Preparations part II

The yard is still to be cleared, but at least Mum’s gardener has had a look to see what needs to be taken. He is charging a pittance, but I have a horrible feeling that he has underestimated how much junk there is to move and how difficult it will be to take up the decking. Hopefully he will be here at some point this week.

I have been researching cat friendly plants, and as well as roses I have winter honeysuckle on my list. It should give me some interest and some scent in the winter which will be lovely. According to Battersea honeysuckle is thought to have the same affect as catnip, so I can’t see anything going wrong there!

An outdoor settee is on order (you wouldn’t believe how difficult it was to find something that is not part of a 3 piece suite) and should be here during the week. I do need to think about some solar powered lighting so that I can sit out and enjoy the air in the evening.

Over the last couple of years, when the yard has been unusable, and I haven’t had the money to put it right, not using it hasn’t bothered me terribly. Now that I know it will shortly be an accessible space again, I am chomping at the bit to get it done and the delays are irritating.

Summer has arrived this weekend, and if the weather forecast is to be believed it may be sticking around for a little while. No doubt, as soon as it disappears, the garden will be fit to sit in!

Preparations

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A couple of weeks ago I had a new back gate enabling me to get into the alley which runs behind the house. A small thing you would think (and my younger self would be horrified that this excites me) but it means that I can now get the yard cleared and the space turned into somewhere useable. The gate needs painting, and I have decided on a Ottilie, a lovely rich green from Craig and Rose.

The last 18 months or so have really shown how valuable even the smallest of spaces can be. My yard is one of the dullest places you have ever seen, and over the years has become littered with garden waste – surprising when you consider that it isn’t a garden, and doesn’t have any flower beds. There are a number of nice (empty) pots, a tiny number of pots with decent plants, a couple of stone troughs and some round stone tea light holders hiding under the mess.

I did consider rendering the walls, but looking at them, they in reasonable condition. The money saved for that, can be used for other things, and I have plenty of ideas, but until the space is cleared and I can see it properly I don’t know whether or not they are feasible.

The decking, needs to be taken up. It is now at the point where if you stand on it, your foot disappears through a hole. I wonder if it has been affected by wood worm or whatever disease meant that two huge laburnum trees in the garden at the other side of the alley had to be removed a couple of weeks ago. I noticed this morning, that the trellis which has supported my climbing rose was full of what look like wood worm holes. I have managed to remove the rose, and the trellis is now waiting with the decking for removal.

I have someone lined up to remove everything that needs removing and take it back to a blank canvas.

One of the things I do intend to buy is an outdoor sofa. Not that I will get to sit on it, you understand. It will, not doubt, be littered with furry bodies enjoying the fresh air. I am also looking at cat friendly plants which will fill the space with scent. So far, I have two David Austin roses on my list, but am open to ideas.

Monday

It was an interesting start to the week.

On Saturday, my car was completely dead, so this morning I telephoned a local garage to see if they were able to help. A lovely chap came and jump started the car to enable me to drive it to the garage. Thankfully, it turned out to be a defunct battery. The best part of £100 later, I had a car which worked. It could have been worse.

Tree surgeons were removing two laburnum trees in a garden at the other side of the alley at the back of the house. They were huge and during spring, had a massive growth spurt. They had become so big, that the branches were spreading over both my garden and that of my next door neighbour. The trees had become diseased and were, sadly, at the end of their lives. I heard a crack and went to have a look. A large branch had dropped into the garden and had been caught in the cat fencing breaking some of the brackets.

I went to collect the car and when I returned, two men were standing up the road discussing a baby seagull with a broken wing. They decided to usher it into their garage and call the RSPB. The seagull had other ideas and ran up the road, followed by one of the men with a slice of bread. He managed to get ahead of the gull and guided it back towards where the other chap and I were standing. Luckily, the bird trotted into their garage and they were able to contain it.

I am hoping that tomorrow is less eventful, and less expensive.

It’s a Black Cat Thing….

…. Or, when the chickens come home to roost!

Oh, how I chortled at the difficulties of switching cat food. That would never happen here, I thought. Well, that will teach me.

During the week, there has been a recall of what is, potentially, contaminated dry cat food. The situation is so serious that the Royal Veterinary College is investing deaths which may or may not be linked.

One of the products which has been recalled, is the dry food I give my cats. I am due at the cash and carry this weekend, so have purchased a small bag of kibble to tide us over.

Enzo has never liked fish flavoured food. When he was small, he decided that chicken flavours are far superior, and no more fish would pass his lips. Despite my purchasing chicken flavoured kibble, he won’t eat it. Looking at the bag a little more closely it also contains some fish.

While the other cats are stuffing their furry little faces, he is wandering around the house sighing dramatically, and trying to convince me that he is wasting away. His little face looks at me as if to say “I am starving to death.” He really isn’t, and has been given extra wet food to make up for his disappointment.

I only hope that I can find something suitable at the weekend. Anyone want to take bets?

Enzo trying to tell me he is wasting away!

The Girls are Home

Willow
Willow
Lily

I picked up Lily and Willow’s ashes this morning.

I don’t know if I had expected it to feel so final – a stupid thing to say I know – but it really brought home to me the fact I won’t see either of them again.

In the mornings, I am still wandering around wondering who I have forgotten to feed, and the kitchen is strangely quiet without them trying to tell me they are wasting away from starvation.

They were both such big personalities and the house feels wrong at the moment.

It Comes in Threes

Bad luck it is said come in threes, and I think that is my bad luck done with for a while.

A couple of weeks ago, I said goodbye to Willow, the following week I said goodbye to Lily and last night, I tobogganed down the stairs – without a toboggan. It hurt.

I am not quite sure what happened, but I think my foot slid off the tread. Looking at the carpet this morning, although it isn’t remotely threadbare, the centre where I step doesn’t feel quite as grippy as the edges.

I landed heavily, and got up slighty sweary, to sit on the settee for a few minutes before heading back to bed. An hour or so later, I needed the loo, so got up and went to the bathroom. On my return to bed the I passed out with pain and added an egg on my forehead to the injuries.

I don’t appear to have broken anything, and since having a bath today, do feel a bit better, but this morning I was walking like a 90 year old. Thank goodness it is the weekend and I can put my feet up.

Lily

Today was the day I knew was coming but was dreading. You had finally had enough.

I remember the day we met like it was yesterday. You were chasing your bigger brother around the kitchen at your foster home. It was love at first sight.

You were a tiny, pixie-faced scrap with ears completely out of proportion. It was a challenge catching you as you zipped around, but I popped you and Mia into the carry box, and brought you home.

You grew into a spirited, contrary girl with a mind of your own. I remember the first time I thought I had lost you, only to discover you an hour later sitting on top of the kitchen wall cupboards, your ears and eyes just about visible. From the day you came home, you didn’t cause me any trouble (apart from biting a chunk out of my newly installed, and expensive, kitchen).

I will miss your fierce independence, your shouting at the birds; the sideways slink with raised, quivering tail; waking to find you sitting on my chest slapping my face or pushing on my nose.

You outlived the vet’s best predictions by months and never lost your zest for life,

I don’t believe in the after-life, but if it does exist, I hope that you have found the most comfortable place on the sunniest windowsill and are sitting chattering at the birdies. Sleep well.

Willow

I didn’t expect to be writing this.

Until yesterday afternoon, you showed no signs of being ill, but this morning when you weren’t mugging me for breakfast, I knew that there was something wrong. It seems that your kidneys stopped working, and the vet wasn’t able to do anything for you.

I have just returned home from saying goodbye. Your favourite spot on the cat tree is empty, your little owl-like face isn’t staring at me demanding who knows what, and that ever moving tail of yours is still.

I met you at a client’s house. She was fostering you and your kittens for a local rescue. You were a petite, tortoiseshell who went against the tortie stereotype. When Fidget and Echo came home, you mothered them, you took no nonsense from the dog and when people came to visit, it took them a while before they realised you had a leg missing. The lack of limb didn’t stop you doing anything, including managing to get yourself on top of a 6 feet high cupboard.

Tonight, at the vets, you looked so very small. They told me that you had not reacted to anyone or anything all day, but while I sat with you, you lifted your head and looked at me. You were the most loving little girl who will be sorely missed.

Sleep well.

Bad Behaviour and a Poorly Kitty.

Following on from my last post about bad behaviour, the inappropriate weeing culprit has been outed.

I was working in the dining room and hear the delicate sound of tinkling. I popped into the kitchen and the only furry creature in the rom was Willow. My (usually) not so naughty tortie was the last cat I expected to be watering the kitchen floor. (Photo of the culprit below).

In May, I telephoned the vet to ask them to see Lily. They told me that they were only seeing emergencies. Stupidly, I allowed myself to be lulled into a false sense of security, rather than listening to my instincts and either insisting they saw her, or found another vet who would. I feel incredibly guilty about not doing anything at the time.

I took her a few weeks ago, and they have told me that she has a mouth tumour, and that it “probably started in May” when I telephoned them. The vet I saw told me that if she was younger they would operate.

Over the following weekend, what I had been told started to sink in, and I wondered if they were writing her off because of her age (she is 15). I spoke to the senior vet at the practice, and he asked me to take her to see him, and that there may be options, and it “might not be cancer.” The practice was closed for a week due to a COVID crisis, and then the senior vet wasn’t in for a week. We have an appointment on Tuesday of next week. It may be, of course, that the vet tells me nothing that I haven’t already been told, but Lily is bright and chatty and eating for Britain and a second opinion is definatly worth while.

Strangeness and bad behaviour

What a strange year we have had, and continue to have. 2020 will be one of “those” years which is spoken about in time to come, and not with a great deal of affection.

Lockdown is over, but not quite. Summer is almost over, except it didn’t really ever arrive. Sanity is hanging by a gossamer thread. There is inappropriate weeing in the house.

I can’t tell you how much time I have spent crawling around the house recently trying to identify the source of the Eau de Wee! I found the rug in the hall was wet when I went, barefoot, to open the front door. Culprit 1 – based on the size of the puddle was a large and hairy dog. The dog towel on the kitchen floor was found to be another source of this malodourous scent. This time it was a smaller cat sized puddle. Culprit 2 – still to be brought to justice. The final horror was the cat tree in the bedroom which was sodden. Culprit 3 – Echo. This last eye-watering delight resulted in the purchasing of a new cat tree, and these things are not cheap.

So, dear furries, I would be most grateful if you would desist from this inappropriate weeing forthwith.