In my last post I showed a photo of Baggins and Luna happily sharing a fairly small cat bed. Well I had to laugh, because as soon as they woke up and climbed out for a stretch, Arwen jumped in their place! As you can see, she is bigger than the two of them together, and altogether too big to curl up in that little bed for long, but she wouldn't get out, even when I rattled her food box for supper time. She has a thick, beautiful coat but this is moulting time and her hair has become very matted. Baggins was nearly as bad but he is so soppy and friendly, that he allows me to work away at it with a brush and comb. I had to cut out a few of the biggest lumps, but mostly i have kept him clear. Arwen on the other hand is not very friendly at all. On a good day I am allowed a quick stroke, and she likes to be near me when I am working in my room and will paw me if I ignor her for too long, but one glimpse of a brush or comb and she hisses and spits, and growls at me, and she lashes out with teeth and claws if I persist, so her hair is in clumps all over, and my hands are full of holes! I have had a persian cat before whose hair matted a bit at moulting time, but nothing like this. The lumps are so hard that they must be really uncomfortable for her, and she does scratch and bite at them to get rid of them herself, without success, but she won't accept any help from me. So we have decided to take her to the vet (she's going on Wednesday) to be sedated while they shave her. It seems a bit drastic but we have little choice, and the vet agreed that it was the best course of action. I have bought a special comb with a blade in it, really for the dogs, but regular use of it is supposed to prevent the build up of an under layer of fur, so I am going to buy some thick leather gloves (for my protection), and try using it on both the cats so next moulting session will be a bit less traumatic for us all.
About a year ago I did a post about a very small patch of garden that we created at the back. It is only about a meter square and has a dead tree stump in the centre, so there was not a lot of scope, but we put quite a few plants in there and did look very pretty for a short while. Unfortunately, the dogs find a small patch of mud, in our completely tiled yard, utterly irresistable and they frequently dig holes in it and between that, and eating them, they have ruined a lot of the plants. However a few have survived. A very pretty yellow osteospermum is now covered in flowers, and there has been a lovely red crown of thorns which is too prickly even for our hounds to chew, but it has almost finished flowering for now. At the back we put a small tree with purple flowers, and this has gone from strength to strength. It has never been without flowers. They are very pretty 'pea-type' flowers with a tufty stamen and they make a lovely backdrop for the yellow daisies. Above that, and actually in the green zone behind the fence, there is a new mimosa tree which is smothered in buds. The early variety is already in bloom but this is the later type which has small clusters of flowers all up its branches. They are just starting to open, so soon we will have the pretty purple tree sandwiched between two layers of yellow. It is right where we sit when are out there so it gives us a great deal of pleasure to see it. The downside is that mimosa pollen gives me rotten hayfever, but last year the doctor prescribed some very efective tablets, so I'll go and see him again if it gets too bad.
There is a type of bee out here that is beginning to make its presence known. i think it is a bee anyway. It certainly looks and acts like one, except that it is much bigger than the usual bee, and it is black. They can be quite intimidating if they fly past you as their wings hum really loudly, but close up they are quite beautiful, and I don't think they are at all agressive. At lunch time today there were half a dozen of them visiting our purple tree, but they were much too busy collecting nectar and pollen, to wait for me to get a decent photo. So this is the best one I could manage.
And now I will end with another cat photo. Baggins is a great help whenever I try to do any work down here. Right now he is sitting so close to my computer that every time he changes position he presses a key and makes something happen that I didn't want! The other afternoon I tried to start a new little piece of lace, and when I had wound the bobbins I went to make a cup of tea before I started. When I came back with it he had not only twisted half the bobbins up, but then he had fallen asleep with his chin resting on them! But you have to love him, and he looks so bewildered when I wake him up to move him, as though he can't see what all the fuss is about!