Monthly Archives: January 2016

Moth-eaten Moggy-Part The First

This post was nearly entitled Denillanne Bigglesworth is Unwell… one of the reasons for the paucity of posts over the winter is that – like the journalist Jeffrey Barnard – Biggles has been somewhat indisposed since returning to his winter quarters in October. The other title that came to mind was Abscess Makes The Heart Grow Fonder but that’s probably in poor taste.

As if finding discover a young oik had moved in next door and was laying claim to his back garden wasn’t insult enough, heading off for his annual MoT test while looking a bit peaky and off his food was definitely injury… the Vet took one look at him, went into Stanley Holloway mode and said “My word you do look queer!” Shaved his neck to take some blood, and sent him packing with a large bill and no MoT. Rang back a day or to later and said “we think he’s got pancreatitis, but need to do another, special new (read especially expensive), blood test”. This one showed he had got a bad dose of pancreatitis even though he wasn’t showing anything much in the way of symptoms (most moggies with pancreatitis appear to be at death’s door, it seems). “Put him on a special diet and bring him back for another test in a month, and in the meantime here’s another big bill”.

A month of the special diet clearly did something: he’d plucked up courage for a serious territorial duel with another local cat, and despite his second’s best efforts at running repairs, had developed a large abscess on his neck; he was more pus than puss: yet more shaved bits.  The second special blood test result had his vet scratching her head… the path-lab assured us her that “no, their kit wasn’t broken, but they weren’t entirely sure what Biggles was doing still alive and kicking”. (I recall a similar reaction when my dear mother provided a urine sample in an unwashed Guinness bottle).

So… off to the pussy hospital for an ultrasound scan. A shaved belly, an anaesthetic, a huge bill, and “you’ll be glad to know we couldn’t find anything sinister or wrong with his plumbing”. Thinking he might be in pain, painkillers were prescribed. All very weird: the stuff was an opiate concoction designed for two or three days post-op injections: Biggles took it orally for a fortnight – no mention of that on the data sheet or interweb. And, while possibly making him a junky, it didn’t seem to make much difference – he behaved exactly the same even though his eyes were a bit glazed. Still moth-eaten, still no jabs or MoT, though.

Meanwhile, enjoying the proceeds of Biggles’ apparent discomfiture, the Vet went skiing  and broke her knee.

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2015–A Good Summer for Boating

Starting to think about where we might go in 2016, and looking back on last summer’s expeditions, Song & Dance proved a pretty good way to be busy doing nothing.

Some people said it wasn’t a good summer weather-wise, but we tend to measure things by how often we need to don waterproofs to go boating, or merely decide to stay put until the weather improves. By that yardstick it was a pretty good year. From the week after Easter until just before the end of October we covered 735 miles afloat, working through 485 locks, and hardly ever needed to tog up or abandon boating plans.

In hindsight, the decision not to head into London in the July heat-wave and then attempt the passage from Limehouse back to Brentford was clearly the right one: maybe another year, once they manage to fix Limehouse Locks! The trips up our local waterways (Basingtoke Canal and Wey Navigation) were entirely delightful, and the River Nene and Middle Levels a distinct change from our more usual canals.

Wonder what 2016 will bring!