Notre Dame

I imagine many people woke up this morning thinking about Notre Dame de Paris. I know I did. I was taking a break from watching the news last night, but saw a tweet by @janh1 which alerted me to the disaster. Fire is something I dread, and to see the flames leaping skywards, the black smoke moving across the spring sky, was horrific. Channel 4 news was taking calls from eye witnesses, trying to put together a picture of what was happening. The moment when the spire fell was heart wrenching. Parisiens and visitors to the city stood side by side, watching, helpless. But there is solidarity in a crowd, and at some moment someone must have started singing, and suddenly the internet was full of videos made on mobile ‘phones of the crowd en masse singing Ave Maria as Paris’ cathedral burned. It was beautiful, it was moving, it was intensely sad.

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Jeremy Hardy RIP

Shocked tonight to learn that Jeremy Hardy has died from cancer. For those of you outside the UK his name probably means nothing, but he was a stalwart of Radio 4’s News Quiz and I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue. A truly funny man who was intelligent, left wing, compassionate. His politics didn’t always agree with mine, but that doesn’t make the loss any easier. Here he is on the News Quiz several years ago talking about gay marriage:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R2Qhcq65Ob4 Continue reading

In Praise and Recognition of Pets

Watching a fascinating programme about immigration and its history in the UK. I missed the beginning as the signal was poor, but now I have moved the aerial and balanced it on a box means I have a good picture.

One of the things I enjoy about television on das Boot is how in this small space I can watch it while washing up, cooking, stowing the stuff I have brought abroad.

While I ate (a spicy curry with brown rice since you ask) I watched the Supervet. One of the owners, whose active puppy Noel described as a box of frogs, spoke about how much she loved her puppy, Nala. How Nala was more than she had expected.

Oh how I understand. On the road, when MasterB made the occasional complaint, I examined why I bring him to das Boot, when he so obviously believes car travel is over rated. The fact is das Boot is so much nicer when he is with me. And not just das Boot. Home is so much nicer when he is there. Life is so much better when MasterB is there.

He is affectionate, a moderately good listener, beautiful, funny, playful. He improves my life beyond measure. All loved pets do. To non pet lovers, this may sound crazy, deluded, maybe even sad, proof of impoverished lives where humans fail to make significant relationships with other humans.

Except that it has proved over and over again that pet owners are happier and healthier, that we connect not only with our animals but with others of our own species.

It has been hot in London the last few days. Fortunately much cooler today. As is our wont, Octavia and I ate together on Sunday night. We enjoyed the warm evening and dined in her small courtyard garden. The Grey Ninja lay on the wall. Her paws lifted to the skies. The very picture of a cat on a hot brick wall. If only I had had my big camera with me (a lament I may repeat over the next few days at das Boot as I am already regretting only bringing my point and shoot).

Octavia called to her. I wish we had been filming this. Her hot cat spread the toes of one paw in response. Fabulous. My own hot cat, the Ginger Ninja, slept on his back with his front legs stretched out like skis. His appetite flagged; he cried to me to turn the heat down; he wanted to stay in the garden late at night when I wanted him in. Continue reading

Cows

I should be in bed. I should be asleep. It's late and I have a busy day ahead of me tomorrow. But today I got the message I have been expecting; A has died. Maybe I shall give her full name later, but for tonight, just enjoy this poem by her, one I liked the moment she handed it to me to read sometime in the early 90s. My copy still has the creases where I folded it into eight.

 

I hope it gives you a flavour of her eye, of her humour. Continue reading

The Legacy

I got a quietly desperate message from a friend this morning asking when I was home. Her cat, Nofret, who I wrote about here is seriously ill. A pretty tabby with striking white paws, he has been her cat for seventeen years, joining her when he was a tiny kitten, too young to be separated from his mother.
I called her and learned that Nofret is seriously ill. He has had blood tests and has thyroid and liver problems. She is speaking to the vet later; the same vet she introduced me to with Freddy all those years ago, the same vet she drove me to a year ago when Freddy died, the same vet who has been attending Nofret all his long life. She and her husband are not hopeful. Nofret’s days, maybe his hours, are numbered. Continue reading