Tuesday, 19 April 2016

A book, A play, A Cat...

I feel like I am back with the living. Loss of my little dog really knocked us around. People who don't love dogs won't understand that, others will. To lose a loving creature who was never more than a metre away from me for over 15 years old makes me feel like I lost a limb.  But life goes on and he is now safely within my memory where he will stay forever.

Onwards and upwards to books. Our book group is reading
A Little Life. I was looking forward to it because the hype around this book has been intense. But my word it is long. Too long. This author is so wordy. I think the story is interesting. We follow the lives of four boys, one of which was badly abused by the brothers as he grew up an orphan. Jude is a very bright boy and goes on to study law as an adult but he is extremely emotionally damaged due to childhood abuse. JB is a friend who grows up to be an artist of renown. Other friends Malcolm and Willem are also featured. The friendship begins in their teens and through adulthood we go. I admit I am only 35% of the way through this so I continue to read this book on my kindle as well as listen to the narrative on audio. The editor in me wants to slash and burn. The author makes a point. He then goes on to make it again....and again.... and again.  Then the point is explained. I am finding it a tedious read but I do want to know what happens to them.  I enjoy hearing what these boys get up to in their life but the writing does drive me mad at times. I will persevere for another few days. I can't promise to finish it but I am giving it my best as we discuss it on the last Wednesday of the month.

On a happier night our play reading class through U3A (University of the Third Age) has our group reading Juno and the Paycock. A wonderful Irish play by Sean O'Casey. The Irish woman in our group chose this play and we are learning a lot about the author and the time and location in Ireland. We have a lot of fun trying to do an Irish accent. Reading the words out loud help us to slide into the accent quite easily at times but the vocabulary of the country and the time period trips us up sometimes. We have a woman in the class who is German, some Aussies, some English and Scottish and of course we follow that up with my American accent.  We have many laughs. I never appreciated plays until I started up with this class and our teacher, Marlene, in her 80's with years of drama experience is wonderful. We love her sense of humour, her enthusiasm and her knowledge. I think we finish up this play this afternoon.

On the animal note in our house, life has begun again for Griswald or Grizzy Bear for short. Tasmania has a glut of cats at the moment. We await the day when the legislature governing cats comes into place. The government is slow. Feral cats in Australia are a huge problem and kill much of the wildlife here. Wildlife that can only be found in Australia but that is another story.

We have problems in our house between Cousin Eddie and Uncle Buck. You see, Uncle Buck or UB to his friends, is neurologically impaired due to severe abuse as a three week old kitten (before we got him). I saved him from a vet office when working as a vet nurse at the time.  I was asked to bring him home for the weekend to try and get food into him. We did not expect him to live. Ten years later he is a big round fat long haired grey cat. Loving. Very loving. Not very bright. He tries.  Cousin Eddie is a two year old kitten from the RSPCA who has worked out there is something wrong with UB.  Bullying has ensued.  It hasn't gotten better but worse.

Enter my bright idea of bringing in a third kitten. Grizzy. He is 16 weeks old, pure black with the exception of white chest hairs and his behaviour at the Cat Centre was placid. In fact I was told he sleeps most of the time. Likes cuddles, his food and warmth.  Sounded perfect. Cousin Eddie would have a playmate and leave UB alone. That was the plan. The reality?

Grizzie is like a bullet shot from a gun, ricocheting off every thing in the house. He slides across the room as easily as he leaps to the highest spot in the house. He eats like a horse and Cousin Eddie is so dazzled by him he had airplane ears for several days every time he looked at him. It took him three days to put the fur down on his back. I was worried.

But the rush is over and they are all getting along fine.  UB is being left alone and he is happy. The dogs think the cat skirmishes are good fun to watch and leave them all alone. Casual interest now.  Eddie and Grizzy seem to love chasing each other, playing and having meals together. The plan has worked.  Fortunately we have a large outdoor enclosure to put the two of them into when their jets need cooling. We do not let them roam at will as Tasmania has too much precious wildlife and it will not be killed by these goofy guys.

As I said, life goes on. Books are being read and placed on hold at the library. Discussions around them occur regularly. Animals give us peace and the autumn weather here has been delightful.

We still miss Wally but have come to terms with what a wonderful life he had with us and we are feeling better. As long as there are live animals who need homes we will do our little bit here in our part of the world. We do draw the line though at five. Our family is complete.

Looking forward there is the Sydney Writer's festival coming up when I fly to Sydney on 16 May and stay a week.

My sister arrives from California in mid June for awhile and we will see parts of Australia we have not seen. I have a trip to England and Ireland planned for mid September to mid October with a friend of mine from Florida. We will meet at Heathrow and rent a car. We plan on driving around the Cornwall area, Wales and then spend two weeks in Ireland by car. There is a lot to look forward to and I plan on sharing all of it here with anyone who is interested.  There will be books involved. The Penguin and I are ready to travel and read.

Until next time.......


  1. my daughter is a vet and it has taken her a long time to get used to clients passing. she still has difficulty with it, but, as she says, it's part of the job and it's part of life... how thoughtful of you to build a cat runway for the crazier family members! that idea alone could do a lot for the feral cat situation there... and it sounds like a wonderful excursion coming up to the british isles, etc. i'm sure it will be a lot of fun...!

  2. "airplane ears" - best description of that well-known feline look!

  3. I'm not a fan of A Little Life, as many people already know, for several reasons one of which you're already on to here. It will make for an interesting and passionate discussion, in any case.

    I certainly know what you mean about losing a dog (or any pet.) It's been over a year now without Dakota. She is still missed, but we can now tell funny stories about her. There are many to tell.

  4. I'm not a fan of A Little Life, as many people already know, for several reasons one of which you're already on to here. It will make for an interesting and passionate discussion, in any case.

    I certainly know what you mean about losing a dog (or any pet.) It's been over a year now without Dakota. She is still missed, but we can now tell funny stories about her. There are many to tell.

    1. A Little Life ....hmmm, turned out to be over wordy, over the top, misery lit at it's worst and best. I don't think I've ever read a fiction that had so much grief. My fellow book club friends seemed to like it (can't say anyone enjoyed it) more than I did. Must say I felt I really knew the characters, but Good Grief Charley Brown, stop with every storyline of devastation one can think of.
      Thanks re: losing the dog. I don't think I will ever forget Wally and we too tell funny stories about him. I really wish there was an afterlife where I could look forward to seeing him again but I don't really think there is. Thanks for your comments.

    2. there's no afterlife, i agree, but just think about all the amazing things your constituent atoms will experience! a trillion different chemical compounds and eternal gallivanting around the universe. i can't wait...!


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