Just when I had sorted out our cat’s indoor plumbing by way of a large blue, moulded plastic, dog bed and some biodegradable cat litter, our own convenience took it upon itself to misbehave!  Unlike Chicken Licken of the children’s story, it was not the sky that came down on our poor feline’s head but the dining room ceiling after the cold water pipe leading to the toilet’s cistern fractured.  Over time the water from the undetected leak soaked through the chipboard  showering the dining room and Mr Lewis (our cat) in soggy plaster.  Thankfully The Mother wasn’t sitting on the toilet at the time as she would have got the downstairs cloak room she had always wanted!

Back in February  we had our bathroom redecorated and after thirty years of service it looked bright and fresh,  especially with the new vinyl flooring.  A few weeks after it was finished I noticed the bathroom door was sticking and the general consensus was that it had dropped on its hinges.  We lived with it until the door wouldn’t close at all so we took up whistling when one of us was using the toilet.

We discussed calling out a handyman to rehang the door but as the vinyl flooring had started to lift in more places, resembling Saharan sand dunes,  we decided it was because the new flooring had been laid on top of the old one and called out the carpet fitter out instead.  He discovered the dunes were due to water damage and took up all the vinyl leaving us with a very spongy, unstable chipboard floor.  Neither the plumber we called in nor the neighbourly builder were able to locate the escape of water which is why we no longer have a dinning room ceiling.

Long story, slightly shorter,  a friend of The Mother’s turned Knight in Shining Armour arrived early that Sunday morning in August, found the leak and made it safe, clearing away all the debris from the deluge.  We contacted our home insurers again and they eventually sent out an Assessor.  We then had to wait for the ceiling to be tested for asbestos, which it turned out to have and then had to wait for a specialist company to come out and remove the rest of the ceiling.  We waited several weeks for another company to bring machines in to dry out the room and floor, when they did arrived and carried out a moisture reading it was to discover that everything had dried  naturally and the machines weren’t needed.  Then we were kept waiting several weeks for the building work start date which was held up due to discrepancies regarding costs between our home insurer and their builders. Finally this was resolved and we were, after some chasing up on my part, given a start date of Thursday 22nd November, tomorrow in fact, some three months after poor Mr Lewis thought the sky was falling on his head.

We are now waiting for a Port-A-Loo to be delivered to our the back garden as the builders will be stripping out the contents of our bathroom.

“An outside toilet and a daily wash in the kitchen sink, it’ll be just like during the War!”  Joked The Mother.

 

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You may have noticed that my posts have been a bit ‘ginger’ of late, bare with me, normal service will resume!

I  guess, like a new parent dealing with their infant’s first soiled nappies, the contents of our cat’s litter tray have been scrutinised and obsessed over ever since we rehomed him a year ago.  Our fur baby  Mr Lewis’s  loose bowel has  been a continuing cause for concern and our mission to help him achieve a normal poo on going. After trying a hypoallergenic diet,  various medications and herbal remedies our Vet, who has been brilliant, said we may have to accept that Mr Lewis is a cat with the ‘shits,’ his turn of phrase, not mine!  

Mr Lewis is a big cat, too big for  the litter trays on the market purportedly for larger cats, which meant  every time he used his less than spacious tray, the litter ended up all around it and throughout the house!  My quest to find something of a more suitable size was proving fruitless until the day I was  standing in a queue at Argos, waiting  to return the child’s wading pool I’d bought for Mr Lewis’s convenience, which was  far too big to fit under the table in our utility room, I had a brain wave! I would buy a dog bed, a large plastic one. I took my refunded cash and headed to the  nearest pet supply store where a sales assistant pointed me in the direction of a waist high stack of moulded, plastic dog beds. 

It has taken me time and been emotional but at last ….

 I have finally found just what Mr Lewis needs!

Up and over or the one above sees all! Mr Lewis, the ginger cat we rehomed a year ago this August, has finally discovered the shed roof. To be fair to him, that corner of the garden was such a jungle he’d have had a job getting up onto the fence there, let alone the shed.

The Mother got quite a shock when she realised she was being observed by our ginger ninja. He did look rather proud of himself, and when I produced my camera, he put on a bit of a show  which involved rolling about on the sloping roof, much to The Mother’s consternation, she was certain he would roll right off!

Once all the excitement had died down we watched Mr Lewis to see how he would return to earth. The Mother, convinced he was stuck, placed a garden chair against the shed wall, this he  ignored, preferring to jump the short distance across to the  neighbour’s shed roof before dropping down onto the only piece of fence free from ivy and down from there into our garden.

As Mr Lewis sauntered across the lawn towards the back door he gave us a look which seemed to say, ‘Why on earth were you making such a fuss?!

Not a field but definitely further. Mr Lewis has expanded his territory into our nextdoor neighbour’s back garden. This came about with some help from me after The Mother mentioned she used to be able to get behind the garden shed to paint it.  Unfortunately the neighbour’s invasive bamboo, brambles and ivy had created a Sleeping Beauty obstruction, which put pay to anyone repairing the shed. It got me thinking that if I could clear a path, Mr Lewis might be able to get over the fence and thereby avoid the road and it’s traffic at the front of the house.

Pet sitting nearby, I was mostly free to call in and tackle the overgrown corner. It took me eight bags of garden waste, meticulously chopped up, before I could get all the way around the shed. In doing so I discovered a gap in the fence large enough for a cat to get through. This Mr Lewis did almost immediately and I discovered him sitting amongst the bamboo intently staring at the neighbour’s pond. It has become one of his favourite places to hide, especially now that the beautiful, blue iris have grown tall.

Having made a start on tidying the garden I turned my attention to the fence which, at a list, needed replacing. Short of funds I opted to hide it behind a row of slightly rusty brown planters. My thinking was, once they were full of colourful trailing plants, nobody would notice the wonky brown fence or the rusty brown containers against it.  There followed a great planting frenzy, I’m not sure The Mother was all that happy at first, the garden, being very much her baby. However, she began to get involved again and soon I had more plants than I new where to plant!

I even upcycled a neighbour’s large, wooden gate hanging  a black framed mirror on it, which looked splendid against the forest green paint along with a basket full of trailing fuschia. It made quite a feature  of an otherwise undervalued area of the garden. Chelsea here we come Mr Lewis, I told the cat, who throughout the back yard transformation had been on hand to offer his support, mainly by weeing on my freshly dug borders!

We didn’t have a problem with mice until Mr Lewis, the ginger cat we rehomed, came to live with us! I told him to leave the garden birds alone and focus on the mammals, he was to be in charge of ‘rodent patrol’. I think he took my instruction to heart, although the offerings were slow in coming they arrived, with Mr Lewis favouring a ‘catch and release ‘ policy. Release being in the house! 

One evening, between pet sits, The Mother suggested we open a box of Malteesers she’d been saving for my return. I duly got them out of the cupboard under the stairs only to find the box was missing a corner and half it’s contents gone! On closer inspection I found tiny fragments of chewed cardboard and cellophane on the shelf where the box had stood. The Mother was rightly concerned for the stash of M&S cheese straws, her usual lunch, that she kept in there along with the sherry and a couple of sun umbrellas. I had a good look for the culprit but was unsuccessful and to placate The Mother, told her that the rodent was probably lying under the floorboards in a diabetic coma after all the sugar it has consumed She wasn’t impressed, saying, if it died the smell would be awful and we’d have to have the parquet floor up!

The next day I bought a humane mouse trap and, watched by Mr Lewis, I baited it with peanut butter  then put it on the shelf where the villainous rodent had committed his crime. Mr Lewis spent the evening loitering outside the cupboard door and when I checked before bed, the trap has been sprung. It felt empty when I picked up the trap and I had to resist the urge to shake it! Instead I carried the tube and it’s possible contents out to the green beside the house and opened it to discover a woodmouse staring back at me, though not for long, as the nimble creature leapt from it’s prison causing me to drop my torch in surprise. I returned home to find The Mother in a celebratory mood, having bought another box of Malteesers and Mr Lewis in a huff, ignoring me until his breakfast was due!

I have noticed Mr Lewis’s tail is constantly moving, in fact even when he’s asleep it twitches while he’s dreaming. My Mother says Mr Lewis’s tail tells him to be naugty, which is why he is so loving one minute and the Devil’s own sidekick the next. I expect the diet we have him on at the moment is making him particularly crabby.  Despite his occasinal boughts of bad temper, Mr Lewis is one of the best family cats we have been privileged to live with. Although I may revise my opinion of him if he dives under my duvet in the small hours and bites my buttock again! 

Over my ten years as  a home and pet sitter, mostly spent on my own, I have noticed that I tend to talk to myself more often.  I like to think that it’s because I’m good at externalising my thoughts. Usually I keep a check on myself  in public, this morning however, as I got on the bus into town  I had a ‘moment’ while buying my ticket.  I couldn’t be certain if I’d  said out loud what I was thinking?!  As I didn’t receive any verbal abuse from our driver  I was reassured that I’d only thought that he looked like a right misery. Even so, I quickly took my change and headed for the furthest available seat at the back of the bus where I spent  the whole journey fixedly staring out of the window at the passing countryside.