Tuesday, 27 May 2008

We're all doing OK

We had a good weekend with our guests, Roger and Christine, and though I was quite preoccupied with worrying about Cleo, we did all go off yesterday for a walk on the East Lothian coast. I eventually stopped fretting about leaving her and enjoyed the bright blustery day. Cleo had spent the afternoon in the garden obviously moving round to keep in the sunshine and out of the wind. The leg may not be working but the brain certainly is.
Cleo still seems happy and amazingly is getting about well, in fact during the night she had gone out through her cat door, climbed onto the window cill outside Roger and Christine's bedroom and howled to be let in. Christine kindly got up, opened the window and took her into the kitchen to feed her (I said they were cat people). We woke this morning to find Cleo asleep on the end of our bed and couldn't believe Roger when he told us what had happened. She has been out in the garden this evening and is now fast asleep on a favourite mohair rug. We are spoiling her rotten, no less than she deserves.

Saturday, 24 May 2008

Cleo, cat of my heart

We had Cleo at the vet this week as she had started limping on one of her front legs. He thought she might have displaced some ligaments and took x-rays which he sent off for second, third and fourth opinions, even consulting the cat experts at the Edinburgh vet school. We received the verdict yesterday, either a tumour or tuberculosis in her bone and we took her down to the vet for another check this morning. David could find no evidence of other tumours or problems with her lymph nodes so thinks it probably is TB. He offered us further investigation but given Cleo's age, about 18, we all agreed not to put her through this, she would not be able to withstand any operation or aggressive treatment so its pointless. We have pain killers/anti inflammatories for her, she took her first dose today sprinkled on fresh mince. Although she is walking very badly and only short distances, she is still eating, purring, scratching the furniture and jumping onto chairs and our bed, as she did at 5 am this morning to let me know she fancied a light snack. Lately she has preferred company when she eats and will wake me well before our alarm goes off and lead me to the kitchen where her food is waiting. Luckily I now keep a supply of dried food with a dish in the bedroom and Mr FF and I were happy to watch her crunching away. She spent some time in the garden with me this afternoon, I took her furry cat igloo out and when the wind turned chilly she climbed inside.
I promise that once the quality of her life deteriorates we will do the right thing, meantime we are treasuring this time with her. We are both quite weepy, which is a bit tricky as we have friends coming tomorrow to stay with us for a few days, but they are cat people too, they will understand. The prospect of loosing her is heartbreaking, the prospect of a house without a cat is terrible but her welfare will be our main concern so bear with me while I devote my time to Cleo.

Sunday, 18 May 2008

Mr and Mrs

They did it, beautiful Amanda and handsome Chris were married on Saturday. It all went so well, I have never seen the girl look so absolutely gorgeous or permanently smiley (but then I mostly see her in a work situation). The rest of the team had a good weep and I dished out the tissues, we loved it.
Such a busy weekend for me, Mr FF and I were up in Perthshire for his professional institution's annual summer weekend. I had planned to get the express bus back down to Edinburgh for the wedding but left it a tad late to book and the one that suited my timing was full. I suggested to Mr FF that I stay home until after the wedding and then join him for the remainder of the weekend. His response was 'I've booked it now', which is Yorkshire speak for 'darling I'd much prefer to have you with me on Friday and Saturday morning'. In the end he brought me down, came home to visit Cleo (kindly being fed by a neighbour) and watched the cup final. I managed to finish my yummy wedding meal, rather rushing the pudding and fully expecting to be sick in the car, before the dash back north for a reception (which we missed) and another meal. By 10.30 I was in the bath soaking my throbbing feet (high heels, standing and dashing about having taken their toll) and asleep shortly after that.
Still all worth it, and the socks, did she wear them, who knows.

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Amanda and Chris

Amanda, who I share an office with, is getting married on Saturday. Over the last months we've had lots of wedding conversations and I've loved being included in her planning. One of the details we've discussed is the something old something new tradition and Amanda has included a silver sixpence in her shoe, which I had never heard before. I've just finished this pair of Seduction socks to give to her tomorrow, her last day at work as a single girl, and I'm going to tell her the tradition actually has another line 'and a pair of socks I've knit for you'. She is wearing under her wedding dress a gorgeous pair of lace up ivory satin Victorian boots, she could wear the socks easily (just kidding Amanda).
All the girls from the admin team will be there to see her and Chris married, we can't wait but I must admit Amanda has been a bit quieter than usual this final week. I told her today that I'm feeling a bit nervy for her, she says times that by 1,000 and thats how she feels. It will be wonderful, she will look stunning and we shall all have a ball, Scottish weddings are brilliant.

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Tuscany part 2 - Activities

Having admired the view of the mountains from the terrace for a few days, Mr FF worked out a walk that would take us between the two peaks we could see up to Refugio Rossi, one of the Alpine Club mountain huts. We drove for about half an hour from the house and after a false start where we took off on the wrong path, the route was easy and well marked but as we climbed higher we came to snow.

This got deeper and deeper until it was well above my knees. Both Mr FF and I are ex-fell and long distance runners so equipped and capable in the mountains, but we were finding it unpleasant making slow progress so eventually we turned back. We met an Italian family we'd passed on the way up, they had decided not to attempt the snow at all. The lady asked me what it had been like, my reply 'brutta, molta brutta'.

We did another walk from Barga, again one of the Alpine Club routes. This took us up on an old mule track, once the only route to the village on the mountainside that you can just spot on the photo. We climbed to the church at the centre of the village and saw not a soul until an old lady came out to explain the war memorial to us.

We really enjoyed this walk for its variety, it took us through beech woods, alongside the river, into ancient villages, past old ruins, immaculate new hillside homes and to a bar where we sat in the sun enjoying an espresso while Sparky the local dog slept on my feet.

We went to Lucca one day and whilst I did find the wool shop is was unfortunately closed. I drooled at the window for quite a while, they had some beautiful yarns at great prices and I could have done a lot of credit card damage. We did get to the botanic gardens which were quite small but interesting with a beautiful pond complete with tartaruga (turtles).

We ate ice creams, amarena and stracciatella, my favouriteand one evening we got dressed up to go to the restaurant. We'd already checked the opening hours, closed Wednesday, so we went on Tuesday but for some unknown reason it was closed. Such is Italy.

I did a bit of dorissingand did I mention that we spent a lot of time on the terrace watching the activity at the riding school.

Sunday, 11 May 2008

Our week in Tuscany part 1

We stayed in the little town of Barga situated about 400 m above sea level

We were on the ege of the town but within walking distance of the old centre, which has a steep narrow traffic free streets leading up to the 9th century cathedral.

This was our house for the week
We spent a lot of time on the terrace off the kitchen which had stunning views of the peaks of the Alpi Apuane rangebut also of the local riding school. We were never short of something to look at whilst enjoying the sunny weather.
Next time I'll tell you what we did when we managed to drag ourselves out.

Friday, 9 May 2008

Always take the weather with you

I'm telling people that I brought this unseasonal summer weather back from Italy with me, but actually it was here while I was away. It was amazing to come home yesterday lunch time to glorious sunshine, we sat outside most of the afternoon and ate dinner on the patio last night, prolonging the holiday mood. The garden has gone berserk while I've been away, plants that were reluctantly to emerge are now around 18 inches high, I love it though I'm a bit concerned for all this tender growth if we have frost. These double tulips were a free offer from the paper if I remember, I just had to pay the postage. A bit gaudy for my liking but in this bright light they look just right.
And Italy? Yes it was wonderful, we felt relaxed the minute we arrived and soon got into lazy flipflop ways. I'll tell you more another day, now I need to get back outside.