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Saturday, 25 February 2017

"We hate mices to pieces"

I suppose it was bound to happen. Our two delightful kittens Pixie and Dixie would show their true colours.

We innocently thought that those wide eyed looks, those pretty paddy paws that felt like velvet, those playful japes meant we'd been blessed with a couple of feline angels. sheer joy to us as we watched them gambol innocently and drink ever so decorously their special kitten milk and biscuits.

What fools we were. The warning signs were there from the beginning. The day they arrived the first thing they did -those little balls of fluff - was to climb the curtains and abseil down. They only did it that once the little deceivers.

The rapid destruction of our sofa, bought when I retired and so lovingly preserved took place while we were mesmerised by the enchanting antic of P&D. The terrorising of Billy Bongo, our magnificent male ginger cat - we thought a passing phase. Until we realised their tormenting resembled the hunting tactics of the two velociraptors in "Jurassic Park".

Then there was the mishap of peeing on the bed. At the time I thought it was an innocent mistake. Looking back I can see it was sheer vandalism and devilment. Pixie or was it Dixie, joined me in bed and promptly and very deliberately pissed on the duvet cover the duvet, the under sheet and the mattress  protection sheet. But it was silent, hidden and deadly.

My quiet Sunday Supp snooze turned into a washday panic as all of the bed linen was bundled into the washing machine.

After that they were banned from the bedroom.

In retaliation they crapped in the second bedroom.

We, foolishly, relented. They were allowed into the bedroom when two of us were there, and as the little blighters planned we were seduced by their oh so careful playing on the duvet. Then they came in unattended.

I should have known mischief was afoot. The other day Pixie had a crap in the litter tray and deliberately missed. She proudly placed a surprisingly large steaming turd on the oak floor. Dixie later stood on the side of the litter tray and propelled all its contents across the living room.

Not one iota of concern, embarrassment or shame, just a quick flick of the tail, a prodding of the dispersed litter and an inspection of the paws and then on to the next blitzkrieg.

This morning I had just eaten my Marmite and butter soaked crumpets - in bed - when Pixie jumped up  and started to attack my toes, then my fingers and finally my phone. I was full of contentment and Marmite and must have dozed off. On waking I felt a slight dampness on my legs. Throwing back the covers, I discovered deep penetration. The little blighter had peed on the bed again: but this time had improved on her technique.

The under sheet, the sheet and duvet and its cover have spent all day in the washing machine and the tumble dryer. Tonight we are sleeping under a tiger themed blanket. The kittens are on the sofa in the front room next to a hot, glowing coal fire with plates of prime tuna and a saucer of fresh cream.

Frankly, we might as well surrender. They have us completely by the short and curlies.

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

"I Rather be a Sparrow than a Snail - Yes I would - If I only could"

Having not travelled outside our delightful isle for many, many years I found myself in Svalbard in January ( as regular readers of my blog will know). It has unleashed - there is no other word - the wanderlust in me. Think Phineas Fogg, the Ancient Mariner, Ulysses and Star Lord. Now the world is my oyster and I see unbounded vistas opening up before me. Well as much as a Civil Service pension will allow.

To spread my wings - where? To the East and the lure of the Orient, the ancient Silk Route, the Forbidden City, or the fabulous Pearl Isles of the Java Sea. To the West,  to the Land of Opportunity, to the wide Pacific? North once again to the Arctic and beyond. No South, that is where I want to wander as I wonder.

Places that conjure up adventure, discovery and ice. South Georgia, the Ross Sea, Mordor (aka New Zealand).....Antarctica. I dismissed Australia as being too far north -for God's sake some of it's near the Equator. As for New Zealand, I love their lamb but isn't it just one big "Lord of the Rings' theme park?

I've nothing against South America. It's very big and long, and inspired Simon and Garfunkel, but that was a long time ago. Yet for some reason I felt drawn further and further South until I was at the tip of that vast continent - Tierra Del Fuego. Penguins, Seals, Whales, Polar Bears and lots of other stuff. Perfect.

My hols have been sorted. TdelF in June, via the Ascension Islands, South Georgia and the South Shetland Islands. Now all I need is a suitably large icebreaker.

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

“One day I was counting the cats and I absent-mindedly counted myself.”

I want to talk about a sentient being with which we share this planet of ours.

My position, based on many years of experience, is clear. Our cat Ginja the Ninja is as sentient, even more so, than most of the neighbours in our street.

Ginja, or Billy Bongo, or Gingi Pops, has been part of the Coidan household for at least 8 years. A stray cat who decided to call on us and stayed.

I can honestly say I have spent more time talking to him, stroking and dodging his well aimed swipes than I have with anyone else other than the missus. I have learnt to read his every expression, his moods, even appreciate his ambitions - to biff really hard that big black cat from across the road.

Billy Bongo is a big, ginger tom with eyes that you melt into. There he is on the kitchen window ledge, wanting to come in but...maybe the timing's not quite right. He stares into my eyes - I say I understand as he sniffs my hand and rubs against the wall. He raises his paw and pats my hand, I stroke his head and rub his back. He jumps down and in the kitchen waits for me to stroke him again, and then he moves off to eat his biscuits.

It's "Pointless" on the telly. Billy Bongo taps on the window to be let in. You open the back door and he segways in. He raises his head for a stroke and heads off to the front room where the missus is waiting with an accommodating lap and many words of love and comfort. He stares into her eyes, stretches out a paw and purrs himself to sleep. Two more contented beings in this universe you could not find.

It is half eleven, time for bed. This is the beginning of the bed ritual. Sometimes he's waiting on the window ledge, more often than not he's nowhere to be seen. The thought that we might pass a night without this lump of golden fur sleeping slap bang in the middle of our bed fills us with panic. Glass is tapped, door handles moved up and down,"Ginji Pops" echos through the night.

In the bathroom his glass of water is prepared. Filled to the top, he can't be expected to stick his head in the glass, the glass is placed in the middle of the bath. In the bedroom, his blanket, especially chosen, is laid out on the bed.

He scratches on the window and is let in. Having had a late supper of dried food  he runs upstairs into the bathroom to have his late nightcap of water. He may join me as I brush my teeth but otherwise he's focused fully on his glass of water.  Having had his fill he trundles along the landing to the bedroom and jumps on the bed. If I happen to be there before him we exchange greetings, he rubs up against my hand or iPhone and I stroke him and rub his head - he loves that. We might even have a goodnight kiss, but usually he too intent on bedding down to let any familiarities get in the way.

At 5 am his bladder is full and he pats the missus on the face. She gets up, goes down stairs, watches him have an early morning snack and lets him out. There is much talking between the two of them in the early hours.

On many occasions during the day he will engage with us. The latest cat on the block, his liking for cat nip, and the success or otherwise of the cat food manufacturer's latest creation.

All this congress is achieved by an animal on all fours, without an opposible thumb, whose vocal utterances are limited and who seems to enjoy licking his bum.

Many people have these furry persons as companions for more years than they are married. As you sit reading, writing or just dreaming this delightful creature sits, sleeps, stares lovingly into your eyes and you thank God for creatures great and small and for this miricle of companionship who ancestors a few thousamd years ago happened upon us.