Thursday, 18 January 2018

"You Can't Get the Quality of Servants..."

Hello... it's Ella again.
Did you realise that I've been in my new home for almost four weeks?  I'm definitely finding my paws now.  Female servant and I chat away all the time.  I'm starting to understand more human words.  I came to Jan's house only understanding 'Cat, fish, food and Dreamie'.  Now I also know that 'Ella',' biscuit and 'come on' generally mean something good is going to happen.  I'm pretending that I've never heard 'No' in my life!  Jan has also started to recognise my meows.... particularly the little one that I do in my throat just before I do something cheeky!!
 
Here I am helping female servant tidy the 'back bedroom of doom'.  You can see from my expression that I was appalled by the chaos in this room.  No wonder she keeps the door closed....
 
 
I love playing in cupboards.  Here I am in the bottom of the wardrobe in the back bedroom.  I found a sparkly dress behind this long blue coat and couldn't resist patting it in the darkness...

 
On Tuesday - while I took a morning nap in the sun on the servants bed - Jan went to Tewksbury Abbey.  'Purrsonally' I can't see why any sane person would want to visit an ancient building like that in freezing temperatures, but even I can see that some of the photos came out quite well.






 
She met up with long term friends (also ex-teachers) and had a really good natter about everything.  There's also been quite a few people pop round for coffee this week.  I still get quite anxious when I see new faces.  I worry that they might be trying to take me away from my new home and I start to do 'alarmed cat' stuff (like going under furniture or getting a claw stuck in the curtains when I'm trying to create a hiding place).  However I'm completely happy with all Jan's pupils... and I LOVE one set of parents who spend the whole lesson playing with me and feeing me Dreamies!
 
Jan says that she thinks I'm doing very well.  On the whole I think she's doing ok too!
 

Sunday, 14 January 2018

Everything's fine, I think......

What a week....
 
In the diary for Monday - walk on Malvern Hills with friend K.
At 8.15, just as I was about to leave for my friends house, Mum rang in a total panic.  Dad had collapsed and she couldn't get him up again.  We called for an ambulance and they checked him out.  His heart is fine.... it was just a combination of fatigue, a virus and dehydration.  A lot of water, sleep and some antibiotics have worked their magic over the rest of the week.
Unfortunately he knocked Mum quite badly on the way down so she was bruised (not great for an elderly HD sufferer).
I spent the day round at their house, generally looking after things and getting Dad to his own Docs later in the afternoon.
 
In the diary for Tuesday - coffee and catch up with fellow 'escapee Music Teacher' S.
Fortunately she texted to say that she had one of the bugs that's going round.  I used the day to sort out a few more things for Mum and Dad.  I also did my own food shop for the week while I was in Droitwich.  I found that I was a bit 'wiped out and emotional' after the unexpected stress of the previous day.
In the evening we went to the Marcos Motoring Club monthly meal at a pub near Pershore.  I wasn't really in the mood to be sociable... and a couple of people in the club really pushed my buttons during the meal.  I know I was just over-tired so I'm not going to hold it against them!
 
In the diary for Wednesday Evening - Saltway Quilters Meeting with friend and next door neighbour J.
My first ever visit to a Quilters Meeting.  The group are really friendly and welcoming.  We'll  definitely go again.
 
In the diary for Thursday - coffee and catch up lovely ex-colleague C.
C. texted me while I was at the Quilters meeting to say that she was swamped by work/planning and marking and would prefer to re-schedule our catch up to next week.  I made the most of the unexpected free time to do several loads of washing .... and several happy hours of quilting!!!
 
In the diary for Saturday Evening - '90 Years of Romance' meal out with Mum and Dad
This weekend is the 67th anniversary of Mum and Dad's first date AND the 33rd anniversary of mine and Mark's first date, making 90 years of romance in total!  Sadly we took the decision on Friday to postpone this meal because Mum and Dad aren't really well enough at the moment for a big meal in the evening.  We hope that we'll have a meal out together in a couple of weeks time.
In the meanwhile I made a curry from scratch for the two of us and we enjoyed a nice bottle of wine.
 
I hope that this week is going to be a little bit more like the schedule I can see in the diary......
No surprises please!!!!!
Jx


Sunday, 7 January 2018

Belated New Year's Resolutions.. In Verse

Extract from "To An English Friend in Africa"
by Ben Okri
 
"Time is now a gift for you
A gift of freedom
To think and remember and understand
The ever perplexing past
And to re-create yourself anew
In order to transform time.
 
Live while you are alive.
Learn the ways of silence and wisdom
Learn to act, learn a new speech
Learn to be what you are in the seed of your spirit
Learn to free yourself from all things that have moulded you
And which limit your secret and undiscovered road.
 
Remember that all things which happen
To you are raw materials
Endlessly fertile
Endlessly yielding of thoughts that could change
Your life and go on doing for ever.
Never forget to pray and be thankful
For all the things good or bad on the rich road;
For everything is changeable
So long as you live while you are alive."

I heard the whole of this rather wonderful poem for the first time this afternoon.
If I had the gift of being able to write poetry, then I think my hopes and aspirations for 2018 might have shaped something a little like this.

It's hard to put my finger on the feeling exactly....I just feel as if it's taken two years to completely disentangle myself from the stresses of my old job.  I also spent a lot of 2017 very pre-occupied with worries about Thomas; family concerns; major house maintenance projects and HD stuff.  I was happy enough on a day-to day basis but very reluctant to make any major commitments beyond my private teaching, walking dates and regular 'coffee and catch ups' with my oldest/closest friends.

I've moved into 2018 with far more energy - physical, emotional and intellectual.  I think it can by partly attributed to the fact that we've moved back into 'worry-free' cat ownership.  It must also be a result of the life-changing news about HD just before Christmas.  I actually feel like I want to get my teeth into a proper project again.  One that might exhaust me a little, or take me out of my comfort zone.  I haven't got a clue what it might be... but this year I'm open to the potential.

"Watch this space..."  as they say!
Jx
 

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

When Ella was Asleep...

We had a very 'gentle' Christmas break this year - not too much rushing around, eating and drinking, and staying up late, but lots of quality time with family and friends. 
On Boxing Day we went to Worcester Cathedral Cloisters to see the annual display of charity trees.  The low winter sun was shining through the glass and it gave an extra 'glow' to the whole event.
 
 
Mum managed very well with her walker - she's at the front in the photo below.
(Standing and reading is incredibly difficult for people with HD.. but my Mum is always super-determined in these sorts of situations.)

 
I'm always in awe of the creativity in these displays.  This tree was provided by a vintage clothing shop in the town.  It's been inspired by a fairy from a 1950s tree.  The neckline is made of baubles and the sash is made of tinsel and beads.  So pretty!
 
 
I totally fell for the romance of this tree.  It was created by the local Operatic Society and has a 'Marriage of Figaro' theme.

 
Close up it's even more gorgeous.  I'd have a tree like this in my living room if I could.

 
Wouldn't it look amazing at a winter wedding?

 
I saw these 'parcel's at the bottom of the tree created by a local mental health charity.
They'd worked with a snow-flake theme ... "Everyone's different and equally beautiful".

 
On 27th December me plodded across the snow-fields of the East Midlands to see Mark's Mum.  She lives in Sleaford (south of Lincoln) which is an awkward return journey for us to do in one day from Worcester.  Nevertheless, with her health problems, it's easier to devote one day of the holiday to a lot of driving rather than trying to deal with both Mums at this end (I hope that doesn't sound harsh..)

 
Then... for a couple of days I was laid low with the nasty bug that's going round.  Mark was delighted because it gave him chance to do some jobs in the garage on his current project.
 
Yesterday we joined some friends at the local model engineering club for their members New Year's Day event.  Here's Mark (in the hat) learning how to drive the track...
 

 
I was still feeling pretty rough but I still drove a bit and rode behind my friend...
(No pictures of me - I looked seriously ''full of a cold'!)

 
And younger niece I. joined us for a few circuits in the afternoon...
 
 
Today Mark went back to work.  Ella was unimpressed by the early alarm clock.  I don't think Mark was that pleased about it either.  I managed to sleep through the whole thing.... which didn't impress either of them!!!!!!
Jx

Friday, 29 December 2017

Situation Report from Ella

Hello... It's Ella here!
I've been with my new humans for six days and it's all going extremely well.
I love watching the world from my 'safe spot'... Jan's piano stool.
 
 
I enjoyed joining in with the Christmas meals and celebrations.

 
I know that I mustn't get on the table and start nibbling the cheese!
(Anyway, I'm a very well-behaved cat... and I want Jan and Mark to love me and keep me forever)


Jan has guessed lots of things about me by the way that I've settled in....
She's worked out that my previous home was pretty chaotic, with at least one dog and small children.  When I first arrived I used to gobble all my food up as quickly as possible.  Now I know that I can leave it and it will still be there when I get back. I also know that I've got regular meal-times, which is a lot less stressful.  I was very upset on Christmas morning when I heard some small children's voices in a dark room.  I now know it was something called a 'radio'.

 
She's also worked out that I was often left with the dog/dogs.  I can spend hours lying quite still and watching the world.  When people want to be with me I can take an unlimited amount of fuss.  I haven't scratched Jan or Mark at all since I met them.  I'm very proud of this.
 
The only things I'm struggling with at the moment is working out how to 'play' with Jan and Mark.  My previous home didn't really give me the chance to play and I get in a muddle with it.  I also find it difficult to work out when I can get on laps and have a cuddle.  Each day I try to sit on some-ones lap for a little more time... it's nice but it just feels a bit weird.
 
Today Jan has played the harp and the piano AND used something called a sewing machine. 
She was pleased that I didn't get upset with all these noises.  I told her that they were nothing compared to my previous home!! 
 
She tells me that I should wish everyone Happy New Year at the end of this post.
So.... hugs and purrs from Ella
(and Jan!)

Saturday, 23 December 2017

Our new lodger....

Look who moved in this morning.....The lovely Ella!
This gorgeous lady came from the Worcestershire Animal Sanctuary, near Malvern.
She's calm, kind and super-friendly, perfect for a house where pupils and their families come and go.
 
 
She was taken to the Sanctuary as an un-micro-chipped stray.
I think a family lost a much-loved pet because she's really humanised and totally un-phased by the trappings of Christmas.  The vet thinks she could be about three years old.  Mark and I think she's probably a bit older (more like five or six). 

 
She's nervous this afternoon because she thinks that Thomas is about to come home.
Currently she's hiding by my feet in the darkest corner of the study.
Of course I'd still give anything to have Thomas amble through the cat flap... but I have a feeling that Ella and I are going to become good friends.
 
Further photos to follow!
Jx

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Christmas Stuff....

Yesterday Mark sent me a couple of photos from his department's festive breakfast.
The first one's taken in the pub near the factory where they meet up first thing.
(Mark's right at the top of the table next to his long time colleague and friend Ian.  They've shared the craziness of the same department and manager for 26 years!)
 
 
The second one is taken in a meeting room next to their 'section' in the office.
They get back to work at around 9.30, then it's business as usual for the rest of the day.
Mark received a vote for his outfit... but the guy wearing all the fairy lights was the clear winner!

 
We've been quite low key with the decorations this year... just a tree and cards.
Since Mark does 95% of the tree, I let him 'get away with' something larger than I would probably chose.  This year it's been a particularly good one, with plenty of space to show off the 'special' decorations that we've collected over 27 Christmases of marriage..

 
We've also used most of the gold and silver charity shop baubles that I picked up for a couple of pounds in Evesham a few years ago....

 
The photo is a bit blurry but you get the general idea....

 
This morning it's harp practice and housework until my parents call round at about 11-30.  This afternoon I've lots of teaching (two hours of harp and an hour and a half of piano).  Once I've finished I'm off to 'kitten sit' for a friend whose worried about leaving her teenage cat for the first time.  When I finally get home for supper I've got to wrap some presents for delivery tomorrow.
 
I can't believe it's less than a week until Christmas.!!!!
Jx