Saturday, 18 December 2010

It's like Santa has come early......only

This week it was as almost as if Santa had come early…..only he had trampled reindeer poo all over the carpet (brand new, for extra artistic impact) and thrown up on the new white suede sofa.* Santa (bless him) then left the wrong presents** and crashed his sleigh into the car, taking off the front wing and most of the bumper. (Again, kids - what do you expect? That is one heck of a lot of sherry to absorb, even for someone that high up on the body-mass index…) In short it has been a crap week.

* Remember kids, Santa might only be a figment of your over-excited imagination but even figments have limits on the number of mince pies that they can eat. Billions of houses and billions of mince pies………. it was only ever going to end in one of two ways. Either the large chunder-blunder or some fat guy in a red suit stuck in your chimney until he loses enough weight to slide on out of there.

** I certainly don’t remember asking for the complete works of Val Doonican, including the very rare country and western and reggae remix versions…….although I might have asked for a subscription to “Learning to model with earwax, toe jam and bogies”

Mrs B and I appreciate that we are very lucky. While the BlackLOG often seems to portray a “back against the wall” mentality, with nothing ever going right for us, in general, this is pretty much tongue in cheek as I know that most of you only read blogs to see a bit of hardship and suffering. The reality is we have a pretty good life but where is the fun in reading about that?

So why was it such a bad week? Well:-

Wednesday - Dead cats walking
McG has been under the weather for a couple of weeks now. He’s been off his food (possibly because his teeth are hurting him) and has been more subdued than normal (he’s always been quite a laid-back boy - lazy’s a bit harsh but not far off the truth). Then he started having a few “accidents” around the house. I’m ashamed to say that my initial reaction was to get annoyed with him and lock him outside. I gave that up though when he managed to sneak back in through the cat flap just as Mischief was going out through it, leaving just her locked outside. So much for lockable cat flaps.

I decided to bring forward the cats’ bi-annual check up at the Vets. It turns out McG has lost an awful lot of weight since his last check-up in June (not that he didn’t have a lot to lose and not that we hadn’t noticed) but losing that much weight in such a short time is not a good sign in an aging cat (he’s 15). The Vet then told me he also has a growth on his back and implied there was nothing she could do. She even hinted that I should bring him back in a few weeks time when his suffering becomes too much….I was stunned - it was all happening so quickly. I appreciate he’s no kitten but even so……

Then the Vet turned her attention to Mischief, who has been fine and was just in for her flea and flu booster injections. Apparently she too is also losing weight and has developed a heart murmur. According to the Vet, she is not in much better shape than McG….I went from stunned to devastated in an instant - we weren’t ready to lose McG let alone Mischief as well…..

To round off Wednesday, I failed to get Paul McCartney tickets, which went on sale 10 minutes after I got back from the Vets. I was in no state to deal with anything and by the time I was the tickets were long gone – they had sold out within seconds.

Friday – Sometimes things are just not meant to be
With all the cats’ woes we really needed something to cheer us up and on Friday we had a gig to go to. I had been looking forward to seeing the Pigeon Detectives live for ages but they had disappeared off the scene….So about six months ago when I saw they were playing a joint concert with James I snapped up the tickets. A couple of months later it changed to a concert with just James and special guest “the Pigeon Detectives”. Finally, when the tickets arrived it just said James – no mention of the PDs or any other special guests or support. I did a bit of research and established that the PDs were still on the bill. In my view James are OK but not a band I would travel halfway across London to see. With this bit of good news in hand we set off on our planned 1 hour and 15 minutes journey.

An hour and a half later we were five miles from our destination and in the middle of the Rotherhithe Tunnel.

A further half an hour later we were still in the Rotherhithe Tunnel (this is not a long tunnel, a dead sloth could make it through quicker then we did). Not sure why but the road we were aiming for had been closed by the police and as it is one of the main routes through South London the roads all around were in total chaos…..

We arrived at 8:15pm, over an hour since the doors had opened and more than three hours since we had set off from home. I was not a happy bunny but figured that the PDs would play until at least 8:30pm so we would catch the end of the performance…………only there was still a massive queue to get in to the venue – WTF?

We hit the auditorium just as the PDs played literally the last chords of their final song and all we saw of them was the backs of their heels as they exited stage left….Aaaarrrggghhh!!!!!

Oh well, as we were now there we thought we might as well try to enjoy James…..

Half an hour into the set and we were heading for depression city. It was the dullest concert we had been to since REM failed to rock our socks off.

We were just about to leave when they played something we had vaguely heard before and which had a bit more life to it than the funereal type dirge they had been playing. So, at last, the concert was taking off….only it didn’t. They dropped back into hyper-dull mode and after another half an hour (and with Mrs B heading into a catatonic state) we left. Turned out the bar-stewards had tricked us in an attempt to try and keep us at the gig. We weren’t falling for it again.

To round off a truly excruciating evening I also managed to lose a pair of Oakley sun-glasses which fell out of my jacket pocket while I was at the gig (like me, they probably couldn’t take anymore of James) Certainly a night to forget.

Whoever says bad luck comes in threes was either wrong or lying through their back teeth.

Monday
To console myself I switched on our V-box to watch a programme I had recorded. With the week we were having it came as no surprise that the box had become corrupted and was no longer working. Everything that had been recorded was lost.

To end on some positive notes:

Cats
In an attempt to make their remaining days as comfortable as possible we have changed their diet completely. We had been feeding them on Hills Science diet (dry kibble) as recommended by the Vet since they were kittens. A bit of somewhat belated investigation on the internet, however, showed that a purely dry food diet is not all that it is cracked up to be and can, in fact, lead to the sort of health problems that our cats now appear to be suffering from. They are now both on a high-quality wet food diet. (The supermarket stocked brands are cheap because they don’t use good quality meat or fish and they pad out the food with vegetables, rice, corn and other rubbish.) Cats are obligate carnivores, which means they need meat, there is no such thing as a vegetarian cat, or certainly not a long lived one…..

I also discovered that when cats get stressed they are more likely to have “accidents”, so telling McG off and shutting him outside was creating a spiral of accidents. A few more pieces of the jigsaw fell into place when we learned that McG is being bullied by another cat and so is sometimes scared to go outside. A litter tray seems to have resolved this problem.

I also suspect that Mischief being manhandled by the vet probably caused the irregular heart beat – if I had been monitoring for stress when the Vet gave me the bad news about both of the cats my stress levels would have been off the scale and when I received the fairly hefty bill I suspect my heart probably missed a few beats….

Within a few days of the new diet and a less stressful environment, both cats seem to be reviving. Fingers crossed we can get a bit more mileage out of them.

As for the Vet, prepared to write our little fuzzy buddies off without even trying – in TV speak:

You’re the weakest Link….goodbye

Or possibly

You’re fired

– It’s obviously time to find a new Vet….

V-Box
Virgin Media turned up the next day and replaced the box. We might have lost months worth of programs but at least we are in a great position to record almost the whole of Christmas…..

Paul McCartney
I received an email saying a few tickets had been held back and were going on sale in an hour. I hit the internet at the designated time and managed to bag a couple. I may live to regret this as the snow is closing in for the weekend and I’m not sure I could face another tortuous journey only to find we don’t make it…..Plus poor old Mrs B now faces seeing Paul McCartney on Saturday night and Shakira on Monday night. It’s going to be a busy couple of days. The last time I had such a hectic run of gigs ended in a complete disaster.

Energy watch
Monitoring our way to a fortune (or not) with our Solar Panels

KW Produced so far - 95
This has earned us approximately – £40.35 so far
A slight improvement on last week with 20kw despite the snow and clouds

A record of the week

Don't Know How To Say Goodbye by The Pigeon Detectives – representing the shock of getting bad news about not just one but both cats

Seasons In The Sun - by Terry Jacks – A fairly sentimental song but it was exactly how I felt as I left the Vets, almost like it was all over. Just glad I decided not to give up

This Is An Emergency by The Pigeon Detectives – only we didn’t have any blue flashing lights to help get us through the traffic

Photo finish
Not the best pictures at the James gig, The Beast did not make it in. I was not really in the mood to be honest....

McG we havn't given up on him even if the vet has....

Mischief - lets hope she has more heart than the
#&@# vet gives her credit for....

Pigeon detectives - just about what we saw of them....

Tim Booth - Lead singer of James

Showing how much I'm a fan of James, I have no idea
who these guys are other than guitarists with the band...

I will try and get a Blog out before Christmas, if not have a good one....Wish us luck with the cats and for making it to Paul McCartney on Saturday and Shakira on Monday.

17 comments:

  1. Hope the cats bounce back!

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  2. Hmmmm. Let us know when you need new kittens.... I am absolutely sure that the raw/wet meat diet will benefit yr cats. I can tell when I meet a dog on a dry diet now. They have a dullish coat, too much fat around the waist, and too much mad energy. Too much protien of the wrong sort, and cereal based diet = not what a carnivore is built for. Our dogs are thriving on raw meat and raw bones only - a radical choice for feeding! Is the car suffering too? you seem to hint that it has suffered an injury, but no details amongst the cat problems. PS. When your cats are ready for the final vet's visit they will let you know. And you will know. sad but true.

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  3. I am so sorry about your cats. We have an old guy too, Smokey Joe Trouble. He's about 18 and has had a heart murmur for about 15 years. Smokey is a black cat with an attitude and I love him dearly. I won't use heroic measures to keep him alive, but I do want to have him around for a longer time. I also have two big dogs, (Honey and Harry). Honey is old and has trouble walking sometimes, (arthritis) but she still wags her tail and seems happy. I can't deal with losing her either. Shit! I pray your kitties feel better soon. (Smokey had a hyperactive thyroid at one point and we had to get that treated with a $2500 two week hospitalization. "Seasons in the sun" makes me sad.

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  4. Wow, Tim Booth is looking old now.

    Fingers crossed the moggies purr on for a few more years yet.

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  5. Sorry to hear about the sick cats - not fun.

    On a lighter note - why were you wearing/taking sunglasses with you in the middle of December, or are they for 'snow glare'?

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  6. So sorry to hear about your kitties. I hope they pull through. Of course now they will that you've switched to fancy food. Then you will continue with that food and become house broke. Vicious kitty cycle.

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  7. Hi Niel,

    I was very touched by your blog this week and I have to admit this is the first one I have read in a while. Btw the other positive you had was that you are getting the Master bedroom in the ski chalet! I know this doesn't make up for everything else but it's something to look forward to.

    Well I will look after your cats as best I can when you are away, I was thinking that I could sneak some organic cat food into the house and mix it in but I would be in big trouble if you found out...but maybe... I know you think it's a load of rubbish this organic business but Alfie is on DRY Organic food and he is so healthy with a lush thick coat and does lovely solid poos... oh the things you come to appreciate when you have pets.

    Speak soon and hope you have a better week.

    Kirsty x

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  8. Dad said...
    Hope the cats bounce back!
    Thanks Dad, fingers crossed, they both seem to be responding well to a change in diet….

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  9. Skipperthewonderhorse said...
    Hmmmm. Let us know when you need new kittens....
    After our sedate urban dwelling softies I’m not sure how we could cope with a couple of killers, related to generations of farm yard assassins……

    I am absolutely sure that the raw/wet meat diet will benefit yr cats. I can tell when I meet a dog on a dry diet now. They have a dullish coat, too much fat around the waist, and too much mad energy. Too much protein of the wrong sort, and cereal based diet = not what a carnivore is built for. Our dogs are thriving on raw meat and raw bones only - a radical choice for feeding!
    I must admit the cats had previously looked pretty good, shiny fur etc… (I put the extra nipples and legs that they developed down to breed characteristics) . Other than McGs fat little tummy, which he would have got on any food, as he is just one of life’s natural born porkers they seemed to thrive on the diet. He did develop crystals in his urine which proved almost costly to his life and ultimately to our ban account but managed that by adding water to the dry food .

    Is the car suffering too? you seem to hint that it has suffered an injury, but no details amongst the cat problems.
    Other than being rubbish in the snow and being locked up in the garage the duration for attempted pirouetting without a licence, ElleGee is fine. The trusty old Golf is now our only means of transport. Not that the roads around are that bad, other than the ¼ mile to the edge of the estate, which would become ElleGee’s personal Ice Rink

    PS. When your cats are ready for the final vet's visit they will let you know. And you will know. sad but true.
    We hope that it is not just a short respite but they both seem to be picking up a bit so fingers crossed. I guess you are never ready to let a much loved pet go and always hope for eternal extra time without the dreaded penalty shoot out…

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  10. Linda Medrano said...
    I am so sorry about your cats. We have an old guy too, Smokey Joe Trouble. He's about 18 and has had a heart murmur for about 15 years. Smokey is a black cat with an attitude and I love him dearly. I won't use heroic measures to keep him alive, but I do want to have him around for a longer time. I also have two big dogs, (Honey and Harry). Honey is old and has trouble walking sometimes, (arthritis) but she still wags her tail and seems happy. I can't deal with losing her either. Shit! I pray your kitties feel better soon. (Smokey had a hyperactive thyroid at one point and we had to get that treated with a $2500 two week hospitalization. "Seasons in the sun" makes me sad.
    It’s funny how attached we get to our pets and also how we believe almost anything a vet tells us. Sorry to make you sad with Seasons in the sun, it is a bit sentimental….Glad Smokey is still going strong and thanks for your thoughts regarding McG and Mischief

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  11. theperpetualspiral said...
    Wow, Tim Booth is looking old now.

    Fingers crossed the moggies purr on for a few more years yet.

    Age creeps up on us all…Thank you, they seem happy enough at the moment

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  12. Imo said...
    Sorry to hear about the sick cats - not fun.
    We haven’t given up hope on them yet…

    On a lighter note - why were you wearing/taking sunglasses with you in the middle of December, or are they for 'snow glare'?
    The Glasses have interchangeable lenses and I use an amber lens to reduce the glare of on coming traffic at night – Plus while driving in winter the sun, when it is out, is so low that it directly in the eye line….

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  13. Nikki said...
    So sorry to hear about your kitties. I hope they pull through. Of course now they will that you've switched to fancy food. Then you will continue with that food and become house broke. Vicious kitty cycle.
    They can have the most expensive cat food that we can get, as long as it keeps them purring

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  14. Kirsty said...
    Hi Niel,

    I was very touched by your blog this week and I have to admit this is the first one I have read in a while.

    All my effort and you only drop in occasionally…. I am grateful for the Blog sized comment you have left this time

    . Btw the other positive you had was that you are getting the Master bedroom in the ski chalet! I know this doesn't make up for everything else but it's something to look forward to. Yeah, sorry about that….

    Well I will look after your cats as best I can when you are away, I was thinking that I could sneak some organic cat food into the house and mix it in but I would be in big trouble if you found out
    You had me worried there for a moment, I had to check the new cat food I had purchased to make sure it was not organic….I would never live it down

    ...but maybe... I know you think it's a load of rubbish this organic business but Alfie is on DRY Organic food and he is so healthy with a lush thick coat and does lovely solid poos... oh the things you come to appreciate when you have pets.
    I would advise you mix up Alfie’s food with some wet food – even if it is organic wet food. Our two seemed fine on the dry food but I do fear it may well have shortened their lives

    Speak soon and hope you have a better week.

    Kirsty x

    Will do and thank you for looking after the cats it is much appreciated.

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  15. I'm pleased you didn't give up on your cats.
    Sx

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  16. Scarlet Blue said...
    I'm pleased you didn't give up on your cats.
    Sx

    Oh, goody someone who delves through the back issues and leaves comments….Blogger comment heaven….
    I’m glad I didn’t give up on them either. I’ve been blessed with a very healthy level of cynicism and like to check thing out thoroughly before I take someone’s word for it…. Mrs B despairs when I challenge so called experts…. But you would be shocked how many people out there get by on bullshit and other peoples apathy… Sadly I think my cats would have had me put down if the boot was on the other foot, they wouldn’t want anything to get in the way of a good sleep, I guess my only hope would be that they wouldn’t get up in time to take me to the doctors…

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  17. ...and I always subscribe to comment feeds too so that I can read replies!
    Very true about the bullshit and apathy.
    SX

    ReplyDelete

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