101 Uses for a Brompton: Cat Reunions

July 11, 2014

It’s been another glorious day today and plans were hatched: the other half has been helping out the ex neighbour at his parents’ house and I rode down on the Brompton with a basket full of sausages and potato salad to join them for a barbecue afterwards.

little grey cat

Them, and a certain little grey cat, who has been sorely missed.

little grey cat

I’d love to say she came running over miaowing with delight at being reunited with an ex member of staff, but I’d be lying.

little grey cat

She deigned to be stroked, as long as I didn’t overdo it, but not particularly to be photographed.

Little grey cat and the other half

She knows who she likes…

The Cat then went Away Again

July 10, 2013

crouching cat

In good news for mice – but bad news for blog fodder – the neighbour is finally and definitely moving out this week and taking her royal highness with him

staring cat

He’s moving to Bigtown and he did suggest that she’d be better off staying with us. We were tempted but in the end he needed her (and she needed him – while she tolerates me and likes the other half, she’s very much a one-man cat when it comes down to it) more.

cat on sofa

We will miss her.

Nobody suggest getting another cat.


Feeling Weedy

July 8, 2013

You know you’ve lost the whole weeding-the-drive battle when you come back from fetching the paper and find the landlord is doing it for you. With a strimmer…

weedy drive

What can I say, we’ve been busy, there’s been a cat to keep happy you know…

cat tail

Goodness, Gracious, Great (well, tiny) Balls of Fluff

June 20, 2013

Just when I thought I could relax over the fate of various baby animals with our tadpoles safely mutated into frogs, a new worry presents itself. As I rode into the drive yesterday afternoon I was confronted by the following sight

Pheasant and chicks

A mama pheasant, teaching her little fluffballs-on-legs that the safest thing to do when confronted by a wheeled predator was to crouch down and disguise yourself as a bit of the driveway… truly they are the bird brains of the bird world.

pheasant chick

there’s a baby pheasant in there somewhere – unfortunately this was taken with my phone, not the other half’s excellent camera

After a while mama and chicks dispersed into the undergrowth that was once the neighbour’s flower bed, which was probably sensible from the not-getting-run-over point of view, but less so given the presence of his cat. I’m not, on the whole, a huge fan of pheasants as they’re garden pests and a road hazard to boot (it’s hard to keep your composure on a bike when one waits until you’re almost alongside it to rocket out of the verge past your ear yelling blue murder) but the babies are rather sweet, and I don’t want to have to be dealing with any stripy fluffy corpses on my doorstep… and the cat has a distressing tendency to play with her food.

The Cat Came Back

May 25, 2013

We’re delighted to see our neighbour returned – albeit only for a few more weeks – along with his cat. We’ve missed them both, although I’m not sure the same can be said for the cat who greeted me with the sort of polite yet distant attention a minor royal might muster on being introduced to the back room kitchen staff. She spent her first night back out marauding, and then the morning miaowing piteously outside the neighbour’s door for he is not an early riser and she has apparently got used to the amenities of a cat flap at her new home. I was out binge gardening, to make the most of some miraculous sunshine (on a bank holiday weekend – are the weather gods ill?) and a temporary hiatus between cycle campaigns, and had rather forgotten the cat until I went into our bedroom and found I had rudely woken her royal highness up from her post marauding nap. I can see we’re going to have to rearrange ourselves back around her convenience.

And the cat’s not all. Walking up to the compost heap I found myself under observation from a nice little flock of Black Rock hens – the landlord’s new arrivals. They appear to have made themselves at home in the grounds between our cottage and the main house, which overlaps with the cat’s territory. It will be interesting to see which out of the hens and the cat will hold this new ground. If these new birds are anything like the old ones, my money isn’t on the cat…


May 11, 2013

You know, we thought we were being pretty clever borrowing the neighbour’s cat. He got all the less pleasant aspects of being owned by a cat – vet bills, buying cat food, litter trays, dead rodents on his doorstep – while we got to share in the perks, like a mouse-free house, blog fodder and, er, a cat stomping about on our heads at 4am.

cat looking adorable

But then the neighbour got ill and had to go and stay with his parents to recover, taking the cat with him and leaving a cat-shaped hole in our lives. It’s good news for swallows, I suppose, and hopefully she’ll be back before the mice get wind of it, but it’s left us feeling a little bereft.

sleepy cat

Although I was slightly cheered by the sight of a red squirrel bounding past the kitchen window early one morning. OK, so they won’t come and curl up on the sofa to be stroked, but they are pretty damn cute all the same.


Spring Offensive

March 22, 2013


I wasn’t really worried about today’s forecast snow until someone mentioned in the pub last night that rain from the west was due to meet a cold blast coming in from the east. If we know anything about rain from the west round here, it’s that it keeps on coming, and we’ve been feeling enough of the east wind in recent days to know it doesn’t muck about much either. So I wasn’t all that surprised to wake up this morning to snow on the ground; having it piled a foot deep against the front door was a different matter.

bench in the snow

cat_footprintsFortunately we had food, power (unlike many), plentiful wood and a roof over our heads so we just hunkered down to sit it out. The hard part was getting the cat fed – we feed her over at the neighbour’s to avoid her moving in on us permanently, so first we had to persuade her out of our house where she’d spent the night and into the cat-deep* snowdrifts. She doesn’t take kindly to being picked up and if there’s anything more squirmy than a cat that wants DOWN I’ve never encountered it. In the end, the other half managed to maintain a grip on her as far as the shovelled path he’d made and we got her safely home. And then the neighbour, bless him, who’d battled down from Fife and got out of his van with a thousand-yard stare when he finally arrived, had bought extra milk and bread for us so we have no need to go anywhere until it’s gone. Apart from nipping out to take some photos for the blog, of course…

snowy hillside

We’ve had as much snow before – indeed we’ve probably had as much snow this winter – but we’ve never seen it drifting like this or piled so high. Astoundingly, the council sent a snow plough and gritter round this afternoon, which means it must be *really* bad – and it’s still snowing …

snowy stream

Time to get the ice tyres on again? Or just give up and hibernate till May?

*Slight exaggeration

Cat on a Hot Tin Rayburn

March 21, 2013

Happiness is…


… your own stool by the Rayburn

In the interests of strict accuracy, that is supposed to be MY stool by the Rayburn but we’re cat sitting again and the cat and I have been conducting an undeclared turf war over this prime bit of kitchen territory. I think the cat’s won though, as MY stool has had to be moved from a position where I could sit with my back against the Rayburn because the cat had a tendency to fall asleep on it and then stretch luxuriously on waking, pressing her paws against the hot metal. It turns out it takes a little bit of time for the message that your paws are burning to get through to a cat brain (although when it does, boy the cat can move). We wouldn’t want her damaging herself under our care, so we have moved the stool to a safe stretching distance and if that inconveniences anyone else in the house well, she’s a cat, and she doesn’t give a stuff, frankly.


Someone remind me what cats are for again?

Cluck Off and Die

January 3, 2013

let us at them

The walled garden where the veg patch lives is rather quiet these days – and not just because the mice have eaten themselves into a stupor. No, it’s because the landlord has, with commendable ruthlessness, sent the hens off to the big stock pot in the sky. They had not really been earning their keep as the two surviving white ones never really got into their stride – and the two remaining brown ones were getting rather long in the tooth, or beak, or whatever it is with hens. Once they started to moult and stopped what little laying they were still doing, they were for the chop as they’d then spend the rest of the winter eating without producing anything other than manure, of which, frankly, we’ve got enough.

I can’t say I’ll miss the white ones as they never really showed much spirit but the brown ones (Black Rocks, if anyone’s interested) were a feisty bunch, with distinct personalities of their own. They’d always come racing over to investigate what delicious treat I was bringing to the fence (drunken slugs? Chickweed? Baby rabbit?) and they were nice and chatty too when they were happy (obviously their conversation didn’t actually make any sense, they’re hens, but the point of most conversation is to make a companionable sort of noise and that’s what they did). They also laid wonderful eggs, of course, which made our occasional stints of chicken sitting something to look forward to. So I’m hoping that the spring will bring some replacements…

Meanwhile, in other news, the cat is considering whether to forgive her staff for their three weeks unauthorised absence. So far, the jury is out.

glaring cat

A Little Hush, Please

December 7, 2012

We had a rare night out last night and I may have consumed rather too many Dark & Stormy Nights* which meant I foolishly let the cat into the house on our return – and by ‘let’ I mean that the cat made a bolt for the front door as soon as she saw us returning and insinuated herself through the gap the moment it opened and I didn’t have the heart to kick her out again. This can only end one way and thus it was that I was woken in the early hours from a vivid dream in which our friends were feeding their dog on fish food to discover there was a cat stomping about on my head saying ‘wakey wakey, it’s four am and it’s a lovely night for a murder so can you let me out please’, although of course being a cat she didn’t say please. I would have just ignored her but that only makes her stomp around on your head harder and I tell you this: don’t be fooled by that ‘velvet paws’ nonsense, cats are not light on their feet and too much dark rum sloshing about the system adds absolutely nothing to the experience.

So let’s just say I was feeling a little under par this morning. Fortunately, the rain yesterday had not only washed away almost all of the ice and snow but had gone leaving bright sunshine and a brisk breeze and I was able at last to get out on my bike and fetch the paper and let the fresh air blow away the cobwebs. I was even accompanied part of the way back by a cheery flock of long-tailed tits who were chirping their way from tree to tree in a charming manner designed to gladden the heart and lift the soul.  Which it did. Although on the whole, I could have wished them to be a teeny bit less loud…

*Dark rum and ginger beer; don’t mock until you’ve tried it.