Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Are you a Cat Person or a Dog Person, or both?

The moment I realized I wasn't going to get the baby brother that I so longed for, I wanted a dog. Having written many letters to the shopkeeper of babies with no reply and given up hope I decide that a dog was the next best thing and that was easier because I could just ask Father Christmas. He never managed to bring a dog so I turned to my greatly loved and dependable dad and mum. They didn't want one at first so I invented an imaginary dog called Trigger. He followed me everywhere and we were best mates.
Eventually the imaginary dog thing must have worn them down because one wonderful morning my dad brought home a puppy.
Oh the magic of that moment, the wonder and delight of her little wriggly body, her little tongue covering me with kisses, her sweet puppy smell. I was obsessed by her. Sally. My childhood companion. My faithful friend and ally.

After Sally many other wonderful dogs came into my life and I always though of myself as a dog-person. Those pleading eyes, full of devotion, those wagging tails, that enthusiasm for life, for walks, for woods, for chasing sticks and balls, the barks of joy, the barks of protection, how could a cat do any of those things?

Then one day a cat came into my life. It was a mystery how she came. There probably is something in the withes and cats thing, because that's how she appeared, in a sort of magic way, at a time when I needed someone. She's till here, many years later and now I am a cat person too.
She spends a lot of time arranging herself in positions so she looks sweet, cuddly, endearing and making me go 'awwww.'
She gazes at me in the same way as my dogs did, all googly eyes and devoted expressions. She greets me at the door when I come home. She climbs on to my lap and so I am forced to sit still for long periods.
She keeps herself very clean, it is quite fascinating to watch how she does it.
Of course I don't take her out on a lead or romp around the countryside leaping and barking.

I wonder why I ever though you couldn't just be both.

Do you feel like a cat person or a dog person?

Monday, 26 February 2018

It's Not What you're looking at, it's what you see

Regular readers of my blog know that I love children and I'm lucky enough to have a quite a few lovely little people in my life. I never cease to wander at how much joy they give.
One of these delightful little people, a boy of six, is already everything you would like a man to be, he's affectionate, cuddly, his face lights up when he sees you, he blows enthusiastic kisses when he catches sight of you waiting for him outside school, he thrills you with his sense of adventure, his passion for life, his imagination, his bravery.  When he's around, the hand-held vacuum cleaner becomes a state of the art weapon for Star Wars, the flowers on a sheet used to make a den become the controls of a time machine, my mottled collection of jewelry is a pirate's treasure, a chocolate covered in gold foil discovered under the carpet is a medal for bravery.
We are both swept away into a fantasy world created by his imagination.

The other day I left him contemplating the old beads and necklaces, deciding on the magic that was contained in the stones, and rummaging in the bedroom, after a while he appeared draped in a leopard skin flimsy nightie. I had no time to express my astonishment before he totally disarmed me by telling me that he was a pre historic caveman off to capture a lion. A few days later I lent his dad a thermometer and he brought it back saying that his son was using it as a spaceship, the glass bit displaying the temperature was perfect as the spaceman's cockpit. 

Looking at the world through his eyes is an exciting adventure, superheroes like him are saving us all, loving, kind, funny, brave and macho all at the same time.

Best friends run in the same direction

Is this a leaf or a heart

Wednesday, 24 January 2018

To Market, to market

Market day on Thursday has been the highlight of my week for many years. It seems like a coppice in a wood. A pause in the week to enjoy the party atmosphere of the market. A moment to step into a parallel world.
The stall holders have been up since dawn, displaying their goods so they will appeal and attract attention.
My route to the market takes me over a river. The bridge over the river is called 'The bridge of Angels.'   the angel is on the top of a tall column, I always look up at her, up there guarding us.
I usually go to the market mid-morning so might meet friends and neighbours on the bridge, on their way home, carrying their bounty in colourful bags brimming over with vegetables and plants.
 After catching up on various bits of news and announcements I turn into the market square and it never ceases to lift my heart. The beautiful majestic buildings set against the bright blue sky, because of course I wouldn't go if it was raining, the hustle and bustle of the shoppers and the strong enticing aroma of coffee from the bars around the square.
Years ago, there would have been a crowd of old men from the country, greeting each other and talking about football and politics in the local dialect. Today there are mainly women, of many nationalities. Snippets of conversation are carried on the air, in Russian, Arabic, Romanian.
All the women are united in a quest, to find a bargain, a pretty dress for a small daughter, a hardwearing tracksuit for a boisterous little boy, a jacket for the new season, a handbag in a bright colour to cheer the winter days.
 Every so often there are splashes of vibrant colour from the flower stalls. A patchwork of dazzling hues of primulas, hyacinths, daffodils.
This is where I stop.
As soon as I show interest I  receive a smile and an invitation to buy.
 I am soon holding a bag full of primulas to scatter colour through the late winter days.. If I have arranged to meet a friend we will sit in the sun with our cappuccinos and show each other our purchases. I might be tempted to go and buy the same jumper or dress as my friend but in a different colour. The market is all about sharing.
The Thursday market is a joyful, harmonious meeting place for the women of the town. Shopping, browsing, chatting, drinking coffee, and not feeling guilty at all because after all it is only there on Thursday mornings.