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

Welcome to CatMinders

Welcome to CatMinders

Thursday, 31 July 2008

I know you wont have the time to read this but ....

Angelina Jolie and the superfast generation Carol Midgley - Times Online

Sitting outside M and S yesterday in the outlet car park waiting for Nat and Kathryn and reflecting that this was the first time I had had five minutes to call my own in what seemed like weeks . probably a gross exaggeration but .... I watched people ..... the world , me included , is in a hurry ..... cars revving past , cross at having to wait for space to park , to get by , men in the car park impatiently waiting for women and kids coming out of the shops , I myself looking at my watch and trying to calculate how much of the twenty minutes agreed had elapsed since I had left the girls .... then wondering if the dog at home would have trashed ... what exactly ? The house ? Not likely ... a shoe ? at worst ..... and stopped myself worrying , wound down the window to enjoy the sunshine and the wait .

So with that in mind , it seemed something of a coincidence that I read this article tonight .
Its worth a read .

Besides my extra duties with M still in hospital and her three cats insisting on going out and refusing to come back in when they should ( why would they ? the house is hot , they dont know where she has gone , they last saw her disappear in an ambulance and I cant help them understand when she will be back . So they go looking for her , is my theory .... ) Im also looking after two matching cats in grey and black with white paws , both elderly , long haired and living in an idyllic spot , house centred around a beautiful courtyard .
The boy cat , who is slightly more into cuddles than his Foodie sister , leads me round the ( extensive ) house showing me places where he has dropped a dribble or a speck of fluff and mooches around nonchalanantly till I clear up . Houseproud he is ..... whereas sister just ushers me straight into the Food dept and heads for the tuna tins and then follows me for a conversation after her dinner .....

But after feeding and clearing are all done we adjourn to the courtyard bench and sit and chat for a while in the sunshine and that is the blissful part of this job cum hobby of mine . I wouldn't change it for anything . Nothing beats those few minutes of rest and recuperation and hanging out with a couple of cats .

This clip is highly unlikely to be of any interest to anyone but me but I wanted to preserve it for posterity .

The view from the garden seat into my Dad's shed , where he has classical music ( playing in the backgound , possibly just audible .

Alice strolling by , not yet having been chased by the cat , but soon after rolling in the cat food and having been wiped down with the Molton Brown hand- wash .

To the left of the shed the Russian vine that conceals the wasp nest .

One of these fine sunny days I will have the presence to have the camera ready as the cat circuits after the dog .

That will be worth pressing the start button for ... greyhound put through her paces by tortoiseshell terror .

Wasp's Nest

Alice whacked after a day out ....

Some weeks are so frantically busy there are no spare minutes for blogging , reading blogs , or even sitting looking at wasps' nests .

Then , out of the blue , there is a spare couple of hours , and the teenage daughter has a brainwave and proposes a visit to the grandparents which involves an early afternoon out of the rat race . How could we resist ?

Alice is now exhausted on her bed ..... the cat having chased her again round the garden , but not before she rolled in some cat food she discovered behind the compost food " put out for the birds " so had to be washed all over with a face cloth soaked in posh Molton Brown hand wash . A faint whiff of bergamot clings with an undertone of ten day old Felix....

Saturday, 26 July 2008

Anti Snoring Device

I noticed in the early hours of this morning that Pearl , ( pictured at the top of the blog ) and featured in several other places , though completely deaf , is like me rather antagonistic to snoring . I propped myself up on one elblow to start the usual poking and prodding , which used to bring forth immediate " me ! snoring ! No ! Sorry ..... " with hand caught in the trifle guilt attached . Now its all slightly different with more brute force required , more poking , more prodding , and sometimes the turning over with a definite flounce attached . And within seconds the snoring seems to start up again . (And now to cap it all my blog wont start new paragraphs )....So I prop myself up and stare at the vibrating force next to me . And then I notice Pearl , also propped up , also staring at him , somewhat disgruntled , having deserted her usual post in the far corner of the bed . She stalks forwards stiffly picking her way daintily forwards and positions herself close to the elbow and as her mouth opens slightly I wonder just for a second whether she can be trained to nip as she does in the daylight hours when he behaves against her rules , as the perfect anti snoring device . Just a thought .

Thursday, 24 July 2008

Alice checks out her new bed ....

When you gotta go .....

Alice likes a bit of peace and quiet to perform her ablutions .

She is particularly bad in the countryside . She finds all those noises scary , just when she is lowering her backside to the ground and a crow shouts at her or some such and whap! Her tail is down and constipation threatens .

Last friday we were making the most of the last day of the camper van , out walking near Low Newton and the heavy mob thundered up , the fence between us a bit too femur for my liking and Alice was completely unable to do her worst .
She suffered the journey home with a tortured expression until safely back home and onto her own turf .
I have friends who are exactly the same ... take them away from the sanctuary of their own powder room and they are hopeless .
Not for them a life on the road . Mind you having explored many and varied a campsite lavatory in my day , I can tell you , even campsite bogs these days are mostly posh . And thats official .

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Fire in the Head . And cats maiow .

Sorry mega fire in the head again .
Normal service will be resumed , sometime soon I hope .
Meantime I'm trying to order Migraine Defense from the internet but the website is for some peculiar reason giving me one of those Error messages . At the minute that's about all I am . A great big Error Message . With Flames coming out of it . And cats miaowing ......
Tomorrow will be better . It has to be .

Sunday, 20 July 2008

Ms CatCalls writes an e mail in French

I turn to blogging as light relief .

Saturday morning sees us up at six am , D to return the camper van to York or its environs and me to walk the dog and conduct a counselling session . ( I don't advertise this as one of my services but if asked will oblige .... and it is something I love doing ) .

I fiddle about until the appointed time , trying to get Alice out for her walk ( she is in holiday lazy greyhound mode and prefers to keep her head under the cushion ) , and I finally leave the house in a mad rush . My car is in York , and as I manage to set off the alarm system on D's car my mobile starts , and a nurse from our local hospital informs me that I am needed on one of the wards . I am confused . Moi ? The alarm is driving me mad , the car is refusing to start , the clock is ticking on so I ask her to call me back as she is making no sense ...

It transpires( after two hours of trying to trace which ward called me ) that one of my former CatCalls people has been admitted to hospital the previous night in an emergency after a fall and needs surgery . Furthermore , nightmare , she has no friends or relatives in the northeast , having lived in France for the previous x years , has has to leave her three beloved cats locked in her house and could I help , like now , as she is going into surgery imminently ?

I scan my brain for what can and can't be cancelled ... most can be postponed till tomorrow and I head up to the hospital , manage to find a parking space ( a good omen under the cirumstances )
and finally locate M flat out in a hospital gown , under the influence of morphine and expecing to go down to theatre and trying to remain cheerful despite the shock and her anxiety about her feline friends at home and whether they are safely indoors after the ambulance incident etc .

We make a list of what she needs and what the cats will want . M as ever is far more concerned for her cats but I try as diplomatically as someone as I can to point out that she will in time require "stuff " and that a hospital gown per se will not suffice once she becomes a little more mobile . We finally agree that I will bring in some underwear , toiletries etc and that a work e mail needs to be mailed asap . ( This is all quite surreal . We have only met once before , and I am advising her about the most personal of things .)

Thus it is that I find myself ferreting for pants , and then , get this , writing an e mail , business style , in French , no less , to explain why a piece of work will not be arriving from Madame on time . I can tell you , that took my mind off the court report that had been starting to occupy my mind this weekend as I gear up for the DayJob again . It also occurred to me as I typed in to Google " Translate English to French " and came up with a little square box to help me do same that a Google " Write your Court Report Software " wouldn't come amiss , for those Monday mornings when the brain just isn't in the groove yet . I guess its out there ? I'm probably just looking in the wrong place .
Anybody ?

Meanwhile , when I returned to the hospital to deliver her things and let her know cats are safe and so on , M was still in theatre . I will keep you posted . I think again of how lucky I am to be surrounded by friends and quite a few family members living nearby should I need help .
How scary to find yourself alone .

Thursday, 17 July 2008

The Graveyard .

The church
The graveyard in front of the parsonage .
I wish it were possible to capture in a single shot just how many graves are packed into that graveyard , all piled up and squashed on top of each other . And its also not possible to get in a picture that the graveyard is situated right in front of the parsonage . Imagine waking up every morning and looking out onto all those graves . I know cemetaries and graves can be very peaceful and restful . Situated behind a house , and set in well cut lawns , where you can wander with flowers and sit and read , or ponder life and its vagaries , I would agree . But not this . Not this mass and pile of stone and slabs and well , death and reminders of mortality , in front of you every single day .

The Brontes themselves are buried in the church rather than here .
And yet visiting the parsonage and Haworth itself is anything but dispiriting . I would return tomorrow . Happily spend a week renting one of the cottages that overlooks the graveyard , just to see how it feels . Wierd or what ?

The Bronte Parsonage

Monkey faints as Ms CatCalls takes the Wheel and heads for Grasmere

Alice prefers me in the back seat ....
Monkey faints as I take the wheel

Its official ... we are back . Though I am still ( officially at least ) in Denial .

Despite the rain ( second half of trip ) I would have still have given my eye teeth or something to have had six weeks or maybe even six months tootling about in the camper van seeing this and that .

Alice had a preference for D driving . The monkey certainly did , and D noted that when he was behind the wheel the cool box .. well , say no more .

We started where we meant to , in Bronte country , where the sun shone and the graves and the parsonage were grim but wonderful . I recommend Haworth to all . Photographs will follow , perhaps ad nauseum , who knows .

Alice caught a rabbit as we stumped across the moors where those skinny little Brontes walked to the waterfalls , allegedly on a daily basis , but let it go on command and as she seemed to be holding it very carefully and not a drop of blood was seen , it hopped off quickly and we assumed all was well . Though our hearts were pounding and Alice was all agog and her teeth chattering much as when she sees a steak pie up ahead .
More to follow ....

Thursday, 10 July 2008

Now this I find interesting ... I receive a copy of the letter from the neurologist ( about whom I was ranting last week ) to my GP , noting that I am much improved generally ( what ? ) and that May was a very good month for me though June has been unfortunately less good with three severe headaches . Three ? I sqwark , three ? I saw him write in his notes that immediately prior to my attendance I had had ten days of headaches , and that was just that bit of the month . You really aren't interested in hearing about the rest of the month ....What is going on here ?
Ah here is the reason .. he signs off that he is intending to discharge me due to my improvements blah blah . Would look a bit odd to say we do not appear able to assist this woman so are discharging her anyway . But why not , on reflection . Why not indeed ? What price honesty ? Failing does not sit easy ? Do I do this in my job ? This I need to think about .

However , I am on a bit of a high so I have no intention of letting any of that get me down . Since then I have had one or two minor setbacks but otherwise have been well .

I am officially now on holiday for several days . Despite the rain outside ( very heavy ) I cannot quite believe it will continue ) , and by Sat when we collect our hire camper van from York it will be sunshine all round and we will be exloring Bronte country and then further afield whilst Nat is on her school trip to Europe ( France Belgium Germany ). Those teachers deserve a medal .
Alice is psyching herself by sleeping at every possible opportunity , her head under the cushion .
She has particularly revelled in the practice runs on the local wine bar , and test drives of our bed ( the occasional afternoon snooze ) , and has even " done sharing " with the cats . Kitty is not amused .
Laura is moving in to take care of house and cats and has her own plans ( Mouth of the Tyne Festival this weekend ) .
PS . How do you spell sqwark ? Anybody ?

Canny dancer that Matt

If you need to smile ...YouTube - Where the Hell is Matt? (2008)

Monday, 7 July 2008

Deacon Blue .... I get to go out yet again ....

Spurred on by the success of Elton John , despite the late night on Sat , when my phone wakes me at some unGodly hour ( it was certainly pre seven am ) asking do I want a ticket for the Sage and Deacon Blue that night , I turn over thinking No no please , I have to sleep , I have a cat to feed at seven thirty and I will definitely be brewing a headache by eight , and we are having brakfast at Lui's and there is the dog to walk and Laura is staying and I have ironing to do ( which is all pants as anyone who knows me knows I haven't ironed anything since 1994 ). But miracles by eight I am full of energy and I am arranging the ticket and after a light day dog walking , breakfasting , CatCalling , entertaining , and finally almost fainting at the amount that Nat forces me to spend at Silverlink on her holiday toiletries as the school trip to France and Germany looms large (£25 for a few holiday sizes of this and that , though there was a sun cream and an after sun which she is so going to be needing ... currrently we are lashing it down here ) . She realises I am failing fast and pushes me into Starbucks and orders me a tall caramel frappucino light something or other and sits me down whilst ascertaining that half her friendship group is also at the centre and thus can all rendez vous at our house in a few minutes time .....

I stagger into the house wondering how I will cope with another night out so set the alarm and fall into bed for an hour . Asleep in seconds , awake again in minutes ( 60 ) , I cram down a toastie whilst Nat and her pal look me up and down and re arrange my attire and hairstyle , declare me " cute " and push me out of the door with advice about my hometime .

Advising my friends that its well past my seven o clock watershed they are only too happy to give me clear driving instructions ( their plan had been to cycle to the venue ) so they tolerate my emergency stops and various other foibles well despite never having met me , and we arrive in one piece ( ish ) .

I'm going out more often . Its official .

Sunday, 6 July 2008

Elton John comes to Darlington ...

...and I get to see him ......!! and you can too , click to enlarge ....I waited twenty five years for this , worth every minute .

A covered seat in the arena , very useful when the heavens opened , A rainbow over the proceedings just as he started to sing Yellow Brick Road , cheese pies , maltesers, a mad scramble for the shuttle buses at midnight . No headache . What more could I ask ?

Friday, 4 July 2008

Not Today Thank You

Cat spied at the end of our road this morning .

Long shot of the Erections

I'm beginning to get the erections .

Shot from the top of Collinwood monument and looking along the river mouth ( river Tyne ) on a brilliantly fine day , they do add something .

I love the photo of the Tynemouth dogwalkers trying not to look .

Thursday, 3 July 2008

Cantankerous and Perimenopausal ?

Perusing my headache diary for light relief this evening , and pausing to colour in another few squares in light purple , the colour for " mild headache " , I note that I have not in fact been headache free for some ten days now . Neither wonder I feel like stuffing an old corgi down someone's throat and saying Oops sorry I can't let you have a pain killer ,they're restricted . Only five per month then better just to sleep it off , or you are sure to suffer rebound heads . So sorry .

Bitter and twisted ? Me ? Cantankerous and perimenopausal ( surely not ? ) more like . Either way I'm angry at the wrong person here , the consultant at the end of the day being the person who is trying to assist . But who am I supposed to be angry with ? It reminds me of that Buddhist story of the boat in the mist coming straight at you and you get really narked with it then as it crashes into you and you start mouthing off at it you realise the boat is empty . And your anger dissolves ..... the boat just hit you but .. so what .....

So , after a great start this morning , when after my rant of last night , I felt great , and my headache was less , and I felt like I could take on the world , and I photographed a few erections ( see my previous post ) and then I went to the dentist and didn't need a filling just had a scrape and polish ( oops scale and polish ) , and then after a fun meeting in town with a prospective work contact ( the head still banging ) , I started theorising again .
Why all these heads ?
Why ?
Why me ?
Why now ?
Why these last few months can I barely recall a head free week ?
What is going on ?

And as ever I look for new theories . We all do it ( I suppose ? ) .... one week its food intolerances . Next week its stress . Then it's my hormones . Next its the heat . Or the cold . Pollen . The sea . The city . Blah blah . Today Im on wifi , after reading a blog where someone casually mentioned a headache linked with their wireless network .
I'm on a mission now to get us switched off . But I know for a fact that even if we switch off ours , we can access about three of our neighbours' .... a thing we wouldn't of course do ( haha ) but if we in theory could, then in practice it means it is still whirring round my head at all hours of the night and day .
Proof ! No wonder I am a walking wrecklet .

I google "wireless networks and headaches" .

Whilst there I discover a new theory . This one is called "muscular convergence insufficiency of the eyes leading to diplopia ". I have made a note of it . By tomorrow ( when I have time to research it ) I will probably have this condition too .
It causes headaches so bad that people have been known to be admitted to hospital and is frequently misdiagnosed as migraine . I rest my case .

Too shy to Paddle

Alice was too shy to paddle when she moved in with us . Now she does paddling and barking and wagging her tail and lounging happily in wine bar doorways . She really is the perfect greyhound .

Ingrid Betancourt Freed

The good news is coming thick and fast at the minute ....

BBC NEWS Americas Colombia hostage Betancourt freed

Early Morning Erections in the Mist

We have Art in our midst again in Tynemouth and very nice too , though this morning the mist made it a little tricky to appreciate . And truth to tell from a distance the installations look a little like tellytubby whatsits , but no matter , they had everyone and his neighbour's dog talking . The four structures represent the salmon's journey up the Tyne and more pictures may follow tomorrow . The one in red represents the eggs ( of course , what else ) , the woody one at the top the fins .
My post yesterday about the duck egg and the omen is all coming true . Besides the lottery win ( teeny tiny so far but its a start ) , I heard last night that two of my friends have been matched to adopt at last ... such amazing news . They've been waiting to be parents for a while and are now a step closer to having two little ones move in with them . More on this when there is more news .
And after a bit of a rant last night about my consultation yesterday with the migraine specialist ( which left me feeling less than hopeful ) , in stark contrast to the last visit six months ago when I saw his registrar , a fellow sufferer who was far more human , spoke to me like a person with half a brain and actually gave me some strategies rather than asking me why I have taken eight doses of pain killer this month ? " er excuse me because I had severe headache .... ? what would you have done ? ( Yes , its a tricky one but the maximum recommended number you should use per month is five ) ... and when I've had five then what ? Sleep it off ...... "yes , would truly love to always do that , but I have to work , have a child to care for blah blah , and with maybe fifteen days of headache a month its a lot of time to be in bed ? I will lose my job "
I was going to say after a bit of a rant last night I feel much better . I fully recognise that it must be irritating to be a doctor and unable to "cure" a problem but ......
Several things this morning have made me laugh ...... one was Carol Midgely's article in the Times about the no frills airlines ..... finding myself abroad and with no flight home has never happened to me , maybe I've been incredibly lucky but her descriptions made me laugh out loud so I attach a link for you all Nightmare on easyJet: what happens when your no-frills flight becomes a no-fli hope you enjoy .

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

Good omen ?

Every morning we follow the same procedure , which involves dropping a newspaper through our lovely neighbour Bett s door . Alice trots up the garden path and sniffs about her garden checking for cat smells and whatnot as we post the paper . This morning she stopped and blew out curiously at something on Bett's garden path ... Wow ... look at this Alice has found a duck egg right in the middle of a seaside garden ! the egg was broken and smelly , its innards clearly addled . Bett appeared and we all stared in amazement . Too big to have been delivered by one of the many neighbourhood cats , one of which was clambering up into Bett's arms as we spoke . A fox was considered , we often see and hear urban foxes but there was no tell tale smell of fox .
We decided that as Bett is such a wonderful person the egg was left there as a precious gift , some kind of good omen . And went on our way .

Later , I received a letter . I won a tenner on the lottery . Maybe the message was for me .

Migraine Days

Migraine Days

Flower and Bee on a Sunday

Flower and Bee on a Sunday

art on a sunday

art on a sunday