Delicate and Wild

Bit of a late start – I’m trying to get there, I really am!

A bit of the Chili Peppers for you this fine Monday. Well, I say fine and we’re under grey skies here today. I love this tune. It reminds me so much of summer.

This weekend, my sister was here and it was so great to see her. There’s nothing like siblings. I’ve not seen her for two years, but it never feels like that long when I see her again. It’s like we only saw each other the weekend before last or something. We went out for a meal in Angoulême on Friday night. She’d never been before, even though she’d been here a few times. We went to the Lieu Dit, which is one of the best restaurants, although there are lots of really good one. I’ve got a few more recommendations that I’ve got to check out as well too. I need to stop going to the places I always go and try some of the other places which always look good but I never go to. The food is always good in the Lieu Dit, though I can’t remember the last time there was a change on the menu. That’s not a bad thing though.

It must be said that often, English people just want to meddle with eating and with menus, without taking the chef’s word for it that something is the way it is because – well, that’s the way it is. Nobody would think to into a shoe shop and say “I like these shoes, but can you take the heel off and put a wedge on instead?” which is what so many English speakers seem to want to do with food. We’re so used to customising everything. I guess it was the advent of the disgusting soft pickle at McDonald’s that brought that on. Mind you, I’m of the generation where we just scrape it off and leave it, rather than asking for a completely new one to be cooked sans gherkin.

Food is obviously a lot on my mind. My new assignment is about dog food, which is not the easiest of subjects to get to the bottom of, believe me. Amazing how far the tentacles of some businesses go though. Who’d have thought that toothpaste manufacturers would make a line of veterinary dog food, or that the makers of Dolmio and Wrigley’s spearmint gum would make dog biscuits as well? Kind of scary this global market. Anyway, the assignment was on the back burner this weekend.

Some bright spark – that’d be me – was reading a couple of comments on Facebook on Friday night about kittens. As you know, I’ve almost finished the calendar for the refuge, which has been some work, let me tell you. In fact, the photos are the very least of it. I could easily buy a crappy template and it would look average, but no. I like to do it by hand. 365 days that need marking out by hand. 365 numbers. 365 days. 365 lines. 365 pretty little circles. Add all the holidays, school holidays, fête days, grandmother’s days, open days and the likes and it’s a serious undertaking. Anyway, when I saw the comments about how well a refuge kitten calendar would sell, an idea hatched in my head. Changing the photos and making TWO calendars is actually the easiest bit. Finishing off the first is the tough bit! I wanted one that shows all the work that the shelter do, the dogs, the cats, the ferrets, the rescues, the adoptions, the oldies, the babies. A kitten calendar is cute, and it’s a big part of the summer, but it’s a bit too narrow for me to represent all the work of the shelter. That said, it’ll sell well, so why not? A calendar for our supporters who love all our work, and a calendar for our supporters who like cute kitten photos.

Nothing like making work for yourself is there?

On Saturday, we had our first meeting back at the refuge since the end of summer. It’s not that staff or the conseil go away but more that with so few volunteers and with some staff who do want to spend time with their children in the school holidays, it leaves us thin on the ground. The holidays are like a dead zone at a time when we really, really need people. It does leave us firefighting, trying to hold it all together. The lady who runs the cattery looked so frazzled before she went away. It’s very well, isn’t it, for volunteers to walk away and to say ‘no’, but the staff are the ones worrying that a kitten family will die if left at the shelter overnight, or that there is nobody to feed the orphaned kittens or puppies. Very tough. It makes me all the more thankful for the amazing people who step up and take a bit of pressure off the refuge even though they work and they volunteer too. More please! I ferried three kitten families to new fosters this weekend and I can’t tell you how lucky we are to have those homes helping us out. A stay in the pound is a stay tainted with highly contagious diseases at the moment. I think my current Help-Xer thought I was being draconian in saying she couldn’t touch one family of kittens in one room and then go to play with the others. It’s only through diligence though that lives are protected. I know it sounds massively melodramatic but until you’ve held a dying kitten, you don’t realise how important that diligence is.

This week is back to a bit of routine for me. I will be glad when it is Friday and the weekend, when things are in something of an order once more! Next week is a busy one with a few training courses here and there – definitely need some ‘me’ time next Sunday to recharge the old batteries!

Have a good rest of Monday and enjoy Universally Speaking.

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