Hello peeps - how are you? It got dark very quickly here in the UK once the clocks went back, didn't it? But even though it's darker, it hasn't really been very cold until the last few days, so it's a weird sort of November. Anyway, on to our 'doings':
We have had cause to smile at Georgie-cat this month. She has never had a cat bed or basket because I once bought one for my first cat, Guinness, which he never, ever slept in. Thus I deemed it a waste of money. However, this month No.1 had a new pair of boots. Nice, aren't they?
The box in which these boots were housed before they became No.1's, was left by the patio doors so I could put it out in the recycling bin the next time I went out to the bins. It had only been there for a few minutes when Georgie-cat decided it would make the perfect cat bed. She has been sleeping in it every day ever since. Never mind that it's not quite big enough other than if she's curled right round - she has adopted it. I don't have the heart to throw it out, and it's still sitting down by the doors as I type. But I have decided to buy her a 'proper' cat bed for Christmas - I hope she'll transfer her affection from the box to the bed.
She is dozing here, rather than squinting malevolently at me
But it hasn't been all good for Georgie during November. She developed a problem with her skin, which the vet said he thought might have been triggered by bites of some kind. Georgie has never had fleas or anything else like that before. She doesn't let any other cats in our garden (Gabriel has long since been banished) so we're wondering if she got something from Kevin the hedgehog?) She was really miserable in herself, and seemed unable to sleep properly because of itching. Bless her. The vet gave her an injection to try to quell the itching, and we put some special stuff on her that would kill any parasites, and within 48 hours she was much more at peace. She's been very cuddly since then - I think she's grateful that I made it stop, bless her. In the last few days I've noticed she's scratching more again, so I hope the darned things (whatever they are) aren't back. Maybe we should stop her going out into the garden? Or maybe I need to spray the bit where Kevin comes in, with some kind of spray? Any advice that anyone reading this might have on the matter, would be very gratefully received.
No.2 has had another successful month. He and three of his friends were picked to represent their school (two teams of two) at the regional Maths Challenge competition. There were two teams from each of 42 schools at this particular competition, and No.2 and his friend 'E' finished in 6th place overall. Isn't that brilliant? I am so proud of them and how well they did.
No.2 has always been good at numbers - a trait he shares with his sister. Since 'numbers' is not particularly a forte of mine (C grade at 'O' Level!), I can be reasonably sure that they inherited this talent from their father. No.1's latest Maths homework centred on trigonometry: Needless to say she went to her dad's to get some help with that. :D
On the subject of No.1, she has had a difficult month. One of her very closest friends left to live in Australia. His father has an initial one-year contract in Brisbane, but there is the possibility that they will stay. He is a lovely lad, who spent a lot of time here with us, and she often went to his house to spend time with his family. Isn't it wonderful when one meets a friend with whom one 'fits' with such comfort? It's not something which happens too often in life, and I'm glad she got to have the last year with him in her life.
There have, of course, been lots of tears and sadness at his leaving. On the day we said goodbye it wasn't only the kids who were crying; his mum and I were both sobbing too. I have pointed out that with the internet, they can be much more closely 'in touch' than would have been possible if I had had to lose a friend to the other side of the planet, when I was her age. But she's never been without the internet, so the comparison doesn't really mean much to her. With Facebook and Skype, they are able not only to be in 'instant' touch, but to actually see and speak with one another. Since my kids are both off school today, courtesy the strike by public sector workers (they have my sympathy, I must admit - I'm pretty certain MPs won't be voting themselves the same 'deal' they wish to impose on those striking today!) we spoke to Oz this morning. The boy sounds very down; for his sake I hope he settles sooner rather than later. I hope he and his family enjoy their time in Australia, but I also selfishly hope that they'll come back to live in the UK once work commitments have been honoured.
Before he left, I made him a monkey - my first in a long time. Purple because it's his favourite colour, and I'm happy to say he loved the monkey on first sight. He named him Gavin:
I've never used felt on the 'face' of a monkey before, but this sock was so dark that the usual black button eyes I like to use, just didn't show up. I quite like the end result and might use it again some time.
The month has ended on a very sad note for us as a family. My mum's lovely cat became ill yesterday morning - she seemed to be having trouble breathing. Mum called the vet who asked for Pepsi (the cat) to be taken in immediately. As soon as they saw her they whipped her into a back room and put her on oxygen, and told Mum it looked very serious. They asked to keep her to do some tests, so mum went home and called me to tell me what had happened. I was in the queue at a checkout in Waitrose when I got a text saying 'Pepsi has got to be put to sleep'. I rushed round to find an extremely upset mum who told me Pepsi had heart failure and her lungs were filling with fluid which is why she was having trouble breathing.
The weather was blowing a gale and tipping down, but mum wanted Pepsi buried in her garden, so before I drove her to the vet's we went out in her garden and dug a large hole. The rain on our faces, merged with the tears. Once it was done, we went to the vet's where they brought a very lethargic but more peaceful cat in to say goodbye. I don't think I will ever forget Mum putting her hand down on the counter, palm up, and Pepsi putting her paw in mum's hand, as though to hold hands. Mum thanked her for being such a wonderful pet, and then Pepsi drifted off into an everlasting sleep.
Mum had taken Pepsi's favourite blanket, so the vet wrapped her in that, and Mum held her on her lap whilst we silently drove home. We went back out into the rain and laid her in her grave before coming indoors and crying together. Pepsi and Mum were so suited - Mum took her in as a 4 year old cat whose then owners were going to send her to the cat's refuge because they were having a baby and didn't want a cat in the house. Nice, eh? Anyway, Pepsi lived a wonderful life at Mum's and in return gave Mum constant companionship and affection. She will be missed so much. RIP Peps, you were a sweet-natured star.
I haven't added many photos to the 111 in 2011 group this month - I only have a handful left to 'do' to finish the project, so will definitely get it finished before the end of the year. Instead of posting pictures from that, I'll leave you with some photos I took when I visited some woods I'd never before been. The sun was shining on the heavy dew, which provided my camera with wonderful 'bokeh' wherever I turned my lens. Suffice it to say, I shall definitely be going back to this place again at some point in the future.