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

Friday, 25 September 2009

Alice sails close to the wind ...

I arrive at my conference later than planned but after a train journey and taxi ride I find my room on the university campus without too much trouble and unpack and settle in .
I go off in search of food and drink and maybe company ( to no avail ) and .. horrors ... cannot find my way back to my room . It takes me forty five minutes of wandering in the woods and rabbit watching before I finally make out which block I have left .
I settle down to dinner of kit kat and coffee and at ten pm my phone rings .
Alice has been in an accident and cannot stand . She appears to have broken her collarbone and at this point they are looking for the number of an emergency vet where she can be assessed . I can hear her in the background . I can hear the panic . It is too late for me to return home . I do not have the car with me and besides I am scheduled to present a workshop all day tomorrow at the conference . I try to think on my feet , but all I feel is sick . Alice is so thin and frail her legs so spindly . If she cannot put weight on her legs , there will be little hope .
But , I try to reassure myself , it may all look different by the morning . best not to prejudge things .
Nat promised to ring back in a few minutes but nothing is happening . I ring her . They are at the vets and Alice still cannot stand . She is being kept there .
Nat calls me back in a few minutes and sounds desperate . I tell her to take deep breaths . I feel a million miles from home .
Alice is on a morphine drip and is being given fluids . A nurse will be with her all night . A vet is on call . They will monitor her and re assess her in the morning . Perhaps anaesthetise to x ray .
I finally fall asleep and sleep for an few hours after several more tearful phone calls .
By seven am I have the news that she has stood up for a few minutes which sounds very hopeful .

On my return home on Thursday
, late , when she flips and I see the huge blood stain / bruise on her chest my heart literally missed a beat .
She is making a good recovery . ( We think . We are on our way to the vet now to check )

Monday, 21 September 2009

Modern Art comes to Tynemouth

.... in the form of an arc of black nail varnish .
Don't the new carpets look just divine ?
Any ideas , folks ?

Quick Update

Quick Update before I depart for York ...

Thanks to all those who have enquired about my eye .
I can still see . I have inflamed blood vessels . It looks much better now . I am waiting for some drops to be delivered from Warrington ( Long story ) , scheduled for 5pm .
I spent lunchtime at the RVI in Newcastle and then the evening at Rake Lane . Another long story . The NHS served us well this weekend .

Meanwhile , in Amsterdam , Bjorn almost has a new bike

Saturday, 19 September 2009

The good news is I can still see .....?

Two days before I am due to make a presentation at a national conference and one of my eyes is half closed . I look as if I have reached the end of the conference and have spent most of the week in the bar .

I make the assumption that I have burst a blood vessel at the dentist on Thursday morning when I have an svt episode ( fast heart rate ) due to a reaction to the local anaesthetic . Although unpleasant at the time and resulting in tears and panic and not all of that on my part but we shall say no more about at at this stage , my now blood shot eye taking on a greater importance , I realise I need to take some action when it becomes painful and more to the point Nat texts me after a brief visit home from her friend's to ask if I am ok as I "look as if I have been crying" .

I head off to the chemist for some Dry Eye drops but the pharmacist is called in to advise and when she hears there is pain behind the eye says on no account can another day pass without me seeing a doctor and sends me off on a wild goose chase in search of a walk in clinic as I myself so not feel it warrants Accident and Emergency . Three stops later I find such an establishment and very helpful they are too , in Battle Hill , but the Nurse Practitioner takes the view that all is not well and calls in the doctor who in turn says he " does not like this at all " and wants to refer me to a hospital .
As a result I am now to be seen tomorrow as an emergency on a ward by an opthalmologist in case pressure is building up ( where , I ask myself ? In my eye , brain , head generally ? I asusme the eye and assume glaucoma is the issue but am uncertain . ) And with instructions that if things worsen I should present myself as the hospital and ask to be seen overnight .
The good news is I can still see .
And more to the point , no headache .

Friday, 18 September 2009

Bjorn found a bed ... and lost a bike :-(

Today was working out well if a bit chaotic .
I was recovering from an svt episode at the dentist yesterday ( heart going into overdrive as a result of an anaesthetic ) and trying to cope with "doing everything" as D on a rare overnight away . Wondering how I would cope again as a single parent , though reflecting that the main problem was the dog not to mention broken glass all over the kitchen floor ( cats ) .
After seeing Nat off to school and Catcalling followed by some serious F(lea)busting , I repaired with Alice to the local coffee place to meet Deb and hear all about her " holiday" taking in relatives' funerals and house clearance en route as is the way once one reaches a certain age .
On my return I heard the news that Bjorn found a bed in a hostel in Amsterdam but ... his bike was stolen ...if anyone can donate a bike or a bed for the night visit or just visit anyway and leave a supportive comment . Imagine having cycled all this way to raise the profile of refugees only to have your only means of transport stolen ? The final stage of his journey through Africa will be a lonely and at times dangerous one . He is not asking for money or sponsers , only football shirts and friends . Not a lot to ask !

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Bereft ....And we dont want Bjorn sleeping on the Streets !

Bereft we are indeed now that our houseguest Bjorn Heidenstrom has departed over the horizon in the blink of an eye on the North Shields-Amsterdam ferry .
As we said our goodbyes Nat asked last night Cant we just keep him and I eachoed the sentiment . Such an amazing raconteur and with quite an incredible ability to engage anyone and everyone arriving at the house . Within hours of arriving , having cycled from Edinburgh , where he had stayed at Fish's home ( Fish the lead singer of the rock band Merilion ) he seemed fresh as a daisy and was chatting away , having set up a sort of base camp in one tiny corner of D's office , with a laptop for his essential communications , a camera and tripod to capture stills and video footage of his endeavours , a few bits of clothing that disappeared into our washing machine . He ate and drank everything that appeared in front of him with great gusto and responded with huge gratitude to our hospitality . Having a Persian cat at home he understood our Birmans and Alice was his friend within minutes though as they both loved to stretch on the sofa there were a few battles over territory , fascinating to observe .
If my fleas bit him , he was too polite to mention it .
I can't imagine it , as I continue to be bitten ....
So , Bjorn is off to Amsterdam this afternoon, this evening he will be sleeping on the ferry . Tomorrow morning he will arrive .
By tomorrow evening he has nowhere to sleep , and his tent will not be welcome in the city .
If you know anyone who can offer a bed there , please make contact .
We dont want Bjorn homeless and sleeping on the streets !

Monday, 14 September 2009

Pearl contemplates cycling to South Africa

.. but decides to rest awhile first in a box and consider her options .

Meanwhile she and every other feline with whom I come into contact harbour small hopping beasties and I now have thirty two bites about my person . I have scoured t'internet for remedies and short of wearing a flashing flea collar myself ( there! Ive said the F word on my blog inadvertantly ) can think of nothing further I can do . I have dosed everyone and everything with Frontline , Spot_On , Right On or whatever it calls itself , and I'm even wearing lavender poultices in my underwear . Believe me some of the bites I have of of such a size and succulence that I would try anything .

Moving swiftly on , Bjorn has arrived complete with bike and trailer . Travelling from Oslo to South Africa by bike pulling a trailer , he is collecting football shirts which will be sewn together in time for the World Cup , in time to highlight the plight of Refugees everywhere but particularly in Africa . You would thought that starting from Oslo the penny would have dropped with me that he was Norwegian rather than Swedish but ...... I suppose the football connection menat that when D said A professionall footballer is coming to stay is that ok ? I said yes and kind of switched off . But Bjorn is doing a great trip and is a wonderful guest , great fun to have around .

D has managed by sending out press releases etc to get Sunderland football club to donate a signed shirt and now Nat through her contacts ( thanks Georgie and Jonathon ) has mobilised a shirt from Bradford . Liverpool are sending one through . Newcastle has one ( allegedly ) in the pipeline . Bjorn stops off in Tynemouth - News Guardian A story has appeared in the local press .

There are photos coming out and videos will appear . Bjørn Heidenstrøm - a knol by thisisspain

Watch this space if you are interested ....The story is not finished .....

Friday, 11 September 2009

Unwelcome Visitors

One of my friend's cats is living a semi feral existence at the minute despite my best efforts to coax her back into the house. No surprises there , she has always loved the great outdoors and they have a wonderful garden with great nesting potential including an air raid shelter from yesteryear , fruit canes , apple trees , and young pigeons careering about the place . Not to mention mice and all manner of wildlife out there . Far more interesting than the silence that is the house with no one living there at present , my friend holidaying in warmer climes.
On the odd occasion I am pottering out there in the dusk , watering plants and enjoying the late sunshine, and I come across her lording it on the bench , we stop for a friendly chat . I note that she is scratching well and edge further along the garden bench . But her friendly demeanour is hard to resist and soon we are sitting side by side watching the world go by .

The following day I am in attendance at another favourite , reading a note which tells me that my charge is suffering from an infestation and that although she has been treated there may still be some stray beasties lurking .

No surprise then that at four am I wake scratching my head off and when I investigate , I am lined with bites from these unwelcome visitors . I cannot bear to use the F word on the CatCalls website.

FastForward two days and my own dear Pearl is stewing happily on my lap when I notice a black critter burrowing through her fur . A further invesitgation reveals that she requires a dose of Frontline . I hurry to check her companions and yes , they are all crawling . Mm.
I hardly know who to blame .
The weather I think is the safest , hot and wet and September is the worst month for the offenders .
We purchase more Frontline and an F comb .
I am itching so much myself by this time that I am tempted to dose myself but the instructions do not mention this . Instead I move away from the windows and comb my hair out carefully and ( very) fully with the Dog F comb before I start using it on the animals . After all no one will ever know . I then check the comb ( with my spectacles applied ) and satisfy myself that there are no F s in my own hair , and no F poo , which is much in evidence on the cats . I feel better , but the itching continues . I satisfy myself with further applications of antihistamine cream which the pharmacist prescribed after a curious glance at me when I mentioned having a(n) F infestation .
As I write D is arranging for Bjorn , an ex footballing Swedish cyclist who is cycling from Oslo to South Africa to publicise the plight of refugees , to stay with us tomorrow evening as he passes through , and for the media to publicise his stopover , for which Sunderland Football Club have donated a football shirt . Bjørn Heidenstrøm - a knol by thisisspain ( Read about The Shirt here )
Let us hope all our Fs have all died by then .

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Step Envy ?

I managed to train myself ( almost ? ! ) out of wanting things a while back by the simple method of focusing on the desired object long enough until the point of recognition that it wasn't going to help me achieve Nirvana. This worked with various cravings .

Readers of this Blog will recall longings for the Roomba , eventually resisted and indeed assisted by Bettejo pointing out in one of the Comments sections that it would only take one session after a cat-vomit with the Roomba doing its Thing for me to be well and truly fed up ( and on my hands and knees no doubt , or hoping D got home before me ) . Other items so far avoided have been a very expensive Man-Bag spotted variously in Fenwick , Debenhams though John Lewis didn't have a nice one ( so far , though I live in hope that they will come up with one that I can then turn my back on ) and All Saints though theirs was more of a Messenger-Bag . I think there is a difference . But they are all to be avoided being completely unecessary . And of course the hundreds of books I see every day on my travels and avoid buying , knowing I can get them second hand from Barter Books , borrow them or find them in charity shops .

However recently I think I have found something else to angst over ... I seem to be suffering Step Envy . My sister occasionally reports the number of steps she has clocked up in a day on her pedometer and I find myself then staring balefully at my hopeless low numbers and thinking mournfully why cant I even achieve five thousand these days when I used to do ten most days . CatCalling seems to need me to fly about in my teeny car . That's one excuse . I love the teeny car so much . That's another. I cant think of the third one but there must be at least twenty reasons why my step count has dropped so abysmally of late . And its not even Winter . I must get cracking .

So today I flew into Ikea in order to purchase four mugs ( each at £1 79 each , hardly likely to break the back , yet stylish and perfectly apt for the morning coffee machine business ) which always clocks up q few steps and anyway who can help but love Ikea , unless of course one has a Big Purchase to make then its a different story requiring that the protagonist needs to be In the Mood ( to say the very least ) .

And then we head for the marina at Newburn and despite the rain , take a long sheltered walk protected by the avenues of trees , culminating at the birthplace of George Stephenson where we find refreshments courtsey of the National Trust .

And , on our return , by which time Alice is barely speaking she is so exhausted , and is threatening to ring Wendy the Greyhound Rescue Agent or failing that to call a taxi to have her delivered safely back to the car , I note that I have completed 13193 steps or thereabouts and recognise that my excitement at this achievement far exceeds any normal sense of pride in completing a walk . Oh dear . Step Envy . Now what ?

Migraine Days

Migraine Days

Flower and Bee on a Sunday

Flower and Bee on a Sunday

art on a sunday

art on a sunday