I have tried, in the past, to make my posts and photos and stuff about ltuae follow some kind of thread. Just recently, there have been too many of them (threads, life, universes, etc) so I’m cutting loose from chronology and all that and rambling randomly. Um. Didn’t some truly excellent writer warn against alliteration. Oh well.
We knew that when we came home there would be no small black and white cat waiting to be collected from the cattery because we’d had a difficult couple of phone calls (limping, weight loss, cancer, probably in the liver and spreading rapidly) with the cattery and the vet while we were away. They tell me she was still purring when she went limp and knowing her I’m sure that’s true. And no, I wouldn’t have wanted her to hang on till Saturday when we came home. I do wish I could have stroked her little chin one more time though.
We had a life changing discussion, once, long ago as a family. Basically, the rest of them overruled me (I thought no one else would ever do any feeding or excercising and blow me! I was right) and we got ourselves two cats and a dog. Nutmeg, the nutcase came after the two cats because we thought they needed to get entrenched before being overwhelmed by an idiot dog and also, he had to recover from having his balls off before we could have him at home. So we brought little black and white Tosca first and the first day she was let out, she got stuck in one of the big oak trees across the road. Cat-dinner time came and went and I got a bit worried and shouted a Tosca style comment across the fields (I’ve always been good at imitating animals). After a while I got a response. Of course she was saying “I’m stuck in the tree, third from the end across the road, come and get me” but all I heard was SQUAWK!!!! So me and Tosca squawked at each other until I’d identified the exact tree and then, as dark fell, the entire Bardsley family set off across the fields with a ladder, a cardboard box, a torch and some string. I think Eldest was the one that climbed the tree, put her in the cardboard box and brought her down (and got scratched for his pains). There was continuous squawking. (We think Tosca had some Siamese in her ancestry – the kink in her tail as well as the squawking suggested it). Anyway, me and Tosca had a bond from that first responsive squawk.
We had been told that Tosca had had a litter of kittens before she was sent to the Cat rescue place. Personally, I can’t understand why anyone would ever have sent her anywhere. she was the nicest and least objectionable person of a furry nature that I’ve ever encountered. If offered the opportunity, she would climb into your arms and turn herself upside down, revealing a surprising number of limbs. Then she would purr and dribble a lot. Otherwise she just spent a lot of time being very prettily black and white and floating up to the top of any very high place that took her fancy (because even more than most cats she knew how to fly). While Mandu, (her feline companion) would spend most of her life killing things efficiently, Tosca probably preferred to sit on top of things. Her apparent flight, from floor to any extremely high point in the kitchen was only curtailed after a distressing stomach upset, by me filling in all her leaping places with old kitchen junk.
Oh I dunno. They were all very good companions and terrific characters. We loved them all. Tosca was just my special friend. I really miss her inquiring and completely non-judgmental gaze. And stroking her her upturned offered face. And having and armful of upside down legs. And stroking her pretty, upturned, expectant face with both hands. (No, I don’t miss the dribbling- I’m not an idiot).
Anyway, Barney informs me that Nutmeg (the dog, is buried with a cat on either side of him. This is so – um. Well, Nutmeg spent many years in terror of the cross-eyed gazes of the two cats so no change there. The cats? Are they bothered?)
I couldn’t find the photos of Tosca’s mouse hunt in the larder so I can only offer a link to the relevant blog post.
Damnit, I shall miss that cat. Oh well, already I do. Thing is, there could be no replacement for that slightly squinting, green gaze nor for the upside-down cuddling and dribbling and the proffered chin for scratching and stroking. I loved all three of them, the idiot dog, the efficient, tiger-striped hunter and the piebald, dilettante charmer. But the thing is, me and Tosca, we understood each other. Oh well, probably we just knew how to get each others’ attention. I wish I could have her back.
Goodbye pretty, kitten-cat.
We had a great fortnight away. The sun came out twice, we were joined by friends Kate, for the first few days and Ziggi for the last few. None of you know Kate but she’s a great canal companion and she brought sunshine and six bottles of wine – sadly she also took the sunshine away with her when she went.
Most of you do know the amazing, indomitable Ziggi – not only is she the best company ever and brilliant at locking in the pouring rain for hours and hours, she steers a mean narrow boat – but don’t ask her about bridge 80. I’m so glad she stayed till the end of the holiday because I would have felt very forlorn if she’d left before. Oh and she also brought six bottles of wine. (Zig darling, we need to bring some back to you!)
Right. So our boat will be moving base before we next go on it and therefore, Barney needed to complete the last few bits of the inland waterways system within reach of Great Haywood that he hasn’t done before. So we attacked the Rivers Trent and Soar for a third time and this time we made it round the ring. No floods, no ticks and no other hold-ups. Great! Kate left us on the Tuesday, in Leicester and Barney said cheerfully “well, you’ve got 24 locks to do tomorrow”.
“!” I said. “24 locks??!!!?” (In case you’re interested that might work out at around 166 paddles to be wound up and/or down and since the locks were wide locks, 96 gates to be opened and/or closed)
It seemed to be time to go and have a large drink. Thing is, I don’t love steering and when there’s only the two of us, that means doing all the locks. Anyway, I surprised myself by being able to do it. The being able – just. The surprise – enormous.
We ate at one of the worst places I’ve ever been – what kind of restaurant won’t let you book at all or order food until you’ve got yourself a table – under the watchful eyes of the fifteen other people waiting to pounce on any barely abandoned table? And then serves you a gristly, overcooked steak, followed, after complaint, by an even gristlier steak? While you try to ignore the people waiting for you to finish eating so they can grab your table.
Oops! A hugely popular restaurant. Ok, we’re probably out of touch with modern, trendy eating arrangements?
We had some very nice meals too.
Here are two photos of an epic goose journey across the River Trent – the school run?
I’m a trifle disoriented after two weeks on the boat I can’t put my hand on things without thinking for a minute. Occasionally I wonder why there isn’t a swing-out cupboard under the work top. And I must say it’s quite restful having the same tree outside the window every morning. Anyway, although I am back, life is continuing to be hectic so blogging will continue to be sporadic. I did try a couple of times on the boat but my concentration after a day of lock-winding couldn’t outlast the coming and going of signal and connections. I’m afraid I just gave up!
Anyway, here is what the weather mostly wasn’t like, on Kate’s last evening. We indulged in a G&T there.
I’d like to show you a contrasting pic of any of Ziggi’s evenings with us but quite honestly, the rain (vertical stair-rods) had washed (driven) all the poetry out of my soul.
Irrelevant photo in between rain ↑
Here’s where we and the River Churnet joined together, hurrying towards Consall Forge in hope of getting a really nice hot meal at the Black Lion. Well, we were hoping, Ziggi was probably reeling a bit at the combined onslaught of weather and locks and the Churnet was just rushing to get really full before the next morning when we would have to turn round and plough our way back upstream.
Anyway, there is Ziggi, steering the boat into towards a lock with aplomb*, on our last day (unless you count the packing and unloading and pumping out and filling up and driving home day). She looks very small because I couldn’t resist including the blossom, the spring leaves and the BLUE SKY!
I can’t think of what else I was going to say. I’m off to bed. Sleep well : )
*I have never been able to believe in that word. So I looked it up – to check the spelling which obviously can’t be right – and it turns out to come from the French ‘à plomb: according to the plumb line, vertically’ . Oh well then it does make sense.
How it came about that I would need to be clearing up after the weekend away at the same time as getting ready for the next trip is a puzzle to me and how I came to have arranged to spend an afternoon looking after the Grandbaby, a doctor’s appointment and a breast scan as well is a bit baffling too.
However, no surprise that the car, the cat and my abscess chose this week to become unwell. On the other hand, the car changed its mind and had a service and two new tyres into the bargain so I’m quite happy with that. And the dentist gave me antibiotics and with luck the abscess will simmer down again. The cat caused much worry and required several long visits to the vet and an overnight stay with a rehydrating drip and antibiotics. But she seems to be settling down too though she’s very thin and wobbly after the sudden infection and it seems she has something in her liver which shouldn’t be there. She’ll be going into the cattery when we’re away. They’re very kind and will look after her well. I just hope she continues to improve because I would feel terrible if she died while we were away! I’ve told her so. She replied with a derisory squawk. Well I will give them a tin of corned beef for her – the vet tried to show me how to stuff pills down her throat and I was much relieved to find that a cube of corned beef makes the medicine go down much more easily!
Right. No time for messing around here! The internet is still on the blink and I haven’t been around long enough to try and get it sorted. With any luck I’ll just have time for some more pics before it drops off again.
Looking out through holes in the wall.
I rather like the one that shows all the traffic outside the wall. There were roadworks on the way into the city about which all the drivers complained bitterly. All work stopped in the winter and now that traffic is increasing with the approach of the tourist season, they’ve started work again. The roads approaching the city are all squeezed in, zigzag, along the cliff sides and the blockage is at one of the points where the one way system zigs and zags both ways, briefly. Anyway it was very homey for us sitting in traffic jams!
So here endeth the first day in Dubrovnik It may take months to get through the whole week at this rate. I’m sorry about this generally disorganised and random posting – you’re all very kind to keep paying attention!
I may attempt the odd post while I’m away – it depends on the iphone, the seashell and the signal at the bottom of a big steel box! Wish me luck : )