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

Welcome to CatMinders

Welcome to CatMinders

Wednesday, 20 May 2009


As with most things in life , thus with my migraines . There is a pattern which says just when I am at the end of my rope , something comes along , or things start to look up in some way . Not up to now in any major startling migraine is no longer part of my life way but in a new hope or referral to a different consultant or trial of an alternative medicine kind of way .

Today , at the end of a spell where I've had what feels like more than my share of days out of the running due to the dread -head I'm waiting to see what will show up next.

For the moment though I'm hoping to be able to get on a flight tomorrow without mishap to the Canary Islands .

I have Peter Mortimer's " Broke through Britain " which I've started reading this afternoon , a sort of fifty something pilgrimage book which looks like a great flight read , and a suitcase full of books to keep me going for the rest of the week .

Alice the skinny greyhound has been sighing heavily all day though also enjoying my enforced company ,headache and sickness having ensured her a constant companion for the day . We have watched the rain , dozed , and sighed together whilst fretting about that flight and how my head will stand up .

Wish me luck and I 'll be back in a week !

Friday, 15 May 2009


6 in the morning . Alarm call not needed . I weave my way downstairs between four cats , holding stair rail for security and note the guinea pigs shouting as I approach . No matter how quiet we are they are alert and twittering .
The coffee grinder is first on the list , pigsters second , dishwasher loading and then cats .
Today , fatally , I forget one final stage in the process ( ie to lift the bowls of cat food off the bench onto the floor ) and having returned to my book in bed with coffee , D gloomily though with a look of resigned amusment , returns later to report the outcome .

Pearl , pictured above has scored a direct hit , overturning her bowl of wet food into his shoe and the clean laundry ( piled neatly in a basket near the shoe at the back door) and waited his arrival in the kitchen to gloat . Normally seated on the window sill looking out at the yard , today she is grinning and facing inwards , and she watches his every move as he grimly scrapes and shovels .
Yuk ....One Nil to Pearl .

Monday, 11 May 2009

Rachel Cook and Migraine

Not that I want this to turn into yet another migraine blog , since CatCalling is far more interesting , but this article which appeared in yesterday's Observer I found fascinating . Her first experience of an attack closely resembled my own which took place when I was around the same age as I was at Junior school so was probably around ten years old .
Still semi caught up in the throes today I will add the link for anyone who is interested . Migraine and me: Rachel Cooke on two decades of pain Life and style The Ob

Sunday, 10 May 2009

Bank Holiday Monday :Castle Howard, Yorkshire







Apologies for the out of date posting .
A combination of factors , CatCallings ( bliss ) , out of action with something ( possibly a mix of migraines and an abdominal who- knows- what culminating in a breakdown in normal service ( almost) yesterday whilst I applied myself to the task of "dealing with things" in the bathroom .
Today I am almost back to normal and jubilant -with- it as my esteemed sister stares out at me unexpectedly from the pages of the Sunday Times magazine as I have my morning coffee in bed , fighting for space with Alice the now not so skinny greyhound . Ha! Fame and recognition at last ! One wonders rather how the deputy head will feel if he takes the Times but that will be faced as and when no doubt as these things always are after a press outing .
Janet Street Porter no doubt cared not one jot for the comments of Helen Comson in the Hexham Courant this week after her highly entertaining session at the BookFest last weekend . Helen simply found her "charmless" . Interestingly Patrick Gale didn't get a mention , the Hexham Courant not being ready for the gay man yet , possibly . It would have been beyond the realms of possibilty to find him charmless , better thus ignored ?
How I love the boar at Castle Howard , parked up in the rain and watching the world go by , mostly clutching their umbrellas and wondering if they have missed the tractor-giving-rides-back-to-the-car-park as indeed Nat and I had . Having sat out in the drizzle for ten minutes , we forayed into the gift shops in five minute bursts and still managed to see the thing disappear into the mist . Another half hour wait for us , and oh dear , another half hour wait for D and the dog at t' other end , by now thoroughly drenched and dying to get their teeth into the picnic .
Ah the picnic ... made it all worth while ... rocky road , home made with up- market chocolate almost as we left and pushed into the freezer to set as we packed the car . A poppy seed cake heavy with gritty seeds and butter and eggs from Laura's rescue hens . Cocktail sausages , olives , egg mayonnaise sandwiches , coffee in stainless steel flasks , salad in trays , porkie pies , what more could we ask ? I should have photographed the food . Or the damp dog .
Roll on next Bank Holiday .....




Sunday, 3 May 2009

Me and Patrick ....


Philip Hensher fails to make the Book festival due to an " accident " but Patrick Gale kindly agrees to have his phtograph taken with me instead . What more can I say ?
Janet Street Poster ( woops Porter ) surpasses herself with an hour of straight ranting , reminding me of delicious little words like " bilge " and interestingly , the useful " bitch " , a word I rarely employ but when she uses it to describe a woman in an overall closing up a tea shop at four thirty pm with glee just as Janet is steaming up the country market town in search of a scone and pot of tea after a hard day's walking in the Northumbian hills , hey , this is the word used to perfection .
I must away now to hear about the Bloodaxe poets .....perhaps a picture of my sister with an axe will be this afternoons offering . .

Saturday, 2 May 2009

BookFest, and the Hideous Coat Convention

Today I am excited beyond belief . The day I've been waiting for ....the Hexham Book Festival is here Hexham Book Festival or at least I assume its in hexham and I too shall be there in a few hours , after I have finished revelling in these last few anticipatory moments , and cleaned the porch floor ( I had almost forgotten about mopping floors so little rain have we had these last few weeks ) and decided what to wear .
Nat refuses to allow me to leave the house in my old beige linen -belt- up- and -go mac ( gifted to me second hand by my sister's employer some years ago ) and when I asked her to explain why on my return from the Coffin Car expedition when my friend Deb had complimented me on its stylishness .
Nat rather too willingly took me in hand in front of the mirror and showed me the reason .
Look Mother , she said . Its pointless reducing from a , what is this coat , here , a size fourteen , to whatever you are now , a ten maybe , and dressing yourself in the same shapeless old garments , so that you look like a Sack . Its time to Move On .
So , duly , she took me to town and insisted I buy a black mac , in a size ten , and very nice too ( ish ) , but on Thursday when I washed it ( in preparation for Literary Fest and Mother and Daughter Bonding Pizza of Friday Night ) Something Wierd happened and it shrunk out of its seams and when I placed it on the ironing board , not a thing I am terribly familiar with , the words shapeless , hopeless and dishrag sprang to mind . So back to the department store I headed , ( sans receipt of course ) but with arguments mustered , and explained my predicament . Yes , according to the instructions . No , no special instruction on the chart about ironing or drying ( she got her specs on to check , as I had done .....and we laughed companionably as people of a certain age are wont to do ) and my cash was handed back . And there I was , with free reign in town to choose my own mac , no Nat to guide me .

What can I say ?

I take the new beige mac from the wardrobe later with a flourish on its lovely hanger and Nat looks it up and down . I apply it to myself , pointing out it was ( is , indeed ) a size 8 . Hmm she says , giving it the benefit of the doubt .... but already starting to shake her head and wag her finger at me .
I await the verdict .

"Mother....... "she says in mock Indian accent ( as in Indian mother speaking without reticence to young teenage daughter ) ..... "This coat is ideal if you are attending the hideous coat convention . You will certainly win . "

She advises I wear my leather jacket for our bonding pizza night ( last night ) . And again today for the literary fastival . Perhaps she is right . But I am keeping my mac , even if it means I am now looking for that coat convention . Its time I won something after all .

This afternoon I am seeing Patrick Gale ( oh the excitement !! ) , Philip Hensher , newly discovered , for me , and Janet Street Porter .

If I had more time I would have included Irma Kurtz , Libby Purves and Benjamin Zephaniah.
But I must to my porch cleaning . And reading abit more of Philip H ....
Etc .

Migraine Days

Migraine Days

Flower and Bee on a Sunday

Flower and Bee on a Sunday

art on a sunday

art on a sunday