Monthly Archives: October 2018

Z was deceived by Eloise cat

For several weeks, Eloise cat has asked to come in by the side door – there are front and back doors, but the side door to the porch is the one we always use.  We knew she went out sometimes by her cat flap in the back door, but were not sure that she could come in that way.  There wasn’t really any evidence.

When I first invited her to live with me, I had an ordinary cat flap.  But RasPutin, the feral tom, started to use it and that was out of the question.  So I bought a new one, at over £90, which could read a cat’s chip and refuse entry to any other.  This worked will – Eloise, Rummy and Chip were recognised and have used it ever since, as far as we knew, until recently, when I knew Rummy was using it but wasn’t sure about either other cat.  Any cat can go out, it’s the ingress that is down to the microchip.

This morning, I heard a bang on the cat flap and then Eloise’s plaintive mew.  So i went and let her in, dried her – it’s rained all day – and fed her.  Which was big of me, as she’s pretty well ignored me ever since Tim left.  Later, she went outside when the plumber left (another story darlings, but plumbing stories aren’t the most fascinating on the whole) and then whined to come in again.  By now, I was convinced that the flap didn’t work for her.  I had no idea how to put it right though.  I would, I suppose, have had to deactivate all the cats’ chips, assuming that’s possible, and then reinstall each one.  But I thought it would be more useful to dither for a few days, because that solves a surprisingly lot of problems.  As it did today…

This afternoon, I was peaceably cuddling the Aga and reading the paper when I heard a bang from the cat flap.  I went through to check and couldn’t see a cat for a moment, until I realised that a wet Eloise was sitting on the freezer, mightily pissed off that I’d caught her out.  I dried and cuddled her, which has had no effect as I haven’t seen her for hours again, but she’s been rumbled.  The cat flap still works, as well it might, at that price.

The fridge thermometer is another matter entirely.  I don’t believe a word it says, within a couple of degrees.

Z is purposeful

I had a noticeable shift of mood yesterday evening.  I was unhappy and tired and just wanted to go to bed, but I thought I’d have a bath first and see how I felt.  And I lay stretched out in the bath for a long time and listened to the radio and just relaxed in the warmth, and when I finally got out and came downstairs again, I felt quite different.  I lit the fire, poached eggs for supper, watched tv (for the first time since the royal wedding before last) and was cheerful all evening.

It’s occurred to me, what if those of us who aren’t clinically or long-term depressed, but sometimes feel really low, just had lovely long, comforting baths.  How about it?  On a chilly autumn evening, it was just what I needed, yet showers seem to have overtaken baths in the last decade.  Not that I’m knocking showers, but surely they wake you up in the morning rather than relax and comfort you in the evening.  I doubt that baths waste that much water – it depends.  A traditional shower may not be wasteful, but a power shower uses a lot of water and is enjoyable enough to want to stay in it for some minutes.  Russell and I always shared bath water – not the bath, obvs – so I suspect we used no more water than two good showers.  Anyway, whether or not my theory has legs, it was just what I needed and the effect has lasted.

The lovely electrician came round first thing this morning, when I texted him, and spent much of the morning re-routing a cable.  it’s all down to the new fuse board, which tripped out when it detected the screw through the cable leading to the storage heater.  In 32 years, the old board hadn’t, but then it never has done any harm.

I didn’t get my accounts done, but I did rod the drains (the annexe’s, which are puzzlingly prone to blockage in a way they never used to be) and sorted out the squashes and I even hoovered.  So did the electrician, which was appreciated.  And I had a helpful and constructive conversation with an insurance company, which is a pretty damn good thing, and a really kind email from my broker.  So overall, it’s been a good day, notwithstanding the drain rodding.

Tomorrow, I’ll try again to get in touch with the plumber.  The place is cracking up,

Zoë spends LT’s money, as every wife kno

The auction went well, though prices aren’t what they used to be.  The recession going on and on, the government and the opposition both being wildly divided, no one having a clue what’ll happen in the next few months – or longer – has an effect on confidence in spending available money.  Assuming anyone still has any.  But it was a cheerful affair and, though we were jolly tired by the end, we were pretty satisfied.  LT made the minor mistake of asking me to bid for something on his behalf – he gave me a price but I was sure he really wanted it so put in an extra bid – it was the right thing to do, obviously.  I wouldn’t have done it otherwise, hem hem.  He took it very well

He’s gorn and left me again, back down to his place.  I drooped around like a wet Sunday most of the day – which it was, on and off – but recovered after a long and deep bath this evening.  I’d seriously considered going to bed as soon as I’d had dinner, but have rallied and lit the fire after all.

I’d just got two pieces of china to post and one to deliver, and the cheque for the second piece arrived on Saturday morning, before I’d been to the post office, so I was able to wrap it up and do all three in the space of an hour.  So that’s quite satisfying and I just have to wait for a couple more days for cheques to clear, and then I can pay everyone.  I like to do all the paperwork within a week – I’m the best and quickest payer in the business.  The funny thing is that nearly everyone prefers to receive a cheque, but they sometimes take weeks to pay it in.  If they sent me their bank details – which are on every cheque anyway, they’re hardly secret – they they’d get their money instantly.  Still, not my problem, though it costs me a few pounds extra in postage.

It was chilly yesterday and we decided to put on a couple of storage heaters so the house wouldn’t be so cold first thing in the morning.  But it was.  I checked the fuse box and half the heaters were off – I’ve flipped the switch, and will see what happens overnight.  I know the new fuse board has rather a hair trigger, but I don’t see why it went awry and have fingers crossed.  The electrician lives in the village and is prompt when called, so he’ll sort it out if necessary.  At least we have the Aga…and can always encourage the cat on to the bed if we need a little extra night time warmth.

Z talks of many things, distractedly

We went over to see Weeza & co today, as her mother-in-law and her new beau are staying – as with LT and me, it’s lovely to know that there’s love after being widowed and I know that, if I’d died, I’d have been very glad for Russell to have found happiness again.

I’m sure Zerlina has grown again.  We don’t see them so often now, so it’s even more apparent when she’s crept up on me.  They’ve been looking at high schools – really, it was a choice of two and they’ve put them in order of preference, so hope now for the one they want, ready for next September.  It was young Gus who really enjoyed the visit to the preferred school, especially the science labs – he loves anything science or engineering based.

Tomorrow, we have the Lowestoft auction and the china and everything else are all packed up – I have to go through the checklist in the morning, but we’re very nearly there.  I had a near-meltdown moment this afternoon though.  I’d bought the new toner for the printer, and the old one ran out halfway through a job.  I took it out and couldn’t work out what to do next, and started to talk to the printer in a rather unfriendly way.  Tim – probably very amused, though he was kind and tactful enough to hide it – came and took over, though he had a moment of not knowing which way up something went, as well.

We’d had a substantial lunch so just had omelettes for dinner.  Apparently, there are only three slices of bread left and we’ll eat two for breakfast.  So we’ll buy a loaf.  This is quite radical for us, nowadays, bakers that we are.  Well, that I am, in practice.

We took two squashes for Weeza, out of our plentiful store.  Got to get it to manageable quantities somehow.

Cat napping

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned RasPutin, the feral tomcat, for a while – you may remember that, back in the summer, he disappeared for a while and came back thin, with a very thin coat.  He didn’t pick up very soon and I was worried,  However, he has now and is actually quite fat, as a result of all the extra food I’ve been giving him.  This afternoon, he came up to the side door to remind me to feed him, which I ignored completely.  Poor Eloise cat was affronted enough already.

I didn’t sleep last night and Eloise was thrilled.  She came and lay next to me with her face against mine, stroking me.  She evidently thinks I’m turning into a cat and that this is a jolly good thing.  She is a very happy little cat and gives us both a lot of joy, though neither of us had ever thought of ourselves as cat lovers in the past.

Actually, Z really needs a holiday

I’m struggling with a feeling of melancholy – I don’t like to use the word depression unless in a medical sense here, which it isn’t – which is nothing to do with the onset of winter, but is caused by a situation I thought I’d dealt with, after much anxiety and cost, but has cropped up again, more worryingly.  And I want to shelve it but I mustn’t and I’m close to panic attacks every time I think about it.

What helps, of course, is JFDI and I’ll start with an email tonight and, once I have a reply, I do have a plan – which means bringing in professionals and throwing money at them – but it’s still up to me to implement it.

What keeps me from despair is that no one is ill, no one is dead, it’s just stuff.  But, my word, it’s no wonder that I don’t listen to the news any more.  I turned on the radio at lunchtime, a couple of weeks ago.  I was shouting at it within a minute and had to turn it right off again.  I don’t need to add fury to anxiety.

However, it’s been another lovely sunny day.  I harvested most of the last of the outdoor tomatoes – there are still some volunteer plants with cherry tomatoes on, but I’m a bit lazy about picking them all – and we had some for lunch in a salad, with some of the last of the basil and various other things.  Last night, Tim cooked his Basque Chicken recipe, which is always delicious but actually was exceptionally so; and there’s plenty left over for tonight, so excellence guaranteed and no work.  I’m actually, in my own life, deeply content, but that doesn’t stop me feeling almost too stressed to cope.

I don’t appreciate that my affairs are quite complicated until I look at other people’s, and then I realise that even everyday life can quickly become so.  I’ve cut down on a huge amount, so it seems straightforward – I remember saying to my solicitor after Russell died that it was all quite straightforward and she said, um, actually no, it really isn’t.  And indeed, there’s an awful lot of stuff that still isn’t dealt with and even this house isn’t yet in my name.  The paradox is that I have rather a dread of the boring.  If I cut it all right down, just lived in a nice little house on a sensible, fixed income, knew what I’d be likely to do day after day: now that would really be depressing.  I’d do wild things just to spark an interest and, no doubt, regret them instantly.  But the medium that can be called happy?  Yes, we can do that, I’m still working on it, and I do have joy in my life, with Lovely Tim, my darling family and my friends.

Darlings, sorry to whinge.  I’ve given myself a brief stiffening of backbone, just by complaining.  I’ll write that email now, while Tim reheats the rest of last night’s delicious dinner.

Another week of summertime … clock wise

We’ve started lighting the fire again in the evenings.  It’s still fabulous weather for the time of the year, but the time has come.  Tim was splitting logs today to replenish the store.

There is, of course, quite a pleasure in a lovely log fire and it makes up for the shortening of the days and the chill at night, so I bear autumn with equanimity, on the whole.  I still feel a sadness at the loss of the summer, the increased darkness and the feeling I always get that things are ending.  Temporarily though, of course.  I trust…

I really would like to think that we will finally have our honeymoon this winter, but I’m not particularly confident.  The main stumbling block is that each of us wants the other to organise it, to tell the truth.  But we haven’t, anyway, quite harmonised our preferences – I can’t think about it at present, it’ll have to wait until after my auction at least, but then we’ll either have to agree where to go, what to do and how much to spend, or we’ll have to acknowledge that we’re just not very good at doing holidays and shelve it again.  I’ll let you know, as soon as I do.


Cabbages and kings

Tim and I talk over dinner most nights.  I don’t mean, of course, that we don’t talk all the time, but that we pick on a subject and pursue it.  Sometimes we disagree rather considerably, though not actually seriously, but more often we find it interesting.

Tonight we were talking about art, in a broad sense; or rather artists, still in a broad sense, to include books, painting and so on.  I have the feeling that it’s too easy to be a writer, an artist, a poet – in the days of self-publishing, how do you find real quality?  It’s there, certainly, but it’s less easy to find among the dross.  A good many years ago – probably 25 or so, which means I have no concern about upsetting anyone involved – Russell saw an article in the local paper about a woman who, having retired from her job, took up painting and was putting on a one-woman exhibition.  He was quite intrigued and we went along to see it, taking my mother too.

It was awful.  Just daubs, deliberately out of scale.  Big splashy flowers that were quite out of harmony with their background, landscapes that were intended to be naive but were just ineptly painted and really quite ugly.  The woman and her husband were so excited and hopeful, and had obviously spent a lot of money on frames, prints, cards and so on, but I truly doubt if they sold anything much.  As we were leaving, the visitor’s book was pushed at us and Russell and I hesitated.  We hardly knew what to write.  My mother had more aplomb.  “Utterly charming!” she wrote.  Insincere but kind (the insincerity was in the !) and they beamed and we escaped.

After dinner we played music, or at any rate Tim did, at my request, because I still haven’t linked my computer to the loudspeakers.  It’s not a job for the evening when I’m tired.  Tim took me out to lunch today as well, because he’s lovely.

Which reminds me, I think we’re getting a bit low on red wine.  Better deal with that.

Z doesn’t stay low for long

There are a series of domestic niggles, which are a nuisance.  First, the new kitchen tap has become wobbly.  It started a while ago but it wasn’t bad and I didn’t take much notice.  It got a bit worse last week and I suspect the cleaning ladies gave it a jolly good go last Wednesday, because it has been markedly wobblier recently and now we daren’t use it in case it falls apart, and just have to manage with the filter tap and the kettle.  LT investigated underneath the sink and he wasn’t able to tighten it, it needs a plumber.  I’ve phoned and texted twice and he hasn’t answered, so I suspect he’s on holiday, though I’ll ring again first thing in the morning.

The other thing is the cistern in the downstairs cloakroom.  If you have been here and visited the loo, you’ll know that it needs a few firm pulls (it’s the old fashioned sort with a chain) before it flushes.  But it’s getting worse and there’s also a very minor leak.  I suspect it isn’t mendable: another job for the plumber.

This morning, Rose’s Boy came through asking where the annexe fuse box is – I went through and discovered two trip switches off – one went on okay, giving him heat and light, but the other, which serves the utility room, won’t work.  I unplugged Rose’s washing machine (my washing machine, though in the same room, is on my circuit) and it still wouldn’t work.  The electrician is coming in the morning.

This isn’t even touching on the ongoing worries at the London flat, which I’m not going to talk about because this blog is a Happy Place on the whole.  Suffice it to say that my tenants are leaving in a fortnight and I can’t get new ones until a problem has been identified and put right. The identifying it has taken a year so far, we keep thinking we’ve cracked it and we haven’t.  And I wasn’t going to talk about it….

So I must find a cheery note to end on.

I managed to cook tonight’s skate perfectly.  We turned out some of the freezer at the weekend and now know what goes where and have started to eat it.  Eloise cat makes me laugh with delight every single day.  LT is lovely; which is tautology but is worth the repeating.  I’ve got two new books waiting to be read, when I’ve finished the one I’m reading now.

There we go.  I feel better already.

Z keeps Eloise cat company

Eloise cat did come in the other night.  At about 11.30, I went out and called her and she didn’t come so I went back in and locked the door.  I was just turning off the light when she appeared at the glass door and called me back.  So I was much happier.  I wasn’t worried about her, but I missed her.  She’s just come indoors now, after a frolic in the garden for a couple of hours.  I’ve no idea what she’s been doing out there.  she did an alarmed little dance as she came through the porch – when i investigated, she’d been startled by an earwig.  I’ve no idea what that’s about either.

I never had realised how entertaining a cat would be.  She’s lying on a pile of papers (my vertical filing system) on the table by my computer, having nuzzled it and walked back and forth for a bit.  She decided to lie down when, having moved a piece of paper to the edge, she tried to walk on it, nearly fell off and had to pretend that she’d meant to scramble back, all along.  My computer screen is tilted forward so that I can hardly read what I’ve written, but I suspect that’s her intention.

Dilly and Al have got a new washing machine being delivered tomorrow, on what should have been Al’s day off.  But the colleague who was due to do his round has broken her rib playing basketball, or something that really doesn’t sound that dangerous, and is in a lot of pain.  As she’s only worked there for 10 months, she isn’t given any paid sick leave yet – if this had happened after a year, she’d have been able to take time off.  The boss has found her some indoor work, but either she’s have had to go off and do the deliveries for Al or else his lovely customers would have gone without their mail, which would have quite spoiled his day.  So he’s volunteered to work and I’ve volunteered to wait at their house for the delivery.  LT will arrive home around lunchtime, I don’t know if I’ll be back by then.  Apparently, they’ll phone around 9am with an ETA.

I made bread today.  It has turned out particularly well, even though I didn’t set a timer and forgot it for an extra few minutes.  I caught it before it burned, luckily.  I wish I knew what I’d done right in the making of it, though.