Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Perfect Family Easter

The Holy week masses are the best masses of the year in my eyes. But, out of the three masses, my absolute favourite mass is the Easter Vigil. After all the sorrow of Jesus' death and burial, after the shock of Judas' betrayal, it is so wonderful to have the joyful knowledge that Jesus has risen.

We stood outside with the rest of the church choir, waiting for Father to start mass. The brazier burned brightly, filling the gloomy outside area with dancing light. Then Father came out with the Easter candle. As he lit it, I knew that the light of the world was rekindled.

All around us, little spots of light appeared, twinkling in the semi-dark. Christ's light was being shared with the world. In this case all the little candles were being lit.

Once we were back inside the church, Father set the candle on it's stand where we could all see it's light. Then he sang my favourite song of Easter, the Exultet. Through it he proclaimed Jesus' Resurrection.
"Rejoice!" we sang back. "Gone forever is the night!"

As mass progressed, I could feel myself filling with joy and excitement. And, as we sang the final, triumphant hymn, I knew that the long waiting period of Lent was really over. It was Easter!

We all woke with a sense of excitement in the morning. Now that it was Easter we could really enjoy ourselves. As soon as we were ready for the day, we gathered in the living room to sing our traditional Easter hymn, "By Your Kingly Power." It's Mum's favourite hymn.

Then we gave Mum and Dad our presents of Easter eggs and chocolates that we had either made or bought. In return, Mum gave us our Easter eggs and bunnies. Then it was time for the main event, the Easter egg hunt.

Zip. We closed the blinds. Bang. The front door closed. We sat together in the living room, listening for the sounds that would tell us Mum had hidden all the eggs. Finally, after what seemed like forever, she stuck her head back through the door.
"I'm done!" she called.

At once we were racing for the door, cups and shoes in our hands. The grass outside was liberally sprinkled with brightly wrapped eggs. Everyone, from Duncan, who's a uni student, to Gemma-Rose, who's 7, was outside, waiting to hunt. Who says you can get too old to hunt for eggs?

Then we were off! Brushing aside the damp grass, peering under cars, diving into flowerbeds and shrieking with excitement when we found another egg. Soon our cups were filled to overflowing. The garden was stripped bare. Well, almost. Three eggs still remained hidden. We have never found all the eggs, not once in all the years of hunting. There's still one missing right now!

Then it was back inside to eat Dad's delicious Easter dinner. After that, stomachs full, we disappeared to our various corners of the house to rest for a while. Some people even fell asleep!

Even though we had consumed the most enormous dinner, we were all ready by afternoon tea time for another Easter tradition: The Nest Cake. It's a chocolate cake made into a chocolate nest, with foil wrapped Easter eggs littering the top.

And finally, exhausted from the Holy week masses, Easter egg hunting, and eating, we collapsed in armchairs to watch a movie, all together. A perfect Easter Sunday.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Failed Easter Eggs and Big Stinks

We've always had Easter eggs at Easter. Mostly shop bought ones that anyone can have. But my favourite eggs ever where the ones my older sister used to make. We still talk about the ric bubble eggs that took you a week to eat them because they were so solid and hard. And there were the normal chocolate ones, often with M&Ms inside.

We were trying to think of some sort of craft to do for this Easter. While we were discussing it, someone remember the eggs we used to have. At once we girls wanted to make some and have the delicious treats once again.

First we trawlled the internet, trying to find the recipe for the rice bubble eggs. But, look as I might. I couldn't find it. And Mum and Dad were going to buy the stuff that morning! Finally, in despair, I went and told Mum my problem.

She turned on her laptop and did a quick search for me. Within five minutes she had found the recipe, printed it off, and handed it to me. Now I could make a shopping list.

Now that we had all the ingrediants, plus a recipe and instructions, we were ready to go. Everyone found an apron. Cooking makes a mess of little girls clothes. Together we carefully concocted the rice bubble eggs.

The smaller girls mixed and measured, while Charlotte and I supervised. They had enormous fun compacting the mixture into the mould, hitting it (and my fingers) with the back of a dinner spoon. Once the eggs were cool and out of the moulds, we wrapped them in foil. Our first eggs were done.

The next day we decided to tackle to chocolate eggs. Anxiously I checked the recipe instructions over and over again as we waited for the chocolate to melt. It seemed easy enough, but I was still nervous. Knowing my cooking skill, something would go wrong.

However we coated the egg moulds with chocolate and set them aside to cool without any problems. Then, as we had time to spare while we were waiting for the chocolate to set, I decided that we were going to make a special filling for the eggs.

We measured the water and sugar into a saucepan and set it on the stove to bubble away. Charlotte was set the task of watching it, and telling me when the mixture turned amber coloured. In the mean time the little girl and I were trying to clean the enormous mess off the benchtop.

Then suddenly, "Imogen, it's GROWING!" Charlotte cried.
I dashed over to the stove and got a whiff of the most aweful smell imaginable. Quickly I grabbed the mixture and threw it into the sink, where it sat on the bottom giving off steam and stink.

Well, we cleaned that mess up, and got the chocolate eggs out. They were set to perfection. I turned one half upsidedown and tapped it. Then I flexd the mould. The I tapped it again. Finally, I whacked it with all my strength. Still the chocolate shell refused to come out.

"Ok," I said. "This isn't working. We'll scrape out the chocolate and try again. But we'll line the egg moulds with foil so we can lift the chocolate out easily."

And so we tried again. But this time, when we pulled the shells out, they came out. But how terrible they looked. The egg patterning on the side couldn't be seen. The edges were rough and uneven. And when we put the halves together, there were gaping great holes in the side.

I was in despair. We stood in the middle of the kitchen. Defective eggs sat on the side. dirty dishes were strewed everywhere. Chocolate was spattered over everything. And to top it all off, the terrible stink was still hanging around. What a disaster!

At that very moment, Mum arrived home from town.
"Pooh,"she said as she walked in. "What's that smell?"

We told her the whole story. She listened attentively, then suggested, "How about you make little chocolates instead? I've got stuff you can use to make an easy filling."

At this, we felt we were rescued. Filled with new energy we cleaned up the old mess, remelted all the chocolate, made up the filling, and opened a window. And finally the terrible stink gave up, and floated away.

We worked away on the chocolates, and, by the end of the afternoon, we had 64 chocolates made, wrapped in foil, and packed away in the fridge.

Then, after washing what felt like the one hundredth load of dishes, Charlotte and I collapsed in our room. It had all turned out well in the end, but not due to me. Thanks to Mum we had lots of lovely treats waiting for us. So never ask me to make you Easter eggs unless you like huge messes and big stinks.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Running and Splatting

Everyone is gathered on the oval at the campsite. It is the third day of the homeschooling camp. Red and white tape flutters in the breeze, marking out a course in the middle of the oval. In the very centre is a table with all kinds of equiptment. Among the balls and other things I see javelins, not something we normally see at a homeschooling event.

The children sit dwn in three teams as we stand to one side and watch. Visitors aren't in teams. So Charlotte and I stand with Dad, ready to cheer our friends on. But then, "We need more people in this team," a mother says. "Can you two run for them?"

And so, suddenly we are in the line, waiting for the nervous moment when we will be handed the baton. Will I drop it? I wonder. Will I be too slow? I am near the end of the line and so have lots of time to watch everyone else running.

The other teams run quickly. Or maybe they just have less people. At anyrate, by the time it is my turn, I feel as if I could just walk down the field. We still had people to run and the other teams were just about finished. But I run, and soon am handing the baton on to someone else, who flys down the other end with it.

Charlotte and I walked back to Dad.
"Guess what," Charlotte says with a big smile. "We lost."
We stand near the table and listen as the next event is announced. It is the sprints. But we don't want to sprint. Instead we stand as cheer as our friends run.

But then it is the cross country. Two or so laps of the oval.
"You should run Imogen," Dad tells me.
"I'm not sure..." I say. I'm not sure I want to run. I might be the slowest one in the race. that would be humiliating. No, I'm not sure I want to race.

But then I walk over to the start line. I might as well race. Sophie and Gemma-Rose have been running in everything. I might as well run in one thing. It didn't matter if I was the slowest. I could still have fun.

The clapper went. Suddenly everyone was running. I could see most of the racers in front of me. But there is plenty of time to catch them up. We have two laps. I run along at my own little pace, slowly but surely catching up with the people who have started off too quickly and are now tired. As we start the second lap, I am well up in the field.

It is a wonderful feeling to be running in the race. Now that I am in the rhythm I feel as if I could run on forever. But we're on the last side now. And now I'm running faster. My boots fly over the ground. I'm not last, I'm not the slowest. I'm flying along now!

Then the finish line flashes past. The race is over. I jog back to Charlotte and Dad, my face flushed with the effort.
"How did I do?" I asked.
"Really well. You beat lots of people," they reply.

That's the end of the races. Or so we think. Suddenly we see lots of the fathers lining up. It is the Father's Race.
"Go on Dad," we tell him. "You go and race."

He ums and ahs for a moment, before lining up with the other dads. The clapper goes and the men are off and running.
"Go on Dad," Charlotte and I yell. It is funny to be yelling 'Dad' when all the runners are dads. But he'll know that we're cheeing for him.

"Well done Dad," we tell him when he comes back, puffing a bit from the run. "You beat a lot of younger dads."
Dad looks quite pleased with himself at that.

Then it is the Mother's Race.
"Why don't you race Mum?" we urge her. "We've all raced."
She protests, "But I'm not dressed for running."

Still, she goes and lines up. We stand at the sidelines, ready to cheer for Mum. They're off. Mum's running well. Then suddenly, only a few metres from the start line, she trips and falls. Mothers dodge in every direction, trying not to stand on her.

I run to help her up. For a moment I'm afraid that she's hurt herself. But then she stands up and smiles at us.
"It was my boots," she explains. "They slipped. I told you I'm not dressed for running."
We dust her off. She not hurt at all, except for slight grazes on her palms.

Soon it is time to go home. On the journey back, we discuss the races. We talk about Sophie winning her race. Dad running in his. Charlotte and I running in the relay race. Then we think about Mum's race.
"I did the best splat," Mum declares. "No on else went splat like me."
And we all agree. We might have run well, but no one goes splat like Mum.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Of Scooters and Sisters

It started with one scooter, bought on special. Gemma-Rose came home with her brand new scooter and at once, Sophie wanted one too. Very soon another scooter was produced, which made Sophie wild with happiness.

It soon became a little bit of a habit to go to the park on a Thursday morning. The park was, of course, the best place to ride a scooter. Mum would sit at the picnic table and watch as Sophie and Gemma-Rose swooped up and down the smooth concrete paths, evidently enjoying themselves greatly.

While they swooped and skidded, and occasionally fell off, Charlotte and I contented ourselves with walking round the lake, enjoying watching the smaller girls playing. I had no desire to get on a scooter. After all, sixteen year old girls are a bit big for that kind of thing, aren't they?

A few weeks into the fun, Charlotte suddenly developed a longing to try the wonders of scooters. Mum smiled when she heard this, and went to look for the pinkest scooter she could find. She succeeded too, for the pink and white, ultra girly scooter that was bought for Charlotte, was an instant hit. She loved it at first sight.

Now it was just Mum and me sitting at the table watching the fun. I watched the girls playing and felt a little wistful. I'd never had a scooter when I was their age. Such a pity I was too big for them. They looked like such fun.

"Imogen, it's your turn," Charlotte told me suddenly.
"What! No it's not. The scooter's yours. Besides, I'm too big."
"Oh go on", Mum said.
"I'll teach you how," Gemma-Rose added kindly.

Encouraged by everyone, I tentatively put one foot on the scooter. What if I fell off?
"You do it like this," Gemma-Rose said, suddenly popping up in front of me. "Come on, its easy."

And fore I knew it I was racing her along the path. It was addictive. Rushing along the path with the wind in your hair, dodging small children, jumping off just as you were about to topple over, well, I loved it. I wanted more. But there were only two scooter. And, after a long run round the lake trying to keep up with my speedy sisters, I realised that if wanted to really join in, then I'd just have to get a scooter of my own.

And so, as quickly as possible, I obtained a new, sleek, black and red speed machine. I ripped the packaging off, excited by the thought that, next time we went to the park, I would be able to race my sisters. But then disaster struck! We didn't go to the park for weeks. My beautiful new scooter lay in the dark garage, waiting for the day when I would finally ride it.

And, after weeks of waiting, today I did finally give it it's first run. It was so beautiful today that Dad decided to take Charlotte and I to the park. And with us came our scooters. For hours we glided round and round the lake, dodging other children on scooter, bikes, and Rollerblades, skirting round pedestrians, and jumping off to get past dogs on leads.

It was wonderful. I absolutely loved the feeling of flying along. And I knew that, right behind me, Charlotte was enjoying it too. I hardly wanted to stop, but finally we were both worn out. The new scooter had to be packed up and we left for home.

Now that I've tried scootering I know that I'm really going to enjoy it. Next time we go, the little girls will come too. Then we can be a scootering band, the Speed Angel Sisters, as we call ourselves. And I've learnt an important thing: You're never too old to ride a scooter. Now all we have to do is get Mum one...

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Tiger, Tiger

In our house there are two tigers, one little and one big. They hide behind bushes in our garden, climb trees, and play fight round and round the house. They are the cutest little tigers you could ever see.

By now of course you have probably realised that these are no ordinary tigers. In fact, they are my two smallest sisters, Gemma-Rose, and Sophie. But they like to believe that they are tigers. Dressed in their tigerskin shirts, with their tiger ears slipping down over their eyes occasionally, they roam their jungle world, navigating the dangers that every tiger must face.

"What kind of tiger am I?" Gemma-Rose asked me, perching on the arm of my chair dressed in her white tiger suit.
"And what kind am I?" Sophie asked.
"Where do tigers live?"
"Where do they sleep?"

I get bombarded with every possible question about tigers. I might start to get angry and tell them to go away. After all, I do have other things to do besides impart knowledge about tigers. But I liked to dress up too, when I was their age.

I can distinctly remember playing dress-ups outside from the age of six or so. Our collection of dress-up outfits started with a few items of clothing that weren't wanted, plus a few special pieces, some made by our Nana. Armed with these clothes, Charlotte and I were ready to turn the garden into a whole new world.

Massive, shiny, party dresses, far too big for our small bodies, were alternatively sheets on hotel beds, long, dangly curtains at windows, walls of tents, or even (horrors of horrors) ball gowns at the royal party. We tottered around the garden in worn out high heels that were far too big for our tiny feet. Incidentally, this might be where my deep seated horror of wearing high heels came from.

During our games, a tree might be a ship, or a house, or a horse. The possibilities were endless. Anyone who has ever had even the smallest amount of imagination and a couple of dress-ups will understand the endless games that can be played. And I certainly had more than my fair share of imagination. Poor Charlotte.

So, in our house live two tigers, one big and one little. I love them both, even though their questions are endless. And they make me think of William Blake's poem 'The Tiger.'

The Tiger

TIGER, tiger, burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand dare seize the fire?

And what shoulder and what art
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand and what dread feet?

What the hammer? what the chain?
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? What dread grasp
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?

When the stars threw down their spears,
And water'd heaven with their tears,
Did He smile His work to see?
Did He who made the lamb make thee?

Tiger, tiger, burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Keeping a Journal

If there is one thing that just about everyone has tried, it is to keep a diary. And if you are like me, you will probably have tried several times. And failed every time.

It has always been a dream of mine to keep a journal or diary of some sort. But, after my first few failures, I was too scared to try again. I thought that I would just fail again. And if I was to fail, then why start in the first place? It would be a waste of effort.

But then I read an article written by my aunt on her new blog. In it she told about her own journal, which is not only filled with writing, but beautiful drawings. She says that the drawings help her to remember the exact time she was writing about. A sort of visual reminder.

Reading about journals reawakened my longing to keep one myself. And while I freely confess that I am not a good drawer at all, I wanted to draw pictures in it too. I already had a drawing book. All I needed to do was to give it a title page and to start. The title page was easily fix, for I had already started one during my last failed journal attempt.

So, I merely finished the title off, and I was ready to start. Nervously I opened a blank page and sat there, my pencil at the ready. And I waited. But no inspiration came. I was tempted to put the book back in my desk where it would languish, another failure. I couldn't draw. I was kidding myself if I thought I could ever draw anything.

But then another thought struck me. Well, the picture might not be good compared to other people's, especially those who have had training. But as long as it was as good as I could make it, it didn't matter what it looked like compared to others. And so I put my pencil to paper and started to draw.

Very soon I had a picture on the paper, and all I had to do was fill in the writing. And that was the easy bit. I love to write. When I couldn't fit another word on my page, I was done. How easy it had been! Why had I ever thought it might be hard?

Now I hope to keep on with my journal. I might not write and draw ever day, but I certainly hope to keep going. If you have ever dreamed of keeping a journal, as I did, then I suggest you check out my aunt's blog here. She's also going to be writing posts on how to draw and on art appreciation. It would be well worth taking a look at.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

One Huge Pile of Brushes

In response to our increasingly dishevelled appearances, Mum booked us all hair cut for today. So, at a quarter to the hour, Charlotte and I set out for our appointment. On arriving at the salon, we found that the two hairdressers were still occupied. And so we settled down on the sofa to wait.

While we were sitting there, a little girl dressed sweetly all in pink toddled into view. She stumped across the room, totally absorbed in her own business, until her eyes fell on Charlotte, sitting on the end of the settee. The girl's eye's lit up. Here could be a new friend!

She ran over to the trolley where the hairdresser kept her equipment. Very soon she returned and held out to Charlotte...a hair brush.

Charlotte glanced over to me, bewilderment in her eyes. Then she gently took the brush and laid it down next her. The little girl smiled shyly and then ran back to her mother, who was at that moment having her hair cut. The next minute she was back. And in her hand she held...another brush.

As soon that one was sitting next to Charlotte, the girl was running back to fetch another...and another...and another. Soon the pile of brushes was towering. Both Charlotte and I looked anxiously at the trolley. Surely there couldn't be many more hair brushes to come. And yet, by the time Charlotte went to have her hair cut, she was still fetching more.

Finally, when more brushes than I had ever seen in my life before were sitting all over the sofa, she suddenly ran out. I looked at the pile. There must have been about thirty of them, in all shapes and sizes. There were huge round ones, tiny thin ones, large flat ones, and every other size and shape imaginable.

Well, I thought. At least she's run out. Now maybe she'll stop fetching things.
But I was wrong. Now that the trolley was completely empty of all its contents, the little girl next turned her attentions to the display stand, which contained, among all the cans of hairspray and other products, two plastic wrapped...hair brushes.

I groaned inwardly as, with the air of one conferring a huge favour, this little girl solemnly handed them to me. Quickly I returned them to the shelf. But then, growing tired of brushes, she turned her attentions to the hair products. When she brought me a can of hairspray, I knew it was time to put an end to this.

Her mother had been trying to stop her the whole time. But, being confined to the chair while the hairdresser cut and dried her hair, the little girl had done pretty much whatever she liked. Now I tried to get her interested in,no fetching hairbrushes, but putting them back.

She caught onto the idea at once. In a short space of time, all those many brushes were packed away neatly in their drawers and the drawers returned to their proper places on the trolley. For the rest of our visit either one of us girls tried to keep her out of mischief as her mother had her hair finished.

I watched the little girl as she toddled away out the door, a sticky lollipop clutched in her chubby hand. She'd certainly made our visit to the hair salon exciting. And she'd certainly shown me just how many brushes a hairdresser needs. I don't think I'll ever forget the sight of thirty or so brushes all stacked on a sofa, nor forget the cute little girl who brought them to us.

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Cat and the Collage

Charlotte and I love doing craft. Whether it's knitting a prehistoric world of dinosaur and cave men, to sewing skirts and soft toys, to handmade table mats, we'll have tried it at least once. Yesterday we tried a new branch of craft, one that we haven't really experimented in before: Collage.

A few years ago, probably for one of my birthdays, I was given a craft book on making tiny books. I fell in love with the idea. Unfortunately, my love of the idea didn't translate into a wish to actually make any, and so the book languished on the shelf, unused and unloved. Until yesterday.

We were bored. The normal things to do seemed so dull. Then, while we were flipping through some of our many craft books, we came across my neglected notebook making book. Flipping through the pages of this book filled my head with ideas.
"Let's make some," I said to Charlotte.

Her eyes lit up at once. Craft of any sort presents no problems to her. We scurried to and fro through the house, combing the shelves for things we could use. Old 'Better Homes and Gardens' magazines, card, curling ribbon, all these joined our stack.

Finally we sat down to work. I measured pages and Charlotte cut them out. Then we scanned the pages of the magazines for pictures of flowers that we could use to stick on our covers. We soon found heaps and heaps of pink flowers to cut out.

We worked for hours on these books, carefully cutting out many, many flowers and green leaves. Sometime during the cutting stage a little black paw appeared under the door. Poppy was knocking. I jumped out of my chair and opened the door for her. She sauntered in and jumped up onto the desk, sitting down right in the middle of our work.

Her orange eyes followed our every movement as we assembled our books. She watched me critically as I attempted to punch straight hols in the pages. She checked out the curling ribbon as we cut lengths of it to tie on.

Then finally we were done. Not a single flower more could be fitted on our books. The word 'Notes' was carefully stuck across the front in fancy writing. But before we could count ourselves as truly done, they had to pass Poppy's inspection. We held the books up for her and she sniffed them. Then she looked away. We could almost hear her say, "They'll do."

We really enjoyed making the notebooks. And making them has paved the way for other collage projects. What will me make next? Who knows?

Have you done any craft lately? Or ever? Please feel free to comment and tell me about it. I'd love to heard about your projects.

Liquid Sunshine Blog Party

Well, being fairly new to the blogging world, I haven't yet been part of a blog Party. I've got no idea what it's like, but I'm willing to give anything a go. So, I've joined the Liquid Sunshine blog party from Horsefeathers.

Favourite season, and why?
Spring and autumn. They're so beautiful plantwise. I love seeing the colours of the trees in autumn, and seeing all the flowers in spring. Plus they've got the best weather. Summer's too hot, and winter's too cold, but spring and autumn are just right.

How would you describe your personal style?
Girly. I love skirts, long and knee length. I love the colour pink and I adore adding accesseries, like earrings to make my outfit perfect. You'll never see me in a pair of jeans.

What's one weird thing you can do? (The stranger the better)
Ummmmmmm. Nothing. I'm pretty normal. Unless not being able to do something weird makes me abnormal.

Rain or shine?
Shine, definitely. We have so much rain here that I get really bored of it. Plus it means that we're coped up inside the whole time. Yes, absolutely shine.

Confession time...what's a flaw of yours?
I can be very short tempered. I generally get really angry at the smallest things, especially when I'm tired. Mainly though I get angry when my sisters are being silly and trying to annoy me. Still, I'm working on it.

Favourite music?
Classical, songs from musicals such as 'The Sound of Music', and 'The Phantom of the Opera', and Enya.

Have you ever made a decision that you've instantly regretted? What was it?
Lots, and most of them are injury related. Probably the most recent one was when I was playing as goalie in a game of soccer and I stuck out my hand to stop the ball and dislocated my thumb. It instantly popped back in and I had saved the ball. But I definitely regretted not letting that ball go. I regretted it for six weeks afterwards as I waited for my hand to heal.

Who do you admire/look up to?
Several people. Mum and Dad are the main ones. They manage to keep order and peace in the house while smiling, and rarely get angry at us. I especially admire Dad, because he seems to have found a way to grow up while staying a bit of a child. He loves joking around. I admire Mum because she's taught me everything I know, she always has time to talk to each of us and help us sort out our problems, and most of all, because she love us all, even when we're unlovable.

You've won an unlimited supply of...what?
CHOCOLATE! Please tell me I have!

If you were an animal, what would you be?
A cat. They have the best lives. All they do is eat and sleep. Or at least that's what our's do.

If you knew you were going to die in a year, what would you do?
Spend the year with my family.

You're now a gazillionaire...where do you go to spend your money?
I don't know, I don't normally spend my money.

Classical music: love it or hate it?
Love it. Especially in piano or singing.

I have a mild one of losing things. I hate doing that. Especially when that thing is me!

Hop on a plane and live somwhere for a year...where is it and why?
If I had to I'd probably go and live in the Birmingham area of England to see all my English relations.

Introvert or Extrovert?
Introvert with large groups of people. I am not a group person. I'm a bit extrovert with small groups and people I know really well.

Would you/do you perform on stage?
I do. I sing as part of a choir, I've acted, and I've sung alone. No stage fright for me.

Well, that's it. And if you've managed to make it through all my answers to the questions, congratulations. I'll post a proper post up soon for those of you who aren't interested in the blog party.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

In Fear of the Bath

Saturday is washday. Not of clothes, as is normal, but of cats. Yes, in our house we wash even our cats. No animal smells wafting round the rooms for us. Every week they must be washed, whether they like it or not. And generally it's NOT.

When we first got Poppy she was a kitten. Right from week one she was bathed. And she did not like it. On only her second time in the bath I ended up wearing a scared cat on my head. Claws dug into my scalp as she tried to climb away from that nasty water.

But with regular washings we hoped that she would soon calm down and learn that water wouldn't hurt her. But, one year later we were still holding her down in the bath. However, with one small cat it wasn't too difficult to control her long enough to wash her beautiful long fur.

Then, enter complications in the form of two more cats. Sammy and Jenny came from a home where their own worked all day and had no time to spend with the cats. Bath day came round and I prepared to wash, not one angry cat, but three.

The towels were prepared. The shampoo was ready. The water was running. And I went hunting. Sammy peered up at me, not understanding what was going on, right up until I attempted to put him in the water. Suddenly I had a wild cat on my hands.

Grey body twisted and turned in my hands as I struggled to placehimin the war water. Finally, with one last frantic twist, he dashed out of the laundry, spreading water all over the tiled floor. I was left staring after him, clutching a deep scratch.

But I am nothing if not detirmined. Ten minutes later, after a long chase, ammy was safely in my hands. It took two of us to hold him in the water, but at last he was done. Then came Jenny. I was not in a mood to have another fight, and so took the precaution of having a helper to hold her in the water while I washed her.

Finally came Poppy. It felt so easy washing her. She seemed to behave herself better that day, as if she could tell that she was better behaved than either of the others.

Nowadays Jenny hides whenever she heard me preparing the laundry. We search under beds, inside cupboards and under sofas until we find her. However, after the first miserable mews, she sits in the water with no problems at all.

Sammy and Poppy hide under Mum's bed. We drag Sammy out, unhooking his claws from the carpet time after time. Once we get him into the bath however, he sits there, his tail drooping in the water, mewing pitifully, but not doing much else.

No, it is Poppy who is the problem now. She hides away when we search for her, wails dismally, and tries to get out of the bath at every opportunity. A few weeks ago I let go to get some shampoo. At that, she was off. Her wet fur flopped everywhere as she scrambled to get away. She slipped and slithered on her own water as she fled.

I followed her, trying hard to keep my balance on the wet tiles. Finally, after chasing her through the whole house, I cornered her behind an armchair. Holding her tightly, I transferred her back to the sink, while the other girls mopped up the flood on the floor.

Washing cats. Is it worth all the wet and bother just to have a nice, clean smelling house? Well, we think so.