Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Sound of Mew-sic

For most of my school life, I was in the choir. At senior school, we went to all kinds of competitions, and had numerous set pieces, one of which was a selection of songs from The Sound of Music. As we were a convent school, our competitors found this hilarious, and I still remember the merry quips with which they greeted us ('How many girls sing in the La Sagesse choir? Nun!!'). Anyway, this has left me with the lyrics stuck fast in my memory, for better or for worse.

I have been writing poetry again lately, which has been wonderful (I've had writer's block for most of the time I've been ill), and I will be posting some of it here in future. This week, though, I want to share with you the discovery I made yesterday afternoon when Merlin was being - well, himself.

It came to me in a flash that it would be very easy to rewrite 'How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria?' to refer, not just to Merlin, but to any kitten. If I ignored the half-sung, half-spoken introduction, then it would need only a few small tweaks, and I would have a song I could hum to relieve my feelings as he tears across my lap in pursuit of Chloe, sits on my crossword, and steals my lunch. Feel free to sing this to your cat (with apologies to Oscar Hammerstein II):

How do you solve a problem like the kitten?
How do you catch a cloud and pin it down?
How do you find a word that means the kitten?
A flibbertijibbet! A will-o'-the wisp! A clown!

Many a thing you know you'd like to tell him
Many a thing he ought to understand
But how do you make him stay
And listen to all you say?
How do you keep a wave upon the sand?

Oh, how do you solve a problem like the kitten?
How do you hold a moonbeam in your hand?

When he's with me I'm confused
Out of focus and bemused
And I never know exactly where I am
Unpredictable as weather
He's as flighty as a feather
He's a darling! He's a demon! He's a lamb!

He'd outpester any pest
Drive a hornet from its nest
He could empty any belfry of its bat
He is gentle! He is mad!
He's a riddle! He is bad!
He's a headache! He's an angel!
He's a cat!

(Rpt ad lib)

Merlin says: 'Don't believe her. Look at this noble profile.'

Merlin - head

Monday, May 18, 2009


Just a brief note to explain why there is no new post this week.

I'm having to take some time off from my online activities because I'm not doing too well. I think the shock of Mum being ill triggered a crash which I am still coping with. I seemed to be running on adrenaline for days, and then came down to earth with a bump!

I hope to be back with more news and photos next week.....

Monday, May 11, 2009

Hippo birdy!

It was my birthday yesterday!

I had lots of beautiful cards, some of them hand-made :)
I also had books, CDs, DVDs, knitty stuff, and a beautiful pewter pill box with an owl sculpted on the lid. I'm still expecting the books I ordered from Amazon with gift money and vouchers, so my birthday will be going on for a while yet!

Merlin loved all my presents. He played with every bit of wrapping paper, every ball of sticky tape, every ribbon and every piece of rustly plastic. He commandeered a big box, and has put some of the paper balls into it to remind us it is his.

He also insisted on inspecting everything. He was extremely impressed with the catnip cushions, the organic catnip, the cat treats and the cat toys - some of my friends thought he should have presents too :)

The weather was awful - grey, cold and drizzly - but I had a triple-chocolate muffin as my birthday cake (the diabetic nurse said it was OK!), and we had a Chinese last night while we watched 'W.' on Sky Box Office. Good times :)))

Monday, May 04, 2009

The kindness of knitters (and crocheters)

I don't intend to make a habit of posting the smae thing on both my blogs - what would be the point of having two, if I did? - but this week I am sharing the same story again in both places, on my Still Life blog because it is a wonderful example of human generosity, and here because it involves knitters being generous!

My mother lives in sheltered housing in York, just around the corner from my sister. On April 27, just after my sister had gone on holiday, my mother was admitted to the Coronary Care Unit at York District Hospital with chest pains. Mum only allowed the hospital to tell us on the following day, when they established that it had been a small heart attack, and not the indigestion she had hoped it was.

My brother couldn't come up from Luton till Friday, and Mum refused to let my sister leave her holiday early. There was never any chance of my going down there. I was terribly upset, thinking that she would be alone with no family around her. Without much hope of anything coming from it, I posted messages in four UK groups on Ravelry, asking if anyone in York could pop in and see her, and maybe take in some fruit.

I expected, at the most, a few kind messages saying that they hoped she was well again soon, and these I got. I also received six offers of practical help, four of them from total strangers.

The next day, Mum had a visit from one of these strangers, bringing fruit and soft drinks. She sat with Mum for half an hour, and then emailed me to say Mum was in the main ward now, and in good spirits. She refused to be reimbursed for the shopping she had done – 'It was the least I could do,' she wrote.

Another woman who worked in the hospital was all set to visit her that evening, and I had other people lined up for Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Luckily, Mum was discharged on Wednesday afternoon into the care of the warden at her sheltered housing, so I didn't have to call on them – but they were all prepared to go out of their way to visit a sick old lady, whom they had never met, just because they were asked to.

I was also inundated with kind messages of support, and enquiries about how Mum and I were doing, after she came home.

I would have expected this from my online friends, who are like penpals to me – we know so much about each other, and our families. But I didn't expect total strangers to do this for Mum and me, and I was very humbled by the whole thing.