It started with the sad news that our cat Buddy is blind and deaf, poor thing. He had a funny turn, standing on the stairs and yowling like the world was ending. When Bex went to him he jumped a mile, totally taken by surprise. Then he bumped into the doorway, and walked right into Barney the dog.
Apparently, he has two detached retinas, caused by high blood pressure. The deafness is probably just due to old age and we weren't aware of it as cats are so good at using their other senses.
We realised that he would have to become an indoor cat – tough for a feisty free spirit who has always enjoyed the woods alongside our garden. He once brought home a pheasant he had caught as a present for me – he tried to get it through the cat flap even though it was bigger than him! When he was younger he would catch so many small birds and mice that I put a collar with a bell on him to act as a warning but he soon learnt to hold it still by tucking it under his chin!
But he is old now, and life is different. Except that he managed to get out on Saturday and we couldn't find him anywhere. Without sight or hearing he would be easy prey for a hungry fox – or a car. Our searching showed no sign of him so we put posters on lamp posts near our home, asking people to call if there was any sight of him. By Thursday we had all but given up hope – the nights had turned really cold and there was no news.
Until the phone rang – the woman said her son had driven into the close they live in and was sure he'd seen Buddy. I went straight down there, about quarter of a mile down our road, and after searching for a few minutes… there he was. He fought me as I tried to pick him up – managed to claw and bite me – but of course he had no idea what was happening.
A week later as I write, he is settling back at home but finding his dark and quiet world a bit difficult to accept. At least he safe and sound, and can curl up in his favourite place on the sunny spot on our bed. Just before Buddy's return, I had to cope with Billy going to Canada! He has headed off to fulfil his dream to become a snowboard instructor! He is spending 14 weeks in Jasper, Alberta with a group of like-minded people, spending almost every day on the slopes – it's a hard life for some!
Making sure everything was organised for him took my mind off the fact that he was actually going, but as departure date got closer, I wasn't sure how I would feel. In the end, he went off so happily, excited about such an amazing opportunity, that I was fine – not even a tear at the airport. As any mum knows, all you want is for your children to be happy. Things might change when he is tired, cold, aching all over and missing his mum's roast potatoes, but for now he's like a polar bear in snow, to paraphrase a well known phrase!
With Bex and Charlie back both back at university, the house is quiet, but it gives Olley and me a chance to plan some outings just for us. The emotion continued with a trip to London to watch Les Miserables on the big cinema screen in Leicester Square – I absolutely loved it, and DID shed a tear or two this time! – and then a fabulous day on Sunday enjoying lunch at Ali Keenan's lovely new home, with her partner Colin, Debbie G, Miceal, and Claire and Dan Sutton with their lovely (and amazingly well-behaved) children.
Ali served up a delicious meal and we laughed and chatted for hours. With no children to rush home to, Olley and I were the last to leave, at just before 10pm. What you might call a long lunch. I could get used to this!! I'll keep you updated on how Billy gets on. In the meantime, do take care.