A Cat in His Citadel

I know I am biased, but I think any one of these pictures of MasterB in his cushion citadel is worthy of inclusion in 2020’s calendar.Take your time, look at each one and then tell me your favourite. I know which one is mine.

Citadel One


I have spent most of today making slow progress with admin work; doing some washing, some ironing.

Citadel Two


After a few days on a twenty-five foot boat, the flat feels wonderfully spacious. It is also wonderfully untidy.

Citadel Three

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Avoiding the cup final

A glass of chilled wine as the breeze picks up and the evening cools. It’s been hot today. I’ve drunk more than two litres of water, and shall drink more before I sleep. I am going for an early night. MasterB is currently stretched out on the bed, enjoying the air coming through the open door. Last night it was quite busy here, and I had already cleaned my teeth when he let me know that it was quiet enough for a perambulation. So I carried him ashore rather than risk my heart lurching as he leapt from the front of the boat, and once I’d got him in his harness we perambulated. Actually we stayed still for quite a lot of the time. Cats seem to like to drink in their surroundings, it’s quite boring when you are at the other end of the leash. Then there are spurts of activity, determined movements in directions I do not want to go. I hoped he’d have a poo, or at least a pee, but he saved the latter until he was back on board. I just hope he isn’t saving the poo for the journey home.

Toady, when it has been hot, he has spent most of his time under the rug in the forecabin, a rug that is supposed to save the upholstery from fur and claws. Sometimes he and I are not on the same page. The forecabin was bathed in sunshine. Surely it must have been horribly hot, but he stayed there until around five this evening, when he emerged, like Mole taking a break from spring cleaning, and blinked dazedly about him.

Shamed by my new neighbours (who set off after breakfast and have not been seen since), I felt I had to do some boat cleaning. The hot sun soon had my face running with sweat. Not wanting to disturb the grebes I didn’t want it to use the water pump and power hose. So my efforts, which were mighty but without great results, came to an end after an hour, and I retreated to the shower. I had already visited the big city, well a large village, and bought my newspaper, so after an early lunch I reclined and worked my way through pages of newsprint.

I knew, indeed how could I not? that Donald J Trump is coming to London this week. What I had not understood was how many members of his family he is bringing with him. This is less a state visit, more an invasion. I do hope they all have return tickets. Prince Charles and Camilla seem to have drawn the short straw and are spending a lot of time with Family Trump. I worked with a Trump supporter last week, and one day was enough to exhaust me. Continue reading

A little slice of heaven

The gentle movement of das Boot at her mooring, the creak of the ropes, the birdsong, are like a balm. The great crested grebes are nesting yards from the galley window, and watching them tidying up the nest, adding to it, taking it in turns to sit on the eggs, has fascinated me. When there was a change of shift last night, the one who had been sitting, the hen I think, immediately went off to collect more weed to add to the structure. Had she been thinking about this, looking about her for likely material during what must have been a fairly tedious afternoon?

Maybe Older Nephew’s and my coming and going provided her with some entertainment. We went to Ely and back, eating lunch aboard and enjoying a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc the ON had brought with him. The newly serviced engine purred. Not far from the marina we spotted a terrapin the size of a side plate. It was sunning itself on a stone. No doubt an unwanted pet, dumped in the river, and now a predator of small fish and young birds. I hope the baby grebes, when they hatch, will be beyond its orbit. MasterB joined us after a while, and as is now customary, I built him a cushion citadel. He seemed perfectly at ease. Continue reading

Hello Hilda

My lovely Catsitter Birgit sent me a photo of MasterB. It was the first email I opened this morning. My boy looked content and relaxed which is wonderful. The downside was the picture made me immediately homesick. Gosh I am missing my boy.
Over the last two days we have been up and down in Wellington. Yesterday we started at ground level, walking along the harbour. It was Armistice Day, and there was a certain military presence among the shorts and ice creams.

Military presence


We resisted the kayaks and paddle boards, but stopped to look at sculptures and buildings.

Kayaks

Into the wind


There was evidence of yarn bombing.

Yarn bombed clawed foot


Our meanderings meant we were still in the harbour area at lunchtime, so we sat in the shade near the boathouses and ate our packed lunches.

Boathouses


Boat

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First Impressions

Progress through the airport was remarkably smooth which gave me a good first impression of New Zealand. When I emerged I saw Lyn holding this sign:

Isobel and Cat


I have never before been met at an airport with someone holding a sign with my name on so it’s now my first souvenir. I took the photo back at the house where Lyn and Malcolm offered me a choice of two cameras. This was my first shot:

First photo


But that of course was taken after we had arrived at the house. It is reached by a vertiginous drive as, I realise today, are many houses here.

Going down


I’m not sure which direction makes it look most impressive.

Going up


You really wouldn’t want a slipping clutch in this neighbourhood. At the bottom of the drive stands the house, and in front of the house a hollow tree.

Hollow tree


I looked into it, but there was no sign of wildlife, just something that looked rather like a discarded camping kettle.

No wildlife here


The trees that had immediately caught my attention when we left the airport were the Norfolk Pines. They are stunning, and Lyn and Malcolm tell me there is a whole road of them in Napier.

Norfolk Pine

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Captain’s Log 5th October 2018

B0CEA50F-6521-4B16-9399-EEFD03EA1ACAThe sky has now clouded over and there are just patches of blue in the white, but for most of the day it has felt more like early September than early October. MasterB and I were up betimes, showered, breakfasted, he then went to his new favourite post breakfast spot under the rug in the forecabin, I set to wiping off spider poo, dusting surfaces and vacuuming the floor.
I wondered idly what time Older Nephew would arrive and then thought to turn on my ‘phone to see if he’d messaged me. He had, and arrived shortly after eleven, armed with pizza and cans of lager.
We had to put water into the tank before we could set off. Annoyingly, right at the end of the season, it was empty. I shan’t be back before the spring, ON will be here with two friends to take the boat to the pump out, then drain the water out and winterise her. I realise as I type this we forgot to talk about anti-freeze.
So today we just enjoyed some time on the river which was millpond smooth. A few people turned up at the marina this morning to take their boats out, and we met others on the way to and from Ely. Tomorrow’s forecast is for rain and low temperatures so I am guessing those who were able to take advantage of today’s warmth did so.
We saw a bird I did not photograph with a pink mask at Ely. Three of them in fact. Having consulted all three onboard bird books we have failed to identify what it was. There were the coots and moorhens, mallards and swans, herons, geese and grebes, one sighting of a kingfisher. Some of the calves in the fields are tiny, at least one must have been only a few days old.


MasterB spent the day with us in the forecabin, at first still under the rug, then sitting out and enjoying a fuss, finally in a new citadel of cushions. I am hopeful that he is becoming more confident on our boat trips and maybe by the time he reaches double figures in 2020 may actually socialise with us when we go out.
I have put a few bits and pieces I don’t think I’ll need again in the car, I shall put the front cover on in a couple of hours. Supper is sorted, I know what I’m having from breakfast, the more packing up I can do now, the quicker we’ll be in the morning. The biggest job is stripping the bed then putting dust covers on everything and obviously that has to wait. In some ways it would make sense to go home this evening, and it has crossed my mind. But I think we’ll enjoy our last night afloat of 2018 and drive back to London in the rain.

Captain’s Log 4th October 2018

The forecast for today was good, so when I woke up to a morning where the thick mist muted the birdsong, I assumed it would burn off in an hour or so and the sun would shine down on das Boot. Breakfast, shower, washing up all accomplished and still no sun, MasterB had retreated to under the rug in the forecabin, placed on the seating to protect the upholstery from cats’ claws. So I kept my layers on, turned on the car heater and set off on my travels.
Nial and Jan met me at the cemetery. We were all armed with gardening tools, and I had a selection of bulbs. The chrysanthemum I had planted on my father’s grave had vanished, but at Aunt’s more extensive plot (Dad was cremated, so it’s just a small marker stone showing where his ashes were buried) we were pleasantly surprised to find quite a few plants were flourishing. So many in fact that quite a few of the bulbs will be coming back to London with me, even after planting a clutch of them on Dad’s grave.
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Captain’s Log 3rd October 2018

I am at das Boot with the First Mate (MasterB has been promoted). We are both  in the rear cabin, I’m on the director’s chair looking out at the quiet marina, MasterB is purring on the pink fleecy blanket at the end of the bed.

In the field beside us the calves are grazing with their mothers. I got off to photograph some of them. They are so very pretty. One or two were curious but shy. I like to think their mothers recognise me as the woman who uproots sticky weed from my side of the barbed wire fence to give them. Certainly they seem unconcerned by my presence, and do nothing to warn their calves not to speak to me.


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Mr September

 

I think this this photo taken on das Boot last weekend, may have to be included in the 2019 Ginger Ninja calendar. Feedback from those to whom I have sent a couple of versions has been positive, but a bit low on constructive criticism, meaning I still don’ know which of the photos they think are strongest, rather than being happy with the overall effect. Continue reading