Once in a Very Blue Moon

Off to see Aunt this weekend. The last time before Christmas. She sounded tired when we spoke on the ‘phone, so I am not sure what to expect. I am hopeful she will see the New Year, and that when it comes, death will be quiet and gentle, and take her while she sleeps. I know that’s what she wishes too.

Knowing someone is going to die anticipates missing them. This time next year, I do not expect to be packing the car boot with fruit juices to take to Aunt, choosing flowers to give her for Christmas. Visiting Aunt is full of these significant moments that I know could be the last time I see her mixed in with ordinary practicalities.

What are the questions I should be asking her? the conversations this time next year I’ll wish we’d had?

Each year there’s one less card to write; 2013 Mother; 2014 Aunt Nessa; 2015 Aunt Kath. My older cousins move into the position of family elders.

Yesterday while I dusted I listed to a tape of Nanci Griffith. Continue reading

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Duvet Days and Cultural Craic

It's weather that tells you to curl up on a sofa with the papers or a book. Yesterday I *babysat* the puppy while everyone else attended a funeral. There were three funerals locally. Some wanted to show their faces and pay their respects at all of them.

Cousin lit a fire before she left. Yes it was that cold. Pip thought it was a great idea.

The two adult dogs, no doubt correctly reading the attitudes of the humans around them, also decided it was a day for little activity. A duvet day, Cousin called it.

The puppy, aka the Thuglet, was not on the same page. As Pip and Westie Boy snuggled into warm beds, she had just one idea on her mind; to make them play. She really didn't want to take no for an answer. Even when that no was uttered in increasingly impatient and irritated growls.

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Back on the Boat Again

Oh it’s a hard life: leaving London in the rain and driving east to where the forecast says it’s dry, and finding it’s true. Watching the sunset go down with a glass of cider close at hand. My window frames slightly cleaner than when I arrived. Not difficult that; you could have planted potatoes in them when I got here.

Only one thing missing to make it a perfect evening. MasterB has remained in London with the lovely neighbours. It made the cleaning easier; I vacuumed, and where Cat thought the vacuum was a love rival, MasterB thinks it is a dangerous alien.

Between cleaning and dinner (and there is more cleaning to be done if anyone would like to volunteer), I went for a walk. Harvested hay; flowers by the verge, slows; cyclists enjoying the fine evening; a lone swan when I got back to the marina. Continue reading

Hydrangea Nights

Two gratuitous pictures of wet hydrangea coming up, though maybe I shall submit this as this week’s photo challenge. After days of warmth, blue skies and sunshine, and sometimes almost unbearable humidity, the skies crackled and then cracked at lunchtime today, releasing a few splashy drops of rain at first, then getting into their stride and summoning thunder, lightning and a real downpour. People ran and dodged in the City streets.

Against my plans, I made a dash for home to secure windows and shutters, grab a proper waterproof, and head back out.

MasterB was unimpressed with my turnaround time; surely I had time to play and cuddle? No, sadly not.

By this evening, things had calmed down, dried out. There is a fresh feel to the air which has been absent for the last week or two.
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MasterB’s Shore Leave

I’m a bit wet. I have been standing in the rain between the marina and the river for several minutes. MasterB decided about an hour ago that he would like to go ashore. Once onto the gunwale, I lifted him and carried him to the path. I still don’t have a gangplank, and his leaps from prow to shore are not good for my nerves. I strapped him into his harness, sorry, make that his Mynwood Cat Jacket. I was a bit over zealous and he couldn’t move until I loosened it a bit. He made for the fence and gazed across the field. Then he turned his attention to the rise where my car is parked. The ginger and white feral was sitting there. MasterB sat down. Then he lay down. He watched. He waited. The minutes passed. Ten of them. I try to be patient, but I was getting bored. I sat down too and started talking to him, suggesting we had a little walk. I’d like to think it was my persuasive arguments, but it was probably just that he has decided the feral posed no immediate threat, and in a couple of minutes we were off again. I thought I felt rain in the air. MasterB was sniffing and watching, walking fairly steadily and calmly, his ears swivelling round at sounds. A swan paddling at some lick along the river caught and held his attention. He stared, one front paw raised above the ground. Continue reading

A Lighter Heart

I have said it before I know, but I do get spoiled by having the marina to myself, and all the peace and quiet, the tranquility, the chance to be alone for once. Today was wet. Very wet at times. I forgot my waterproof trousers, and today would have been a good day to have them. As it turned out, I was away from the marina for most of the day. A couple arrived as I was leaving, and I wondered if, although it is Friday the marina might still be empty tonight. MasterB and I had a bit of a play and a cuddle after breakfast, and it was only when he took himself back to bed under my pillows that I set off. I had some shopping to do and then it was time to see Aunt. Although I speak to her regularly on the ‘phone, I haven’t seen her for a while, and I was dismayed to see how she has slowed down. She sounds just as lively as ever on the ‘phone, so it was a bit of a shock. We had lunch together and I showed her my iPad. She tried out the keyboard and liked it. Next we checked with her telephone provider to see how much it would cost for her to have WiFi. Eureka, there is a special offer at the moment and it will actually cost her less for the first twelve months than the phone package she has now. Deal.Now I need to get her a tablet. I’m leaning towards the new Samsung as it takes a USB, and is supposed to be very straightforward, but am open to suggestions. Continue reading

Thursday Continued

NotCat’s poo is now stowed under the car. Tomorrow I shall take it with me when we leave. That’s not because I have some weird retentive fetish about holding onto NotCat’s body waste, there are no rubbish disposal facilities here. I’ll get rid of it at the earliest opportunity. Even wrapped in newspaper and inside a bag, it still packs quite a punch.

It is still raining, but it feels like it might stop soon. There was a mighty noise a while ago and I nearly spilled my cocoa. Wet weather is such a good opportunity for cocoa appreciation. Anyway, NotCat growled, I looked out, and there was a heron. By the time I got my camera it had moved away, but I hovered hopefully, wondering if it would come back or if one of the kingfishers might appear. No such luck, so here is a photo of a distant heron. If you look carefully, you’ll see it.

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My interest in ornithology continued for several minutes and I watched this bird, who was considerably happier swimming around the marina than I would be.

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When the kingfisher didn’t show up, I watched the rain bouncing on the water.

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I am also keeping an eye on a boat across the marina. I earned my good deed badge this morning when I noticed it behaving oddly. I realised one of the ropes had become detached and it was swinging about. At first, I couldn’t see any spare rope, then spotted a loop that was far inferior to the rope at the other end of the boat, waited for the wind to blow it towards the pontoon again and reattached it. So far so good.

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Wet Night at the Marina

Tucked up cosily on the boat. We are lucky; the weather which has been mainly dry on the journey, has changed to steady rain. It beats an energetic rhythm on the roof.

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NotCat sleeps on the bed which is airing with the electric blanket. When he climbed out of the car, in his harness with the lead attached, he was curious and alert. Then some people appeared and he flattened himself on the grass until they had gone. I was glad to see him recover his nerve, and even gladder when he led me in a sure line towards the boat. He stopped and sniffed the path, looked about him, interested and relaxed.

The wind was up and although he walked onto the pontoon confidently enough, he soon had second thoughts. We retreated and roamed the area by the fence. Then back to the pontoon. This time I picked him up. I had visions of him panicking and both of us ending in the water.

Last time we were here I found a damp place under the window when I stripped the bed. It was just before we left and we were already late. I have had my fingers crossed it was condensation. I let out a sigh of relief when I found it dry today.

So I have eaten. The bed is freshly made. The food stowed in fridge and cupboard. My book waits for me. Tonight I shall start on Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel. But first a glass of rum.