SEVEN DAYS. SEVEN BLACK AND WHITE PHOTOS DAY 1

‘SEVEN DAYS. SEVEN BLACK AND WHITE PHOTOS OF YOUR LIFE.

NO PEOPLE. NO EXPLANATION. CHALLENGE SOMEONE NEW EACH DAY’

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Copy and paste the above description with your photos and tag me so I see your entry.

Thanks to Willow who nominated me today, Sunday October 29. I haven’t had a phone/camera very long so we’ll see if I can find seven photos on it worth posting.

Today I’m challenging Sue Vincent.

 

Black cats

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This critter is our Little Cat. She’s the one with problems. We found her in the street outside when she was tiny, had hardly any fur, was full of worms, with a ruptured bowel, and suffering from acute malnutrition that affected her motricity and sense of balance. She had two operations on her bowel, which seem to have been more or less successful except for a bit of incontinence. The eczema is chronic and periodically, her fur still drops out. All of it, right up to her shoulders.

As you can see from the weird position of that back leg, she has difficulty managing four limbs. Her legs don’t bend in the right places so she plods, flat-footed and very noisily and extremely un-cat like. Because she has lost her sense of balance, she falls out of windows, off walls and out of trees. For the first couple of years we had her, she wasn’t allowed outside because we were afraid she would fall into the neighbour’s garden and be eaten by the German Shepherd. So we kept her indoors and she fell out of the second floor windows instead.

I thought I’d post a pic of her while her fur, if not luxuriant, is at least present and covers most of her. Her expression baffles me. It’s a world-weary, leave me alone-type of expression, which I don’t think is intentional. She’s a sweet-natured little thing, absolutely fearless (which we can probably put down to some kind of brain damage), and terribly destructive.

Her name is officially Nina, sometimes Ninja, after her habit of rolling off window ledges, Ploddy or Scabby, for obvious reasons. She doesn’t respond to any name, so I’m guessing we haven’t discovered it yet.

The one below is Trixie. The Boss. Nuff said.

Trix8

 

Nightmare trip

Just thought I’d post this to show how weird imaginations run in families. At supper this evening, son told us the very vivid dream he had last night in which Trixie (fat black antisocial cat) was killed when the Zeppelin she was piloting crashed. Pilot error was not at fault. She had been targeted by Sir Ian McKellan who, for some obscure reason, was after her blood and had her shot down. She was last sighted scuttling into the galley as the Zeppelin went down in flames.

I don’t somehow think I shall be working this into a story. If you want to use it, feel free. And good luck.Trix8

Branwell: the cat who came in from the cold

Some of you who I know from Face Book might remember me mentioning Branwell, and you have no doubt been having sleepless night wondering how he’s doing. For those of you who haven’t got a clue what I’m talking about, Branwell is one of the many moggies that hang around our secluded little backwater. About ten of the locals (cats), all black, white and ugly belong to the neighbour. The rest are wild. We used to get a lot of visitors, cats that obviously had a perfectly good home somewhere, but just liked slumming it with the neighbour’s mean gang. The nice cats don’t come round anymore, too many third generation wild cats for their liking I suspect.

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Branwell though is a lost moggy, possibly the apple of some distraught pensioner’s eye; possibly some little girl has cried herself to sleep many a night over her lost pussy cat. Branwell purrs and sits on your lap, rolling in ecstasy. He’s a big neutered tom and very soft and easy going. He even hung around with Otto who is not the easiest of cats to get on with. Anyway, husband took one look at Branwell and said that if he wanted a home he could have one.

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I call him Branwell because I think he looks like a Branwell. The name hasn’t stuck though. Son insists on calling him Cromwell, and the girls call him by a variety of names: Branston, Brandon, Brownwell, Bromley (?) with Brommie or Brownie for short. Not much chance of him every responding to his name.
Finbar is not happy about us adopting another cat. Nor, must it be said, are the other cats. Finbar just can’t stop himself chasing cats (except Trixie) and generally, cats don’t appreciate his attention. So we are on constant cat patrol/dog alert, to cries of: “Where’s Branwell? Finbar needs the toilet. Can he come downstairs?”

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The funny Little Cat goes into paroxysms of fury when she sees him. She used to be very friendly towards other cats until the Mean One fell through the skylight and chased her all round the top floor. I had to corner the wretched creature in the toilet and chase it out into the garden with a broom.

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Trixie just hates everything indiscriminately. She growls and slaps if Branwell gets too close, lies across doorways to stop him getting past, lounges on windowsills to stop him getting back into the house, the usual sort of unfriendly gestures. Like lying on Finbar’s blanket if Branwell looks as though he might be tempted to test it.

To date there has been no bloodshed. Branwell can stay as long as he can stand it. At least it has to be better than sharing a chicken coop with Otto.

Trixie’s blogspot

I was reading about what makes a good idea for a blog post. One suggestion was to interview non-bloggers. Bloggers are always interviewing other bloggers, but it can be interesting to interview someone who doesn’t have a vested interest. I thought of the ideal candidate.

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Trixie, when did you decide that you were going to a house cat?

Well, I was very young, about four, five months old. At that age, you do some stupid things, you know? I’d been hanging around the mosque for a few days and there wasn’t much happening. They tell me it’s always like that during the week, but I was too wet behind the ears to know that. Anyway, this kid with his little sister in tow stopped to say hello, and I could tell he’d be a push over. Something in the gooey way he looked at me. So, I yelled at him a little and he finally got the message and led the way to his home.

So you were adopted by a boy and his little sister?

Adopted? That’s a bit strong. I simply reminded him that every home needs a cat. The boy’s cat had just gone walkabout, permanently and he was feeling a bit down. I jumped into the breach. Charity work if you like.

Does the position suit you; do you feel you’re treated reasonably?

They’re a bit stingy with the Friskies. I have to shout until I’m blue in the face in the morning, to make the big one who gets up first understand about breakfasts. He thinks one bowlful is enough. One bowlful! After a whole night barely closing my eyes. Does he think the mice stay away because they prefer the wallpaper next door? Has he no idea what it takes out of a body playing the black panther all night?

I hear you share your lodgings with a dog. No problems there?

Don’t mention the dog. I’ve done my best to show the brute where it can sleep and where it can’t, but it lollops about the place as if it owns it, flopping down anywhere it fancies with its great hooves flying. I’ve been forced to take drastic measures, but the stupid people who live here haven’t understood. As if I enjoy peeing on the furniture and in the smelly dog’s bed! A dog’s place is outside, in a kennel, on a short chain, with a muzzle.

And the other cats?

Huh! Those two bird brains? The grey one has no idea of the value of good Friskies. Turns his nose up at what’s put in his dish. If I wasn’t there to clean it up they’d be complaining about the smell, or the mess or whatever. All he wants to do is drink out of the tap in the bathroom. Drinks like a Pole. And he’ll only eat meat! They’ve tried to get me to eat that stuff too, all slippery and bloody. Yerk! It’s not natural. Give me a nice bowl of Friskies anyday. Brekkies aren’t bad either, and Whiskas are okay for a change. But meat!
The other one is just mental. I mean, really. She falls over her own feet, plods around like a platoon of squaddies, and her eyes are weird. I mean, who ever saw a cat with eyes like an owl? She can’t tell the difference between the dog’s biscuits and Friskies. Chews on those giant-sized things for hours! Moronic, if you ask me.

You don’t sound too enthusiastic about your place, Trixie. Would you consider another position?

I might. If they had Friskies 24/24, 7/7, and the hours were acceptable. And there was no dog, and no other cats. I’d have to have my own cushion, and I’ve got rather attached to this one. And I have first breakfast at 4.30 am. At least the big one here has understood that much. And I have to have access to the beds. All the beds. Some people don’t like that. And I couldn’t leave the area. The Bear doesn’t wander too far these days, and White Pants keeps strictly to this territory. Isis, Black Prince and all the mob from the next block would miss me if I moved away. It would have to be a pretty good offer. I’d have to think about it carefully. Very carefully.

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Cat tales

Since the work has been going on next door, Trixie has been very unsettled and doesn’t know where to put herself. She has been spending quite a lot of time in the bureau, mooching around and waiting for a seat to be vacated so she can squat on it.
We did give her her own chair and cushion, but she wants Finbar’s chair. And she wants it all to herself.
Trixie doesn’t like sharing, not even carpets. For example, an innocent dog might be lying asleep in front of the fire. Trixie NEVER sleeps in front of the fire, unless that is what Finbar is doing. This is how she usually operates.

Trixie drops heavy hints
Trixie drops heavy hints

A couple of minutes later…

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Nobody knows how she does it, but the place is always vacated. At the moment, as I say, she is upset by the noise of the commandos next door and creeps into the bureau looking for a quiet corner. Finbar has got used to it and after voicing his irritation by barking when they start first thing, he ignores it.
This morning, Trixie came into the bureau and stood in front of Finbar’s chair, lashing her tail and looking intimidating. Finbar didn’t budge. He hadn’t been out for a walk and he was lying doggo, hoping I’d forget. Trixie climbed onto the chair and walked up Finbar’s back. She dug about between his back and the chair trying to get him to move. Usually Trixie can shift anything when she puts her back into it. Archimedes had her in mind when he said the bit about give me somewhere to stick my nose and I will move the Earth.

Finbar playing dead while Trixie tries to burrow into the stuffing.
Finbar playing dead while Trixie tries to burrow into the stuffing.

This time it didn’t work. Finbar is a big dog and I have always thought it miraculous that he manages to fold himself up small enough to fit in an armchair. You’d need a massive shoehorn to get him out. Trixie’s snout, for once didn’t work. So after an attempt to dig up through the bottom of the armchair, she sat on the back of it looking down, working out the options. The best option turned out to be me, turning up with the dreaded lead to take Finbar walkies. The look on that cat’s face I would swear was VICTORY.

Spring clean

On Saturday the new owner of the building next door phoned to ask if he could come round the following Thursday to do an official inspection of the party wall. No big deal for most people, but we are not most people, and our house is a squirrel house. Nothing is ever thrown away, just in case it comes in useful. We have two entire rooms (it’s a big house) full of nothing but boxes filled with plastic bags, boxes full of clothes and shoes that don’t fit anybody but have years of life left in them, lampshades that don’t fit any of the lamps, notes, files, schoolbooks, prehistoric computers, toys, baby books. You name it, we have a box full of it.

We reckoned that we only had to clean half the house, the half with the party wall in it. The children dealt with the top floor, tidying up two of the bedrooms and the cats’ playroom, and piling all their lumber into the unfinished bathroom and locking the door.
I got the kitchen and the pantry ship shape. My room was already tidy (nobody had been allowed in it for a week), and everybody pitched in to make the main room downstairs look normal. It isn’t dirt, I hasten to add, it’s the rather eclectic assortment of objects that decorate it that most people find off-putting. We put the decorative bicycle outside, took down the painting of the Sacred Heart, hid the dog’s toy box, removed the dried holly from the sofa (the only way to stop Trixie peeing on it), put the pinecone collection in the fireplace, and some of the stacks of books back in the bookcase.

That left the first floor. Our bedroom was full of boxes, pictures, books and piles of clothes that we couldn’t decide if they were on their way to or from a charity shop. The landing looked like a junk shop in the process of moving premises. On Thursday morning husband said he’d deal with it. He finished mending the guttering on the shed, and filling in Finbar’s potholes in the path, and I locked myself in my room and left him to it. He had three hours left.

What sounded like removal men heaving things about on the first floor went on for a couple of hours, then the sound of the shower. I went up to see. Not a box in sight. It was fantastic! I just wanted to lie down on the bed and gaze at the emptiness. First though, we had the visit, which was very perfunctory in the end and a bit of an anticlimax after all the work it had involved.

When the owner and the legal person left, I brought in the washing (there’s always washing to be brought in) and took an armful of sheets upstairs. I was about to open the door to the ‘box’ room, which also houses the linen cupboard, and husband put his hand on my arm.

H: Don’t open the door.
Me: Why not?
H: It could be…dangerous.

He opened the door a crack and I peered inside.

We are going to have to spend some time today putting our rubbish back, otherwise we will never see the linen cupboard again.
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Trixie moves in

Well, it had to happen one day. Having driven Finbar out of his dog basket by peeing in it in his absence, then off his blanket in the sun, and off the sofa using the same tactic, Trixie has infiltrated Finbar’s last retreat.

For the last few months he has been sleeping on an armchair in the bureau. HIS armchair. He thought he was out of range of Trixie’s vindictive bladder.

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Lately, bored with having no one to torment, Trixie has started coming into the bureau and sitting on the desk. You get up for a minute and she settles on the chair. Push her off the chair and she sits back on the papers on the desk. She gets cross if you dump her on the floor too often and retaliates by stomping across the keyboard.

This morning Finbar came back from his walk to find Lady Muck sprawled across HIS armchair. He asked her very nicely to get off, but she refused. We know what happens when Trixie gets vexed, and it isn’t very pleasant.

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The solution is: throw out all the useless things in the bureau like boxes of teaching materials, course notes and documentation for all the different projects underway. Once we’ve got rid of all the stuff that only interests humans, we’re putting a second armchair at the other side of the radiator, with Trixie’s special cushion that has ‘Mon Trésor’ embroidered on it.

And we’re going to do it pronto. Otherwise Finbar will be sleeping on the floor on the landing.

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