Pets Make a Home a Home

Amazing what pets can do. And I’m not talking about high fives, playing dead or catching burglars, though the last is pretty impressive too. I mean what they can do for us, for our well-being and happiness.

Take Romeo. The manager of the shop where Romeo is the resident mouser is something of a tough guy, yet in a few short weeks Romeo has captured his heart. He comes when he’s called (Romeo, not the manager). “Does your cat do that?” the manager asks me. “Not usually,” I answer truthfully, omitting to say that MasterB is my shadow when we are outside and amuses my neighbours the way he follows me about. The manager gives me a smile that is both pitying and superior.

A week ago Romeo arrived home limping and crying. Much consternation and he was taken to the vet. The manager missed him dreadfully. No pretty tabby with tail aloft greeting him when he arrived at work each day. After a couple of days absence, MasterB realised his persecutor was no longer around and returned to the garden with renewed enthusiasm. Today he was looking out of the sitting room window and started meowing and looking round at me. I joined him and saw Romeo in the loading bay at the back of the shop. MasterB has refused all invitation to go out.

Good for my health

Good for my health

Later I learned that MasterB’s alarm was raised within minutes of Romeo’s return. I am glad to see he isn’t limping, and I am hoping his extremities have been removed and that he will gradually lose his urge to dominate our garden and poo in high places. I’m getting a bit fed up with sluicing it away with buckets of water.

Last night there was the second of two programmes about puppies. I watched with MasterB. He really did watch, face tilted up to the screen. “Shall we have one?” I asked him. He turned to look at me. I can’t say his look held enthusiasm. “Not here,” I explained. “We could move; you could have a cat flap and your own garden. No Romeo.” Still unimpressed. “One like that,” I persevered as a German Shepherd with ears to die for came on the screen. He yawned. Continue reading

Journey With a Lighter Heart

She was better than I dared hope, and her surprised reaction, her face breaking into a delighted smile when she saw me, was worth millions. I had brought three bottles of her favourite fruit juice, M&S’ Kale and Mango. It looks like water from a particularly scummy pond, but tastes like heaven.


By the time I left, shortly after four this afternoon, there was very little of the 750ml left in the first bottle. If you can drink a bottle a day I said, and she refrained from telling me I was being bossy, it should keep you hydrated and ward off UTIs. They are the things we have to watch out for, they’ll make you fall. And you feel dreadful, she added, showing me that what I told her was nothing she didn’t know already.


It was extremely difficult to broach the carer conversation. But about an hour before I left I managed it. I had been speaking to one of the community nursing team, repeating my fear that Aunt will develop pressure sores on her heels. She raised the subject of carers. I explained how Aunt and I had both been less than impressed by some of Mother’s carers. I gave examples. The nurse tutted and said she saw what I meant.

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I spoke to Aunt this afternoon. She sounded well, cheerful, very together. We talked about the weather, the gradually lengthening days, hyacinth bulbs, the promise of spring. We wished each other a happy new year.

We didn’t talk about the fall she had a couple of days ago and the bruise on her head. We didn’t talk about the phone calls she made to my mobile and my landline from half past four this morning until the noise of the ringing phone finally woke me up to listen to a series of scared and disorientated messages. I’m glad I heard the messages before she called me again, as disturbing though they were, they gave me some insight into what was going on in her mind.

I know she knows about the fall, because she talked about it with Linda this morning. I am less convinced she remembers the ‘phone calls and her fear that she ‘had spoiled everything’, that she had lost me and could not find me, however much she searched.

I wonder if her belief that I had been with her and then had unaccountably disappeared was triggered by yesterday’s conversation when I said I should be visiting just as soon as I get three days off together. So today I said nothing about looking at the possibility of coming up by coach one evening and going home the next.

Linda and I talked for a long time tonight. Aunt called Linda when she fell and Linda, still in her pyjamas, raced to be by her side, to dial 111 and get paramedics out to see her, staying with her from midnight until four in the morning. Aunt doesn’t want me, or anyone to know she fell, but the bruise on her head is apparently very obvious, so I will notice. She told Linda it was to be their secret. This makes me very uncomfortable. I am glad Linda tells me, because these ‘secrets’ help no one, and I could almost be cross with Aunt for leaning on Linda in this way. It’s not fair. Continue reading

Aunt Online

Again yesterday I found a journey by car heart wrenching. I drove from the marina to visit Aunt. Each turn in the road a reminder of those days driving to and from Mother. I had thought I was beginning to scab over. These journeys tell me that there is a lot of healing yet to go. It’s not a bad thing. More a reality check.
At Aunt’s, where she had soup ready, we played with tablets and smart phones. Her wonderful cleaner, Linda, was there. She seldom emails, leaving it to the men in her family. So we had a three way message sending session. Linda, to her delight, realised how easy it is to send photos. Aunt received two pictures of her cat Charlie in various sleeping poses.
Aunt became pretty proficient at turning the tablet on and off, finding her email, opening it. Seeing the picture. I sent her some of MasterB and some from my ‘phone of mother in the last days. She finds typing laborious, not being familiar with keyboards. I suggested she could acknowledge emails with a smiley face. She liked that idea. She just needs to do the eyes before the mouth, and we’ll have lift off. Continue reading