…if tonight Cat slept soundly and his tummy were settled.
At half past one this morning, I was woken up by a horridly unhealthy noise coming from the bathroom, then a lot of digging. We are afloat, so the geographical proximity of the litter tray to the bed where I sleep is rather closer than at home. Before the smell could invade the whole boat, I cleared it up, replenished the litter tray, tied up the black bag and left it on the gunwhale.
For breakfast, Cat enjoyed half a sachet of Sensitive Control while I had a fried egg, and I rather hoped that was that.
I spent the day with Mother, cooking quantities of root vegetables to put in her freezer, reading poetry – The Whitsun Weddings by Philip Larkin had her transfixed – doing lots washing, tidying the hot press (and discovering a missing sock in the process, these small triumphs count for a lot), and chatting. She struggled to get our exact relationship clear. Today she came up with a new variation, asking me if I was her wife. She was very pleased to find I was her daughter, but asked if she was letting me down, saying she wasn’t being a very good mother. Then she said she’d love me to meet Isobel. A year ago she talked often about the circumstances of my father’s death. Last week, she asked me why he didn’t visit her. I never know quite where the cheese holes in her memory are going to be from visit to visit.
I got back to the boat about nine hours after I’d left it, feeling pretty tired, and glad I’d picked up a reduced pizza for an easy supper. Aboard, I discovered that Cat’s upset tum had continued while I was away, and the effects had not been confined to the litter tray. It took a bit of planning, another black bag and quite a lot of scrubbing to put things straight. Thank goodness for wipes and old newspaper.
While I was at work, one of the swan families turned up. The single parent family it seems. My knowledge of swan-sexing being on the limited side, I’m guessing it’s a female Mute Swan. She noticed my windows were open and promptly started knocking on the boat, then moving back to make eye contact with me in a clear demand for food. I’d actually brought back some of Mother’s discarded toast to feed the birds so she was lucky, but it took a while to convince her the café was closed.
Cat refused to eat anymore Sensitive Control, despite the evidence in the black bag that he needed it, and gazed steadfastedly at the cupboard, then ate his biscuits. I put the pizza in the oven. As it cooked, Cat sat up and looked out, his ears swivelling at the sound of the cygnets nibbling at the weed around the marina. Then he asked to go out. I turned off the oven and chaperoned him ashore . Cue grass-eating. I hoped he’d take the opportunity to have a pee and a poo and if there was any more diarrhoea that it would be buried in a neat little hole off the boat. But despite my pointing out some easy dig soil, he came back on board without digging any holes.
I finally got to eat after nine o’clock. Which might explain why I’m here now, still winding down, instead of tucked up in bed asleep.