Monday, November 17, 2008

Last Thursday I and a number of other Red Hat ladies from my Crimson Crumblies Chapter in Chelmsford in Essex made a long planned visit to the Victoria and Albert Museum in Kensington.
It all started after the Husband had been to the new Jewellery Gallery at the V&A, on a visit to London with some of his music friends, and he had said to me “you ought to take your Red Hat ladies there, it's wonderful”. And so I proposed the visit and some time ago arranged it for that day. It turned out to be just what I had needed to take my mind off other things.

The original plan was for most of us to set off for London from our local Chelmsford station, meeting up later those who came into London on different railway lines. However, when I arrived at Chelmsford station just before 10.00am I discovered that a major signalling failure meant that no trains were going at that time to or from the London Liverpool St terminus. As my travelling companions arrived I explained the problem and it was decided to try another station and hence another line into the London Fenchurch St terminus. This plan worked and we arrived at the V&A museum, albeit about 90 minutes later that originally planned.

After lunch in the restaurant we headed off to the Jewellery gallery. As all visitors to the V&A find we got a little distracted on the way by the fabulous other exhibits – we walked through a gallery with some wonderful silverware, both old and new, which we really enjoyed, plus some religious exhibits and stained glass. The Jewellery gallery itself looked relatively small but it has a huge number of exhibits and to see them all takes a while. So we spent quite a while looking around them all.

Afterwards we headed back to the restaurant for tea (the restaurant is renowned for the quality of its food and drink) and when I telephoned home the Husband was able to tell me that the Liverpool Street trains still had problems, so we retraced our journey of the morning and found ourselves back in Essex by early evening.

I enjoyed arranging the visit for our Red Hatters and I hope the others felt that it made a good day’s outing. (It was nice and distracting too.) I am now thinking what we can do next in 2009.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Pickle has gone. An X-ray and a scan earlier this week made it clear that she had a cancerous tumour and the cancer was quite quickly spreading through her body. I had a discussion with the vet this afternoon and made the decision. We are all sad at the moment, although we know it was the best thing for her.

I am keeping a close eye on Nimrod now. He came from the same litter as his sister and so I need to make sure that he manages this change in his life all right.

Friday, November 07, 2008

My hands and arms are lacerated. I have masses of scratches all down them and they are sore and itch like mad. Why? Pickle is on a course of antibiotics.

I feel a little embarrassed to admit such difficulty in giving her such medication because I learnt how to put pills quickly and easily down cats’ throats when I was in my late teens and up to now that method has worked without any problems. But, of course, this is the first time I’ve tried to put a pill down Pickle’s throat. It was only after she and her brother became members of our family that the two of them developed completely different personalities. This didn’t surprise me excessively: every cat I’ve ever known has been their own “person” and with a personality to match. So when it became clear that Pickle is grumpy, demands to be stroked and then when she decides she’s had enough then bites the person stroking them and is the very opposite of a lap cat I thought it was just the sort of cat she is. She is also very intelligent – the usual methods to trick a cat don’t work on her. (The rest of the family calls her Bin Laden, after Osama…. .) I’ve seen her send off a much larger fox that had the temerity to stray into our garden while she was sunning herself outside. But at a routine visit to the vet for her annual vaccinations there was a conversation about how grumpy she was – I think she was trying to attack the vet at the time – and I was surprised when the vet said that she was like this because she is a tortoise-shell. Up to then it had never occurred to me that the colour and pattern of a cat’s coat could have any influence on their personality but he says that he has never known a pleasant tortie, that they are very all very difficult to deal with and bad tempered. Certainly she is a completely different personality from her laid back but lethal (to the local bird, rodent and squirrel population only) brother, Nimrod the Mighty Hunter. He has always treated her with respect but it is obvious seeing them together that she is the boss of the two.

Dealing with Pickle up to now has been easy because she has never been ill and so the only trouble has been catching her and battling to thrust her into the cat basket for her annual vaccinations at the vet’s surgery. However, she is almost 14 years old and it became clear to me recently that she was not well. Pickle has always been a very large cat, not in terms of her body size – she has a much smaller frame than her brother or, indeed most other adult cats – but because of the vast amount of cat food she eats: she’s always been fat. But about four weeks ago she began to lose weight and she has continued to do so. Now she is almost skeletal. So a visit to the vets became necessary and we went on Monday. Blood and urine samples were taken from her and tests taken. At the moment the vet is convinced there is something the matter but he isn’t quite sure what and so as a start she is on a 10 day course of antibiotics, one pill twice a day at that, to get rid of the infection in her system before he investigates further.

What hadn’t occurred to me was that despite her clearly not being well she has more then enough spirit to fight me off. I work on the principle that I am bigger than her and am doing something that is necessary for her health. But all the usual methods of getting pills down a normal cat’s throat don’t work on her. Now I am swathing her in a towel to try to keep her claws under control, wedging her bottom into the back of the sofa so she can’t run away and trying to force open jaws that she is doing her best to force shut.

I wish I could say that great fun is being had by all but, of course, it is not. I have to do this, she is part of our family and this is necessary medication to try to make her better. I just wish she would realise it’s for her own benefit. However as a result I am a mass of scratches, something that is likely to continue for the next 8 days until the course of antibiotics is finished.