Monday, 16 August 2010
I live about five minutes from the sea, but to get to the shingle beach you have to get down a muddy cliff. The waves crash over hidden gullies in the shingle, making swimming dangerous. It is rarely visited by the tourists that come to the island every summer. There are no signposts. On a sunny day you might see a couple of fossil hunters, or locals who prefer to stay away from the crowds.
On Sunday we decided to go to the seaside. We wanted noisy crowds, fishermens shacks and seafood cafes, so we took a trip east to Steephill Cove.
The cove is well known to tourists and locals alike. There is no road access. You have to get there by walking from Ventnor, or directly down the zig zag path from the top of the cliff. I took plenty of photos, and must have looked like a "grockel". We ate crab and prawn bagettes, then took mugs of coffee onto the stony beach to watch children playing and bathers swimming. What a good reminder that while my days are taken up at work or doing mundane things, all around me are people enjoying being at the seaside!
Sunday, 1 August 2010
Max is a very old cat. How old, I do not know, as when he turned up at my house nearly seven years ago his limbs were already lumpy with arthritis. We discovered his owner was a lady I knew, called Mary. She lives in the coastguard cottages, about three miles down the road, with nine other cats. I returned Max to his home, but the next morning he was back, sitting on the bench in the kitchen.
I returned him again, driving down the road and over the bridge across the stream he must have crossed himself in his trek to my house. The next day was Christmas Eve. Max was back. He protested when I bundled him into the car again. I dropped him off as the daylight was fading, and Mary was gathering her cats indoors with food. I wished her a happy Christmas, and returned to my car.
Christmas day.....and there offering seasonal greetings was Max. He had a look on his face, as if to say this is where I live now, so why do you keep taking me away? I waited until Boxing day, then rang Mary. She said Max could stay, if I didn't mind. She thought he was at least 15 years old, which makes him about 22 now, but I thought he was older.
In the years he has lived here, he has never strayed. Candy has never liked him, but this does not put him off. He is now totally deaf. He sleeps a lot, and we have to accompany him outside in case he forgets how to get back. He always goes out to do his business, like clockwork morning and evening. He loves the sun. He doesn't wash himself anymore, so he gets a soft brushing every evening. He needs his chin washing every few days to remove dried food. He has three soft, round beds that are regularly washed. He curls up in them and props his head on the edge, watching us and the other cats. He still loves his food, although he has a missing canine tooth which makes him eat loudly.
He takes up a lot of our time, now. The worst time is waiting for him to come back in on a cold winters night, shivering at the door in my nightie with a torch, while he potters about randomly looking at things.
But I remind myself that one day he won't be here, and one day I will give anything to wait for him to come indoors again, so for the time being he can take all the time in the world.