Monthly Archives: July 2015

Better to wear out…

I should not leave out a day, because it isn’t then easy to catch up.  I’ll be topical, and backtrack when there’s an uneventful day. Not that the events of the day matter except to me, come to that, but I’ve been rambling on about them for all these years and I do track back, every so often.

Weeza and Phil are in London this weekend for a wedding, so I have Zerlina and Augustus staying with me.  I also have Ben the dog – my ex-dog – as his owners are at the Latitude festival for the weekend.  I have to say, Eloise-cat isn’t much impressed.  She swiped with a paw to make it clear she’s not to be messed with – i so appreciate animal body language … I was holding her and she didn’t have her claws out, it was assertive rather than aggressive and Ben dropped his eyes and accepted what she said.  No sound was made and there was no need for it – all the same, Eloise isn’t comfortable and is spending most of the time in my study, where there’s a hatchway through to the kitchen counter.  When I’m out, I give Ben the drawing room, cloakroom and passageway, whilst Eloise has the kitchen, study and both dining rooms..  At night, he has downstairs and she has upstairs.  This is all fine.  Yesterday, she went up on the roof while she thought about the situation and I, once he was well out of sight, fetched a ladder to go and reassure her.  Actually, I took her by the scruff and obliged her to succumb to cuddles.

We dropped Weeza and Phil at the station and came back via the supermarket, and I hurried for the next two hours.  Feeding animals, walking dog, feeding children, giving cup of tea to friend who called was a full-time job. Then I put the children to bed, making sure their teeth were thoroughly brushed but giving the most cursory anti-stickiness wipe with a damp flannel, and came down for my dinner.  I’d taken a sausage casserole out of the freezer and it was, I’m glad to say, a hit.  They are not children to fuss about food and will give a new dish a try – Gus loved it and had three sausages, and Zerlina had two.  They’d snacked on strawberries while they were waiting and had crème caramel (bought) afterwards.

Another friend called round this evening – Rose dropped in too for a while, just as the children were finishing their tea – it’s only now, after nine o’clock, that I am able to sit down.   I have no idea if there’s anything on television, I won’t have the energy to watch it anyway.  Maybe a little music to finish the day.

Z is given more presents

At the end of the school year, the staff always have a party to say goodbye to anyone who is leaving.  I’ve gone too, a couple of times, and this year I was invited again.  I had to change another meeting, but the people concerned kindly agreed to make it next week – when the Head faux-casually asked me if I’d be there, I twigged something was up – darlings, I’m not at all comfortable with fulsome praise.  i’m fine with the judicious sort.  Yes, I do ok.  I’ve worked hard and been genuinely dedicated and done as much as I can for the school, I merited quite a quarter of what he said.  I’d even be pushed to a third, if modesty were to be thrown out of the window and I puffed myself up a fair bit.  Anyway, I said I didn’t recognise the description of me, but I’d love to meet the person described.  I pointed out that he’d given polite euphemisms for someone who was bossy, interfering and inquisitive.  I  said how well the school had educated Ronan and how much I appreciated it, how I admired the staff and that I clearly hadn’t enough to do with my time, as I do spend quite a lot of time there.  I was given a lovely wicker box of delicious goodies from the excellent local deli.  Clearly, it is well known that the way to Z’s heart is via her rounded tum.

There are a number of staff retiring this year, as well as those moving on to other jobs.  The lovely things said made it clear how closely friendly the relationships are within school, they are genuinely supportive and warm to each other.

I’m too tired to write more tonight but there’s more to be said, in regard to school things and what’s happening here during the summer,.  I don’t mean to leave things in the air, but I really do need to go to bed.  I know its not yet 10 o’clock, but I’ve turned into a wuss.

Eating out

I made summer puddings from the fruit I bought at the market, which prompted me to invite Roses and Boy to dinner, as I couldn’t eat them all by myself.  Then Ro phoned and mentioned that Dora would be in London until late on Sunday, so I asked him along too.  I bought steak, thinking of trying my new electric gizmo that saves me either firing up the barbecue (it’d be worth it for four but not for one – it really wasn’t for two, come to that) or using my little cooker that is no worthwhile substitute for my Aga.

So I have to take responsibility for the rain yesterday, I’m afraid – but it did clear up and become warm and sunny enough in the evening to risk it, so we ate outside after all.  There was a tiny bit of summer pudding left, so i had that and some watermelon for breakfast.

I’ve been sporting a temporary crown on a back tooth over the last fortnight – sadly, though my front teeth are in very good nick, with eleven of the front twelve having no fillings at all, my back teeth have demonstrated that a nutcracking habit was not a good idea when I was a child, and they are a bit fragile.  Today, I went for the permanent version of the crown.

My new helper is splendid and very reliable, but he doesn’t get the concept of “too busy to talk.”  He called when I was upstairs cleaning my teeth, so I trotted down and answered the query he had, and attempted to stem the flow of chat by saying I had to leave for the dentist – I scarpered back upstairs but he was still waiting when I got down again.  I repeated that I had to leave, whereupon he asked who my dentist was, told me who his is, reminisced about dentists in times past – this sort of thing happens every time and, in the end, I always have to walk away. “Right, mustn’t keep you, see you tomorrow” is the right answer, if only he knew it.  No matter, I just must get used to being less polite than I normally am.

When lying in the dentist’s chair, I normally distract myself with poetry or times tables, but today I was trying to remember the PINs on all my cards.  I have five of them, two bank cards and three credit cards, and I’ve always kept the number sent by the bank.  But I’ve forgotten one of them.  I’m trying now to put it out of my mind, in the hope that the memory simply returns tomorrow.  I always devise a way of remembering a number, rather than simply memorising it, but I haven’t the foggiest this time.

I called in at the Co-op for more stray cat food and have discovered a break-through in attitude.  I didn’t buy the cheapest, own brand one.  Clearly, in my mind, they’ve now gone from strays to pets.  The kittens all look at me intently, unless I stare back, which is a bit much for them as yet.  The mother has green eyes, which none of the babies has inherited.

Summertime and Z is lazy

I spent a large part of the day relaxing in the sunshine.  This isn’t something that I do very often and, whilst I enjoyed it at the time, I’ve felt unsettled since.  Still, I take the good moments and ride with them for preference.

Eloise has been going indoors and out as she wishes all day and it’s fine.  She has lost interest in the chickens, having presumably twigged that she hasn’t any chance at all of overcoming one.  My friend Richard, who has done work here with his digger in the past (and probably will do so again) called round and we sat outside and chatted.  Later, I went out for some food for tomorrow, when Roses, her Boy and my Ro are coming for dinner.

I’ve been doing a lot of online shopping recently.  I’ve never been that fond of shops, so just clicking suits me nicely.  Today, I’ve bought a cat flap, cat food, a doormat and more salty liquorice.  I’ll give Ro the rest of the box I bought a couple of weeks ago, he enthused about it.  Oh, and I also bought a new parasol, having had a bit of trouble with the one I have.  I need shade from the sun – I like heat but I can’t sunbathe – Russell put the two parts of the parasol away in different places without realising, a couple of years ago, and we never did find the pole, so he bought one that makes it usable but isn’t quite right, so it fell over a few times and now it’s all a bit knackered.  So another one is on its way.

We’re getting on with things here.  Unfortunately, a chicken is sitting on eggs in the pile of scrap metal, so I can’t get rid of that for another three weeks (I should take her off but I’m too soft) but one gate to the front field is hung and the other one, at the road, will be done in the next few days.  My new workman, Geoff, is going to crack on with mending barns and doors.  I’ll also ask him to fit the cat flap when it arrives. Stevo has been creosoting outbuildings – it’s creosote substitute nowadays, of course, the real thing isn’t sold any longer but it’s banned on health grounds.  I was able to buy a 25 litre tub for £43-ish a few weeks ago but now I want another, I can’t find one, not in black.  It’s a lot more expensive to buy little 4 litre containers, though I’ve found 16 litres for £44.50.  There’s still a fair bit left of the first lot, I’ll look again in a day or two.  We’ve also got on with more clearing and tidying, though some things have been taken out and left for consideration – there’s still a lot to do.  It’s very hard, I’m not really in a good emotional state for all this, but it’s better got on with.  It’ll be good when it’s all done.



Eloise has been adjusting really well/  She clearly thinks that a litter tray is a retrograde step and was highly reluctant to use it, but she needed to in the end.  Having been brought up with dogs and calm cats, she is well behaved and responsive and, today, i let her out into the garden – Rose’s garden, that is, which is outside my back door.  There was much tail-waving as she explored and then she met Rose’s cat Rummy and that was fairly stressful for both of them.  I’m sure they will establish their pecking order and I’m not going to worry unduly.

Later, I let her out into my garden, which is unfenced – she isn’t the wandering sort and I didn’t think she’d run away, and so she didn’t.  She kept mostly to the paved area by the house and the little grassed area, and jumped on the woodpile (due to be moved over the summer) and then into Rummy’s garden, but he wasn’t there and she jumped back again.  Then she saw my cockerel, which was most amusing.  She crouched and chattered – if you have a cat you may know what I mean – it’s as if her teeth are chattering with cold and she made the sort of sound you’d make if you were shivering.  She actually dribbled at one point!  I asked Roses exactly what message was being sent – it was ‘whoo, I really want to eat that but I can’t actually get to it so I just have to look and chatter’ – often if a cat is looking through a window at a mouse, but in this case it was something jolly big.  Eloise stalked the chickens afterwards, which was funny.  I stalked Eloise, of course.  She’ll learn the chickens are out of bounds.

Some hours later, when I went to shut the chickens up and feed Momma cat and kittens, I found two large cows in the way.  The gate was shut, so they must have come the other way through the nettles.  Spotty Perdita was very good and came towards me through the gate, once I’d opened it, but Monty went the other way towards the hen house.  The kittens were waiting but didn’t dare come too close to half a ton of cow.  Although nervous for my sandalled feet, I wasn’t scared of the cow and, once she’d relaxed and started eating nettles, I slipped behind her and turned her towards the gate again.  So there was no drama really, though it was a bit of a nuisance.

Tabby kitten is very tame and one of the black ones stands its ground.  The black with white paws is next bravest, whilst the other black kitten only comes when I retreat, though it now watches me without running.  Mother cat (who had probably been fed by Roses) came to greet me as I left the field.  She wants lots and lots of stroking and affection, she craves it.  She’ll not be happy when she sees Eloise, I suspect, but her territory is the field and barn, there is really room for all.

I was very anxious on Wednesday for a while, because my accountant was due to call on Thursday morning and I hadn’t got any papers ready – this is for three separate tax returns, it’s not all that simple.  Dilly was very kind and let me cry on her shoulder, then I pulled myself together and phoned to cancel the damn meeting, or rather postpone it for a fortnight.  No further excuses, of course.  Then I went over to them for dinner, so a horrid evening turned into a good one.  I’ve made a start on getting things ready, but I hate paperwork at present, it brings out all the anxiety I mostly hide.

I do have more help outside, though, now and that is excellent.

It’s five past nine.  Is this too early to go to bed?  No?  Thank you darlings – I’ll have a bath and then read, it isn’t really as bad as all that – though I suspect I’ll be asleep within the hour.


Blogging lives on!

Darlings, Zig has blogged, for the first time in more than a year and a half.  She hasn’t felt like blogging or reading blogs for a long time so, if you don’t have a blog roll or feed reader, you might not check.  She’s quite straightforward about her situation – but even though she’s sometimes quite ill, she’s still the same lovely, fun, beautiful Ziggi who manages to look exactly the same (apart from her hair, which mysteriously becomes straight or curly, lighter or darker, depending on the whim of the drugs she’s taken) as she did before she was ill.

Here is her post.

Two Weezas in the family

I arrived home this afternoon, complete with Eloise the cat.  I’d been concerned that she would be upset during the journey and she certainly didn’t enjoy it much, but she went to sleep for much of the time.  As I waited for a few minutes in a queue to get on the M25 from the M4, she put a paw out and I held it, which was rather sweet.

I haven’t got a lead here to join the phone to the computer so can’t add a photo today – she’s a black tortoiseshell with medium length, dense hair.  She’s quite a large cat already and she isn’t a year old yet – she’s half Ragdoll, which is a large breed and very sweet natured.  Zig’s own cat is a Birman and completely lovely, I’ve entirely lost my heart to Eva; the other three are Ragdolls and actually belong to her daughters, though neither of them is in a position to take them as yet.

Eloise hasn’t ventured out of the drawing room yet but is quite happy when I’m here, though she retreats under the bureau when I go out of the room.  I’ll take her upstairs with me tonight – I must get some screens made for the bedroom windows.  In Zig’s house, the top floor window is just above the roof of the kitchen extension, so a cat can jump down, but there’s nothing except the ground underneath the windows here. I don’t think it’ll be as hot tonight as it has been, but I do need to be able to open the windows.  There were gauze screens on one bedroom window but, not needing them any more, I threw them out a while ago.

Roses has held the fort here and all is fine.  The kittens didn’t turn up for a day or two, so they must be learning to hunt, but she said they were all about today, though just mum and three kittens were waiting for food tonight.  The mother came running to me and made a great fuss of me.  She’s tiny compared to Eloise.

I must do some outdoor housekeeping tomorrow.  The chicks’ coop needs to be moved and the chicken run cleaned out and mite killer put down – I’ve been dusting it about but they move in quickly in hot weather and can be difficult to control.  I need to tie up tomato plants and so on.

Had the reminder of my tax bill waiting for me/  I haven’t opened it yet – I know how much it’ll be and the money is waiting.  Ho hum.

Sunday morning in Wiltshire

We’ve had a lovely couple of days, and Zig really enjoyed going to the supermarket and just doing ordinary shopping.  When you haven’t felt up to normal everyday things, doing them again feels steadying and self-reliant and independent. Last night, she had a worse than usual headache (the medication she had on Friday always gives her a headache) so I hope she feels better today.

There was a splendid headline on the webpage of my local paper yesterday – “large pile of chicken manure catches fire.”  It’s what everyone thinks Norfolk is all about.

Things will be changing at the Zeddary in a few weeks and I’m not going to be living alone later in the summer. Arrangements are being made, more about that before long.  A few of you know – Rose, of course, I’ve talked to a couple of others.  Once I’m home and can type on the comfortable computer rather than the iPad.

which reminds me, I really do fancy a new computer.  I should get on with that before long.



Going lightly

I’m down with Zig again, having spent much of the afternoon with Tim on the way.  It was so good to see him again – not sure when I last called on him, though I remember the excellent leek flan he made for lunch.  Two years ago at least, I think.

Ziggi had a hospital appointment this afternoon, which overran, so she wasn’t home until after 7.  I fed the dogs and got dinner underway.  We managed to not quite finish a bottle of wine, which I think is pretty good.  I was greeted enthusiastically by cats and dogs and Indi climbed all over me and so did Eva, which made Indi a bit jealous.  Poor Eva got trodden on heavily at one point.  In the meantime, Bertie quietly cuddled up on the chair next to me and wasn’t even noticed.  Eloise, the cat coming home with me, has grown hugely since I was last here in March, she has gone from a kitten to a big cat.

I’ve resisted, so far, giving the stray cat at home a name, though I do sort of have names for her, I just haven’t decided on one.  To start with, she was Cat, which made me think of Breakfast at Tiffany’s, which made me think of Holly and Audrey, as well as Tiffany – she may never have a name, come to that.  Rose is looking after the menagerie now, until I get home.


Sort of valediction

The chicks are growing up fast, they are already showing feathers on their wings and starting to flap them, though they’re yellow fluff everywhere else.  I’ve got water for them in a little dish – a ramekin, in fact, with some stones in so that, if one climbs in, it won’t get waterlogged.  This is what Russell used to provide, so I’m doing it too.  I change the water about four times a day – they seem to get bits of food in it or else it’s drunk altogether, very quickly.

Today’s meeting went very well and the Head made an embarrassing little speech, saying very nice things about me, and I made one back saying how much I’d enjoyed it, and I was given flowers and we all ate rather a lot before the meeting.  It’s not that they’re getting rid of me yet, I’m staying on an extra year … and they’ll be disconcerted when I take the chair at the beginning of the next meeting – I have to, until the new Chairman is elected, which will take about five minutes.  I’ve talked to him, he’s happy to take over for the rest of the meeting.

I turned the Aga off last night and only today realised that I’d forgotten that I was going to make a cake for Tim.  I’ve made brownies instead.  I hope he likes brownies.  If not, I’ll have to find someone to give them to, because there are too many for me to eat.

I’ve bought cat litter but not a tray yet, I’ll do that in the morning as I leave.  I’ll check what food Zig gives the cat, she will give me enough for a few days.

Here, young Stevo is mostly painting the outbuildings with the equivalent of creosote.  It looks like it and smells like it, but creosote itself is banned now.  They haven’t been done for years and are starting to look much better.  He’s done the black cowshed and started on the big barn next to it.  I paid him for today’s work and have given him money for six more hours, if he does more than that while I’m away, he will tell me.

Always more things cropping up – I’ve had a letter from the surveyor employed by the new owner of the pub next to my London flats.  They want to do some structural work on the party wall – much needed, I’m in favour in principle, but I need to speak to my insurance company and get their okay before I agree.  It may well need a full surveyor’s report.  They will be liable if there’s any damage, but I’ve got tenants to think about.  Also, the letter said a diagram was enclosed, but it isn’t.  So I need to ask for that.  I’ll phone from Zig’s tomorrow, or possibly Friday if I’m too busy when I arrive.  None of this is the sort of thing I’m very confident about doing, but there’s no reason to worry about it, it’s a matter of common sense and making sure I’m not doing anything unwise.

I didn’t put on the immersion heater, so I wonder if I’ll have water for a bath tonight, without the Aga.  I’ll go and feel the tank.

I often wish for a simpler life.  But maybe I’d be bored?