Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Wednesday June 30th

Day 72

The final thing I did last night before going to bed at nearly midnight was to whisk up the semi frozen strawberry ice cream - for the fourth time since I made it at 6 0‘clock. In the absence of an ice cream churner it’s the best way to break up the ice crystals. All this beating every hour or so takes much longer than the recipe itself which is as easy as winking. It’s Nigel Slater’s - but the vanilla is my addition.

Slice up 500g of ripe strawberries.

Cover with 100g of icing sugar and leave for an hour to macerate.

Whisk 300 ml of double cream till it drifts in very soft peaks.

Whizz the strawberries in a blender.

Swirl this liquid lake into the cream along with a teaspoon of vanilla essence - it turns surprisingly thick.

Pour into a shallow plastic container with a lid and put in freezer.

Do the beating thing every hour or so or till it’s time for bed.

Actually I like this best at about the third whisking, when it’s semi-freddo- like creamy pink snow.

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Tuesday 29th June

Day 71

Strawberries and Wimbledon

This afternoon while Venus Williams was being defeated at Wimbledon - by a young Bulgarian - I made a batch of strawberry jam. Keeping an eye on the score, I let the sticky molten lava bubble and froth for a bit too long. Now it’s deep wine red and will be thickly spreadable.

I made a second cauldron-full while her sister, Serena, was winning her match against the lovely Mrs Li Na. This time as I poured the jam into hot waiting jars, it was ruby bright and runny sweet.

However different my jams - like sisters - they are unique and delicious - and thankfully couldn’t be any other way,

Monday, 28 June 2010

Monday June 28th

Day 70

All day, while I shop for packets of jam sugar; sit with my father at the clinic; wash salad leaves; hang sheets in the sun; wait for my husband in the X-ray department at the hospital; soothe the pussycat; the news about my cousin and the cancer snaking in his body, keeps coming back to me like a boomerang in my gut.

Although he is wise and accepting and courageous - and not old - my imagining of our big rambling family without him is raw and indigestible.

Sunday, 27 June 2010

Sunday June 27th

Day 69

It’s true what they say - if you eat your dinner half an hour after you picked it, pulled it from the earth, snapped it from its stem - it is like food from another dimension - from planet Life Force. It makes me feel delicious and happy in spite of tiredness leaking from every pore.

So this is what we harvested from the allotment tonight and ate at our patio table, the wood still warm from the day’s sun:

6 potatoes - new and thin skinned like pale pebbles

3 carrots - scrubbed, crunchy, sweet

a whole bulb of wet garlic - sliced horizontally, white fragrant flower circles

an onion - juicy, pungent with all its elegant outburst of long green shoots

a courgette - fat, firm and nearly black green

a bunch of Neroli cabbage - crinkly and springy.

This bounty graced our plates alongside crisp grilled fillets of salmon and sloshings of tangy lemon and parsley mayonnaise.

And on the centre of the table a spray of deep purple lavender to remind us that although we were in Provence yesterday, our holiday over, there’s still plenty of summer to come.

Saturday, 26 June 2010

Saturday June 26th

Day 68

This morning we say goodbye to our hideaway mountain retreat and its pungent scent of wild oregano and hot feeding bees. All day the sun blazes on the car as we drive past slow rivers, vineyards and poppy splattered fields of wheat, stopping for a kilo of cherries at a roadside fruit stall.

in Uzes, our lunch destination, the Saturday market snakes through side streets, spills over pavements and clots the central arched square like a retail carnival. I feel panicky with greed as we wander through the stalls, juicy with produce - jars of chestnut honey, piled trays of apricots and peaches, giant skillets of steaming paella, bundles of sunflowers and fresh lavender and bright wide bowls of spices, olives and almonds. I long to fill my already bulging suit case with all things Provencal as if nothing else will do.

By chance, and a delight, we meet one of our writing companions also on her way to Avignon. We share a long lunch in a cafe, deep in the market square, sitting at a corner table shaded by a pink flowering oleander, while the traders dismantle their stalls with deafening clangs all around us.

Much much later, I open the fridge at home and find two giant bowls filed to the brim with allotment strawberries - picked by our dear house-sitter. As I dip into the cold red mountain, again and again, the end of the holiday sadness melts away, along with all things Provencal, and I can leave unpacking till tomorrow.

Friday, 25 June 2010

Friday, June 25th

Day 67

My suitcase yawns empty on the afternoon bed. Above it, a wasp - yesterday it was a hornet - beats and buzzes at a corner of the skylight window, demented. It is an inch away from flight into the lavender heat. I wonder how long before it discovers there is a way out - open, waiting for it.

We are going home tomorrow. The seams of our little group are pulling apart. Staying or leaving, now we have new stories to write - in our separate ways. I feel opened up by this week, in this good company - in a heat I could take home. A fire I could sizzle in - some life cauldrons I could stir.

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Thursday June 24th

Day 66

When you crack the glass surface
brittle as glaze of ice on a pool,
the colour of gold,
blistered with bronze and spotted with black,

it should sound like a


Then your teaspoon will enter a cool tremble

of velvet,

gliding smooth and thick,

primrose petal yellow,

scented with vanilla -

faint seeds of bourbon,

like dust in the cream.

On your tongue you will taste

both -

sweet silk and melting bitter shards -

and you’ll wish it was
a lake,

you had in your kitchen

and whenever.

I ate this creme brulee today in Florac, under a yellow sun umbrella by a clean running river. In the sweet company on new friends and my beloved.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Wednesday June 23rd

Day 65

This mulberry tree I’m sitting under - graceful drooping branches, single pinkish fruits, each one like a miniscule hard bottle brush - is nothing like the tree we had in our back garden in Lusaka. That was towering tall, and dripping with fat purple-black berries like long hairy raspberries. The ones from the very top branches fell in ripe splats on the ground, staining the soles of our bare feet while we pulled at the ones we could reach, stuffing them in our mouths.

Last night, in a small French village, we sat in pews in a high ceilinged church with peeling painted cream walls. Where the priest would have stood, in the oak panelled pulpit, several black flies swooped and darted. As if they were performing an intricate dance in the beam of sunlight streaming through the plain glass window above them.

I watched as the flies dived on members of the two choirs, arranged in an arc around the pulpit. They batted them away with their music sheets, and carried on singing, in smiling harmonies. They were like a row of swaying tulips, their shirts and tops, blouses and tunics all shades of red, fuschia pink, orange, acid yellow and white.

I remembered then, another choir - an African choir of men and women, all in long magenta robes, with round white collars. They ran, laughing, to greet us when we arrived in their village, five Europeans in a Landrover. One of us, my father, who they call Muluti, had been a long time away from them. They stood in a crowd around us, barefoot in the red dust and sang their lyrics of welcome. I didn’t understand their words - only the joy in them.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Tuesday June 22nd

Day 64

‘Write a paragraph, using full sentences but with only seven words or less in each sentence. You have about 10 minutes,’ says our tutor.

This is what I write.

She runs through the flower meadow. It’s nearly dawn. Her feet pound the grass path. Wild campion and harebells shimmer beside her. Thistle pompoms wave tall above the grasses. Her breath plumes white in front of her. The sky is a pale flat grey. Rain splatters as she reaches the wood. She escapes into it’s dark cave mouth. The familiar sound of river soothes her.

It feels like making bread with not enough yeast.

The next task is to write a piece with no adjectives and no adverbs. I haven’t tried it yet. I think it may be like cooking risotto with no parmesan or parsley or wine or stock. But it could still nourish. Sometimes plain rice is all you need.

Monday June 21st

Day 63

In the night I woke and gazed at stars framed in the skylight above our bed, like sequins on a cushion. I thought about my writing niece who makes her poem-jewels shine like all the stars, and the moon too, in a sparkling night sky.

I’ve been a bit homesick today, for the ones I love, and the rhythm of my home groove.

High in the Cevennes mountains here they have their own version of the Mistral - a cold wind that whisks away the suns rays and all hope of drifting in a hammock. Or writing under a vine terrace, barefoot.

And I’ve been thinking about my dear friends popping our warm ripe allotment strawberries into their mouths.

Monday, 21 June 2010

Sunday June 20th

Day 62

This evening after our writing and listening hours, I want to walk - long and far, out of my head and plunge into the spitting rain and whipping wind, which yesterday I thought were ruinous. Today I think they could be cleansing.

We take a broad scented path, newly mown, through a meadow of long grasses, pink mallow flowers, tender blue harebells and thistle pompoms. It leads us into a wood and we climb higher and higher up through scrub oak, olive and chestnut, the shale slippery under foot, past clumps of purple nodding foxgloves. We are following the route of a rushing river below us which we glimpse, tantalising, through the branches. At the top, looking out across the deep wooded valley, the sun bursts through and white clouds race ahead of the grey across a short lived blue sky.

On the way back we dip under the low branches of a wild cherry tree and steal some berries. They are small and soft, only just sweet, staining my fingers wine red - joining the blue ink mark on my middle finger. From my leaking pen.

Saturday June 19th

Day 61

A travelling day. Leaving our house in the hills, our bubble nest of just us two, for a retreat high in the Cevennes. Where we will write and learn with other people who are also writers.

At 5 pm we are sitting outside a cafe under a huge plane tree in the village near where we will be staying. There is a boules court in front of us and the main street is deserted. The man who brings us tea - two small cups of Lipton’s Yellow Label, water tepid, milk hot, 4 Euros - is wearing a cream suit and pointy cream shoes. His shirt is blue and white striped and his hair is wet combed. I think he must be going to a wedding soon.

The wind rustles round our bare ankles and spots of rain fall on the plastic table. All day I’ve felt inexplicably tense and as bleak as the dull grey sky. As sour sweet as the apricot tart I had in the car park of Super U before we left. We watch a young woman walking towards the cafe in a wide brimmed, wavy edged hat the colour of ripe cherries. Her high strappy shoes match her hat. The man in the cream suit is waiting for her. They kiss and seconds later he leaves carrying three rifles slung across his shoulder. I wonder what needs shooting at a wedding.

We hear them before we see them coming round the corner - a cavalcade of cars,horns blaring, led by the bridal car - some decorated with green and white paper flowers and muslin bags flapping from the aerials. And suddenly the street is full of wedding guests following the hooting cars - splashing fairground colour into my washed out day.

Friday June 18th

Day 60

Reaching up for the washing on the line before the rain comes I notice my freckled brown, red arms.

I always feel like a different person when I’m suntanned. Closer to that child I was in Africa - looser, carefree, at home.

From early this morning, our last day here, before breakfast even, my universe has been a sun-lounger by the pool. At first under the bright glare of a cloudless cornflower blue sky. Then under the shade of a tree - name unknown - with generous small leaves, tiny green berries and grey speckled branches. On the table next to me, my books and a pen, sun cream, my camera and phone, a plastic glass of water and a bowl of pink gold cherries - and some pips. And my husband not far away toasting to a burnished bronze. The only sound is the birds swooping and chattering in the orchard beyond. And occasionally the shriek of a peacock.

I stay here,sometimes dipping in the water, slowly turning into that other creature who doesn’t mind about the lines in the neck and the sagging of the skin. The one who blends into the heat and unravels in air as warm as silk. Alive.

Thursday June 17th

Day 59

I’m writing this at the little square kitchen table, jumping up every now and again to stir the risotto. We have all the ingredients - except Parmesan - so I’m grating some French cheese called Cantal Entre -Deux which is nothing like Parmesan - more like a creamy Gruyere but it’s what we have. And I’ll add the chopped spinach at the end so we’ll have a one plate supper. A bowl of hot comfort.

It is a night to put the heating on and snuggle in close while the rain spatters against the windows. I want to pretend I’m not disappointed by the walk we had this evening in pine woods high up above our village. The map we were following promised us Dolmen - ancient standing stones - and views over the Cevennes. We missed the turning and ended up on a long stoney path deep in the woods going down not up the mountain. My husband said,

“Well at least we are having a walk so what does it matter?”

But I like to walk with a destination to pull me. And I wanted to get to the top. As I’m already at the bottom.

Wednesday June 16th

Day 58

This afternoon, after we had nearly given up hope, the grey clouds slowly rolled away, the sky turned hyacinth blue, the colour of the shutters on the house. The sun beamed on us, lounging by the pool, turning our skin pink. We slipped in and out of the cold water like dolphins, shiny with coconut sun cream.

Our books lay unopened and I dreamed up supper of the fat broad beans we bought in the market yesterday. I test their flavour in my mind and decide to plunge them still steaming hot into a lemon and olive dressing , pungent with garlic, chopped green onion and a handful of torn flat leaf parsley. Just a chewy baguette to soak up the juices and some left over tomato salad from lunch. And I know there is still some raisin tart for afters.

Although we never seen him, we hear the nightingale singing in the shady tree over our heads. On and on into the evening - a happy sound.

Tuesday June 15th

Day 57

I’m writing this at the yellow oiled cloth table on the terrace. My lovely man at the other end is also writing. It’s still light at nearly 8 pm. And it’s raining, dripping from the tiled roof in rivulets and splashing off the broad leaves of the row of trees alongside the pool. I’m getting hungry for our fish supper. And thinking about the silk worms we saw today. In the Musee de la Soie in St Hippolyte du Fort.

The eggs of the silk moth look like tiny yellow mustard seeds in the cardboard tray. The skin of the silk worms, which are really caterpillars, grey and black striped, look as soft as their name. They are in a tangle moving heap, munching on mulberry leaves and scattering their pinhead droppings everywhere. Their cocoons, like fat oval beans, pale gold and pure white, light as cotton balls are caught up in bundles of twigs. These are the prize for the silk weavers - the beginning of our silk scarves and ski underwear.

I’m captivated by this story - by the sacrifice of the moths who die hours after they give up the shower of their eggs and the ingenuity of the people hundreds of years ago who discovered how to unravel the cocoons. And spin the thread into a gossamer fabric that we can wear today.

I’m remembering the silk worms my brother and I used to keep in a Bata shoe box, the lid pierced with holes, in the dark top cupboard of the nursery. We fed them with mulberry leaves and gave them cardboard shapes to weave their cocoons around. Sometimes we forgot them but they spun their gold anyway.

Monday June 14th

Day 56

For a while this morning I forget to be grateful for how fortunate I am. We wake up late to a duvet cover of soft grey clouds and spitting rain. I want to stay in bed and read, he wants to explore in the car. We pour over the maps and guide books and find a place called La Bambouseraie, a park estate planted with giant bamboos from Asia, just two kilometres from here.

After a cafe lunch of huge platefuls of mozarella salad and just warm creme brulee - simple, fresh, French - I stop being grumpy and blaming. Especially when we find ourselves wandering down avenues of huge straight bamboos, through The Dragon Valley, and the Japanese garden full of purple acers and a monumental Gingko Biloba tree. Then I’m washed in all the green towering beauty of it.

Something I read on one of the information plaques, keeps playing in my mind like an insistent nightingale. It said there are three ways that bamboo blossom. One way is called Herd Blossoming because the same variety of bamboo - and there are hundreds of species - produce flowers at the same time all over the world. At random intervals and sometimes only every 120 years. As if they all share a time chip instinct.

My nightingale thought was what would it be like if the species of women and the species of men and the species of children all blossomed at the same time? And instead of living in fear the whole world broke out in love flowers because it is our true nature. And because like the bamboo we share the same instinct - where ever we live in the world.

Sunday June 13th

Day 55

In Anduze, on the way back to the car, a tray of almond florentines, sitting in the window of a patisserie call us inside. They are knobbly with candied peel, scraped with chocolate. Although we already have two bags of apricots and cherries we leave the shop with a pair of sticky florentines and somehow a small cardboard box containing a strawberry tart and a tarte tatin as well.

They are a perfect dessert after our very late lunch. We tear off chunks of baguette and dip them in olive oil laced with chopped garlic along with beef tomatoes sliced in quarters, bitter cucumber and frisee lettuce. And crumbly roquefort cheese for the man. We sit under the tiled roof of the terrace looking out over the pool and the pink flowering oleander bushes and beyond them the orchard of trees in long grass - cherry, fig, hazel and peach.

We listen out for the nightingale. The sun comes and goes. When the sky brews up heavy black clouds and thunder booms overhead, the rain finally comes - making a moving spotted pattern on the surface of the pool. But the birds keep up their singing and we savour each mouthful of our sweet fruity tarts. Knowing there will be florentines for supper.

Saturday June 12th

Day 54

Leaving Avignon we drive west into the sun - a golden river streaming through the windscreen, blinding us. Later as the sun sinks a little lower it outlines the clouds - which are dragons and castles and mountains in the country of the pink sky. We arrive in the nearly dark. While the owners show us the house and the garden a nightingale serenades us in a tree by the pool. A long three pronged trill, a rippling sound, opening the night air. A peacock next door answers it like a human shriek.

When they’ve gone, reluctant to unpack, we make tea and stand in the kitchen eating pistachio nuts we find in one of the cupboards and half a packet of Tyrell’s crisps. I can see that this is going to be a good place to be, even in the dark.

Friday, 11 June 2010

Friday 11th June

Day 53

I’ve been in the Channel all day swimming to France - our holiday has been giving me directions - pulling me this way and that. But mostly in circles. I’m still here, floundering, clothes laid out in sunshine on the bed, suitcase empty. Feeling tired with all there is still to do.

Leaving behind the weaving strands of my life is like a tiny death. This is what I’ll miss - seeing the rose buds bloom pink and wide petalled on the fence, watching our white dangling strawberries turn sun glossy red, munching on the crisp heavy hearts of the little gem lettuces at the allotment. My father’s smile.

And this blog - not posting it feels like breaking the string that knots the glass beads together in a necklace. Except now, after 53 days, I know I can write where ever I am. So there will be fourteen new beads to add to the string when I come back - leading me home.

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Thursday 10th June

Day 52

They are having a BBQ next door in spite of threatening pigeon grey skies and a cold wind which is bending the foxgloves in our garden.The smell of charred meat - although I don’t eat it - is more enticing than our supper. It’s waiting on the hob for my husband who is outside painting his clay model cat before the clouds release their rain.

I’ve been too busy all day to think about supper. So we are having an olipadreida - my mother’s name for a mixed up meal - anything goes in. In this case a stir fry of what’s left in the fridge. Not very inspiring. But as I swirl vegetables around with my wooden spoon the red of the chilli pepper and the green of the spinach remind me of the scarlet begonia I planted yesterday in our hanging basket by the front door. Mending the gaping wound in the black earth. And softening my heart.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Wednesday June 9th

Day 51

A thief came in the night and stole a begonia out of the hanging basket, trembling by the front door. I planted it the day before and hung it proudly. Just three trailing begonias with large crisp leaves and blooms the colour of sunsets, peaches and cream and churned butter. Chosen to welcome.

My favourite, the one I loved the most, was the one that was yanked out, leaving compost crumbs all the way to the gate. And a gaping hole next to its two companions, like a black earth wound.

So now I’m left wondering what precious part of me has been stolen, or that I gave away. And how can I reclaim her?

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Tuesday 8th June

Day 50

This afternoon my father tells me a phrase his mother used if you went overdrawn at the bank,

“You’ve overstepped the constable.”

I imagine a policeman in a helmet crouched in her account, shaking his truncheon at her in warning.

I’m not in the red but I’m playing the game of ‘let’s not go to the shops and buy food before we go on holiday.’ Driving home I remember the yawning cavern of our fridge and stop at the allotment. The rain holds off as I cut handfuls of Neroli cabbage - dark silvery green, long crinkly leaves, springing from a stiff central stem. Rain drops like round glass domes leap from leaf to leaf as I shake them, keeping their perfect bead shapes - little water worlds intact.

I pull two lettuces, soft frilly edged, their roots crumbly with black earth. And some spinach leaves floppy as rabbit’s ears. I feel a surge of sadness looking up at the elder tree, its branches stooped with masses of creamy white flower heads. I long to pick them to make buckets of lemon scented cordial. But I’ve run out of time now and they will have turned dry and brown when we get back.

At least we’ll have some greens for supper. And I’m sure there are prawns in the freezer and certainly some rice in the cupboard.

Monday, 7 June 2010

Monday 7th June

Day 49

The avocado feels ripe. When I cut it open it’s woolly and brown spotted. I spoon it into the blender with a dressing I find in the fridge door. I made it for the fish on Saturday - creamy with parsley, garlic and lemon. It turns into a pale velvet gloop. No-one would know it was past its best. It becomes part of our left over lunch - penne pasta with the dregs of a tomato and mushroom sauce - not sure of its vintage - stretched with half a jar of chilli salsa sauce from Waitrose which has been hanging around at the back of the fridge for a a while - and a big bunch of chopped spinach.

The art of leftovers. The art I haven't mastered yet is the one of not cooking too much. I now have two plastic tubs of new left overs in the fridge. And I’m sure I’ve just cooked too many potatoes for supper. Fish cakes tomorrow? I’m trying to run all the food down before we go on holiday on Saturday but realise I’ve been a bit premature. The fridge is already echoey empty and it’s only Monday. Another art to learn - how to make every day feel like a holiday.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Sunday 6th June

Day 48

I feel as if I’ve been rolled in Devon today like a chocolate truffle with many coatings. Patchwork hillsides, twisting high hedged lanes, river views, black cows and speeding white clouds stuck to me as we drove deep into a hidden green valley. Where we met up with some of our beloved family in a gravel car park. Following a path lined with young alder trees we came to the Riverford Field Kitchen. An arched wooden building, long tables laid inside and all the glass doors open onto a terrace ringed with herb beds. Surrounded by fields of organic rhubarb and birdsong.

At the end of the meal I felt as round and happy as the soft pastry parcel I’d just eaten - stuffed with roasted squash, green garlic, swiss chard and pecan nuts.The sort of pie that you know you can’t leave the premises without memorising every detail of the recipe. Which the chef generously gave me. I wanted all the other recipes for the spinach and the cabbage and the asparagus and the potatoes but I thought that might be greedy. And I could have eaten the sticky toffee pudding as well as my own lemon tart - if there had been any left - and there wasn’t a moratorium on seconds.

We thought that if you could enjoy something so much all the calories might magically dissolve in a field of happiness. Especially on birthdays.

Saturday, 5 June 2010

Saturday 5th June

Day 47

Choosing ordinary moments made me happy today.

It was the day to eat the mango I’d been watching for perfect ripeness - yellow gold juice dripping down my chin at breakfast while my husband smiled at me over his marmite toast.

It was the day to hand wash jumpers and the last pair of tights at the bottom of the washing basket.

And hang them to dry in hazy sunshine, dead heading pansies on the way back to the house.

It was the day to order books from Amazon inspired by talks with my nearly birthday sister.

And the memory of last night’s supper with dear friends followed me like a perfume. We feasted at a sparkling table, the wall of glass doors rolled back so that we were enfolded in the canopied sanctuary of their garden. Like floating in a green champagne flute.

Tonight we sat in the dark cave of the cinema with still another two squares of chocolate to savour before the film started. Sometimes it’s the best moment of all.

Friday, 4 June 2010

Friday 4th June

Day 46

All the doors and windows are open, summer blowing in through the house, bumble bees and black flies careering into mirrors.

My biggest pan is sitting on the hob, full of chopped sticks of rhubarb bubble plopping in pink syrup.Perched gracefully on top are 6 lacey heads of elderflower, wilting in the steam, releasing their hot June scent into the kitchen. And flavouring the rhubarb with honey and the memory of summer when we have it in a pie next winter.

Earlier when I washed the delicate elderflower sprays, some of the blossom fell on the counter like a sprinkling of tiny stars. They reminded me of minature cardigan buttons that my mother kept in her black tin button box along with a hundred others, each with a garment story to tell. I loved streaming my hands through them as a child, imagining they were jewels.

And all day I’ve been remembering the kind, sky blue eyes of a friend who died this morning in a cancer ward.

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Thursday 3rd June

Day 45

Yesterday I had lunch with two dear women, and another one in our thoughts, on a bright washed patio bordered with round bushes of marjoram, oregano, thyme and sage; tall spears of apple-mint poking between them. Beyond the herbs and a fence some sheep and their lambs grazed under a cluster of fruit trees - oblivious to us and our bowls of salad.

At noon today the sun burned down on our lunch and we had to hold the lettuce leaves down with forks to stop the wind whisking them off the plates.

I’ve been an Ophelia today - ‘like sweet bells, jangled out of tune and harsh.’ I’ve felt hounded by noise. Blackbirds like exclaiming tourists flapping in the apple tree; young children squealing in chase-me games; a hedge cutter like a demented wasp colony; in town the roar of families on half term cheering a bike race through the high street and next door the guitarist playing jazz, staccato through the walls.

But all this volume didn’t block out the fairground of my thoughts. ‘ I should be doing something else on this beautiful day’ has been the high pitched companion in my head.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Wednesday 2nd June

Day 44

The pussy cat woke us at 6 am - squeaking outside the bedroom door. No sign of peeing though. He’s been quiet all day. Maybe the plug-in diffuser we bought from the vet has calmed him. It wafts a scent that mimics mother’s milk all around the kitchen. It doesn’t smell of much to me.

I’m still wobbly in the aftermath of a violent shock. Being peed on by your pussy cat feels personal. He’s never done that in 14 years. It was on my side of the bed - the message was for me. He’s stressed - maybe the intruder tom, his tooth extraction - something’s different, something’s changed and he doesn’t like it. I broke his trust somehow and now I don’t trust him.

This afternoon I bought two big plastic sheets from the building section in B&Q to protect the beds. It may save on duvet cleaning bills. But I don’t think you can mend trust by covering it up. There must be a more eloquent way to manage change if you're not a pussy cat.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Tuesday 1st June

Day 43

I was hoping wide ribbons of pappadelle pasta slippery with mushrooms and spinach would ease the tension in our house tonight. But here I am with the same problem I had at 5 am this morning.

The pussy cat peed on our bed. My day has been as soggy as the sheets drying on the radiators while the grey sky emptied its rain all over us.

The last resort of an unhappy pussy cat. I’ve been talking to him, sending him love messages. But he doesn’t purr now when I stroke him.

There is a plan to help him. And us. Tonight the bedroom door will be closed but what might we find in the morning?