Tag Archives: cats

No More Tripping Over Pebbles in the Dark

I’m going to tell you the story of Tripping Over Pebbles in the Dark.

Stupid name for a blog.

Pebbles is our little cat, also known as Cooking Fat.

Pebbles came into our lives when Lashes, as a small child, developed an irrational fear of cats. We thought the best course of action was to get her a little cat to scare her with when she misbehaved. No……wait…….. That’s not right. I’ll try again.

We thought that having a teeny, tiny, cute, little kitty around the place would get her over her fear of cats before it turned into a major phobia.  It sounded like a good plan to us.  So we duly turned up at the rescue centre that weekend, which is bloody miles away, only to be told that they didn’t have any kittens in but they knew of some – ten minutes away from home. Sigh. We drove all the way back to go and see said kitty.

It turned out that a woman had taken in a stray cat which promptly had kittens. Before she got rid of them all, one of the kittens had kittens. She was up to her ears in cats and fed up to her back teeth of her dog trying to eat them. We walked in saying that we’d like a little boy cat. “This is a boy” she said as she pointed to a tiny black ball of fluff. To be honest, I think if we’d gone in saying we wanted a martian she’d have pointed to it and told us it was a martian.

“Ok, we’ll take it.” That was when the fun started. This little ball of fluff had had to fight to survive the gnashing jaws of the dog and the squabbling of other cats. I don’t think it had been treated terribly kindly by the owner either. It had quickly learned that the best strategy for survival was to be quick on its feet.

As the woman bent to pick up the kitten, it  sprang into life and almost literally flew round the room at breakneck speed via the furniture and the curtains. It was bit like watching Evel Knieval on the wall of death. Round and round it went until it finally came to rest – hanging like a bat from the tv where it had got its claw stuck.

I went and gently plucked it from the tv while looking at Boofuls with one eyebrow raised, silently questioning if we were doing the right thing getting this tiny hell beast for our feline fearful daughter. However, once I had the little thing in my hands and it finally stopped shaking and howling we decided that there was no way we were leaving it behind. The poor creature was terrified.

A visit to the vet quickly ascertained that the little boy was a little girl and was younger that six weeks old, maybe five weeks old but probably a bit less.

Lashes decided that the hell beast was to be called Pebbles and I’d love to say that they became the best of friends but Pebbles never really lost her fear of everything and has always been a very skitty kitty and she definitely didn’t like children. If she did become best friends with anyone, it was with Boofuls, they’ve always had a special bond between them. Lashes though totally lost her fear of cats.

That was almost twenty one years ago. We worked out that she must have been a new year cat so her 21st birthday is any day now. Over the years she has remained tiny, a true lady but always fearful and nervous. As the years have gone on she has lost her eyesight and her hearing. She has become senile, walking round and round in the kitchen screaming “I don’t know where I am! Help! Help! He…ooh, food.” She has developed diabetes and arthritis. How she’s lived this long I have no idea. Obviously the country air agrees with  her. I open the door in the morning and look down as she looks up and we greet each other. Her by screaming  at me “Open the bloody door you fool!” and me by saying, “You’re still here then.”

She spends her days in the kitchen, right in the middle of the kitchen floor, circling round and round my feet as I’m trying to cook. How I’ve never tripped and sent a pan of something hot over her I’l never know. Or if she’s not in the kitchen she’s sleeping in bizarre places, halfway up the stairs, in the middle of the landing or right in front of the bathroom door. Many times I have tripped over her in the middle of the night on one of my nocturnal bathroom visits. Hence ‘Tripping over Pebbles in the Dark’. It’s a tribute to our little black cat.

Yesterday morning when she came in it was very obvious that something was very wrong with her. She was almost dragging one of her legs behind her and was clearly very uncomfortable. Off to the vet’s we went. “Well, you know she is a hundred years old, don’t you?” Basically, he was telling us to prepare ourselves.

It wasn’t with any surprise but with a great deal of sadness that we discovered Pebbles crossed over the rainbow bridge at some point during the night last night. She went to sleep in her  basket and just didn’t wake up. Exactly the way we always hoped she’d go. We’re going to miss you, you howling, mewling, trip hazard.

No more tripping over Pebbles in the dark.

Animal Magic

Cor! That’s a blast from the past. Anyone remember Animal Magic?

Here’s a link to  clip from Animal Magic. I Used to love this programme when I was a kid. Of course we had to watch it in black and white because we weren’t posh enough for a colour telly.

It’s been a funny old week with animals this week. Our old cat,  Pebbles, yup, the very Pebbles in the title of this blog, the very one I do regularly trip over in the dark as she’s jet black and sleeps in the oddest places, will be 20 in couple of months.  Now with only a few teeth left in hear head, severely rickety, totally deaf and almost blind she spends most of her time asleep on the landing. Every now and then when she’s sleeping really soundly I prod her as I go past to make sure she’s still alive.

She still seems to think she’s a dog and follows Boofuls round the house , keeping to heel far better than Mrs Woofy ever does. Boofuls told me last night that he now communicates with her via sign language since she’s as deaf as a post. She responds as well. Clever cat.

Mrs Woofy stayed for her usual Thursday night sleepover after doggie boot camp.  This week we were practising emergency stops. The scenario being that your dog was across a road and a bus was coming so you had to get it to lie down on command. That’d be the dog, not the bus, just so we’re all clear.  Why the hell would your dog be on the opposite side of the road to you anyway? if you’re on a road surely it should be on a lead, or is that just me? Anyway. I digress.  The dogs were made to sit at the far end of the room.  The handlers (that’d be me, I never in my life imagined the title ‘dog handler’ would ever be attached to me. I hate dogs) had to call their dogs to them and as they reached the halfway point we had to holler “STAY!!!”  The plan being that the dog did indeed stay. Guess what? She did!  She’ll be taking an apple for the teacher next week, class swot as she is.

For once I had some proper dog chow for her breakfast. I’d stolen a bag of her normal food from Gem and The Rev’s. Normally the poor dog has to eat cat food when she stays with me. Not only cat food but the cheapest, wateriest cat food we can find, stuff that has hardly any lumps of meat in it because Pebbles can’t eat lumps any more, she only has the gravy. Feeling very pleased with myself  for finally having some proper dog food in I poured the dried  food into the bowl and put it down for her. She looked at it, sniffed it, looked at me in disgust as if to say, ‘What’s this crap? ‘ and then sat by my side gazing up at me with her limpid brown eyes.   The message was obvious:’ Can I have some of that nice meaty, covered in delicious gravy cat food?’  She  obviously thinks that it’s her Friday morning treat. Oh well. I aim to please. Cat food it was. Gem and The Rev can have their purloined bag of dried dog food back.

Still on the subject of animals. Boofuls was giving it plenty in the snoring department the other night. I gave him the customary shove in the ribs with a delicately delivered, “SHUDDUP! You sound like a moose.” Rather than turn over as normal he responded sleepily with, “Yes, yes, it does sound like a moose, doesn’t it? A bit bigger though, I think.”

It’s hard to sleep with tears of laughter pouring down your face.

Summertiiiiimmme and the living is…

Bloody hard work!

The gorgeous weather dragged me outside to play and  shirk my responsiblities. I took most of the day today off work to go to the park with Lashes and Munki and then get on with some gardening.

I’d arranged to meet pick Lashes up at her home at 11.45 so we could have a walk in the park and then drop Munki off at nursery straight after.  At 11.00 I got a phone call:” Are you on your way, we’re on the doorstep waiting for you.”

“But it’s not time, it’s only 11.00.”

“Oh. So it is. Crap. Are you going to come now then?”

So, my coffee went down the sink and I set off for our trip to the park to feed the ducks.

Ungrateful sods that they are. Not a bit interested in the bread on offer. It didn’t take Dr Dolittle to work out that all that quacking meant; ‘Not bread again! Ooh, I could murder a nice biryani.’

Not that I blame them. I bet they’re all  waddling round with terrible IBS because of all the wheat they ingest on a daily basis.

All my good intentions to get stuck into work and designing the next album in my queue  fell apart when I got out of my car at home and realised that the day was as perfect as a day gets. Shame to waste it.

The washing machine worked overtime as I washed everything that wasn’t nailed down. The cats made a sharp exit in case they got caught up in the cleaning frenzy. What is it about a nice sunny day that makes you want to get everything washed  and on the line whether it’s dirty or not?

Next I took my ‘magic claw’ to the garden. Project TLC is in full swing. At the moment I’m trying to work out what to do with the patio at the back. It’s looking more than a bit sad, all the paving slabs are at all sorts of tipsy angles, it’s positively dangerous and grim looking.

While I was out with Mrs Woofy the other day I saw a drive that had pattern imprinted concrete and it didn’t look bad at all. I had a eureka moment.

‘That’s it! That’s what we’ll do with the patio.’  WRONG.

After a quick measure up and a call for a quote I’ve discovered that it’s going to cost in the region of £12.000!!!!  Fookety fook!

Now I’m on the lookout for a good hard landscaper, any ideas?

I don’t of course mean hard landscaper as in: ‘He’s well ‘ard.’  I mean a landscaper who specialises in land drainage and hard landscaping.

Now when I say hard landscaping I don’t mean difficult, I mean……..

Anyway. I spent a lovely afternoon gardening and then Boofuls took me to the pub for my dinner. Roast chicken on  a Wednesday? Lovely.

The warm weather has had it’s usual effect on the cats. They sit outside  the door howling,

‘Wanna come in.’

‘Iiiiiiiiiiiinn, Let me iiiiiiiiiiiinn! Iiiiiiiiiiiiinnn!’

‘Leeeeeeeeet meeeeeeeeeee iiiiiiiiiiiiiinnnnnnnn!

So, in they come. Two seconds later:

‘Wanna go oooooooouuuuuuuuut.’

Ooooouuuuuuuut. Let me oooooouuuuuuuutt!

Tell me again why we have pets?





The first day of spring

Ok, I know it’s the second day of spring, and clingon no. 2’s birthday, but this story is about yesterday.

In winter I park my car right at the front door – for three reasons;

1. It’s bloody cold and windy up here in winter and I want to be in the house as soon as possible.

2. I’m an idle sod.

3. We can’t enjoy the spectacular views across the valley when the curtains are shut and it’s dark so I might as well, after all, I’m not spoiling the view, am I?

In summer it’s a different story, the car is tucked away down the side of the house so we can sit out and enjoy  uninterrupted views across the moors.

This view: It’s not bad is it?

sunny field

I was so chuffed when it got chosen for the front cover of this magazine:

bbe inspired

Anyway, back to the plot:

The car was parked up on the drive right in front of the patio doors. Two or three little blue tits were flying about, landing on the bush nearby and then flying to the wing mirror of my car. Clearly thinking that they were seeing off a rival bird they pecked and flapped away furiously. It waa hysterical to watch and it went on for about half an hour.

That’s when I had the bright idea of setting up my camera on a tripod. Of course the birds flew away when the noticed the movement inside the house but I wasn’t concerned, I knew they’d be back.

All day I waited, there was no sign of them.  Bloody birds.

I left the tripod and camera set up for the following morning.

Still no sign. How odd.  I put food out for them and waited…………still no sign.

Eventually I went upstairs to have my shower and there on the landing in front of me were two very innocent looking cats and half a deceased bird!!!  NOOOOOOO!!!!!!!

Here’s a  lovely spring photo of a blue tit  I didn’t get,  courtesy  of the Heaton Trust:

blue tit source: http://www.heatonwoodstrust.co.uk/birdlife.html

Did you see the big moon the other night?

On March 19, 2011 the Moon  passed by Earth at a distance of 221,567  miles – the closest pass in 18 years.

Were you expecting it to be massive?

Yes, so was I.

Thinking it was going to something spectacular we ( Me Boofuls, Litllesis and Litllesis’s latest squeeze) kept dashing outside for a look. Every two minutes one of us went out to watch for this ‘supermoon’ coming over the horizon.

As soon as it did, I jumped up onto the car to get a bit more height (all the better to see you with) and shot a few pictures on my phone.

Yes, I know that’s just lazy but we’d had a very heavy weekend and I didn’t want to be lugging stuff around, setting up tripods, hiking to the best spot on the moors and generally making a production of it as there are sooooo many people who can do that far better than I can.

So here’s my phone offering of the big moon:

Big moon behind trees