For all the tea in China

Two halves of the same cat

Every autumn I start putting out food for the strays again. I always tell myself I won’t, because strays means bonding and bonding means coming indoors and coming indoors means staying for ever and a day. I remind myself that I cannot save every single stray cat in all the world. Nevertheless, that seems to be what I am programmed to do. I have no other purpose.

The first dishes usually go to waste, but on the second day of the putting out of the food, strays appear; sometimes one, occasionally four but most often two of them. And so it is this year. At first I thought there was only one, since all I could see of it was a large, black furry bottom poking out of the dog/cat kennel whilst the head inside busily slurped. But no, it’s two – I heard yowling round the side and caught them nose to nose, whisker to whisker, an all black one and a mostly black one with white bits on her face. A boy and a girl, I think, possibly brother and sister. They will have to organise themselves not to turn up at exactly the same time.

The lawn fails to get the message

The lawn mowing duo turned up on time today, weather-beaten and muscular in their matching green tee-shirts. I haven’t yet decided whether they are married or siblings. Heavy morning rain had ceased only seconds before. They must have a line to whoever or whatever turns the rain on and off. (The cats think this is me.)

The industrial, gas-powered machines were unloaded from the truck, one large green person took the front and one the back and it was done in a tenth of the time it would have taken me. I could just about still do it, but have reached the stage of breathlessness/ agonising boredom where I just don’t want to do it. A monthly visit from The Green People is my only luxury.

They will not be back now till March, when the grass officially starts growing again. The grass has now, since it is November, officially stopped growing. Unfortunately nobody has told the grass. After the Green People left last month it was so made up, so overjoyed to have been mown by professionals, that it put on a spurt of growth. I have a feeling another spurt will follow their November visit. So under a carpet of snow, that bright green grass will be growing and growing…

But then, I’m not the one who will be doing the first cut next spring. Yay!

I have decided I don’t like my lady vet

I used to like the vet, when he was an eastern European chap with an accent you could cut with a knife. I don’t think he was Russian – because would Russian vets be allowed to come over here? – just sounded for all the world like one of those meercats in the TV ads. But he has gone. I went in one day to discover he had gone, for good, to France. He has taken all his cats, and his dogs, so he can’t be coming back. Indeed, why would you come back, here? I wouldn’t come back here if I had a chance to go somewhere else: no, not for all the tea in China.

But the lady we have instead – well, she is a lady, for a start. And she’s not him. She has an accent but not the same accent. She’s large, she has a tattoo and a brusque manner and I can’t bring myself to trust her. She talks to me like some generic, probably senile, Old Person, some tiresome Member of the Public; whereas he – I felt, anyway – actually seemed to be talking to me. I got the feeling he saw me as unpredictable and scarily odd: everybody seems to react to me like that – so be grateful that I am blogging rather than turning up on your street corner or lurking by the swings in the park. But occasionally amusing. And he didn’t make the mistake of thinking I was daft.

Really, it must be genetic. Why is it still easier to trust a man even though, throughout my life at any rate, the men I have known (in any detail) have proven themselves crueller, more devious, more judgmental and less supportive than women? No wonder we remain unemancipated.

But still, I think I’ll bite the bullet and try out (gasp!) another surgery altogether.

I think bread may be causing my IBS

I ate an experimental sandwich at lunch time and yes, the agony has returned. I am writing to distract myself from it. Think I will go and make myself a hot water bottle and distract myself still further by watching a really dreadful Christmas movie and knitting yet another dishcloth.

17 thoughts on “For all the tea in China

      1. I think it’s just because they assume I’m a god. After all, I supply food, drink, shelter and interesting rodent-related programs on TV, so I obviously can control everything in their lives.

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  1. I put biscuits out for stray animals beside the gate…in the rainy season under a galvanised sheet which can now be removed as the dry season is upon us. Unfortunately the neighbours’ dogs have discovered it which suits the neighbours very well as they don’t believe in feeding animals, so now I will have to find a new place for the original plate while leaving this one in place for the regulars.

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    1. I had a similar thing, only it was the overweight, almost blind, poodle-type from across the road. For a while I improvised a garden fence from six large dustbins, each containing a 30 litre sack of cat litter. Cats could squeeze between the bins or jump over but the poodle (ish) dog couldn’t. That seems to be the only way to select for cats, make use of their smallness, greater athleticism, etc. Sounds as if you have found a solution.

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  2. Re the effects of the experimental sandwich, you might consider cutting out all gluten or wheat products. I am mildly gluten intolerant, which means I can handle cookies, bread, etc occasionally and in limited quantities. Unfortunately, the more I eat of them, the more likely I am to crave them. When I eat too much, I suffer a whole host of nasty effects, from gut pain to brain fog. I’m a whole different person when I cut out gluten entirely … but, also (and even more) unfortunately, I don’t become transformed into a highly disciplined person, so this is a cycle I seem compelled to go through over and over again. Anyway, sharing for what it’s worth.

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    1. Thank you for those suggestions, Belladonna. Really I suppose I should go to the doctor but know from experience that they’re not much help with collections of invisible, difficult to describe symptoms.

      I just thought, I seem to have been eating an awful lot of bread/sandwiches over recent years rather than cooking; maybe it’s that. I don’t have much self-discipline either. But cutting out gluten altogether sounds like a more logical strategy, so thank you.


      1. The problem with conventional doctors is they tend, in my experience, to discount anything that can’t be fixed through medicine or surgery. Frankly, I’m grateful for Dr. Google … I know I can’t figure everything out for myself, but I live inside this body and sometimes I can do a better job of figuring out what’s wrong with it than anyone else.


      2. Hi Belladonna, quick update re the sandwiches/tummy ache problem. I took your advice and went gluten-free and so far, fingers crossed, it seems to be working. So I will stick with it and see how it goes. Just wanted to thank you for your helpful advice.


      3. That is such great news! One further suggestion … Going truly gluten free is very difficult. You may find simply eliminating wheat is enough. Life without sandwiches is a sad thing to contemplate … But it beats feeling sick all the time!

        Oh, and also, I suggest you Google leaky gut syndrome. This can result from sustained gut problems. See what you think, and if you’d like my recipe for bone broth let me know.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Thank you, I will Google that, it’s new to me. Sadly, I think I will need to pass on the recipe as I am a vegetarian – slightly lapsed fish-wise in recent years – and would guess that bones might mean meat.


      5. Right, I’d forgotten, and yes, I use beef bones. However I believe fish bones and fish heads might also work, and at least then you’d know the fish weren’t being killed for you – you’d be using a by-product. Worth exploring, anyway! Apple cider vinegar is also wonderful for gut health – must be raw and contain the “mother”, dilute it well, and don’t brush your teeth too soon after taking it as it can attack tooth enamel. But used right it has magical properties!

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