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As you know, Mia is in renal failure and has a growth in her mouth. As you are probably also aware, cats really don’t know what is best for them, or perhaps they do and just don’t care.

The renal diet worked brilliantly, for just over 2 weeks, but is now not to be countenanced.

At her check-up last week, the vet was happy that she has put on weight, and we discussed what would happen if I was not able to persuade Mia to eat the renal food. I now have a phosphate binder to be sprinkled on her meals. Surprisingly, she hasn’t noticed – yet – and long may that continue. Her weight has to stay over 2kg, and it is only just over that now.

She currently has a check up once a month and is given a B12 injection and the growth in her mouth is checked. That appears to be stable, and it is possible that it is benign.

It is a full time job at the moment searching for food that she wants to eat. This week’s offering include Applaws Senior, which is a loose, pate type food and Lily’s Kitchen which includes a salmon flavour – her favourite. At least for this week. When these arrived she ate so much, the afternoon was spent in what I think was probably a food induced coma.

Being a cat parent can be rather tricky. Who said they were good for our health?

The trouble with cats

Cats are funny little creatures and hide illness and pain well.

I became aware recently that Mia was experiencing discomfort in her mouth, so took her for a check-up. She needed some teeth removed.

Mia is 17, so I opted for additional blood tests, which revealed that her kidneys are not firing on all cylinders, and while she was under anaesthetic, a “fleshy growth” was discovered in her mouth. So, not good news at all. Mia’s sister Lily died of oral cancer last year.

When I went to collect her, I spoke to one of the vets who said that we might be able to give steroids to reduce the growth and that she was 60:40 certain that it was sinister. 60:40 doesn’t tell me a lot, so I have a further appointment with the senior vet next week for another opinion.

Since then, we have been backwards and forwards to the vet, once for pain relief and then to discuss what we can do for her kidneys.

She is currently on a renal diet, which until this morning, she has eaten with gusto. This morning, she has eaten just a couple of mouthfuls which isn’t good, but she seems happy and alert so I am hoping that she can be persuaded to have more later. Currently, she is pottering about outside, where she loves to be, or insisting that I join her in the garden (I am writing this there) so that she can sit on my knee.

It has been a little while since she has been as active as this. I had put her inactivity down to her age, but she must have been in some discomfort because of her teeth.

Tuesday, we will see if anything can be done to help her mouth. The vet I saw last week said that “we” were not doing anything for it, but at some point at least, she is going to need pain relief, and I want a plan in place. I am also waiting for the results of additional blood tests to see how her kidneys are functioning and to make sure they haven’t deteriorated.

This is the down side of having companion animals. Like us, they age and their bodies start to fail. We are left with difficult decisions to make for their wellbeing, but make them we must. It is in the contract.

Spring 2022


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We have had some lovely Spring weather recently, and I have managed to spend some time in the garden. I didn’t realise quite how much I had missed it.

While I wait for the cat fencing to go up, I have been taking a couple of the cats into the garden with me, to get used to being outside. Ruby particularly is loving it. This morning, we spent a couple of hours outside. I read and she rolled about on the rug, or sat on the settee next to me.

The Gertrud Jekyll rose is flowering beautifully, and the scent is glorious There are some interesting looking yellow flowers on the trachycarpus fortunei.

Even the geranium I paid only a couple of pounds for at the local supermarket is doing well.

Tonight, I had a “brain wave” although I may not think so when I actually attempt it. I have replaced some pine shelving, and was going to take the wood to the tip. Then I realised that it may be perfect to use to build a bin bag caddy thingy. It should be fairly simple to construct, although I may find a man wot does to do.

Here is Ruby beautifully modelling the rug.

Bathroom Redecoration Part 1


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When someone, and by someone I mean me, decides that the bathroom needs something doing to it, feel free to talk them out of it.

The bathroom, is that one room which has never been right. There has always been something that I haven’t been happy with, be it the tiles, floor or something else and it has never been the retreat that a bathroom should be.

When I bought the house, the bathroom was an absolute horror of a room with almost every finish ever invented. There was a mouldy, floral grey/blue carpet, orangey tongue and groove to the height of the bath, blue and cream striped vinyl wallpaper rising to a blue and red floral vinyl border and then white artex to a white, gloss tongue and groove suspended ceiling. The suite was pale grey and on the bath and window wall someone had decided that peach plastic tiles were a good idea. They weren’t.

Although I replaced the carpet with linoleum before moving in, I lived with the rest of it for a little while, until Mum and Dad bought me a new white suite for my birthday. The tongue and groove and tiles were disposed of, the wallpaper binned and the room plastered.

Dad had kept some gorgeous old brass taps when they had their bathroom changed, and had them re-dipped for me, and they were installed with the new suite.

In the interim, I had the floor tiled with some lovely blue tiles which are now causing me an issue because they are not going to go with the colour scheme I have chosen, so I need to come up with a solution for that.

I purchased a William Morris print blind which has provided inspiration for the whole colour scheme. I have picked Ottilie from Craig and Rose, which I adore (odd really because I don’t usually like green). It a deep, dusky green and will be applied to the walls, woodwork and celling.

Yesterday I removed the tiles and today I have had the wonderful (ha) job of getting off the tile cement to see the state of the walls. I have a cheap wallpaper stripper and it makes removing the cement easier, but everything about tiling, be it putting them on or taking them off is such a hugely messy business.

Tomorrow, I need to get the filler out. I found something which is easy to use and sand, paintable and very forgiving. I am hoping that I can get the walls good enough that I don’t have to have a splashback at the tap end of the bath. It has an integrated mini splashback, so in theory doesn’t need anything else.

I have found tiles, which work beautifully with the colour of the paint, but I think that they might limit the colour palette I can select in future. The tiles were plan B, and I do have a plan A, but am still trying to reach a decision and can’t until I have filled the many holes in the walls.

Fast forward a week, and the wall at the tap end is going to need skimming, but that is out of my budget at the moment. Because it doesn’t get natural light in that corner and also because the colour is dark, as long as I don’t mention it to anyone, that can wait. Once the windows are replaced, a room in the spare bedroom will need plastering, so I will get the two things done together.

Operation Cat Proofing Part 1


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I used to have a cat proofed garden that gave me complete peace of mind, and kept my furry ratbags safe but allowed them to sit outside and chatter at the birds.

For various reasons, not least someone dropping half a tree on the brackets, the cat proofing needs to be replaced. I also wanted to find a way of allowing the cats to spend as much time outside as possible, even in the rain.

I follow some fabulous Instagram accounts, one of which has installed a pergola in their garden which they have covered with poly carbon sheets. What a brilliant idea! It gives a waterproof covering, while allowing light in, which in turn allows plants to flourish.

I contacted a handy chap who I had asked to do some work inside the house for a quotation, and gave him the go ahead. He came this afternoon, and I absolutely love the result.

I was concerned that it would feel a bit low, but no, the transparent panels make it seem almost invisible.

Tomorrow I will go outside and start making plans. I have some solar festoon lighting and a wind chime to go up and some trellis, complete with rose, to move. I bought a tester pot of paint for the, currently, horrible wall behind the sofa. I have a ton of ideas whirring around my little grey cells and can’t wait to turn the garden into a sanctuary for the cats and for me.

Stormy Weather


While storms have been coming and going and coming again, the cats have the right idea.

They are hugging radiators, getting up in the morning for breakfast and then heading straight back to bed, or sleeping on top of the satellite tv box.


Their staff meanwhile, has had to brave the elements to go and re-stock their favourite victuals. They care not that I have had to drive through the wind and rain this morning. It would be another thing, of course, if there was nothing to serve them for breakfast tomorrow morning, despite there being kibble permanently available.

On the way home from my shopping trip, the weather forecast announced another storm set to arrive this afternoon. Three in a week is, as far as I can remember, exceptional for the UK, and not at all welcome.

There are signs that spring is en route. The days are longer and daffodils and snowdrops have arrived in Mum’s garden. Such a welcome sight after what feels like a long and grey winter.

Feeling Soupy

Spiced parsnip soup is one of my favourites. A bit of chilli for that warming feeling, cumin because I love cumin, a couple of parsnips, onion and stock. What could be simpler?

I am still getting the veggie box each week and I have to admit that, although I do love them, I am getting a bit tired of root veg and even, dare I say it, parsnip soup.

At the weekend, to make it a little different, I made the soup with ghee to add a little nuttiness, and when I was ready to eat, I dolloped some yoghurt on top to counter the sweetness, and then scattered some chickpeas over.

I have no idea where the notion of adding chickpeas came from, but I think it was inspired. They are a great source of protein and yummy, and the whole thing worked beautifully.


Are we all ready for Christmas? No? Join the club!

I can’t believe we are in December, and the end of the year is hurtling towards us. Some say that it is a sign of age when time flies, but the speed that this year has vanished is remarkable. It really doesn’t feel like 10 months since the deaths of Willow and Lily, and they are both still much missed.

It has been an odd year and I am glad that I don’t make resolutions because they really would have come to nothing.

It is proved difficult to find anyone reliable to do work at the house.

The back yard was eventually cleared. The chap who originally said that he would do it for me, cried off after 3 months, so by the time I found someone else, summer was over. It is now a blank canvas waiting for pots to be filled, a wall to be painted and the sun to shine.

I have bought a rug to add a splash of colour to the yard, and am thinking of stencilling a “rug” at the side of the house where I have placed the small table and chairs. This, of course, will very much depend on some dry weather in the new year and finding a stencil I like, but I do think it will work.

I am trying to select a lovely, scented climbing rose for one wall. It is such a small space that I think one heavily scented specimen will be enough. There are so many lovely plants to choose from, it is hard to decide.

I am determined to make it a space which is a joy to be in. Currently, it is quite dull but if I plan it right, it could be an extension to the house.

Life with cats


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During the colder weather, I often go to bed earlier than normal to watch television or to read, and last night was no exception. I have a little cat Echo, who lives in the house on the cat tree in the bedroom and comes onto the bed to sleep at night. Going upstairs earlier means I get to spend some time with her.

Echo dislikes Enzo with the whole of her furry little being. Enzo knows this perfectly well, and being an absolute git deliberately attempts to annoy her.

While I was downstairs letting out the dog to do whatever dogs do in the garden, Enzo did something currently unknown – pouncing too near is my guess – to poor Echo and she emptied her bladder and her bowels right in the middle of the bed.

After a clean up, I spent the night on the sofa under a coat (my spare duvet had become so warn it was more holes than anything else). Luckily my sofa is quite comfortable, but the coat isn’t quite as effective as a lovely snuggly duvet.

The upside of this, and there is only one upside, is that Mia slept on my pillow. This is something she always used to do, but hasn’t for quite some time.

First thing this morning, I dropped off the duvet at the cleaners and am hoping that it is ready to collect this evening.

If anyone asks what I might like for Christmas, shares in the cleaning company would be good!

Liquid lunch


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I am not a huge eater of soup, but for some reason when Autumn hits, I turn to it when I want comfort food.

It is one of the easiest things you can make, and you can toss in any odd bits of veg that happen to be lurking at the back of the fridge. It is also quick and cheap.

I had carrots and parsnips in the vegetable box last week, and as I do like a bowl of spiced parsnip soup decided to make some, and pop in a couple of carrots for good measure. Onion, stock, some chilli flakes and cumin and you have a tasty, healthy meal.

When I warmed up some of the soup the following day to finish it off, I dropped in a handful of spinach for some added vitamins.

Parsnip, carrot and spinach soup

The next vegetable box arrives tomorrow, and I am looking forward to seeing what is in it.