Of Cats and Cones

I’ve had a whole week now of being a SAHW – a Stay-At-Home-Writer. It’s been great, although my productivity has been slightly decreased by having to feed my cat through a funnel.

Well, that isn’t quite correct. Before you conjure up pictures of a cat at death’s door, allow me to clarify: the cat’s head is in the bottom of the funnel. They call it an Elizabethan ruff, although I doubt HM QEI would thank you for pointing out the resemblance.

We are not amused.

Our elder cat (“the Cat”) managed to nick her achilles tendon – and make quite a mess of the skin that usually covers it – so had to be taken to the vet on Monday, collected on Tuesday, and taken for a post-op check on Thursday. Time-consuming.

She also has to be kept in for ten days, but her son (known as “the Kitten” despite being well over three years old) is still allowed to come and go as he pleases. In the split she got the bathroom and bedrooms and he got the lounge and kitchen. We got – a complicated custody arrangement.
If we spend all our time on the Cat’s side of the Door in the Middle then we hear the Kitten’s plaintive lament on the other side. If we stay on his side, the Cat gets grumpy – and then purrs loudly all night about how happy she is to see us. Passive-aggressive little weasels.

The Cat has been wearing this ruff or cone since Tuesday, which changes her functional dimensions more than she realises. Unfortunately the Code of Cat states that no cat may admit to making a mistake, so if her cone catches on something she has to sit down and pretend that she wanted to stare at the woodwork for ten minutes. Pride is a terrible thing.

She spends the rest of her time giving her celebrated imitations of a vase, a lampshade, a satellite dish, and one of the Invisibles of the 1810s.

Depending on which angle you catch her at, she also portrays either a headless cat or a catless head. Reminiscent of the Cheshire cat, except the grin was the first thing to go, not the last.

Speaking of all things Wonderland, inquiring minds wish to know your opinion on the subject of the Jabberwock/y. Namely, what colour or colours is it? Tenniel presented us with a very vivid image of it, but only in black and white. And what about texture? Thoughts?


O Frabjous Day!

I would even go so far as to say Callooh, callay.

Last Friday my boss called me in for a meeting with my supervisor. (No, that isn’t the good bit. Be patient!) Having waved a long list at me of what I currently do, and a shorter list of what else they’d like me to start doing, they said that all this really came to more than four days a week, and that they would like me to go back to five days. (Definitely not the good bit.)

Can you guess what I said in reply? If you can’t, go back and have a look at the last quote post. It was like that, except my boss didn’t offer me a pay rise. I handed in my official resignation letter the next working day.
I am leaving the Dreaded Day Job! My Jabberwock is slain!


In the end, after all my dream-drafts, it didn’t actually matter whether or not I crafted the perfect resignation letter. I had other things also on my mind that weekend and the main thing was that it was done. Like organising a wedding: the main thing is that you end up married to the person you love; everything else is just icing.

Being absurdly happy at giving notice, I was prepared to be generous, and have agreed to stay on til the end of February, doing five day weeks while they train a new person. This means a notice period of seven weeks instead of the usual four, but hey, I bask in a mellow glow. Peace on earth, goodwill to all mankind etc etc.

But, I hear you ask (all right, I don’t, but indulge me here) what are you going to do now? Man does not live on bread alone, but it certainly helps! What new job have you acquired, and are you quite certain you aren’t going from the frying pan to the fire? Better the devil you know etc etc.

I thank you for your kind concern, but let me allay your fears at once. Thanks to the machinations of the Caped Gooseberry’s fruitful brain, I shall from March be taking up a full-time position as a SAHW – a stay-at-home writer.

My dream has come true.

I feel like Mary Theotokos:
“My heart overflows with my Lord’s praises,
my soul with joy because of God my Saviour
for he has not forgotten me, his servant.
Everyone will call me blessed and happy
because of what the Mighty God has done for me
– holy is His name!”

In fact, my only difficulty now is to avoid looking too happy at work – since my boss has asked me not to tell my colleagues yet, questions might well be asked which it would be difficult to answer honestly.

Happy, fortunate, lucky, blessed – oh, yes. That’s me.