Category Archives: PETS

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.

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:

        

        

 

 

Tramp (the cat) holiday & the rampant herb garden

So my last post was all about MY birthday … but what about the cat and things back at home?

Well Tramp is a lucky chappie, because he gets looked after by a nice lady (paid for by us) who pops round each day to fill his food bowl, has a cuddle, plays with him and sets up a 2nd food bowl on an automatic timer for his evening meal. She also sends daily photos to update us on his progress – hence the number of photos that follow. Another advantage of some of these photos is that it gives you an indication of what the inside (and outside) of our house is like – At least from a cat’s point of view. From some of the photos, it looks like we were a little luckier with the weather than Tramp !

Finally, do you remember the photo of the pathetic little herb garden we planted at the end of April ? Let me remind you …

… and this is what we came back to after our holidays !

It appears the weather suited them and now we have no need for further herbs (particularly mint) !

Start of 2017 – what’s new?

The start of 2017 was not really very exciting and there  wasn’t much interesting to write about – hence the dearth of new posts.

There were the work tasks: I’m trying to cut my business costs this year and therefore replaced my IP database at the start of January (which included a couple of on-line training sessions in January/February), I met with an old colleague from my previous employer, ostensibly to talk about possible IP protection for some new ideas that he had been tinkering around with, but ended up having a general chat about how the atmosphere has changed as have many of the people. I also did quite a few professional webinars (always good for my CPD).

On the MS/medical front: There were all the usual things – open gym sessions (Monday & Friday), seated yoga (Wednesday), dentist etc., but there were 2 things that did stand out as not being the norm:

1.  On the afternoon of 04 January 2017 – we took delivery of my “super duper” assisted bike which Kevin had arranged as my Christmas treat. We are hiring it for 3 months on a trial basis and I’m trying to use it every day. At the end of the 3 months, we will purchase it and the 3 months hire cost will be deducted from the sale price. This just goes to show you how expensive it is!

2.  During the last weekend in January, I hosted the “Twitter takeover” on behalf of Shift MS. This might have been quite mundane, but of course in the US there was all the chatter about the election/inauguration of Donald Trump as president of the USA. Fortunately, most of the tweets during my “Twitter takeover” steered well clear of politics!

Unfortunately, this fairly lacklustre spell of progress or rather complete lack of it, gave me the urge to organise several things – another visit with my MP (much shorter and more friendly this time), organising a visit from a carpenter to quote for changes to our stairs and levelling our upper landing and also a visit from a blinds company to quote for installation of electrically controlled blinds in our bedroom. Kevin was NOT pleased, although I have to admit that this flurry of activity was taking place just before my parents were coming to stay with us for a couple of days prior to going on a bell-ringing trip to Devon with a view of their friends from Somerset.

Roll on March: As I’m in bad odour with Kevin anyway, and things still aren’t progressing with the new house, I also arrange for a visit from a landscape gardener to quote for cleaning our block paving area and replacing the paving slabs/edging along the path to our front door. A very nice, young chap (I’m getting to that age when lots of competent adults look ‘young’ to me now) came to visit us, see what was required and provide a quote for the work. My main aim was to get the path to the front door level (making it easier to manoeuvre my wheelchair) and to replace the edging along the path to restrain the gravel between the plants in the adjacent beds, which was spilling onto the path in several places due to accidental hits & bumps from me in the wheelchair. The Gardener said that he could, and would prefer, to do the work before the end of March. In fact, he could start the following week.”Ah, that’s difficult” I said, “because we are off to visit my patents in France next Tuesday and don’t return until 22nd March”. (Mmm, now I’m beginning to appreciate Kevin’s frustration – but I wasn’t going to admit it and he could jolly well sort out arrangements for feeding the cat while we’re away … SULK!) Anyway, the Gardener agreed to start on our return from France and right at the last moment, Kevin organised for a “professional cat sitter” to come in and feed the cat, while we were away.  …

AND SO, OFF WE GO TO FRANCE … (Garden photos courtesy of my Dad)

Now my Mum had warned me that on 17 March (St Patrick’s day) they were hosting a celebratory Irish meal and had invited a number of guests – both French and English. We had already seen the Irish flag and bunting as it was ordered on-line and had been delivered to our house a few weeks earlier, and we had been treated to a viewing of their cheap elf T-shirts (picked up in a supermarket during their quick bell-ringing trip to England). The authenticity of the “Irish food” was somewhat dubious, but they had made several attempts to try out the cocktail ‘Black Velvet’ (a mixture of Guinness & Champagne) – now that was sure to go down well in France (!?!) The verdict on the ‘Black Velvet’ was understandably somewhat confused, ranging from “a good way to ruin both Guinness & Champagne” (majority) to “it’s quite nice really” (minority).

I don’t drink much alcohol and definitely avoided the ‘Black Velvet’, but I think the next two photographs go to show what a terrible effect it can have on the photographer (my dad).

All set – before ‘Black Velvet’

I leave it to you to make up your own mind!

Party in full swing – after ‘Black Velvet’

My parents had set up an office for me in their spare, spare bedroom and I did spend a couple of hours each day at my computer doing some work! There was some socialising, relaxing, watching films and shopping too and it did provide a nice break for us humans. And now onto the cat: He seemed to have a pretty relaxed and fun holiday too, being well looked after by the “professional cat sitter” as can be seen from the pictures at the beginning of this post and the photographs to end. We shall definitely be using her again for our next holiday – Birthday celebrations!

Christmas Preparations – Part II

OK – As I said in my last post, on 12 – 13 December 2016 the central heating plumbers arrived and fitted 2 new radiators, new electronic radiator valves on (most) of the radiators and connected up our new super duper electronic control system. Because of the slight miscount of the number of radiators in the house, they could not completely fit a couple of the radiator valves immediately but returned the next day to complete that part of the job. Unfortunately, the radiator in our en-suite is still a mystery to everyone – both us and the plumbers – as no water appears to reach it! However, a new electronic radiator valve had still been fitted, although the temperature recorded refuses to budge from the default setting and no heat is forthcoming from this radiator.

Now Kevin had to do lots of tidying up and we had to start stocking up on Christmas provisions. To cut a long story short, we didn’t even start looking for a ‘real’ Christmas tree until the day before my parents arrival on 23 December. Needless to say, nearly everywhere had sold out of real Christmas trees long ago, but we were lucky enough to pick up a tree (much too tall for our new house). However, after cutting off the base of the trunk and removing some of the lower branches I think we ended up with quite a good looking tree and very cheaply! You will have to judge from the attached photograph.

Christmas tree & presents

Christmas tree & presents

Now I did promise a post with more pictures of the inside of our new house and our few Christmas photos of the ground floor rooms (with decorations) will have to do for now. So here are a couple of photos that were previously posted on Facebook.

front-window-stars-2016

Stars

view-from-the-back-of-lounge-with-a-christmas-tree-stars-bottles-of-drinks-2016

Stars, Christmas tree & drinks

This shows our “very large” living room/dining room. There are no pictures of the dining table from where the 2nd photograph was taken, but I assure you it is now VERY long i.e. our existing table with all extension leaves inserted.

I thought I would finish with a current picture of our lovely cat (Tramp), complete with his Christmas glamour collar. I still think he’s quite an elegant chap, even though he is over 19 years old (quite old for a cat). We don’t really know his age, because he was a stray but we know he’s getting on a bit and a vigorous scratch with his back leg occasionally causes him to topple over – I can understand/appreciate this difficulty being a bit ‘wobbly’ myself! Also, being rather old his neck is a little slimmer than the collar Manufacturers expect and therefore his collar often slips round his neck to form more of a choker/necklace (as shown in the photograph).

Tramp

Tramp