I was woken at five this morning by a persistent tapping on my bedroom window and was out of bed and halfway across the room before remembering not to open the window as it would knock my client’s cat, Dangerous Dave, off the window ledge! I got back into bed and pretended I couldn’t hear him, he has access to a perfectly good cat flap I reasoned.

Unfortunately my early rising didn’t go unnoticed by the dogs who decided breakfast was due.  Thankfully they settled down again until my alarm went off at seven when the  mayhem began. Our morning got underway with a race down the stairs to see who could get to their food bowl first, the cats won as usual. 

After a quick empty in the back garden, the pets not me, breakfast got began  with a place for everyone and everyone knowing their place. This didn’t stop me being mugged  for my porridge by Dave, something he seems to have taught Bettie Spaghetti the saluki, who practically sat on my lap while I tried to fend off Dangerous Dave with my spoon and held my bowl aloft. I am still trying to assert myself as  Alpha female.

With the indoor animals emptied, fed, watered and emptied again, I left for the field and the outdoor animals. Down at the yard all was quite until I was spotted by The Mare from over her stable door, there followed much whinnying and stomping about  her loose box in anticipation of breakfast. Ash, The Mare’s diminutive, Dartmoor pony companion had a more laid back approach to things, he could just about see over his door and waited patiently as I  made up the feeds.

There being little nutritional value in what little grass managed to force it’s way up through the mud, I loaded the wheelbarrow with hay and tottered across the rutted earth to dump it’s contents in a sheltered corner of the field. As usual, when it came to releasing The Mare into the paddock, she turned into a rodeo horse, bucking, farting and galloping about whilst I winced and prayed she didn’t slip and break a leg! Ash, however,  daintily picked his way through the mud and settled down to eat the hay.

Having cleaned out the stables and swept the yard I padlocked the tack room and wondered where I would take the dogs our  morning walk. It was then I realized that the  keys were locked inside! I made a quick call to the neighbour who had a spare for the cottage, no reply, so I left a message and started walking to her house in the hope she’d be in. Unfortunately she wasn’t and I was almost at her garden gate when I remembered I’d left the front door key in the lock so the spare would be of little use.  I schlepped back up the hill ringing all my emergency contacts without success. Arriving back at the cottage I stood looking in through the lounge window at the excited dogs who couldn’t understand why I was  loitering about outside. I was wondering what to do next when a voice from behind me asked,“You alright?!” I turned to see a man in a green boiler suit with a tool box in his hand, what where the odds of that happening?! I recognized my Knight in shining armour as my neighbour from across the road. He was on his way to work and seemed mildly amused by my plight but very kindly accompanied me to the field where he took the tack room door off it’s hinges saving me from calling out a lock smith.

As I let myself in through the back door the Bettie and Lizzy  rushed at me with ecstatic barks. I let them out in to the garden, it was only nine-thirty and I felt like I’d already done a full day’s work. I decided the dogs could wait a little longer for their walk and put the kettle on!


Not since my teenage years have I been made to feel uncomfortable about how long I spend in the bathroom but Mishka, the poodle,  has an unerring ability to do so!  Every morning she interrupts my ablutions with her piteous whining, there seems to be an optimum point where  I should be finished so we can play?!  Mishka allows me a certain amount of time  to undress and shower before she starts to fuss, never mind about using the loo, that can be done with the door open and an audience! 


I sought him here, I sought him there and inevitably when it came to dinner time, he was sitting behind  me!  Mr Pinkie Lewis, our ginger cat, is as silent as a Ninja and more elusive than the Scarlet Pimpernel!  He has many hiding places around the house, which we have to check before leaving home in case we have shut him out in the garden by mistake. 

I bought him his own Ginger Ninja Club House in the form a small dog kennel, which we positioned behind the camellia bushes at the bottom of the garden. So now he has somewhere to hunker down outside.  Mind you, it took Mr Lewis three months before he decided he liked his furry igloo and that was only because I moved it into the cupboard  under the stairs.  Which proves that when it comes to property, even cats subscribe to location, location, location!

Last year I bought myself a new bed, I actually needed  to replace my mattress but the  bed frame was so old nowhere  stocked anything to fit it!  In the end  I wasn’t able to fully appreciate my new sleeping arrangement until December, when work became sporadic. I have always found Christmas a difficult time to judge on the employment front as most of my clients want the same week  which is why, in the past,  I’ve taken seasonal retail jobs. Unfortunately  last year I got it completely wrong! Having felt quietly confident I was in with more than a chance of work with a particular retailer, I turned down a couple of bookings only to find out that the position had been filled and my, ‘Thank You But No Thank You,’ email had gone astray. Still, all was not lost as I had budgeted for Christmas and I was able to enjoy some much needed time at home.

It took  me a long time to accept that the number of other people who wrote  letters  was dwindling,  we  were becoming an endangered species, talked of but rarely seen.

I’m not contributing much  to the cause these days, unfortunately, despite having the time. I put it down to age related brain shrinkage and apathy!  I did try emailing friends, which  was almost like writing a letter, although not the same as  receiving one, until once again a lack of time and a preference for immediate gratification  put pay to lengthy email correspondence.

I was reluctant to join Facebook at first but over the ten years I’ve been a home and pet sitter it has proved very useful. In fact, a couple of people have commented on how much time I seem to spend on  it,  I do apologize for all the photos of ginger cats!  I do enjoy hearing other people’s news, seeing photos of their families and their holidays, for the most part It has  been a positive experience.

As with life, technology moves on so quickly, leaving me to ponder and scratch my head over Snapchat and the like.  I wouldn’t mind so much if only I didn’t keep forgetting where I’d left my glasses!

This year I celebrated my fiftieth birthday, twice! Once unofficially in August, hosting a party that coincided with the British National Fireworks Championships and then officially in October, quietly at home with my aged Mother and our cat Mr Lewis.

I also held the party to celebrate ten years of running my business as a home and pet sitter and many of the guests I invited to my soirée were valued clients who have also become valued friends. If it hadn’t been a night of live music and fireworks my clients’ fur families would’ve been most welcome to join us. Infact my  venu, The Orangery at Mount Edgcumbe Country Park  is dog friendly, although I’m not sure how they would’ve catered for the horses?!

I was delighted that so many friends from near and far could join me and my family for my half century happening, some took their summer holiday in West Country rather than going abroad which I appreciated and thankfully the Cornish weather was mostly kind to us!

I have to admit that I enjoyed planning my evening almost as much as the event itself. It wouldn’t have been the success it was without the hard working  and professional catering staff and their Manager, Michelle. Or  my wonderful friends who created firework inspired table decorations and delicious cupcakes. What really made the evening go with a swing, apart from the prosecco, were Howard and Baker Entertainment, with top tunage from Aiden on his decks and cracking vocals from Tom, it was a good job wore my sparkly dancing shoes!

Finally, we  made our way in the dark to the battery, luckily nobody fell over the cannons, where we watched the spectacular, if somewhat distant, displays of fireworks from different regional teams competing against each other  to win the championship. I really didn’t want the evening to end but unfortunately it being a Wednesday most of my guests had to work the next day.

I definitely have got a taste for big birthday bashes  now, so roll on sixty, that should give me enough time to save for another ‘do’ at The Orangery, pets will be invited next time!

“Mrs What’s-Her-Name’s cat likes this!”  My Mother said brandishing a pouch of eye- wateringly expensive feline nosh at me.  “I’m sure Mr Lewis will like it!” I believe my Ma’s thinking was based more on the cat’s flatulence than his pallet.

“He likes the one we’re feeding him now.” I replied scanning the ingredients of tickled trout, catnip and conjunctivitis nonsense listed on the packet.

“He just eats the gravy and leaves the meat!” Mother’s jaw was set, she wasn’t going to back down.

“How many packets of this have you got?!”  I asked my Aged P doubtfully.

“Oh, just a couple.” I could see she sensed victory and decided to let it go as Mr Lewis might enjoy the change, although my pocket wouldn’t!  It had been agreed before we rehomed Lewis, that I would take care of him financially, whilst Mother, being at home, took care of his person.

That evening I fed our ginger boy his gourmet dinner and watched him as he tucked into the finely minced protein.  He seemed to be having a bit of trouble eating the close textured mixture.  “I think it’s getting stuck around his gums!”

“No, no,”  Mother insisted,  “you just need to mash it up more.”  I watched dubiously, as the poor cat struggled on for a few more mouthfuls before giving up altogether in favour of his biscuits.

“I’ll get some of the other food from the garage.” I announced turning on my heel rather too dramatically for the occasion.  When I went to the cupboard where we stored the cat supplies  I was met with a row of Furry Friend Posh Nosh boxes. “I thought you said you’d only got a couple of pouches?!”  I shouted from the garage.

“Oh yes, well ah, it was on offer!”  Came the reply.

Mr Lewis looked on nonplussed.  The only thing I think he needed was a tooth pick and something to gargle with?!