A shattered dream, perhaps, or just wishful thinking?

There was time, quite a few years back I had a dream, well, it was more wishful thinking than anything else.

I was going to run a bookshop.  You know, that quaint little storefront in a tucked away little town somewhere by the ocean, where the clientele would be both travelers and locals alike, people who liked to read.

It would have an area set aside, somewhere within the shelves where there would be a fire in winter, and opened windows and fresh air in summer, a place where you could drink coffee or tea, with scones or cake, and read prospective tomes, or start on that purchase you just made.

There would be not only new books but old, second, third or having been through many hands, books with the aroma of time seeping up from every page, hard covered books with crackly spines, pages that have the stains of age.

And perhaps the name of one of its owners scribble on the front page, along with the price, what it cost all those years back when it was new.

Of course, those places still exist, somewhere in the literary universe, but the idea of owning one such establishment now would mean that you had to be independently wealthy, with a pile of money in the bank, because you would not be relying on profits to keep it going.

If I was a successful author, yes, it would make sense, existing in a literary world where I could read, or write, or talk to other readers or writers, or just do nothing.

And, yes, there would have to be a cat.  There’s always a cat, somewhere, sitting in the window and looking out on the world passing by, or curled up by the fire, reliving those halcyon years of mice catching.

Hang on, where had my fairy godmother gone?

A shattered dream, perhaps, or just wishful thinking?

There was time, quite a few years back I had a dream, well, it was more wishful thinking than anything else.

I was going to run a bookshop.  You know, that quaint little storefront in a tucked away little town somewhere by the ocean, where the clientele would be both travelers and locals alike, people who liked to read.

It would have an area set aside, somewhere within the shelves where there would be a fire in winter, and opened windows and fresh air in summer, a place where you could drink coffee or tea, with scones or cake, and read prospective tomes, or start on that purchase you just made.

There would be not only new books but old, second, third or having been through many hands, books with the aroma of time seeping up from every page, hard covered books with crackly spines, pages that have the stains of age.

And perhaps the name of one of its owners scribble on the front page, along with the price, what it cost all those years back when it was new.

Of course, those places still exist, somewhere in the literary universe, but the idea of owning one such establishment now would mean that you had to be independently wealthy, with a pile of money in the bank, because you would not be relying on profits to keep it going.

If I was a successful author, yes, it would make sense, existing in a literary world where I could read, or write, or talk to other readers or writers, or just do nothing.

And, yes, there would have to be a cat.  There’s always a cat, somewhere, sitting in the window and looking out on the world passing by, or curled up by the fire, reliving those halcyon years of mice catching.

Hang on, where had my fairy godmother gone?

Monday came and went, and now it’s Thursday

I had so many things planned, those little bits and pieces that seem to get away from you.

It’s now Wednesday night and I have only just come back to this post to write some more or maybe finish it, but that should you some idea of how easy the simple things can get away from me.

To fill in the gaps in the story, I started to make a list of those bits and pieces, and that was the first mistake.

I frightened myself.

Tuesday disappeared in writing down what was on my writing slate. For instance,

Episode 10 of the murder story

Episode 55 of the treasure hunt

Episode 42 of the Castello di Brolio story

Episode 1 of the WW2 story – this has a start but is it Episode 1.  What bothers me is that I wrote some of this on the plane, but it disappeared somewhere, so I’m not sure when this may get done.

Episode 6 of Writing instead of insomnia

Episodes 137 through 144 of Being Inspired, Maybe. This is a series of photographs, and the story inspired by them

Episode 25 through 30 of PI Walthenson’s second case, still without a title.

And, don’t get me started on where I am with Strangers We’ve Become, because the rewrite seems to have stalled at page 360ish. The book is done but rereading told me, or the cat did far more emphatically, there a few gaps.  This needs to get done, and I need to stick the courage to the sticking point.

Wednesday arrived and I was looking at the list wondering what I was going to do next and realized that I’d been putting off writing the next few posts on the traveling blog which desperately need to be done.

So…

Traveling blog times two, and now it’s Thursday.

Damn, where did the week go?

No more conversations with my cat – 100

As some may be aware, but many not, Chester, my faithful writing assistant, mice catcher, and general pain in the neck, passed away some months ago.

Recently I was running a series based on his adventures, under the title of Past Conversations with my cat.

For those who have not had the chance to read about all of his exploits I will run the series again from Episode 1

These are the memories of our time together…

Even now, I still believe he is here with us, in spirit, though sometimes I swear I hear him coming down the passage, or is sitting on the floor, behind me in the office, waiting to hear the next piece of writing and offer his often sage comments.

But, no. When I turn around he’s not there, and I stop, for a moment or two, and remember.

This was Chester.

20160903_163902

For a few days, we have been monitoring Chester.

He hasn’t been talkative, in fact, I have been mistaking his usual taciturn nature in the mornings for what it really was.

A total lack of interest in anything.

He did not come down in the morning. OK, so, sometimes he cracks a hissy fit and totally ignores me.

But, this is different.

After a few days he returns and gives me the benefit of his wisdom.

Today, he hasn’t shown at all, so I went looking for him.

He was in his usual hiding spot, lying down.   I give him a pat, he opes his eyes and looks at me.  This is a cat who is not well.

I pick him up, and there’s no immediate fight back. He doesn’t normally like to be carried anywhere. Today, he’s putty in my hands.

I call the vet. She can fit him in now if I run.  I’m running.

He goes into his carry basket without a fight.  OK, now I know something is definitely wrong.

There’s not a sound between home and the clinic. Usually, he screams the place down, trying to get him into the carrier, and then makes as much noise as possible when driving.

Today there is nothing, not even a whimper.

The vet comes out. She has been seeing him for the last ten years and they are well acquainted.

We see her every six months. Without fail, for shots and stuff.

I take him out of the carrier and he lies down on the metal bench.

She looks at him, then picks him up.

She weighs him.

He’s lost two kilos, and that’s a lot for a cat.

I can see it’s bad news.

It is.

He’s 19 years old, long past the average life expectancy.

To keep him alive now would be inhumane. He has, apparently, reached the end of his life, and has lost the desire to eat or to do anything. There was nothing I could have done to prevent it.

She says, it just happens.

It will be quick and it will be painless.

I can see in his eyes that it’s what he wants.

I said goodbye, went outside and sat in the car, and cried.

There’s going to be a lot more tears before this day is out.

Memories of the conversations with my cat – 99

As some may be aware, but many not, Chester, my faithful writing assistant, mice catcher, and general pain in the neck, passed away some months ago.

Recently I was running a series based on his adventures, under the title of Past Conversations with my cat.

For those who have not had the chance to read about all of his exploits I will run the series again from Episode 1

These are the memories of our time together…

20151219_163915

This is Chester.

Not everything is fine in la-la-land, as he now calls it.

Not happy that I didn’t tell him about the second week of child invasion.

He should consider himself lucky that the school week started on Tuesday, and only one was staying home to do schoolwork.

The other has been able to return to the classroom.

One less tormentor, I heard him mutter as he slinked past the room where the homeschooler was working.

But a more sinister problem had arisen.

He’s stopped eating his food.  I first thought this was part of a two-week standoff, where he cuts his nose off to spite his face.

This is not the first time we’ve been through this.

So, just to see if it is a fit of pique, I get him his absolute favorite food.  Fresh Atlantic Salmon cut into small pieces just the way he likes it.

Yes, the aroma reaches him in his hiding spot, along with the call-out that I’d bought him salmon, but when he goes to the bowl, he takes a sniff, or two, then wanders away.

He doesn’t even look at me.

Very, very unusual.

I will be keeping an eye on this.

 

Memories of the conversations with my cat – 98

As some may be aware, but many not, Chester, my faithful writing assistant, mice catcher, and general pain in the neck, passed away some months ago.

Recently I was running a series based on his adventures, under the title of Past Conversations with my cat.

For those who have not had the chance to read about all of his exploits I will run the series again from Episode 1

These are the memories of our time together…

20160903_163902

This is Chester.  He’s now over having the grandchildren staying with us.

As part of the COVIS 19 restrictions in place, the grandchildren cannot go to school.

However, because their parents are both working (which is very fortunate as so many others are not) they have asked us to look after them.

So, they arrive Sunday night, stay the whole week, and go back home on Friday.  It means they are homeschooling, so the internet is taking a beating, I have to feed them, morning tea, lunch. After school snack at three and then dinner.

Chicken nuggets, pies, and shoestring chips can only go so far, and, no, he does not like scraps from their plates.

And having to cater for four rather than two means a gentle shift in logistics.  More shopping for food, having to do the washing every day, tormenting the cat.

OK, that last part is where Chester comes in, or, rather, he stays hidden away.

Remember that phobia he has when the grandchildren are around?

Now they’re here semi-permanently, he’s in hiding, and coming out only for food and water.

And to let me know just how displeased he is.

He wants his domain back.

Pity I haven’t told him yet they’re going to be back next week.

 

Memories of the conversations with my cat – 97

As some may be aware, but many not, Chester, my faithful writing assistant, mice catcher, and general pain in the neck, passed away some months ago.

Recently I was running a series based on his adventures, under the title of Past Conversations with my cat.

For those who have not had the chance to read about all of his exploits I will run the series again from Episode 1

These are the memories of our time together…

20161008_135142

This is Chester

Still hiding away.

Like any wise, old, skeptical cat, he’s not believing the good news.

We do not have a COVID 19 case in our house. Of course, we had to wait an agonizing 24 hours before we got the good news by phone.

It shows that our testing labs are getting through the tests, of which I heard in the news there were about 4,000, with only 10 or so new cases countrywide.

Queensland had none overnight, so if our case had been positive, we would have been in the news for al; the wrong reasons.

So, after broadcasting the news, that is, walking up and down the passage saying it was safe to come out, there’s still no sign of him.

But…

I have a cunning plan.

I bought a can of his absolute favorite food.

Come dinner time I’m putting it out.

 

Of course, food trumps fear every time.

He walks past me on his way to the tasty treats, the tail movements indicating he is not a happy cat.

The things I have to suffer at the hands of you humans, he mutters.

So, I say casually, we have guests for dinner.

He stops, turns his head in that dismissive manner of his.
What else can you do to me?

COVID 19, Grandchildren, I suppose you’re going to let me outside.

Do you want to go outside?

With COVID 19 lurking on every corner?

It’s under control.

Right. I’ve been watching TV. You do realize there’s good news and fake news, and there’s more of the latter than the former.

So, he’s going with the confuse the poor human with blather.

It’s working. I say, Go back into hiding. I was quite enjoying the silence.

After dinner, he says, ending the conversation with the angry tail swish. Yes, we are not amused.

Memories of the conversations with my cat – 96

As some may be aware, but many not, Chester, my faithful writing assistant, mice catcher, and general pain in the neck, passed away some months ago.

Recently I was running a series based on his adventures, under the title of Past Conversations with my cat.

For those who have not had the chance to read about all of his exploits I will run the series again from Episode 1

These are the memories of our time together…

20160902_093753

This is Chester

Once again, it’s Sunday night, and he’s looking for a philosophical discussion.   COVID 19 is off the topic list.

He’s suitably disappointed that the Trump Show is over, as far as we are aware, though he’s not surprised.

But he is worried that two cats have tested positive.

I try to tell him that it is in New York, about 18,000 miles away, where there are over 200,000 cases. We have just over 1,000 and they are all isolated so we cannot be harmed.

I guess it’s hard to convince a cat when his mind is made up.

We’ve also taken the grandchildren off the list of topics too,

They arrive a few hours ago, and studiously ignored him when they arrived. I tried to point out that he was in hiding when they arrived, but again, the stubbornness of opinion is amazing, or normal.

I should be used to this sort of contrariness.

So, what is on the discussion list?

Outlander, Season 5 Episode 10. Well, I say, we haven’t seen it yet, so don’t tell me what the plots is.

He looks at me as if I’m mad. I only get to see it when you do, he says. How should I know what the plot is?  In fact, what is the plot?

Time travel, I say.

Pity we can’t do some of that, he says.

Why I asked, and really, I should know better.

Because I could go back to the day you came to the pet shop and hide. I have given you 18 years to improve, and you’re still the same as you were then.

Discussion over.

Not his favorite food for dinner tonight.

Memories of the conversations with my cat – 95

As some may be aware, but many not, Chester, my faithful writing assistant, mice catcher, and general pain in the neck, passed away some months ago.

Recently I was running a series based on his adventures, under the title of Past Conversations with my cat.

For those who have not had the chance to read about all of his exploits I will run the series again from Episode 1

These are the memories of our time together…

20160909_062838-2

This is Chester.

He realizes we are now part of a different world driven by the events surrounding the COVID 19 virus.

The grandchildren are here while their parents are working, and they are going to school remotely, that is one is in the kitchen and one is in the dining room, remotely linked to their school, teachers, and classmates.

Chester finds this interesting because they are not trying to find him, so, he’s come out to see what they’re doing.

First, he jumps up on the dining table and sits next to the 13-year-old. She is hard at work. I hear him ask if there is anything he can help with given his vast knowledge of everything.

There’s a universal greeting from 30 others, and he tries to find where all the other people are. No, it’s not hide and seek, they’re all online she tries to tell him.

No, doesn’t get it. They must be in the room somewhere. And he’s suddenly miffed that he can’t find them, and then that his assistance is not required.

All too much to cope with, he comes out to join the 10-year-old sitting at the kitchen table. She had headphones on and doesn’t hear him.

This time he sits on the floor and looks up thinking, if they can’t see him, he’s not there. She ignores him. I don’t think mathematics is his strong point.

So, he wanders into the office, planning to annoy me.

I find some headphones and put them on. He gets the message, no interruptions today, everyone is hard at work.

A sigh, then he goes to his corner and lies down on his bed, yawns and closes his eyes.

I know he’s not asleep. He’s waiting for something to happen, ready to spring into action.

Unless, of course, it’s a mouse.

Past conversations with my cat – 94

20160921_071506

This is Chester.

We are in the middle of a philosophical debate.

No, it’s not about whether the world is flat, though sometimes I think he has that notion, as well as all humans are basically stupid.

I’ve been thinking about the pandemic and how it might meld into a plotline for a story.

Chester is not happy that I should use China as the country with global ambitions, after using the term ‘global domination’ and got a very silky retort.

He doesn’t seem to think that by causing a pandemic, making each of the G20 nations basically launch themselves into insolvency in order to maintain some semblance of economic stability, that China, who miraculously recovers, becomes the nation who saves the world?

It sounded quite good in my head.

Particularly when you see nations like the USA, the only other country that could tackle China as a ‘savior’ state, is going slowly down the gurgler.   Or so it seems, and it’s only a matter of time before something gives.

Chester and I now have mandatory viewing every morning, the Donald Trump show, where we lay bets as to whom he’s going to fire or lambast.

Chester thought the Doctor was gone for all money on Monday.

My money was on the reporter, who wouldn’t stop asking questions.

But today, it might be about Joe Biden and the Democrats, and the ramping up of the Republican’s political campaign.  Who said the COVID briefings had to be about that mundane virus?

Still, it’s back to the drawing board.  The overall plot is good, creating a virus that brings almost every nation to its knees, and one that rises out of the ashes to ‘save the world’.  It’s like you don’t need bullets and arms to fight a war, just a hell of a sneaky virus; you know, infecting people when you don’t know you’ve got it and infecting others.

Hang on, Chester’s calling.  It’s time for the Donald Trump show.