slow lane life 3

slow lane life 3

Monday, 20 February 2017

And suddenly


February rattled along at speed too; Spring is just about here, snowdrops everywhere, and violets just up the road, the wafting scent of daphne in the evenings, and very busy birds bustling about. I have tulip shoots everywhere, but for now, must content myself with shop-bought blooms.


I almost wrote that nothing much has happened here lately, but on reflection, it certainly has. Baby E and his mother came and went. He was such fun to have around, especially now that he is mobile. He bowled about speedily with his bandy-legged trundling walk, arms aloft for balance, making him H-shaped, and pursued his current fascination with opening and shutting doors. The small cupboard under the windowsill was the best - open it carefully, and BANG! it shut. Do it again. And again. And again. Make sure the sitting room door is closed. Every time anyone comes through it. Scuttle rapidly across the room, and shut that door firmly, even if someone is coming in, gingerly carrying a cup of tea. Naughtily, we left doors open deliberately, knowing that he would rise to the challenge.

And then they were gone, bearing a picnic for the train journey, and leaving the usual gaping hole in our lives. The role of grandparenting is so different from parenting; I have more understanding now of my own mother, who, I thought, over-indulged my son greatly when he was small, and irritated me at times in doing so. I would protest that he really didn't need a little present every time she went shopping, or to have his every wish met at once. And now I find myself doing pretty much the same things, happy to oblige a small, smiling, dimpled tyrant, happy to bend the rules, happy to get up early each day, welcoming the sleepy, smiley face, and most of all, happy to be Grandma.



The cats have caused some heartache. We had to say goodbye to dear old Catkin, probably about 18 years old now, and ready to go. I wanted the other cats to know she had died and not just gone missing, so we left her on view while The Gardener dug a hole in the garden. The other cats examined her very throughly as she lay in her cardboard box - they would not have dared get so close to her bad-tempered eminence in life. Then the lid was put on, and afterwards a little willow planted over her. Another era had passed.


Catkin's arch-rival and enemy, Lottie, has had a horrible time too.



Recently recovered from illness, she went to the vet for a routine dental clean and polish, and, to my guilt-ridden horror and surprise, emerged bloody and drooling, after having five extractions. The others were terrified, spitting and running away from her, but after a day or two of recovery, medication and a thorough wash, Lottie's position as queen of the household was re-established, to everyone's satisfaction. 

A friend has been to stay, newly-diagnosed with breast cancer, reeling with shock, needing to talk, and we have spent the weekend walking on the beach, eating, drinking herbal tea (well, not me....), researching - oh so many sources of information, often quite contradictory - on diet, preparing for chemotherapy, surgery, and how to stay relatively sane during this most terrifying process. Ironically, she has never looked as well as she does at present, each week and each test yielding more and more bad news.

Meanwhile, The Gardener has been laid low with an atrocious cold, not helped by worrying about having passed it on. And I have done what I always do - feeding everyone. I can't help myself - my mother and grandmother were exactly the same, using food as the medium to express love, care and concern, managing illness, anxiety, and coping with fear of the unknown. If you should ever come to visit, be prepared for this, and for being sent home with tuck parcels, containers of soup, or cake, farm eggs and possibly a couple of pounds on the hips. We all cope in our different ways; the Feeders amongst us know what we must do, and get busy with pots and pans.

I think I may be glad when February is over.

21 comments:

  1. I've been absent for a while and so may have missed it, but is Flossie ok? It's unusual for you not to memtion her. If I've touched a sore spot, I'm sorry.

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    1. Flossie was pronounced Absolutely Fine (and a good weight for a labrador!) at her recent annual check up. Although she yelped and carried on very wimpily when she had her ears looked at and her vaccination booster administered....

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  2. And I'm sorry about Catkin. Her attitude will be missed.

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    1. For a cat who did very little other than eat and sleep, her absence is oddly noticeable, and we miss her and her ready purr.

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  3. So much in this shortest month! Very sorry to hear of Catkin, but understand.And I hope other people pick up on the "lying in state" for other animals in the family.Poor Lottie, too!
    And I hope your friend gets all the support she'll need to face her dilemma.

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    1. Yes, I hate the idea of animals perhaps searching or waiting for a missing member of the group. Letting them see the body is important, I think. And our friend is amazed on a daily basis by the amount of emotional support and practical help she is being offered by other women. But such a difficult journey ahead for her!

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  4. Sad news about Catkin. Our cat is nearly 18 and has been skeletal for several years now in spite of eating very well. He is a semi longhaired tabby, so doesn't look thin apart from looking down on him to see that his " waist" is not much more than his spine. I don't really like touching him these days. He is also not grooming himself so suffers with knots in his fur that are very difficult to remove. I try and catch him lying down to do a bit, but he gets up and walks off!
    The 8 yr old yorkie who lives with us has got a cruciate problem too, so no walking, running etc. Impossible to stop her jumping on and off the chairs though. Treatment is anti-inflammatory pills at the moment but not doing much as of yesterday! I have been reading this morning about dealing with the after effects of an operation and hope it doesn't come to that as she is not used to being crated. She belongs to an elderly dog walking friend who has her during the day for company.
    Glad to hear that Flossie is her good self. Not seen much about her for ages, or the cats. I used to love their posts and pictures! Here's hoping you don't get the cold. X

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  5. Life's ups and downs all crowded together. I read the other day that the best thing that can be said about February is that it is short!

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  6. I'm sorry to hear about Catkin.. we have a cantankerous old puss who is 18 next month? but she is also affectionate ..just increasingly frail and wobbly. I'm glad Lottie is feeling better..I wouldn't feel guilty in missing the teeth problems she sounds like the sort of feline who wouldn't appreciate you peering in there!
    I'm sorry your friend has joined the club that no one wants to join . My tuppence worth ..audio books or radio drama are great to listen to if your mind won't get off the subject (Middle of the night enveloping panic moments)and my OH always pointed out that statistics are always out of date (very useful this one when reading dismal ones) The grandson sounds lovely btw!
    and you made me think of visiting my Great Aunts small farm in the sixties...you always left with some baking or apples or something similar..even the "Girl" a middle aged very lovely lady who worked for her would insist we accepted a 6d to buy ourselves something with.

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    1. A good tip, Val, an audio book; The Gardener's sanity depends on them at work.

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  7. Door slamming is a thing here too, along with my anxiety about trapped fingers. What a lot you've been up to. All life has passed through and passed by. And yes I too am a Feeder as was my mother and grandmother. That Cold has blighted many a winter but by some miracle we have avoided it. Shoulders and necks though. Another matter.

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    1. Neck and shoulder here too. We have just ventured out and stocked up on sprays of Vitamin D; blog archives and photographs indicate that February and March are when one or both of us suffers the most horrific colds, so we're obeying the Government for once....

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  8. Found you again! It looks like quite a lot is happening in your world Rachel, and yes, feeding is always a satisfying way of showing love and caring. So glad to see signs of spring multiplying every day.

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    1. Hello, Marianne! Since I retired, I find I;m not overly fond of having a lot (or indeed much) happening in my world! One event or appointment a week seems quite adequate to me.... Nice to have you back again.

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  9. Poor you, I expect you need a hug! Here is a virtual one from me. (((( ))))

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    1. Thank you - hugs always welcome, in any shape or form.

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  10. Came up to bed a while ago and the old cat was still laying on the floor where I saw him an hour ago . I knew he had died. He was nearly 18 and ate his food today....I guess it was his time to go. Got to tell my son tomorrow. He will be so upset, as am I. Sorry, I just needed to tell someone. My husband has put him in the garage....said it is better as it is cold there.

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    1. I've emailed you, Frances - so sorry to hear about your old chap. It's never easy to say goodbye....

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  11. Commiserations and condolences about Catkin we'll miss her but so glad Lovely Lottie is recovering.

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    1. She was a large presence in this house, probably because of her size (oh, she was a beefy old thing!) and the strong feelings she generated in Lottie! We feel her absence keenly.

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  12. Thank you so much for sharing portions of your life. I am so happy to rediscover your blog; I admire a peaceful well lived life far away from the USA and it's madness. Sherrill in Portland, OR, USA

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