Friday, 8 February 2019

Thinking about Felix

This is Felix, we were his people from 2005 -2019. You can see he has a shaved belly after having an ultra sound scan at the v.e.t.s. when he became ill the first time. 
It was late July 2005 and I had persuaded my husband to accompany me on a nice walk across our nearby fields, on Berry Fen. We had only got a short way, down the entry footpath to the first field, when we saw a little skinny black and white cat, with a lovely shiny coat, dashing hither and thither in and out of the hedgerows along the footpath we were on. Being cat people we made encouraging noises to the cat, and he stopped hunting and focused his attention on us, he spoke to us "meiow, meiiow, meeeiow" and started to circle around us while continuing to let us know that somthing was wrong. Well, I was all for walking away, telling my hubby that the cat probably belonged to a nearby house and not to worry. But after a while observing the cat's irratic behaviour, we both postponed our walk and hubby ran back home to fetch the cat carrier, we would take him in tonight if no one claims him, when we knock on nearby doors. No body claimed him, so he spent the night with us, he was starving hungry, and nearly ate the plate when we first fed him, and he cried like a baby, his meiows sounded just like a new born baby crying full throttle. I have M.E. and so, due to his loud baby mieows got no sleep that night. We took him to the vets the next day, to check if he had a microchip, sure enough he did. His owners were living just up the other end of the village in a modern cul-de-sac and they were emmigrating that very day, we know this as we took Felix to them, the container with all their possesions was parked outside their house, all that remained was a desk in their laminate floored living room, we let Felix out of his carrier as we talked, and he tappy toed up and down the bare hard floor mieowing his baby cries. His owners told us how he had disapeared six months ago, and after much searching, they had given him up for dead. So they hadn't been able to get him passported/innoculated (along with their other cat) and whatever else was needed to be able to take him with them to Canada. They would have to hand him to a pet rescue that day before leaving. My husband said "oh no! could we have him? We would love to have him!" His owner agreed, gave us a cheque to cover initial costs and off we went. I wasn't so sure this would work, as we already had a fiesty long haired tabby cat called Purrdy, and due to Felix's loud mieow I was worried about how this would effect my ability to sleep at night. But hubby was determined, so I agreed.
After a week, Felix stopped his late night baby cries, and I was able to relax and sleep at night. Felix had settled into our household and made it his home too. He loved the beds, especially newly made beds with fresh clean linen to lounge on and snuggle into. This is what initially told me that he was a pet cat and not a feral cat. He never lost his love of bed snuggling.
Felix also had a great sense of humour, he continued to enjoy running around in circles a lot, for the rest of his life, we wondered if this was because of his wonky eye which apparently was the result of his mother treading on him when he was born, he was I believe the runt of the litter, and apparently got picked on a lot by the other cats, so he developed a defensive attitude towards other cats, this was often to his own detriment especially when a new neighbour moved in next door with the psycho cat from hell, but that's another story. Needless to say we had many emergency trips to the vets as a result of his fights with cats who dared to trespass on his territory.
Our other cat Purrdy soon got used to him and his comical ways, one of her tricks was to lay outstretched on her favourite armchair and wait for him to pass near her while doing his usual circling patrol of the lounge, when he was near enough she would lean out and swipe at him with a mischeivous grin on her face, I don't think claws were used, she just loved to make him jump, and start his circling all over again. But on cold winter days they would be best friends and snuggle up together to keep warm and sleep the day through while keeping an eye on the high street from their armchair.
Over the following forteen years Felix became my constant companion. I have had several episodes of ill health and he was always there for me, either on my lap, on my bed or on my belly while I rested on the sofa, usually purring and dribbling and needing my belly or my boobs, apparently this was due to him being weened too early?! He was a healing cat, and took his job very seriously I think.
The bottom line is he loved his family very much, and we grew to love him too. His constant "talking" endeared him to anyone who met him, he really was a very knowing cat, and even predicted the weather for us, he particularly hated windy weather and would spend the day before any storms mieowing incessantly until I relented and allowed him to hide in one of the bedrooms, on or under the duvet ofcourse.
He was a hunter, and caught a few Black-birds until they got wise to him, then the tables were turned and every spring and summer he would get mobbed by irrate brooding blackbirds as he patrolled his territory, I would watch with laughter from the kitchen, as he would have to run the length of our long garden to the house with his body low and head down like a man going over the trenches in WW1 as the blackbirds around him scolded and divebombed at him, then he would crash through the cat flap and tell me all about it.
One summer afternoon we were out in the garden together, when a particularly irrate Blackbird started to divebomb at him, I laughed, he put up with it for a few divebombs, then suddenly right in front of me he looked at me appearing to grin and waiting till the blackbird was at its lowest divebomb height above his head, he launched himself up vertically, pushing up with his back legs his front legs stretched up as high as he could until he had his front paws around the blackbird's body, then just let it go again, it shrieked and flew for cover in an embarassed kind of way. He just looked like he was laughing while he was doing it, and afterwards ran and jumped on my lap on the deckchair, like it was a job well done.
He loved to be my entertainment I think.
He also loved to watch TV, and would snuggle up with the pair of us on the sofa for our evening viewing, he particularly enjoyed Spring Watch and would try to locate the baby birds as they fledged behind the tv. He also enjoyed watching the 6 o'clock news with hubby, and appeared to be fascinated with the Brexit debate. Oh and he liked James Bond films too.
Over the last few months he enjoyed having some special time on the sofa with hubby and a plate of Wensleydale cheese with cranberries and biscuits, while watching the 6o'clock news. Hubby had the cheese with biscuits while Felix had his with thyroid and heart tablets hidden within the chunks of tasty cheese, Felix loved this special treat for some weeks, he really felt like he had had an illicit treat eating with his "Dad" on the sofa. 
But by last Thursday those special cheese treats had lost their appeal, and Felix's breathing difficulties became too much for him, and despite us promising that he would soon be home from his check-up at the very nice v.e.t.s. Felix had to be put-to-sleep, he come home with us, but not as we wanted, no noise from his carrier box on the back seat of the car this time, just a peaceful bundle wrapped gently in his favourite old towel, his dear body spent the night in our conservatory, and was tearfully buried in a favourable location in the garden, (near where he ambushed the Blackbird a few summers back), the next day. We will miss you Felix, night night little man, God bless.

Monday, 2 January 2017

Fifteen Valentines Days. A Short Story.

The following is a short romantic story written by the artist, as a member of a writing group called the Scribblers.

Fifteen Valentine’s Days

Sophie was away with the fairies again, as her Mother always used to say. She was washing up and watching the wildlife in their large, winter-worn garden through the heavily framed kitchen window.
               A deer reticently appeared behind the leafless apple tree. Watchfully it grazed on the peanuts she’d just scattered for the birds. The appearance of the deer always reminded her of her first love. She couldn’t say why.
               Then she would remember her last day with James. He was six and a half feet tall, with thick blond unruly hair and blue twinkly eyes. She’d loved looking into those eyes. She’d had no doubts in those days. When your fifteen you don’t, do you. He was her man, forever, and she would love him always.
               When he was seventeen, his parents bought him a motorbike so he could make his own way back to boarding school after the summer holidays, and fearlessly he rode it all the way from
Fort William in Scotland, to Hertfordshire’s premier private school.
               He had no fear of her parents either. Her Dad had told them to behave and that they could only meet on Saturdays, after she’d done her homework.
               But James would pick her up outside her Comprehensive on Monday, and they’d bomb off
to the coast for the day. She’d be back in time for the school bus. But they were golden days, snuffed out too soon.
               And this is reality, she thought, as she tied back her long, black hair. Work all morning, come home and do the housework, cook dinner for the girls and wait for her husband to return home from, well, from wherever he was that day, with his high pressure career, its low pressure salary and his volcanic temper.
               He was a good man; he was a father for her girls, when he was there.
               But it was Valentine’s Day, and again he hadn’t remembered. She had bought him a card and felt stupid for doing it. Perhaps she should rip it up.
               James was a golden haze now, a sweet and sour memory. But she had Katrina his daughter with his golden hair and her green eyes, and that was enough.
               When his parents found out what they were doing the sky had cracked open and hell’s wrath descended in the form of a chauffeur-driven Mercedes containing his tearful Mother.
They swept past her and into the manicured grounds of his private school.
Half an hour later they returned, he was sitting grimly surrounded by luggage and a fretting Mother.
They didn’t look at her, but the chauffeur nodded, then they were gone.
Sophie had been waiting for him, at those tall black gates, but she didn’t get to say good bye or tell him that she was pregnant with their child.
               Their last day had been bliss. They’d biked up to Holkham on the Norfolk coast on one of those ridiculously hot days in late May. They knew the weather wouldn’t last, it would never be this lovely again, so they planned the trip the previous night while her parents were out.
               He met her in the morning, outside the school gates, away from the glare of wide Comprehensive school windows. His blonde hair was blowing back in the wind as he rode towards her. He only had one helmet, and that was for her, he said. His arm muscles peeked from under his tee shirt sleeves, displaying a soft early tan and rugby bruises.
               Her heart beat stronger for the sight of him. Having changed into jeans, she stowed her uniform and school bag in the box on the back and climbed onto the bike behind him. She loved the feel of his warm and strong back against her body; she sat closer to him and held on tighter than she really needed to stay on the bike. The throb of the bike’s engine beneath her thighs, the smell of his leather jacket and the wind zipping past was ecstasy, she felt like she was flying.
               By the time they had arrived, the sun was overhead. The beach was deserted, and miles of pure virgin sand stretched ahead of them. They walked for hours following the line that the waves made as they caressed the sand. Getting their feet wet, feeling the sand welling up between their toes, the air flowing through their bodies, freeing their souls, was glorious.
               Then they found a sheltered cove surrounded by sand dunes and pine trees and sat down on the warm sand. He wrapped his strong arms around her, his warm lips met hers and she wished they could always be there. She adored his body, all she could think of was the feel of his naked flesh against hers, her limbs ached for him.
               “Not here, we can’t, someone might see. Let’s go over there, in the wood” she murmured in desperation.
               “I can’t wait that long” he gestured and sniggered
               “Oh James!” she laughed
               “I’ll race you”. They screamed with laughter all the way there. They went quiet when they found a pretty little clearing carpeted in moss, surrounded by trailing branches of mature beech trees covered in fresh green leaves. It was a soft green blanket to make love on, she had thought, the birds were singing sweetly and she remembered seeing a deer startle and run away. They became lost in each other’s bodies, time was irrelevant, he could only give her himself and that was all and everything she wanted.
               It was their last day. Their day of bliss and no one could take that away from her, or the baby they made. Though, without her parents help who knows what could have happened. She remembered her Dad bringing her morning coffee and sussing her out as she ran to the loo with morning sickness, if it hadn’t been for his kindness and understanding where would they be now.
               The phone rang and Paul her highly pressured husband, said he wouldn’t be home until late. His conference was dragging on later than he’d thought.
               “Don’t wait up for me sweetie, it’s going to be at least nine o’clock before it finishes and then two hours on the train”.
“Oh well, take care darling! She said.
“Love vu” She could hear laughter in the background, female laughter.
The silence that ensued was ruffled by her two hungry daughters returning from school. From the back of the house, in the kitchen, she heard them laughing as they slowly shut the front door.
“What’s this Mum?”
“Yeah, and this!”
“Oh, and this, and this, wow, someone’s been busy!”
Katrina and Emilia each picked up off the door mat, and brought into the kitchen, a handful of red envelopes, fifteen of them.
Wide eyed they watched their Mother open each card, a valentine’s card, and inside each one was written
“To My Darling Sophie,
               This is for a year I have spent missing you.
               All My Love, always.


Saturday, 1 October 2016

The Bunny Chronicles, Part one - How I got lumbered with two adorable rabbits.

It's three years since I last wrote a blog here, apart from the poem at the begining of this year.
I have been very busy, and exhausted most of that time due to the fact that I felt morally obliged to take in two pet rabbits from a neighbour who was unable to clean them out.
The story starts in Muswell Hill, London where a wealthy young lady was living in a flat and decided to get two adorable baby bunnies for pets, presumably to be Flat bunnies. This lady gets pregnant and takes the initiative to prepare for her baby's arrival by deciding to have her baby bunnies euthanased because she will not be able to look after them once the bump arrives. Her friend is the daughter of my neighbour, and my neighbour's daughter has a boyfriend who decides that he will give their friend's bunnies to his girl friend, my neighbour's daughter, so they can be saved from execution.
This all happens before they are much older than three months, as that is when I was first introduced to them.
My neigbour is an elderly lady, who had recently lost her husband and needed a lot of support, mainly emotional,  one day I went round to see her and she showed me the new contents of her spare bedroom - on the bed was a small plastic indoor rabbit cage with its door open, and on the bed nearby were two fluffy tiny bunnies happily eating and pooing their way through the bed covers and mattress below. There was shredded material and matress foam everywhere!
I cood at them and said how adorable they looked, and that was that.
Three months later, my neighbour's daughter announced her pregnancy and her mother told me how much she hated the daughter's boyfriend.

Two months later, and the daughter was living at Muswell Hill with the hated boyfriend and the elderly mother was struggling to keep the two now much bigger rabbits clean and cared for in a utility room off her kitchen. The main reason she was struggling was that she had fallen badly in the local hospital and broken her shoulder, and the shoulder was destined to never heal properly, despite surgery.
So I made the fatal error of offering to help, this was a mistake because the next time I saw them it was to put the rabbits in a new outdoor hutch, I who knew nothing at all about rabbits was expected to catch them and insert them into this hutch, which I managed without much drama.

One day, the neighbour asked me to help her clean them out, ofcourse its difficult to bend into a hutch and sweep out litter if your shoulder is permenantly broken, so I did most of the work despite my own health problems meaning that bending down is difficult for me too.
Gradually over the summer months as the daughter with the debateable boyfriend got larger, I got asked to clean the bunnies out more often, and because I had witnessed their previous rabbit's demise, I continued to help and struggle myself to clean their rabbits out.
The months of summer melted away, and October saw the birth of an adorable, utterly gorgeous baby boy to the neighbour's daughter, the debateable boyfriend was banned from the mother's house, and so her daughter started her pilgrimaging lifestyle of driving her and babe to Muswell Hill to placate the debateable one and escape the mother who, to me, appeared to be suffering post natal deppression more than her daughter was.
I was asked to clean out the rabbits more often, for which I was paid occassionally and had a long cup of tea while listening to our neighbour's woes about the boyfriend and erring daughter.
The hutch seemed to age rapidly as the winter took hold.
One day the neighbour's daughter phoned me and asked if I could help her brush the angora rabbit, while she was at her Mother's, it was then that I realised how bad things had got, the rabbit had a thick felt cocoon of fur and at her rear end was a very hard, obstinate brick of poo and hay stuck to her fur.
It was revolting, the smell was terrible, but eventually the daughter managed to pull the poo brick off her, and I was left to brush what I could of the rabbit while she went to get disposable nappies for her baby, while her mother baby sat. Mother and baby were home briefly to be there for the health visitor check on baby next day.
It began to dawn on me that things were worse for those rabbits than I had realised, I began to read up on rabbit care and angora rabbits. Much to our neighbour's amusement.
By February of 2013 I had become weary of being asked to clean them out at times inconvenient to my own health, so one rainy windswept day I foolishly offered to take them off my neighbours hands, and at least foster them temporarily until the daughter got her act together. The daughter cried down her mobile phone when her mother asked her permission, "will I ever see them again" she wailed; I said she could visit any time, in the hope that she would help with costs and cleaning when needed.
Having carried the hen coup/rabbit hutch with the help of my husband and another male neighbour, down our road and landed it on our patio, I realised how flimsy it was, and later how the roof could be pushed down easily because it was made of wet very thin plywood, the roof leaked and consequently the angora rabbit's fur had become completely matted, the other rabbit is a lion head with a long mane which was also matted. They were in quite a pickle.

In March having replaced the hutch and located it in our conservatory, the buns had their annual vaccines and check up at our vets, the vet said after looking them over, "they are very lucky rabbits, they have landed on their feet with you" My husband and I exchanged glances, and I knew then that I was well and truly lumbered.

Monday, 18 January 2016

Flora Le Fluff and Freddie Bun-dle say Hi!
Rabbit Residence Rescue

Down a little country lane,
Winding down a sunny slope
Dwell lots of darling bunnies,
Once homeless, now full of hope.
Caroline is their guardian
Fiercely strong and kind
tirelessly she works for them,
rabbit welfare on her mind.

This is bunny boot camp
a life or death affair,
Re-homing little Lagomorphs
whose owners couldn't care.

For whatever reason,
We are all orphans here,
No matter how we bob our tails, or twitch our noses dear.
We're only living now,
Because Caroline made things fare.

Some of us were beyond our owners cope,
Other's had owners who were just plain broke.
There are bereaved bunnies blue,
who need love from you.
And ones that misbehaved,
their homes they loved to chew.
Worse still are the neglected ones,
left paddling in their own poo.

We don't like to fuss
But our silent protest didn't work for us.
We are peaceful creatures
and we cannot speak to shout
We can't phone our politician
All we can do is stomp about.
Thank Frith for Bunnie Boot Camp.
We get proper treatment here
And run about our ramshackle ways,
Forgetting all our fear.

Friday, 25 October 2013

Between September and October we had the most perfect holiday in the Scottish Highlands. We are lucky to have generous parents, my Mum paid for the cottage, while father-in-law paid for the hire car so that we could drive up there all the way from Cambridgeshire.
We couldn't get the Sat nav to work but it didn't matter because my map reading skills and husbands sense of direction were both good and we easily found our way up through to Letterfearn near Kyle of Lochalsh, after stopping over night at Grasmere in the Lake District.
Unfortunately we arrived after dark, luckily we had a torch. Because our letting agents instructions were rather vague, "drive down the unadopted road until you see the small red post box on your left, after this, the cottage will be the last one on your right."
 Ehm, the unadopted road went on for about five miles, around the mountain side, with the drop into the Loch Duich on your immediate right, so, I wondered how will we  know which is the last house? We found this out after passing a cluster of cottages and climbing up and then dropping down a very steep bit of lane which then began turning into a cart track. Half way down this steep track we decided that we had better turn around, couldn't do it as the clutch wouldn't hold on the steep incline in order to reverse up, so there was nothing for it but for me to take the torch and go ahead of the car, as a scout to see if we could find the cottage, I found a derelict croft next to the loch with enough of a turning circle for the car, I stood  between the car and the loch waving my torch, if the car had gone into the loch my life wouldn't have been worth living anyway! We drove back unscathed, only to find the gate to the cottage was indeed last in the line of the cottages only set at an angle so we couldn't see it, with cottage set further back than the others, so it couldn't be seen from the road either. We had our adventure, and we had a really relaxing week, the only problem was leaving, I didn't want to go, threatened to barricade myself in, hoped the lane would be blocked by a landslip, but to no avail. The journey back was equally lovely, we arrived in Grasmere again, at night, after stopping at Castlerigg Stone Circle outside Keswick to watch the sun set, a very beautiful and atmospheric place, the stones were on a hill surrounded by a ring of mountains, and there was a smaller stone circle within it, so I think it's probably a very magical place too.
Anyway, I wrote a poem about Letterfearn, the place I left my heart.


Please leave me in Letterfearn,
Where the air is nectar sweet.
While mountain birds are playing,
Loch Duich will wash my feet.
And smoothed pebbles are glittering,
Along the bejewelled shore,
I will have no cares there,
I will want for nothing more.
Peace drenches Letterfearn,
Sleep soaked me there,
As I listened to the tumbling Burn,
Cocooned in her mountains, so fair.

I nearly forgot to say, my hubby has just bought a very small piece of land for us in a conservation area in Glencoe and apparently under Scottish law I am now entitled to call myself Lady Andrea of Glencoe, I think it has a nice feel to it, perhaps one should rename ones blog.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Lady Wood

May saw the Lady in a mist of violet blue.
The air was soaked with bluebells,
a sweetly nectared hue.
While the nightingale sung a rain song,
of fragrant droplets.
And little dells of glittered light,
revealed glimpses of fairies,
all emerald winged and bright.

Monday, 22 April 2013

Not been very well, at all, last week. I've been trying to do too much, and the inevitable happened, the old C.F.S claimed me. Any way, having done as little as possible all week, I was well enough to attend the Taize service, a healing service, at our Cathedral on Saturday. It is such a wonderful service, I always feel better afterwards and this time I felt so much better that I was able to go for a swim the following day, with a reticent husband to keep an eye on me  (he was very concerned about his hairy back being on show, I told him men are mean't to be hairy, at least he doesn't have to shave his legs!)
But I digress!  The reason I mention my health is because I had been trying to do a poem a day for National Poetry Writing Month (NaPoWrMo) but hey ho, that's the way the "cookie crumbles" I suppose, so I've got one I did earlier, much earlier.....

Chronic Fatigue

I'm waiting in the waiting room of my life,
I'm too tired
to notice the time.

I work when I can,
But my dreams are mine.
My fantasy is energy.

Just to walk, just to run,
just to ride horses,
and go partying,
when the day is done.

To swim twenty lengths,
to paint big pictures,
to throw big pots,
to eat big dinners,
Just to finish the housework,
it's asking lots.

I'm a part-time worker,
when I'm well.
When I'm not,
I lie in bed a lot
and the boss puts me
through hell.
I'm not skiving, I say,
But it doesn't matter either way,
because I'm not greasing the wheels of industry,
the fault must lie with me.

Chronic fatigue is not about getting out of work,
or about sponging off the state.
Its all about the length of  life lost,
to an endless wait.

Promises of a day,
which, may be years away.
When I can work full time,
go home, and still have
some energy to play.

Chronic fatigue isn't funny
Its about money.
How much won't I earn,
while my illness only allows
reduced work hours.

I have part-time lolly,
for a part-time life.
All savings are gone,
The "rainy day",
lasted too long.

I want to get well,
I tell the walls.
But I must have faith,
and wait for my redemption.
I look forward to my last day of waiting,
To get my life back,
To be able to earn my pension.