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The one I couldn’t help


Near work I found a man trying to get a cat off the road. He was successful but she went back on and sat down in the middle of the road. She had a collar on and seemed friendly enough so I picked her up off the road and took her to the footpath. When I lofted her I just felt ribs. She was clearly used to being held. I have her a rub under the chin and checked her collar. No tag on collar but noticed she was infested with fleas. I waited until it looked like she was staying off the road and continued to the shop. On my way back to work she was sitting in the middle of the road again. After much deliberation I decided to go back
to work and get a box and walk her to the vet around the corner to see if she had a microchip. She had a desexing tattoo. Someone has owned her at some point. By the time I came back with the box I couldn’t find her. I just keep telling myself at least she’s no longer on the road.



AndrewA clever marketer came up with the concept of disABILITY.

Most of the time I would agree that to focus on the ability of people who have a disability is a good thing. Yet, there are times when the disability really has to be acknowledged for the hideous and limiting thing that it is.

Losing more function can be frightening, depressing, soul-destroying, frustrating, not to mention bloody impractical! At the end of several weeks which included all of those things, there ARE some things to be thankful for.

1) I have an amazing partner who despite losing the last remnants of his ‘walking’ and ‘standing’, only managed to lose his sense of humour for a day here and there. Without that wit and comic relief, I’m not sure where we would be right now.

2) We are fortunate to have supportive family, friends and workmates.

3) There are some bloody awesome Norweigans out there who made the molift hoist equipment.

and finally…

4) It doesn’t matter how stressed you become, the cats still give you cuddles. Sometimes two at a time.

Double trouble on the couch

Andrew and Pickle

Licorice and Saffron meet the Catnip Carrot

‘I’m looking for a toy to wear Pickle out,’ I said.

Dedicated Cat Protection Staff Member recommends a Catnip Carrot. She promises me that this toy never fails. I order one. I wait. I brought it home and this is the reaction. (For those of you who find it hard to tell my girls apart – I can’t think of why?! – Saffron is first to check out the carrot).

What can I say? At 11 Licorice can still beat the crap out of a catnip carrot. Good call Bronwyn. Excellent advice as always. Let’s hope Pickle likes his just as much.

Budgie Smugglers

budgie‘You might have to explain to your international readers what budgie smugglers are’ says Dad upon me entering the house.

Oh. Oops. Didn’t even think of that.

Then again, I know that my international friends seem exceptionally well read and would probably know what they are anyway. I on the other hand am still occasionally stumped. I had to write to Isobel (of Isobel and Cat fame) recently to ask whether ‘cream crackered’ was a term familiar to her, or whether it was well known. Cockney rhyming slang it turns out. Last week, I learnt about ‘Pinkertons’ on the back of watching Ripper Street. (There are times when wikipedia is really indispensable).

So, back to the budgie smugglers. In case anyone isn’t familiar, it’s a slang term of men’s speedos / swimming costumes and seems to be used often in reference to our now current Prime Minister given his fondness of sport. It takes a man with a good body (think well built surf life guide), to be able to get away with wearing budgie smugglers without looking pathetic. It’s something about the way they droop with water… the swimming costume that is. I refuse to even contemplate Tony’s actual anatomy. Ew. Sick. Now.

So dad reckons I need a glossary of terms for my blog. Really, there’s only a few you need to know to follow the plot. Here they are:

The Scroobious Pip.

That’s me.

Sometimes people ask me what exactly a Scroobious Pip is, I just reply – ah, that is the question! The story was a childhood favourite, written by one of the two great masters of nonsense – Edward Lear, an epileptic depressive who had a great love of his cat Foss.


My unconventional partner / boyfriend (depending on your preferred terminology). (Andrew associates partner with gay cowboy movies, I associate boyfriend with sounding 14 and temporary). Unconventional? Well, we don’t exactly fit the traditional model. We live separately. I work full time. He doesn’t. He’s domestically competent. I’m domestically challenged (except for light bulbs, I do those). I think the only thing traditional about us is he takes out his own garbage. My mum always taught me that men should do tyres and garbage.

Definition of Andrew? mischievous, Naughty. A 4 year old trapped in a 40-something year old body. An extremely talented artist (if only we could convince him of this) combined with a largely gentle soul. I say largely. He isn’t known for being a placid calm driver – especially if you take a disabled parking spot and you have no disabled parking permit.

Pickle sleeping as only Pickle can.

Pickle sleeping as only Pickle can.


The oldest of Andrew’s two cats and the most like him in personality – bloody naughty!

Andrew always said that if he couldn’t have a dog he didn’t want anything. Then after a while he decided a cat would be ok. As long as it was a girl cat. And black, or tabby.

So he adopted a ginger boy who certainly lives up to the tag Ginger Ninja. Andrew wanted a dog… well he’s doing his best to mould Pickle into a dog. Surprisingly, Pickle is mostly complying.

Recently, an ambulance officer referred to Pickle as a ‘caramel cat’. This has earnt him the title of ‘o Caramelle’ (said with a ridiculously corny French accent!)

Andrew and Gesso

Andrew and Gesso


Named after the white primer used in painting, Gesso has developed his own fondness for paint. While every other cat has stood in the paint just once, Gesso has done it at least three times… if not more.

Gesso is medium haired and deaf.

He makes you work for his affection but strangely we just seem to love him even more for it. When he actually lets me cuddle him for a little while, I feel that I’ve won a great battle / been included among a privileged few.

Gesso is frequently also called ‘the white cat’ (with the emphasis on THE), or squirrel.

And that’s half the fur family…

Licorice and Saffron

I don’t think it’s quite right for me to write about the two separately, for they really don’t separate you see.

Suitcase? What suitcase.

Suitcase? What suitcase.

That’s Saffron (8) on the top and Licorice (11) on the bottom. Two undeniably fat couch potatoes of cats with an everlasting number of hugs and smooches to give.

Licorice hates the vacuum cleaner. Licorice hasn’t figured out that each morning when I go to the fridge to get the food, she doesn’t need to follow me as I am just coming back with it. (Saff waits patiently in the bathroom). On the whole, Licorice is the gentle giant; except when at the mothership and it’s time to go back in the cat cage.

Saffron on the other hand, is reasonably ok with the vacuum cleaner but scared of all things new. Strangers / Visitors – check under the bed and you’ll find her.

PS: Mothership = home of my mum and dad a.k.a Cat Hotel.

So there you go dad. A glossary. Complete with pictures. Have I forgotten anything?


I couldn’t resist including one more picture of Pickle. Cheeky Pickle.


By the royal power invested in us from the planet of Feline, we hereby declare that this armchair is now the property of the species tortoise shell and no human can enter. Bribery in the form of chest and head salutes will be considered momentarily and although we like this ‘patting’ currency, we will still reject all human efforts to take position of said armchair.

In short, it’s ours.

This armchair is ours!

A cat’s prerogative

I want to know why it is that a cat attempting to sit in your lap – especially when you don’t want it to – almost always manages to put it’s paw right where your bladder is? (For anyone interested I haven’t had children, my pelvic floor muscles are good so there has been no cat induced accident in this house)

Secondly, I want to know why when you sit on the couch doing nothing, the cat sleeps on the floor. As soon as you pick up a laptop, it’s anti-sharing instinct kicks in and the cat is determined to displace said laptop.

This is what Licorice is doing at this very moment. Now consider this: I am attempting to type this post with an 8 kilo weight on my left hand wrist. I’ll show you. (My right hand is free to use the iphone camera and it’s within my reach).

IMG_3462Those are my fingers emerging from heavy cat. Do you notice the two empty cat beds on the right hand side of the photo. Those would be the beds they are NOT sleeping in, even though I have turned the heater on. If I want them to actually sleep in the beds, then I need to turn the heater off and then they will go close to those beds and look pitifully at me and meow their request for the heater to be turned on.)

Ah relief. Licorice has decided to get off my hand. My wrist thanks her.

Of course, this cat displacement technique is not just unique to the laptop. Any computer is fair game as illustrated by Gesso here, relegating Andrew to one hand typing, unless Andrew wants to risk Gesso slipping off and falling down his legs. Not really a good risk on careful consideration really. We all know how cats use their claws to climb trees.

Andrew and Gesso

Andrew and Gesso

And while I’m asking questions about my cat’s interpretation of her rights in this household, I have a few more to add.

Why does Saffron so confidently claim ownership of any ‘green’ shopping bag? Is there some title deed written into such bags via cat scent that upon returning home with one, your cat as the right to take immediate possession of it and not return it for 3 days? (Excuse any typos from here, Licorice is back on wrist…. and part of touchpad). The royal cat prerogative exempts her from having to give the bag back for it’s original use. It is as if Green Bags are subject to squatters rights.

And why is it that cats are never interested in fitting themselves into a suitable size box, green bag, cat bed etc. Perhaps the things I have heard about a cat using her whiskers to judge whether it will fit through a space is just bunk. I can assure you that my cats either have ridiculously long whiskers, or when their whiskers sent the alert signal to their brain, they just ignore it. When I bought the cheap cat bed recently (a $5 purchase in a two-dollar shop), I deliberately chose the smallest one I could find because I am so used to my girls turning their noses up at anything which is of reasonable size. And regular readers of my blog will know, what happened then.

Can't we share?

Can’t we share?

I’m not finished yet. I have a few more questions about my cat’s prerogative. I want to know why when it’s really cold and you want the cat to sit in your lap and act as a pseudo-hot water bottle, she just isn’t interested. Crank up the temperature to a Sydney hot day of 30 something degrees and my lap is the most desirable location in the house.

And why is it that I can buy a ‘covered’ litter tray so in theory when the cat kicks the litter around it will hit the ‘roof’ and land in the box, that I still seem to have a trail of kitty litter across my bathroom floor. Kitty litter is the cat equivalent of Hansel and Gretel breadcrumbs, though I really don’t get why they need them. I would expect if the cat wanted to re-trace her steps she would only need to follow the smell back to the bathroom. Unless of course, I’ve been the obedient cat servant that I’m supposed to be and cleaned the tray within 5 minutes of usage.

And why is it that anytime I want to photograph something, a cat must help by inspecting it at the same time I’m trying to take the photo.

Pickle inspecting the subject of my photography

Pickle inspecting the subject of my photography

They have an inbuilt instinct which must say ‘quick walk on it now!’ And lastly, why is it that given all the trouble they cause with flea management and cat hair and little nail shards at the floor of the scratching post, that we still love them as much as we do? I’m sure many servants dislike their masters but I will not include cat servants among them. In fact, we humble servants seem to enjoy having a laugh at how much privilege our cats bestow upon themselves. Here’s one example of that that I saw via Facebook recently – it’s had a few million views so I’m sure that it’s done the rounds and you may have seen it. For those who haven’t, I’ve included the sad cat diary below.

Of particular note for me is one of the opening diary entries about cats and keyboards – I think Licorice must have heard that when I played it the first time and she is now just demonstrating the point. With that, I think it is time for me to stop blogging and give her a proper cuddle.

Paw prints in paint… almost!

Mixed Media Collage June 2013Lately I’ve been stitching more than painting. I’m not convinced that they aren’t the same practice for me but in a different media. I’ve had a few paintings on the go. All very small scale (A3 or smaller) and mostly unclear in their direction. The one above has been floating around on and off as an A3 piece for ages. I had layered Golden Fluid Acrylics in my usual fashion – here using Quinacridone Burnt Orange, Transparent Red Iron Oxide and Phthalo Blue.

The choice of colour combination was extremely scientific. Those particular bottles were almost empty and I wanted to use them up so I could toss the bottles out. (My little unit is very cluttered and while on a practical day I can see that removing 3 small bottles is really not going to do much, at the time it seemed like a good idea).

However it was going nowhere fast.

It’s probably been on the table for the better part of a month. So I did what I often do when an art piece isn’t progressing – I do something drastic! In this case, I got a stanley knife and cut my A3 piece down to A4. From there, after some rummaging in my collage materials, the piece ‘appeared’. I can’t explain how this happens; it just suddenly comes together.

It was almost ‘adjusted’ by Saffron planting her bum on the table. Fortunately, she was about 1 inch from the wet paint. Of course, it’s the only time she has sat on the table in recent history. She rarely leaves the heater. Even when it’s not on she sits next to it in hope! As does her sister… here they are at it again!

Licorice and Saffron loving the heater

Saffron in slumber

Saffron in slumber8 weeks without a stable phone and internet and finally, it has been restored!

To celebrate, I’ve posted a photo of Saffron I took about a month ago but haven’t been able to upload.

I love this shot. It shows how I bought a couch to blend with my cat (and in theory hide the cat hair which, judging by that segment of black on the cushion, has not worked!) It also shows my troublesome little companion relaxing. This is a nice change from when she has cystitis. Also, I just had to post a cat pic to celebrate Licorice and Saffron’s 4th birthday with me. This makes Licorice a grand old age of 11 and Saffron 8.

PS: It seems while I’ve been offline that I have some new followers. Welcome to my blog!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Home

Saffron making herself at home

Saffron making herself at home… on the quilt no less!

When I saw the weekly photo challenge was on the theme of home, I was kicking myself for not owning a pair of red sequined shoes. Even if I did own the right pair of heels I’m not sure where it would take me when I clicked my heels together. Sometimes I feel as if I have 3 homes: Mum’s place, Andrew’s place and here – with cats at every one!

So it seemed fitting when I decided to quilt this evening (yes, I’m still working on it!) that Saffron leapt up onto the table and made herself right at home. I had my weekly photo. Not to be outdone, as I write this, Licorice has curled up next to me encroaching as best she can on the keyboard.

Home is not where the heart is… for me it’s where the cat(s) is!

All I want for Christmas is a wheelchair lifter

The car has been at the engineering shop for 2 weeks. The lifter has landed on the roof but apparently the seat modifications aren’t completed. Like nearly everything in the disabled world; it is happening very slowly. I am getting pre-Christmas crankiness.

Andrew and I went to the shops today – in my car. The wheelchair lifting part was all good – when we’re together that’s my job and I manage it with reasonable ease. The getting in and out of the car without a fixed transfer board – slightly more tricky. Not to mention that my car is somewhat smaller in the door cavity than his – really not ideal at all.

Pickup of the car is scheduled for Wednesday. I have my fingers crossed for Wednesday. And my toes. And my legs. I’m crossing everything.

Satin stitching the wheel on the quilt

Satin stitching the wheel on the quilt

In the meantime I’ve started to stitch the wheel onto the quilt. My first attempt looked like a pizza. A blue and purple pizza but a pizza just the same.

My second attempt, I cheated. I used the wheelchair wheel and like a 3rd grader – traced it! Harder than you may think as the wheel is not perfectly flat.

Then when it came to the stitching I found that the top layer was all puffy. All those hand basting stitches to keep the batting, backing and top together weren’t holding it down enough. So, with some swearing under my breath, I set about unpicking 2mm satin stitching.

I dragged the quilt to the armchair – I may as well be comfy.

Licorice appeared. Licorice was persistent. We reached a compromise. She could sit on the piece of fabric resting on the footstool as long as I could hold on to the end I was still unpicking. Minutes later – Saffron wanted her share of the quilt. Nevermind that Licorice was already sitting on it; she just climbed up and wriggled her way in. The funny part was watching her slowly descend. It wasn’t a quilt – it was quick sand. For Saffron had decided to sit on the quilt but between the footstool and my on the armchair. Eventually I gathered up enough of the fabric and pushed her enough onto the footstool that she stopped sinking.

Of course I just had to take a photo.

Double trouble on the quilt

Double trouble on the quilt. Licorice (left) and Saffron (right).