Posts Tagged ‘percy’

It’s our turn

My cats would like to say that they haven’t been featured often enough on the Spring Cottage blog although they frequent Spring Cottage, well, frequently and love frolicking outside, where they don’t have to contend with about two cats per square metre, as they do elsewhere.

I’ve had other cat visitors at the cottage: a black and white and a ginger cat and, on one occasion, a beautiful blue Burmese, which scarpered as soon as I saw it. I was curious about the latter because I have few neighbours, and even fewer of the chichi cat owning variety, like me. I hope I see it again one day.

To make up for the omission of my cats, here are some pictures of the foolish things – they are called Percy (the big light coloured one) and Dixie, or Perseus and Eurydice in their pedigree incarnations (please don’t tell me that these were not a couple in mythology, I know that, but the abbreviated names went well together and these are siblings):


Er... do not eat the mistletoe!

Er... but we like your bed.

Er... it's not for you.

Er... well, you never make anything for us.

Er... isn't this a pillow?

Er... it's my turn to be silly.

Er... but I'm still sillier...

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I’m feeling a bit disappointed, as I’ve just had to postpone Sunday’s riding lesson. My cat, Percy, had to go to the vet and is now sporting one of those big plastic collars that make animals look like Andy Pandy.

Anyway, said cat has spent the afternoon reversing around the house at some speed, trying to get out of the collar, and it’s neither sensible nor safe to leave the Boy in charge of him, while I go away. I couldn’t even consider taking him with me, as I otherwise would, because the collar is so large, that to put him in his travel crate for three hours in it, would be torture. And not just for him.

But there’s a silver lining as I’ve just realised that I haven’t had a weekend in the great capital since early September. Somerset–York–Somerset–Prague weekends sound great, until you realise that this means buying your groceries online at 1 am, doing a load of washing as soon as you get home from work and keeping going all evening, rarely going out because you’re too tired, never calling your friends because conversations use up what’s left your spare time and letting your hair grow an inch of grey roots…upstairs

Of course, in the meantime, down at Spring Cottage,  the oil could be running out as I’ve left the heating to come on for half an hour a day – or worse, it might not be heating the house enough if there’s a cold snap – there might be a leak, the hedge is becoming rampant and the spiders will fill the corners with their webs. But if you look for it, there’s anxiety everywhere and I’m going to make the best of it instead. There will still be riding lessons in a fortnight and, if the house has survived two hundred years, it will survive two more weeks.

So I’m going to content myself with posting a picture of the small bedroom upstairs, which I realise I’ve never shown before. Yes, it really is only that wide but it opens out at the other end to about twice that width, where there are bookshelves filled with my entire collection of crime novels. And anyway no-one needs to spend much time in there.

PercyAnd here is Percy. I thought he was being really sweet in this box until I realised he was just looking for somewhere to pee, because his collar’s too big to get through the cat flap.

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Reds and greys

Cleaning the house

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Lovely day, perfect day, in fact. Beautiful weather, lots of gardening, lunch at the pub, a bit of shopping, more gardening and reading newspaper. Percy caught a baby blackbird (bye bye) and a shrew. I managed to save the shrew. The funny thing was that when I peered into my hands to look at it, i was expecting a mouse, but knew immediately that this funny long-nosed thing was a shrew, even though I don’t think I’ve ever seen a picture of one.

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I’m sitting in pale sunlight filtered by high cloud on a Spring afternoon. Bumble bees are buzzing in and out of the heather flowers, there is a light breeze and it’s warm. The flowers are starting to bud all over the garden. I have a cup of tea and have just eaten hot cross buns. Birds are twittering in the trees nearby and, far away, I can hear the calling of crows. There is the distant rumble of a aeroplane as it starts to make its way over the Atlantic and the barking of a dog. Occasionally a tractor or a car goes by and then the peace resumes. Sometimes a pheasant makes its startled cry. This morning my very urban cat killed a baby rabbit in the garden. I am so lucky to have Spring Cottage and can scarcely bring myself to return to the city.

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I’m here to spend my first holiday and it feels wonderful not to have to rush back to London as usual. It was also the cats’ first visit. They are getting used to it – Percy, true to character, is the more curious and has been following me about; Dixie has spent quite a lot of time in their basket and under the sofa. Percy is quite scared of the cows in the field opposite which he can see from the windowsill, and they are both spending quite a lot of time creeping about in a crouch.

Completely mystified by the discovery of a dead bat on the kitchen doormat. I have no idea how it could have got into the house. All three doors into the kitchen had been shut while I was away, as were the windows, and there’s no way in via the extractor fan. The hatch to the loft was shut. It was interesting to look at, as I’ve never seen a bat before: about the size of a mouse, the colour of Dixie, with little black folded up legs and crepey wings. Some of it seemed to be missing, so perhaps it had been brought in – but by what? Perhaps it got in while Boy and I were here last and hid itself somewhere until we left.

I finally assembled my bed and was delighted that it didn’t need the two people recommended by John Lewis. A couple of wooden crates took the place of  the second person with no trouble. My life all over again.

While I was doing that, I glanced out of the window and saw a red deer grazing in one of the fields at the size of the Enmore road. It was lovely to watch it through my binoculars – it was a female – a hind, I think lady-deer are called. Quite difficult to see, as it was waist high in whatever the crop is, so it looked like it was swimming. Later, I saw about four more running through whatever crop is growing over there. The farmers must love them. There is deer poo in the field immediately behind the house, so sometimes they must come very close.

Later, I startled two pheasant in the garden, who scuttled away noisily sounding affronted. They really are the most lovely looking, but ungainly, birds. I wonder whether people shoot them because they seem to find it so difficult to escape, uttering their cries of outrage.

Very annoyed to find that I’d burnt my back pottering around in the garden. Hadn’t realised that I’d spent long enough out there for that and since it was intermittently spitting, it was also quite surprising.

The cottage is hot upstairs under the roof, but the living room is cool, cool, cool. In fact, I put the central heating on for a while as the sofas actually felt rather damp. Damp is obviously a bit of an issue here, especially when there’s no heating to counteract it while I’m away.

As I write this, sitting in bed with a cup of tea in the morning of the first of July, a cow (a steer, really, but it doesn’t sound as nice – I shall call them cow-boys, instead, as coined by a dear friend) has wandered into sight to scratch its head against the telegraph pole’s tensioned steel wires. They are beautiful – all browns and greys, none of the dull black and white Friesian variety, which is good to see. The trouble is they bring a lot of flies with them and I’ll have to buy something to stop that. Oh good—pilgrimage to B&Q in the offing.

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