Archives for category: pet sitter

“It’s rather like going for a walk on your own.” My clients told me apologetically as we watched their, German Pointer, Brodie roving along the shore in the distance.  “He’s obsessed with wagtails.” I could just make out that Brodie was stalking something. “I swear he thinks he’s invisible!”  We laughed. “Don’t worry,” they reassured me, “he never leaves the beach!”

We carried on along the pebbly shoreline with Morgan, my client’s other dog, another pointer,  watching his owners intently as he waited for his tennis ball to be launched into the sea.  “At least you’ll feel like you’re on a dog walk with Morgan!”



“Usual routine for the dogs.” My clients informed me as they were leaving for the airport “Nuts for the wild birds are in the funeral urn on the hall table.”  This made us all smile because the last time I sat at Postman’s Cottage I didn’t dare move the urn assuming that it held the ashes of a deceased relative! “And if you wouldn’t mind feeding the badger, we chuck a handful of peanuts and a slice of the tiger bloomer, buttered, onto the lawn last thing before we turn in.” I wondered who else I’d be feeding next-time, damper for the deer? Roti for the rabbits? Or maybe I’d be putting out focaccia for the foxes?

I do occasionally look after poultry although not all of them are as free to roam as Mr Humble, the handsome blond cockerel and his mother, helpfully called Mother. Every night, after a day spent scratching about the property far and wide, they would put themselves to bed in the barn, roosting on a partition between the stables and every morning they would be waiting for me to give them their breakfast at the conservatory door. This happened so often during the course of my sit that I was quite worried the day they didn’t show up for their slice of toast! I soon found them in the disused greenhouse making the most of the morning sunshine to dig up the grubs!

Dangerous Dave, my clients’ tabby and white cat, doesn’t have that nickname for nothing, especially after he savaged my hand and forearm during a recent sit. I like to think that I know my clients’ pets reasonably well now, however I do still sometimes get caught out. I was lulled into a false sense of security when Dave Dangerous started to lick the back of my hand as I was giving him a tickle, bless him, I thought until he sunk his teeth into my soft flesh whilst all four paws, claws out, did their best to shred my arm. To be fair, once The Tabby Terror of Trethevy had released me from his grip, he looked as surprised by his outburst as I was!

After washing my wounds I rootled about in my sponge-bag for the antiseptic cream I usually carry with me and realized I’d left it at home. A look through the contents of the bathroom cabinet for something suitable proved fruitless. I even searched the kitchen cupboards without success until I came across a jar of runny honey and vaguely remembered reading that it has healing properties. I’m not entirely sure that the honey did help but as I dabbed it onto my scratches (whilst spooning it over my morning toast) it certainly soothed the affected areas.

Whilst working as a Christmas Bookseller for Waterstones one year I found myself squinting at a magazine article my customer had given me regarding an author she was interested in. I apologized for my tardiness in serving her and mentioned I couldn’t see to read such small print without my glasses (which were in the staff-room!)

“That’s a very adult problem!” My young colleague at the next till scoffed. I gave him my best Paddington Bear Hard Stare in response and parried, “It’s my eyes!”

“It’s not your eyes,” he grinned, “it’s your AGE!”

Christmas Day will soon be upon us and this year I am really looking forward to it because we’ll be letting the professionals to do all the hard work!

The 25th of December became known as Turkey-Turn-Around Day to our family when what should have been Christmas lunch became Christmas dinner. The fowl, being far too big for our oven which looks deceptively capacious until you try to put anything bigger than a medium-sized chicken in it, took an age to roast. So our festive offering had to be removed every thirty minutes and its tin rotated allowing it to cook evenly! My Sister, who was doing the honors that year, asked for my help with the oven door, which sticks, so she could man-handle the bird. Turning the turkey turned into doing `the turkey-turn-around’ dance because we’d booth had one too many dark and stormys and it seemed like a good idea at the time. The dance involved us doing a half crouching turn whilst flapping our bent arms like wings, not a pretty sight but hugely amusing to us.

Last year we plumped for a goose after watching Jamie Oliver cook one to perfection on television, in a much bigger oven I soon realized! Unfortunately, by the time we’d organised ourselves the only two geese left in the supermarket were gigantic and enormous which resulted in the smaller of the birds being brought home to be contorted into a yogic sort of pose before it would fit in our tiny oven.

As we sat late into the evening becoming more inebriated with our tummies growling like angry bears and muttering darkly about Jamie Oliver’s large appliances, Mother mentioned buying a turkey crown for next year and was immediately pelted with cheesy footballs from all directions. So it came to pass that none of us could face another Yule of underdone meat and overdone sprouts and agreed that we would book a table for next year at the first available restaurant that would have us! Of course Christmas will always be known to us as Turkey-Turn-Around Day!

For the third year running I am sitting on cats for Christmas! Not literally you understand, that would be cruel.

As I lugged my case into my clients smart semi this morning, I was greeted at the front door by my two feline charges, Dolly and Alfie Ragdoll. They stretched and yawned their `good mornings’ to me before inspecting my bags. I must have passed `muster’ as they followed me upstairs and, very helpfully, assisted me with my unpacking by sitting on my luggage. Despite removing them from the lid of my case several times, the curious cats couldn’t keep away, getting in it before I had a chance to remove anything! I wondered if they were expecting to find their Christmas presents secreted between my carefully folded clothes. Unfortunately, no catnip mice or tinkly balls came to light and both Dolly and Alfie surveyed me coolly, their blue eyes seemed to say `you Scrooge,’ before they jumped down from the bed and sauntered off to be trip hazards on the stairs, leaving me to pick their long blond hairs from my black woollen trousers.