Tag Archives: cats

Wild garden

 Well all this lying around and being sorry for myself has had quite serious garden consequences…

It’s hard to mind too much when it looks so very lovely and the jungliness makes the kids so very happy. Still I feel  there is a happier balance to be achieved though possibly I’ve missed the window this year…

I can’t get over how fecund the plum-tree is

 

Can you say fecund about trees? Bearing in mind last year we had ONE solitary plum. I realise they’ll be a drop but even so we should get into double figures at least.

My valiant little apple tree is covered in fruit as well. Ida and I spent half an hour crouched in the waist-high couch grass surrounding  it yesterday. The amount of humming, buzzing hoverfly and bee life was astounding.

I am particularly fond of the vividly striped hoverflies who vibrate pugnaciously just in front of your face then dart off, satisfied you’ve been suitably quelled. There are so many different kinds we try to count them and Zeph’s collins gem proves utterly inadequate.

Lying on our backs we see bumble bees with white and red bottoms as well as a huge yellow, black and gingery striped one. Watching it ponderously investigate the opening foxgloves I genuinely wonder how it is flying. This is exactly the kind of bee Arrietty dreamed about flying on with plenty of bristly fur to hold onto. Ida amuses herself mightily by saying “No teeth Mrs Tittlemouse, no teeth!” and making spitting sounds holding her sides as she dissolves into mirthful chuckles. She is in just knickers with grass seeds in her hair. We’re trying not to attract the attention of the nice Ukrainians in the churchyard next door who have spent more than the usual amount of time leaning between their immaculate manicured conifers and shaking their heads at the chaos over here. It’s taken me half an hour to persuade her to keep her knickers on and I have no strength for anything else.

When she heaves with laughter I can still see all her ribs but she has a definite tummy now and her legs don’t go out at the knees anymore so I feel better. Down here we have a perfect view of ants and ladybirds going about their business. A tiny yellow spotted beauty sits on the end of her finger for at least a minute before shaking out crumpled silk wings from under it’s spotty overcoat and circling up into the sky.

There are sparrows nesting in our eaves and their fledglings hop all over the rubbish stacked up in the courtyard. Brash and noisy they skim over our heads and tumble from fence to rosebush. I have triple belled the cat and she sits on a branch of the laurel tree pretending their high jinks are of no interest to her whatsoever. She punishes me with a taloned paw unexpectedly in my face as I run up the stairs at bedtime. Thrumming with malicious triumph from behind the banister she stalks off tail lashing meaningfully.  

When we venture down to the compost heap there are three gleaming slow worms twined lordlike on the top of the heap. Fat and gleaming their black unforked tongues taste the air and they blink placidly at us. None of them have tails. They are surviving victims of Mittens joyful tossing of them into the air. Here they are safe from her juggling endeavors and supplied by a never-ending all you can eat smorgasboard of insect delight.

They must be breeding as we constantly find little elver like baby ones, squirming their golden way over the path and through the grass. Bare foot and delighted Ida makes an early joke -” They should be called fast worms!” Delighted she chortles and repeats it  until it descends into a squabble with her exasperated brother.

There is a tiny frog in the washbowl pond. Smooth skinned and lightning fast he crouches under the watermint which has vastly outgrown the space. It needs thinning. I add it to the list.

Here is a bud on the peony. There were more but they rotted in the wet and neglect. This one is at the top of the bush and I feel hopeful.  My wisteria is not dead as I feared, just a little overwhelmed. I clear it some space and add some compost to the base. As well as some volcanic ash my mum assures me will make a big difference. I suspect her of muttering a desperate blessing over it. The plants need all the help they can get…

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Beautiful Things on a cold day

Brrrrrr – it is freezing here today! So much for a thrifty fuel bill winter… The kids are in the grip of coughs and colds and I’m in a truly miserable funk.

Lovely.

So here’s a picture of Mittens our slightly aloof cat.

She loves Steve best and really views the rest of us as impediments to her access to him. She’s not a huggy kind of cat but has been surprisingly tolerant of Ida, especially since she’s willing to share scraps of chicken and fish surreptitiously at the dinner table.

I think she has the most beautiful whiskers.

I’ve read a lot of other people floundering around in post New Year gloom which makes me feel less alone. Certain recent events have prompted a bit of navel gazing and self-analysis. Enough for me to book some appointments with my therapist.

The last few days of administering cuddles under duvets, putting Bagpuss and Totoro in the DVD player on demand, wiping noses and making endless rosehip syrup hot drinks has left plenty of time for introspection. Not always a bad thing and I feel though I’ve taken another step along a long road.

As usual plenty of Beautiful Things litter my path;

* It was MumandDad tea last night and we had a fish extravaganza – which included these very exciting razor clams which were in an irresistable paper bundle at the fish stall.

We could afford five which we cooked carefully like mussels and it turned out only Zeph and I liked them so we scoffed the lot! Huzzah!

He was charmed by the way they bubbled and hissed when we rinsed them and is now set on finding somewhere we can go and gather them ourselves. I find his interest and willingness to try new things really heartening. 

* All the coughing, wheezing and nose mopping aside there’s really nowhere nicer than on the sofa, between my darlings, under a cosy duvet, watching a bit of Studio Ghibli.

* I’m absorbed and pleased with working out some animal masks for a possible order. I have some fairs booked and am also building some stocks up for them. There is a pile of woolly felted purses slowly growing. Recently I felted a grey cashmere charity shop find and can’t resist stroking its luxurious smoothness every time I pass the pieces stacked by my sewingbox waiting to be transformed.  

* I noticed I was talking myself out of an opportunity lately. It was very I can’t-ish hidden under a sensible rationalisation. I want to stop internally running myself down – and it’s all too easy to slip back into the habit. Whilst not wishing to turn into a self-help cliché I really resolve to stop building my own barriers. Although this is balanced with recent events reminding me to keep my boundaries in place.

* Exhausting all this therapy mumbo- jumbo eh? Luckily snot and howled requests for hot drinks don’t let me wallow too long.

* On the walk to school this morning it was sooo cold my toes ached but  so glimmery- the whitebright sun dazzled us every step of the way. All my dusty corners feel illuminated. It is gloriously invigorating.

Thinking, machines and cat magic

I just had the most startling conversation with Zeph about souls. It sprang from nowhere during idle chat at bedtime. He’d started talking about how brains work and how you can’t take them apart to see like machines – well you can – but only once they’re dead and so you can’t see the bit that makes them be you.

These are big thoughts – I think – and I told him how I puzzle over them myself, how I think that’s what makes us transcend – wrapping our thoughts round these sharp-edged puzzles.

 Then we talked a bit about Pokemon.

Bloody Pokemon. When will I be free of them? When? I’m laughing now at the ease we slipped from eternal questions about the immortal spark to Pokemon to the sore bit on his toe. (I refuse to consider the idea his feet could have grown again…)

It’s nearly the end of term. This year seems to have slipped through my fingers and I’m still reeling around, slightly aimless. Although I’m concentrating  on embracing meaning in my life every day I still feel like I’m trying to formulate a direction for myself. More so than usual. I didn’t plan to feel so limbo-ish. It’s all good news mostly. I am in remission. So why do I still feel so unable to grasp the nettles?

I genuinely feel that we hold the answers to all our big decisions. Just mostly we find it really hard to listen to ourselves. Suspicious of intuition we discount our gut which is only trying to relay the conclusions the larger part of our overlooked and ignored consciousness has reached.

I dreamt last night about a person from my past who died recently. It wasn’t an easy time for me – I was filled with angst and self-reproach. Turning it over in my mind today I found the jagged edges of the facts of our relationship and my interaction with her grieving mother have been tossing around in my internal oceans. Today it is a smooth pebble which I hold thoughtfully. I have placed it on my personal cairn. I’ve made some peace with it.

This all sounds slightly stomach lurchingly hippyish but I’m thinking it because of the conversation Zeph and I had. We are miraculous, marvellous astounding machines of undreamt complexity aren’t we? So often I dismiss, or miss altogether, the answers my brass cogs churn out for me.

Perhaps I should pay more attention.

Ida spent most of the day as a cat. I found an old Halloween cat costume in one of the cupboards I’m clearing and she embraced the ears and tail with squeals of glee. It also had a wand with a cat’s head on the end which meant she put a lot of spells on the good people shopping in Asda today. Lucky people.

Buttons, bobblehats, hungry caterpillars and demonic toddlers.

Mittens, before the paint incident.

It has been one hell of a day. It started with Ida refusing to get up and dressed. When I’d forced her into her clothes I ran downstairs to make sandwiches with one hand and toast with the other while shouting at Zeph to brush his hair and put some socks on (what the hell is it with the damn socks?) He went up to find some and called for me. Arriving back in the bedroom I found Ida totally naked, standing with her hands on her hips in the middle of our bed which she had just done an enormous pee on. Defiantly I suspect.

Not a promising start to the day which has also included Ida painting the cat’s tail, a wall, her face and hair, unravelling my crochet entirely, opening the washing machine mid cycle and flooding the kitchen. How did she do this? It’s impossible. (This is what I was muttering, down on my hands and knees.)

On the way out to get Zeph I found  the front door lock broken and I couldn’t lock up. I had to leave the house open which actually I do by accident quite a lot (shhh, don’t tell Steve…) The locksmith just left – the locking bit was banjaxed. £193.00 ONE HUNDRED AND NINETY THREE POUNDS!!!

We are balanced on the edge of penury. I had to look for loose change for Zeph’s swimming money on monday. Bugger bugger bugger.

On a more cheerful note – look at these spectacular buttons;

I’m going to need another look to soothe my nerves;

Aren’t they lovely? They are all safely in my button box and it warms the cockles of my heart.

There was heaps of loveliness in the trug which I can’t wait to start wafting about in my garden with. Grow courgettes – grow.

Some chocolate bugs which got hoovered up pretty quickly by the small people, some lovely bits and bobs for beautifying cupcakes. A gorgeous fat bundle of cottony patterned goodness.

 

Maybe top of my favourites is this scrumptious lady. Hatz is ludicrously clever with her hands. She is the doyenne of dollshouse miniature yumminess. Look out for her Etsy shop – I’m nagging…

She used to make dolls – She gave Ida one for her birthday and I’d take a photo of it now if I could prize it out of her sleeping hands. Those teeny tiny buttons are left over from doll making.

I also managed to finish Ida’s bobble hat, (family, avert your eyes, your xmas gifts are now secured.)

Look – a knitted item that is NOT rectangular. Whoo hoo! Zeph wants a bobble hat with cat ears. Hmmm.

She looks like such a hipster in this picture. That’s pasta sauce all round her mush. 

It was from a pattern for an adult hat but I used sock yarn and only 4mm needles. Is this why it’s so small?

I want to try a baby hat next as there’s some new family arrivals expected. Do summer babies still need hats? Maybe I should try bootees?

So finally in my BT round up (self soothing at it’s best – it’s only money…) Check out this amazing fabric my Mum bought for me to make a dress for Ida;

 

It’s true, your eyes do not deceive you. See, how can I stay riled? Although at one point today I did wonder if I could make something for myself out of it instead. Does a demon deserve this?

Perhaps..she is my darling demon after all.

Sunday statistics

How many languages can we, lucky denizens of this house, say poo in?

Fifteen.

Metres of wonky heart-shaped bunting sewn for party?

About ten.

Crosswords done?

Two…well one and a half – do other people really ever finish the cryptic ones?

Number of times I have held the door open  for meowing cat only for her to turn her nose up at windy drizzly day and back hurriedly away from the fresh air?

Million?

Instances of me howling, ” GET ON!”  to an eight year old boy staring at the ceiling, pencil in his hand?

Billion.

Damn lice combed out of hair?

Trillion.

BT’s today? Million billion trillion. Must be an upsurge in the drugs. I have been absurdly happy and content with all . My surroundings are as chaotic and mouldy as usual but today they seem cosy and cheerfully shambolic. Proof, as if I needed it, “the most effective change begins in you”. And on that Stroudesque non sequitur I leave you dears ones.