Monthly Archives: August 2015

Z glances back

Zerlina is now seven, Weeza and Phil have been married ten years and Augustus is four – and due to start school in a couple of weeks, poor little scrump.  Full-time school does seem tough at his age.

The women of the family met for a jolly yesterday and went to see Annie at the theatre in Norwich, and very good it was.  Annie herself was particularly impressive.  I couldn’t help wondering about the acting bug, as far as the chorus was concerned – dancing set pieces in gaudy costumes doesn’t really seem like a job for a grown person.  But then the urge to perform missed me out entirely.  Before the theatre, I took Weeza, Phil and Zerlina out for sushi – z hadn’t been before and we weren’t sure how she’d like the food, but we thought she’d enjoy the dishes going round on the conveyor belt.  She was rather iffy about the first few things she tried but, fortunately, she loved the deep fried prawn dish and never looked back after that.  She also enjoys using chopsticks, so that was all right.

I babysat last night so that Weeza and Phil could go out and was glad to be away from home this morning.  Even so, it was very difficult – hard as I try to ignore anniversaries, it was impossible not to track in my mind the events of the morning a year ago.  I went up to Russell at 11 o’clock and, by ten past, he had died as I held him.  It is good that it is also Gus’s birthday and so that will be what marks the day, as time goes by.

I’ve had many kind and thoughtful messages, flowers and phone calls.  I was going to buy flowers on the way home, but changed my mind and picked them from the garden instead, for Russell’s grave.

Yesterday morning, the mother barn cat, who has been getting more and more affectionate, ventured to the porch door.

She certainly has her sights on being an indoor cat, at least on her terms. However, Eloise cat was decidedly unimpressed when she saw her and chased her away – the black cat didn’t go far, however and, if anything, is rather feistier than Eloise herself.  Neither is prepared to give in and both reckons the garden is her own territory.  Unless or until they make friends – or reach a truce at least – I am discouraging the outdoor cat, not speaking to her or petting her within 20 yards or so of the house.  They have to tolerate each other, Eloise be recognised as boss cat or the little cat has to keep her distance, otherwise a new home will have to be found. I’m not having Eloise upset.  I know that cats are very persistent and determined, but so am I.

At least I found the flea treatment and it has been applied to the back of Eloise’s neck.  She didn’t much enjoy the experience, but was very good when I held her firmly and didn’t wriggle. I gave her some cat treats afterwards, not something she gets often.

Tomorrow, young Benje dog is coming to stay for a week.  That’ll keep the barn cats away!  Won’t thrill Eloise either, I’m afraid, I’ll have to make sure she always has a refuge.  It’ll be all right, she can get into my study through a hatchway in the kitchen and I’ll keep the door shut.  She likes it there, there’s a south-facing windowsill and comfortable armchairs.

Z is flustered

I’m barely keeping my head above water really,so much to do.  I can’t even list it, too worrying.  I have tomorrow for the essentials, the rest of the week isn’t my own, though that’s for entirely good reasons.  It’s Zerlina and Eloise-cat’s birthday tomorrow, Weeza and Phil’s tenth wedding anniversary on Wednesday and Augustus’s birthday on Thursday, and also the first anniversary of Russell’s death.  I won’t be here at 11 o’clock on Thursday morning, some situations are better avoided.

The most dismaying discovery of the last few days was the extent to which Eloise cat thinks that the tortoises’ indoor enclosure in the porch is a great big litter tray.  I’ve had to remove a lot of very smelly gravel – I took out the soil weeks ago, I knew that was asking for trouble.  I will have to steam-clean the run and put down Neutradol powder to get rid of the pong.  I’m also devising a cover, but the run is quite big, some 80 inches by 48 inches (plus the part that’s already covered) and it’s against a wall I don’t want to drill into, and I have to be able to get into one long half, whilst the other has to be securely fixed. That doesn’t make sense as written, but I daresay you know what I mean.  I think I’ve schemed it out and Stevo and i are constructing it.  The tortoises will come in at the end of the month, before the nights get so cold that they start to think about hibernation.

Tomorrow morning, I must take the cat trap back and then make a phone call regarding the court case I’m embroiled in.  Depending on the answer I get, I may have to spend the rest of the day writing a statement and photocopying papers.  I’ve got to do it anyway, it’s a matter of this week or next.  I’ve been waiting for information by post for the past week, but haven’t had it yet and I can’t wait any longer to know.

I bought expensive flea treatment at the vet for Eloise and I have no idea where I have put it.  I’ve looked in the kitchen, drawing room, hall, porch and kitchen.  I don’t think I left it in the car, but I’ll look tomorrow.  So silly of me, I should always be mindful when I put anything anywhere.  If distracted, I may never find it again.


log lifting

Today, Stevo and I moved the pile of logs from outside the side porch (you can’t have missed spotting them if you came to this year’s blog party) and most of them are under cover, apart from those that need chainsawing first.  And we swept the area and I cut and shaped a conifer that I rather wish wasn’t there at all, because it blocks my view.

My mother used to plant things that did that, and assured me she did it to give me something nice to look at.  Actually, in every instance, I’d liked the view I had beforehand, but there was no point in telling her that, she’d have taken it badly.  Once, when she brought us a bottle of wine, she asked if it was worth buying again – she couldn’t drink alcohol, it gave her a migraine.  It wasn’t especially nice and I said, as tactfully as I could phrase it, that it wasn’t quite up to the level of the very nice wine she’d brought last time, and she was deeply offended and accused me of being ungrateful.  It was easier just to give fulsome praise to everything, even paint stripper masquerading as wine.

none of the barn cats came for dinner this evening, so I suppose they had a good day’s hunting.  The iPad just wilfully ‘corrected’ that to day shunting, with no warning.  For my part, I was the hunted in the night, I fell asleep to the whine of a mosquito and am rather red and lumpy of chest now.


I used to say to my family, “you think it’s tough, living with me – how do you think it must be, actually to be me?”

How often do I bewilder someone – it was Tim’s turn in yesterday’s post.  What I said did make sense, if it dawned on you that there were two elements to my present from Ann and Mike, but it was quite nonsensical if that aspect passed you by.  It is all there if you read it carefully, though – but then, this blog doesn’t come over as something to be read carefully and it’s clearly not honed and revised.  Frankly, I sometimes don’t even read it through again after I’ve published, nor do I know what I’m going to say when I sit down here at my computer.

When I used to have to give a vote of thanks after a monthly lecture, people kindly said that I sounded spontaneous, which was true, though another expression for that could be woefully unprepared.  Sometimes, I knew absolutely nothing about the subject before the start of the lecture and formed my little minute of thanks speech purely from what I’d picked up.  At least it showed that I’d listened intently, but I did take risks.  It wasn’t courage, nor even bravado, but generally busyness and laziness – I’d never got around to reading up on the subject in advance.

Anyway, if ever my rambling on completely bemuses you, you’re not alone.  I think everyone feels like that, including me.


Z tries to resist more temptation

Today, I’ve written an email that mattered, had a long chat on the phone with a friend – there was information to tell about a friend who’s just been diagnosed with cancer, as well as general conversation.  She’s just taken on her late mother-in-law’s cat and is doubtful whether she can keep her – a dear little cat and she’s very fond of her, but she and her husband are away a lot and both their children’s partners are allergic to cats, so it’s not that easy.  I sympathised – I don’t want to give away my tabby barn cat, so I can understand.  If she does want to rehome Jenny, I asked her to send me a photo so I can see if my friend’s sister might consider her instead of the tabby.  The other email I’ve written was to accept an invitation to a friend’s birthday party next month.  How jolly.

The other fabulously jolly thing was opening today’s post, which was a present from Mike and Ann, that they’d brought back from Sweden and forgotten to give me when I was with them.  It’s (I think, I haven’t yet opened it) salty liquorice and – this is FANTASTIC – salty liquorice chocolate.  I ate several pieces as part of breakfast and, I’m afraid, I’ve eaten some since.  I should be saving it, eking it out, but I can’t.  That is, I’ve only eaten about a quarter of it – no, I won’t eat any more tonight.  I’ll try not to, anyway.

Z takes a break

That tabby is adorable.  This morning, he was curled again round his brother, completely protective.  They are fine tonight, all five of them, and came for their dinner.  That job is truly jobbed, with complete success and I think I’ve done pretty well, not without help  I’ve steam-cleaned the trap and will return it on Saturday morning.

I’ve taken legal advice (from solicitor cousin) on the court case – have I mentioned it here?  Can’t remember – and have made an offer – without prejudice, natch.  I’m up for a fight if it comes to it, but would be pleased not to be obliged to.

Otherwise, I haven’t done a lot today, quite deliberately.  I’ve fed and watered the hens and the chicks, of course – they all keep turning over their water pots, which is a nuisance.  One lot of chicks has an avocado dish for water and it was overturned – when I righted it, a damp little chick emerged from underneath.  They were all quite thirsty, apart from that one, silly little things.  They’re all well and it’s just me who isn’t happy.  Four coops to look after is silly.  I do like to have fresh eggs and am a bit pernickety about it – much as I like a poached egg, I won’t cook one that way if it’s more than two days old. More than about five days and I only use them for cakes or similar.  I do it because I can, I suppose I’ll adjust to shop-bought eggs one day … actually, I’m not sure I will.  My mind recoils at the thought, which is a bit uncomfortable, sitting as I am on the sofa.

My cleaners came today, so I didn’t bother with anything in the housework line, other than emptying and restacking the dishwasher.  I’ve read the papers – not a book, I’m not doing well with reading books.  I can concentrate, but only on things that matter and fiction doesn’t seem to, at present.  I know this is normal, but it doesn’t feel like it.  It’s disconcerting and I wonder when things will change.  I’ve got a stack of books that I’ve bought, started but not finished.

Jobs are stacking up.  From tomorrow, I must crack on.

The fifth cat

It was nerve-wracking, but the remaining kitten is in the cage, along with the tabby.  I lost my nerve at the thought of separating them and thought that they’d be company for each other during the night.  I went out to check and the black kitten was huddled, a picture of complete misery and the tabby was protectively curled over it – sweet, but very upsetting.  The food was untouched – I hope they don’t eat it in the morning, there’s quite a lot there, but I daren’t try to take the dish out.

I’ll take them into the vet first thing, along with the cat box, and ask if they can put the tabby in and then I’ll bring him back.  They won’t do it while I wait, I don’t suppose, I’ll have to go in later.

At least the job is done.  Which reminds me, I must drop a line to the Cat Protection woman to tell her.  Then I’ll clean the trap, which I’ve been feeding them in for the last week, so it’s a bit meaty, and return it to her.

What a palaver.  I’m really tired tonight.  I’m going to bed soon.

By the way, on a completely different track, have you noticed how nearly all interviewees – not political ones but almost everyone else – start their replies with “So” at present?  Even if it’s not part of the answer at all – it’s become the latest verbal mannerism, to give a moment’s thinking time, it seems.  There’s another, similar, alternative going the rounds too, but I can’t think what that is at the moment.

Warm comfort and not quite a farm

A friend says that her sister’s cat has died and she would like to give a home to the tabby kitten.  Of course, that’s my favourite – it would be the case.  She’s a nice woman, long divorced and lives alone, isn’t in great health and has a fairly serious drink problem.  I suppose I’ll have to be kind.

Eddie had a problem with his car and will come another day, but I had a nice surprise when Weeza texted to suggest they came over, with a view to chop logs.  They arrived in time for bacon sandwiches – luckily, I bought a pound of bacon yesterday and raided the loaf that Roses bought for the chickens a couple of days ago and then we went out and got started.  It was a really hot day and Phil wielded his 8 pound axe with verve for some time, with the rest of us loading logs into their van and then, once the back was full, into my wood store.  Some of the logs were from long-felled trees and were frankly past their best – J had doubted that they were worth bothering with, but we all felt that free wood was better than buying it and, even if it burned quickly, it was worth having, for the most part.  Some of it was fine, of course and the wood pile is much smaller than it used to be, so I’m on the way to a cleared space.

I’d got in extra food because of Eddie and Charlotte coming over, not being sure how many meals I’d be cooking, so I gave the sirloin steaks I’d bought to Weeza and Phil, along with courgettes, tomatoes, carrots and a cucumber.  So good to have home grown vegetables.  The outdoor tomatoes are doing better than the greenhouse ones, though I have to admit that it isn’t surprising.  For convenience, I put the indoor plants into growbags and they’re such a nuisance to water, I don’t do it as thoroughly nor as often as I should.

The other job I did this morning was to begin preparing the indoor tortoise run.  Stevo and I cleared it a couple of weeks ago and I’ll put in fresh soil and newly washed gravel and stones.  Once I bring them in, that is where they will stay – the bother of searching for them to bring them under cover at night is beyond me.

Catching up

If I don’t write, it’s because I’m too tired in the evening.  I think I’m getting too old to be as busy as I am, but there’s nothing to be done about it right now – either the ageing or the busyness.

Down to the old bullet points, I think –

  • I couldn’t catch the kitten on Thursday afternoon, so I phoned to cancel the appointment/.  Of course, in the evening, all five cats happily fed in the trap, once it was too late.
  • Mother cat has forgiven me and they all, except the unoperated one, are much tamer now.
  • The legal thing could drag on and on.  I just hope that the silly, obnoxious man will see reason and not antagonise me any more.
  • Darling Charlotte called in for a cup of tea this morning and stayed for a late lunch.
  • The final batch of eggs has hatched – or rather, six of eight eggs had hatched by this afternoon.
  • Simon – Eddie2Sox, that is – is coming to visit tomorrow.  He will bring sausages.
  • I am more fed up with chicks than I would have thought likely.  I will find homes for them, or nearly all of them, and I will get rid of the cockerel.  I can’t do this again.

Cats are home

The mother, a daughter and two sons are back home, having been neutered, but I still have to catch the remaining kitten by friday.  All a bit fraught, but good so far.  I’m afraid that the adult cat was pregnant, which doesn’t surprise me as the big tabby was chasing her a couple of weeks ago.

Enough about that – I needed a break, so asked Ro if he would be free for lunch, and he was, so we had a nice meal out together as a birthday treat, a mere ten days late … I gave him a camera for his bike and a kilo of very good Belgian liquorice.

I’d had to book train tickets to London for Weeza and me, for Friday – I had to do it as four separate trips, as we could choose our departure time, from different stations, but needed open returns for each of us.  Only a few months ago, one could print out the tickets, but they’ve withdrawn that, I don’t know why, so I had to opt for printing them at the station.  But we would be at two different stations and one needs the credit card that has paid for them, ie mine – so I opted for Norwich station and went to get them.

Four journeys meant four different reference numbers, with the card having to be registered each separate time.  Really, quite annoying.  And the tickets seem quite random, some are in two parts and some not, some are just receipts – I’ve got ten cards and I’m really a bit puzzled about it all.  Still, I suppose it’s okay and I’ve got the details of it all on my phone in case it’s queried.  I still haven’t completed the paperwork – got it all in order, but want to do a timeline for my and the judge’s ease of reference.  I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned, but I’ll be in court on Friday.  I’m not being prosecuted, darlings, but someone is trying to wriggle out of a court order and I have to contest that.  Bit cheesed off, frankly.

Roses did the decent thing this evening and helped me with the major part of a bottle of wine, and I’m going to slope off to bed soon, because I didn’t sleep a lot last night and I think I’m due a catch-up.  I felt better once four of five cats were at the vet, it’s a great relief.

Tomorrow, I really must phone about getting the gas tank filled.  It’s a bit never-ending, innit?