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

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Brown Scufflers

I took a packet of bread buns out this morning to make Nat's sandwich and found the name on the packet: Brown Scufflers. Sounded like a very good description of our TinyChums (Copywright@TheTiniestVole). I couldn't help smiling . At the minute everything seems to point to my complicity in the likely  demise of Mr Rat and his Gang .

RatWatch continued over the weekend while we waited the arrival of Envirolink .

I was begged by one friend to try a humane trap and I hoped that the council would assist us by humanely trapping our unwelcome visitors and letting them go in some neighbouring park . In my heart I knew that on a scale of one to ten of liklihood it was probably at a minus four.

Everyone seemed to have a view about RatWatch .

From initially being an OverBench Rat , Mr R soon made the transition to FloorRat , presumably after the FaceOff with Kitty . We had a feeling about this after Kitty changed into the Subdued Timid Mog who no longer wished to be first into the CatFood at breakfast time and  preferred to wait for us .

We began to think we had a gang after seeing the vast quantities of catfood that was polished off at one sitting . And the footprints. The footprints! Which RatMan informs us are in fact WhiskerMarks left by rats who are short sighted and have to woffle their way around . Our lovely china cat bowl was covered in whisker marks .

Anyway , as I write , things have moved on apace .
I myself have now met RatMan , who is called Russell . I dont know why that should strike me as so funny .
Russell was smartly dressed in council attire , workaday uniform of the navy army surplus wear variety but with a tie , and with wellies and a beanie hat due to the snowdrifts . He carried a tupperware box full of "the stuff" . I cannot bear to describe any of the information he gave me about what is happening and will happen .
I am too full of guilt .

Traps are not permitted in case the men nip their fingers " health and safety " .
Russell was not allowed to pull out the big fridge freezer " political correctness you know" he said somewhat enigmatically , asking me to do it .  No Russell I wanted to say . Political correctness is about not causing offence . The council are making sure they don't have to pay out if you hurt your back .I think he was embarrassed, at having to ask me to do it . I was after all marginally smaller than him , and  female to boot .
Anyway eventually the deed was re done .

Now we wait . Again .

I am expecting a Smell .

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Operation RatWatch

We have a KitchenRat.
This is not funny. I heard scufflings and scrapings whilst making Nat's sandwich midweek , and despite the fact that two of the cats were staring pointedly at the alley between the fridge freezer and the wall , assumed that they were looking for a spider . I think this is called Denial.

The cats sat there for most of the day , only leaving the RatWatch post for food or related activities ( littertray). The other two cats joined them at various points standing behind them ( in case the rat was large) watching carefully . Still I was too busy to think.
The following morning I came down first - rare for me but Alice had insisted on a Nocturnal Ablution session and D was recovering with a Late Start .

En Route to the cat feeding station I noted a moist guinea pig dropping on the bench and scooped it up with a piece of kitchen roll thinking to myself Honestly thats all I need , the Pigsters projecting their poo up out of their quarters and onto the food preparation areas . Pah and double pah! Wiping up and washing hands was the extent of the attention I paid to that . D appeared and peering at the bench further said "Where have all these all mucky marks come from " pointing at a run of large footprints leading from behind the fridge freezer to the kitchen sink . Hmm . "Ive just cleaned up a guinea pig poo" I offer helpfully .... which on reflection might have been a ratpoo... "

D fetches various disinfectants and other heavy duty cleansers and gets down to business inspecting the footprints as he goes . These could be bird prints , he says , in a weak voice . That , I say , is called Denial . Or wishful thinking . It doesnt work . Where , for example is the Bird now? Birds don't typically squeeze back down the hole they came in through. t
They bash about against the windows. We need to face it . Its a rat . Possibly Rats . Someone has to ring Environmental health . And the last time I rang them about the one in the Attic that that wimpy plumber said he saw , no one ever even rang back about .
I 'm onto it , he says . Later .

Later that day we have a torch and three of us are in the Kitchen mounting a search .It is widely believed that  the cats , or some of the cats have come face to face , and are not happy . Some of them are looking depressed and are facing the wall in D's office , as if meditatiing . They are no longer on RatWatch . That job has fallen to the Humans . The dog has no interest , though she is keen to eat the catfood as ever  , under the guise of catching a rat .

I climb onto the bench and train the torch behind the freezer . It is a narrow space , dark and there is an adjustment period for the eyes . I have to position and reposition my glasses . Nat has already tried and seen nothing . I move the torch up and down and decide my specs are better off , for long distance viewing . I am long sighted after all . It is still very dark , with a smallish circle lit . I move the circle and find what looks like a ball of something . I am not terribly squeamish but I am not wholly  at ease. It appears to be a ball of dust , cobwebby and grim . It is unpleasant . I move the torch , I am aware in the background that Nat is on the phone to the right of me . Beneath the ball of dust , a large greasy black rat shuffles across my line of vision and then disappears . I find myself shouting very loudly and I hear Nat saying Oh my mum has just seen the Rat  Oh My God . I seem to be shouting very loudly and D is shouting Which way is it going?  the over arching feeling is one of my legs weakening and failing .
Nat ends her call and comes to help me down from the bench . I am laughing helplessly .
We have a Rat . It is Official .

And , judging by the weather , snow snow and more snow , we may have a rat for a while longer .
Envirolink are scheduled to arrrive to deal on Monday afternoon . In the meantime , every time we leave the kitchen , a rat or rats appear to be skipping about on the benches . The cats are occasionally on RatWatch but mostly they are subdued and not themselves . Perhaps cats too  have that primal scared of rats feeling that I myself have experienced?

Monday, 22 November 2010

Visit to United World College Duino Trieste Italy

Plaque on the wall in the village , Duino

Plaque explaining what the colleges are about . Robin applied to various colleges in different countries, as do many students.

View from the Day Room in the college. Its a far cry from the view at my daughter's High School !

Another view from a different window of the Day Room . I took this by opening the shutters and leaning out . A steep cliff face is below leading straight down to the sea. Amazing .

The town square in Trieste .

Across the road from the college in Duino village .



This weekend one of my longstanding friends was making the trip via Stansted to Trieste and then on to the village of Duino in Italy to visit her son at boarding school at the United World College of the Adriatic , an international college for students aged sixteen to eighteen year olds who want a different experience of studying from A levels and who prefer to study away from home and to have the chance to study for the International Baccalaureat .
Robin heard about the college from a friend and applied and was accepted after an interview in Wales , and started in Italy in September . This was to be Liz's first trip to visit him .
The college is home for two years to around two hundred international students , and it felt like we met them all on Friday evening , being introduced to them shortly after our arrival ! Not really , it just felt like that ! What was fascinating was how intrigued they all were to meet Liz , Robin's mother  and I suppose that's how it works . Sixteen is very young to be leaving home and some of these young people are very far from home indeed, and must be desperate for contact with home and keen for any reminders of home and family . Indeed at our arrival everyone stopped what they were doing immediately ( watching a dvd on a huge plasma screen ) and came over to watch Robin making us a cup of tea) and chat to us about where we had come from , what our plans were , and whch countries each of them were from . East Timor , Bangldesh , Italy -of course-, Vietnam - Albania, Afghanistan , Bosnia , Pakistan , Venezuela, Poland, Brazil and Canada spring to mind . Mind blowing opportunities. International School UK,Boarding School WalesUWC AdriaticUnited World College of the Adriatic Duino in Trieste - Italy Community of stuUnited World College of the Adriatic - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

It was a great adventure as ever to be able to travel and to think about things from a different viewpoint . Its easy to assume that after GCSE s you have to just follow the crowd and do A levels but Robin is proof that you can apply and live abroad and study in a whole different way and although the fees at the college are very high all the students at this college are supported by full scholarships so it isnt costing his parents any more than the flights to get him there and using the cheap flights which we used it really isnt that expensive .
Nat and I had the opportunity to take off to Trieste - we had planned to do a train journey to Venice but this wasnt possible- we were told that the sea had flooded St Marks Square so we had a lovely afternoon taking photographs and pottering around .

Today , Monday I'm back to CatMinding which is a lovely way back into the working week.....and a pile of paperwork to do ....

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Today I have been mostly fighting ...

.. with Pin Numbers...

which I know is a losers game . I might as well catch a flight to Atlantic City and stand and feed the machines there with all my worldy goods.
Its my sanity I've been losing these last few days though, but I am pleased to report that so far at least I have kept my cool with the call centre operators who keep ( politely ) giving me different pieces of advice thus leading me into this fine mess.

Initially I received a new credit card .
My last one lasted three years. Great . This one saw my through my recent trip to the States, thank goodness, and just as I landed back , it expired. No matter , the new one was in the bag , and the sticker attached advised that it was ready for use. Oh no hang on . It just needed to be "authorised". And thereby hangs the tale . Of woe. Mine . No one else seems remotely bothered.
I duly rang the number to be told someone had " already authorised the card" Er no . " Could I have authorised the card and forgotten ? Er no . I know I have senior moments etc but I didn't do this . For one thing I was in Another Country ....
I tell her I haven't authorised the card and this concerns me . Who has authorised the card and what does this mean? She says Oh not to worry and moves swiftly on -in her head to her next call , and tells me just to use my card with impunity . I hesitate but realise I am not getting any joy here . Also - who am I to worry if she doesnt want to .
I go off to live my life .

It is a few days before I have a chance to live my life according to the credit card. Petrol . I fill my little tank , thinking my thoughts, which are mundane and weary , place my card and apply my pin and bingo .... I am Reject. The boy smiles and says I can try again . He is used to ladies of a certain age making errors. I know there has been no such error and think immediately of the Imposter who has for Sure and  Certain Thing Fraudulently obtained my account and card and changed my pin with his Wicked Ways . I whip out another card as my card is rejected again and pay for my petrol and race home as fast as my C1 will carry me . I am into the house and screaming abuse and demanding assistance to catch these fraudsters . D hurries onto the internet recognising that any plans he had for the evening are up the spout until this is managed , and in minutes I am speaking to Fraud at NatWest .

Your Pin is now Unblocked says the young man patiently , as I babble about fraud . He does not think fraud is applicable here but does not explain why or why not .
Now , he says , I must go to a Nat West machine and change my pin number .
Phew I think . thats easy . Now I can get my old pin number back .

I promptly forget this and head off to a gruelling week of Other Commitments . Well , not so very gruelling but I need some excuse to explain how it was that I forgot to change the pin .

In fact next thing I did was try to use the card again .

Oh dear says the nice young woman with the lovely hair in the Christmas present shop .
Are you buying this for your daughter? She will love it? But I think there might be a problem with your card you know . Its saying the pin is blocked .

I stare at the machine and my hands feel cold .
I'll tell you what I say to her .
I'm just going to take this card out and give you another one.

I head straight to the bank and to the ATM at NatWest . In goes the card . Pin Services . I just know I've messed up . Pin Number ? It asks me . Now which pin number I think , since my pin number is blocked and then unblocked , but now reblocked . Hm. I try my pin number and follow the directions for unblocking .... Your Request is Denied .

I am very unhappy .

I head home .

At home , would you believe , a letter from the bank containing a new Pin Number . In my defense , as I know I shouldnt have used the card without trying to make the change first , the young man at Fraud never told me a new Pin would be sent out .

So , back I head to the Machine, feed in the card again , and this time , put in the new number , after applying my spectacles and stepping away from the queue to work out how to rub off the backing paper off the pin number . Finally I am back at the front of the queue . I change the pin number as desired , back to my old one . Request declined , contact your bank .

Argh .
I drive home , keening quietly to myself .
At home , as I speak to a young woman this time she explains that if I feed my card back into the machine again , she will talk me through the process . " I am back at home now " .... and explains its a two part thing . I have to Unblock the pin . Take the card out . Start again . Then change it .

OMG . I drive back to the machine .
Pay to park again .
Specs out .
Card in .
Old pin .
Unblock pin
Card out .
Card in
Change pin .

Sucess ??
Who knows  .
Now I have to buy something and we will find out .

Last night I thought I heard someone crying in my house ? I wonder now if was me ?

Sunday, 7 November 2010

CatMinders Website is once More

Since the CatCalls debacle our website has been down and waiting for an update and overhaul which has taken longer than I care to think .
But now , CatMinders the WebSite as opposed to CatMinders the Blog and indeed MsCatMinders ( Me!!) is well and truly launched , albeit by accident when someone presses Publish instead of Preview whilst waiting for me to leave my base attempting as I am to online check myself and N in for several short flights which will take us to Trieste via Stansted in a couple of weeks time . And very exciting that will be too , though how scary all this online everything is for someone like me who much prefers to ring someone(else) who then sends you something reassuring in a nice envelope. But no , now everything has to be done oneself- online . How on earth do Elders manage I ask myself , reassured that at least by the time I am nearing seventy and still hopefully globetrotting all this will be second nature and N will no longer be snatching boarding passes from me in case I lose them. ( there was that time en route to Barcelona when my boarding pass somehow wound up in my coat sleeve .... )

CatMinders ( the service!!) is picking up again despite not having had a website.
This morning for example I visited an old friend round the coast- a lovely drive in gorgeous sunshine affording me a view of the lighthouse with an amazing truncated rainbow behind it. I love to see cats who recognise me and give me a warm welcome and then will sit down with me for half an hour or so . We looked out to sea in a fabulously peaceful house watching the world go by . At this time of the morning , there wasn't much of a world going by , and she watched me whilst I talked to her about my plans for the day, purring after a few minutes to let me know she was listening I suppose.

Interesting to see whether we have a surge of new business now we are online again though I have a feeling we are mainly a small locally based practice trading on word of mouth . I seem to spend a lot of time letting people know I cannot cover more far flung areas however much I would love to and wondering how it is that people have heard of me "in the pub" they say , or "my husband's friend".

Anyway , many thanks to my lovely blog readers. I hope you can all find the blog if you do want to have a look  . I imagine no one much is reading the blog now but then I get facebook messages or people tell me in passing that they do still read .

And a huge thank you to D for all the re building of the blog and the endless fiddling about with the photos and the colours . I still would like a picture of our lovely Kitty on it but we need a better photo  of her . I dont want people thinking we are an elitist service and just deal in exotic cats .

Kitty the mog was our first cat .

Its really not her fault she's large-ish and is best suited to lying on her back . We will endeavour to acquire a sitting up picture of her for the blog . If any family member has one , please come forward.

But apart from that I think the website looks really great and its all self built!

Friday, 5 November 2010

This week

It's official ! And clear for anyone to see...when I returned recently from Arizona and was disappointed with my photographs D told me my poor results were due to the fact that I have been building up pictures on a small memory card ( 700 plus designed for 200 photographs). However these have now been removed and the results are still poor .
Compare the picture above of a sunflower which was one of the very first pictures I took with this camera , and the toadstools of last Friday taken at Goats on the Roof. There is just no comparison.
I'm now not sure what's going on . Whether the memory card has been compromised by being overloaded? Or whether the camera has had its day?
Any ideas gratefully received if you or anyone you know knows anything about cameras and their technology let me know .

I've been having some very odd comments left on the blog but as theyre been anonymous and many of them not making a whole lot of sense and containing within the garbled messages the odd giveaway words like viagra and so forth I've decided to junk them. Seems an odd way of going about implanting ideas onto a blog but there must be some kind of method in the madness. Either way I'm not co-operating if I can help it , amusing though some of them are .

All in all this has been an odd kind of week .  Friday and Saturday were Teen party nights which ended very differently . Say no more. Suffice to say by Sunday I was glad the weekend was over and I could have a Quiet Day at home Cooking Like Nigella Does. Banoffee Cheesecakes were produced and  her recipe for one cheesecake produced four ....say no more....she's a substantial eater I guess.

No CatMinding this week as two families were forced to cancel ... though I have some duties this weekend which I'm looking forward to .
Hectic DayJob commitments which went well but left me glad it was Thursday and time to catch up with friend Deb in the local bistro/ coffeeshop - having been away it seemed like weeks since we had caught up on news so I left the dog snoozing on the sofa while we whiled away a good two hours over hot chocolate. Lui s in Tynemouth offers Dark Milk or White hot chocolate . How about that?
Nothing more exciting to report at this end ... but any camera advice would be gratefully received!

Friday, 29 October 2010

Goats on the Roof , Fontburn, Rothbury

A couple of months ago the notion of a day out once a month was born, and given the rather grand title " the Elders Day Out " was subsequently attached .
Last month's outing was to Haworth in Yorkshire to visit the birthplace of the Brontes so this month a somewhat less grand but no less enjoyable day was planned - to see the Goats on the Roof at Fontburn .
As we guessed might be the case the goats were not indeed quite on the roof and in fact showed no signs of climbing the ladders to the roof during our visit to the coffee shop , so we took photos of them lurking in their downstairs quarters near the piggies who seemed keen to show off their large bottoms and even larger and quite disproportionate testicles ( possibly not visible on the photos - despite clearing off hundreds of old pictures my camera is still not performing well ) . There were also hens , a fancy cockerel , and some sheep.
We took the one and a half hour walk by the lake despite our misgivings about the map, and spotted all sorts of interesting flora and fauna , including some big red toadstools , a fisherman relaxing by his rod and a cormorant making a display on the water.
All the while catching up on news of the past month .... Elders Days Out are a great thing .
Then on to Rothbury where we parked up and had a wander round the town spotting local landmarks now made famous - or infamous - by Raoul Moat , and finally back to Kirkharle where we met this morning and abandoned one of the cars. Fnally home to a house full of Teens getting ready for a party ...... I must get ready with the camera again .....

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Phoenix Arizona . Visit to the Heard Museum

As I said yesterday not knowing how to switch the flash off on my camera was a major stumbling block at the Heard museum .
Consequently I have only three pictures to show you , of writing which struck me particularly up in the section called " The Boarding School Experience". Having looked at some of the beautiful artefacts downstairs , I had a feeling that this wasnt going to be such a good hour we were going to be experiencing next , as nothing compared to the years of lives suffered by the young children who were torn from their homes and families often with armed soldiers standing by in case of protest or problem , whilst the children were taken and placed in alien boarding schools to "civilise and educate" them according to the (white) ways of the world . We saw a barber's chair where their long plaits were shorn off. Black and white photos depicting their clothes being removed and showing children later wearing uniforms. Poignant pictures of native Americans with faces so dignified when they arrived looking ...what is the word... less.....faraway ... lost and alone and like stolen beings after the "boarding school experience".
Many of the children didn't survive and succumbed to TB , a source of some interest to me due to my friend's recent experience with that disease and my visit to her in the " isolation" of the local hospital .
The pictures I took , not knowing whether any of them would come out , reflected those interests.
There were many more I could have taken but it seemed wrong to be furiously snapping rather than just walking around trying to imagine the things that happened in the world , and are still happening , in different guises.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Just back from Phoenix Arizona

 Its August since I last wrote my blog !!
I think it had more of an impact than I knew having to change the name and becoming Catminders rather than CatCalls and losing my old identity , daft though that may seem .
Ive been fiddling about on Twitter and enjoying that but Ive been missing the blog so here I am back again , fresh back from a dayjob conference in Phoenix which was quite stunning .
Hey , I wish I could say the same for my photos!
I know -theyre rubbish !
Not really the camera's fault either . It has been pointed out ( D) , that it doesnt help a digital camera to store over seven hundred ( or was it nine hundred ) images , on a camera meant to store two hundred max . After which quality starts to deteriorate. Well , as you can see , and I can confrm , having seen those red rocks at their best , and a truly amazing experience that was . To see the real thing , shot with real cameras , probably best to have a look at Sedona on an internet site .

On the first day of the trip we also visited the Heard museum . I didnt dare take any pictures there as you have to turn your flash off . Guess what ? I havent yet learned that particular skill , though I do intend to . I did though take a couple of shots on my phone which I will download in due course .
Our guide at the museum who was an amazingly exciteable woman who seemed to know everything , told us that Sedona was the place to go and that when she saw the red rocks she started to cry and it was even more spectacular than the Grand Canyon . I didn't cry , except some tears of laughter at the dynamics between my colleagues in the car we hired to make the trip . Suffice to say it was a long hot day and at the outset we predicted there would be tears before bedtime . There was wrestling over the map . There was  a degree of car sickness. Pedantic quibbling . Interior lights flicking on and off ad nauseum . The driver had the patience of a saint .

Anyway enough of that !
Ive erased a lot of photos so any future pictures should be better .
I hope to attract new followers , though I no longer know how this is done ? How did I have such an initial following way back when ? Presumably that was in the ways before I lost my marbles to medication?

Any ideas let me know !

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Ms Catminder gets a strange Call

Back from CatMinding ... two old friends in the fairytale garden and two other old friends where the trick is to try to time visits when the DogWalker is out with the dogs otherwise we are battling against the odds with two huge dogs looking for attention and pushing and shoving as I try to go about my business. These two are gorgeous but strong enough to knock me flying .. they havent .. yet .. but mainly because I'm good at hanging onto things when the onslaught begins . ( I do love them really) . The male cat at this house climbs up alongside me on the bench and nips my elbow companionably .
At the first house one of the elderly cats is missing in action but soon emerges gingerly from the bushes when I call ...picks her way across the damp lawn and follows me into the house. Her family think she may be losing her sight and I'm inclined to agree but she is doing very well . After breakfast she returns to the sun and allows me to pet her for a while before settling herself on a bench .

Anyway back from CatMinding and a teentrip to the dentist to pick up mouthguard and get a filling . New dentist - who is a delight after the last one - thought she had done the filling at the check up appointment so did the scale and polish and handed over the mouthguard then waved us off. N was giving me frantic signals about the filling . I mentioned it and ... action stations ... it had been marked on the computer as done ! Poor N had to jump back in the chair , tip back , bib on , glasses back on and injection and filllin done in a couple of minutes . Phew! Glad we didnt just slope out as that tooth would have started playing up inn a few weeks and we would have wished we hadnt . Tempting though it was .

So , back from all that . Phone rings .
Young woman on phone who must have mistaken me for some kind of super-duper cat person who knows everything there is to know about cats .
She tells me she has an eight week old kitten and it has got into the wall cavity behind her washing machine and has been trapped there for twenty four hours . I tell her I am a cat minding service but ask what she has done to try to coax it out . She has called the RSPCA and they have suggested she warms up some tuna and wafts it about . She has tried this but the kitten is too scared to come out . "Its a very nervous kitten" . She has somehow set a camera up and can see its still moving just beyond the reach of her arm .
I suggest the fire brigade may help and offer to get a number for her from my neighbour who works for the Fire Service . I take her number and go along to find my neighbour who has taken another neighbour's dog out  , as she has hurt her ankle . A third neighbour B is in the gardens and says she will send S along on her return .
Soon S arrives and rings the local service to the address given by the caller . She manages to arrange for a fire engine to call out .
We are still waiting to hear the results .
Fingers crossed  that the Kitten was saved in time .

Visit to Cragside Rothbury

After a wonderful day in Ambleside on Monday ( still on holiday) I took off to Cragside near Rothbury on Tuesday and to make up for the lack of lakes photos took hundreds of the bathrooms inside Cragside . Its forbidden to use flash and I think I may have broken the rules as though I thought I had turned the flash off but apparently not .
Hope you enjoy the pictures .

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Abbi is leaving :-(

Nat met her childhood friend Abbi at nursery , I assume on their first day there though I can't remember that far back and it seems a lifetime away to me . Probably does to them too .
A year at nursery and we still have the teatowel with their little drawings on depicting their childhood selves, Abbi and Nathalia aged three.
Then on to primary school and many an after school outing and party . Abbi lived in the next street and like Nat loved animals . When Nat got her first hamster it was Abbi who helped us get Daisy out of the cage and scooped her up off the floor when she shot off and escaped ; we were a bit nervous at first but Abbi was fearless having had two of her own for ages and knowing just  how to handle them . She loved our cats and especially when our Pearl had her kittens Abbi would be along early before school to play with them and try to decide which one she liked best .
Later , just before the move to Senior School when complications came on the scene Abbi and her family where there for Nat and Nat was never to forget Abbi's support at that time .
Which  is what has made it so tough, this news of Abbi's departure for Scotland now that she is sixteen and heading for college and a new life with her family.  
A really tough few weeks anticipating the move , saying Goodbyes and finally today sending Abbi off with a box of our signature Brownies and wishing her well and knowing that she will be back in a couple of weeks to see her dad and keep in touch with her friends back her .
Abbi , we will miss you .
We won't forget you .
Enjoy the brownies on your journey north won't you
Have a great time at college !
And don't forget us .

Saturday, 31 July 2010

Why Tweet? Why Twitter?

Why Indeed?
In my case its to do with the trickiness of Blogging these days .
I just can't find the words. I don't think its me- I put it down to the medication and the fact that the increased dose I have to take to take migraine at bay results in aphasia and means I just find finding words harder. Literally . Writing and Speaking . So I both say and write less. And when I do both I find it harder to locate the right words and everything takes me longer.
Writing the blog used to be a delight which took me minutes each day . In fact I used to often have ideas for new things I wanted to write minutes after I had finished the last blog post and would often find myself picking up the laptop again and producing a second post or sometimes even a third in one day . Now I find it hard to come up with anything much in a week or even a fortnight . Its not that less happens. In some ways life is as busy with as much if not more going on . Its just finding the words.
And then along came Twitter. I looked at it askance at first , finding it both inane and somehow missing the point ( of anything much ) . Then my sister showed me how she used it . I logged in and started following a few of the same people she followed and saw how easy it was to become involved in a little mini community ( yes , a bit like blogging really) , and the bonus for me was that you didnt have to find many words. In fact the maximum per tweet being one hundred and forty could count as a bonus. And , if you preferred , once you worked out how to post pictures from your mobile, you could instead post a few photos and forget about saying anything very much . Lurking was quite fine. No one seemed to object.
I live in hope that I'm going to be off this stuff soon and that all my words are going to come flooding back . Then my word count will improve again and there will be a blog revival .
In the meantime I keep on minding cats ( some recent changes in clientele with old favourites moving away. They know who they are and will be sadly missed :-(    And some new families contacting me and coming onto the books which is always good.

Ive had to turn some people away as they are a bit too far away - it seems there are less people out there cat minding at the minute and I'm getting calls from further afield which I can't always respond to due to other pressures.

Tuesday, 27 July 2010


I am so excited about my sister's forthcoming birthday!
Its not so much fun having one of those landmark occasions yourself when no one quite knows what to do , whether to make a big song and dance about it , to get a card with the numbers on , buy balloons or fix up a party . If you really dont want any of those things you have to clearly spell it out or surely someone is going to organise something for you that is going to be torture.
But its much more fun when you can get into the spirit on behalf of someone else.
I don't think my sister is terribly keen on surprises. Or parties. She's not a traveller ( much ) . Or maybe she's all right with surprises but doesnt like things being organised for her without some prior  consultation. Anyway , having consulted a bit , I have something in mind that I like . Its not majorly exciting but its good to have something to look forward to .
And then last Friday there  was a bit of a plotting going on . And I quite got into the mood .

My first memory ( I think ) was of when she was born . I say I think because you never know for sure whether these are real memories or ideas that have been suggested . But in my head we were staying at the farmhouse where my grandparents lived . And which was where my sister was born "at home" though of course it wasnt her home or mine . Though maybe we came to regard it as a second home in a way . Anyway in my mind's eye someone , I suppose my dad , was holding me up in the air over a marble washstand to look into a crib of sorts and in there was a tiny wizened monkey with black hair. Surely I can't have remembered this , at twenty months old , it has to have been what I've been told . Yet I do seem to have a picture of a little brown  wrinkled face , not terribly enamoured with the world and me not sure what to make of it I suppose. I have no recollection of the adults around me or of what they said or of what happened next .
SisterBirthday !! Coming up soon . Hope its a happy one !

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Sunday morning seems to be taking care of itself whilst I sit staring into space , wondering whether I should be taking action . I have plans. A swim at lunchtime, when the pool should be clearer. I am half heartedly awaiting the delivery of some CatMinding keys , though it is half-hearted and if I went out they would arrive just the same through the door. As I sit here , the To Do list grows slowly but surely . I have a birthday present to buy. A once a year post Summer Holiday ironing pile to do ( and put away till next year probably , as rain is forecast for the rest of the week). Ironing is not really my thing, generally .
I have photos to upload.
A cake to bake , maybe , who knows. A dog to walk .
Outside all is still and peaceful . After a fairly frenetic week , its calming to sit here in one place and reflect . My insomnia seems to have deserted me . I'm not sure if thats something to be happy about . Fewer hours in the day for reading , but I am yawning less at four pm .
I have been on the go since seven am but time to get started for real ....

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Gazza goes to Rothbury

YouTube - Gazza interview about Raoul Moat on Real Radio North-East **FULL LEN

For those of you who remember Paul Gascoigne otherwise known as Gazza , you may be interested to hear the recording of his offer of help to Raoul Moat last weekend in Rothbury .
I wonder how things would have panned out of Gazza had been allowed through the police cordons to talk to his old mate ( though he does admit he hadn't seen Mr Moat for a year and a half ).
Thirty thousand people have signed up to a Facebook tribute page in support of Mr Moat ( a "Legend") which David Cameron is requesting facebook should remove but so far this is being refused. 
Where will it all end ?

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Back from Holidays

We return from relaxing holidays in the early hours of Thursday  having closely followed the story of Raoul Moat on Sky News , to hear that Mr Moat is eventually involved in a stand-off with Police near the river bank last night .

We receive a telephone call that our friend Steve Hall who is also cycling round UK to raise awareness of the plight of refugees across the world , following in the footsteps of Bjorn Heidenstrom who stayed with us last year , had not arrived at the latest leg of his journey in Hexham .The Shirt 2010 Steve was due to stay in Hexham where a friend of a friend had kindly agreed to offer a bed for the night before he would come on to us .
Later in the morning we received a call to say that Steve had had an accident on the A69 and had been taken to hospital by police and ambulance . Frantic calls led to D tracking him down finally late last night and it was at 11 pm therefore that D saw him and then left him still parked up on a trolley in a hospital corridor in Accident and Emergency with broken ribs and possible head injury waiting for an observation bed.

I fell asleep watching Sky News where Mr Moat was surrounded by Police and with a gun to his head .

The wierdest part of all this was hearing that at the start of the stand off a local man was apparently fishing in the river just metres away from where Moat was holding a gun to his head .
Later , Paul Gascoigne appeared on the scene with food parcels for Raoul Moat declaring himself a pal from former times , presumably from Mr Moats days as a bouncer . Gazza  was interviewed on Real Radio and , slurring somewhat said Mr Moat was a real gentleman and "someone must have wound him up". Indeed.
The Sky News reporter said somewhat enigmantically that most of Mr Gascoigne's interview "could not be broadcast". He was however on the scene offering to intervene.
I myself had high hopes that the two men would have a chat , there would be tears , and that would be an end to the matter .  Sadly ,it was not to be .

I was thus  horrified to wake to see footage of Mr Moat's  removal to the Newcastle General Hospital and discover that he was arriving at the same hospital as Steve . Hopefully by the time Moat arrived Steve was safely on a ward (2 15am). I suspect his confusion would not have been  helped by the armed police accompanying Mr Moat .
Questions now relate to whether Moat killed himself as a result of the firing of a taser stungun. An Independent Inquiry will follow - who fired first ? Sky News continues to buzz.

Steve is to remain in hospital at least another day .

Migraine Days

Migraine Days

Flower and Bee on a Sunday

Flower and Bee on a Sunday

art on a sunday

art on a sunday