Charlie here – I’ve made it (my new home)

I’ve been told that my servant’s previous attempt to adopt a new cat were a failure – what an idiot! It’s brilliant here and yesterday was the first day that my personal door was opened – so I can now go in and out as I please, My castle is very pleasing and there’s loads of room inside and only a few days ago I was even given lots of my very own toys. There’s mumblings that I’m not as pretty as some and that my tail is far too short – have they seen themselves recently! I’m perfect and my tail is just the right length to chase, before rolling down the stairs. (In fact I’m quite good at rolling off lots of things and even when on the floor I like to roll about to let the servant’s tickle my tummy – they seem to like that.) Anyway goodbye for now, because I need to catch up on a bit more beauty sleep.

(BTW the servants like to call me “Charlie”, but my real title is God King Adolfus Splodgicus III)

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WILLIAM – the cat that beat us in just 5 days

Once the house had passed, we set off to the RSPCA, Bath Cats and dogs home to see about adopting a cat. Now Kevin’s extremely good with nervous and even feral cats, so we were very hopeful that with few requirements and confidence that we could handle anything (OK, probably a little overconfident and William soon brought us back down to earth !) we struggled through the traffic in Bath on Tuesday. Unfortunately, we found that although there were lots of Cats available for adoption, most had been “reserved” by one or two different people. However, there was one cat who had no “reservations”, was about the age that we were looking for (under 3), but was reported as having a nervous disposition. In fact, so nervous that we couldn’t see him anywhere in his enclosure. So Kevin went to see a member of staff who said that William was still available and let Kevin into the enclosure to see whether he could spot him.

Kevin found him quite easily hiding under a crocheted blanket on one of those cat pedestals, but having tried to coax him out of hiding, which he did for a brief while, he extricated himself from the enclosure and reported that he had never seen a cat so scared – it was literally shaking! William obviously didn’t like the cattery and who could blame him as there were people constantly passing up and down the corridor outside his enclosure. Anyway, to cut a long story short we were sure that he would be better outside the cattery and we hoped that we could increases his confidence a little once we had brought him home. So, into the cat basket he went (apparently with very little trouble) and off we went on the drive home expecting to have protestations from the back seat all the way from Bath to Swindon. Not a bit of it – he was silent and calm.

Now before I continue with our 5 day saga, this is the only ‘nice’ photo that we have of a beautiful ginger Tom called William.

 

As soon as we got home and Kevin has got me out of the car in my wheelchair, he went back to collect William in his cat basket. We then both retreated into the kitchen, leaving the door of the basket open – the first thing William did was to bound out of the cat basket and smashes face against the closed and locked cat flap. So Kevin moved the cat basket in front of the cat flap to avoid further incidents. Again we retreated to give William space to look around. However, are about 5 – 10 minutes, there was no sign of William in the lounge, but we knew he couldn’t have run past us in the kitchen/family room. Anyway, Kevin is not someone to give up and he eventually spotted William squeezed tightly underneath the dresser in our dining area, right tight in the corner. We decided that we needed to leave him alone, but Kevin built a ‘camera trap’ that we set up just above one of the many food and water bowls dotted around the house and facing towards the stairs. As well as hoping to witness his night time rambling, we also hoped that it might give us a clue about where to find him in the morning.

Now the next series of shots were all taken at night during the 4 nights that he spent with us, so the quality is a bit grainy – but he did do quite a lot of investigating between about 3 a.m. – 5 a.m. and we did think that we saw him drinking a little bit – BUT NO EATING!

    

Now the lack of eating ANYTHING was beginning to cause us some concern and by Saturday Kevin telephoned the Bath cats and dogs home to explain our concern and say that unfortunately we felt that it was only fair for us to return him to their care. Now William was a lovely cat, not aggressive at all (if anything he reversed into the tiniest gaps you can ever imagine. However, it became abundantly clear to us that he was not an indoor cat at all and spent most of his time trying to get outside. We reported this to the cats home when we returned him and suggested that his description needed enhancing – he wasn’t just a nervous cat, but he also needed to be outside.

        

He also taught us just how many hiding places there were in our house – he never returned to the same place twice once we had found him! The proof is in the photos.

 

 

NEW CAT? – The house passed inspection via photographic evidence

I know it’s not long since the death of Tramp, but I have had a cat (3 cats in fact) ever since I left home and the space left by Tramp had more of an effect than I could have imagined. I kept looking under the radiator in my office every time I went to bed expecting to see him lying there and in the mornings I also kept hearing tapping claws traversing our wooden floor … So we started searching online for various websites offering adoption for cats. We found the RSPCA Cats and dogs home in Bath, who were willing to assess the suitability of our house via photographic evidence and they seemed to have lots of cats available for “rehoming”.

STAGE 1: The house inspection. (Kevin took the photos and this gave me an ideal opportunity to actually include photos of the inside of our house, which I think I promised ages ago. So here goes …)

The commentary was provided by Kevin …

We live in a converted stone chapel, with two large rooms downstairs. The first is a kitchen/family room. For our previous cat we set up his cat food out of the way in the quiet corner by the stairs:

  

The other downstairs room is a living room/dining room. There is a door at the side of the front with a cat flap out onto the garden, though initially we’d leave that closed until the cat settled, and place a litter tray there instead:
Upstairs: landing with large floor level window – good spot for a cat to watch the neighbourhood cats out the back !
Our master bedroom and guest bedroom, with large low-level window … the front is south-facing, so the window sill used to be a popular place for Tramp to curl up and sun bathe whilst watching the world go by. Nice life, being a cat !
So, what about a cat? Yes, we did get one – a 5 day wonder but more about that in my next post.

Christmas to January 2018 – here we go! (Delayed by 2 intervening posts)

Now after a dreadful end (September, October & first half of November) to 2017 – note: December & Christmas not included – I didn’t really feel in the mood to write another blog post until now. The run up to Christmas was busy (particularly for Kevin, who painted the large expanse of blank wall in our bedroom – it’s blue again, just like in our old house). We also ordered and hung lovely lined curtains at the windows in the bedroom, which have been bare up to now and Kevin finished the strip at the base of the skirting, covering the expansion gap left around the wooden flooring.

So now, as Christmas was being held at our house again (because of aforesaid bad few months just preceding the festivities), we could start on the Christmas preparations – tree, decorations, presents etc. After all it was still only mid-December and last year we hadn’t even managed to buy a Christmas tree until 23 December ! I’m afraid I don’t have any pictures of the Christmas tree/decorations etc. – we were having too much fun. My parents were staying with us (apart from a couple of days when they visited some old friends, one of whom was recovering from an operation). Kevin’s parents and sister came over to visit for a lovely meal on Boxing Day and unfortunately, there is photographic evidence (see below).

  

(Gosh I hate photos of myself, but Kevin’s sister has the right idea because she doesn’t appear in any of the photos – taking on the photographer’s role.)

Then we had a visit from my cousin Jeff and his wife for an evening meal again, but fortunately/unfortunately there are no photographs to immortalise that event. So, Christmas & New Year 2018 went much better than expected and our cat was really lovely and friendly to everyone, which I guess is a nice way to remember him (see previous post, where it all went rapidly downhill during the first few weeks of January and we were forced to have him put down at the vets – see previous post.)

“YOU BEHIND THE ILLNESS”

A random post inspired by – ‘trippingthroughtreacle’ … Here goes  …

Four places I’ve lived:

  1. Leigh–on–Sea (really Southend), Essex
  2. South Kensington (& Chelsea & Putney), London – I know that’s cheating, but it was all while I was at studying
  3. Leicester (& Peterborough) – yet more cheating !
  4. Bristol – Apparently, a city & a county (never knew that, I thought it was in Avon)

Four places I’ve worked:

  1. GEC Research labs.
  2. Haiste Consulting Engineers
  3. UK Ministry of Defence
  4. Crown Packaging UK plc.

Four favourite hobbies:

  1. Attending Festivals in order of preference and surprisingly timing during the year (Jazz, Science, Music & Literature)
  2. Exercise (yoga, gym & assisted exercise bike)
  3. Visiting the countryside
  4. Reading

Four things I like to watch:

  1. Lucifer (Amazon/Fox)
  2. Mock the Week
  3. QI
  4. Sport – particularly tennis & athletics

Four things I like to read:

  1. Lots of different books (both fiction and non-fiction)
  2. Prospect magazine
  3. Facebook posts
  4. Other people’s blogs

Four places I have been:

  1. Québec, Canada
  2. Sydney, Australia
  3. Berlin, Germany (+ lots of other cities too)
  4. Copenhagen, Denmark

Four things I love to eat:

  1. Chocolate (preferably dark)
  2. Pasta & noodles
  3. Fruit and vegetables
  4. Indian, Asian & Persian food (OK, any good home-cooked food)

Four favourite things to drink:

  1. Fruit juices (any fruit)
  2. Tea
  3. Coffee
  4. Smoothies

Four places I want to visit:

  1. Norway
  2. Japan
  3. Russia
  4. China

Four bloggers I’d like to tag:

  1. em from think in decimals
  2. Mark from One Man and his Catheters
  3. emaweston from aheartbreakingmsblogofstaggeringgenius
  4. Hannah from stickmancommunications

TRAMP or TRAMPUS (as we started to call him)

Now I had started to write a more positive blog post for the start of 2018, but … we had to put our old cat down at the vets tonight because his kidneys had failed, he wasn’t eating anything and the vet said he’d probably only live about 5 days (well as he hasn’t been eating for over 3 days, he was getting very close to the end anyway).Trying to look at the positive – he was a stray, lived with us for over 18 yrs, became a beautiful, sleek black cat,  moved house with us last November and (most importantly) was lovely last night when he hobbled onto the bed and slept with us both, purring gently.Here’s a little photo montage of our days together:

        

        

 

 

Missing September/October & Cheltenham Literature Festival

I’m not exaggerating (at all), but September and October were not my best and therefore I had absolutely no desire or impetus to write any blog posts – and I’m sure they would not have made interesting reading anyway. I have had major leg spasms and excruciating pain (neuropathic pain? – so I guess it’s not real !) I’ve travelled in wheelchair accessible taxis (not always so accessible in my case, as being 6 foot one seems to cause lots of problems both on entering the taxi – I have to duck – and sitting upright in my wheelchair where my head seems to prop up the roof). I’ve been back and forward to hospital appointments to see physiotherapists & neurologist (in November) and the outcome seems to be that no one really knows what to do – inspires confidence doesn’t it? Anyway, we have been self-medicating on previously prescribed painkillers that reduce inflammation and slowly that seems to be doing the trick. Fingers crossed. Now that’s enough of the medical self-pity, so here is the one bit that did seem to go well-ish in October.

We did make it to some of the gigs we booked at the Cheltenham Literature Festival in October – and they were great – or maybe they just seemed great in the context of everything else that was going on. … No, they really were great and I’m so glad that we managed to get out of the house. (Kevin may not be so pleased, as he had to do much of the “heavy lifting”). Although hopefully the “heavy” part is getting less as I also have not felt like eating much. Special mention goes to the sessions by John Sopel (at the start of ‘our’ Festival) and Ewan Davies (at the end-ish of ‘our’ Festival) whose presentations were both very good – the BBC can be proud of their journalists! We also attended some very interesting sessions on “life in the grey zone” and “speeches that shaped the world” both of which were very well done. The session on “who really runs Russia?” was very interesting – and it’s the first time we’ve heard a Cheltenham audience heckle the chairman of a panel (rightly too)! As you’d expect we did so include some “fun” items – so all in all it was very entertaining. [Sorry no pictures of this event.]