We have been adopted by our next-door neighbours’ cat, Izzy.  She calls in most days to give us the once over and make sure everything is in its proper place.  I also think that she uses us as a refuge from her new canine companion/tormentor,  Abby, the Border Collie puppy!  The other day Izzy made herself very comfortable in my Mother’s bag of knitting where she curled up in amongst the balls of wool, contentedly peeping out through the bags opening until her owners’, who I’d invited around for posh coffee and indulgent biscuits, arrived.  They told me she had been sent as the advance party to make sure that I’d warmed the cafetière and heated up the milk!

I am really looking forward to not working over Christmas this year!  Although I know many people have to.  I recently met a friend I hadn’t seen for ages who will be spending the festive season in hospital!  Her husband said he’d be home alone on Christmas Day with the cat!!  She chided him and told him not to be so dramatic, that he’d been invited to have turkey and all the trimmings with her at the hospital.  I asked if they would be taking the cat as I could picture the moggy in its travel basket, decorated with tinsel, being fed tender morsels through the bars.  Sadly for Tiddles, he will be left behind. 

My friend also told me that the horse she’d had from a youngster died earlier this year at the grand age of thirty-one, which is good going in equine terms.  He was a very fine animal, full of spirit and could be quite a handful at times.  I’m not sure he mellowed with age but my friend handled him very well.  I haven’t ridden in years, although I can still muck-out with the best of them!  I do try to get out on horse back when I go on holiday, where it’s appropriate.  On a trip to Australia I almost fulfilled a dream to ride a horse along the beach through the surf.  I was mounted on a beautiful grey Arab, gelding called Bob, who turned out to suffer from aquaphobia, the only animal in our group of ten to do so!  As the other riders cantered joyfully through the salty, surf of Apollo Bay’s scenic coast, Bob, despite all my efforts sidled away at spead from the sea! Carrying me further up the beach towards the sunbathers and anglers who scattered in our wake!  Poor old Bob, I spent the rest of our two-hour hack trying to calm him down from the shock of seeing so much water in one go!

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