Death and Alchemy

Our cat is very small, literally kitten-sized.  She is blindingly white, with luminous green eyes.  Her name is a very friendly ‘Daisy’.  However, she is Glaswegian and obviously thinks she is nails.

When Daisy was even smaller, her attempts to catch seagulls (or ‘eagles’ at Midi calls them: guess they sound pretty similar) or garden birds were farcical and a constant source of amusement.  Then in her second winter, it snowed.  Finally camouflaged, she discovered how to catch field mice and blue tits.  This continued into spring and beyond and now, aged 4, she regularly leaves me and The Boss presents of mice, voles, birds and baby rabbits under the garden seat.  Or sometimes in the veg patch (yuck).

On Tuesday I noticed the remains of a pied wagtail in Daisy’s favourite spot, in front of the chard, where nothing grows (Daisy’s white fur is impervious Teflon to the things I put on and in the ground to protect my baby seedlings in vain.  Bloody cat!).  When I went to pick it up, I found another, fresher wagtail corpse beside my little apple tree.  Cat, stop bringing Death to my garden!

I cleared up the bits then cleaned my rubber gloves with the spray bottle of Flash.  Except The Boss has been watering it down, again.  Now, I think he’s right to add a bit of water at the end of handwash bottles, for example, that are really thick.  But he adds so much water that they become virtually homeopathic.  Babe, Flash barely cuts through grime at full strength!  Leave it alone!

Then there’s Maxi, determined to make perfume.  The poor girl was on her 5th attempt.  She spent yesterday carefully collecting the very best petals in the garden: not wet, not too dry, not too fresh and not dried out.  She added just enough water, stirred carefully, put them somewhere safe to steep for a few hours.  When she went to check out progress, a sulky Midi got there first and tipped it over the kitchen floor (cue more squeals, wails and shouting.  And a profound lack of apologising).  The second attempt got spilled by the cat.  The third attempt was scuppered by the wind.  Mini Minx ruined the 4th attempt this morning because Maxi left the bowl within a millimetre of her sister’s grasp.

I sent Maxi outside with her precious bowl of petals, away from her sisters.  She’d asked for some pretty ribbon and a glass bottle with a stopper, but she got an empty plastic bottle of tonic water and a tea strainer.  I watched her shaking her pink-stained water furiously and holding it up to the sunlight, scrying its contents, before tentatively unscrewing the lid to have a wary sniff.  I think I’m lucky that I have a cold – she insists that it is her ‘Spring Perfume’ and that it makes her smell beautiful.  I just hope it doesn’t make her itch!

We all drove out to meet The Boss for lunch at his work, today.  It reminded me of 5 years ago, when I’d sometimes take a baby Maxi out to The Boss’s work for a picnic lunch, back when I was on maternity leave from work.  Those lunchtimes were the highlight of my week, then.  Today was similar – the girls were very excited about seeing Daddy during the day, and even his grumpy old face lit up over lunch.  They even behaved themselves in the wee canteen.

After The Boss went back to work, the girls had a play in the next-door playpark, then after some toilet shenanigans (thanks goodness we can all squash into a disabled loo, and thank goodness it was empty…) we went on a wee nature trail.  Midi had obviously forgiven me for being such a disciplinarian – she held my hand for the whole 45 minute bimble.  With Mini snuggled in a sling on my back, and Maxi skipping around, suddenly willingly independent, we had a really pleasant afternoon.  They actually enjoyed trying to spot thistles, daisies, butterflies and daft stuff.  We waved at a fork-lift driver filling up with LPG. They didn’t baulk at going into The Deep Dark Woods (maybe because we were higher than the houses when we climbed the steps). They even happily stuck to the path! I guess they got their Karma Reward because on the way back Maxi trod in some dog poo and the mess was too big to clear up at the roadside, so we abandoned going to the boring old supermarket. (Both feet. Brand new sandals, first time of wearing. Sandals, feet and ankles covered. I hate dogs. I really hate dogs).

Midi’s affection was explained by her crashing out in the car, then sleeping for 3 hours when we got home.  She even slept through Mini’s noisy demands for more blueberries: she empties her bowl, then bashes it on the table while shouting angrily till I fill it up again.  She thinks nothing of nicking her sisters’ or parents’ share and is never sated when it comes to sweet berries.  This is why I kept her in a sling when we went strawberry picking at Wester Hardmuir last fortnight…

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