Saturday, 29 September 2012

Meet the locals

I woke up around 5am to the sound of Red making an odd noise somewhere between a growl and that horrible 'I'm going to yak up a furball' one. He was sitting on the window ledge so i got up to see what the matter was. He was sitting bolt upright and making faces at his reflection in the window. I rolled my eyes and tried to persuade him off the window ledge. He moved over a bit but wasnt happy and neither was I when I realised his shadow wasnt following him! Wide eyed I looked again and saw what is quite possibly the ugliest cat I've ever seen which is quite some comment for such a dyed in the wool cat lover like me. Ugly mog was sitting on the outside ledge making faces at my beloved boy. I tried shoo-ing and trying to persuade him to leave but to no avail. I did consider opening the window to get rid of him but was afraid he'd get in or mine would get out. In the end I went back to bed and left them to posture at each other through the window.

This is quite some big leap for Red. Firstly, everything in the outside world terrifies him and he hides under whatever is available or bolts. Yet, last night, there he was guarding our room by taking on an ugly big mog through the window and growling it off his territory while we slept. Pretty impressive for the boy with nerves of candyfloss!

As I went back to sleep I thought how damn cheeky of the cat to sit on the ledge and how I've never had this bother before....before remembering that the last place was on the second floor and a cat on the window ledge would have been really impressive.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Taking time

This holiday weekend I have given myself a really valuable gift. It is more precious than anything right now and a reminder of how life should be lived. A very wise person I know talks about the need to find 'shafts of stillness in your life' and I think this has been a wonderful, unexpected example.

Everyone is busy and has their own worries and commitments to deal with and I've never met anyone who says they have a great life and an abundance of time. So riccocheting from one challenge to another carrying forward concerns and future problems with snatched pockets of 'me' time seems like the norm. I particularly hate the feeling of not being able to do 'everything' which makes me feel overwhelmed and stops me achieving anything at all, which in turn stresses me further. I want everything fixed and sorted and finalised. I hate ongoing 'projects' which drag on as I lose interest, I much prefer putting in some concentrated effort to get something sorted. This is probably why I've never finished the knitted cardigan I began in the 1980's as I lost interest, the pattern and then the wool over time as the ruddy thing just wouldn't be finished! Getting this new house 'sorted', as in fixed, finished and exactly to our taste and comfort is proving more difficult than expected and a rush of unexpected emergency bills all with a minimum of two '00's at the end have wiped out the contingency funds and are making Visa a profit.

Anyway, this weekend has been fun, a word not often used. I took my own advice and treated myself as I would someone I really liked. I did nice things, none of them exciting, but uplifting nonetheless. I got up on Sat am and decided the day was mine and mine alone. It was sunny and the day seemed to hold real potential. I had promised myself I'd watch James Martin's Saturday Kitchen in dining/summer sitting room now that the new chair was fixed. So I showered, dressed in my 'home' clothes and relocated and connected up my bedroom tv and the new freesat box and watched it with a cooked breakfast which was a nice achievement. As it was a lovely day I left Red in the bedroom to sleep, threw open the patio doors and let Magic wander the morning garden. I decided to tackle the minor jobs that would enable me to use the dining/summer sitting room properly, sort the bathroom storage and find/launder our clothes that have been stored since moving. So, by the time I settled down to watch the BBC4 Crime drama at 9pm I'd emptied three suitcases, done 5 laundry loads and hung them out, scrubbed down and sun dried a bamboo chest of drawers which subsequently proved too bulky for the bathroom, set up the tv in the kitchen, given the new leather suite its cream protector treatment and watched some favourite films while pottering about. I texted a friend all through Insp. Montalbano as she was watching it too and I enjoyed some crisps and choccies which I've been abstaining from over this last month. Even going out in the pitch dark and icy cold at 11pm to rescue the last loads of washing I'd forgotten about was a thought, but it gave my heart a lift when I looked in to see the warm glow of the summer sitting room that was now functional. There was a little blip over the other human's behaviour and demands but instead of reacting and letting it drag me back to the depths I decided to review the situation the following day.

In fact I enjoyed this kind of day so much that I decreed Sunday would be more of the same. I chose to leave my usual obligations to sort themselves out and focussed on doing the things that would make my life better which normally I subjugate for others. Another five laundry loads, kitchen cleaning, cooking a nice meal and even a little afternoon snooze after curling up with a book I've wanted to read for ages were all allowed under the new regime. Before I knew it Downton Abbey and bedtime with the book were there.

So what has any of this got to do with my cats? Well, the extra attention both have received has been as good for them as me. Magic is loving getting outside and even barged past me when I went to hang out a fleece. I tried to get her back in but she wasn't buying it. Instead I found her on the bedroom window ledge taunting Red! This is a first as Red is continually terrified of everything. However, as of this weekend, he is actively showing genuine interest in the world outside the windows and not bolting if you come up to the window to talk to him from the garden. So much so, that I am thinking it might be worth trying to harness train him whereas before I'd reckoned he would be unlikely to brave the garden. He is much happier for contact, wanting attention and initiating 'snuggles' and staying to snooze even if Magic is lying beside me. He's been bolder and was challenging Magic by jumping on her and springing at her even when she was growling and warning him off. Both cats are more keen to sleep beside me if I am sitting and they've even worked out the new chair has arms wide and is soft enough for a decent sleep while I watch tv or use the 'puter'. Best of all Red seems to be putting on a bit more weight.

Real life and commitments are looming. However, hopefully this very lovely and unexpected 'shaft of stillness' has recharged my batteries and will help me face whatever lies ahead with a bit more energy and fortitude.

...and I thought wisdom came with age...!

Magic as just done something blindingly stupid which has totally surprised me as I fully expected Red to be the one involved.

The main lounge is somewhere between a storage facility and a 'project' right now. Essentially there is a narrow path from door to the sofa under the window. It had been getting there and was on its way to becoming a functional space for the inhabitants and guests. Then the serial arrivals of the carpet cleaner, satellite installation man, joiner and furniture inspection man over the past few weekends knocked that on the head and has meant the entire house has been upped and moved to completely empty the relevant rooms like a heavy lifting version of pass the parcel crossed with musical chairs. This is why both sides of the lounge have 6-7ft wedge shaped 'rockfaces' consisting of assorted household items awaiting placement or unpacking. On the top of a displaced linen shelving rack were some light items including the red velvet pop-up cat tent which had been tossed up high. I decided to sit in the lounge this morning as I thought it might be warmer than the summer sitting room, or more accurately I couldn't face trying to warm up the leather chair or sofa in there. That was something I hadn't factored in when I bought it!

As I was pottering back and forth with my breakfast I noticed Red sitting on top of the linen rack looking very chuffed with himself. I knew he has a wee cosy nook somewhere underneath where he'd hidden the day before. Anyway as I was sitting browsing the internet I heard an ominous rumble and noticed the red tent had flipped over and had landed on some boxes adjacent to the top shelf. I knew Red was not up there now and that the tent was practically weightless so shouldn't be moving of its own accord. I got up and who's head should pop out of the tent but Magic's with an expression of bafflement as to why she had flipped 180degrees and was now moving backwards very slowly! I rescued my hefty puss and her tent and placed them safely on the floor whereupon she lost interest in the whole enterprise.

Apart from the worrying aspects of what could have happened if she had fallen and what this says about my ability as a responsible adult and cat owner I too was baffled. Magic is a very sensible cat who despises Red's lunacy yet here she was doing something even he wasn't stupid enough to do. Magic is now struggling with the extra weight  (see Jack Sprat posting) and often struggles to jump up, so how did she get up there? Finally, unlike Red Magic is happy to sleep sprawled out anywhere comfortable so why choose a tent on a precarious shelf? The only answer seems to be that you just cant predict what a cat will do!

Friday, 21 September 2012

Territorial Rights

No pictures sadly of this one but very amusing to me all the same. I am sitting out in the garden with Magic so that she can wander around. It was ok while the sun was in the garden but it is behind the fence now and getting pretty chilly. Anyway, it was a nice excuse to bring my laptop out for the firstime and sit on the patio set which has barely been used.

Magic was sitting on the steps beside me and just chilling and listening to an unknown number of birds in the tree argue the toss. Then we heard noises at the fence. We both looked up expecting to see a neighbour but no it was Mr Squirrel who stuck his head over the top! I was surprised and delighted but Magic, my little protector, was outraged. She looked at me as much as 'You wait there while I deal with this...' and lolloped over to it as it climbed down the fence a little. Squirrelly obviously thought better of tormenting the chubby puss just in case she was faster than she looked and scooted along the top of the fence. Eventually when he was further along he ran across the grass and up the other fence into the tree with Magic in half pursuit. Still laughing at it and not sure who got the bigger surprise...Magic at having an interloper or Squirrelly at finding a resident beast in a garden he considers his playground! He is now long gone but she is still sitting guard looking for him.

It's been a day for wildlife encounters. Ths morning I looked out of the windown to see the fence next door with smoke coming from it. Alarmed I looked closed and realised it was steam caused by the morning sun on the very wet fence from yesterday. I looked over at my side only to clap eyes on a large dog fox sunbathing while propped against my fence not 6ft from the house. We looked at each other in astonishment, I turned to get my camera and he got up and headed to the low part of the fence to hop over and go wherever he goes of a morning.