I'm in the process of gathering artworks that I've done either over recent years (I have posted some of them before) or currently, from their hidey holes and cleaning 'em up. I've got some very presentable pieces but have never looked after them properly because I never really thought about it, and I've been quite rightly nagged (mostly by Husband) to look after them properly. So now I'm no longer depressed, I have no excuses. I'm making the effort to drag them out from wherever they've been hiding, dusting off the cobwebs and depriving the spiders of their homes, cleaning them up and signing them properly, and do whatever else needs doing to make them presentable - reframing if necessary - and putting them either on Etsy (I do have an account) or on Ebay, whichever comes first. The majority are size A3 or smaller. I have a selection on my Facebook page.
'Coffe-e-e-e.' Uttered in a low growl, sounding desperate, which you are. The only way to utter it. Alternatively you could utter: 'Pope.'
Many cappuccinos ago, Himself Indoors asked me one morning if I wanted a coffee. Before I could respond in the affirmative, he pronounced: 'Is the Pope Catholic?' Yes. Do I want coffee? Duh (yes). We've been 'pope-ing' and 'coffee-ing' ever since. It's a case of who cracks and says 'pope' or 'coffe-e-e-e' first. Our timetables revolve around the frothy-with-chocolate-on-top beverage. Have we got time to do whatever before coffee? Sometimes we only attend an event cuz we like the coffee.
Coffee-itis is a disease. It has to be right for some folk, particularly Husband. The right ambience, the right cup/mug, the right coffee. Me? I'd drink instant from an empty cat food tin if I had to, with the tramps who sit around their fires beneath London’s Charing Cross Bridge arches. Good company. Warm.
What is it about coffee? When you analyse the stuff, it tastes pretty...well...weird. When you take that first sip – 'Aaaahhh...'- that first gulp of caffeine slithers down your gullet, leaving behind a frothy moustache, a frothy blob on your nose and possibly a line of choc powder on your forehead (yup – I've walked round like that, and it's only later – on purpose - that Husband points it out), you love everybody. Except Husband.
Our holidays are planned around it. If there's no coffee shop within a hop, skip and jump of our destination – forget it, no matter how serene/beautiful/fun/perfect the place seems. We've had coffee in a variety of places. Husband often adds the other utterance if the place is worthy of it.
'I've had coffee in worse places.'
One intriguing spot which earned this epitaph was on the Isle of Wight, a tiny island just off the south coast of Hampshire, UK, separated from the mainland by the Solent, a narrow strip of sea, and favoured strongly by Queen Victoria. A Victorian coastal fort, used during both wars, perches upon the cliffs high above the Needles - three distinct pillars of chalk rising from the sea, punctuated at the end by a lighthouse. It's literally a breathtaking view from the old look-out tower. The tower has been converted into a café, and half-a-dozen windows give an almost three hundred and sixty degree panorama over the Needles. Stools and thoughtfully provided binoculars occupy each window.
Another place worthy of our coffee utterences took place on one of our family holidays, umpteen years ago. Slovenia's Lake Bled is beautful. Bled Castle (original name, huh?) is a red-roofed, medieval white bastion perched on a chalk cliff, nestled in forest high above the lake. Another bonkers view. And here we indulged in the inevitable coffee with our kids, outside on the battlements, and here Husband uttered his:
'I've had coffee in worst places.'
Views are the thing, or novelty, or out of the ordinary (same thing, I suppose).
Last year, we won't forget the cappuccinos we sipped on the roadside in Barcelona. The Familia Sagrada Cathedral, covered in wierd and wonderful religious sculptures and carvings, a spit across the road from us, loomed. And it loomed. Definitely loomed. Awesome.
Our latest cappuccinos, of course, were last week (or was it two weeks ago? Oh – how time flies!). Madeira. How exotic. Madeira, part of Portugal, is an extinct island volcano or two some miles off the north west coast of Africa.
There we sat, Himself and me, halfway up this volcano in a tree lined village called Monte. And here are two coffee spots. One sits just below the cable car station, so you can sip your cappo and watch the giant cogs and teeth grinding and murmuring and going round and round while each car reaches the zenith above you and the next one departs and you watch them coming and going, imagining James Bond having a wrestle with Jaws on the roof (they're too small for that). You're sitting above the side of the mountain looking down over the umpteen red rooftops spilling down towards the sea and the port in the far distance. On a clear day it's magnificent, it really is.
There's another spot just up the road from this one, literally, and the view is, again, bonkers. This time we sat and looked down into a valley deep, deep down below (said in a deep voice...). From here you can see a hairy walking trail from miles away on the other side of the valley. There, indeed, we watched a speck, wearing luminous wet weather gear, marching along. It disappeared, then, minutes later, our gazes bulging to find it, it reamerged on this side. The speck/he was walking a Levada, one of many, sometimes very hairy – very narrow mini canals populating the mountains. You need a head for heights for this. Eek. And Husband wants to walk one. So do I, now. I'm not letting him get away with it.
And all of this with your frothy cappucino. Many tales. Many thoughts. Go on. Join me. Cappaccino or flat white? Whatever the latter is. I've just Googled it. An Australian or New Zealand style of coffee developed during the eighties. Fancy. And Australia's on my bucket list of destinations.
Excuse me while I gulp my coffee while I'm thinking about that. Garibaldi anyone?
Bloody done it again, haven't I?! He gave me enough hints but I still forgot it, though the date was staring me in the face! Just kept thinking: 'Nearly 14th.' And it's daughter's birthday tomorrow! I do have a sort of excuse this year though, haven't I? Have I? Pretty please?
As usual, as I woke up, he slapped me on the head with a colossal sized card, and just to emphasise that, chucked a box of Roses chocs on top of that, then just to rub it in even harder, placed a chocolate rosebud carefully next to me. I said: 'Shit!' as is my wont on Valentine's Day. 'Cause I'd forgotten it. As Husband says, it wouldn't be the same if I did remember it. It's daughter's birthday tomorrow as well. During the week leading up to today, he always stands in front of Valentine's Day ads in the street. Hint hint. Plenty of time, I said/thought. Still early in the month. Even my phone date didn't register. *Sigh*.
...we've ever had to do.
Grieving over the loss of a pet is HARD. Many people - those of a tougher disposition, perhaps, or those who've never had a pet - might not understand, I'm not blaming them, I'd like them to know - *bow, scrape*- and they might say: 'It's only a pet.' Husband is burying her this afternoon and I've dreaded it. He brought her back from the vet and she's in the utility room as I type. I don't feel horrific, but I'll be glad when it's all over and we can move on. She was my unjudgemental companion for some years while I suffered depression, so naturally I'm going to grieve.
Excuse me for getting soggy, but my poor old cat, Jessie, is on the way out. We've had her for over ten years now, and cats do have a limited existance. Our first cat, Moppet, lived into her eighties, which was ancient for a cat, but our cats since then - and we've had a couple - have lived normal lengths of time.
We acquired Jessie and her brother Benny after the demise of Humphrey of the stubby tail, who died of cancer, poor sausage (we believe his tail had been run over by a car before he was rescued as a stray, rummaging in bins for food, poor chap).
Benny and Jessie were kittens, and nervous of us. It took a while for them to settle into their new home, unlike their predecessors, who were very much at home almost immediately. Benny would groom his sister, who seemed to enjoy it for a moment, before the session dissolved into a full-on battle and one of them would decide they'd had enough and scarper. As siblings, they never really attached themselves to us. They belonged to each other.
Several years later, just before Husband and I took a narrow boating trip, and I was mentally fragile, Benny became ill with a heart condition. We left our son in charge of them and took off on our boat, believing all should be okay. Benny would be alright. He wasn't and it wasn't. Halfway through our cruise son rang us with the news that Benny was ill and he just wanted to give us that piece of news. Okay. Nothing we could do. We carried on. The following day I answered my phone. Son announced in a shaky voice that Benny had died of heart failure and that he and his mate had buried him in the back garden.
I dissolved. Now, if I'd been in today's state of mind I would have grieved, as you do, in a fairly normal fashion, but I was terrible. We carried on cruising because we had little choice – we had to get home – but every time my mind even lingered on Benny for a second, I became a wreck, crying pitilessly. Husband said later that it wasn't normal, to cry over a pet like that, but we knew that it was my clinical depression making it three times as bad. The grieving was nasty while on the boat. I'd have a vision of Benny – black and white with a teddy bear face – and I 'd break down into a shrivelled pile of human misery. It was horrible. We arrived home and I was beginning to calm, although I couldn't venture into the garden for fear of seeing Benny's grave, and it did take me a while to become accustomed to the idea of his demise. Eventually I was able to pass by his grave without turning into a blubbering wreck. And we still had Jessie, who seemed unperturbed by Benny's absence.
In fact she became more affectionate with us. With me, particularly, because she'd settle on my lap of an evening and stay there, whereas before, both had treated us with the contempt we had deserved (apparently), as cats are wont to do. Mind you, she wouldn't settle on my lap for long. I'd shift slightly, reaching out for something perhaps, and she'd dig her claws into my legs and – pfft! - she'd shot off like the proverbial bullet.
Today, several more years later, she's begun to suffer. Wobble a little and collapse, as she's done a few times. Several visits to the vet have confirmed kidney troubles and she's living on borrowed time. We feed her pills and she is taking them – injected into Dreamies (what's in Dreammies, for heaven's sake, that makes them so moreish to felines?), and powdered on fish. Last night she collapsed while I was watching Ghost Adventures, as I do, and began yowling. I picked her up and she continued yowling, then quietened down. I placed her in front of our solid fuel fire and she lay flat on the carpet. She seemed okay at that point. I told Husband what had happened. We made a big fuss of her and she seems okay, but we're aware that she doesn't have much longer.
I'm preparing myself. We all are. The thought of her absence is heart felt. In a way it will be a blessing. When Husband and I have arranged trips away, I can't consider more than a week's absence. I know son looks after her and gives her great attention, but the thought of us not being there for her, not getting the sitting room fire going...eh, well...
We have plans for the future. One of the big ones is visiting Australia. A longie. That means around a month away. Can't do that to a cat and the son who looks after her. In the meantime, make sure she's comfortable and not in any pain. 'Keep taking the pills.' as my dad used to say.