Flora and Fauna in Melbourne

As the number of days I have left before I fly home drops to single figures so the temperature rises. Tomorrow it is expected to be 38c in Melbourne. We're planning a day in an air-conditioned cinema followed by an air-conditioned museum. I thought I might do another trail in Melbourne's arcades this afternoon, but the promise of Martinis at two has persuaded me to put that off. In the meantime I'm enjoying herbal tea at the kitchen table.

Hobarts's gardens were full of colour. I'd have thought that was normal, but we were told last year there was a drought and nothing was growing. People are making the most of the current lushness.

In Seddon, the flowers are also blooming. I am very fond of amaryllis, and this one is in a garden just round the corner.

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Return of the Cat Woman

When I saw Octavia on Sunday I mentioned how strange I found it that I have become a go-to person about cats in the neighbourhood. I’m sure I don’t know more than the average cat owner, though my addiction to the various pet programmes on the television has taught me a lot, and living with Cat was an education in itself. When the penny finally dropped that Cat was a permanent fixture rather than a temporary self-invited guest, I borrowed books about cats from the local library, books that are no longer in the collection, read about nutrition, and general cat care. That’s about it.

Octavia reckoned it was because I have been involved in a few cat rescues locally. Funnily enough I had been thinking about Trevor earlier in the day. Then there was Odysseus, Izzy and, of course, Cookie.

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Saturday

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.

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A Week

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.

Wobbly toy

Wobbly toy

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Of Early Mornings, Tranquility and Happy Cats

I’m nodding a bit, sitting on the sofa, my mug of mint tea cooling just out of reach. MasterB is tucked beside me, and I don’t want to disturb him. Fortunately mint tea tastes alright cold. It’s quite nice to sit here quietly and type, to look over to the table at the new tulips vibrant in the vase, to feel MasterB’s fur against my arm and see his paws relaxed and proprietorial against the keyboard. Happy cat; happy human.

We had an early start, me and the boy, up at six thirty on a Sunday morning. It was my fault, I misread my watch and thought it was seven thirty. The world was quiet. No sirens racing up and down the nearby Walworth Road; no shouting; just birds singing. And blue skies when the forecast had been for clouds and rain.

He went out and I made coffee before joining him in the garden for a while. Later I had to go to work, but there was time to change bed linen, catch up on some reading, sort some books I have promised to a neighbour. It was lovely. I can see the advantage of a dawn start in summer. The trouble is some neighbours like to talk into the night in the gardens, their voices and laughter increasing in volume as the bottles empty. It makes sleep difficult.

Below the bird feeders

Below the bird feeders

At some point I shall probably trade centrality for tranquility. Denmark Hill would be nice, but I think it’s beyond my purse.
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Pictures to Follow

The grebes are nesting, but not next to das Boot. This year they have chosen a spot on the river. I watched them busy collecting material. It seems much noisier spot than in the marina, but I suppose most grebes don’t have the luxury of off river facilities. I took some pictures, but it don’t know they show more than vague outlines.

I forgot MasterB’s harness so he can’t have shoreleave, and this time he seems rather keen. I’ve been playing with him, but it can’t be as interesting as the smells he’d have found out on a walk. Indoor cats must miss out on a lot.

 

The forecast has been so dire I nearly didn’t come. But in my heart of hearts I knew I wanted to be here and if there was a chance the weather might be kind, I would come. So there I was this morning, still vacillating, but at the back of my mind choosing the things I would pack. Pity I forgot the harness. Maybe if it’s quiet tomorrow morning I’ll risk taking him ashore and letting him run free. Not if it’s windy though. I don’t want any accidents when he gets back in board.

 

The journey east was varied. We left in sunshine, drove through hail with winds that swept the rain sideways across the roads. Pedestrians in Stratford outlined by garments wrapped round them. Then more sunshine; winds that chased clouds across impossibly blue skies; scatters of raindrops.

 

There were roadworks. There are always roadworks in spring. One lot had us crawling several miles until we were clear. I stopped at a petrol station and filled the tank.

 

Near the start of the undulating road across the fens that leads to the marina I nabbed half a dozen eggs from the nice egg lady. The road seems even more undulating than a week ago. Mary and her two uncontrolled but beautiful Labradors was here. They ignored her commands and jumped up at me. MasterB, so had been quiet and accepting most of the journey began to cry plaintively as I emptied the car. I wanted to get the bed made before he came aboard. When I let him out of his box, he made big eyes and sniffed everywhere before taking refuge under a pillow.

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Flight Potential

It is quite impressive how far the contents of a bowl of muesli can travel. This was not a controlled experiment, and I have no plans to repeat it, but do feel free to try it for yourselves. It is also quite a good way of getting a person out of bed, and the sheets into the machine.

Yesterday I was rather more tired than I felt I should be after  days of clean living and early nights. I suspected a head cold. Last night the living was again clean, though the night not so early, and when MasterB woke me with demands for his breakfast, I was aware of a tickle in my throat and the shadow of an ache across my eyebrows. But with no work to go to this morning, I thought a lie in with the unread bits of yesterday’s papers, and breakfast in bed, would be pleasant pampering and a nice idea. Continue reading

The Cat Ripper

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Sitting pretty on the recycling bag yesterday

MasterB loves to go outside. He is fortunate in having a large garden at his disposal, but he doesn’t always stay in it. He’s probably wondering why I am hovering around even more when he goes out, and why I am lecturing him about the dangers of taking food, especially raw chicken, from anyone outside the home. Maybe he thinks I’m worried about salmonella.

If only.

A friend alerted me to the news that there is a cat strangler operating south of London. Croydon, which was part of Surrey when I was growing up but is now part of Greater London, seems to be where this particular operator hangs out. Continue reading

Number Not Recognised

This morning I was playing with MasterB and thinking I should call Aunt. These are the hiccough moments. Since she has been too weak to attend her church I have often called her on a Sunday morning. Later in the day I am competing with visitors and the daily ‘phone call with Uncle Bill.

So, a bit of adjustment. MasterB of course doesn’t know she is dead, but he did know Aunt who loved him. He was very relaxed and trusting with her. They met shortly after I got him, and each time he saw her after that he wound himself about her, rubbing his face against her, and making himself at home in her home.

At home

At home


I started to make the Ginger Ninja calendars for Aunt. The first year there may have been just the one. Maybe a second for my Aunt Nessa. I don’t remember now. Six months of Cat, six months of MasterB. Cat and Aunt had a special relationship. I’d say he exploited her good nature. Certainly he recognised her as someone who would give him attention and listen to him. Continue reading

The Lovely Neighbour Joins the Blogosphere

Do you remember my Lovely Neighbour? The one MasterB loved. The one who grew plants on the landing and a cucumber on her bedroom window sill.

I was very sorry when she and her partner moved away a year ago.

Now she has moved again, having been made redundant and left questioning what work she might look for next.

Her partner, also made redundant, was offered work in Lincoln, so off they went. Continue reading