Master Class

I have just watched a master class in feline assertion.

The very cuddly and vocal Manx cat next door whose owner wants him to be an indoor cat was in our garden. Mr Manx is not on the same page as his owner and is making himself known in various gardens.

I didn’t see him at first. I chanced to look out of the window and saw Hartley and his brother Smudge, side by side in identical postures; crouched, focused, silent; watching, I thought, potential prey just out of my sight behind the bike shed.

Then Mr Manx strolled into view. He barely glanced at the brothers, just continued a relaxed perambulation. A game of feline grandmother’s footsteps ensued. Romeo appeared from the direction of my car. Three to one: Mr Manx’s prospects did not look promising. MasterB joined me at the window, and I do hope he took due and careful note of what happened next.  Continue reading

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Two Faces of Humanity

I missed the opening minutes of the news on Channel 4 tonight but tuned in to hear that 1300 people of the Windrush Generation have been identified as suffering the effects of Theresa May’s vaunted Hostile Environment. Make that 1300 so far. Think about that number. It’s not small, it’s not insignificant. Imagine 1300 of your neighbours being told they had no right to remain in this country. I used to live in a village with a population of 600. It would have been emptied twice over. I’ve worked in schools with 1000 pupils. Imagine them all gone, and their teachers and maybe all the pupils and staff from the local primary school too to make up the 1300.

What times we live in. Continue reading

Pet Remembrance Day 2018

Since Cat died 20th March 2011 I have invited people to join me the Sunday following the anniversary in remembering our pets. It began the week after Cat died and brought me tremendous comfort. I was overwhelmed by people who emailed me telling me stories of their pets, how much they had loved them, how much they missed them, how much they appreciated those animals’ contribution to their lives.

Often when a pet dies it’s hard to talk about it. Colleagues can be unsympathetic; it’s only a cat/dog/guinea pig is a fairly common response. Yet it is normal and right to grieve, and wrong if we have to hide our grief, be made to feel ashamed, made to feel weak or foolish.
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In Departure

I’m very much looking forward to be reunited with MasterB tonight. Having the dog, cat and kittens at Cousin’s is lovely, but none of them replaces my boy.

That said, and our reunion warmly anticipated at least on my part, I shall be delighted to see WestieBoy, Mistress Lily, Dizzy and Dora when I am next this side of the Irish Sea.

Last night I introduced Dizzy to the delights of technology, and he got the idea and the bug so quickly we were already talking about restricting his screen time access.

 

 

 

 

He reached a high score of 420. I was impressed. I deleted the game and tried to install another one, but my iPad decided this was all together too much and baulked, so I put it on my ‘phone, then had a little tussle reclaiming it from Dizzy. Still, it meant Dora was able to play undisturbed with the mouse which is everyone’s, including the dogs’, favourite toy, and to have forty winks undisturbed by her much larger brother.

 

Just look at that little face. I’m increasingly convinced she’s not from the same litter as Dizzy and that he is several weeks older than she. Did you see them with their mother, I asked Cousin. It transpires there were two adult cats with kittens. Do you think they could be from different litters? Oh yes, she replied, the man is a rascal. Dora remains shyer than Dizzy. That sentence is misleading. Dizzy and shyness are complete strangers. He has decided WestieBoy is his pal and role model and greets him confidently, quite without fear, and thinks his new big friend would be a handy cushion.

Dora claimed WestieBoy’s bed in front of the fire. Although it is much greyer than a week ago thanks to the muck and the slush that have stained the dog’s underbelly a dark brown, she seemed touchingly to think she was not highly visible.

 

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Disaster Averted

“There’s a deer out here with a broken leg,” says Cousin’s husband striding into the house with the Sunday papers. “Phone the RSPCA!” Cousin calls from upstairs. A few minutes late she joins her spouse in the kitchen. “Is someone coming?” she asks. He looks at her blankly. “Did you call the RSPCA? Who’s with it?” Still a blank look. “The deer with the broken leg.” He gives a snort and jerks his head towards the hall. “It’s out there lying on the table.”

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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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