Snow from the previous day brought down carpets of gold all through Cambridge.
Maybe this was the gold at the end of that rainbow.
It was the perfect day to get a photograph of the chicken coop.
It is no longer occupied and for the longest time we tried to figure out what the building had been.
Noisy, for sure.
Chickens should be free to strut about.
The morning had left me in a blue funk but I was persuaded to ride along to the vet. We had to collect medicine for Penny.
It was the first time we’d been to the clinic since Lucy died. I’ve wanted to talk to the vet about what happened, but yesterday was not the time. I knew if I had to talk I would end up in tears.
So I skulked in the car.
We collected antibiotics for Penny and went back to resume our battle with the gas fireplace.
Since the weather finally turned cold, we were rather hoping it would provide heat, as in the previous 3 winters.
It came alight happily enough and we set the remote for a steady 66F/18C. When the room temperature drops below…the fire lights.
That’s what is supposed to happen anyway.
Changing batteries and all the rest of it has had no effect. I hear a little gremlin chuckling with glee.
Late last night when I found that our latest fix had failed, I dragged out a small heater, plugged in and activated it to keep the chill in check.
“Yes, yes, that’s fine. I’m up for the job!”
This morning I found the thing dead. As I was fiddling with it, I heard a good-morning groan:
“Something blew a circuit breaker!”
We never did find an electrician who could sort out the wiring of the house…
So I threw up my hands and carried on to the other end of the house to get dressed.
Opened the door expecting to feel warmth, but discovered that the heater in my bathroom was lukewarm.
This, I have not yet mentioned to Grant whose sense of humour is wearing a little thin.
These are minor problems. Millions would be thrilled to exchange theirs for ours. I remind myself daily.
It’s just the continual cropping up of niggling, annoying little distractions that serve to irritate.
The planet as a whole is in a state of high irritation and I am convinced the negative vibrations are felt everywhere and not just by humans.
It’s subtle, but I can always tell when the cats are unsettled.
Yesterday morning started, not with the chilled living room, but with Muffin’s strange squeak.
Muffin has a loud, demanding voice. When she hears me stir, she marches in to shout at me. “Cuddle me! Feed me!”
When she opened her mouth yesterday, out came the faintest cry which seemed to surprise even her.
Maybe it was sleeping all night in that cold living room. Her choice, I emphasise.
She was subdued. After breakfast she sits in my lap helping me with Wordle and Worldle and Yeardle…
We say that she has a little dictionary or a thesaurus as well as a photographic memory of the world map on the wall by her bed.
Really, she sits watching me mutter about the stupid words in those puzzles. She loves to follow a conversation, her eyes darting back and forth.
Yesterday, she flopped in my lap as if laid down by the weight of the world.
We have had another small challenge of late.
His Nibbs having reappeared after many weeks absence, turned up one day with a problem.
Something was causing his third eyelids to appear, a sign of illness which we could only guess at.
What we could or should do was one problem.
The bigger concern, obviously, was keeping our cats from making contact with the boy since he could well be contagious.
Solution: Our cats must be quarantined.
Oh yes, sure, we’ll do that.
The man has no willpower when it comes to denying the cats anything.
We got through half a day before the dear little darlings wore him down.
They were so sad. They were so busting to go out.
“We’ll just have to monitor.” he said.
Monitor the movements of 10 cats.
“If we see Nibbs coming, we get them back inside.”
Nibbs may arrive from any direction, I should point out. And what if he meets up with one of our guys out there somewhere?
This is the little exercise that has been occupying us twice a day for the past week.
You may remember my previously mentioning the various doors through which cats may enter and leave.
The arrival of cold weather ought to have put paid to that issue but not really. Yesterday the front door was wide open, but the next set of doors, into the main house were closed to contain the (non existent) heat.
Cats don’t like closed doors. They learn to tolerate those that are permanently closed because life is hard. They have to.
That set of doors which divide the front room from the rest, those are generally only closed when we are expecting to lay hands on a cat for a vet visit.
Understandably, the sight of these doors closed was possibly misinterpreted.
Various preoccupations had me running in and out while still keeping an eye peeled for Nibbs. Coming back in at some stage, I spotted Willow staring with alarm at the closed set of doors within.
Seeing me suddenly enter, she became spooked and when I opened the doors, she rushed through.
Mental note: Willow is in.
After that, things became a blur of comings and goings. At some point Grant asked where Willow was:
I was convinced she was. Until I wasn’t.
Because when I finally settled at my PC, there was no Willow.
Not in any of the boxes, or beside a radiator, not on the chair, not…anywhere.
She always settles nearby.
She had looked spooked, so she was probably hiding.:
“I’ll go find her!”
Not so long ago, we had spent an hour searching the house for a blind cat and I remembered the place where she had hidden so effectively.
After a second check under all the furniture and everywhere else I called downstairs to Grant: “Is Willow down there?”
Of course I had to go and check for myself.
“Are you sure she came back in?”
Then we had an argument about which doors had been open and which closed and when.
The result of which was I had no idea if she was in or out. So around and around and around outside the house I went.
Unused to so much activity, my feet started to swell and I was in that pre-panic state of calm denial.
So I returned to thump on my keyboard.
And about ten minutes later a small grey form appeared in the periphery of my vision.
Uncharacteristically, I said:
“I’m not talking to you. I’m mad at you!”
Which, of course was not true and two minutes later I jumped up to make a fuss of her. But she had gone back in hiding.
This time I let her be. At least I now knew for sure that she was in the house and that she would reappear, when she felt like it.
From thin air, it seems.
Willow has neurological problems which sometimes give her electrical zaps.
She twitches and bites at the spot, then rushes off to get away from it.
She appeared to be having one of those days yesterday.
Electrical zaps are something I am familiar with but at least I understand what they are. For a cat it must be frightening.
In the backs of our minds, is the inexorable approach of a dreaded day. Two dreaded days.
Penny is so bright in herself, so pleased to be made a fuss of, so terribly fond of Grant and he of her, but her body is failing.
The same is true of Toby.
It makes me not want to look ahead at anything but we cannot stop the clock.
Most of these pictures were taken on 31st October