Wednesday, December 23, 2009



As I'm working tomorrow this will be my last blog post before Christmas. And I am going to dedicate it to Basil & Shea, the two furry members of the Mann household.

As I look back on the year almost ending, I can remember the ups and downs, the fun and the sadness - nothing unusual there. The latter part of 2009 has certainly held at lot of sorrow for our family and we face 2010 with a great deal of trepidation. But through everything, there has been the constant companionship and joy of our two cats.

I'm lucky enough to have two great jobs, a lovely extended family, kind and loyal friends. And I am so grateful to them all. But today I'm saying a huge "thank you" to Basil and Shea who literally bring love, laughter and fun into every single day. They are "only cats" yet they mean so much to all of us. They are "only cats" but they are truly members of our family.

I was brought up with dogs and never lived with a cat until my marriage. For 17 years we had two cats and my beloved dog, Charlie. I hope one day I'll have a dog again. I used to think cats were aloof, distant creatures, lovely but cold. You needed a dog, I felt, for love, loyalty, companionship.

But....You could not meet two more loving, loyal and companionable animals than B & S. Basil is rotund, genial and extremely excentric; he talks a lot, chews things like a dog and has to be with you; if we are not around he joins my neighbour for a chat and stroke. Shea is delicate, fastidious, likes to play fetch and is slightly needy yet ventures further than his mate in his explorations round the neighbourhood. He too loves to be close. He loves to come for a long cuddle under the duvet with me every morning. They live with us because they choose to, no fences keep them in, nothing compels them to stay with us most of the time.

I'm not stupid; I know my cats aren't people; I don't want them to be. They are cats. They are great cats - the best cats in MY world. They make us very happy. They cheer us up when the gloom descends. We all love them very much. And they love us.

So thank you, my feline pals, for being there, for being are friends.

Finally.....A very Merry Christmas to all my blog friends; who make life so much brighter every day for this compulsive worrier; bless you all and keep you safe this festive period.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Feeling festive

I have really enjoyed the last three days; I've been off work and indulging in my favourite occupation of "pottering" and Christmas pottering at that!It's nice to have some extra time to get stuff done at a leisurely pace instead of at ninety miles an hour.

I've even got all of Phil's gifts wrapped; normally i'm doing THAT on Christmas Eve. We put the tree and all the decorations up on Saturday but as usual our bloody fairy lights are temperamental and keeping going off. I get in a total panic at the idea of a dark tree on Christmas Day so I went out on Monday and bought a spare set of lights...then paranoia set in! What if THOSE lights also failed, said the neurotic little voice in my head??? What will you do then, hmmm? So, off I went today and bought ANOTHER set of lights and if the little voice starts up again I'm going to do my best to ignore it!

This photo is a reflection (on wet pavement) of Liverpool's big wheel. When Phil & I had our Christmas shopping day the other week I took along my new camera and risked being searched by the police to take a few pics.

We had friends round on Sunday which was lovely and on Monday night it was the RDA helpers party which was great as always. Last night was our work Christmas "do" which was a brilliant night, full of fun and frivolity and laughter; I'm so lucky I have such great colleagues to work with. Tonight I'm home but on Thursday after work I'm meeting up with my local girlfriends for Christmas drinks and Secret Santa; I wonder who will get the nipple tassels THIS year?? Friday is a festive lunch with our Friday morning reading group, then Monday next week is our photographic society Christmas party which I seem to be organising and on Tuesday I'm meeting up with Annie in Chester for lunch and in the evening it's dinner with an old mate. You'd think I had a great social life but honestly; the rest of the year is pretty much a party-free zone!

On Sunday morning Phil decided to get up for dawn and as dawn isn't exactly early this month I decided to go with him. We drove out to Loggerheads and although it wasn't exactly stunning photographically it was great to be up and about before the sun and taking some photos. This is one of mine.

Well, must go, time to potter some more...

Saturday, December 05, 2009

There are some events that make you realise exactly what is and isn't important in life. This blog is called the compulsive worrier because that is what I do, most of the time. I don't really know why - but I am the sort of person who worries if she has nothing to worry about.

Today Sian came off her horse during a riding lesson. For once Phil hadn't come with us as he was nipping into Chester to pick up the very last pair of size 7 Converse trainers in Sole Trader for Sian's Christmas present. As we headed off to the riding school I realised I hadn't got my phone but didn't go back for it as I assumed I wouldn't need it.

Sian was riding Bruno, my favourite horse. He's a gentle and loving horse but he can get overexcited sometimes during lessons. He squealed and shied at nothing a couple of times, but another horse was the one we were all watching as he raced round the school at top speed! Sian was riding really well and coping with B's occasional strange manoeuvres. Until during a canter he bucked once, unseated her, then bucked again and swerved on landing. She so very nearly stayed on but didn't....I watched in horror as she fell off and landed head-first. Everything stopped....

Sian's instructor was holding her head and neck still as she lay crumpled on the ground. The first aider arrived and we decided to call an ambulance as Sian was complaining of head, back and neck pain. I had to borrow a phone to call home and leave a message as I couldn't remember Phil's mobile number and Kate was out too.

Phil met us at the hospital and after x-rays we were told Sian was just badly bruised. She had been really brave and cheerful but was clearly scared. The worst point for Sian was that her much loved Hollister hoodie had to be cut off her!

The staff at the hospital were great, as were the riding school staff.

All sorts of thoughts went through my head while we were waiting to find out how Sian was. I had put off letting Sian ride for two years before I caved in - as a rider myself, i know it's a dangerous sport and that horses are unpredictable, even the best of them. I was wondering if I should have given in and let her start. I'm so proud of her riding skills; and that she shares my love of horses. I wondered if I was living my own dreams through Sian and putting her at risk. All the usual sort of guilty stuff you think when your child's been hurt.

I realised anew that my family and friends are the dearest things in the world to me and the only things worth worrying about. I'm so thankful for the good care Sian received today and grateful beyond words that she's going to be ok.