Doing Christmas

I read a post by JanH about Christmas that chimed with me. Rather than paraphrase or summarise it, I’ll give you the link here.

Cutting back does not mean a sad and miserable yule. Take away those ghastly hours in overheated shops looking for gifts you do not have any confidence the recipient will actually like, and suddenly you have time for the fun side of the jolly season.

With me at the Nine Lessons and Carols at St Bart’s the Great on Tuesday were my blogging pal TBM and some friends who are also neighbours.

These friends have decided not to give Chriatmas presents. Quite a brave move as their boys have not long entered double figures. The boys are with it in theory, but not entirely on side. The younger one, newly twelve, said they weren’t doing Christmas as Christmas really was about presents. His mother disagreed, and sang the carols loudly and rather beautifully. (Under normal circs, when do you discover your friends have good singing voices?)

In the last few years, I have had a pact with most friends not to exchange gifts. With some friends we go for a nice, but not expensive, gift, plus things culled from the charity shops. The charity shop gifts often cause the most amusement/amazement/delight. Continue reading

Room at the Inn

It had been a great evening. Carols; good company; my first time in a private drinking establishment in Soho.
I knew as soon as I opened the front door and MasterB shot out onto the landing that the litter tray had been used. The smell wafted sullenly through the air.
It was a pee and a poo. Well, I knew about the poo already from the smell.
But which cat?
Sharp eyed readers will be sitting up at this point, aware that I have just the one cat; the beloved MasterB, the ginger to cap all gingers, and that I am trying to get a pee sample from him to take the vet – hey it’s Christmas, everyone should have some treats.
So yes, Cookie has spent the day chez IsobelandCat. I was at home, and it was remarkably pleasant. There was one flash of aggression when MasterB approached her and disturbed her sleep. I have to say that when she disturbed him later, he was much more forgiving.
Both cats slept a great deal.



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Steve the Reliable Plumber

This morning I was up betimes; breakfasted, showered and pacing the flat despite the fact that I was working from home which is generally a good excuse to stay pyjamaed longer.

Steve the plumber was due. He said he’d be here between nine thirty and ten thirty. I found I couldn’t settle. My notes were ready to be added to; books were piled up on the floor; MasterB had been out, come in, played and taken himself off for a nap in a drawer beneath the bed.

Look Me in the Eye

Look Me in the Eye

At ten-twenty-four I called Steve. He was on his way. I know all plumbers say that, and sometimes they mean they are on their way but it will be via Lands End and Skara Brae, and if you’re lucky they’ll arrive a year next Tuesday, but Steve is a trustworthy sort of bloke who eschews that whistled intake of breath perfected by many a workman when he realises the person paying the bill is female; he even tells you sometimes you don’t need him for the job and gives you instructions over the ‘phone on what to do. He was recommended several years ago by the sadly missed cattery, and in turn I have recommended him to others. This may have been a mistake, as he has been too busy to fix my non-functioning water heater until today. Continue reading

Three Cats

My life seems divided between work and cats at the moment. Heaven knows, when I was fifteen this is not how I imagined my prime; wondering about the reproductive status of cats and if a litter of kittens was going to be born in my garden.
And yet this is how it is. Plus worrying about how MasterB fits in with the latest feline dynamic, and hoping he is not being sidelined in his own garden. I’d hate him to feel left out.

So Beautiful

So Beautiful

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Cookie Cat Crisis at Christmas

We are heading for a possible crisis.

Cookie cat. Christmas.


On Friday night she slept in my flat. On my bed. MasterB relegated to the sitting room. I really don’t want a repeat of this. She is lovely; a sweetheart of a cat, but this is MasterB’s home and I don’t want him to become Cat Number Two. On the other hand, I don’t want her freezing her fur off outside in the December nights.

She came in tonight. MasterB was out. There is a new cat on the block; a pretty black cat with a white bib. Cookie and MasterB in temporary alliance against it. Which is how Cookie ended up in here on Friday night.

Her visit informed me that she loves catnip. Tonight I handed her, with the catnip teabag she had lovingly and thoroughly licked, over to the neighbours who are taking most responsibility for her, but who are crucially away for Christmas.

Bowled Over By The Bard

Absent from blogging but enjoying some pre-Christmas culture and seeing Henry IV part one on Monday, and part two last night.

Fabulous fabulous RSC productions with Anthony Sher outrageously good as Falstaff. So good you think you must have dreamt he was that good. The comic timing in the comic bits was brilliant and a wonderful counterbalance to the serious bits. That Billy Shakespeare knew what he was doing.

How Harry Hotspur's wife put up with him I do not know. Short fused doesn't begin to describe him. ADHD at the very least. Continue reading

Leaping Bunny Hidden Bloodshed

Nice to see the snow effect back on the page. I had forgotten about it.

I finished We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves and survived. I was so worried about Fern; I had horrible images of her with electrodes attached to her brain; ghastly experiments in the name of progress that I don’t want to even think about; experiments that will benefit mankind at the expense of other members of the animal kingdom.

Small wonder then, that taking refuge from the cold wind at the bus stop last night when Celia and I went into the adjacent shop and we looked at the largish range of shampoos on sale, I was checking for those with the leaping bunny symbol.

Not a single bottle of shampoo we looked at had the symbol. How many rabbits have had their eyes rendered sore and stinging, and in some cases blinded, in the cause of shiny human hair?

I am a sporadic supporter of PETA and as a result I receive the magazine. this time I can’t even take off the plastic cover; the stories promised inside sound so horrific. Continue reading

Fen Skies and Water

East Anglia is flat. It’s known for it. Much of it is below sea level. The sky starts at your waist and just goes on. If you know John Constable’s Flatford Mill you’ll get the idea.

The fens feature in many detective stories, and when you drive through it, along the dykes and past the ditches, where locals come out to stare at an unfamiliar car, you can understand why.

I used to drive Mother to Ely and hope and pray we wouldn’t break down.

So oddly, by river the fens are great, especially in good company, which is exactly what I had today.

The plan was to get the holding tank pumped out. A plan foiled by the fact that the pump out wasn’t working. But we didn’t know that until we got to Ely. Given that my companions live in Ely, I suppose it would have been possible for them to check the pump out before we set off, but none of us thought of that. And as they collected me from Ely station, I don’t have much of an excuse either.

But it was beautiful on the river. I managed to miss every heron we passed, and there were at least nine, so that was quite an achievement. I only had my point and squirt, and it takes a while for the not terribly strong zoom to zoom in.

Water and Sky

Water and Sky

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