Category Archives: Bank

The cats are here!

The last couple of days have been spent on housework and settling in the new cats. They’re very chalk and cheese, with personalities as different as their markings. Yuki (Japanese for ‘snow’) is a pure white 3-month-old kitten, with some oriental good looks and smooth fur, with Siamese-sized ears (i.e. like little radar dishes on his head) that, in a perfect example of life’s little ironies, are stone deaf. So far I’ve tried the traditional clicking of fingers and clapping hands, and the less-traditional blast of music from my phone, but perhaps the most convincing evidence is that when The Doctor and Alex were sucked, screaming, into the cupboard, he didn’t even twitch. I’m looking forward to what happens when I bring out the hoover. He’s a playful but chilled kitten, who seems just as happy sleeping on his back on the sofa as he is killing random motes of dust and bits of fluff on the floor.

Lucy is an ancient, slightly grumpy, 22-year-old long-haired black moggy with a white bib and socks who lives for food. Her favourite activities so far have been lying on random patches of the kitchen floor, or the dining room floor, or on the landing, and eating. If she could spend all day with her face in a food bowl, I have no doubt she would. Yes, she does have an underactive thyroid, and if anything this has worked in her favour, as I wrap the pills in chicken. She’s already started to follow me when I open the fridge.

I’m happy that the cats are settling in, but still not sure what to do about Yuki when he’s been here long enough to – in theory – be let out. Do we set up a fence in the garden? We’ve already got a harness so we can take him out supervised. He’s not the brightest cat, and pretty fearless, so letting him out unsupervised is a risk at best, I’m all for deaf empowerment, but he’s too pretty to be run over by the boy racers we sometimes get round here. Am trying to teach him some basic signs / hand signals but it’s not going well. Mind you, I suppose it’s asking too much of the attention span of a 13-week-old kitten.

To clear up some confusion, my cat Faraday (whose picture is still my personal profile pic) who lived with me at my flat in Bristol passed away last November after a suspected kidney infection turned out to be end-stage renal failure. She came from the RSPCA at the age of 16, as I wanted a quiet cat to hang out at flat with me. This she did quite happily in return for a soft sofa and all the boiled chicken and felix she could eat, and when she went, she was 19-and-a-half. I still miss that bloody cat.

Tabby, who disappeared so mysteriously four months ago, was my parents’ cat, who came to live with us from RSPCA when I was about 14 or 15 after about two or three years of asking, persuading and eventually begging on my part. She was, as her name suggests, an ordinary tabby cat that I loved dearly, but she never quite forgave me for moving away to Uni, and then for moving away again to my own place, so our relationship over the last few years had been distant, at best. If I didn’t know better, I could almost put her disappearance a mere two months after I moved back in down to spite. I still wish I knew where the hell she went. Quite apart from closure, it’s like a Rubik’s cube that you can’t figure out. The solution is there somewhere, but you’re damned if you can work out what it is.

Cats, eh?

Unusual Skills Week!

A couple of weeks ago, in the last week of July, I was lucky enough to attend Unusual Stage School’s skills week. A Disability Arts Cymru project, and with me based in Cardiff / Wales for my degree, I was able to gate-crash an amazing week with an amazing bunch of people. We worked on script development, performance, voice, singing (yes, singing) movement (where I tripped over the instructor) improv and physical theatre (not, as I had imagined, a sort of hippy wafting pretending-to-be-trees exercise, but in fact a type of improv). My fellow skills week attendees all knew each other with a couple of exceptions, but I was made to feel so welcome it was incredible. Usually, I struggle a lot with socialising with non-signers, but this lot were so patient, apparently happy to repeat themselves ad infinatum, and even better, a few of them knew a couple of signs and the manual alphabet, which in some cases can make or break a conversation. I even ended up staying over during the course, despite my misgivings (leaving my parents unsupervised and I typically don’t handle hearing social situations well) and I can honestly say that at the end of the week I didn’t want to leave. I wanted another week! Hell, I would have stayed for a month. We could call it ‘Big Brother DAC’ and sell the TV rights to the BBC…

One of the happiest moments had to be sitting on a makeshift bench in Cardiff Bay with the usual suspects, nibbling ‘starters’ we’d got from Tesco’s (chargrilled mushroom pasta and three bean salad, mmmm) and chatting in the evening sun while waiting for our accommodation to prepare our (somewhat unimaginative) supper. The less said about Hamgate, the better. But I couldn’t really complain as we were staying round the back of the Millennium Centre, an incredible location, and I was staying with a great bunch of people. Have I already said that? Well they were. From the bass tones of Richard, to the sweetness of Gwilym, to the cuteness of our youngest member, to the outgoing Laura, well you get the idea, I’d better stop here or I’ll make myself sick. But I loved them all, I really did. From my Persian General to the PAs.

And let’s not forget the reason we were all there – skills week! I now know that I naturally sing in a low pitch (no Katherine Jenkins then) that my speech / vocal pitch range is wider than I had thought, that there are many, many ways to say ‘yes’ when really you mean ‘no’, that physical theatre doesn’t necessarily involve pretending to be trees and improv in all its forms can be a lot of fun.

I learned that coffee and toffee are a nice combination for ice cream, that a buffalo burger actually tastes quite nice, and that a Strawberry Capirinha is a lovely cocktail. I also learned that it’s possible to put on four pounds in five days. I’ve lost those extra pounds though, thanks to the virus I picked up as a souvenir. One of those viruses that reduces your IQ level by half and makes it hard to think while you sniffle into your tissue.

It was still worth it though and I’d happily do it again! Love you guys!