…and then the last thing I remember of November is sitting on a bus, not feeling At All Well, dear reader. Because that’s what happens when you try and go out to work on a chronic illness that includes joint pain and fatigue. Whoops. Four months later, I collapsed (double whoops) and now I work from home, as a private tutor (not at all whoops, I love it). You can check out my website for tutoring here, and the associate Facebook page here.
I’m trying not to cross the streams, though – this blog is mainly for recipes, chatting about interesting things and occasional mentions of writing-type stuff I’ve been getting up to. Check out the interesting links to see me as an Actual Professional, then come back here to squee about Doctor Who and lemon cake.
Speaking of cake – I had my thirtieth birthday! It was excellent: I made an enormous lemon cake and the pub I had my party in played a Wurlitzer organ rendering of ‘Happy Birthday’. The latter was horrifying, but funny. I’ve settled into my flat and south-south-west London very well, albeit with a lot of bumps along the way.
One major bump which I don’t want to leave unmentioned was Barney. My smallest friend started to lose sense of who he was and where he lived around the end of March – he went missing once, was found, then a month later went AWOL again. Both times, posters worked – he ended up getting confused and visiting neighbours, who then took him in and fed him (which wasn’t great news for his pancreatitis, although I know it was well-meant). The second time he went missing, I rushed round with the cage and collected a cat who didn’t seem to know me at all. He picked at his food and cried to leave the flat – I’d blocked off the cat flap as I didn’t want him going missing again. I gave him the night to think it all over – I’d made him a vet appointment for the morning – and he slept in the corridor, away from me. In the morning, he hid under the bed and swiped at me when it was time for us to leave. In the end, I had to get him out with oven gloves – my little mate, who’d only scratched my hand gently, or lightly bit my wrist, if I wasn’t fussing him. A friend came to help carry him – because even with some weight loss, he was still a hefty old lion – and they noted that although it was definitely Barney physically, it wasn’t really him in the cage; not any more. Even his bloody meow had changed.
The real kicker was when the vet agreed with me. I’ve always been a bit of a hypochondriac on behalf of the animals I’ve loved – I was convinced that with every new diagnosis Barney had (heart murmur, hyperthryroidism, pancreatitis, some truly epic constipation), he was about to pop his clogs, But after talking to the vet about his quality of life, how he’d changed, how old he was, how worried I was… she said it was, indeed, the kindest thing to say goodbye to him. We did it that morning. Part of me wanted to take him home, feed him smoked salmon, cuddle and breathe him in so I’d never forget how his fur smelled. But it was so very obvious he’d gone, or was flickering out as it was.
It was quick. My friend looked after me. And Barney now, bless him, has the Ultimate Box to be in, watching, I hope, over my desk. Admittedly it’s not quite the same – there’s no tail to suddenly dangle over my laptop screen and I don’t still scroll through Spotify, wondering if there’s any music he’d particularly like to listen to. But I can look up, and remember, and be so glad and grateful that he was there when I needed him. Love, pure and unconditional.
On that hopefully-not-too-sentimental note, I’ll end this blog for today. I have some shiny stuff to promote in the next blog, but for now, I’ll leave you, dear reader, with quite a few photos of Mr B, because he was a photogenic wee chap. My friend, my companion, my eternal little silly.