Tiddling trouble

I slept after the shock

Hello fan club, Tiddler here.

Life was a bit uncomfy last week. Its bad enough having dental issues and having to have old lady mushy food, but then my peepee stopped happening, or rather it never stopped happening. Its hard to describe. I had this incredible urge to go, I lost all thought of where and when was appropriate, whether to mark my territory or keep me clean. Itch, hurt, urge, squat was the order I received and I had to obey.

Mum noticed it when she sat in a pee puddle that escaped onto my cushion. She seemed most surprised. Dad explained thats why he was sitting at the table, not in his usual sofa space which is of course much handier for cuddling me. Mum said she would have to take me to the V.E.T so I did a bunk. I am not daft. It was no fun last time, why repeat it?

I ran into the garden and its such a jungle out there now that its midsummer there was no way she could spot a wee black furball like me in the undergrowth. I hid till it was too late to go and she had to call the vet back to cancel.

She gave me what she calls homeopathics, that means sweet stuff she spooned onto my gums, as I was right off my food. Well I could hardly concentrate on being a delicate gourmande with all that squatting going on. It did seem to help me feel better. Then she tripped over me in the dark as I napped on a hot water pipe on the landing (my usual Aga space not feeling safe). It gave me such a fright I totally wet myself. She said she got a fright too, but who is the injured party I say? Still any blockage had gone and I had an easier Sunday. But 2 days later I was squatting again and this time I was so distracted by it she caught me and to the vets we went. Nasty needle this time. I slept after the shock and when I woke up I felt quite the thing and wanted my breakfast!

I had a good week, then it started again, so the vets stuff is no better than Mum’s. Another trip in and you better believe I howled all the way in. Another jag and Mr Crawford, who is not subtle, told me my teeth were fine, he had seen much worse. So I paw my at mouth for no reason? Really! He gave Mum something in a packet to take home. ‘Start tonight’. o-oh, I thought, what now? But these are something to write to you about. These new tablets which Mum calls antibiotics taste brilliant! I can’t get enough of them. I am allowed 2 little bits of them morning and evening and I can’t wait! They taste so good I come running at the packet’s rustling. Why aren’t all medicines so nice tasting?

As for the sofa, its tidy again, my litter tray is back in use and its safe for humans to walk barefoot in the hall and downstairs bathroom. Well it was, till Corrie started wetting the floor….

I thought of it first!

Love from Tiddler x


A twitter free twite commentary

The new interloper They call Patch is settling again after losing his silly pal Spots on the road. He has been running in and out every 2 hours, day and night, checking we are all here and when Dad goes out to do his ‘good works’ Patch often has to be shut in the cattery office to stop him running onto the road just to find him. I am sure you would never find me being that needy. Jimi-cat has been giving Patch good licks and hunting with him in the garden, I believe, to calm him. I don’t know what the fuss is about. The humans are there at our beck and call, the Aga is warm, all is just dandy IMO. Mind you they have become a bit slow with the breakfast service. I had to go into Dad’s room this morning to demand my entitlement by ringing my 3 collar bells VERY LOUDLY to gain attention. Really! It should not be necessary. Just because he has been working silly hours does not mean my breakfast should be late!. Patch looked a bit scared when I entered his domain but something had to be DONE. The humans thought they put those bells on me for their benefit. How wrong they are. Now I use them for my own desires, summoning servants and minions was ever by bells I believe. Ask Sir John Betjeman.

I am a very educated cat, due to Mum leaving Radio 4 on frequently, thus giving me an excellent ‘education’ in the ways of humans. This week there seems to have been a lot of Theresa may this, Theresa may that and I wonder why Theresa can’t make her mind up and why anyone is bothered. Life should be simple. Pass the king prawns Boris and make sure your future negotiations keep their price affordable for my Mum.

the kill – an uncommon kind of finch called a twite

The interloper just brought a something in and Mum set off in hot pursuit. He headed up to Dad’s room of course, where he puts all his prey, usually into his dinner bowl, he is a hoot. Dad grabbed him, Mum extracted the bird from his mouth and it sweetly passed away. Mum let me have a sniff then. My cat instincts led me to develop great excitement but it was hardly in ready-meal state and the feathers got up my nose and made me sneeze.

what sort of dinner do you call That?

Mince it up for me Mum, you know my teeth can’t handle solids these days. She said it was a big twit, rare twite, twitter mate or something as she checked it on her grey box. She seemed a bit upset. Apparently there are not many of them about. There’s one fewer now. Not much meat on it anyway.

DSCN4238.JPGI prefer minced king prawns and cat milk myself, or a Solitaire.

Love from Tiddler x


Vets, bees, Spots and peat smoke

A week to end all weeks started with Her taking me into the vet again. Just because I have been pawing at my bad tooth when she gives me sticky dinner. It was the lady vet this time and I quite liked her. She was most impressed at how bold and able I am of course.

She took a good look at my pearlies and declared them hazardous to cat-kind! She wondered though, was I not too old for a dental? Too old, moi? As my friend Mehitabel would say, Toujours gai moi. You should read her poetry, its very sassy. Anyway the lady vet explained that I would have to have a blood test before any dental work and Mum decided it should be straight away to save me trouble in case I was given pre-op meds then was not allowed the rest.

After some discussion they put this stuff on my leg that made it cold and kind of numb. I had to wait 5 minutes so I was allowed to explore the surgery. I watched this dog have an access lanced, it was really gungey. Natalie the vet took my paw and stuck this sharp thing in my leg. I was understandably wriggly as it hurt a bit so it took a while before they were satisfied they had enough. Once I relaxed it was fine. Do you find that when you give blood?

Mum and I sat in the waiting room, me in her arms, till my results were ready. We met another cat, rabbit and a thing called a ferret which smelt fox-musky. Natalie came out with my blood tests. She said she was sorry but they were very high readings and I could not have a dental after all. I was NOT sorry! She gave me a jag of vitamins and a pill.

By the time we got home I had the massive munchies. I just could not get enough to eat and howled for food all night, pacing up and down not knowing what to do with myself. It was most unpleasant. Mum seemed pleased that I was eating, trust me, I had no option. Cornflakes would have tasted good to me. It took a couple of days to wear off and meanwhile they stuffed me with as many calorific treats as I could handle. The vet had thought I had lost a little weight so I expect I have regained my soft outline now.

The weekend brought drama with rescued cats arriving and Mum seemed quite distracted. Then the bees swarmed, making a racket, but going back into their hive. More dramas continued during the week and the atmosphere was intense. Then the crunch came.

This is Spot, DSCN3815 2.jpg

“fire is beautiful
and we know that if we get
too close it will kill us
but what does that matter
it is better to be happy
for a moment
and be burned up with beauty
than to live a long time
and be bored all the while”
Don Marquis

well this was Spot. The silly kitten went and surpassed himself in causing trouble this week. On Monday he copied his brother by climbing into the magpie’s nest. Don’t think he enjoyed the pecking much. Then on Tuesday he kept sitting in the road outside. Our neighbour picked him up and Dad went after him also. He came in for his tea (my rejects- there’s a lot of those these days) then went out hunting, as did his brother. Patch came back in but Spots- well there was a phone call very early in the morning as his body was found down the road, too late to help him.

Dad was in some state. They had this thing they call a funeral. My second breakfast was late!  Mum had work to do out in town so I was left with Dad and I could not console him. I told him, the kitten was silly. Jimi said: he had tried his best but Spots would not listen to his aged wisdom. Patch said he never listened full stop. Patch was very quiet for days, walking round like a lost soul, trying to play with Jim, which is pointless, and needing to be close to everyone. I was very good, I have not hissed at him all week.

Next day the blessed bees swarmed and the honey crop went with them. Mum was out doing story stuff. Dad enjoyed seeing them gather and choose where to go. He is not into beekeeping, being more a bee watcher.

Then came Friday and the AGA dragon went off on holiday. I guess he wasn’t getting enough attention either. My favourite snoozing place went all cold. She put an electric bed out for me and finally worked out that Dad had turned the room heater thermostats down which is why the room heaters had not come on. It was FREEZING. I had to cuddle up to Jimi for heat. You won’t see THAT too often!

I am happy to report that She spent Saturday warming the Dragon’s nest up so that it would come back again and make my bed all toasty again. Plus she can cook me chicken again now.

It takes ages to coax absent-without-leave dragons back home. First you have to tempt them with smouldering wood and then add compressed peat blocks as they send out a dragon-friendly smoke and scent signal. I think thats why the kitchen was so smelly anyhow. And success! Dragon is back, She can have her heat-pad back, its no substitute for the Real Thing. I can curl my old bones up against him again.

Sadly for Her the bees and Spot are gone. Still, she has some storytelling to do tomorrow in Burn’s Cottage. That should cheer her up. And she’s been ordering my favourite German cat foods again so I am happy. Patch is upstairs cuddled up with Dad so all is well at the Dragon’s Hearth. More or less.

Love from Tiddler x

Mehitabel’s story is found in ‘Archie and Mehitabel’, an account of life as a vers libre poet cockroach by Don Marquis.

The lost document

Mum says she loves technology –  when it works. I agree, the AGA dragon is a wonderful thing. It keeps my delicate frame warm and soothed, cooks up chicken till its soft and succulent for my wee gums,  steams her washing dry, giving me a kitty sauna on the top and she still has plenty of heat left to create hot water for keeping my dishes clean.

She meant ‘the grey box’ she calls laptop. Silly woman, I am her lap topping. Thats why I learnt where her Off button is. If she pays the box too much attention I go to the box’s far corner and step on the button. She gives a strangled squawk at that point, muttering about saving the world or something.

This is Patch. He lurks. He needs a good hissing at. He has a different sort of box.

This ‘saving’ is also good when it works apparently. Last weeks blog was eaten by a gremlin I hear. I guess thats some other sort of dragon? She was writing about Mother’s Day and how it was blighted by being woken too early because of daylight saving time changing to summer time. Its all crackers if you ask me. How can humans change time? Its the sun that does the light changes, anyone knows that. It grows sunnier and stronger as the summer comes and my breakfast comes earlier too since they can’t sleep for the light. Its all good to me.

Its so warm now I have actually ventured into the Outside to have a nibble of grass. Thats no mean feat in this place. Apart from the effort to leave the dragon’s hearth, which is a very suitable perch for my elderly bones, finding grass is quite tricky since the driveway was coated with black stuff. All the mucky mud, gravel, stones, pipes and concrete lumps from the drive were dumped by the workmen onto Her favourite meadow area. Dad has been slowly clearing it, but the only grass thats easy to find now is up in her polytunnel and thats where the kittens hang out. Jimi-cat hangs in there too, that is he snores away on a rack by her hammock. The kittens are much scarier. They turn up in the most unexpected places, like on the ceiling,

Spots – On the ceiling!

hunting cheepers and squeakers. They stand in the doorway and expect me to go past them without a hiss.

Wherever I go, they are there, the young upstarts. I am beginning to think they are staying. Its been 5 months now. I am used to seeing other cats coming and going, usually stuck into baskets and popped into the cattery where they don’t bother me too much. These boys though are still in my house and all over my garden!

They keep bringing squeakers indoors too. Sometimes Mum takes the voles and shrews off them but often its too late as the entertainment value is gone out of them. I know they are not gifts for me as Patch puts them in his own dinner bowl once they are still enough. Give me tuna any day. And Mum, stop calling me “fish-breath”. I only had 1/2 a tin.

I do not have to like you kittens – this is my killer stare

I did notice, when I was in the polytunnel, that the thrashers have hatched. I wonder when the kittens will start fetching those in? These are the creatures you call tadpoles, they turn into frog princes I believe. There are an awful lot of them. We will need to find a lot of princesses for them. Mum wasn’t clear on how they change from frog to prince. She said thats storytelling magic. Perhaps Grandpa’s magic ointment is part of it. I will give you the recipe for that next week, as Dad is going to make some more and this time let Mum take some action shots. Its fun living with a magician and a storyteller, never a dull moment here.

Love from Tiddler x


The art of being me by Tiddler

Tiddler is having a rant today.

Dear Humans,

Have I told you before you are stupid? Humans think we cats are stupid. We know you are. You do not hear what we say, no matter how hard we try, adding vocalising and body language onto our mind pictures. You tell us we cannot talk. Not your language perhaps, but we speak a universal one of light. We read the images you project and you say “Isn’t it amazing, its almost as if he knew what we were thinking”. Well we do. Why can’t you do the same? I know one or two of you do tune in and believe me, its so refreshing not to be ignored, to be heard. To have our pictures seen.

In my home He hears me, sits and sniggers over my comments. I am pretty straight talking I know. At my age I have no time for niceties. I need my bowl filled regularly with quality interesting food. I need a warm place to rest. I need regular cuddles and a human to plug into for energy. You can’t expect a 21 year old cat to have boundless energy. I like to have sofa seat priority over the Fat Cat that She calls Jimi. I like a clean water bowl separate to that of the dribbly dog. At the moment I like some spring grass. I need a good grooming, avoiding my sore hip. I do not need to be cute or a model for human’s art projects. Which is what she is doing with me!

Here is a picture of her art so far. Am I not the most perfect subject for a woodcut? Its a bit wonky looking if you ask me. But you didn’t did you. You don’t think I can answer…


I think dogs are stupid too. All that mooning at people. And they smell. They like smells. They can be fobbed off with cheese packet wrappers rather than best cheddar. How crackers is that? Cheese crackers? Thats a cat joke. Bet you didn’t know we make jokes too.

The dog had a bath this afternoon. We cats never need baths. We are superior beings.

Here’s 2 of her woodcuts superimposed to add in my AGA dragon. These are her first goes, I think she may show promise. I am in a good mood as she just shared chicken and yoghurt.xxxTDSCN4001 2

Feeling ginger, saucy tastes

Its been a long week, mainly because my teeth are playing me up again and I do not want HER touching them. I told her, they are not so bad I need the vet just yet. Meanwhile I would prefer my food cut very fine or to be pate consistency please. She must have got the message as she opened a box of cream cheese just for me, and roasted me chicken this morning, which I am working my way through.

Its not easy being my age. HE keeps wanting to comb me right to the bone. He says I am having fur balls because my undercoat is shedding. There is no dignity in this ageing business. I told him, he can do my my left side but my right is too arthritic. He said thats exactly why I need help, so I can’t win. I take most of my beauty sleep on my right side now to protect it, thats what we animals do, immobilise and protect sore bits. Prrr-ouch.

She decided that if she couldn’t tidy me, she would use up or convert  the last of the stored apples. She cut up the nicest, dipped them in salty water, and dried them in the bottom of the AGA for use in her muesli.

She still had some trimmings and battered looking apples so she made home-made brown sauce with those. She was at it for ages so I saw and this is what she did:

Stored apples can be treated in many ways to extend their kitchen life

Brown Sauce recipe.

Most brown sauces contain gluten as they have rye flour in to thicken. Use pureed apple of rhubarb to make your own gluten free version.

In a large preserving pan (or halve quantities) put:

4lb apples or rhubarb

4 pints water

1 pint malt vinegar

2lb chopped onions

1/2 head garlic or to taste

1 oz salt

4 oz sugar

2 teaspoon molasses, more if liked

2 inches fresh ginger root, chopped plus 1 tsp ginger powder

Dried spices: grind or crush together:

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 chilli or to taste

1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds

2 inch stick OR 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder

2 brown cardamon pods, crushed, husks removed

4 green cardamon pods

4 teaspoons coriander seed

1 teaspoon allspice (Jamaican pepper)

1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg

4 cloves, crushed

Cook all on a high heat, bubbling away for 90 minutes till soft and thick. Add water if too thick. Adjust salt/ sugar/ vinegar  so no one flavour dominates the other.

Yield will be about 9lb volume with quantities above.Put enough wide-mouthed bottles or jars into oven or microwave to sterilise.

Blend the mixture with a stick blender, then rub through a metal sieve to make sauce smooth. Fill the clean warm jars with sauce. You can bottle the sievings too: use as a chutney.

Screw the lids on well and this condiment will keep for a couple of years stored in a cool place. If the mix is over thick when you open the jar, add a little vinegar. This is a good reason not to over-fill the jars. The other is that vinegar rusts through metal caps so use plastic screw tops or leave room at the top and a dab of clingfilm and keep jars upright.

Enjoy!    Tiddler x

Time for an AGA  snooze now


Cake approval, bacon gripes

alert cat
Rosie’s Sweet Goodness cake

Oh no, they are at it again! Strange beings that humans are, they are changing their diets about. Now I would understand a change of shop: I rather liked the M&S habit I thought She was acquiring on the shorter days. The quality of the bacon was SO much better, I actually had to turn down the stuff she has been buying from Lidl. Whats does she think I am? Desperate or something? No I am a gourmand and I demand quality dry-cures, decent smoked salmon, extra mature cheddar and organic butter if possible. Alright, I might fall for the occasional cheese triangle but that ought to be the limit.

Now He has gone on a high protein kick and I thought, great, lots more fresh meat. But no, vegetarian he stays, though the occasional tin of herring in sauce might yield a taster for me. He says he is worried he will get something his Mum had and become dietetic, betaholic, something like that. So Mum is cooking high protein soup and pasta (oh, whats the point in lentils, really?) cheesy veg and hummus stuff. Plus the hens are noisily laying eggs again so there are omelettes and scramble (I am partial to that). At least he is still into the cheeses. I can’t get enough of that stuff. We slim 21 year olds need concentrated nutrition to keep our figures rounded and shiny. Good for passing spring hairballs too, but now I am getting personal.

So tonight she is feeling pleased with herself as she invented a cake which ticks both their boxes: gluten free, veggie, full of protein and hits the sweetness she loves and he craves but should have less of.

As usual I was overseeing the process from my position on the back of the AGA and I can let you into her secrets. Don’t tell her I spilled the trade secrets though!

Rosie’s Sweet Goodness Cake


2 bananas

1 sweet potato, baked till soft, cooled and skinned

(yolks of) 4 eggs

2 teaspoons mixed spice

2 teaspoons cinnamon powder

2 1/2 oz ground almonds

2 1/2 oz coconut flour (grind desiccated coconut finely to make)

Blend all together, whizz, whizz, so noisy!

If liked, add 2 oz crushed walnuts at this point for texture.

Whisk whites of the 4 eggs till very white and sticky (Mum says to stiff peaks stage) and fold into mix gently.

Spoon into 2lb cake tin- Mum has those silicon rubbery things – or 2 sandwich tins and bake in a moderately hot oven Gas 5 for 50-60 minutes,  i.e. till browned and no longer sticky in the middle, or for about 25 minutes if sandwich tins are used. Test with a skewer to see if cake is baked through.

Mum says she will try adding blueberries or freeze-dried raspberries for colour, and also vary with adding grated carrot and orange rind instead of spice and nuts. Pass the butter Mum, thats all I want. Or you could top it with cream cheese, I love that too.

I just remembered what Dad is worried about. Its dia-pet-aches. Thats what you get when you have to live with 2 active kittens I think. I get it all the time just looking at them, pinching my food and favourite sun-spots. Hrmmph.

Night-night, love from Tiddler.x

time for my beauty sleep