Jaye’s Journal 1~ 6 August

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The recent hot weather has finally eased and I for one am delighted.

Now, I can resume normal duties without running the risk of collapsing in a soggy heap!

There was a point when the heat was at its hottest when I almost lost the will to do anything, and being unable to sleep at night wasn’t helping at all.

On one of the unbearably hot days, I made the mistake of asking the family what they wanted for dinner. When they requested pasties, my heart sank.  We usually had them for picnic meals with salad, perfect for a hot day, but first I had to make them, then cook them in a hot oven!

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I nearly melted in my scorching hot kitchen, but the pasties went down a treat…

Another reason I am so glad the weather is cooler now is for Merlin, our aged black and white cat. He really has been suffering and watching him as he tried to find a cool place to lie down has been distressing for us as well as him. There were moments when he looked as though he couldn’t last much longer. In fact, there were times when he looked dead and my heart was in my mouth until he moved or flicked an ear.

What passes as a lawn in our garden has suffered too, and won’t need cutting any time soon as all we have at the moment are funny green tufts sprouting through the straw coloured dead grass.

This is more than I can say about the dreaded forty-foot long, seven-foot-high hedge. It has gone more than a bit crazy, with long branches shooting out in all directions. It will need a trim soon.

Not much writing was done during the heatwave unfortunately, something I am trying to remedy now it’s cooler.  I’m not sure why they call it a wave, wouldn’t that imply that it passes quickly, and that definitely didn’t happen. We were all being forced to live in a world that had turned into an unbearably hot oven, and it wasn’t funny.

I love a bit of good weather, but don’t appreciate being cooked the minute I step outside. So keep it down to a comfortable level, please?

You just know that life is returning to normal when computers find new ways to annoy. The latest game is ditching any comments I make on other people’s websites. You go to the bother of commenting, and not just ‘nice post!’ only to have it vanish without a trace. And I don’t know about anyone else, but my brain never remembers exactly what I just typed, so the second attempt is usually not as good or as long. Not acceptable, right?

Wishing to avoid frustration, I came up with the idea of commenting, as usual, then copy and paste it, just in case it does a runner before posting it.  Not exactly in the rulebook, but works for me…

And last but not least, something I have finally managed to do this week.      Yay! (cause for celebration!)

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We have claimed a BookBub profile and all of our books are locked and loaded!

Not sure how any of it works (no change there then) but if anyone wants to follow us on there, here are the links to Jaye’s BookBub and Anita’s BookBub.

Have a Wonderful Weekend Everybody!

 

Jaye’s Journal ~25-31 July

 

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I listened to the thunder approaching as I caught up with writing the next chapter of my WIP. It sounded slightly ominous, but in a half-hearted way, if you know what I mean. We seem to get a lot of this half-hearted weather down here in Hampshire. They say it has something to do with being so close to the South Downs. It kind of messes with the wind currents or something.

At this stage, there was no way of knowing if it the storm would ever reach us, or veer off somewhere else. In the end, we had a few more rumbles and that was it.

On to the next disappointment. The eclipse.

Wall to wall cloud made sure we didn’t see anything, either the moon or the eclipse. We had been watching the moon all week as it slowly became full, only to have nothing at all to see on the night in question. We were in good company, for no one else in the UK saw it either, but the awful sticky heat had gone, and I could really concentrate on my writing. Word count has gone up by nearly 5000 words this week!

They promised rain, which would be more than welcome, as I could hear the garden screaming for moisture all way inside my office.

But when it did rain, it wasn’t the deluge they promised, just a quick half-hearted shower, but better than nothing, I suppose.

After a damp and slightly chilly weekend, I had the opportunity to play truant, and I didn’t hesitate. It was like the Prisoner of Zenda escaping, as I ran and jumped in the car, ready for the off. An afternoon walking around The New Forest? What’s not to like?

There will be lots of pictures and post to follow!

 A Surprise and Unwelcome Visitor

During the heatwave, we had an unwanted disturbance late one night.

We had not long been in bed and couldn’t sleep as the heat was stifling. We heard a commotion downstairs and thought we were being burgled. We were about to investigate when we heard bottles clinking. A thirsty burglar? What was going on?

The culprit turned out to be Merlin, our beloved black and white cat. He tried to look innocent, but we knew what was going on. Somewhere in our house was a very small but unwelcome visitor. After crawling around on my hands and knees, looking in all his favourite places, I managed to track it down to the dining room, where Merlin had the tiny mouse cornered under the table. I managed to grab it with an old tea towel and take it out to the garden.

It was while I was out there, I decided it was the perfect place to sit and enjoy a coffee, even though it was two in the morning. I wasn’t having any luck sleeping anyway…

Murder at the Cat Flap!

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Long Suffering Merlin!

 

I recently wrote a post about how our house was fast becoming a cat motel and the need for a revolving door cat flap. It was an amusing situation, although it was costing us extra money for the extra cat food.

But with the onset of The Beast from the East and all this snow and ice, the situation has changed dramatically and there have been even more feline visitors. I try not to think that they are all suffering from malnutrition, that they just prefer our cat Merlin’s menu to their own, but for whatever the reason our cat flap is subject to some serious abuse.

Before all this pitifully cold weather, our visitors were amenable and very respectful of the facilities. Merlin tolerated the frequent invasion of his territory, preferring to watch from a distance. He obviously trusted us to make up the shortfall in his rations, and although we moaned about it from time to time, it was rather sweet to see so many cats wandering through our kitchen.

This situation has changed dramatically with the weather and a new arrival. He is a huge cat, with long black shaggy fur that almost brushes the ground when he walks. His tail, also long and shaggy, must be the envy of every cat in the neighbourhood. He isn’t scared or respectful, although he seems to want to be friendly, the least he could do, I suppose, seeing as he comes back several times a day! But we have discovered, alarmingly, that Merlin cannot abide him. He will ignore Shaggy’s presence if he is elsewhere in the house, but if he is anywhere near the kitchen, all hell breaks loose and I fear for Merlin and the cat flap.

 

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“It’s not my fault that Merlin doesn’t like me!”

I don’t like hearing cats fight, even though I know it isn’t usually to the death, just a lot of wailing and hissing, but the sounds coming from our kitchen I swear could chill your blood! I think the cat flap suffers the most and may have to be replaced, sooner rather than later.

We worry about Merlin a lot more these days, as he isn’t getting any younger. He will be 14 years old in May and on bad days, he can’t quite do what he used to be able to do. We have talked about locking the cat flap at night (something Merlin will not tolerate. The last time we had to for medical reasons, he almost ripped it off the door!) Hardly any point though, for most of the fights happen during the day. We also talked about moving Merlin’s food upstairs, and out of reach, but the thought of Shaggy patrolling the house, looking for food soon stopped that idea.

The other question that keeps me awake at night is why does Merlin resent this cat and not any of  the others? I have heard that other, less endowed male cats automatically fear male cats that still have all of their bits (I think you know which bits I refer to). This may well be the case, for I have been watching Shaggy when he leaves our house, stuffed to the gills with the best quality cat food. He backs up to several things in our yard and shakes his rear end at them. This, I believe is scent marking and something only entire males can do. This upset me even further, for not only does Merlin have to put up with Shaggy’s presence and attitude (and loss of feeding privileges), he is also surrounded by the smell of Shaggy everywhere he goes!

I am thinking of getting one of those water pistols to try to deter Shaggy, but I think I already know I would be wasting my time. This huge cat, although lovely, is not welcome in our house, and I hope he finds another cat hotel and soon!

If anyone can suggest a solution for poor old Merlin, we would love to hear it!

Happy Birthday!

 

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Merlin, this fine specimen of cat hood is 13 years old today.

It sounds quite old but seems like only yesterday, we peeked inside a cardboard box to see the cutest bundle of black and white fur looking back at us.

Right from the beginning, Merlin has known exactly what he wanted and the best way of getting it.

We called him Merlin for his arrival was completely unexpected, and seems to have magical powers sometimes, and the longest white whiskers.

He would never use a litter tray, even as a small kitten. He insisted on exploring the garden, and that was that. We lived in a caravan at that time, and he was in his element, enjoying the fields that surrounded us. He would make these round nests in the long grass, and God knows what the sheep made of him.

He is such a good cat, but he has one habit. Although it is rather sweet, we wish he didn’t. He likes to bring us gifts, frogs, mice, and once a butterfly. Not unusual, I hear you say, but all of these things were unharmed. The butterfly actually flew away, once he opened his mouth. He is not very good at catching things though, leaving us to evict the majority of his presents.

Then one day, he didn’t come home. We worried and hunted for him, and thought he would turn up eventually. Only he didn’t.

The weeks went by, and nothing happened. The weather grew colder, and it broke our hearts to think of him out there, cold and alone. We travelled all over Petersfield trying to find him, but no one had seen him.

Then, months later, we had a call from our local vet, wondering if the cat that had just been brought in could be Merlin. It was, but a very different Merlin from the one we remembered. He was thin and nervous, and although he seemed to remember us, we could tell he had been through a lot since the last time we saw him.

It was a long time before he regained some of his adventurous spirits, but even now, we worry every time he goes out. Especially now his is such an old man. He can’t jump as well as before and his muscles are stiff, but he is as beautiful as ever…

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Many Happy Returns, Merlin!

Tom and Jerry… Part one

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How many of you know the answer to this question… which is worse than finding a mouse running around your office?
Finding two, is the right answer.

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We willingly share our house with one stroppy, arrogant and demanding black and white cat, called Merlin. He is a lovely cat, but with one particular quirk we wish he didn’t have. He loves to bring us gifts from the garden. Usually a mouse of some description, but we have had a frog and a butterfly too. He is a very gentle cat, so none of his gifts are damaged.

He is getting on a bit now, as are we all, but he still hasn’t learned that his chosen gift will not sit and wait while he has a spot of lunch. It’s quite comical really, the way you can see him trying to puzzle out where it went.

But this time he has surpassed himself and we have two at the same time. One is larger than the other, a field mouse I think, with a lovely white chest, and the other is so cute. Just like a cartoon mouse, dark, round, and not a bit shy. Lovely, but we don’t want them in doors.
Over the years, we have tried to catch them, and sometimes get lucky. Like the time one was hiding behind the cushions on the couch, leaving his tail sticking out for all to see.

Mostly though, it’s a very frustrating time, wondering where they are and what they might be chewing.

As we are getting far too old to be crawling around the floor, we bought one of those humane traps. Loaded with cheese and room to move around, they seem to work some of the time.

The larger field mouse used this facility and was soon back outside, but the smaller one was becoming a problem, acting like no mouse I have ever seen. He has taken to sitting in the middle of the floor, staring at Merlin. Merlin just stares back, as if he can’t figure it out either. Then the funny little creature started patrolling around the house as if he belonged there. Seeing this tiny brown ball (with a tail) slowly moving around was weird. He was ignoring the trap, so this was becoming a real problem.

In the end, we left the back door open all day, hoping he would take advantage of it and go back to where he belonged.

We do consider ourselves lucky though. Next doors cats bring in half eaten mice and birds. At least our old Merlin is a big softy!

There is a lot more to this story… tune in next week, to see what happened next!