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For 18 years we had at least one cat. We got them as kittens in 1993, shortly after we returned from Thailand, and almost immediately after we had moved into our new house. This house. One of the things that made me feel that the house was right for me was a cat lying in the sun in the window when we first visited. Cleo and Gershwin were good cats. They tolerated being fed at different hours in the evening, we had a fake Christmas tree every year and the worst they did to it was redistribute one or two ornaments on the floor overnight, and they never destroyed our curtains or furniture. Gershwin had a drooling problem, and Cleo liked to tap the bedroom door to be let in starting at about 6 am, but these were minor issues, and we loved them.

Gershwin gave up the ghost when we were in Malaysia on holiday in 2010, and we had Cleo alone for almost another year. The house seemed empty without them. They were part of so much of our lives. They saw us through good times, and comforted us during bad. When they died, we took some time. We had been travelling at least once a year, and wanted to continue to do that without worrying too much about putting cats into a cattery every time. With two, it got expensive, even though all the different catteries cheated and put them both together (which was never ideal), and they always took time to adapt when they got home. Anyway, we took a break from cats.

After our six month Middle Eastern/European trip in 2013, it might have been a good time to get cats again, as it led into quite a long period of no big trips. We didn’t know this would happen at the time, of course, but I had some health issues, we had a lot of eldercare issues both in this city and elsewhere, I broke my ankle, and then there was a pandemic! So it could have been a decent time to still have cats.

Post-pandemic, and now with no responsibilities keeping us here, we hope to have a few years of intensive travelling, but we don’t know yet if that will even be possible. After that though we might be able to get a cat or two – but the fact that they can live till they’re close to 20 means that they are a big commitment. And their care issues become much more complicated in their later years. Would I cope? Would I be able to have cats if we (or one of us) had to move? After all, in 20 years time, we will (if we’re lucky) be in our later years too. What if new cats weren’t as easy as Cleo and Gershwin?

We’ve always said we’d like to have cats again. (Funnily, two days after I’d written the first draft of this post, we passed a pet store and my husband suggested we go in and look at the kittens.) I miss having cats around the house. There’s nothing like having a cat in my lap, or snuggled up next to me on the bed or the couch, or purring loudly curled up in a box behind my desk when I am here blogging. There are real mental health benefits to having pets too, especially as we age. Sigh. I am definitely a cat person. But I’m a bit worried. Have I missed my cat window? I hope not.

I’ve written quite often about why I love Autumn. It is one of my favourite seasons, perhaps my favourite. But only once it settles in. But this year, after a not great summer, I have thought of a few things I dislike about autumn. And because I do like to be balanced, I’m going to list them here:

  1. The early arrival of darkness in the evenings, once the clock has gone back.
  2. Especially the darkness when it is still warm outside, and we could be sitting out enjoying the sunset and the views at 6.30 pm.
  3. The end of Thursday Pasta and Chardonnay evenings (as a result of the end of summer golf evenings for my husband). I still get both pasta and chardonnay over the winter – but not as regularly, and not always the pasta I want. Sigh. Autumn means more marital compromise!
  4. Changeable weather. I should be used to it, living in New Zealand. But in autumn, I never know if it is going to be summery or wintry temperatures, whether it will rain, etc. But it means I never know what clothes to wear.
  5. Wardrobe havoc. On a cold autumn day I will often decide to rearrange my wardrobe (closet) and my drawers, moving out the summer T-shirts, tops, and dresses, not to mention sandals, jandals, etc to a more remote set of drawers or a wardrobe in another room. Then just a few days later (like today), I realise I moved them too soon. (And this year I can’t even get to the drawers where I moved things a week or so ago, because they’re crowded out with boxes for the brothers-in-law from the in-laws’ house.)
  6. Leaving shopping for winter clothing too late, when days like today lull me into a false sense of security.
  7. The onset of “international holiday reminders” via Fbk, starting in May, will be particularly galling this year, when we face another winter of no international travel. (Unless we decide to escape to Western Australia, which has decided to join the Australia/NZ travel bubble, but then as I often say, “Australia doesn’t count.”)
  8. Easter Hot-cross-buns-and-Easter-eggs-and-out-of-town-visitors weight gain.
  9. The feeling of being short-changed, after an all-too short, disappointingly cool (and this year, hard at work and unable to travel much) summer.
  10. The feeling of foreboding, knowing that a long, gloomy, dark, and cold, winter (and yes, I know, my winter is not nearly as dark or cold or long as that of many of my readers) looms.

Breakfast Pohutukawa

This morning, after an early appointment in the city, The Husband and I decided to have a leisurely breakfast at a seaside café over the road from the Yacht Club and boatsheds. Whilst we could only see a tiny speck of the sea, I looked out to this pohutukawa as I enjoyed my flat white, and a breakfast bruschetta (poached egg, tomato, pesto, halloumi, and bacon – yum). I didn’t get a shot when a little boy climbed in its branches, which was very cute. But the light was beautiful. There are quite a few of these large (old) pohutukawa trees. They are beautiful when they are in full red bloom at Christmas, but I think they’re lovely all year round, as they never lose their leaves.

Another in the Thursday Tree Love series – find all the other bloggers doing it here.