I picked up a free paper on the way home from work last night. The headlines screamed that a child in Halstead, Essex had been savaged to death by a dog. The report described how a neighbour had seen a white dog sitting quietly, its face covered in blood moments after a child’s wild and distressed cries had startled the neighbourhood. The report went on to mention the number of attacks by dogs reported in recent weeks. The underlying message, intentional or otherwise, was that dogs were dangerous. There were also hints that it might have been a breed on the banned dogs list. A list that has been shown over and over again to be nonsense.
Later I watched the news on the television. The same story was covered. The attack sounded horrific, the stuff of nightmares. I was wondering how this could have occurred, then the camera panned back to show a windowless shed, the place the dog had been kept.
Now don’t get me wrong. A child attacked by a dog is not something I take lightly, and this child was killed. It couldn’t be worse. But if someone acquires a dog and then keeps it shut in a shed, it is not likely to acquire the skills that will make it a happy socialised animal. Something is likely to go badly wrong. Continue reading →
It seems I am not the only one to find a few days in the country at das Boot beneficial. MasterB has been having a hard time of it lately with his territory invaded by half a dozen new cats on the block. He’s not a natural fighter, quite unlike Cat who gave any would be intruders short shrift and enjoyed a good show of aggression and some claws out action.
So the Ginger Ninja has been intimidated into using the indoor facilities, has had second, third yea even unto sixth thoughts about going out and enjopyimg his demesne these warm summer evenings.
But after three days and two nights at das Boot, he has come back a different cat. Maybe all that snoozing on the ropes gave him time to reassess the situation and decide he could cope with it after all.
On the ropes
Or maybe it was watching the swans as they swam close to das Boot and made blatant requests for handouts that strengthened his nerve.
Maybe it was vapour trails through the blue skies that lifted his heart.
Just on four o’clock and as I don’t drink tea I decided to open one of my cans of weak lager. MasterB is stretched out on the bed, sleeping his way through the heat of the afternoon. I’d post pictures of him and the surrounding farmland, but for some reason my camera and my tablet are no talking. He’s a seasoned boat cat these days; he’s been coming here for five years now, the first time the day are he was neutered which was also the day of the Royal Wedding. He’s had three list of shore leave, though this morning’s was very short. Although eager to check out the world beyond the gunwale, he swiftly had second thoughts and opted to come aboard again after less than five minutes.
When I woke up I discovered he had been playing with the feathered toy in the night. I had hidden it away as I don’t want him to choke on it. He is getting too clever at winkling it out if the hiding places.
The morning was spent washing the boat. It is not yet finished, but I have done a good job on the starboard side and the roof, unfortunately these are the areas where I always do a good job; the port side has green algae of at least two seasons on it. My excuse last year was that I was just getting down to work when with the hose and water pump when I realised the window seals were inadequate and water was pouring into the interior. My excuse today, when I eschewed the electrics and instead used mop, new broom which distressingly shed its bristles with abandon, and old toothbrush is that older Nephew was coming for lunch and I needed to be showered and have said lunch ready to eat when he arrived. So shortly after eleven, when I had been diligently mopping and rinsing, scrubbing and mopping again for over two hours, I propped the mop in the flagpole holder, lined the broom up beside the landing net (which is not for fishing but in case MasterB falls in) and headed for the shower. Oddly, I was quite sad to curtail my cleaning efforts. Continue reading →
Fabulous sunset tonight at the marina, the last rays of the sun showing a perfect blue sky streaked with pink. I was at the end of MasterB’s lead and camera less, so I witnessed but did not record it. After a hot afternoon, the evening temperatures have dropped low enough for me to close the windows and think about putting in a jumper. Hils I was out small creatures were flying close by me. It was dusk and they were moving fast so I couldn’t see them clearly, but I think they may be bats. MasterB sat still on the grass staring intently at something I could not see for a quarter of an hour before I decided to end his sortie. But before you feel too sorry for him, we had by that time been outside for forty minutes.
I had hoped he’d have a pee, and my hopes were raised when he investigated the soft earth, but it was only to sniff, he waited until he was back on board to empty a bladder that was obviously very full. No worries about crystals and cystitis tonight.
The egg lady Janet had a little chat when I bought her last boxes. I needed change so I was more than pleased when she came out of the house. She opened up the honesty box attached to the gate and counted out a pile of coins, explaining that the proceeds from egg sales all go to support charity. That made me even more pleased that I had some egg boxes to give to her. Continue reading →
Before I left for work this morning I emptied, cleaned and replenished the litter tray twice. MasterB had had a pee sometime in the night, so I bagged that up before breakfast, washed my hands and made my coffee and toast.
While I showered, MasterB joined me in the bathroom and evacuated his bowels. I opened the window wider and wondered if this was an experience familiar to Mark Twain, Albert Camus or other famous cat lovers. I don’t recall any scenes in L’Étranger where the protagonist interrupts his introspection to bag up cat poo.
There are moments when I feel my life lacks glamour.
I also wrote a little list for myself, cryptic reminders for things I want to get done over the next few days; bathroom shelf, bolt, catfood – sachets and biscuits, invoice TG, bottles and jars, bolt and drill. I examined the tomatoes but didn’t photograph them. That had to wait until this evening.
They are doing well, and the flowers give promise of more to come. One of the coantiners has four plants supported by a wigwam of canes. This was working well until I went to Ireland. I suspect underwatering dried out the compost and the cans became wobbly. Now the tomato plants show a distressing tendancy to fall over at any provocation. I have just rescued an orphaned green tomato untimely ripped from its moorings by one of these falls.
I feel like someone who has got behind with her homework; no posts for a week, and the less I post the less motivated I am. Is this the beginning of the end, or just a bit of a pause? So just a few random thoughts about the last week or so while I catch up.
British politics continue to bemuse and frustrate me. Goodness only knows where or what the Labour party will be in twelve months time. Theresa May, our safe pair of hands, has suggested that people who live in homes where the government would like to frack could receive financial compensation. Sorry, but to me that makes no sense. Fracking makes no sense; the risks far outweigh the advantages, surely we should be investing in sustainable energy? And those people who live on that land are only the temporary custodians, the effects of fracking are something that future generations will have to deal with.
The local feline population has quadrupled over the last few weeks. The mystery of the pretty tabby has been solved, and she’s a he, so I got that wrong. My neighbour Wendy has been rather hoping he’s homeless, but it turns out he is called Romeo and is the loved cat belonging to the local Kurdish supermarket. The manager was both surprised and amused to learn Romeo has been exploring our garden. So that just leaves us wondering if the scruffy black cat with the white bib, the white and ginger cat, the two huge cats that look like pumas, have homes. The two fluffy black and white cats live over the wall; I think the smart (as in appearance, his IQ is questionable) black cat with the white bib is Johnny from over the road, and there seemed to be another tabby tonight. I am going to be on litter tray duty for a while yet.
But MasterB is still enjoying his new wobble biscuit toy, which from my point of view is great, as it doesn’t roll away and get hidden or stuck in awkward places round the flat.
OK I am back in London where, although the thermometer tells me the temperature is the same, it feels much hotter than in the country. Tonight, having cleared some space on my laptop, I have been able to download some pictures from my little Olympus.
Goodness I feel conflicted. I grew up in the countryside. I walked to school through a housing estate, where I lived, built on farmland, through more farmland, and my first school years were beside a sheep farm. We had plenty of opportunity to witness the cycles of life. I thought lambs were born in plastic bags.
The countryside exerts a huge pull. But I live in London. Unlike New York, it sleeps, but there are endless exhibitions, free events, wonderful theatre. My neighbour Wendy, who has a number of serious health issues, has been disregarding her partner’s instructions. He is away from home, and, anxious about her wellbeing, has told her not to leave the house. Well, huh to that. I have met her out and about the last two days. She is very interested in the pretty tabby I have told her about, though partner has banned any new cats. We stood on the street, and were joined by other neighbours. Wendy’s health issues have not dimmed her interest or attendance in theatre. Time was I’d see her dancing through her housework which she’d do accompanied by the soundtrack to shows such as South Pacific. One of the neighbours who joined our chat – never believe the rubbish that Londoners don’t know their neighbours – explained she had lived in Brixton, had not heard of Walworth, and now could not believe how central was her location.
But this is not what I intended to post about. I have a few pictures on my camera from das Boot. Pictures I hope will help you understand why I love being there. Pictures which show MasterB relaxed and contented afloat.
A week ago I was at the airport, learning that my flight had been delayed and starting the slow return to London after a break in the country where I had been surrounded by fields with cows and fat lambs; wild flowers in the hedgerow; skies that changed from grey to blue and back again; farm buildings and farm machinery a part of the landscape; and greens of all the shades they say make up Ireland.
But hold on a minute, for I am again surrounded by fields, by sheep and cows and hens; there are farm buildings and farm machinery; this morning’s pale skies have become a radiant blue; the hedgerows buzz with bees enjoying the wild flowers; the countryside is swathed in her summer greens. The internet connection is just as erratic as at Cousin’s.
He seems pretty relaxed. We had a walk around for an hour, and it was me who brought it to an end, not him. But halfway up I realised I hadn't brought any sachets. I bought some Lily's Kitchen, thinking he'd find it a treat. And only remembered when I put it in his bowl that he's not a fan of this brand. I found a couple of sachets of his usual at the back of the cupboard, but tomorrow there'll have to a a detour to somewhere that sells his usual food.
Do note the new toy/scratching post. Boat sized. And he has a bigger one at home. Not exactly sophisticated living, but if it stops him scratching the furniture I can live with it.
I watched The Dog Rescuers on Channel 4, the trailer for next week's episode was shocking, showing a greyhound whose muzzle had been taped stopping it from eating, drinking, yawning. Who does things like that?
If my toe continues to change colour I may photograph it. For a horrible couple of hours this morning I thought it was broken. Yesterday afternoon I tripped on a paving stone and stubbed my toe. It was painful, but the pain seemed to subside. When I went to bed I saw it had turned purple. A night’s sleep, and it hurt going up and down the stairs. The whole toe is rather red and the purple patch means I shan’t be carrying out my plan to get my toenails painted after all, but the pain is minimal and I have no problem walking.
More drama over the fruit flies in the compost. There aren’t a huge number and they disperse pretty quickly, but they have become the new pawn in the continuing exertion of control by one of my neighbours who thinks the compost bin should be removed. If anyone reading this has any hot tips on products that discourage the fruit flies, do let me know. The only ones I have seen promise mass extermination. No wonder that I am thinking of braving the rain tomorrow and taking MasterB up to das Boot until Thursday. Wednesday’s forecast is for for a dry day, with rain returning on Thursday. I have work on Friday and over the weekend, so I can’t stay longer. Continue reading →