Thursday, 1 November 2007

Whizzes and Bangs

We've had a major breakthrough, Pebbles and me. I approached her, singing and pretending not to be interested in her as she huddled against the back of the dining room chair under the table. I put my hand close and before she could scamper off I tickled her under her chin and behind her ear - Yes! She liked it and began purring, then rolling over so that I could tickle her tum. That's when I noticed an engorged tick on the end of her tail. What do I do about a tick? I can't apply a lighted cigarette; a. because no way would this kitten allow me near with one, and b. I don't smoke! So, I phoned daughter number four, and on it's way to me is a tick remover which apparently resembles a miniature pick-axe. The kitten is gradually being de-wormed, although she doesn't know it, (through her food); any fleas will soon be zapped with magic kitten stuff; all courtesy of daughter number four who is a senior veterinary nurse and who is gradually treating me as her mum again after so long in the cold. The only thing left to conquer is Banjo... hmm.

Bonfire night approaches and I shall be staying in each evening, giving the Gym and miss until all the whizzes and bangs are over. Mind you, I wouldn't mind a few whizzes and bangs myself!

Safe House

The last thing I heard as I lay in bed last night was the hissing and growling of my cat as she'd finally discovered that another cat was definitely hiding out in the dining room. She'd had her suspicions all week, sitting outside the glass-panelled door peering in. Her suspicions were confirmed last night when she saw a small grey blur scoot across the room and onto a chair. I called downstair to her; saying firmly, "Banjo NO! Come to bed!" She did as she was told, taking a backward glance at the door in defiance.

In my semi-conscious state this morning I dreamt I was wading into a flooded area of ground to rescue a friend trapped in a submerged and very expensive car. He was trying to climb through the window and all I could see was his hand waving just above the water line. I swam as hard as I could but didn't seem to be getting anywhere near him. Then he bobbed to the surface and waved saying he was okay. I woke to the purring of Banjo by my head as her paw patted me on my cheek to wake me up and let her out of the house.

What do I do about this terrified kitten? The last of the rescued kittens is next door and is now happily playing with all the family, purring, cuddling up, and being cute; what am I doing wrong? Is it because she is so different in personality? Is it because of Banjo? Does she still not feel safe and confident in my warm house? Is it me?

Like my dream, I seem to be trying very hard but not getting anywhere. Perhaps like my dream, my little kitten will eventually wave her paw and say, "I'm okay."

Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Window of Opportunity

For the last few weeks I've had ideas about starting my own business; embryonic ideas at the moment, which has prompted me to undertake research into websites, sourcing, costing, distribution and a whole load of 'new' concepts. While I don't have the finances to embark on a large retail project - yet, I am looking to start with a website-based business to test the market.

The new kitten has taken up more time than I'd like, but when providing shelter for a wild kitten, all normal day-to-day activities go out the window.

'Pebble' now uses two litter trays and very frequently. Within the confines of the closed dining room, he or she has found it's way onto the large sideboard and is huddled under the lamp, which I haven't been able to switch off for 24 hours as he or she hisses whenever I approach. I sing and pretend it really isn't there as I go in and out to change litter trays and top up the food dish. Just like a baby; little and often - both ends!

I have now constructed a large inner door frame of chicken wire, using old bits of wood and bamboo to support the wire. The construction will fit over the glass-panelled existing door to the room where Pebble has taken over. The reason? So that my existing mature cat Banjo and Pebble can see, hear and more importantly - smell each other; thus enabling a better chance of them bonding. I think this is going to be a long, long process; good for taking my mind off grief.

It reminds me of the first pair of rescue kittens we took in, back in 1997 and who spent a week behind the sofa, only coming out for food and the litter tray whenever we left the house for work. It was a long slow process then; one of them never did conform and remained feral while the other soon became humanised, loving and affectionate. It was hard for Him to understand cats; he'd always had dogs and could never come to terms with allowing them their independence; worrying whenever they were out too long or it was dark and they still had not come back through the cat flap.

Why do we do these things? Just when I'm looking into setting up a business...

Monday, 29 October 2007


This photo was taken by my daughter Suzanne

Our family has increased by one kitten; small frightened and with grey and white markings. He or she is in the dining room with its' own buffet laid out, soft toy sprayed with cat nip, two litter trays and soft blankets. Does it use the litter trays? No! Does it use the soft blankets? No! Does it eat the food? Yes! And does it cuddle up to the soft toy? Yes!

Twenty four hours ago this little mite was caught in a kitten trap; the second one to be rescued. The first went to a good home, this one is staying with me - (if it and my existing cat can live together without fighting). The third and last kitten was caught last night and is now in my neighbour's utility room; it too doesn't know what a litter tray is for. I have been able to get close enough to my new kitten to stroke it's tiny head, and I thought I heard faint purring, but all the while it kept its small dark blue baby eyes on me.

While I walked along the pebble beach at Porthkerry last friday before heading home from Wales, I stopped to pick up some large round grey speckled pebbles to admire. Yesterday when asked what I would call the kitten, I replied, "Pebble".

A trip down Memory Lane

On the way back to Oxfordshire at the end of an exceptional week of walking, exploring, visiting angora goat farms, chocolate factories, welsh love spoon makers and attempting to improve three children's knitting abilities each evening; we decided to stop off at Merthyr Mawr and Porthkerry. The first being huge sand dunes near the coast where as a child I ran and scrambled up and down until exhausted; the second is a place that my father took me early in the mornings whenever we stayed with his mother in Barry during the fifties and sixties.

These two photos were taken by my very artistic daughter using my camera. It was getting late in the day and we still had to make the journey home back along the M4. We were all getting tired but nevertheless enjoyed the trip down memory lane.

A week in the wild west

We didn't end up screaming at each other, nor did we suffer cabin fever in our large 12 foot wide caravan at Penally just outside Tenby in wild, unspoilt west wales. The sun shone warm on our backs as we walked along a path to Tenby, each with a chocolate muffin to keep us going until an inviting Tea shop beckoned.

Huge seagulls screeched above, the breeze gentle as we passed a large group of apprentice surveyors on the beach each doing 'things' with their measuring equipment.

As we climbed the steep incline of the west streets that skirted the cliff around the bay, a young workman was talking to a passer-by who must have commented on his strength, to which he replied, "I've had my Weetabix this morning." It wasn't what he said but the way in which he said it; very, very Welsh which stuck with us for the rest of the week and which we all tried in varying successful dialects to mimic.

Being slightly Welsh myself, (both parents were from Barry in South Glamorgan), I began to slip into the familiar lilt and sing-song way of speaking, as did my daughters, although at times our attempts sounded more Bangladesh than Tenby.