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.


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.


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.


Strange Lives in a Time of Lockdown

It is entirely possibly that I am the only person on the planet who is enjoying the current lockdown. I realise that makes me sound odd, but let me explain.

I usually work 7 days a week with no time for anything else. My day job is 5 days a week, and my pet sitting business fills the weekends. For the last few weeks, I have had time at weekends for doing ……… nothing, and it has been wonderful.

I have a long list of jobs that need doing around the house, but they remain undone in favour of putting my feet up and reading a book, or dabbling with the new set of watercolours I have treated myself to. We don’t currently know how long this lockdown will go on for, and the temptation to take more time off at weekends is strong. Once we get back to what passes as normal, the pet sitting business will hopefully, pick up again and in the meantime, I am enjoying this much needed time of recharging my batteries.

Everyone I know, will tell you I am anti-social, so not being able to go anywhere or do anything is not proving an issue because I don’t go anywhere or do anything anyway!

There has of course, been a major financial impact with pet sitting bookings being cancelled, but the day job covers the mortgage and the bills, and I know that I am luckier than many who are finding things incredibly tough.

For the time being, I will continue to enjoy some relaxation time, but I will start this weekend to chip away at that job list, starting with finishing painting the bedroom. I  have to put up some lining paper under the window and there is every chance that I may end up looking like a mummy.






Dogs can’t climb trees


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There has been a definate cooling in daytime temperatures over the last few weeks, and the car has been covered in the condensation that comes with Autumn mornings. The sun lies low and the trees are burnished with coppers and bronzes. Piles of leaves, crinkled at the edges, lie on the pavements just asking to be waded through, and there are berries aplenty.

It is a beautiful time of year, suffused with golden light. The air feels somehow thinner as we head towards the waning of the year.

My climbing rose is putting on a final show before sleeping for the winter, its pale pinky peach blooms waving confidently in the wind. Before long these softly scented flowers will shed their petals and like the rest of the garden, will fall into hibernation until the warmth of spring awakens it.

There is a squirrel in the local park, who barks at the dog as we walk by. He will be busy gathering his winter larder ready to help sustain him through the cold months. I swear he deliberately taunts Bracken, making sure he is out of reach, but visible. It is a good job dogs can’t climb trees.



The first chill

Well, that is it, the annual closing of the windows ceremony has taken place (ok, so it wasn’t a real ceremony). This evening, for the first time, there is chill enough to make me uncomfortable with the bedroom window open. The house still retains some warmth though, so I have not yet had to scrabble about in the wardrobe looking for winter clothes.

The drop in temperatures always makes me feel a touch groggy, like I am coming down with a cold. It takes me a couple of days to acclimatise and then I feel fine again.

I need to catch up on soapmaking at the weekend. A local shop has just rebranded and switched to a zero waste enterprise. Customers take their own containers and fill them with all manner of goodies – pasta, rice, lentils, spices and liquid soap which I provide. They currently have two fragrances to choose from, Lavender & Patchouli and May Chang, and the May Chang is flying out. I need to make a huge batch, not only to keep some in stock for McCormack’s, but I need to bottle some to sell at Christmas fairs.

There, I said it, Christmas. As much as I hate to think about it, silly season is pretty much here. I have so much to do, but am struggling to force my brain to think about any of it. I am not very good about planning for seasonal stuff, especially Christmas because it drains me of any enthusiasm. On the plus side, I have been looking through catalogues for extra things to sell at Christmas. Shopping is something I can do!

So, it will be an early start in the morning to go and feed and walk client’s dogs and cats, then home to get a large batch of liquid soap started, plus a few batches of bar soap, wax melts, candles and anything else I can do to get ahead. My promise to myself this year, is not to be up at midnight the night before a fair making, packing and labelling!




Approaching of Autumn


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We are in the middle of September and Autumn is approaching. Shadows are lengthening and the sun hangs lower over the horizon. People are beginning to talk about Christmas and there are rumours of an Indian summer and then the return of the Beast from the East. The temperatures are still high enough to be able to leave the house without donning a coat.

I don’t enjoy the cold. My body stiffens and everything is more effort, including getting out of bed in the morning. Winter days are too short and I want to hibernate. I know people who wait all summer for the cooler weather so that they can light a fire and envelop  themselves in a thick woollen sweater. I love the light that summer days bring and having windows open allowing the air to flow around the house.

I am hoping to get a couple of days out before the temperatures drop too far. A couple of weeks ago, I took the dog to Wales for the day. It was the first time I had been out of the local area for longer than I can remember. It felt like I was on house arrest, but work committments, have meant that I just haven’t been able go anywhere.

When I was a child, we used to spend a lot of time in North Wales. Sometimes, Dad would just decide on a road trip and we would pile into the car with no idea of where we were going. Sometimes, we stayed with my great grandmother for the weekend and went wandering on the Saturday. There are so many places I have been and the only memory is the fading photograph in a now little thumbed album.

I decided to go to the Fairy Glen at Bettwys Coed. 

I have no memory of this place, although Mum tells me that we did go.

The day was overcast with the occasional drizzle , so it was perfect for walking with the dog. Bracken was born in Wales, and it was only the second time she had been back.

After a conversation with some sheep on the way past their field, we meandered through the trees to the top of the gorge. We carefully picked our way down the stone steps to the base of the gorge and, while I looked around for flat rocks to step on (there is no path) the dog hopped from rock to rock like she was born to it.

The sun came out as we sat on a boulder at the side of the river, watching the crystal clear water of the Conwy swirl around the rocks in its path and run away down the narrow wooded gorge, with its moss covered walls and overhanging trees. Sitting there, you could just imagine the Tylwyth Teg playing in the moonlight and then disappearing as the sun began to wake up the world.

The Live Parrot Sketch….


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The Live Parrot Sketch or The Mystery of the Bird in the Locked Room.

Most of the time, my pet sitting jobs go off without a hitch. Occasionally, I can’t find a cat, or have to take a pet for a vet visit, or I am locked out, and then there is this week.

I have clients who have gone away for a week. They have no pets left at home, so I am going in twice a day to open or close curtains, collect the post, put the bins out/bring the bins in.

A couple of evenings ago, I unlocked the door to the lounge to find a parakeet (see photo above for the offending beast) fluttering happily around the room. I gave a little shriek, backed out, closed the door and wondered if I had been hallucinating. I hadn’t and my clients don’t have a parakeet.

There was quite a bit of debris on the fireplace, so it would appear that the silly thing fell down the chimney. My problem was how to get it out of the house. I opened all the windows and stood at the opposite side of the room, flapping my arms, hoping that it would have the wherewithal to fly out. I was still standing there 15 minutes later.

I had telephoned my clients, and they called on some of their friends for reinforcements (I would have settled for a strong coffee at this point) and the three of us stood in the room looking at the bird flying around, completely unconcerned at the problem it was causing.

The problem we had was that when it flew to the window it sat on the curtain rail rather than on the window itself, so one of my client’s friends went to look for a sheet to see if we could persuade the bird to fly out.

It took some time.

I stood in the middle of the room flapping a feather duster (possibly not the best choice and the irony is not lost on me) while the two friends stood near the window ready to stop the bird flying back into the room. Finally, as the sun began to set, the bird was trapped in the sheet and eased out of the window. Off it flew without a backwards glance.

Phew, thought I, that is over with. Erm, no. When I went back the following day, there was a bird sitting on the fireplace. This time, I opened the windows, and as I stood behind it and flapped my arms, it flew to the window, stopped for a second, and then flew off. There were two more parakeets sitting in the tree closest to the house and they followed. I am hoping that that is the last I see of them.