Thursday, 27 October 2011

Cats Tails (1V) - Footsie

This is a skewed as usual, scan of our late lovely Footsie.

This is the second attempt I've made to write this post but as with my previous one it vanished half way through.

I hate it when this happens because 2nd attempts lose the spontenaity of the original effort.

However, the story, for the second time goes like this:

Walking back from the pillar box one morning a few years ago, I spotted on a doorstep an unfamiliar little black and white cat which was miaowing very loudly.

Half amused, and half concerned I continued on my way.

A few days later, walking the same route I once again saw the cat on the same doorstep, door firmly closed and seeing this time how very thin the cat was, walked up to the door and rang the bell.

Having tried several times with no success, I went to the house next door and rang their bell.

The woman who opened the door explained that the cat was a stray which had appeared a few days earlier and had obviously headed for a house with resident cats in hope of being fed. Her neighbour had fed the little soul but could not take it in as her two cats were very aggressive towards it.

By now the little bony creature was winding itself round my legs and I was able to see that it had and old collar which was dangling on its bony shoulders like a mayoral chain, with the empty end of an identity cylinder attached.

Since it was a screw-in container the useful bit had clearly been removed so that the owner could not be identified.

Thoroughly concerned by now, I headed back home to tell John about it and to my surprise the cat came too.
He simply trotted behind me right up to the front door which John opened.  When he spotted my companion he groaned "oh no, not again", followed quickly by "he's very thin isn't he?".

The rest, as they say, is history.

Footsie lived with us for nearly 11 years, during which John grew to love him so much that every time we took him to the vet, and there were dozens, he used to lift him out of the cat-carrier and cuddle him while we waited to be seen.

He was never well, had numerous operations, dozens of treatments, but in the interim was always a most loving and sweet-natured little creature.

I had wanted to call him fingers, he had tiny white mittens on his 'hands' and big white boots on his 'feet', but John wouldn't let me.  He said it made him sound like a Mafia hood and insisted on his feet being the focus of his name.  So Footsie, he was.

Among his less agreeable habits was his hobby of single-handedly (I use the word advisedly) demolishing first a beautiful three-seater sofa, then the superbly comfortable chair which matched it, before turning his attentions to the two-seater sofa, companion to the other two items.

Thoroughly fed up by now, I cut from the arm-protectors of the big sofa, a piece of carefully matched material which I then fabric-glued to cover the first attempts by the furry terrorist to ruin this survivor of his attacks.

I watched him sneak up to the sofa sniff, back off, sniff again, then "bingo", he departed tail like a ram-rod, disgust in every muscle and he never went near it again.

These days it wears a tailored loose cover, which i wish I'd thought of in time to save the other two victims of our demolition expert.

This was nothing, however, weighed against the years of pleasure he gave us.

When his increasing ill-health became too much for him to cope with and he was visibly struggling we had to make the horrible decision and with Robin our lovely vet said our last goodbyes to him, leaving the surgery just about able to stand up and vowing that 'never again' would we give our hearts so completely to another needy heartbreaker.

Since this was only a short while before John's final illness,  I have never yet found the courage to take on another creature in need of love and care, but there is still time.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Irritation and Patience (2nd attempt)

Sitting this morning doing some necessary sewing and not therefore in the best of moods, I found my patience becoming more frayed by the minute listening to the hysterical yapping of the animated dish-mop which thinks it's a dog in the garden of a house at the back of mine.

My irritation grew to the point of implosion and as I opened the back door ready to turn the hose on the offending hairy mouse I saw that it was doing its tiny best to warn anybody/somebody that there was an intruder about.

That the intruder in question was a window cleaner at the top of a ladder some three doors down made not one iota of difference to the minute would-be gladiator which was by now virtually screaming.

This finally reached the ears of his owner who opened the door and yelled at him in her native Hungarian to shut up.  He did, and all was silent again.

Although this was a reasonable response to a perceived threat the noise had got to me, and combined with my underlying exasperation at the none-appearance of my repair man (tumble-dryer) who had promised to come late morning or very early afternoon and who has still not shown at 3.45 pm, is sufficient to warrant irritation on the Richter scale of about 9.

I always understood that as one grew older ones levels of patience increased, while the ease with which we are irritated decreases at the same rate.

So far this has not proved to be the case with me.  Never one of my virtues (if indeed I have any), patience appears to be a 'bridge too far', while the causes of irritation, annoyance and sheer bad temper seem to be on the increase day by day.

Has anyone a magic cure?

Oh, and by the way, the repair man is still nowhere to be seen.

Grrrr!

Disappearing posts

I have just spent half an hour writing what I thought was a reasonably good post only for it to vanish as i pressed the publish button.
This has happened previously to comments I've tried to make on other people's blogs but I have never lost a whole post before.
Has anyone else experience of the blog thief?  and if so, how do I prevent more of my magnum opus from becoming a magnum 'opeless'?

Irritation and Patience

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

My second greatest addiction - Holby City.

Have just watched another excellent story from the 1st rate "Holby City".

As ever, there were two or three separate stories running concurrently, one being the dilemma of two brothers, illegal immigrants, one of whom had suffered a serious stab wound.

The second story was of a nun who had lived in an enclosed order for 40 years and her decision to re-enter the world outside the convent.

In the background there was the ongoing fight for the survival of the hospital's Trust Foundation status with the business 'jackals' sharpening their teeth while the enigmatic but of course, noble, Henrik Hansen, on the side of the angels, strives to protect 'his' hospital.

Each of the stories was well developed and the characters totally believable.

This is highly addictive stuff and has the merit of always keeping at least one foot on the ground, so that some sympathy can be afforded even the least likeable characters while the others are slowly acquiring cult status.

The love and/or sexual tensions which thread their way through the series are always realistic and believable and if i sound like the number one fan/addict of this series, that's because I am.

Sometimes it  is good to just put ones feet up and enjoy some really good TV.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Things are not always what they seem

I spent some time yesterday in a hospital waiting room awaiting a scan and passed the time, as I often do, in people watching.

There were all the usual suspects, those who were clearly ill and in pain.  Those who were fearful of results. Those who were there to accompany patients, including one small boy of around four years of age.

He was quiet and subdued, pale and thin, and on his upper arms were great black bruises.

Familiar scenario to those of us addicted to Casualty and Holby City.  Though not necessarily a good guide to the child's problems.

Watching with interest to see who would call him in to be seen, I was surprised to hear "Mrs X, we're ready for you now".  Whereupon a small even paler woman in a wheelchair turned to the child and said "xxxx bring my handbag love" and wheeled herself, closely followed by the boy into the consulting room.

Later, she was wheeled on a trolley into the room for her scan and her little boy chatting away to the nurses with them followed carrying her bag.

Now none of this proves anything, merely that it is easy to misread a situation at a casual glance.

It reminded me quite suddenly of an occasion some seven or eight years ago.

I was, as usual, running down the stairs at home when for some reason I lost my footing, pitched forward and fell down the remaining two or three stairs.  I fell forward hitting my face on the front door and collapsed in a heap in the hallway.

John, who had been watching TV ran out to scrape me up, whereupon I fainted.

When i came round, he had opened the front door and was getting the car out of the garage, deeming it quicker to take me than to call an ambulance as our local hospital is only about three miles away.

I was shaky and my head and face hurt but otherwise alright.

On being taken into A & E we got a rather strange reception, I was heaped onto a trolley and put in a side room while John was taken to one side and questioned closely about the accident.

An ECG, blood-pressure, temperature taken, and face photographed age later, we were reunited and as the nurse in the room began to bathe the forehead which by now hurt like h... we realised that they had jumped to the conclusion that I was a 'battered wife'.

Once they grasped that John was the gentlest of men and wouldn't hurt a flea, let alone me, they suddenly became overwhelmingly sympathetic, brought us tea and made all manner of soothing noises.

When I saw my face in the mirror at home I realised that the huge, ostrich egg sized lump, my black eyes and bruised arms had perhaps had something to do with their hostile reaction, but it made me think just how easy it is to make a mountain out of a molehill and completely misinterpret what we are apparently seeing.

A lesson there I think.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Things that go Squish

The picture of the one and only bloom my Romneya produced this year is unrelated to this post, except that it is pretty and a refuge from some of the less attractive inhabitants of my tiny, desperately overcrowded garden.

Lured out (rather too easily) from a housework day, by the warm sunshine, I have spent quite a bit of time and energy this morning trying to reduce the number of weeds in my jungle.

I know how much I've done, but I rather doubt anyone else would notice and I was just stepping back onto paving from the tangled flower bed when I felt/heard that most ominous of sounds, a crack followed by a squish,

Ugh!  I have just stepped on a snail!  Horror, disgust, pity, guilt, what a mixture of emotions.

For some inexplicable reason snails and their second cousins, slugs, turn my stomach to such a degree that I will avoid an area where I know they are to be found for days, weeks even.

A gardener friend picks them up and puts them in a heap then stamps on them with his gardening boots.
Nothing on earth would persuade me to follow his example.  First of all, they have  a right to live (i think), even though they are disgusting.  Secondly killing anything fills me with guilt, and thirdly, I have no big gardening boots and even if I did have, would never be able to stamp on them.

Actually I fear there may be far worse things lurking in the terribly overgrown wilderness that was once a well-kept garden, such as mice or even rats.

Although it is almost certain we will have very few more such lovely warm days this year I just can't face going out there again today.

Does this put me in line for wimp of the year, or am I one of many?

Monday, 10 October 2011

Burning the Midnight Oil

The lovely Spock has nothing whatever to do with this post (no change there then), but I have the picture in my file and as it is about 1.30 am and I can't sleep, I felt like a quick peep at his beautiful ears.

Well you know how weird I am by now!

Sometimes insomnia can have its benefits.

The wind is currently rattling the blind on the one and only open window - soon have to shut that one too - and the noise is reminiscent of scurrying feet.

Odd how strange ordinary sounds become in the wee small hours.

Just an averagely boring day despite a good service this morning - no, I mean yesterday morning - the rector having returned from retreat in fine form and a goodly number of children for him to 'play' with.

I made a brief foray into the gale-swept garden and fought briefly with an unfriendly rose bush.  Too windy to stay out for long so gave up, as is my wont.  Sorted  my linen cupboard for want of something better to do and discovered I have an enormous collection of old but still good bed-linen to dispose of.  Now I have no excuse I'll have to find an organisation which needs or can use it.  Wish I hadn't started.

Next sorted glassware cupboard.  Have enough glass to stock a small shop.  One of the problems of being a magpie.

Settled to watch Downton this evening, thoroughly enjoyed it but felt wide awake instead of ready for bed. Ominous sign and sure enough followed by midnight perambulations.

It's times like this I wish I lived in a really huge house, at least there'd be somewhere to walk round.

Thirty years ago I'd have dressed and gone for  a walk.  Wouldn't even consider it these days.

I might have to think seriously about taking on another moggy since they are naturally nocturnal, perhaps  we could be bored and wide awake all night together.  The only problem is he or she could make up for lack of sleep by day, while I have to live what passes for a life these days.

No, not a mog then.  Perhaps I could move in with a colony of bats.  One more would scarcely be noticed.

Normally I don't read my posts, I finish them, press publish and away they go, warts and all, but reading this for a change it reads as though I've finally lost the plot.  Or as though I'm 'on' something.  Perhaps that's the answer to insomnia, not sleeping pills but something like wacky baccy?

I know that when it's time to get up (if I were not already up), my baggy eyes will be ready to close and the dawn will feel distinctly unwelcome but that wouldn't really matter if my brain would operate efficiently.
Unfortunately as my day begins my one remaining 'little grey cell' shuts down and reasoning and logic become Olympian feats while a sense of humour is a totally foreign concept.

If anyone has any suggestions  which might help I'd gladly consider them.  Decent ones only please.

Friday, 7 October 2011

There's Nowt so Queer as Folk


Since my spider phobia is now (to the point of screaming boredom) well documented, I feel it is time to admit - after all it is Friday - to another curious phobia/foible.

I have a fear of heights.  I know, so what?  Not just that simple though.
This fear, quite common in its can't climb anything and look down form, is accompanied by an equally overwhelming fear of high buildings.

This is really very weird and has been a part of my life since childhood.  Since which time I've tried many times to rationalise and overcome what I  assume is part of the same phobia.

The last serious attempt to break the mould was when I persuaded John to take me up the Dome of St Paul's Cathedral to the 'whispering gallery'.  Drastic, but I thought probably as good a way as any to kill it off once and for all.

John, who was not all that keen on enclosed spaces, agreed reluctantly to tackle the spiral stairs with its several billion steps, I following closely behind him and hanging on to his jacket.  This apart from being pretty exhausting - we were then in our early sixties - was ok up to the point where the steps  narrowed and we were able to look down as well as up.

My heart started to hammer, I was cold and clammy and felt as though I might die.

John seeing the state I was in  said, "we're almost at the top, only a few more steps".

I couldn't answer and as we reached the last step, gasped "you go out there, I'll wait here for you to come and get me", and clung to the wall, back pressed against it and eyes tight shut.

A minute or two later, it seemed like hours, back he came, grabbed me firmly and we began the descent.

It was infinitely worse going down than the ascent and when we reached the bottom my legs gave way and I sat on the floor and cried.

John nearly died of embarrassment and declared there and then that this was the last time I was ever to attempt to beat this fear.

That however, is only one facet of this malady, the other, being the fear, absolute horror of tall buildings.

We spent a lot of our time in the Netherlands on short holidays over a period of years, and the last one we ever did was to Utrecht, which has the tallest Cathedral tower in the country.

There was a song recital we wanted to attend on one of the days and we duly arrived about 10 minutes before it began.

I cannot even begin to describe the affect the sight of this immense dark tower had on me, and in the end the only way we could get into the building in time was for me to hold on to John shut my eyes and let him lead me in.

When we left after the concert he wanted to photograph the building so I just turned my back and waited until he could once again collect me.  I didn't look back until we were about a quarter of a mile away when it had retreated to a more 'normal' size.

Yes, I do know I'm weird.  What's your excuse?

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

The Elephant in the Room

A post I read today by Jonathan Hagger resonated strongly with me in that it dealt with "turning the other cheek".

This is a difficult concept for many of us to come to grips with, since it demands what feels like a totally unnatural response from an incensed and aggrieved individual to the perpetrator of an injustice perceived or real.

In the church community to which I am happy to belong there is an individual whose prime objective in life appears to be upsetting and causing offence to as many people as possible in any one day.

The first time I was the object of such an attack, my response was swift and unthinking.  Angry and unaware of having said anything in any way provocative, I fired back on all cylinders giving as good as I had got.

After the "fiery angel" had departed slamming the door almost off its hinges, there was a brief silence, then, to my amazement a howl of laughter from the two other people in the room.

"Oh dear", said one of them, "you will know better next time".

Understandably annoyed, I asked what on earth they meant, and further, what had I done to deserve it.
Nothing at all they said - almost in unison - you were just in the line of fire and when this particular person is on a 'mission' the only sensible response is none at all.

After witnessing the same treatment being meted out to other unfortunates, who were perceived as easy targets I began slowly to see a pattern emerging, and over quite a long period of time, have learned to accept that this particular individual has no idea of the hurt, anger embarrassment and sheer unpleasantness they create and that the only possible response is indeed silence.

It is not easy when a particularly sharp stone is hurled at  you, on a vulnerable day to maintain an air of total indifference, but it does work, and over a period of time can become your response to all attacks/slights and  has also the great merit of leaving you with the moral high ground.

It is with a bit of hard work, possible to see that the problem lies not with the victim, but with the attacker.

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Blissful Oblivion

Lucky you.  You are gradually getting to see every picture of a sunset I've ever taken from my bedroom window.

This latest in the original, had the most amazing mix of beautiful colours, but, unfortunately they have not down-loaded well.

Well, that's my story anyway.

Today it has been almost too hot to breath.  Not my favourite weather by any stretch of the imagination, but I did what housework I had to do early, very early, before it was light.

The dawn chorus means nothing to me, the birds get up so late around here.  Putting out food before they've opened their beaks goes largely unappreciated.

At around 9.30 judging it to be late enough not to waken my weekend snoozing neighbours, I was out chopping bits off my front garden shrubs,  All very unscientific, but necessary in order to see out of my front windows.

After a brief chat with one of the neighbours who informed me it was "a glorious day" I retreated to the comparative coolness of the garage where I had intended to start throwing out some of the accumulated junk of 20 years, only to find large numbers of arachnids lurking in every corner.

Beating a hasty retreat into the already too warm house, I opened every window, upstairs and downstairs,
swigged about a pint of cold water, kicked off my shoes and sprawled on the bed.

The post crashing through the letter-box woke me from my anaesthesia with a jump and I looked incredulously at the clock - one fifteen - am or pm I wasn't sure for a minute.

By my reckoning that was about two and a half hours of total oblivion.  Pure bliss.

If only it were as easy to sleep at night.