Sunday, 18 August 2013


Yesterday was a forlorn sort of day. Grey and overcast with heavy spells of rain. The cats sat on the back doorstep staring out at the deluge, wanting to go out but preferring to stay dry. I don't like warm, wet and grey days like these, as if the weather is unable to make up its mind whether it is summer, autumn or winter. 

Luckily, because I do not own a snorkel and flippers, the rain did not arrive until after Bracken and I had been for a walk, and although there was a fair amount of huffing and puffing from her for the rest of the day, she had a good run in the morning so had nothing to complain about.

I spent the day pottering around the house, tripping over various furry things, who decided to sleep in the silliest places.

The nights are drawing in and the football season has started, which means that winter is just over the horizon. With luck we will get an Indian Summer, so postponing the inevitable woolly jumper season. I am just not ready for the cold. It makes me want to hibernate, and while there is any vestige of warmth in the air the back door will stay open, and I will sit outside with my coffee enjoying the dying of the summer.



Wednesday, 7 August 2013


The job hunting is under way in earnest and I have applied for a number. That said, I am enjoying being at home and pottering about. It is nice to spend some extended time with the dog and cats.

I have painted the front door, started to make the back yard look at least half decent, thrown away junk and started to sort out the house. 

It is only once you start on these things that you realise quite how much there is to do. If I sat and thought about it, I would probably run for the hills, and if I plan to do something I will  find no end of reasons to avoid doing it. I go for spontaneity. I will be sitting drinking a cup of coffee, spot something that needs doing and get up and do it. If I tackle things little by little, then the tasks ahead do not seem so daunting. 

I have a plan for freeing up space for storage. Once that is done, I can clear all the "stuff" that my soap business has generated from downstairs. It will be lovely to be able to walk around the house without having to step over or around, or indeed trip over, boxes. This is a small house, and the amount of clutter that I do not currently have shelves for makes it seem even smaller. There is much left to do, but at least I have made a start. 

After the recent hot weather, we have had heavy rain and cooler temperatures and I hope that summer is not over. We waited so long for it to start that we deserve it to last. The nights are closing in, and the football season has started which is fairly depressing because both these things point to the approach of winter. 

Monday, 6 May 2013


I was looking through a magagzine this afternoon and came across an article about a garden in the Wye Valley. It was titled "A Froth of Flowers" and I thought how lovely the phrase was, and how it describes perfectly the way a cottage garden looks with its mix of pretty blooms bobbing in the breeze. It is a perfect example of how a well chosen word or phrase can convey a world of meaning which of course is what language is all about. It also reminds me of how poverty stricken we are in this country when it comes to such things. Language does not seem to matter to some, and I get the "no-one cares about things like that" speech when I point out the difference between there and their; to, too and two and the list goes on. Well, I care and I become decidely grumpy at the whole thing.

What I am beginning to find irksome is that I have arrived at the point where I cannot remember where the apostrophes live, or sometimes how to properly string together a sentence. Grammar rules I learned at school seem to have been lost in the mists of the last 30 years or so. I know that I used to know them, but the more we are bombarded with stray apostrophes, poor grammar and appalling spelling, the more they look correct. This also makes me grumpy.

We are almost in May and the weather is showing some signs of picking up. We have had a number of consecutive dry days and some sunshine, but the temperatures have been a little too low for my liking. We have had a bank holiday this weekend, so naturally, I expected the weather to be appalling. I was mistaken. We have had a couple of glorious warm and sunny days which the cats have enjoyed to the fullest.


Saturday, 16 March 2013


There is a new family member. Recently, I went to a rescue centre in Wales and collected a dog.

Bracken is a year-old female Border Collie who has decided that she does not want to work with sheep. As a result, she was taken with her sister to the vet to be put to sleep. Thankfully the vet had more sense, and contacted the rescue centre where they were taken to be re-homed.

Although I had seen a photograph of her, I did not have much of an idea what to expect. The shelter staff disappeared and came back with a small, shy, pretty tri-coloured collie called Lady. At that point, I had not made up my mind about whether or not I was going to get a dog, but as soon as I looked at her, I knew, she was mine. We popped her in the car and drove the 2 1/2 hours home.

She was such a good girl in the car, only getting restless about 20 minutes from home, and sat watching the world go by, her ears flopping up and down when she saw something interesting. Boy, did she stink though and when we got home, after a short walk, I popped her in the bath. This is a little dog who has been through who knows what, and she let me pick her up and bath her such is her trusting nature. Over the last few days, she has been introduced to other family dogs, and the dogs who make sure everyone at work is pulling their weight, she has been happy to sit in the car while I duck into the supermarket, or go and visit a pet sitting client and she has had another bath today (still a little on the stinky side). She is a happy little thing who takes everything in her stride, is phased by nothing and just happy to spend time with me, or indeed anyone who is babysitting.

What I found “funny” was the emotional connection I felt when I saw her. Granted, I am an animal lover but I do not get attached to every one I meet. Yet, as soon as I saw this little girl, I felt my heartstrings yanked and I was not walking away without her. It felt so right, and so far so good.

I am waiting for the warm weather – assuming it arrives at some point – so that we can go out and about and enjoy the great outdoors.

Monday, 7 January 2013

I am a Cataholic

I am a cataholic.

Yes, I admit it, I am completely addicted to animals of the feline persuasion. I have a house full and my vet calls me “the mad cat woman”.

Don’t get me wrong, I love dogs. I grew up with dogs, and as a small child if anything was bothering me, I told the dogs. Not that they were any use. Part way through unburdening myself, I would get a look that said, “Alright, enough where’s the biscuit?”

The quirks and idiosyncrasies of cats, keep me on my toes. They tear through the house like little tornados, scattering things as they go, usually with a thud and occasionally with a crash and the accompanying shower of glass shards. They disrupt my work. I can be beavering away at my computer until (depending on whether I am using the desktop or laptop) a head blocks my view of the screen, or a bottom parks itself firmly on the keyboard.

Heaven help any plants I bring into the house. Within a couple of days, any shiny green leaves have been munched, and I am left with a few bare stems. Do they touch the herbs that I put on the kitchen windowsill specifically for them to eat? No. Why should they when they can destroy my houseplants?

I saw a fridge magnet that said, “When you call a dog, it comes running. When you call a cat, it takes a message and gets back to you.” Nothing can be closer to the truth. Cats are the hedonists of the animal world. They have never forgotten their status as gods in Ancient Egypt and live to be waited on. They insist on the warmest, most comfortable spot in the house. My cats allow to me to warm the sofa before requesting, ever so nicely, that I move so that they can make themselves comfortable.
I have one little darling who likes to sleep on my pillow. She sits on my face if I don’t move my head so she can curl up in the warm hollow, with her bottom wedged firmly into my shoulder. I have lost count of the number of times I have woken in the morning to find that I am clinging to the edge of the bed, while the cats are stretched out all over it. I did not realise that such small animals could take up so much space!

I have had cats now for nine years, and I am still not quite fluent in cat. I am constantly surprised by their approach to life, and how they manage to wrap me around their small paws. I would like to think that I am mistress in my own house, but I am deluding myself if I do. These beautiful little creatures know how to get what they want almost without me realising what they are doing.
So, who are the little beasties who have so easily turned my life so firmly around? First in terms of nuisance factor is Lily. She is heads above the others when it comes to disruption, knocking things over and the general troll factor. It is Lily who sits, with little cogs turning, looking for things to get up to. She is a bright little creature, and she quickly works out by looking at the other cats, which buttons to push, and then delights in pushing them. This, quite naturally, leads to a great deal of hissing and looks that would curdle milk from her “siblings”.

Her sister Mia is as different as you can get. They are littermates but the only thing they have in common is that they are both black and white. Where Lily looks for things that are going to get her into trouble, Mia is content to curl up on my knee (usually when I am just about to get up for something).

The only boy in the house is Fidget, and naughty ginger tom. He is a complete mummy’s boy. He has has a voice which could shatter glass and he is not afraid to use it.

Then there is Echo, my lovely, little tabby cat, and Fidget’s sister. She is is frightened of everything and so quiet that you do not know she is in the house.

Finally, there is the latest addition to the feline family, Willow. I met Willow at a foster home where she had been taken from the local rescue centre, as she was pregnant. She had three lovely, lively little kittens, but it was three-legged Willow who I fell in love with. The disruption her arrival caused seven months ago is ongoing. Lily decided that this new arrival was perfect for being mean to. Unfortunately, Willow is yet to work out that running is the worse thing she could do, and to Lily it is a great game. Willow is not so keen on being pounced on, and retaliates and a full-scale catfight ensues.

There you have my feline family. Five completely different furry babies with personalities as big as houses. Life is never dull, and I no longer get a lie-in but I would not change a thing.

Saturday, 18 August 2012


Whisper this, but it would appear that we may be getting a summer. For the last couple of days, we have had warm temperatures and intermittent brilliant sunshine, although today, the sun did disappear leaving a sultry morning followed by a lovely sunny afternoon. The humidity is a little high though, and last night one of the cats decided it would be fun to sleep draped over me. Warm temperatures, and a furry scarf just do not mix but try telling him that.

I have had a week off, and am back at work day after tomorrow. Naturally, I have not managed to get done all the things I intended, and the week has passed in a blur.

Time flies so quickly. Whether this is a sign of ageing or not I don't know, but a year seems so much shorter than it used to be. We are, not so merrily, hurtling towards Christmas and we have not seen a summer yet. The nights are drawing in. As I write, it is just after 8.30pm and dark is falling, and I have the light on, and this morning I heard geese. The geese gather twice a year on a field around the corner. In spring on their way north, and autumn on the way south. They can both perk up and dampen the spirits.

The shorter days herald the cold, grey skies and snuggling in front of the fire, but they also bring with them the the blue period (and I don't mean Picasso).

I hate the winter, it makes me feel like staying in bed all day. My body does not cope well with the cold and feels like it is seizing up, my brain goes sluggish and I can't remember anything, and my mood heads into a deep blue abyss. I only start to come out of the mood when the days are perceptibly longer.

Thursday, 2 August 2012


Operation repel flea is ongoing and I am fed up with it. The problem is nowhere near as bad as it was a couple of weeks ago so hopefully as far as the house is concerned, we are winning.

The cats are a different story however. I have been using a spray which acts as a sticky trap - spray the cat, wait for it to dry and brush out the horrid little bugs. Simple. Well no, not when the cat concerned washes off the spray as fast as I apply it, or the cunning little feline spots you sneaking up on them and does a runner. Said cat also wriggles just at the precise second I am about to grab a flea, so we have a near miss. I did manage to spray the brush today and get some of the flea debris off, but I need to remove the creatures causing the issue.

Then I discovered a flea comb, and we really started to make headway. As long as the cats are relaxed, they let me run the comb through their fur removing numbers of fleas, eggs and flea dirt. I am going to have to give in on the natutal remedies and make a visit to the vet for some flea treatments though. As fast as I vacuum the house, the cats go running around replacing what I have just got rid of.

When I spoke to the vets this week, they told me that they are selling flea treatments at an unprecedented rate, and we agreed that it must be the weather. We have had such a wet year that it has obviously provided the perfect breeding conditions for fleas.

The weather has not improved much. Today was one of those mixed days of sunshine and heavy rain. It is as though the weather gods cannot decide what to throw at us. It makes it difficult to know what to put on in the morning - sandals or wellies, coat or no coat. Perhaps we will have an Indian summer.