Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Peril.

So, did you see it............. did you ............ that photo of  'yours truly' in the newspaper ? Oh, my stars, I didn't know whether to laugh or cry !
You see, it all happened yesterday . There I was , home alone and desperately in need of some  TLC. I had wandered into the kitchen and looked at the pile of dishes and pans that had been dumped on the worktop  (why is it no-one ever reloads the dishwasher ? ) and something just snapped.

                           " No ! ",  I thought, " I need some  'me-time'  "

It had been a hard week and I felt that I had had my ration of problems and just wanted to climb into a hole and disappear. But, of course, I couldn't do that and so I thought,

                           " Yeah, I will have a lovely, luxurious bath, with bubbles up to my chin and some music on the old iPod "

I made some toast and coffee and took it upstairs  to the bathroom, ran the bath; pouring in a liberal amount of my favourite L'Occitane bath lotion, selected two of my fluffy, sable and cream coloured bathtowels , pinned up my hair and, dropping my clothes onto the floor, I sank into dreamy, rose-scented, bubbly oblivion.
I must have been lounging there for about twenty minutes,  Prince blaring in my ears , with me singing along at the top of voice,

                            ".......... all I need is your extra time and your...... mwah, mwah, mwah mwah.....kissss ! "

when a fireman came bursting into the bathroom ! He was gesticulating wildly and saying something, but, of course, with old  'Squiggle' blasting my eardrums, I couldn't hear a thing he said.
Before I could pull the earplugs out he grabbed the downier of the two towels, lifted me out of the bubbles and the next thing I knew I was over his shoulder and he was tearing down the stairs, through my smoke-filled hall and out into the garden !  He was certainly not the puniest guy I've ever seen, I could feel his muscles through his thick uniform ....... mmmm .....*sigh*.
Oh, but sorry, I digress ! It seems that my toaster had not switched off properly and somehow  'shorted out' and caught fire, igniting nearby spatulas and some plastic mixing bowls, which had sent clouds of smoke billowing out of the open window . One of my nosier neighbours had telephoned the fire brigade and the rest, as they say, is history !
Just picture the scene, dear reader. My wonderful fireman rushed down the garden path, with me clinging on to him for dear life ( and, I have to say, loving every minute ! ) Well, the lilac tree by the gate has needed cutting back for quite some time ; the towel caught on a particularly spiky branch and ...... well....... that is how I came to be photographed and appeared on page 3 of the national newspaper !!
I was so embarrassed !! Who wouldn't be ?  I mean, there was I , stark naked in front of the world and my bloody toe-nail polish was chipped ...... !


This piece of nonsense is my rather pathetic entry for this weeks word game , invented by Matt Mascarenhas and includes the words ;

            Toaster, Said, Tearing, Ration, Nosier, Hole, Sable, Downier, Home, Reloads, Puniest.

Please do take part, the rules etc. can all be found on Matt's blog page http://miblodelcarpio.blog.co.uk/

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Juggling.

Sometimes relationships are such a bitch !  Like juggling six tennis balls and then suddenly some silly bugger   flings in a cricket ball and a beach ball. Life requires the dexterity of a circus performer and the inventive skills of.......well, Christopher Cockerell at the very least.
Wouldn't it be great if you only had yourself to please and there were no repercussions, no domino effect ? 
Ah, well, no-one said life had to be fair ! Until it is I will endeavour to keep all the balls in the air !

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Dreams 3

I'm off in the dream-world again, dear reader; exploring the strange places that I visit in my sleeping hours.
Just recently I have been having a sort of  'series' of dreams, or maybe I should say a  'serial'. Each dream seems to be linked, to follow on from the previous night's dream, with a little  're-cap' at the beginning - rather like the dream world's equivalent of some weekly TV serial but on a nightly basis;    deja-vu, but not quite deja-vu !
Much is made of location, which always seems to involve some sort of searching. I always have the same main companion but the minor characters are often different and can be either people from the past or from the present. We, ( myself and my companion ) are looking for a particular house and are helped or hampered by the  'extras' in the drama ! We have tasks to do, that we almost always complete, but there is always  'just one more' , like some  'Columbo'  episode and there is always danger, a feeling of apprehension and often real fear and I wake up shaking, my heart beating fast and blood pumping through my veins and then I fall asleep again. I also seem to be completely obsessed with my appearance and have dozens of outfit changes and various hairstyles, some long some short, for the duration of the dream.
But there is something else , something that makes me very uneasy and this is really the reason for this article.
I believe that there is something that I must remember, something important that my mind is telling me while I am asleep, something my dream reveals. However, when I am awake it is so far in the back of my mind that I just cannot remember. There is no hint, no whisper of a memory , not even a shadow but I somehow know I need to remember and so I fight and fight with myself in an effort to recall this message or whatever it is , but it disperses like smoke in a breeze and it is gone. It hovers, just out of reach at the edge of my mind and I mentally reach out for it, try to bring it closer but it flutters away and taunts me and my head aches with the effort. I can never retrieve it.
So, dear reader, do you think that I am destined to keep having these  'linked' dreams until I finally manage to 'get' the message and understand it's meaning ?  Will I possibly be able to work it out for myself ? Am I going even madder than usual, or is my brain really trying to tell me something ? If so, I wonder what the hell it is !!!

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

A Serious Blog Post.

Regular readers of my blog ( if, indeed, such people exist ) have probably come to expect silly stories and nostalgic tales of childhood or dog shows. I never enter the political arena or voice an opinion on current affairs. I prefer to leave the important issues to people better qualified in such matters and far more eloquent than myself.
However, I suddenly feel inspired to throw my hat into the ring and risk losing all my readers by writing a short blog post about the incendiary subject of  Racism.
This is something I abhor with a passion that borders on obsession !

I live in a very multicultural part of  Britain and the Asian culture has integrated well with white culture. There are also people of Chinese and Afro-Caribbean origins and they all add a cosmopolitan air to the area and, I think, we are all the better for it. However, I myself have experienced racial hatred and prejudice !
        " Aha," I hear you shout, " I knew it ! Trouble with Asians and Chinese and Caribbean people !!"
Well, you would be wrong ! I have never had any problems with those ethnic groups, in fact I have always enjoyed a mutually friendly relationship with all, embracing their customs, learning as much as I can, sharing recipes and exchanging dishes of food and generally  making friends.
So how can I, a white, Protestant lady, born South of  Watford have ever experienced racism or hatred ?

Well, firstly we have the North/South divide. I was born in the South of England, Brighton to be exact, but I have lived in many areas of Britain, mainly in the North. So I have experienced prejudice and distrust and bullying in every area I have lived, because I was  'different'. I had a different accent, an alternative way of doing things; my Southern  'lunch' was the North's  'dinner', my  'supper' is an informal dinner but to others it is a snack before bed  and , of course, when I go South and mention  'snickets' and 'becks' there are blank looks all around. All seemingly trivial differences but all the cause of sniggers and ridicule and insults.
I am now a sort of  'Stateless' person, belonging to neither camp, but I do slant my allegiance more to the North than the South............ so am I guilty of racism ?

However, the cruellest racism began when we moved to Scotland in the 1970s. I was so excited about moving to that beautiful country as I thought that every Scottish person I had ever met was wonderful and my surname is Scottish, as my husband's father was a Scot and was a soldier in the  Black Watch . His father before him had been in the  Highland Light Infantry, how much more Scottish could we get ? Well, my optimism was certainly misplaced, we were hated !  Many of the locals used to revert to the 'Doric' dialect whenever I entered a shop so I couldn't understand a word they were saying. We were laughed at and openly  abused verbally and my children - one of whom was actually born in Scotland - were bullied and victimised at school. My husband worked offshore, in the oil industry and also experienced racial abuse, it was all very distressing and unpleasant and so, so unnecessary.
Now I am not trying to suggest that we were treated so abysmally by every Scot, in fact I made some wonderful friends in the 15 years we were there ,and we have remained friends to this day. But sadly, it only takes a  few prejudiced people to create unhappiness and distress, just as it only takes a few people to start an inner city race riot.
And so, my wish is this; that everyone would think twice before despising the different, unusual, quirky or strange. How would they feel if they were victimised because they had blonde hair or wore red shoes. Hatred is hatred, however you try to dress it up in disguises of colour or religion. It is ignorance and fear and distrust of anyone who is 'different' and yet we are all the same under the skin. As Shylock, another victimised person, said,
             " If you prick us, do we not bleed ?"
Until we conquer the suspicion and prejudice between different areas of Britain we will never conquer the huge issues of colour and religion.


Footnote.
I hope I have not upset or insulted anyone in the above article, that is certainly not my intention. I still remain completely open-minded and do not hate anyone because of religious or racial differences or the fact that they live in Scotland or Wales or Australia. I just wish everyone else felt the same....................perhaps one day ?

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

White Roses.

He never sends me flowers, at least, that's what I thought, but here I am taking delivery of the most enormous, beautifully arranged, hand-tied bouquet. I thank the delivery girl and close the door, wondering what on earth to do. I had decided to end it, I just can't fight the feeling anymore, the feeling that something is wrong, that I am being fooled. The abruptly ended phone calls, the short, impersonal emails, he doesn't  seem to want to spend time on me anymore.
I bury my face in the flowers and walk towards the kitchen, drinking in the glorious scent of the white roses, tulips and lilies. The whole bouquet is white and my heart melts a little........ he has remembered I love white flowers. I lay them on the kitchen table and reach up into the tall cupboards, searching for my favourite crystal vase and I think of the last few days. He is always so busy, or so he says, never time to chat, forever flying off somewhere, leaving me alone. I fill the vase with water and untie the lilac ribbon that secures the blooms and spread their beauty out across the table top. Tucked inside is a little envelope, lilac coloured, just like the ribbon...... he's remembered I love that colour too !!  My heart melts a little more as I read the card inside,

                                   " You know there is no-one else but you, I love you "

Oh, maybe I am wrong, we have both been so tired lately. We need to get away, recharge our batteries, go somewhere where there is just the two of us. I think about last night, I hardly spoke to him ,nor him to me. His reason was he was busy, but mine was that I could not speak for fear of voicing my thoughts, the thoughts that had haunted me for weeks, the certainty that there was 'someone else'. But I was wrong !!

I begin to arrange the flowers in the crystal vase, smiling at their beauty, longing for him to phone so I can tell him everything is fine, it's all going to be the way it was before I had these strange imaginings. The flowers are looking lovely in the sparkling vase, the heady scent of the lilies fills the air, my heart sings, I was wrong !!
I pick up the last rose, to place it in the centre of the arrangement and I feel the sharp prick of a thorn, one barbed spike on an otherwise smooth stem, a little imperfection hidden deceptively amongst the other flowers. I look down at my finger as the bright red blood begins to flow and drip onto the pure white of the rose  and as the vivid stain spreads across the petal my heart goes cold and I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that I am right.

Monday, 20 February 2012

Sunhats in the Isis..

It was a melancholy task for a sultry  Summers day and I felt a pang of nostalgia as I walked up the garden path in the glare of the sun. The lavender bushes on either side releasing their soft scent as they brushed against my bare legs.
I still hadn't fully digested the fact that she was gone. That vibrant, wonderful lady, so full of life, who had opened her heart and her home to two orphaned girls. We had spent every school holiday with her and during term time she had travelled up to our boarding school and taken my sister Katy and I out for the day, returning  us tired and late and full of cake , laughing at the nun's disapproval. But , gone she was and here was  I, about to clear her home and pack away her belongings. A skip was waiting at the roadside for all the discarded detritus of my dear Aunt's life, the bric-a-brac collected throughout the last fifty years.

I entered the cottage and climbed the narrow stairs up to the attic. Start at the top and work down, that was my plan. The sunlight filtered through the dusty windows of the shadowy room and lay in rainbow pools on the worn oak floor. I glanced round at the steamer trunks and battered tea-chests, each one containing memories of childhood, of happy times. I rummaged and rooted and , as I did, the past came flooding back.
Oh, there were the pair of bronzes that had once graced the hall. They were always perched on marble stands and I remembered being chided when I had sent one flying down the tiled passageway during a particularly boisterous game of  'tag' with Katy. The stand had been badly damaged and the statues really didn't look quite the same on the sideboard in the dining room, hence their exile to the attic, awaiting some new location, but long forgotten.
Sighing, I opened a huge wicker hamper and smiled as I lifted out a beautiful, wide brimmed sunhat, decorated with faded silk poppies. Aunt Sophia had worn it that day on the river at  Oxford, the day I had graduated. A slight breeze had floated up the  Isis and lifted the hat from her golden curls and deposited it in the water, where it lay like a giant lily pad. Aunt had been distraught, her limpid green eyes welling with tears and a passing oarsman, seeing her distress, had risked life and limb, swinging from an overhanging branch and grabbing it before it was lost forever, crushed beneath an approaching punt. People always rushed to her aid, she had an air of delicate vulnerability and frailty about her and her radiant smile was reward enough for even the hardest heart.
But this was getting nothing done !  I walked across the room and opened a mahogany wardrobe and , oh yes, there was the voluminous winter coat she always wore !  It was made from some luxurious type of beavers skin , way back in the days when such garments were acceptable. I believe it had been her  Mother's ; my Grandmother.....and was far too big for her tiny frame . But she wore it whenever there was the slightest chill and even wore it in the house on particularly cold days. She couldn't always afford to heat every room and so the three of us would huddle around the meagre fire in the drawing room, Aunt in her beaver coat and Katy and I wrapped in woollen shawls, toasting crumpets and teacakes and giggling as we ate them and the butter ran down our chins. She read to us, usually Shakespeare or Oscar Wilde and gave me my love for Literature. She had us memorise whole speeches, a frown creasing her brow if we dared to misquote Portia's speech or forget to say , " In a handbag ?".
I held the soft coat against my cheek and its musty smell mingled with the faint aroma of Aunt Sophia's perfume. I was going to miss her dreadfully.
Oh, but I must get on, I only had a few days to sort out all Aunt's things and then her house would be handed over to the  Estate Agent and sold.
A tear rolled down my cheek as I thought of dear Aunt Sophia on that last day. She lay on the chaise longue in the drawing room and had reached out a pale hand and held my arm,

                      " When I'm gone , take whatever you want and throw the rest away, sweetie. You and Katy are my only living relatives so sort it out between yourselves. The house will be sold and you can share the proceeds. I won't need it where I am going !"

No indeed she won't, bless her. The ten million pounds she won on the lottery will see to that. Off she has gone to live in South America and according to her last text message , sent from Buenos Aires airport, the Argentinian tango dancer she met on the flight will ensure she isn't lonely !


The above piece of fiction is this weeks entry for Matt's Word Game and contains the words;

               Bronzes, Beavers, Risked, Chided, Misquote, Oarsman, Digested, Round, Glare.

Rules and any other information you may require can be found on Matt's blog at http://miblodelcarpio.blog.co.uk/ So why not join in ?

Sunday, 19 February 2012

12 is the Magic Number for this Meme.

I have been tagged by the delightful Catherine aka @AlwaysARedhead  on twitter and also at http://catherineburden.wordpress.com/  in this meme of 12 things. I had not heard of this before, but, having been tagged I must continue to play the game and what else would I be doing on a lovely lazy, sunny, Sunday morning ?
There are a few rules you must follow, but it will ( I hope ) all be worth it in the end , so here goes !!

Here are the Rules.


1) You must post the rules.

2) Post 12 fun facts about yourself in the blog post.

3) Answer the 12 questions the tagger has set for you in their post and then create 12 new questions for the fellow bloggers you plan to tag.

4)Let them know you tagged them.

Here are 12 Fun Facts about me.

1) I have freckles.

2) I am dreadfully bad at Maths.

3) I am tone deaf and couldn't carry a tune in a bucket !

4) I am very good at knitting.

5) I once danced in a golden cage at a discotheque.

6) I can roller skate backwards.

7) In Soccer, I understand and can explain the off-side rule.

8) I am good at  Ten Pin Bowling.

9) I cannot parallel park.

10) I have shown dogs at Crufts, many times.

11) I am still a hippy at heart.

12) I have never owned a pair of trainers.

These were Catherine's Questions.....and my answers.



1) Favourite movie ?  Well this was difficult but I finally chose  'To Kill a Mockingbird' and 'Some Like It Hot'

2) What is the last thing you ate ?    Natural set yoghurt.

3) If you could be any actor, who would you be ?  Meryl Streep or Laura Linney.

4) Where was your first kiss ? Well we are going back a long time here !! I think my first 'proper' kiss was on the school playing fields.

5) Twitter or Facebook ? Definitely Twitter !

6) Do You prefer camping or a 5 star hotel ?  The hotel !!!!

7) Your favourite sandwich ?  Prawn and mayo.

8) Would you like to travel in Space ?  Oh, yes, I would love it !

9) Ride in a roller coaster or watch ?  Ride, ride, ride !!

10) Where would you like to visit ? Goa and The Grand Canyon  ( Well, if we are dreaming, dream big !!)

11) What is your favourite TV show ?  'Frasier'....... 'Frasier'.........and 'Frasier'

12) When was the last time you handwrote a letter ?  Yesterday, I write lots of letters !!

And here are my 12 questions for the people I plan to tag.

1) What special skill do you have ?

2) What would you choose for your last meal ?

3) What is your favourite piece of music or song ?

4) Which 6 people, living or dead, would you invite to dinner ?

5) Savoury or sweet ?

6) If you had to live abraod, where would you choose ?

7) What is your favourite book ?

8) Who would be your ideal travelling companion on a trip round the World ?

9) Dogs or cats (or both) ?

10) Adrenaline junkie, beach bum or culture vulture ?

11) At school, what was your best and worst subject ?

12) How would you spend a £1000 windfall ?


And, finally........... I tag:

1)    @LucyMGreenfield http://lucymargaretjane.blogspot.com/

2)    @feline9 http://jackie-aitchison.blogspot.com/

3)     @tabitca http://tabitca-craftandstuff.blogspot.com/

4)     @Turtlemoongurl  http://herspiritwithin.wordpress.com/ and http://indigoflea.wordpress.com/

5)     @jeangenie1  http://jeangeniescraftworld.blogspot.com/

6)     @lollipopdaisy http://crazydaisydesigns.blogspot.com/

7)     @miblodelcarpio http://miblodelcarpio.blog.co.uk/

8)     @Tactless_Claire http://tactless-blonde.blogspot.com/

9)     @AliB68 http://ali-fantasticreads.blogspot.com/

10)    @SamDescartes http://ramblingsfromthenorthernterritories2.blogspot.com/

11)    @Supersizer1 http://supersizer1sblog.blogspot.com/

12)    @KerrySmitty http://kerryannsmith.blogspot.com/

I look forward to your blog posts !!

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Scrubbed Doorsteps and the Smell of Carbolic.

I can see them now, the narrow rows of terraced houses. One row backed onto another, the tiny, single fronted, two up, two down cottages in grey, grimy streets. One street looked identical to the next, the white net curtains hiding the sparsely furnished rooms inside, the front steps scrubbed to within an inch of their existence by the women, who took such pride in their humble homes.  Oh, how those doorsteps gleamed, like a shining badge of honour, displaying a stubborn unwillingness to be beaten by life. Yes, they scrubbed those steps, scrubbed the pavements too, right up to the gutter, the aroma of cheap carbolic floating in the air and mixing with the smell of sulphur drifting from the nearby  Steel Works.  Those women washed everything in sight, window sills, door frames, swilling the streets with buckets of boiling water , fighting a constant battle against grime and poverty. They may be poor but that was no excuse for filth and squalour.
Ah, now I see them, standing on their front steps, arms folded, hair in curlers beneath turban scarfs, Woodbines dangling from their thin lips, lined faces, old before their time, faded crossover aprons covering well worn cotton dresses, wrinkled, darned lisle stockings on their weary legs.
There are the children too, playing while their mothers gossip, games of hopscotch, chalked squares on the road, laughing and shouting as others kick an old football the length and breadth of the street. Some of them are balanced precariously on a ricketty set of pram wheels, a home-made chariot being pushed at breakneck speed along the pavements. A scrawny young lad squealing because he has been bossed by the older ones and has told his mother and received a thick ear for his trouble. This is the school of hard knocks, a kid soon learns not to complain. Life is hard, just lump it !!
These kids will grow up, if they are lucky, to work in the Steel Works or at the Docks down the road. The girls will go into factories or shops or maybe, sadly, join the ranks of the over-painted, vinegar faced doxies that ply their trade outside the  Seaman's Mission. Not for them the luxury of ice-cream sundaes on a paved patio, surrounded by sweet smelling roses. No, they have probably never seen a rose, nothing grows in this down trodden, decaying landscape. These tiny homes have no gardens, just a concrete back yard which contains the outside lavatory, the coal-house and washing on a line.
They all know each other by name, popping in and out of each other's houses, no need to lock doors, no call for any Neighbourhood  Watch Scheme, the neighbours constantly watch and give any misbehaving child a cuff behind the ear. Yes, there was Community spirit and everyone helped each other. Women rushed to sick beds or to deliver babies and sometimes, sadly, to lay out the dead. Menfolk helped paint windows or repair a bicycle, they had next to nothing , but they would share what they had.
Hundreds lived in these grey streets, were born, married and died without ever leaving these few square miles.  Generation upon generation of poor, hardworking folk, scraping a living, making do, getting by. Helping to shape the world we see today.

I'm thinking of all of these things, picturing them in my mind as I walk along the road between the back to back terraces, smiling at the tired women, gossiping on their steps, those gleaming steps amid so much poverty. Then the picture fades and I am no longer in the past, but back in the present. The terraced rows have long gone, pulled down, demolished, reduced to rubble. In their place are wide avenues, trees growing tall in grassy parkland, riotous flower beds outside 'chi-chi' executive apartments, retail parks full of ubiquitous  High Street chain stores. And the huge throng of people all around me walk on, chattering eagerly, rushing by, their colours round their necks, never sparing a thought for the history beneath their feet !  It will soon be 3pm, rush, rush, rush, past the Porches and Ferraris of the spoilt princes of  Football , on through the turnstyles and into the brand new  Stadium .



The above article includes the words;

                       Fronted, gutter, princes, women, bossed, sundaes, patio, backed, learns.

and is my offering for this weeks Countdown Word Game, invented by Matt at
http://miblodelcarpio.blog.co.uk/

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

An Apology

Isn't it funny how the time of day can affect how you feel about problems and life in general ? At least, that's how it is for me.
I suffer from insomnia and often lie awake, waiting for sleep to drift by, my mind whirring and thoughts rushing through my head.
It is in these wakeful hours that I solve all my problems !  I think things through and suddenly have all the answers, even  World peace seems so easy to achieve ! I guess it must be due to overwhelming tiredness, though, because with the morning light comes sanity and my problems loom large and menacing once again. My solutions have either faded with the night or are deemed to be so ridiculous that they are discarded and I wonder why I ever thought they could possibly work.

 This preamble is a round about way of saying that sometimes life catches up with me and I have to deal with it and so please forgive my tardiness in reading and commenting on your wonderful blog posts, I will get there eventually. Take care and keep blogging.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

' Paddy '

Although I am mostly associated with dogs, dog showing and grooming dogs, I am also a cat lover  and my pet, when I was first married was indeed a cat.  I had a beautiful, pure white kitten, unimaginatively named  Kitty. Sadly she was run over and I was inconsolable and didn't have the heart to own another pet for a long time.
It wasn't until we were living in Skelton, in North Yorkshire,that we unexpectedly came to be owned by another feline !  ( Because, as all cat-lovers know, its the cat that is the master and we are the humble servants.)  I heard that someone up the road had a litter of unwanted kittens that were going to be put to sleep. This distressed me and so I went to talk to the people and managed to stay their hand and raise the kittens for a couple of weeks while I found homes for the poor little scraps. Of course, I always jump in at the deep end but managed,  using a combination of persuasion and good old fashioned emotional blackmail , to secure good homes for all. And, naturally, one of the homes I found was........... yes, you've guessed it !!!
This little bundle of ginger fluff came into our lives one bright  Spring day.  He tiptoed around the house on stiff little legs, tail straight up in the air, spikey hair on end, the way cats do when they are unsure and trying to look brave, and promptly peed on my husband's newspaper !
My son, who was only 4 yrs old at the time, thought the kitten looked like a little ginger teddy bear and so the name  Paddington was chosen. That soon became  Paddy and a legend was born.
And what a  'legend' he was ! Paddy was the most adorable, loving cat with the most  'laid back' attitude. Even as a kitten he was never one to sit when he could lounge or run when he could stroll, he slotted into family life as if he had always been there.
He accompanied me where ever I went and even began to follow me when I walked to the nearby shops. He used to sit outside each store and wait while I made my purchases and then walk back home with me, often jumping up onto a garden wall and strolling along beside me, mewing conversationally every now and then. I would answer him and so it went, back and forth, both of us having a good old gossip until we reached home.  I have often wondered if all my animals are daft before they come to me , or if I make them that way !!
We often visited my family in Hampshire and , of course, Paddy was never left behind in a cattery, oh no, he was a seasoned traveller. The car would be loaded up with luggage and my son ensconced in the back seat with his toys and books, then Paddy would hop in, get under the driver's seat and curl up, fast asleep throughout the whole journey often having to be woken when we reached our destination.
He grew into a very handsome boy with  'Persian cat' features and a huge, thick, long amber coat. He was very  'un-cat like' as he loved to be brushed and combed! And he soon became well know , both round about our neighbourhood and in the  South of England too .
In 1976 my husbands job necessitated a move to Southern parts and we found a house in  Droxford in Hampshire. Of course Paddy came too and soon settled into his new home. He enjoyed the rural setting and became a little more adventurous, although certainly not more energetic, nor more intelligent !
He liked to sit on the bedroom windowsill and watch the birds fly about in the trees. He even made a few abortive leaps, in a half-hearted sort of way, to see if he could swat one.  On one occasion he leapt a little too enthusiastically, the window was open and he fell to earth with a mighty thud.  I rushed to check he was OK, but he just sort of picked himself up, shook himself, looked puzzled, as though to say,
                                                        " How the hell did I get down here ?"
then strolled back into the house, totally unharmed.
We never experienced the  'pleasure' of little gifts of  dead rodents as many cat owners do, that would have meant that he would have had to exert himself and actually stay awake for more than a few minutes. In fact he didn't seem to know that he should hunt anything, he viewed my son's hamster and goldfish with complete indifference.
One  Autumn, a field mouse found its way into the house and ran past a sleeping  Paddy.  We prodded him, to wake him up and even lifted him up and and placed him 2 feet away from the mouse, who was sitting in a corner washing its whiskers. We hoped Paddy would persuade the little thing that being outside was a much better idea. Paddy just sat and stared at it and then looked up at me as though to say,
                                               " What the heck do you want me to do about it?"
Then lay down. Well, the poor mouse must have been a  'death or glory' sort of guy and made a dash for it, running straight at  Paddy, under him and out the door.  Dear Paddy spent almost 10 minutes looking around, behind, and under himself, wondering where the heck it had gone, then yawned and lay down again and went back to sleep.......... it was all just too much excitement !!
Paddy was a well loved and cherished member of our family and spent a long and happy life with us.  Unfortunately, no photos of him have survived our many house moves , but his unique personality ensures that he lives on in our hearts and inspired us to rescue other cats and kittens, two of which were also named Paddy, in his memory

Monday, 6 February 2012

A Walk in the Woods

I was never short of visitors once I moved to Romania. Everyone and his brother was only too eager to come and stay at my little house and relax on the patio, taking in the cool, clear mountain air.
Six months had passed since the big power struggle in the London office and I had been sent to the city of Oradea. Not having a high enough ratio of sales to my credit and never indulging in any heavy petting with the Chairmen of the board, I was dispatched with alacrity to this far-flung Northwest region of Romania and the anonymity of the Crisana area office.
Oh, how my colleagues had laughed and joked about Dracula and vampires and Transylvanian castles and bats, but, of course, I didn't believe in any of that nonsense.
Oradea was beautiful and the landlord had showed me round the delightful little timber house, which nestled in a pretty garden on the edge of the forest, just a few hundred yards from the city limits. I had read the salient points of the lease, then signed it and as I handed it back to him, he had grabbed my arm and looked straight into my eyes and , in his thick Romanian accent, he had whispered,

              " Oh, miss, don't be uncloses vindows at night ! Ze vampire still roam zees area !!"

and I had smiled and nodded and thought how superstitious the people were in this part of Europe.

And so, all of this is going through my mind as I walk through the forest with my four latest visitors. They have done all the other touristy things and now we are on our way to see a particularly lovely waterfall that one of them has read about in an old guide book, but , against my better advice, we have set off  rather late in the day. Now it is getting dark and the wind is beginning to rustle the leaves and sway the branches and I am starting to realise that we are hopelessly off course.
No-one ever tarries in the forests at night and now, here we are , totally lost with a storm brewing. I begin to fasten my wrap, which is now swirling around me in the wind and then I urge the others on. Their faces say it all, they are terrified !  All around us the eerie silhouettes of trees fire our imaginations and , as clouds  scud across the full moon, it is oh so easy to believe the vampire stories.
I gather my guests around me and lead them down a long winding path that, I hope will lead us to safety, but as the darkness envelopes us I know there is really no hope of that.
Suddenly, we come to a clearing and there is salvation !  A little woodman's cabin looms in the darkness. Rushing towards it, my companions breathe a collective sigh of relief and we all heave on the thick wooden door and tumble inside. The windows are all shuttered, the place is deserted, but it is safety ! Safety from the evil outside. Candles are found and lit, coffee is discovered and brewed and a fire is soon burning brightly in the hearth. Yes, we are safe !
I open the door slightly to gaze up at the moon and  see the shapes of bats flying in the night sky, then closing the door firmly behind me I turn to join my companions. My heart is thumping like an earth-pounder and, as I smile at the four relieved faces, I wonder if they realise that the evil is inside the cabin with them.


Well, we should almost have a Muhahaha! at the end of that story, which happens to be my entry for this weeks word game , brought to you by the marvellous Matt and the words;

               Fasten, Power, Patio, Ratio, Uncloses, Pounder, Salient, Tarries, Petting, Relax.

You can visit Matts blog at http://miblodelcarpio.blog.co.uk/

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

I Would Like to Thank..............................

                                                                           





Once again I have to send my heartfelt thanks to two kind fellow bloggers who have been generous enough to honour my little blog with a Liebster Blog Award. As you know, the purpose of this award is to highlight some of the smaller blogs that you have enjoyed or have inspired you and to bring these blogs to the attention of a wider audience. Liebster is German for  'dearest' or 'best loved' and so, in the spirit of the award, I have once again thought long and hard about my choices. However, before we come to that I must first thank two lovely people .

Thank you to the lovely Claire at Ramblings of a Tactless Blonde  I have only recently discovered this wonderful Blog and it is an absolute gem. Claire writes honestly and amusingly about life and everything in it and I highly recommend you check it out.

Thank you also to the superb Catherine at Catherine's Thoughts I actually awarded Catherine a Liebster Award a couple of weeks ago,  I absolutely love her Blog. You will experience smiles and tears  in equal measure when reading this  marvellous blog.

So thats the thank you speeches out of the way and now we come to the conditions of accepting the award;

1) Link back to the person who gave it and thank them.

2) Post the award to your blog.

3) Give the award to 5 bloggers ( with less than 200 followers ) that you appreciate and value.

4) Leave a comment on the blogs of the people you have chosen, to let them know.  

And so without further ado, here are the Blogs I have chosen ;

John at The View From Ivory's Tower.  This is a fairly new blog but already it has become a favourite of mine and I'm sure you will all enjoy it too.

Ken at Lahikmajoe  Every now and then I find a writer who inspires me to be better than I am , to think more deeply and to stop and listen to people, really  listen. Ken is one of those special writers.

Robert at The Devotea's Tea Spouts This gentleman writes an amusing and informative blog about life and tea.Sit back with a cup of his finest blend and enjoy !!

Rhiannon at Rhiannon Paine Now I have a feeling that I may be breaking the rules here as I'm sure this wonderful blog must  have more than 200 followers. But I laugh in the face of the rules, well just this once, because everyone should know about this marvellous lady and her fabulous writing. But don't take my word for it , go check it out now ! You will be glad you did !! And check out her novel too ...... yes, I did say NOVEL !!


So, there we have it, four wonderful blogs by four super people. If you are just about to click on the links and look at them for the first time , I envy you !  Enjoy !!