As the world opens up, ours came crashing down on Friday. We have a stray cat who visits us regularly. She was a neighbourhood companion of our dear departed Mowzer and we have endeavoured to keep her alive for the past 5 years; leaving food out for her and nursing her through a nasty bout of cat flu. I am using the word "stray" for the purposes of this blog, but those who know me, know that the situation is complicated. Suffice to say, there are people in this world that shouldn't be caretakers of animals.
After formally adopting Lotte the Tortie, the situation became ever more challenging, as Lotte does not tolerate other cats and can be extremely territorial. However, with careful management, we managed. Timing was key.
Recently, we noticed that the little stray's (Oreo as we once decided to call her) breathing has been worryingly audible. A vet once told me that she had probably had cat flu as a kitten, which hadn't been treated and that this could resurface periodically during times of stress. For a time, we assumed that that was the case, until we noticed she was losing weight. To my shame, I began to dread her visits, as I couldn't bear to hear her increasingly audible breathing and yet, she didn't appear to be distressed and always managed to eat some food.
One day, I noticed that Lotte, from her lookout on top of the car, failed to react or make any attempt to send her off. This simple observation was a light bulb moment. Animals have empathy I believe and this uncharacteristic display of charity on Lotte's part, made us realise that something was very wrong. We immediately grabbed the pet carrier and spent some considerable time coaxing Oreo from beneath the van. We primed the vets who were expecting her, explained the situation to the best of our knowledge and were relieved when they agreed to take her in and examine her, promising an update later that evening. On previous occasions, my enquiries have met with the usual suggestion of contacting the RSPCA, an institution that is nigh on impossible to reach by phone and with limited resources, they only tend to pay visits to those desperately in need and sadly not as urgently as the situation might demand.
As promised by Amelia, the kindly vet's assistant, Friday's update was that Oreo appeared to have an upper respiratory infection, but on Saturday morning, we received the sad news that further investigations had revealed a tumour on her larynx and she had been put to sleep. We were assured that she had a peaceful Friday night in a proper bed and was given lots of attention. We were shocked beyond belief, never suspecting anything quite so sinister. It hurts like hell.
On a brighter note, I received a parcel through the post - unsolicited mail of the very best kind. I had mentioned to my friend Vicky at our recent get together, that I needed a belt for a particular dress, but was not expecting her to raid her precious stock and send me one as a gift. To demonstrate my gratitude and showcase the belt's versatility, here are a few photos of recent outfits, utilising said piece of vintage leather loveliness.
Below, it's teamed with a 1960s handmade dress and vintage beads.
For those of you who read my last post, will recall my eagerly awaited Ebay purchase of a pink 1970s Mina of England Carnaby Street dress. Here it is; in excellent working order and with some adorable gold trim on the cuffs and bib. This one was made in India.
It was perfect for Saturday's overcast photographic excursion to Stourbridge to capture a biker gathering in memory of TikTok star, Fr3sh10. We were unaware of this man, who lost his life in a motorcycle accident, but, anticipating a spectacle, we headed to The River Rooms, a Stourbridge music venue just off the ring road.
The 200 bikers that made it to the event under leaden skies, were encouraged to rev their engines before the police temporarily stopped traffic to allow them to ride in convoy around the ring road.
Our last, but probably most important purchase this week, is this....the Bee Thirst Aid Kit. We've tried, with mixed results, to save a few bees recently, but don't always have the ability to give these exhausted little creatures what they need (sugar water to re-hydrate and re-energise), when out on a walk.
The Bee Thirst Aid Kit comprises a small metal container of sugar water on a handy keyring, attached to seed paper containing Black-eyed Susan and Sesame seeds, flowers beloved by bees. A QR code links to the company website where full instructions can be found. I think it's a genius idea!
Back at home, the bees seem pretty happy in our garden at the moment, with the lavatera and sweet peas now in bloom.