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

Sunday, 30 November 2008

Christmas Fair

Today was the Christmas ( and now I confess to having trouble ) Fair ( or might it be Fare , or even in this day and age Fayre ) in Hexham .
I include a photo of four cakes , reduced to three after a plundering by D , for whom they were of course intended , lest it should be Fare in which case the spelling would be fitting indeed .
The fair took place in the leisure centre , inside an inner hall of a white marquee , decorated further by Christmas fripperies and we managed to spend almost two hours wandering hither and thither chatting about jewels , cakes , cards , and ( of course ) Bioflow ( a possible migraine remedy in the form of a bracelet with powerful magnets contained within . I was more than impressed with its inherent possibilities as a piece of jewellry and , enjoying as I do the opportunity to boost a failing economy with cash I don't really have except rather loosely , as a concept , in my head ( see Esther and Jerry Hicks , "Ask and It Shall be Given ", for an explanation ) it was not long before I had by passed the "take a leaflet home and read about the bracelet" and was rather proudly sporting one on my right wrist where there are more something ( pulse ? ) points . As if by magic ( naturally ) my headache and morning quease disappeared .
Later we headed up to the market town itself for lunch in Phat Kats, or some such , and stocked up with advent calenders . Piping Nathalia in Thornton's proved quite a challenge and after several minutes none of us could recall how it was spellt .
My finest moment came ten minutes later in Superdrug when I handed over my Boots Loyalty card to pay for an expensive item , with the word " Result " in my head ...... now I shall be able to get some cotton wool balls... for free !
Luckily this was Hexham and the young woman pointed out the error of my ways very politely . I laughed like a drain ( you have to really .... ) though I did wonder why we weren't in Boots ....surely that was where we had been heading ?

Friday, 28 November 2008

High Seas and a lighthouse but no surfers

Since the wave that almost took me and Alice off the rocks , we took to walking along the promenade , a sthe beach was almost non existant due to high tides . This clip was taken just before a wave almost took us off the walkway too .....I stopped filming just in time

Winter Walk Low Newton Northumberland

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Risk Assessment Thoughts for the Day ?

I rarely talk about my Day Job here , unless it sends me to exotic locations , this year Cardiff and Atlanta no less .

But these last three days have been such fun . I've been on a rare training event where I've been a participant rather than a trainer ( Bliss ) , it was held in a fairly exotic location ( Ha ! ) , the hotel overlooking the much vaunted Angel of the North and for once I cannot resist writing about at least one aspect of it .

With the focus on Risk Assessment , and let's face it , what isn't these days , risk assessment being the words you hear whenever you close your eyes and just let your mind drift in any given situation . Even this morning as I took Alice down the hundred or so steps to the beach at King Edward's Bay there was a slip of paper floating on the wind and as it settled on the top step and I picked it up to dispose of it , glancing at it as it was handwritten and I began to convince myself it may be a lost love letter or suicide note (why am I obsessed with the notion of suicide at the beach these days ? ) I noted the words L and D ... Learning and Development I assume and underneath in Bold Print "Risk Assessment" . Even on the beach people are risk assessing ... there is no escape .

And indeed as we hopped about on the rocks thinking our thoughts about how far in the tide was and how the beach this morning was very very small ,and Alice was assessing how she could winkle a biscuit from my new coat with the zip up pockets , a massive wave smashed down in front of us and Alice and I ran for our lives and just managed to escape being pulled back into the sea off the rocks and into God knows what oblivion awaits ........ its so easy to forgot just how strong that seventh wave can be and how poweful a force the ocean is when you are thinking about the day ahead and the sea looks reasonably calm . My heart was pounding and Alice was running like Ive never seen it before .

I digress ...

Risk Assessment . Its never far away , and maybe never should be . So , these last three days we are being trained by two great people from Wisconsin and part of what they're teaching us involves an emphasis on how the Deviant Male , in the institution where they work, views women, including the view that its completely acceptable simply to say to a woman as a dating line " well how about a sh*g then ? " rather than as you or I might consider , " would you fancy a drink later in the bar ? " or whatever . The trainer is speaking to the room with his back to a series of tables behind him where lunch has been served and just as he comes out with this line , in walk two young waitresses , unseen by him , to collect the coffee pots , and you can picture the scene , the words " How about etc " are uttered just as the young women are behind him , only he is still unaware of their presence , and they keep right on walking , straight faced ,whilst the rest of us giggle nervously but feel not ok as they disappear behind the flip chart stands . The following day the trainer is in full flow describing another of his charges and comes out with the line " these guys believe all women are money grabbing b*tches , deceitful , lying and out to get them " and again the waitresses have walked in just as he says " all women .. " . I note this time the women put down their pots and walk out again and are quickly replaced by male staff . What of course we dont know is that because of the course content the hotel have been pre-alerted and later I over-hear one of the trainers chatting to the waitresses and the young women laugh as they say they approached the room with caution trying to guage what is being talked about before they walked in . And now in writing this I am mighty frustrated by Blogger . For some reason it won't allow me to make paragraphs or separate out lines of text . Pah and double pah . Anyway it was funny at the time . Maybe you had to be there . I'm glad I was . And I'm glad I didn't get sucked into the sea this morning and lived to tell the tale , though it was a close call , probably in retrospect would have been more of a drenching than a drowning .

Sunday, 16 November 2008

The Complex Passport Adventure

My Blog is suffering . Too many adventures happening too close together and not enough time to stop and write ? I wish ….. Or maybe inertia is getting the better of me ? You decide !
Yesterday’s Enid Blyton moment was thwarted only by the reluctance of local police to co operate . Sadly PC Goon was not in attendance when we rolled up at North Shields police station to make our crime report and hand over our log of Suspicious Findings . In fact , the Special Constable was notably more interested in the arrival of her late lunch or early afternoon between meals snack ( a cheese pasty , we think , judging by the greasy bag ) than in our crime reports and to our minds opened the half door in the wire meshing separating police and punter only to admit our wet and soggy bag of evidence because of the arrival of the aforementioned cheese pasty .
But as usual I race on ahead of time .

Such was our desperation for adventure that when L and I spotted ( well ok I admit , she spotted ) a wet passport lurking under a rock on the beach when out in the sunshine for our morning constitutional , we began our search for attendant neatly folded piles of clothes , final messages to loved ones , even an abandoned car in the pub car park .
Admittedly we had time to kill as a big greyhound was looking over at us from the far corner of King Edward's Bay and Alice was urging us to keep a low profile as she had sustained a nasty bite last Sunday when ( for once ) minding her own business she was chased by a young greyhound who doubtless mistaking her for a small rabbit ( easily done when you're only thirteen months old and a bit silly ) took a big chunk out of her back leg .
By the time said passport was bagged up ( dog-poo bags can be so useful ) , pocketed , unbagged again ( for a blog photograph . Right . Ok , how sad are we ? ) and surrounding area thoroughly searched , and indeed big boy greyhound had given his human companions the slip and come bounding over to check Alice out ( causing humans much anxiety as noting her angry flesh wound they mistakenly assumed their boy was the cause ! ) , we had invented numerous stories regarding the missing passport and its significance .

All handwritten details had been erased in the water but it belonged to a twenty one year old student with an unusal surname , born in Newcastle upon Tyne .
We decided it needed to be handed in to the loal police and contacted them to report its whereabouts . They took no details , simply asking us to hand it in when we had time .

We decided therefore to make our own enquiries using the internet and although we did hand in the item , within an hour or so of searching were able to locate the young man's mother . The man himself , although having one entry on Google which told us that he had won a national debating competition when still at school , unusually had no Facebook, Bebo or MySpace entry and therefore we drew a blank , but we quickly made a connection via his unusual surname , discovering that his mother was a rather well known local author and poet , who had links with the late Julia Darling who was known to myself though not personally , to many of my friends in the area . As I looked through Google entries attempting to find a way to contact his mother just to let her know we had handed in the passport , I realised that two musicians who were tragically killed in 05 following a hit and run incident in the Westgate Hill area of Newcastle upon Tyne , also known to me at the time as they were friends of friends , were part of this passport story . One of the men who was killed was in fact the father of the young man whose passport we had .
Small world . I read on . A 17 year old boy had in fact taken a BMW whilst under the influence of alcohol and mounted the pavement , hitting the two men who had been playing music , rehearsing for a gig to commemorate the life of Julia Darling which was to have taken place the following evening . Both men were hurled into the air and , I think , killed instantly . News reports stated that the partner of the other man , whose name was Joe Scurfield , asked that the 17 year old see the body of the man he had killed and he agreed . He received a five year sentence . The passport Boy's mother was reported as saying that she was sure that when the 17 year old took the car he had no intention of killing or causing harm or words to that effect . Amazing .

She did have a Facebook page . I contacted her yesterday to say we had handed in the passport . She wrote quickly back to say the passport had been stolen two months ago at the Sage ( music venue ) . Relief that no more sinister connotation .
Small world though . And complex stories everywhere .

Thursday, 6 November 2008


Having spent a fun couple of hours at the hairdressers this afternoon amongst other things overhearing the Management Team hilariously discussing their joint experiences of going for Colonic Irrigation ( it was Quiet after all in the salon ) , I arrive home to find D has received his long awaited pre Colonoscopy Pack , which he withdraws from the brown package with some distaste .

D has had Bowel Issues for some months now but I have excercised considerable discretion in keeping my counsel regarding this ( or these ) matter(s) and have been given special permission to blog about the name of the pre colonoscopy enema medication which seems to go by the dubiously apt name of Fleet .
Apt judging by the exhortations to practice nil by mouth from lunchtime the day before ( indignant squeals from D ) and then to have a Day by the Lavatory once the Fleet has been taken . I won't go into further details lest I should come across as unsympathetic ....or indeed juvenile in my sense of humour ... but really ... Fleet!!!

Any family resemblances detected ?

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

4am in the morning ...

2am . Migraine bad . Dog on bed , happily sprawled with long skinny legs in my direction and bodily weight forcing D to the very margins his territory .
I wake , having dreamed that I am a child again or a teenager , living at home , and we live aboard some kind of vessel floating on the sea . I sit to the edge of a slatted bench , my mother is near me . All around us is the sea , bright turquoise , menacing , with prawns and discarded dolls on she sea floor miles beaneath us . I am terrified if I stand I will fall in. I lurch and my fear mounts .

More medication induced fear .
The dog wakes and wriggles closer , permitted the bed because of her fear of fireworks and having been bitten by another greyhound on Sunday on the beach she is particularly susceptible to anything scary . We were up and down three or four times Monday night with her .
My head is beyond sleep so I go in search of more medication then prop myself on pillows and and read until they take me over and the muscles relax .
A text arrives from my friend C.... it takes me an hour before I can muster the energy to open it . She simply says
God Bless America !
Despite my feelings about everything , about my head , about missing Queen live at the Arena earlier in the evening , about missing seeing Dave and him signing my copy of his book about the Fall ( Dave Simpson : The Fallen The Quietus Features The Fallen- Searching For The Missing Members Of The) , about once again having to leave work early and about probably having to miss another day at work , I read the text twice and I smile . I know what this means. And not for the first time I am glad to have this opportunity of being awake in the night and being an early witness to life changing events .

Migraine Days

Migraine Days

Flower and Bee on a Sunday

Flower and Bee on a Sunday

art on a sunday

art on a sunday