Sunday, 23 October 2011


The best person to have written this piece is Susan Hardy who ran/drove around like a lunatic co-ordinating everything and transporting people and fashion show stuff, but she wouldn't do it even if I asked, so the person who is writing it is one of the Animal Krackers staff who had just about the least to do with it -Susan's husband, otherwise known as me, your not so humble blogger of this parish.

First off, a big thank you to everyone who worked behind the scenes, wore the clothes, sold the stuff, and St.Aidan's Church (in particular Stephen) who allowed us to use their hall for a very modest fee. Secondly, apologies to you and everyone else for the poor quality of the photographs because the photographer (me) is clearly better at taking closeups of cats and kittens than anything else.

What follows is a my-eye view of the evening, nothing more, nothing less.

I got there just after six in the evening while things were still being set up and, after a bit running around, ended up taking money on the door with the help of Gary and Derek, our announcer Heather's husband. Susan hadn't really arranged this bit as we had no float and she hadn't anticipated the large number of people who turned up without tickets of which we'd already sold out. So many people turned up that, as I watched the hall getting more and more crowded, started getting worried about health and safety (for which I have a qualification as a union rep). It was decided to not allow anyone else in without a ticket which I managed very unsuccessfully as most people seemed to have a valid reason for being admitted and ending up turning away very few. Around 7.40, people seemed to have stopped arriving, so I went inside to catch the last fifteen minutes of the fashion parade.

As I said, the place was packed with standing room only. Around the walls were various stalls selling stuff, rows of seats and U-shaped space in the middle for the models to parade up and down. I took a few pictures from the back then squeezed through the throng to stand next to my retired library colleagues and friends Denise and Sylvia who were seated at the end of a row. I was reluctant to take photos of children due to the prevailing paedophilia fear. Now in an earlier 'humourous' self piss-taking post I allowed myself to persuaded to attend by the prospect of masses of cleavage on view. This indeed proved to be the case but, because I actually am anti-sexist I was reluctant to take any photographs of the several models who actually did reveal their decolletage, which is another reason the photos which follow are not only crap but boring.

Once the fashion show was over, the hatch opened for people to claim their free glass of wine and sample some cheese and biscuits. Attendees were also encouraged to spend spend spend at the various stalls which they did. I mooched around, chatting to various people, claimed my free glass of wine (and, later, a second) and some cheese and biscuits. Things began tail off after 9.00 but we didn't start clearing up until half an hour later and I was after 10.00 by the time I got away with Susan arriving home nearly half an hour after that.

That wasn't the end for us as Susan and I, with Big Ian, Anne, and Andrea   back at the church hall at 9.00am the next morning to transport the unsold clothes (quite a lot), clothes rails, and boxes back to the Animal Krackers shop and haul them upstairs. It took three (or was it four?) full van loads and at the end of it I was completely knackered.

So, was it worth it?

Most definitely. We made in excess of £1,000 which wasn't bad at all. The event went off well and seemed to be enjoyed by all who attended. It raised our profile as an organisation and there'll be a piece in the Sunderland Echo this week. Would we -or rather, Susan- do it again? That remains to be seen but it was well worth doing in the first place.

And now, what you've all been waiting for, my crummy photographs of the event.

And this being my cat rescue blog, here are some recent cat and kitten photos.

Lastly, look in the top left of this photograph and you'll see a tiny feral kitten which had escaped from its cage taken refuge here with the big friendly dog. 

Saturday, 15 October 2011


But first, the rest of the week.

Tuesday brought a new experience for me. I received a call from an operator using a text phone. The call was from a deaf woman who typed in the words at her home which were then spoken to me by the operator. I then replied and the operator typed in what I said to appear on the screen in the woman's home. She had a mother and two kittens for me. They'd been living in her garden and in her house for a few weeks but was concerned about them and would we take them. Luckily we could and it wasn't far away so I went straight round.

The woman was in her twenties with a husband and two young (about 3 and 5) hearing children. She could lip read and signed what I said to her husband. Seemed nice people. Here are the kittens and their mother, all available for re-homing.

Don't remember doing anything animal-related on Wednesday. Went for a coffee (a weekly event) with my retired library friends Denise and Sylvia and sold them tickets for next week's fashion show. Our regular independent coffee place in The Bridges (Sunderland's indoor shopping area) had closed down. We tried a corner coffee house outside but I wasn't too keen on it and suggested we try Starbucks in The Bridges. So this was our first visit but it won't be our last.

Thursday and I had a hospital appointment in the afternoon. A couple of months ago and following an X-ray, my dentist found a black mass inside the gum on my lower jaw and referred me to the hospital so I was there for further investigations which involved more X-rays from two different axes (or, axises if you prefer). Result: I would have to come in in about 4-6 weeks for a minor operation. This involves local anaesthetic, cutting open the gum to take tissue and bone samples, and stitching back up. And a fair bit of pain later on.

Friday teatime I got a call to say the surgeon had developed a space on his list next Wednesday. Great, no waiting. Susan thought this might mean it was serious. I thought I was just lucky. Now I'm beginning to wonder myself.

Thursday morning we had to take up the living room carpet and underlay as we were wood laminate flooring installed the next day. Lot of work moving furniture, never mind the carpet. When it actually happened, poor Lotus, our new old cat, who lives in the room, ran and hid. I finally found her and put her on the bed where Little Bob was sleeping.

Thursday evening was a rehearsal for next week's fashion show which, according to Susan (I didn't go), after a shaky start went well.

Friday morning and of to see the doctor for a checkup following a chest infection which needed antibiotics and still hasn't fully cleared up and a sharp pain in my chest when I swallowed which has. I also mentioned my increasing procrastination and feelings of tiredness about which she decided to double my intake of Citalopram to 20mgs a day. I've been on this drug for about twelve years now. My weight was pretty much the same and blood pressure reasonable despite a higher than normal reading yesterday at the hospital. If you're curious, I'm also on perindopril and statins.

One o'clock and a trip to the dentists for a major filling. I've gone private because the place I went to before just couldn't fit fillings that would stay in and the one I was having done today -a molar- had caused particular problems. Needless to say, it cost a lot more than the other place, but you get what you pay for and in this case it was a completely rebuilt filling that will stay in.

Saturday morning (today) and I picked up a 4-month old grey tabby tom kitten who was just too lively for the elderly couple who'd adopted him. In the house he was friendly but got a bit of a shock when he found himself bundled into a cat carrier and taken somewhere strange.
While at Carole's I got a call from Susan to say that an ex-helper of ours, Ian F, had been taken into hospital at four in the morning and I had to go and collect his house keys as he fostered, pretty much on a permanent basis, two medium size and enthusiastically friendly dogs. Later we learned that Ian had to have an operation from which he's now recovering. No details as yet but I doubt if he'll be back home for a while. Susan and I fed the dogs and gave one his medicine but after that Phil and Andrea will be looking after them.

We've been having a promotion at Pets At Home, a pet supply shop which very kindly offered to help Animal Krackers, with a tombola and stuff like that. Susan has been ferrying people and prizes there for the last two days. We'd finished seeing to Ian's dogs and had just arrived at Phil's to drop off the keys when the van decided to conk out. It's now at a garage awaiting (I think) a new starter motor and will be effectively off the road until Thursday at the least. Bummer.

So, not the best of weeks all things considered.

Monday, 10 October 2011


This is a bit of a miscellaneous collection of photographs with some brief explanatory details for those which need them. First off- cats in a basket!

A feral cat in a crusher cage at the vets where he'll be neutered and later released back where he came from.

Kittens! You've seen them before but now they're a week or so older than the last time and just as cute.

Last night Carole was asked by the police to take in a cat which had been found with her owner who had been dead for a week. According to his landlord he'd been suffering from Hepatitis B and Carole had wanted her checked out by the vet. No idea how old she is -my guess was 8 but she could easily be older. Despite being trapped for a week she doesn't seem to have lost any weight -she's quite heavy- and seems in good condition, though her teeth and gums need work. Curiously in both appearance and manner, she's quite similar to Lotus, the gentle old girl Susan and I have taken in recently; her fur is much softer though.

And lastly a photo of our van with donations I'd just picked up.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011


Trying to fill in a form for my accountant so she can do my tax and frequently getting interrupted by phone calls from people wanting to know if I'm really stuck in Spain, wanting to re-home cats -sorry, we're full, wanting to re-home a chihuahua -sorry, we're-

What was that?

A chihuahua. Four years old. Chipped. Owner about to go on a rig tomorrow and is thinking of having it put to sleep. His mother is just out of hospital and is recovering from cancer and can't cope with it. I call Phil on my mobile who tells me we can take it which I tell the guy on the land line. He's at Westhall kennels who've given them my number. I tried and explain where Ferryfarm kennels are but gave up and told him to bring the dog to my house. And here he is.
He's actually bigger than I expected, still a small dog but not tiny. I brought him in the house and put him in the living room where I'd been watching TV with Lotus, though to be honest I don't think she was really interested in Terra Nova, which I'd recorded from last night, though I quite liked the first two episodes. What Lotus didn't like was the little dog and, to my complete astonishment, she jumped off her chair and attacked him. The most she's done with the other cats was a half-hearted hiss. So I put him in the garden but he didn't like being left alone and barked a lot. He was also frightened of our short-haired grey cat Lily even though she kept well away from him.  Eventually I gave up and took him for a walk down to the shop where I was able to leave him in the care of Andrea. 

I've just heard from Susan that someone is coming this afternoon to foster him. Goodbye little dog.
But not forgetting cats. First off are two feral kittens which Carole hopes to tame, then an adult feral female I'd taken to the vets for spaying. How does a cat like that get to be feral?

Then there's the three-month old black kitten I picked up for re-homing. He looks sad, but he isn't. He's a lively, friendly, playful little thing.

Lastly here are a few garden photos of  Lotus, whom we know now to be 14 years old because her late owner took out an insurance policy to pay for any care she needed.


My Google account was hacked last Friday. If, by any chance, you have received an email from me asking for money because I've been robbed in Spain -do not reply and delete immediately.

For full details see my Freethinking blog.