Day Three on das Boot

Day three on the twenty-five foot boat and I’m settling in. Too bad I have to go home tomorrow. In the fields the hay is baled, the leeks have been harvested, something tall that looks like corn is still growing. Men are out and about with guns. Maybe women too. I haven’t seen them, just heard them. And last night there were fireworks.
Who needs fireworks when you can listen to owls calling to each other?
I grew up in the country, and although now I consider myself a Londoner, there is something about the country that calls me, resonates with me. I’ve picked blackberries and my finger nails have been rimed with purple. I helped myself to windfall apples someone had left in a wheelbarrow outside their house. If I hadn’t stopped to talk to the cows in the field next to the marina I should have missed this skin shed by a snake.

Snake skin in the grass

Meanwhile meals have been enlivened by visiting swans. This one comes with her cygnet, approaches the boat then hisses if I so much as look at her offspring.

Visiting swan and cygnet

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Perfect Tuesday

Just on four o’clock and as I don’t drink tea I decided to open one of my cans of weak lager. MasterB is stretched out on the bed, sleeping his way through the heat of the afternoon. I’d post pictures of him and the surrounding farmland, but for some reason my camera and my tablet are not talking. He’s a seasoned boat cat these days; he’s been coming here for five years now, the first time the day after he was neutered, which was also the day of the Royal Wedding. He’s had three lots of shore leave, though this morning’s was very short. Although eager to check out the world beyond the gunwale, he swiftly had second thoughts and opted to come aboard again after less than five minutes.

When I woke up I discovered he had been playing with the feathered toy in the night. I had hidden it away as I don’t want him to choke on it. He is getting too clever at winkling it out if the hiding places.

The morning was spent washing the boat. It is not yet finished, but I have done a good job on the starboard side and the roof. Unfortunately these are the areas where I always do a good job; the port side has green algae of at least two seasons on it. My excuse last year was that I was just getting down to work when with the hose and water pump when I realised the window seals were inadequate and water was pouring into the interior. My excuse today, when I eschewed the electrics and instead used mop, new broom which distressingly shed its bristles with abandon, and old toothbrush, is that older Nephew was coming for lunch and I needed to be showered and have said lunch ready to eat when he arrived. So shortly after eleven, when I had been diligently mopping and rinsing, scrubbing and mopping again for over two hours, I propped the mop in the flagpole holder, lined the broom up beside the landing net (which is not for fishing but in case MasterB falls in) and headed for the shower. Oddly, I was quite sad to curtail my cleaning efforts. Continue reading

Blissfully Afloat

It's a repeat performance. I don't want to go home tomorrow. The sun is warm, the evening long and light. Now nine at night and it is still broad day.

Truly, the northern isles of the UK and the RoI are magical in midsummer. Birds sing. MasterB sleeps. The Shouty Man is quiet and fishing. There are dogs. The lovely Nelson, a black Lab, has got me pinned as a soft touch, thrower of balls, and he brings me fluorescent tennis balls when I go ashore.

Das Boot is more than half clean. The newspaper is entirely unread. I bought eggs from a new source this morning and met a a young Rotweiler who really really wanted to say hello.

I do feel a bit guilty about not seeing Aunt. I shall be back in a couple of weeks and shall devote a day to her.

What I thought was a fairly casual conversation last week has been taken seriously, and apparently there is someone ready and waiting to replace the linings on my boat. This is very good news. Continue reading

With a Lighter Heart

I am smiling more. I know I am. The work isn’t exactly dropping into my lap, but there’s enough to keep me hopeful. And way above that, there’s this feeling of lightness, of a weight being lifted off me. Like I am breathing properly again for the first time in a while.
There was a lot about the salaried job that I have left that I liked, and I don’t just mean the regular, reliable income. But some of the people were, to put it mildly, difficult. I had a boss who never praised me to my face. Instead she would always find something to complain about. Her attitude was picked up on by some staff, and there were a few who copied her example. Others would talk quietly to me, supportive but not obviously so. Too dangerous. Yet my work was recognised by outsiders, in reports; rated as outstanding. Reports and ratings my boss didn’t share with me. Didn’t repeat to my colleagues. Reports I fortunately read for myself. It took its toll. I feel as though I have spent several years just trying to keep afloat. Now I find I can swim. Magic. Continue reading

Westie Boy and His Kittens Update

Back in February, I wrote about Westie Boy and his Kittens.
He was rather rough with them, particularly the ginger and white male who had learned to fear him and cringed, inciting Westie Boy’s inner bully.
Well, things change. The kittens have grown. Westie Boy can still be a bit thuggish with them, but by and large they hold their own, and the three are happy companions. They share an interest in the new chick, are largely ignored by the Big Cat, chase each other around the garden, vie for attention from passing humans, and play wrestle on your feet.

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An Interactive Cat

It’s hot today. The hottest day of the year so far, somewhere around 30C. I used to have a great little gadget, a window thermometer, but then the block management decided to employ a window cleaner who blasts our windows from the ground with jets of water. Bye bye window thermometer.
I don’t feel like doing much, even the things I want to do. Yes, my washing is on the line, I’ve watered the plants and I’ve paid two bills at the bank, but the last hour and half seems to have just gone by with nothing done.
MasterB was flat out until a fly came in and so now he is watching it as it sits tantalisingly out of reach near the top of the door.

Flat Out

Flat Out

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Of Daffodils, A Happy Cat and Spring Sunshine

St David’s Day tomorrow, I shan’t be wearing a daffodil, but I may have leeks for dinner. Yum. The days are lengthening and the sunshine has made a welcome return these past couple of days.
I am finding it makes me want to dawdle and take my time, to peer at plants in the garden and watch the sky. Bad news for the outstanding bits of paperwork cluttering up the sitting room, but probably good for the soul.
I’m not the only one enjoying the promise of spring.

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Forever Home

It probably won’t surprise you that I was a big fan of Animal Hospital and Pet Rescue, all the Vets series, All Creatures Great and Small, every animal programme back to Rag Tag and Bobtail, my favourite pre-school programme.
In the rehoming programmes the oft-used phrase when the appeal is aired is the animal needs a forever home. I even wrote a short screenplay with those words as a title. Quentin Tarantino still hasn’t called.
One of the things that has touched me in the comments about the lost kitten over the last few days is the hope people are willing to invest in her future. We all want her to have her forever home. Maybe even MasterB, just so long as her forever home isn’t also his. Empathy was entirely lacking in his response to her presence in the flat. Even a day later, the crinkle bag where she had slept was subjected to suspicious sniffs. But by and large, within a few hours of her departure, MasterB was relaxed in his home again.

In His Own Home

In His Own Home

Wouldn’t it be nice if at the end of December 2013 I could post a link to and you would find a picture of little kitten grown up and as comfortable as MasterB in the above photo. I quite often hear updates about Ron of Essex when I visit the cattery. This picture is from before he was rehomed, and taking an active interest in the cattery’s hens.

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