The Cat Ripper


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


Five Days On

Five days on from the shooting at Charlie Hebdo and it has been a roller coaster of highs and lows.

The tribute to the murdered policeman Ahmed Merabet by his brother, and his appeals for unity was one of those moments when you feel proud to be a member of the human race. At the very same time as his pain and his grief threatened to overwhelm him, he displayed nobility, generosity and gave an intimate and touching portrayal of his brother. I’d vote for him.

One low spot was reading in todays’s Metro (a free paper and a rag) that the wife of someone who is believed to have mentored the Kouachi brothers is living, on benefits, in the UK. Somehow, I feel that the Metro, and most probably the Standard and the Mail, has rather missed the point of yesterday’s magnificent turn out of unity, despite the pages devoted to it.

Another low spot was hearing how David Cameron, the current Prime Minister, thinks the time is right to allow more surveillance. This is an echo of what the police said the other day. So, and not for the first time in our nation’s recent history, civil rights are to be eroded in the name of security. Do notice how a) those civil rights are never restored, and b) how ‘eavesdropping on terrorists’ does not preclude eavesdropping on everyone.

In France, the military are on the streets to protect the public. This sent a chill down my spine. Too often, in too many countries, the military’s protection has turned into something much more sinister and controlling. Continue reading

Not the Full Ninja

The explosion made me jump and be grateful I wasn’t pouring a drink. Earlier, I checked the local information to see what firework displays were on tonight and was pleased, though a bit surprised, to see that after the Lord Mayor’s display was over, it looked like a quiet night.
MasterB went out around 7.30. I had barely got upstairs when a rocket whooshed loudly outside. Back to the ground level and I found MasterB cowering at the back of the binshed. He wouldn’t come out. I jingled my keys encouragingly. No go. A rattle of biscuits and a fortunate pause between pyrotecnics proved sufficient to persuade him to come to me and in through the front door again. Continue reading

Of Accidents and Disappearing Cats

I heard the accident before I saw it. A dull thud, followed by a high pitched cry, then silence. I know I slowed down. I don’t know why, but I was sure it was a cyclist. It was. When I reached the junction a woman was lying at the side of the road. She wasn’t moving. Another woman stood over her. There was a bicycle in the middle of the road. A young man was speaking urgently into a phone, asking for an ambulance. The woman in the road moved, moaned, “My head, oh my head.” The woman standing over her, spoke to her calmly, and advised her to stay still. She asked if she had any other pain. The woman in the road looked bewildered. she twisted, then yelped and reached for her leg. More people stopped. Two of them also called the emergency services. I decided to leave the scene. The driver was saying to someone at the side of the road, “The light was green wasn’t it?” I glanced at his car and saw the windscreen had caved in and shattered from the impact. I rode home soberly, reflecting that the woman in the road, who hadn’t been wearing a helmet, was lucky to be alive.

Caught in the Light

Continue reading

Replay: January 2009 First Trip to the Pump-Out

I’m reposting three posts that appeared on MyT in January 2009 and putting them all together. I’m not claiming any wonderful literary qualities, but they remind me of how it felt then when I was just getting used to das Boot, and just how cold a boat can be in winter with the doors open…

Open Waters

I had imagined my first sortie in das Boot as a gentle and short one. Enough to convince me that I am worthy of my Helms(wo)man’s Certificate without being too challenging.

However, the toilet on das Boot dictates otherwise. Either it’s full, or something more serious is amiss. So, in a couple of weeks it’s off to the Pump-Out. The Environment Agency has sent me a lock key that I desperately hope I shan’t need. I have yet to study the map, so I am keeping my fingers crossed there’s no lock along the route.

Pump-out means emptying the tank. I’m assured it’s not difficult and I shouldn’t worry, but of course I am. Gillian McKeith would probably think it a good day out. I’ll reserve judgement.
It may turn out that the tank is not full, but that something moved where it shouldn’t have gone during das Boot’s transportation. If so, it’s a trip to the boatyard. In Putney, a young man at the chandlery where I was buying fittings for the electrical hook-up, told me that boat stands for Bring Out Another Thousand. It’s a phrase that has been proving alarmingly true. Continue reading

Champion Carers for the Inner Child

Forgive me for a second post in so short a time. I found writing the last very therapeutic, so I could be putting my coat and scarf on and venturing out into the cold repeatedly this evening. No don’t worry; you’re safe. After this I’ve got to do the round of ‘phone calls to keep people up to date.

I’m feeling quite calm and that I am in the right place doing the right thing, but at the same time, it’s odd.

I have no clear path to follow, no absolute role. I see my self as part guard dog, preventing Mother from being sent off to hospital by a management who would probably find it a lot easier if she weren’t here, and part liaison person between Mother and individual carers who are doing all they can to help. Gradually, most are following my lead and I think we are jointly starting to make inroads into Mother’s newly acquired fear of anyone coming near her and asking her to stand. Continue reading