt that I'm ill once again . Guilt that I'm in bed rather than downstairs like normal people ( why I should give a stuff about this one I really dont know , but it always figures . )
Guilt above all else when people say to me , as they do on an almost daily basis , ok a weekly basis then
" Why do you get migraines ? "

Great question .
I wonder if its a question people get asked if they have arthritis say , or diabetes ?

I haven't a clue really . It could be hormones . It could be food intolerances . I don't eat lots of things I used to eat . It could be stress related . It could be that my brain is abnormal . It could be past head injury related . Etc .

Maybe I need to write an essay on the subject and hand it out , or refer to a website , or just say Google it . After all , I do this myself most weeks , hoping for an answer . So far I haven't found one , neither has my neurologist been able to give me one . But it was lovely when he( a fellow sufferer) said to me , smiling , " Don't you just hate it when people ask you over and over why you get them "
I wonder if he feels guilty ?

Norfolk church

Joan is back from her hols in Norfolk and sent this sunset over the church in Winterton on Sea .
Things are not good for Joan and her family but she wanted us to use the picture and she is in our thoughts .

Sunday, 15 June 2008

" In my mind I'm going to Kitty Hawk "

Other people's blog posts sound so fascinating . I click on the one highlighted by Blogherads on my own blog , assuming its to do with a cat spitting , and find I am Quite Wrong . Sigh .

CatCaller learns to clip Piggy Toenails

Cleaning pigster cage this afternoon and notice both guinea pigs skipping about on long curly nails . Hmm , a visit from auntie Laura with the nail clipppers in her handbag long overdue , I decide the nails are Too Bad and settle myself with a towel on my lap , a pair of human nail clippers at the ready , greyhound watching at a safe distance , and specs on the end of my nose . I put off the evil moment by reading the Observer magazine from cover to cover then ask D to transfer Hedgehog , the Pig with whom I feel the strongest affinity ( and the one least likely to nip me ? ). H settles in happily for a cuddle then notices the tension mounting on my face and looks up at me . Alice looks at me too . D starts hoovering indoors . Great !
I pick up the clippers , take a tentative grip on Pig's foot , which she immediately snatches back , affronted , and tucks in under her extensive tummies , three warning grunts letting me know where I stand .
Hmm . ( again ) .
The neighbours are in their yard too , obviously reading and talking about something soothing and easy , Sunday -like . I wish I was them .
Alice glances at me . Now what ?
Now what indeed ?
I breathe in and out , deeply and start again . That last effort didnt happen . It is a new toe nail .

I put down the clippers and stroke Piggy gently .. she wiggles and settles . The sun shines on us both and the cloud slips away . This is better . This we can both do . Alice sinks down onto her towel , and sighs heavily . No sweat .

I breathe again . I remind myself about this breathing . Maybe I should be doing this more often . Its really quite relaxing , de stressing . Hedgehog shuffles further , presses against me , she is so so sweet . I am tempted to throw the clippers to the bottom of the yard , settle in myself and snooze off in the sun ... but where would that leave us . Get a grip woman !

I slide my hand round again for that little elusive foot ... where is it hidden now ?

I am seven years old , in my grandma's hen house , helping her collect eggs from the nesting boxes , from under the hens , who are sitting on top of the eggs . Horrors , my hand has to go in under the hen to get the egg . I stand there dithering , scared , whilst my sister , aged five , ever feistier than me , shoots in the hand, grabs the egg and brings it out , triumphant ,and then tries to explain how to do it : " Just put your hand in , quick ! " . I try , half hearted , and the hen , sensing my panic , stabs at me with her pointy beak , her wattles shaking in disgust .

Here I am again , trying to hold the guinea pig's foot with courage and confidence and I am seven again and how many times have I watched Laura do it with ease , hold the foot , steady the toes even as the pig kicks , clucking reassuringly and snip ! the nail is history !

I can do it ! I can ! I will .

Alice raises herself again to watch and I catch her eye .

I have a plan . Pig and I are going to relax for ten minutes , then when she is relaxed , I am going to snip off a tiny bit of the nails without holding the feet , which is what is making us anxious .
The feet are beginning to splay out from under her as she is settling and falling against me , and in a few minutes I will just slide the clippers against each nail and trim off a tiny bit . There is no question . It is going to be a success.

And there you have it .

We succeed .

Alice smiles at me .
Hedgehog is a relaxed Pig and Tinkerbell can't wait for her turn ......

Phew !

Saturday, 14 June 2008


Its hard to write sometimes when all I want to do it read read read ....

I have piles of books and there are so many blogs out there and I'm caught up in stories of lives which seem so infinitely more than mine the moment I can't resist a daily glimpse of Heidi One more little person joins us.... reminding me of how it is to be a brand new parent , followed immediately by a glance to see how Tricia is faring at Confessions Of A CF Husband which sometimes leads me into other CF blogs ( today I discovered that a 12 year old girl whose blog I started reading the day before yesterday , died yesterday haley) and there you see what I mean .

It seems too trite to be writing about walking the greyhound and putting up pictures of cats and letters to the Hexham Courant ( which they failed to publish ) about their biased reporting of the incident in court last week blah blah .

But hopefully this will pass.

Meanwhile , no headache for two whole days . And the research questionnaires arrived and have been completed and returned .

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Were it Not For ........

This morning , sunny and warm , I walk back through the village with the dog , having watched her splashing in the shallows at the sailing club beach , chasing her ball at the headland , seen her half heartedly chase a big poodle on the short clipped grass where the daisies are pushing through , and watched her come back when asked . She stays close when big dogs look scary and little dogs threaten to bite. She no longer wants to waken me at six am for her first wee of the day , in fact she often has to be coaxed from her bed and in the direction of breakfast .
The village is bliss in the sun , a slight breeze stirring the hanging baskets and we are known by more and more people through having our tiny greyhound ...
Life would be perfect .....were it not for my banging head , my drugged up side effects in evidence even on the days my head is not hurting .
But ( for everyone ).... there is always a were it not for ......
And for some people it is ... having three months left to live
Needing a transplant
Living with violence
etc etc
and ..... there are moments like this , at the end of a headache filled day , when I have swallowed my pills and the head is numb .... Bliss indeed ......
And there are whole days when my head is clear .
And there is that cute dog .....

Sunday, 8 June 2008

Ferret on the Beach

Joined the Northumberland Greyhound Rescue group on the Blyth beach today so that Alice could meet other greyhounds .

The greyhounds were great . Alice was the tiniest of them all , determined to keep at the front of the walk as best she could . And we saw something you wouldn't find on Tynemouth beaches , a ferret on a lead . I asked for a photograph and was given a guided tour . Such a sweet little thing , tiny teeth and much sniffing the air like a kitten as she looked at me and allowed me to stroke her .

Idyllic evening with bonfire, scatalogy etc

And another fairytale garden , this time my sister's .

Complete with analysis of " scatalogical ", the roaring fire watched by a row of beasts and a walk by the river .

The very ancient cat sat on me , Grommit favoured Emma , Alice looked longingly into the airing cupboard next to the Rayburn and Big Brother twittered in the background .

Saturday, 7 June 2008

Fire !

Early evening bonfire . We burn rubbish on the farm . Posted at midnight .

Friday, 6 June 2008

Big Brother started last night ?

Sorry , I'm not into it yet .... just leave me with my cushion .....

" Don't call me a stupid bitch "

My sister informed me yesterday that one of her acquaintances was delighted to have succesfully prosecuted a stranger who called her a stupid bitch when she caused him some minor irritation in passing . Floating as I was above LaLa land and thus not frenetically engaging in my day to day activities , I had time to revel in this little piece of justice and ponder on times past when I have had to deal in my own ( rather pathetic , but the only way I could think of at the time ) way with men( some men I should say ) and their profanities .

One hot summer's day last year , whilst attempting to cross the road within the confines of a busy car park in Hexham , I crossed one lane of traffic and waited in the centre of the road till the road was clear to cross the second lane of traffic , a fairly common practice .
Under the influuence of medication I may have been , deep in thought , yes possibly , I usually am , but fit to cross a road ? Yes , I have no problems in this respect yet thank you very much ...... !

Anyway I was then standing waiting to meet someone by the side of the road when a large four by four jeep screeched alongside me window down and a thick necked man proceeded to hurl abuse at me
" Can you tell me exactly what you think you were doing standing in the middle of the road you stupid effing cow?"
only of course he used the full word starting with the f which for some reason today I don't feel in the mood for typing . ( Some days I would ... ) .... and with that off he screamed, his tyres raising a cloud of dust and his jeep caning it off round the car park .

I stared after him , shaking my head in amazement , my guts churning first in shock and then bemusement and then ... Hmmm , this I have to deal with . ...

( Readers , Now I would consider the police option , but that at the time did not occur to me ... )

He had not in fact driven far .... I watched where he parked and it looked as if he like me was waiting to meet someone , so I walked slowly round to where he was sitting , and tapped on the passenger window .
I felt this gave me a slight advantage as he was forced to lean across to hear what I was saying and he couldn't reach to ( for example ) strike me should he wish to ( in the event of my completely infuriating him , which I thought was a possibility .)

I spoke very slowly , as though to give the impression I may have some kind of speech or other impediment unspecified , and and whilst he was rolling down his electric windows I had a good peer in at him , stretching my neck forwards . He looked somewhat unnerved ... perhaps thinking oops madwoman alert ....

" Hello , I think you were just screeching at me back there . Was there something you wanted ? "

He seemed a bit taken aback , caught on the hop as it were , " You were standing in the middle of the road ."

" Yes, I was waiting to cross, in the centre . It's a recognised method of crossing the road . You seemed to want to know something about me and why I was doing it that way ? I ve come over to tell you ...

I've actually had quite a difficult month of it one way or another and I wonder if you might like to hear something about some of that ......."

Here my voice is slowing even more and I'm talking even more like I'm about to go into my life history including details of a few psychiatric illnesses or perhaps .something involving the perimenopause ...... ( Now I think I loook quite sane but ..... ) .. one thing I'm picturing is that this is a man who is not open to listening about women droning on about themselves ......

His neck is starting to go bright red .
He shifts in his car seat and I wonder what his next move will be ?

" You seemed to be wanting to talk to me .... you were very angry and shouting . Well that's not helpful to me when I've actually just had a death to deal with and I've just had the news that ....

" Look , he says ....... lets just leave it shall we ? "

" Leave it ? " I say , feigning disappointment
"Are you sure ? "

He winds up his car window in a hurry and starts the engine .......

I know , I know . Not the most effective way to manage the situation , but how I smiled as he drove off . Notwithstanding the traumatic week or so I had had , hey .... why shouldn't I have a bit of a laugh .......

Interesting thought that we take it for granted that strangers can harras and alarm us and we have no recourse to justice when in fact that may not be the case .
Hence my sheer delight that my sister's friend was able to see the man who maligned her brought to justice in a court of law .

Thursday, 5 June 2008

Floating Just above LaLa Land

The 8 am dog walk is tortuous .
Aluce and I trudge about in the grass , looking at each other through the sea fret , our plans to sit out in the garden and sample the delights of hazelnut muesli and strong black coffee on the new garden bench completely thwarted . First there is the lack of sun . Second there is the damp haze clinging and foisting itself on us . And finally there is the banging in my head .

All week I have floated about slightly above LaLa land in a haze of pills designed to keep me going , to get me about my day to day business , but today I am ready to admit defeat and as we approach the house together and Alice heads for her Bonio and her sofa and I peel off my boots all covered in wet grass clippings and sand I realise this is the day nothing much will get done and I head back upstairs and there is the bed all covered in cats and nothing to stop me clambering aboard .....

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Fairytale Garden

Feeding the birds last week on a CatCall , I know the quality of the photos is not good but at times there was a troop of takers for Felix cat food put out for Mr Blackbird and his family , and much squabbling over the spoils , with two grey tabby cats watching on from the sidelines , though you wouldn't think it from the behaviour of the birds . At times I was literally three feet from Mr B , and the cats were two feet from one of the pigeons .
Happy days .
This week its raining .
No CatCalls either ! Oh well can't have it all ....

Sunday, 1 June 2008

Oh the embarassment the humiliation

Saturday .
I am completely knackered after what seems an exhausting round of "Day Job with extra days here and there", of driving to conferences on my days off ( well worth the effort ) , lots of CatCalls ( exactly what I want ) , lovely weather for dogwalking , friends to meet , people wanting me to do this and that , house needing attention , finances needing to be fixed etc etc .
We all do it ... anyway , having decided Saturday was to be a day of d
Doing Nothing , a friend e mailed and said what are you doing and I mail back and say Nothing , I'm taking a day off , just a few catcalls , the dogwalk , popping out to get a garden bench to fit the little space at the front ( so we can sit out there with the Pigsters in their run instead of in the back where they're not on grass , plus we can chat to passers by out front , ) then I have to make a batch of chocolate brownies to take when we go visiting later , Oh and
I've cleaned the bathroom and wonders of wonders done some upstairs cleaning as well ..... ( showing off by this point ) .
..... The point of all this is by three pm , brownies in hand I am ready either to fall asleep on my feet or to escape to the country, the coast having sea -fretted over , perhaps due to the arrival of our garden bench , guaranteed to chase the sun . As we unloaded it in unwieldy fashion , watched by several passers by , several made comments as the clouds appeared and the sun disappeared .
As we drive inland , the sun re appears and we are greeted warmly in Stamfordham by all and sundry . My parents have an old family friend staying and Marjorie , who lives in Urmston near Manchester has not seen Nat since she was perhaps two or three years old . Nat has no recollection of her .
Marjorie's husband Geoff was my Dad's friend from RAF days and he is much missed by all since he died some eight or nine years ago .
Alice loves visiting , especially when there is food on offer , and rushes around the house checking all available sources for goodies .
Although to our knowledge she has never raced as a greyhound , she certainly will always run in circles given a choice , and loves nothing better than to run in mad loops round the garden , tearing up chunks of the lawn as she corners , bending and weaving to avoid the obstacles , bird baths , swingball , the frogpond , and the like . As she races , the two resident (and one rather elderly )papillons look on from the sidelines with distaste , yapping furiously , occasionally minded to join in for half a circuit but usually bolting as they are trodden underfoot .
As the sun lowers and the conversation turns to things of the past , me my mother and Marjorie all sit squished on a bench together , taking the occasional photograph and laughing as we watch Alice . Unable to settle for long she is mooching about the garden having long since exhausted herself with her running . She pokes about amongst Dad's numerous projects , the composting systems , the nose of a plane I note in the far corner of the garden , and emerges from a distant corner of the garden behind an old shed laced with cobwebs.
Ten circuits are usually enough for her and she has long since fallen to the ground panting and seeking out the shade , the cat having scarpered to the top of the tree for safety's sake as usual .
But as we watch , the cat seems to fluff up in the tree , seems to bristle with annoyance over something , almost as if some thought of empowerment has popped into her mind and taken hold .
. She begins to pick her way down the trunk , marches over to where Alice lies snoozing , strides purposefully at the dog and picks jauntily at her tail . Alice struggles to her feet in alarm , glances towards us in horror and Whoosh , she is off , takes off round the race track she has created in her head . The three of us look on in complete amazement and then in denial and then in hysterical laughter as Alice races and the cat gives chase , tail the size of a bottle brush , eyes like saucers and a truly puerile look on the face . Alice glancing back over her shoulder from time to time as if wondering whether she ought to change direction and give chase but the fear in her eyes .....
The cat clearly does not have the speed of the greyhound so attempts to cut corners , crossing in front of her causing the dog to speed up even further to pass by as it seems to be outwith Alice's imagination to turn tail , she merely continues on and gets faster .
The cat ( Minnie , though there is nothing mini about her in this scenario) is in hot pursuit yet makes it look easy and as if she is having a sort of fun , a sort of unsavoury, gratuitous fun , the culmination of months of having been pushed to the top of a tree by a stupid greyhound no doubt .
Finally Alice worn out by her ten or so circuits , can go no further , drops near our feet , and then , the wierdest thing .
She stares at us in real anguish and sets up an unearthly high pitched shrieking , chittering teeth , chattering sort of noise whilst staring at the cat which has parked itself about two feet from her , safely under the bench upon which the three of us are seated . It is as if the dog cannot cope with her feelings of intense humiliation , fear , anxiety , whatever , and just has to let them out .
As ever after exercise of any sort , greyhounds being very very fast but lacking stamina , her chest is heaving and my mother fears she will drive herself into a heart attack so she speaks reassuringly to her about the horrid cat and that we will tell no one about this awful scene and that she must calm herself down . Alice listens carefully , gives the cat a final Look and flops .
The cat is victorious .

Migraine Days

Migraine Days

Flower and Bee on a Sunday

Flower and Bee on a Sunday

art on a sunday

art on a sunday