dinsdag 7 april 2009

Amazing gyrating pussy

Bep is very old, probably around 20 (or 140 in cat years). She was about 8 or 9 when Merel was 4. We expected that when Toos died, Bep would soon follow. They were always together and Bep would surely pine away. If she noticed at all, she kept it to herself. She probably noticed that she wasn't as hungry as she used to be. She always waited until Toos had finished gronfing food like a furry mechanical shovel before nibbling the leftovers. Consequently Toos got fat and Bep got thin. Like Laurel and Hardy. Bep now eats like a horse but is not getting any fatter. Jeanette has four cats. Not only did they resent the two new ones when we moved in, but continued to hate each other. Which made life even more difficult as each now had to look in 5 directions instead of 3. The do not slink around as other cats do , but stomp menacingly towards each other, squaring up and enquiring 'looking for a claw sandwich? How about a bunch of talons, matey?'. Until one would fail to notice that he was passing under a garden chair or a low branch, and would receive a severly raked bottom from a third lurker.

Bep is trying to say something.
If only she could talk!

Mickey is the friendliest of Jeanettes's cats, but suffers from having an extremely large head.

Mimi is shy and does not like to be photographed. Probably embarrassed because she has no head at all. Her ostritch impressions are always well received.

There are 2 others but one, known as The Duke, is so large I would need a wide-angle lens, and the other is a complete hermit, coming in at night
to feed. Few have seen her. Toos was no good at defending territory, always remembering pressing engagements elsewhere if confrontation threatened. Since Toos died, Bep became more territorial. Even the Duke stops at a respectful distance from our door. Despite her old-ladiness she is as ferocious as a pitbull to other cats.

However, Bep has been behaving strangely lately. She cries at the door, gets let out, blinks and looks confused and cries to be let in again. She then wonders why she is not still outside and cries to go out. We should install revolving doors. She also loses her way, walks into walls and is generally not herself. We took her to the vet. He said she is suffering from 'Alzheimers for cats' and that we should leave the light on at night because it would be distressing for her to wake up and not quickly be able to orientate herself. I always thought that cats were nocturnal and thus did not sleep at night. Furthermore, they have excellent night-vision, better than John 'Cats-Eyes' Cunningam, the famous world war 2 night-fighter ace. I should have been a vet. I could make vast amounts of cash telling people thier cat had Trollope's Syndrome and needed lots of expensive pills. Further manifesations of Bep's deterioration are the incredible gyrating fits and the almost daily regurgitation of more material than she has eaten.
The fits are alarming. She curls up into a ball and starts to shake. As the shaking increases, she starts to revolve on her axis like a demented asteroid, while growling in vibrato, because her mouth is moving towards and away from the listener as she spins. It is very frightening to watch and we thought she was dying. After a bit she stopped and went on with her life as if nothing had happened, rubbing up against table legs and purring at flower-pots. Now we just ignore her. Until she vomits. It starts with a bobbing of the head, a low growning and shuddering followed by a mighty heave and a gollop of steaming stew is ejected, sometimes quite hairy. It always happens on things that one has just cleaned. The worst is the leather settee if she is sitting on the back of the seat. It all glides down the smoothly waxed surface until it hits the crack between the back and the seat. The larger lumps remain while the smaller ones and all the liquids slide into the chasm. It's a horror to clean as the leather runs out and the corduroy begins halfway into the ravine.
One should never panic when a cat is vomitting. At first I grabbed her and rushed to the door and it went all over my trousers. The next occasion saw me hold her at arms length, but making a tight turn around the coffee table I centrifuged it all over the walls and curtains. Another time I grabbed her and missed, and she dived under the dining table, heaving up as she went. I followed on all fours and tried another grab. The shiny laminate floor under a heavy table is not the best surface upon which to follow a cat being sick. The cat must pass over what it has just ejected, and when its feet reach the sludge, there is loss of traction. The little legs go faster and faster and the claws tick merrily searching for grip. The pursuer recieves a shower of warm, wet particles as the legs revolve like vomit-wheels. I tried to escape vertically, but forgot that I was under the table and fell back stunned by the blow to the back op my head into the morass as I watched Bep disappear leaving little vomitty footprints.

This looks a good place for heave-up!

Best get some Ajax and a bucket and wait for her to finish. At least it's all in one place. God help us if she ever starts to vomit just before a Gyrating Pussy Attack. The room pebble-dashed in Felix, lumps of nourishing sardine and cod in a wholesome gelatinous jelly. One of the worst sights in the world is a hair-ball that has been there for a few weeks, unnoticed.
Why am I sitting here tapping out this crap! Love you all.

PS: Stef - you noticed the ads! The great advertising stunt is not going well. Google Ad-Sense promised that adverts would be tailored to the tone of the blog. The first ad was for stuff to clean drains and the second for steel balls that are used to knock dried up concrete lumps off the inside of cement mixers. I was to be informed when 70 euros had accumulated. Nothing having happened for 3 days, I looked at my account. Apparently you only get paid if people actually click on the ad and buy some steel balls. The rate is 0.00000001%, less expenses and VAT.


Mostly what is written here is not meant to be taken seriously. It is just a journal of the irrelevancies of our lives tempered with humour for a close but widespread family amongst whom humour is a gift shared. In all the blogs, and web-groups over the years we have communicated by laughing at ourselves. It would seem to an outsider, that we are a funny family that this lightness is how we all are. We know that it is not always so. Some of us have known deep tragedy. The heavy things we do in private and through other channels. For myself, life has been many more ups than downs, an easy passage without much effort on my part. Now is a time to think on our good fortune and that it cannot be taken for granted. We can influence our own happiness by how we live but much is out of our hands. We do not always get what we deserve, good or bad. It is the roll of the dice. I am not religious. I wish I were, then I could pray. I do believe in 'something out there' and the real power of good and evil. I can pray that whatever is 'out there' will help Irene and Lisa. Life is not always fair.

vrijdag 3 april 2009

It is weekend!

I have no photos to post, and had I any, they would have been about horses. Today at work I had my first experience of handling an exam. It is quite pleasing to note that the bevvy of young ladies clustering around the door, in a violent clash of clothes and smells (some perfumes and deodorants are fine alone, but combined chemically are quite revolting) seemed pleased that 'Mister Spike' would be sitting at the front. I assumed that this was because I was popular and charming. Turns out it was nothing of the kind. I was a soft touch. The first exam was all about skin care and such. 'When I give you the papers you will be quiet and begin. There will then be no talking, no bags on the table and nothing ear-phony in the ears.' It didn't take long for the first of many attacks on integrity. 'Mister Spike, can we have a window open. The 'eat's causing havoc to me pigment cells what's sitcherated in me adipose layer. I think'. Knowlegable Nerd at the front shakes her head and twenty three ladies change their answers. Lots of dropping of rubbers and coughing that sounded like 'hrrumpffarnserfourteensisaitch splutter bugger me I've gobbed on me paper'. They are allowed to leave the room when they are finished. They then hand in the paper and sign The List of Names. They waited until they had accumulated a small task force and then rushed my overseers desk en masse creating confusion and much noise, scrambling for purposely dropped papers, blocking my view of the class. It was some time before I realised that most of the noise was coming from the rest of the class, now happily swapping answers. One girl deliberately left her gold pen on the desk. I, fool that I am, rushed after her to return it. As I left the room, an answer market quickly got going and was doing brisk business as I returned. One girl had an eyepatch and kept looking up at the lamp for inspiration, or to illuminate whatever was perhaps written on the inside. All great fun. Some of them looked totally confused when given a choice of four answers - A, B, another B of another A. Some of the questions were very simple, on the level of - 'If one group attacks another because of differences in race, religion or colour, is this (a) The Pirates of Penzance (b) A bowl of rice-crispies (c) Two soft-boiled eggs (d) Discrimination . On these socio-political questions, the Muslim girls wrote amazingly knowledgable stuff. But they are generally the brightest and the most hard-working anyway. I am still much enjoying my new career. I try to get to the students through drawings on the wall. I shall scan them in. Mostly concerning the awful mess they make and the rubbish they leave. It is sometimes a battle to deal with huge 18 year old youths (there are a few chaps as well as hordes of girls) who come in, sit down and put their feet up on the keyboard and play loud music. One tatooed, muscular Sylvester Stallone, built like a brick karzy, comes in with just a vest and trousers, greasy fifties hair-style, all gold chains and earrings. He wants to borrow a picture book of fairies and elves. He is training to work with little kids in the creche, and is actually one of the nicest and gentlest people I have met here.

Teacher Remko knows all the words of every Fawlty Towers episode. Each morning I am tested with another small lead. 'Papers arrived yet Fawlty?' 'Thpoons?'. 'Just off to see Mr O'Reilly, dear', and I must respond immediately or fail.

I have been having a lot of golf lessons. Everyone I know who plays golf is working in the week, the time that I can play. I booked a round at Sparnewoude, but you cannot play on your own, it is too busy. You join the next group that makes it up to a foursome. Arriving at the first tee, I see that my partners will be a fit looking chap of about fifty and two fit looking ladies. They are tanned and have expensive equipment, with hats that have 'Ping'. And wooly covers for the drivers and woods. And the golf bags have hundreds of pockets for all the stuff they need, rows of tees, pencils, umbrella, ball-retriever-out-of-water-thingy. The man is swishing his 500 euro driver and showering all with grass and twigs. They are a couple and the wife's sister and are an entity. They are not pleased to see me. I apologise for being foisted upon them and hope that I will not slow them down. Having arrived last, I will be first to go. On the range, you have a bucket of balls and you can afford a few mistakes. On the course you have ony one, of course. The first ball is a nervous one. With the 3 watching me, together with another 8 who are waiting for us to move ahead, I make my first shot. Not paricularly good, but dead straight and bounces along the hard ground for about 160 meters. Matey says nothing, unimpressed. The women are next, and it quickly becomes apparent they are are, despite the expensive clothes and clubs, useless. They both manage about five feet. Matey is next, and with his enormous driver in his hand he studies the far flag, throws grass in the air, squats a few times for a better view, studies the map of the hole on the card and eventually takes his stand. The club goes so far back that the head reappears in front of him. An intake of breath and the club uncoils like a powerful spring and sweeps down towards the ball with the noise of an express-train. And misses the ball. Difficult when the club-head is the size of a saucepan. The momentum carries the club around his body and spins him with it like somebody who has just thrown a discus. He is off-balance and falls, the women rush tutting to help him. Much stifled laughter from behind, followed quickly by irritation and a pantomime of watch studying. The rules dictate that the one whose ball is furthest from the flag has the next shot. I will have a long wait. The next shots of all three are measured in yards, in single figures. We proceed in a leapfrog manner, putting towards my ball in the distance. I tell my partners that we are using too much time and that we should let one of the groups behind us move ahead. This group all put their balls about where mine is, and move away for the second shot. I wish I could go with them. It is a nightmare. By the time we get to my ball, they have each used up around 13 strokes. I get a five. Matey does not want to tell me his score, because it's not about points, it's about playing a noble game with the right attitude. He had an 18, but should have given up at 11. It is bad manners to stop playing a round, but this truly was awful. I gave up afte six holes with the excuse that I needed to get home and the prospect of getting to the ninth before midnight seemed to be remote. By the fourth hole we had let three more flights move ahead. And I shared in the collective guilt and the black looks. And I was late for my dinner. Black Looks in Hunger - John Osborne for those who remeber the 60's . Never again. For Adam's amusement I shall post a story that I wrote in 2004, at the time of the GVB exam in Texel. It is spoof on the complexity of the rules in golf.
Another remarkable episode this week is that of

The Amazing Gyrating Pussy. Too late - come back tomorrow!

PS If you see an advertistement about Golf, this is because I have signed up for Ad-sense, whereby gGoogle inserts advertistments in the text and I will receive huge quantities of shekkels on the post.