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

Monday, 28 June 2010

More Seagull News

After the fiasco that was the Football ( not that I know anything about that really ) and a lovely Family Party , fourteen or so of us gathered round the tv , even including Moi after it got too hot in the garden where I had retired for a while , and a lengthy spell around the tea table competing over who could eat the most home made cake / quiche/ Pringles and so forth while sharing news and indulging in the age old sport of Little Brother teasing ( when two or more sisters are gathered together .... the brother will suffer ... especially if his partner enjoys joining in mercilessly .

Upon our return  home seagulls were swooping and screaming in the street .
Clearly something was up but no sign of a fallen baby on the ground or indeed of the Parent Birds above the Chimneys where the nest is .

I went to the back of our house and one of our neighbours immediately called for help ( from her roof space!) She was up there peering out though it was impossible to see why . Transpired one of her cats was on the roof , invisible at that time , and it was the cat which the seagulls were dive bombing . The cat was too alarmed to retreat back in through the velux window and had edged close to the lower roof.
Within minutes several more "observers" were out and Biffa the cat kept popping up having found a hole in the tiles of a neighbouring roof . Eventually he was retrived, but not before D in his haste to assist had kindly locked me out into our back area ( Cheers there !! ) and I had to be rescued by yet another neighbour , who commented "theres always something happening in this street" .
Never a dull moment . Just wishing at the moment I had time to write about it all .

We are off on hols on Thursday amfor a week . I just cannot wait and feel very lucky to be going away . My sister is here to take care of all our animals and house sit . Hopefully she will seagull watch and keep an eye on the Fox and of course , neighbourhood happenings .
Take Care all of you xx

Saturday, 26 June 2010

Feeding the Baby Seagulls

This morning after I fed my cat, and came back to hang out washing in the sunshine, I could only see a parent bird and no babies .

I feared the worst .

Though after a while of standing listening I thought I could hear a few peeping , kleeping noises .

And then I saw a tiny head appear against the bright backlit chimney pots.

Then another little bit of fluff.

I fetched the camera, lined up a few shots . Mostly I got nothing , shooting into the light and at such a distance and with no fancy lenses. But I did manage to get a few shots of big birds on guard and teeny heads and one shot of big parent birds feeding fish into the beaks of the fluffy chicks .

You can probably make out the open beak of the big bird here . And the little one close up waiting for food on the right . I might get some better shots tomorrow. After all this excitement we went for a walk at Gibsidewith friends . This is the chapel .

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Spooks at Four AM

A very bizarre thing .
More migraines this week , putting me semi out of action for a day and a half though with medication I had spells where reading was possible . Mostly in between bouts of nausea and during those hours when the rest of the world is peacefully sleeping . I watched three am go by . And four . And then stayed up for five and six and seven .
The birds were shouting outside by this time .
We have re- visiting seagulls in our back lane . My friends Deb and Sallie , who know a thing or two about seabirds from their Salcombe connections, tell me that seagulls and their nests are not to be encouraged , as the gulls will dive bomb anyone in proximity to the nest,  but we in this street are all that is ridiculous when it comes to sentimentality and the animal world .( Alice has however already been threatened by the adults, as has D with his camera) .
 We watch in fascination as the three fat fluffy seagull babies perch on the edge of the chimney and the parent birds clamour and chack and shout and scream at passers by . As evening falls , the voices quieten too and from behind a screen of our flowers and guinea pigs , the babes can be seen settling and a single parent watching from on high. The street in turmoil earlier that day as one of the babies landed somehow in the lane. Stalked by curious cats and perhaps later by the nighly foxes, it was all too much for Sam and she packed him or her into her cat travel basket and delivered him up to Mary our local BirdWoman who advised "They are quite robust" indicating a garden full of baby seagulls already in her care.
Sam already has a number of responsibilities and said she had two cats . "I myself have ten" said Mary but kept the new baby nontheless.
We were grateful the baby was still alive. After his disappearance and before we heard Sam had made her rescue a sadness hung over the back street.
Enough of birds .

During the night last night as I read "The Irresistible Inheritance of Wilberforce" I was struck by the incredible quiet . No birds . No sounds . Even the dog silent .
At four twenty am I headed to the bathroom and as I sat in there thinking my thoughts I heard what sounded like  a tv playing loudly, all out of the blue. Its not unusual for N to leave her tv playing but I had not heard it as I passed by her room. I also realised she was out , sleeping over at a friends. I listened at the wall near to the next door house. Were they up late celebrating the England win?
The noise, louder than N would usually have her tv, was coming from N's room .
I felt my heart beating faster and wondered if something had happened and N had come back home without my knowing . A problem? I pushed open the door, fearful without knowing why. Bed unmade but empty . Otherwise nothing out of place. Tv on at fairly high volume . I switched it off and returned to my book .

This morning when I returned home with N and mentioned the tv she pulled a face . We definitely have a ghost , she said . I was half was downstairs and ran back up to switch the tv off when I left the house yesterday afternoon . I have a thing about leaving the tv on .
I confessed to her I had been perplexed about why I hadnt heard it earlier in the night when I had been up and down . I had been to the bathroom earlier when it was equally quiet .
Today is the anniversary of my Grandmother's death . Do you know anything about this Grandma? Sixteen years today.

Saturday, 12 June 2010

A difficult week chez Catminder. And now I cannot at all get these photos to line up . I need some sort of Teen Tutorial .
But teens are all doing GCSE s and other important exams.
Last weekend started being tricky at the point I noticed there was a message flashing on my phone and wasnt able to get a signal , being out at Kirkharle and esconsced at the coffee shop and having just realised the full horror that my Dad would have been walking  the dogs in the woods where Derrick Bird shot himself after killing himself having killed twelve other people in Cumbria the previous Wednesday . Fortunately for dad he was at home rather than in the Lakes , as they prefer to stay at home during the Summer holidays. A narrow miss indeed.

I finally manage to get through to our landline and get the message that Alice the skinny greyhound has had an accident herself , having been silly in  the sea and gashed her leg on a rock submerged under the water in a rockpool . D has had to carry her off the beach , her leg helpfully bandaged by a passing paramedic and A(aged four)  and her picnic items  and collections from the beach brought to shore by some useful assistants . Matters are slowed up as A insists on bringing a dead crab she has found.
 A copious quantity of blood finds itself onto all available surfaces, apparently.
Alice is touted around various veterinary establishments and finally finds a home at Ayres where they promise to anaesthetise her , stitch and bill us accordingly. Luckily , we are insured . (NB the bill is still rising but hey , we dont care.)

I suggest that we go ahead with the days plan to meet at Wallington , where we are supposed to be meeting friends, in a forlorn attempt to restore some sort of normality for A ( and ourselves) and I drive across country to wait . The sun is blazing and I find a table and chairs and sit staring into space. An hour passes. And another. Nil . I have no phone signal . This was not a good idea. My friends do not appear . Finally D and A show up and we walk in the woods. It is strange without Alice and A is silent on the subject of the morning's events.
In the greenhouse there is a heat haze and it is too hot even for the little cat which has dug in under a bush outside.

We finally reclaim Alice later that day at eight pm . Too late for the party to which we are invited. Alice has a purple bandage and is a very wobbly dog .

Later that week finds me in A and E at Midnight with N who should be getting her beauty sleep in view of the importance of her exams . However she has an excrutiating pain in her eye and we have already been advised to follow up a routine medical appointment in hosiptal emergency if it recurs. A and E after midnight is not a happy place to be . We are called upon to offer comfort to a sad and frightened young girl who looks fourteen - pregnant and has fled a violent partner at one am. She enters the arena in her pyjamas and fluffy slippers sobbing and crying and is left standing and humiliated , alone until I can bear it no longer. I ask who I can call for her when she tells me her b/f has taken her phone from her. She tells me she has no one and when I press she says No - I have no mam and I don't have any friends now. 
 There is only so far I can go with my involvement before we are called off to our own doctor and then I have to let her go . I hope they admitted her for the night at least . I can hardly bear to think of her. And we hear that with the World Cup on each night that England plays that Domestic Violence can be expected to  increase by thirty one per cent in this area at least .
N is discharged at two thirty am . The doctor is "baffled" . We are exhausted. We piled into bed. I read until three thirty and I am up again at seven. Cats to feed. A lovely present of a dead bird to field .
A picture of a cliff against the pier to remind me that whatever else , it is what it is and some things never change.
And Pearl smirks happily in the corner of the water bed, no matter what befalls the rest of us.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Andrea Gillies and Alzheimers

The raw horror of Alzheimer's | Amelia Gentleman | Life and style | The Guardi

I'm bang in the middle of writing a report at the minute and cats to see to later .
But you may have time to read this article .
Its sure to be fascinating .
I read Andrea Gillies fabulous book about Nancy this Summer and loved every minute. In fact , I really didnt want it to end .

How come I'm writing a report and found this? I picked up the paper to help me digest my lunchtime yoghurt- apple and cinammon -with bits. At four pm .

A man has killed five people in Cumbria , near where we were last Friday . It seems he has also shot himself . Urgent public message - Shots fired in Whitehaven
BBC News - Cumbria Police statement on gunman murders
More later .

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Freddie, and Freddie .

Last night I watch a tv programme about personality and career, based on the Child of our Time series.
Due ot the DayJob -now look at that- Ive just reversed my to and ot! What does that mean ? is that evidence of presenile dementia or what? Due to the DayJob I have a fair old knowledge of psychometric ( or personality ) testing and can tell you that its no surprise that despite my high intellect ( at school I was a real high flyer) , I am not earning mega bucks . This is largely , apparently because I score higher on Introversion rather than Extraversion , Agreeableness rather than its opposite , and various other traits which I've now forgotten or don't care to elaborate on here ( lest they should put you off hiring me to look after your cats. Ha ha only joking . )

As I watched I noted my daughter multi tasking on her laptop , chatting on her Blackberry , cursing her father who had switched off his phone and was not available to make the necessary arrangements for their trip today to Nottingham to visit her sister who is off travelling in a couple of days time , headed for,  Bangkok, ( gulp)  Cambodia etc . and slipping a glance at the tv from time to time , whilst explaining to me the ups and downs of the social lives of various of her pals. Extrovert? I asked myself ... whatever she is , she is nothing like me. Just as well .

This afternoon a message arrived unexpectedly in my Inbox from Merry , copied from Freddie's blog ( I don't quite know how it came to me)  and reminding me of Tim and Rachel who initially taught me about blogging with their blog about their baby Fred We Love You Freddie . This inspired me to look at the link provided to Merry's blog about their son , also called Freddie  and his very short life and how she and her family are coping. . Her blog is also about homeschooling-fascinating.
Merry writes heartbreakingly about something my sister once tried to explain to me. About having more than one child and the way the love for the new child comes from a different and new place rather than causing a division or a sharing of the love you already feel . So what happens when there is no longer a baby available to accept the love that has been born ? I express it clumsily in contrast to her articulate words borne of pain .
I will read more of her lovely blog when I have the time and the space to take it all in .
You might want to do the same.

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