Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Me and My Friend the Cat.....

It's been a while since I plonked away on here: over a month during which we've moved into the new/old house, had loads of work done to the place, sold the Swedish house, made a run to Sweden to collect our stuff from the house there and, sadly - devastatingly, for me - lost my all-time favourite cat. 

It's been years since we had any renovation works done on a house - and God 'tis a pain! Luckily, we had our Swedish neighbour, the Kraut Roger, available as he was at a loose end waiting a work contract in Norway. He came down and stayed with us for about five weeks, doing loads of work that we would have botched - if attempted - and driving us bonkers with his ever-so-correct Teutonic approach to it all! In truth, although grateful to him for his input (for which we paid a fair rate), it was a great relief to see him go. Peace again reigned!

 He arrived while we were still in our rental place about 30 Kms away. On the day of his arrival, Charlie took off and was not seen for five days, when I found him skulking in a nearby field and brought him home. I then took him to a cattery where he spent ten days or so alone while we actually moved house. Once established here, I collected him and kept him indoors in our bedroom - with Rocky - for a day or so before giving him the run of the place overnight. On the following day he was allowed his freedom and went off for a day or so before returning after a night out on the razzle. He seemed fine, very affectionate and friendly. But he then went off out again that day and hasn't been seen since. I miss him immensely 'cos I absolutely adore him! Luckily, I'd taken a piccy of him just in case:

We've put up all the usual posters etc all around on posts, the local Mairie, Vets etc but so far to no avail. However, having 'googled' the lost cat topic, I remain hopeful that he's nearby in hiding. We were having loads of work done and had Roger, the Kraut, and a Plumber/Electrician on site - all hammering, drilling etc., so lots of noise and activity that he hates! I hope that when winter kicks in fully, with lowered temps and tougher wild food supplies, he'll return.

Rocky, on the other hand, seems to have settled in nicely, hunting - with surprising success - and generally lazing around in the sun or by the stove/fire, snoozing on the sofa, outdoor pew etc. Very content, it seems:

He's even taken to checking out the time on the sundial:

We went up to Sweden by ferry from Tilbury docks to Gothenburg. It was a great journey. We were the only passengers with a hire van on the trip. The ferry was enormous and carried mostly container stuff. We were shown round the engine room and then up onto the Bridge. A great, interesting experience. The engines were huge. The Bridge comfortable and the vessel, when not on automatic pilot, controlled by a tiny joystick-thingy. Needless to say, and annoyingly, I'd forgotten to take our camera! Despite the high degree of computerisation onboard, the navigation charts were also still maintained by hand. The vessel was the Sealandia Seaways:


Although it was a 36 hour crossing, the sea was relatively calm, the food passable, the cabin comfy and the experience enjoyable. We sat out on deck by the funnels in a warm, sheltered spot for a while on the recommendation of the crew, who were very friendly and helpful. I can now understand why some people elect to holiday on freighters etc., as it must be a different and pleasant thing to do. We got our grub from the crew mess and the boat simply sliced through the sea, when it was at its heaviest, like butter.

The house here is now looking more lived in:

More like a rural slum, really!!!!

The interior has changed, too:

The kitchen:

Dining Room, last week:

Dining Room now, with added London friend:

Still loads of work to go, but getting there steadily.

Sitting Room last week:

And now:

Still a lot of painting etc., to go.....but we do have the paint, collected from a painter & decorator friend in Kent, en-route to the Swedish Ferry:

We had an old/new wood-burner - originally bought in Spain but never installed - fitted today in the so-called dining-room. A welcome addition, as the temps have been low at night, with a full moon but pleasantly sunny, warmish days for the most part. Makes a welcome change from the rain, which was heavy and which we fortunately managed to largely miss while in Scandawegia:

And the same thing yesterday:

We had a load of radiators delivered today from Germany, where Roger had sourced them at a fraction of the French price. They look excellent and will be fitted in a few weeks time. The plumber has already installed the pipework etc., so hopefully it will be a relatively painless transition.

In the meantime, we managed to do a straight car swap with a Brit pair who had sold up and were returning to Blighty. They had a Froggo registered car and needed a UK registered thing, which we had. So a deal was done and we now have a locally registered, Froggo voiture:

I've also indulged meself a tad, buying a few guitars to keep me spirits up:

A Fender Telecaster, with twin Humbuckers:

A wonderful, Martin 0028, Eric Clapton signature thingy:

And a lovely thing, based on a Martin 00028, made by a fine British guitar maker, Dave King (http://www.daveking-acoustics.com/):

I'm hoping to get our Kentish friend out to do the painting, as he's a pro and will be much better and quicker than us. But he has no passport right now and seems unsure about when he might get out. So, for now, it's fingers crossed.

Jack has been feeling a bit down lately, with eye troubles and a general elderly spaniel look about him. I know how he feels......

We had an old friend, a retired Uni lecturer from London - originally from Glasgow - over for a week holiday. Needless to say, he was as daft as a brush, being an academic - of sorts - and so we took him to nearby village which had a certain je ne sais quois and resonated with him:

The original Ali G:

A good friend of J's, from her midwifery days in London, is coming out for a break next week. Here's hoping the weather is half decent - she could do with it, I'm sure.