I'll tell you the sad bit first, and as most of those who read this know how 'soppy' I am about my cats, you will understand why I am sad. On Saturday evening, quite without warning, something happened to Baggins. We are not sure what it was, but the vet thinks probably he had a stroke while lying on the kitchen table, (a very bad habit I know, but it puts him just under the open window, and we all have to find some moving air where we can right now). This caused him to fall, banging his face on the wooden chair frame on the way down. I found him at bedtime, when I was trying to call him for his supper. He was on the bathroom floor and when I picked him up I could see he had had a nose bleed. I washed his face and then saw that he had 'unequal eyes', and later I saw that his jaw was misaligned. He was conscious but couldn't walk.
I used a syringe to give him water, and made him a comfy bed on the floor next to my bed. On Sunday, I just tried to keep him cool and hydrated and on Monday I took him to the vet. My regular vet is on holiday until next Tuesday, but there was a very nice young Spanish man in her place and he has been very kind to Baggins (and me). I have been going each day for Baggins to have injections of antibiotics and anti-inflamatory drugs, and a drip of water and high vitamin supplement. I have a special convalescent food which is a powder rich in nutrients, and easily digested, that I mix with water and syringe down his throat. Amazingly we still seem to be friends! He is much better today, walking around and lapping a little water for himself. He has lost his sight in one eye, which has a big open pupil and no reaction to light, but the other one is fine, and now the swelling has gone down it is obvious that his bottom jaw is broken in the centre and may need to be wired. I know Ellen will be reluctant to operate because of his naturally flat face which means he has small tubes for breathing so anesthetics are always risky. Also he is too thin but that has always been his problem and we have been trying for almost a year now to get some weight on him. All the cats usually only eat dry biscuits, because it is easier to manage in the heat, but I have bought some tiny tins of meat 'mousse' which is very soft and smooth, and I spoon feed him with this, several times a day. I also mix in the high nutrient powder, and add a big squirt of special gel that is supposed to increase his appetite. In his present state, he has no choice but to eat it, whether he wants to or not, but he doesn't like being spoon fed and I feel mean making him. He is sleeping a lot but other than that he is almost his old self again, but he will have to be able to feed himself eventually if he is to survive. But he has done well so far, so I am hopeful. I have an appointment with Ellen when she returns on Tuesday, and I'll discuss the options with her then.
The 'something' we have to look forward to is an unexpected holiday. Apart from trips to UK for whirlwind visits around the family, we have not had a holiday since we came out here. You could say that every day is a holiday, but a change would do us both good, so we have decided to finally go to Ireland. I always refused to do this when the boys were small because I felt it was too dangerous. Then, when we could afford more elaborate holidays we always followed the sun to Spain, France or Greece. Now we no longer need to do this, Ireland seemed like a good idea. Chris went there every summer as a small boy with his mum and brothers and sisters, and he often talks about the long steam train ride and then the ferry boat. I am glad to say we are flying, to Dublin, where we will pick up a hire car. We are going to do a lot of travelling, with our first port of call being Cork where my dad was born. Then we will go a little further south to Clonakilty where Peggy, Chris' mum was born. After that we will follow around the coast through, Kilarney, Galway, Sligo and on to Donegal at the top where Sam, Chris' dad, was born. I love the sound of all those place names and they are very familiar from all the Irish folk music that we both enjoy listening to. At my request we are then going to cross into Northern Ireland to go to the Giant's Causeway. I have seen this on TV many times and have always wanted to see it 'for real'. Finally we will drive down through Belfast and back to Dublin. I have put a red line to mark our route on a map, but we are sure to deviate from it a bit. It looks a lot of driving but altogether (according to google maps) it is 1,291 Km, or 802 miles, which spread out over two weeks, isn't too bad. We are going for the first two weeks in October, a kind of early birthday treat for us both. Chris says it will be very wet but not too cold. We will see! I shall go prepared for all weathers. Tom is coming over to look after the animals for us, which gives us peace of mind, but he wasn't bargaining on a problem cat. But the vet will look after Baggins while we are away if necessary.
I am really looking forward to those 'forty shades of green' in Ireland. This has been the hottest, driest summer we have experienced out here, and the campo is very brown and barren. I was looking over the back fence at the green zone behind us today. Usually, even in the summer there is some vegetation down there, which makes a shady den for the youngsters to hide away in in the evenings. But now the ground is bare mud, with a fringe up by the fence of golden, dry grass. Even many of the trees look dead with bare branches and no fruit. There are no places to hide now. I can see right across it. It is months now since we had any rain. So a few soakings on holiday will not be too much of a trial!
This afternoon, we finally made our first visit this summer, up to the village public swimming pool. It is beautiful up there, and we should go more often, but usually it is easier to just dip in and out of our own. But ours is too small to really swim in, and the village one is huge.
It is spotlessly clean, with lovely warm water, and there is something very special about swimming in the open air with a backdrop of mountains that look like folds of velvet, and a blue, blue sky above. It was so relaxing. The pool is only open for July and August, so we must make sure we get up there again next week before it closes.
I thought I'd close with a picture of something I made last week. It is only a bit of fun, and I have no idea what I will do with it now! I have a super machine which plugs into my computer and will cut out any shape that I program into it. I need to practice to find out what I can do with it, and how to alter the settings for different materials etc. So I downloaded this file from a forum and had a go. My choice of card was not always wise, as some was too thick to roll and fold easily. And some had a finish to it that didn't want to accept any glue! But having started it I was determined to see it through, though I have to admit is is not very well constructed. The whole thing is only about six inches tall so it was very fiddly to put together, but it is quite cute now it is done. I am always saying I am busy, but often that is the sort of thing I am busy with! How lucky am I?