Tuesday, 26th August

Mum has started doing something called ‘yoga’ and she was lying on the floor in the front room with her legs in the air, practising something called ‘breathing.’

On the telly there was a lady doing the same thing. I walked in and decided to jump on her tummy. She did the loudest ‘bottom burp’ I’ve ever heard and I thought she was going to explode and fly round the room – like balloons do when they’ve been popped.

‘PLUMS AND CUSTARD, OLLIE!’ she shouted – rather loudly, I felt. ‘How COULD you??’

‘Erm, it wasn’t ME!’ I wanted to say, but decided to let it go because suddenly there was a mad scramble to get out of the room and close the door – leaving the poor lady on the telly with her legs in the air to get on with things by herself. 

Friday 29th August

Had been out for a long walk and when I came back, there was no one around – which was surprising. So I thought I’d go in the front room and have a look at the vase thingy with the dead stuff in to see if I could rearrange it as a nice surprise for Mum.

When I went in the room, there was Mum stretched out on one of the sofas, Billy stretched out along side her and Timmy stretched out along the arm of the sofa. On the other sofa, Ricky and Garfield were stretched out and Sam was lying on the floor. All of them were fast asleep.

A tape was playing in the background – something about ‘when you see food, you won’t be hungry. You won’t want to eat anything unless it is your mealtime …’ kind of stuff. I could feel my eyes closing so I lay down next to Garfield, wedged in between him and Ricky and we all slept for ages.

When we woke up, we all went into the kitchen, but despite our food bowls being there, we all went into the garden. Mum asked each of us if we wanted any dinner, but we all said ‘no, not me. No thanks.’ Weird.

Wednesday, 3rd September

Mum loves writing. She writes letters, stories, stuff for her website. You name it, she is always writing. So today, while she was writing some letters I decided I’d help her. I tried to help her anyway, but she is so picky about what I can or can’t do! First of all, I lay on the writing pad and she had to write around my legs until she couldn’t reach anymore and pulled the writing pad from underneath my body.

Then I helped her by holding the pen and making it move. As I haven’t really practised much with pen writing, it wasn’t an easy task – but how will I learn, if I’m not allowed to do it? She huffed a bit and turned sideways so that I wasn’t near the pen anymore, so I just got up and moved so that I could touch the pen. She huffed louder.

Then, my piece de resistance came when she was putting the letter into the envelope. Here I did score some brownie points. She folded the letter into three, and I helped her by putting my paw on the folds. ‘Thank you, Ollie!’ she said, gratefully. I beamed. At last, my work was being recognised! Then she turned the envelope over and did some writing on the front – so of course, I helped her a bit. Well, quite a lot actually. So much so, she took the letter out of that envelope and put it into another one. When she stuck down the back bit of the envelope and the letter was inside it, I put my paw on it again – to hold it there so it couldn’t get out. It was really good fun, and I’m pleased that writing letters is something else I can help her with. Needless to say there were a few rumblings and ‘plums and custard’ made an appearance or two.

Sunday 7th September

Mum is always reading, and even when she is in the bath she often reads while having a soak. I decided to call in to see how she was. Actually, she had her eyes closed and didn’t notice I’d come into the bathroom. I sat on the toilet lid and reached over to test the water for her. Her foot was sticking out and I touched her toes – she nearly jumped out of her skin and water went everywhere! I knew what was coming next and said it for her under my breath: ‘Plums and custard Ollie!’ Sure enough a few seconds later ‘PLUMS AND CUSTARD OLLIE!

She put her book down on the toilet lid and leaned out over the bath to stroke me, making me wet in the process. I felt like saying: ‘Plums and Custard MUM!’ but thought better of it. I decided I liked the look of the blue scrunchy thing that she puts stuff on and when she rubs it over her she gets covered in bubbly stuff. I reached into the bath to see if I could hook the blue scrunchy thing with my paw and it got stuck. I tried to flick it off and sent lots of water spraying all round the bathroom. Under my breath I said ‘plums and custard Ollie’ because I didn’t mean to do that but it was stuck on my claw. Finally, I managed to flick it off and somehow I sent it straight back into the bath into Mum’s face. 

I thought some damage limitation might be in order so I leapt up onto the toilet lid again, knocking the bookmark out of her book and the book crashed to the floor. ‘Whoops!’ I thought, ‘I’m in even bigger trouble now!’

I leaned over towards Mum with my head down. She got the message and leaned over towards me. I head butted her with great force, not having managed to perfect the head butt quite yet the way the others do it.

‘Ouch! Ollie!’ Mum began, but I had a severe case of concussion and needed to lie down. I left her to the blue scrunchy thing to do its work with the bubbly stuff and hoped by the time she came out of the bath, she’d have forgotten all about it! 

Tuesday, 9th September

Mum was lying on the floor doing something called Yoga again today. Then she stood up and did something called the Triangle. This is where I decided to pop up and say ‘hello’ by sitting between her legs as she bent over although I kept a respectful eye on her nether regions after the last attempt at yoga.  With her left arm touching her left foot and her right arm straight up in the air and looking upwards, I reached up to touch her hair that was within paw’s reach.

This time plums and custard were off the menu. ‘Hells bells, Ollie!’ she said as she straightened up and put me on the sofa where I could watch from a safe distance. ‘Mum’s trying to get this right, Ollie. You can tell me what you think. Am I doing it right?’ She showed me the picture in the book and tried once again to strike the pose. ‘Hmmmmmmm,’ I said, trying to look as if I knew all about yoga poses. ‘Try moving your left leg forward a bit, and your right leg back a bit.’

‘Erm, you sure?’ she asked, as a dangerous gap opened up between her legs and I thought I could hear Garfield calling me from the garden. ‘Excuse me, please,’ I said, rushing off before I could get the blame for something which was out of my control. ‘Ollie! What now!’ she cried out after me. ‘You figure it out’ I called back. ‘You know shedloads of everything!’

Saturday, 13th September

My little friend from a few doors down called Eddie came to see me today. He often calls – when Mum’s not around – and we go out to play. He always has a bite to eat before we go and usually manages to leave 6 empty bowls in his wake.

Eddie is about 3 years old and was found in a plastic carrier bag hanging from a lamppost by two girls. They took him home and he stayed. He has two other friends who live with him, Charm, who is a fluffy smoky grey female and Sapphie, another female, who is also black, like Eddie.  

I think Eddie calls to see us because he lives in a mainly all women household and he needs that male-bonding thing. We just hang about together, bird watching, beetle watching, counting ants. He’s not as good at T’ai Chi though and I’ve had to show him the moves several times. I don’t actually know how he does it, but he sort of falls about rather than dances. He said T’ai Chi is wimpish and doesn’t want to take part in it. Then he flounced off in a strop. He’s not been round since.

Sunday, 21st September

We’ve had millions of spiders in the house and their webs are all over the garden. Mum’s not afraid of spiders, which is just as well because there seems to be an overabundance of them just lately.

In the mornings when she gets up, she goes out in the garden to see what’s what, and she walks up the path like a women demented, waving her hands in the air, clutching her face, and tearing at her dressing gown. It’s hard to see the fine lines of the webs in the morning sunlight and it’s really easy to walk into them. Goodness alone knows, what the neighbours must think when they see her walking about the garden with her arms flailing about at 7.00 o’clock.

Last night she nearly passed out. She was unhooking the tieback for the curtain when a huge long leg suddenly – but slowly – revealed itself. Mum said she half expected it to be wearing fishnet stockings and in two of its other legs she expected to see a black top hat and a cane! It looked so theatrical, as if it was about to launch into a song from CABARET.

But she got a piece of kitchen paper and carefully picked up the spider with it.  The she quickly took it to the front door where she gently put it on the path so it could be on its way with little fuss.

I felt sorry for the spider actually – it was probably in the middle of an audition and will never know now if a life on stage was where it was meant to be. Oh well, c’ est la vie!


In the Middle of a World...

"In the middle of a world that has always been a bit mad, the cat walks with confidence."

Roseanne Anderson

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