So if you’re hoping this blog is about a fit female in leather trousers with cute cat ears, a selection of bullwhips and perfectly rounded bosoms, you’re on the wrong blog. That’s gotta be disappointing, but I am sure you can find a specialist website for your needs.
No, this blog is about my Saturday spent with my sister doing local charity work supporting at a monthly cat re-homing show for a brilliantly run cat charity.
How it works. Once a month we go along set up tables and chairs and unload a big van of cat stuff. We build about 15 large flat pack cages and then amazing volunteers who temporarily foster stray cats and kittens between re-homing shows, bring them in and put them in the cages so members of the public can come in and hopefully permanently adopt one, giving these fascinating, loving though sometimes passive aggressive animals in fur jackets, a home.
If someone wants to re-home a cat or kitten, before they are allowed to take it home, a trained volunteer follows them back to their home, like a pervert, and checks their home is suitable. If it is, they can return and take the cat or kitten home the same day. See no leather trousered, over rounded breasted female super hero here with steel spring-loaded climbing pitons.
Anyway, there are a few characters (many in their late 80s – good on em) and many unwritten rules. One, is that the lady in the kitchen who sells lunches and teas and coffees who appears not to like cats or people, runs the show. You are not allowed into the kitchen (god help you if you do) and if you want a cheese roll it is purely down to her if you get one. You can tell those who are good at influencing as they come away with a piece of carrot cake.
There’s another lady whose chair I accidentally sat in. It was definitely made apparent to me I needed to get out pronto. I’d love to see her go in the kitchen! I’m not sure how that would end but I’m pretty sure it would involve some flying cheese baps!
Anyway. We had these two gorgeous kittens who came in with their mum and the mum’s mum All of them were cuddled together. I immediately took to this little black one, cuddling her and forming an instant bond, confirmed by her pawing gently at my face much to my sheer delight. We formed such a relationship, that even though my husband warned me no more animals, it was worth considering getting her and a divorce. He’d pissed me off in the morning and she was chewing on my hair lovingly, so it seemed the best option for all concerned.
Whilst working through the divorce settlement in my mind, or a cheaper option of murder, it happened. The little kitten was chosen. I eye’d up the people who were going to take her, (instantly understanding how a father feels assessing if a boyfriend is good enough) and wiped tears away from my eyes, I thought somewhat subtly.
Not so. The lady going to take the kitten clocked how upset I was and came over and put her arm gently on me and said, ‘it’s OK. If you fostered her you’re going to be upset. I can give you my mobile number and you can come and see her anytime’. ‘Oh no, I didn’t foster her, I only met her an hour ago’, I said. ‘Oh’ she said, visibly stepping back from me and retracting her arm. I was about to take her number too!
After the kitten left, the poor mum cat, still with one kitten, was pacing up and down her cage mewing profusely. She was so upset. I said to my sister, ‘poor thing, she’s missing her kitten. I wonder how long she will be distressed for?’ ‘Not long, don’t you remember our kittens?’ She replied.
What my sister is referring to is the fact she brought two kittens from one litter a few years back and I brought one too (Walnut, aka Mr Nut, height 20cms, weight 3.5 kilos, skills – running like a pantha, likes – cuffing the dog’s beard, dislikes – everything, particularly dog’s and their beards).
A week after taking our kittens home we felt bad that they were separated, so we agreed I’d take Walnut off in his carrier for a day out at my sisters to she his brother and sister. Good chance for some pictures for the family album we mutually agreed.
When I told Tony what we had planned he said, ‘don’t be a twat’, followed by, ‘blah, blah, blah blah, blah’ and more use of the word twat, peppered with something about cats not viewing family in the same way and it being a fucking stupid idea and would just stress the cats out. His rant ended with him saying he was having no part in it, followed by him jumping in the car and driving with me the half hour journey to my sisters, with little Nut in his carrier in the back. Driving along, I said it would be a good day out and good for Walnut’s development, turning the radio up every time he cried.
We got to my sisters, went inside, put Walnut’s carrier on the floor leaving it closed up and before my sister had even flicked the switch on the kettle, there was lots of hissing followed by furious head shaking from Tony.
My response was, ‘it’s alright honey, they are just getting re-acquainted’. With that, I opened the carrier and took the lid off completely. Immediately the two kittens swung in for Nut, swiping, and hissing and lashing out, an angry little team (kettle still not on).
Then, poor Nut took off and flew under the sofa followed by his furious siblings with their razor like sharp claws fully extended. More head shaking from Tony now complimented with disapproving looks and numerous statements like, ‘I knew this would happen. Call yourself an animal lover!’ resulting in me immediately re-evaluating my life.
With my terrified kitten trying to make himself invisible in an Amazon box, I had to admit defeat. I scruffed a petrified Nut and put him in his carrier, leaving after a total visit time of about 10 minutes. No cuppa. Didn’t even get chance to open the Wagon Wheels I’d brought.
Back in the car, the journey home went like this (with me not actually saying a word). ‘You’re a fucking twat, who does that, who takes their cat on a day trip to see their brother and sister’…’meow’…’you have totally freaked him out, listen to him’…’meow’…’he is so distressed you absolute twat’…’meow’. Yer, there was no real change in the conversation it was that on repeat other than one additional comment, ‘oh and stop keep turning the radio up to pretend his not crying’. That poor cat cried all the way home.
So, my sister had a point. This mum probably would forget her kittens by the time she caught her next blue tit.
My thoughts were distracted anyway. I am being trained to be a pervert. To follow people back to their homes to see if they are suitable. And my co-worker (one of these brilliant guys in their 80s), told me we had a job on. This time, while he was looking for me to tell me about our visit, and found me contemplating the closeness of animals to their spouses and telling those not yet reserved the universe would re-align to their way soon, the people we were to follow had already headed off.
That meant one thing. An A-Z apparently. I did say to my co-worker, I can use sat nav. But this brilliant and wonderful guy just said, ‘we don’t use that’, and lay his map out on one of the cafe tables where there was an absence of anyone eating cheese baps (no shit). He told me we needed to be in 9D. Jeez, every argument I’ve ever had over a map came back along with that complete inability to understand the information I was looking at.
I did show as much interest as I could in ‘9D’. He needed some help reading it and I was struggling to see the streets. So with my nose pinched like I was about to jump into a pool, I drew in closer to the map. The nose pinching is because I have a condition where my nose drips like a tap in certain conditions, and I suspected 9D might cause a rush of nasal fluid.
Nose pinched and reviewing the map, I still had no idea where we were heading, especially when our journey spanned two separate pages. I suggested again I use sat nav, and it was met with, ‘don’t believe in it. Always used maps, always will. Never an issue for my generation’. In the end, I just gave up, pretended I knew where I was going as co-pilot and off we went.
On the way to the car, I secretly looked up the address on sat nav, turned the sound down on my phone, and when he said, ‘right, where we off to then?’, I answered, with sat nav directing me in my left hand down the side of the seat and the door, whilst I pretended to follow the map, on my lap, with my right finger. When we arrived he said, ‘see, we don’t need sat nav’. I just smiled, a complete fraud! The return journey and our next job worked the same. With him saying, ‘so you can read maps’.
We got back and after re-homing the majority of the cats, started packing up and sweeping up the cat biscuits, including fat bloated ones soaked in water.
I came home and wondered in the car if tonight would be the night I would get to win tickets on the cruise on Ant and Dec. I’ll put matching socks on just in case we’re surprised on our sofa and placed on their screens. I did send an application last week and when it asked for a video I sent one of Tony dancing to ‘Word up’ some years back with just a hat strategically placed.
When I got home, I thought I’d spent too long with cats, so to balance out the love I took Winston (dog) for a long walk. What a lovely spring day. It was a nice walk until I saw a trail of white feathers. More than just from your average bird, and a trail into the bush, I broke through the brambles, getting my feet and arms scratched to buggery, concerned a swan may be in trouble and in need of assistance. After cuts and scratches from the growing blackberry bushes and other angry bushes, I found someone had just gone nuts it seemed ripping a pillow apart! Who does that. Wtf!
Oh and I started reading some diaries from when I was a kid that I’d found as I sort shit out in preparation for new wardrobes. I sat reading them fascinated. I started with the ones aged 11. It seemed in January 1984 I was quite pissed off. After an argument with my sister, I dipped her toilet brush down the toilet and put it back in the holder and annoyed with my mum I put a half cucumber in her work handbag!
Time to come home from Gran Canaria back to Essex. Last day of holiday is like a year’s worth of Sunday nights and New Year’s Eves all at once, when you don’t want to go back to work and think of everything else you’d rather do with your life with vague promises of making some changes.
I moan about going home and say, ‘the only thing there is to look forward to now is the Russian revolution on the history channel in full colour and high definition’. My husband Tony asks, ‘you looking forward to that then?’ ‘Nope, that’s kind of my point’.
Still at least our flight isn’t until 5pm and our cab to the airport is not until 3pm, or at least we hope, given some basic arrangements with the taxi company about them meeting us outside ‘the shop’ at a time I think we both understood to be the same.
It is the only nice day we’ve had since we have been here. Oh yer, everyone is on the beach today. Everyone is on the sun beds and splashing in the sea. Everyone is getting tanned and not shivering their tits off as we have all week.
After spending time sulking about going home and then taking snaps of basically everything, we went off for a civilised lunch and some Sangria, before a leisurely stroll back to the apartment to get our stuff and head to ‘the shop’ to meet the cab. Calm, relaxed, sunglasses on.
Of course, there was no cab there. And for 15 minutes we were sure one wouldn’t arrive until a car pulled up, which I can only describe as something between a stretched limousine and a hurse. It wasn’t in good condition. Every time we accelerated it sounded like a low inbound helicopter coming into land. Tony said, ‘Jeez, I’ve not been in a car this screwed since the Gambia’. Hard to hear him as we accelerate again.
The traffic was horrendous getting to the airport. The bloke tells us it’s the hottest day of the year so far (of course it is, we’re going home) and everyone is off to the beach. Gotta love that, it’s 3:30pm and people at work are like, ‘yer, about the conference call, I’m off to the beach’.
We got to the check in and prided ourselves on being the first to check into our flight. ‘This is the way to travel’, we said, exchanging proud glances, looking forward to a bit of civilised duty free shopping and a beer before hopping on our flight, though I am already transitioning into a nervous flyer quicker than Michael J Fox becoming a werewolf in Teen Wolf.
Off to airport security. It’s a mystery to me how flying from the UK its belts off, boots off and liquids in plastic bags. Over here none of this happens and I wonder whether they are taking this seriously or just thinking of getting to the beach on this the hottest day of the year.
There does appear to be an adequate level of attention as my stuff is pulled over. There was the initial conversation of, ‘have you got liquids in this bag’? ‘No’, followed by the security guy pulling out a large bottle of water, shaking his head and then putting it in the bin. Then he pointed at a security woman and I deciphered that his miserable grunts were informing me to go over to her. Yep definitely the case as this non-smiling, hard faced woman was calling me over with her finger.
Mrs Happy then started swabbing basically everything I owned. Inside my case, bag, you name it, it got swabbed. She pointed at my stomach and said some things that made me feel tense. She definitely wasn’t asking if I had a nice holiday and wishing me a pleasant flight!
She pointed at my stomach again. At which point I started lifting my dress up thinking she wanted to swab my stomach, like they do when you go into hospital thinking, I’m glad I didn’t go commando today. This was one of two options left to me when I discovered last night I was a pair of pants down. The other option, which I took, was to wash a pair in a dishwasher tablet. They are clean but crunchy.
With my full briefs on partial display to this lady, she frantically set about pulling my dress down for me, saying ‘no, no, no, no’. And then, she burst into hysterics. Even with the basic exchange between us, I knew she was saying, ‘what are you doing you twat’? She swabbed my tummy through my dress, laughing. She patted me on the arm, laughing. And she told the miserable grunter, laughing. They were both in hysterics. ‘Yes, funny, we laugh’, I said in Pigeon English in a way to bring us together, though my pants had just done that.
I look at Tony and he is shaking his head. ‘What have you just done? Did you actually just lift your dress up to that woman’? ‘Yes’, I said, looking back to see the woman bent over, still laughing. ‘Why the hell did you do that for god’s sake’? ‘Because I thought she wanted to swab my tummy’. ‘When have you ever known them do that at the airport’?
He had a point but in my defence, she just kept pointing at my stomach aggressively and I’ve taken 4 anti-mental flyer tablets (only supposed to take 2) and had a shit load of Sangria and I’m stressed as hell about flying and it all happened quickly.
‘Oh well, she was a miserable cow when we arrived. Now look at her. I’m just spreading the love’, I say. I think I’ll be spreading the love for a while judging by how much she is continuing to laugh, she’ll be telling co-workers for years, ‘I had a woman lift up her dress once’. Oh god, now she’s actually doing the motion of lifting up a dress to other co-workers now also laughing. Bastards.
So, my bag not only does not stand up and has fallen 118 times in the last 10 minutes (obviously I exaggerate to make the point), and the handle does not fold down, but both wheels have now jammed and are not turning. My case is basically just using them as skis. This prompts me to ask it if it’s ‘f’ing kidding me?’ And in an attempt to get one up on the bag, I turn it over and drag it on its stomach, repeatedly calling it a piece of crap and kicking it up the arse.
Our flight is called. As we walk to the gate, I remember why I fell out with this bag before. Coming back on a flight previously, I lost my boarding pass between entering the gate and the plane. Every single person on that flight went round me while I frantically searched my bags. They stepped over my case and its permanently extended handle, as it had naturally fallen over upon immediately coming to a stand. I eventually found the boarding card bastard nestled into the pages of my book (still not read).
I was the last person onto the aircraft that day. Everyone was seated and looking at me. Stressed, nervous about the flight and the wheels on the case rolling and stopping in an ad-hoc fashion, I kicked it along the gang way. The stewardess telling me to put my bag up the front as there was no more space above my seat at the back. Her offers of assistance ignored, I lifted the case/piece of crap up and in doing so, in one complete action, the handle forced its way up my floating shirt and as I lifted it into the overhead locker, it took my top up and flashed my lacy bra and a bit of nipple to the entire flight.
There exposed, I saw in slow motion every face on that flight looking at my chest. Tony just staring at me further along the plane with a look of embarrassment and disappointment which I’d like to never see again.
We are now boarding. I have my boarding pass, my dress is in its rightful place, I haven’t flashed anyone but I have transitioned into nervous flyer. We will be on our way shortly back to London Southend (er, it’s just Southend). Soon back to reality. Insert sad emoji here.
Ps, the picture is of our bags that just don’t stand!