Saturday, 10 March 2018

Snow snow go away!

It's Sunday Selfie time.... 

We are joining The Kitties Blue, from The Cat on My Head blog, for the weekly celebration of blogs and bloggers from across the world and across the species.

Download the linky link from their site, and join the fun!

This is my selfie for the week:-

Ah-ha! I hear you say, caught in the act of blatantly napping!

Well at first glance that is what it may appear to be. BUT
I am actually undertaking a new therapy treatment called thermo-elastic-acclimatisation or TEA as we now know it here at the Palace.

All you need to do is use your heated mat, and stretch out and gently, and here's the important bit, SLOWLY allow the heat to warm the body. After a hour or so of this you'll be as right as rain (plenty of that in the UK at the moment) and be as supple as a kitten. Just right in fact to get up and inspect my afternoon tea bowl.

Please note the long term use of tea towels on the heated bed is not recommended, especially if they happen to be Mrs Hudson's best quality, just washed sort of a tea towel!

To see what all our pals have been up to, click the links below.

And now it's story time!

This weeks story is............... Snow snow go away!

Erin sat looking out of the tower window at the snow drifts on her recently completed golf course, and sighed to herself. It had been a particularly fraught few weeks and waves of snow had blown in and out more times than someone stuck in a revolving door. In fact she knew this was a at least 53 times, as the gardener had got stuck in the one fitted to the maze and clocked up 52 visits before he could slow it down enough to climb out through the top of the doors.

Being the charitable sort, she had said he could pay off the entry costs of the fifty two visitors' tickets that had been dispensed, on a one per week basis, with an off peak and frequent user discount applied.

If only the snow would go, she mused, things could be so much more fun.

She and her new housekeeper, Mrs Hudson, had wiled away the hours playing games, between naps. When she could rouse her, Mrs Hudson had proved to be a worthy adversary, and suitably adept at losing most games that Erin wanted to play. There were however only so many times you could play pin the tail on the mouse, before said mouse lost interest in the game, and indeed the living part of it too.

"Mrs H, I think we need to come up with a new set of games that we can play. I just can't get the enthusiasm up for this any longer. We haven't had a case all winter and the accounts are looking a bit sparse."

"Well, Erin, we could always play Monopoly but with real houses. I think you own a few quite a few mouse holes in the village and you could foreclose on a few so that I could buy them. Then we could use the four village streets as the board and see who can get the most in a week. Given how quick them mice breed you could put up a block of apartments and a few retirement complexes and and have them filled in no time!"

"I know, Mrs H, and it does sound fun, but think of the running costs of maintaining it all. Though to be fair I do like collecting the rent a nibble at a time. Maybe I could have the apartment blocks named after me, Princess Towers, or Erin Heights. I mean if the President can do it then I, a mere princess should be able to. Granted I don't have the leverage, but I do own the biggest golf course in the world."

"Yes dear, on paper maybe. But that may not technically be true. Just because you have a course with over two hundred holes doesn't make it big. Challenging yes and there isn't a hole that is under a par ten on account of the moles blocking them up and making new ones. And all the work the gardener has to do to renumber those holes each day is quite wearing for the lad. Still, keeps him occupied and off the streets, and there aren't many seventy somethings that can boast that."

Erin nodded and then pondered for a while. "By Jove I have it! Mrs H, get out the inflatable beach toys and get pumping, we're going to have ourselves some fun."

An hour and much puffing later, Erin and Mrs Hudson could be found outside, each astride their own inflatable beach toy. Mrs Hudson was in front, perched on an inflatable banana, whilst Erin had the inflatable hotdog that was tied to the banana's stalk. 

They sat at the top of the sloping green to the 89th hole of the golf course. "OK, on my mark push off and paddle like mad with those oars, Mrs H, and then sit back and enjoy the ride!"

Mrs Hudson looked at the pair of oars that had been taped to the side of the banana, then to the forty-five degree slope on the green,  and then the slalom coarse arranged around the various holes on the coarse, marking their route down the slope to the finishing line beside the gardener's shed. "Erin dear, I think getting a head of steam up will be the least of our problems! Have we any steering, or brakes?"

She looked around and saw Erin poised rodeo style on a tartan cat blanket, that had been secured like a saddle around the hot dogs girth. The sun sparkled on her ski goggles and the pink scarf, that matched her mittens she had knitted her, fluttered in the breeze as she bounced up and down on its thin inflated rubber surface. She looked, she mused, like a cross between Amy Johnson and an actor called Louise B. Lindley Jr, both of whom she had bumped into whilst on a flying visit to America.

"Yee-haw!" Erin shouted, and waved her paw in the air. "Brakes, Mrs H, are for dudes. We're going to ride this here pony... Er... hot dog and banana like pros. No wimps, no brakes, just grit, and a dollop of nip ketchup to spice it up. Let go that anchor and paddle like there's no tomorrow!"

Mrs H let out a sigh and unhitched the unlikely culinary duo from the potted aspidistra that provided an obstacle on the putting green. Striking off with the oars, she sent plumes of the soft snow flying wildly all over Erin. Then, having got some traction with the wooden blades, their rubberised mounts inched forwards towards the edge of the green and onto the sloping fairway.

"Hold on Erin, we're about to......" Mrs Hudson didn't get to finish her sentence as the banana toppled over the edge of the green, and zipped down the slope, taking a WHOOPING Erin with her.

Hanging onto the saddle was the least of Erin's problems, as Mrs H was sending up showers of snow as the oars dug into the snow in an attempt to steer the duo through the makeshift chicanes on the course. And whilst she managed to keep fairly on course, the hot dog with Erin on board, was swinging wildly from left righting demolished most of the flags and more than a few of the garden gnomes that sat fishing around the various water features.

Mrs Hudson had a look of grim determination frozen onto her face, and not just from the windchill, though her eyes glistened from the thrill as she hung on like a motorcycle rider from days of old. Just like the old days in the Corps, she thought, as she dug her boots into the snow to take a particularly tight turn around the 14th hole's bunker. They couldn't catch me then and they'll not get me now she muttered to herself, and then ducked automatically to avoid a low branch, her mind recalling how she had dodged more life threatening obstacles through the years.

Erin's 'Yeeee-Haw!' and 'Ride em cowboy!' cries had abated somewhat with the onslaught of snow spraying into her face from the twists and turns of the course. In fact her whiskers now had icicles and she had long since lost feeling in her nose. Still, she mused, this was all good training for Mrs H who had probably never done anything much more exciting than steering her way through a knitting pattern!

Sensing, rather than hearing the quiet behind her, Mrs Hudson glanced back as they took the final turn onto the home straight and the checkered flag planted outside the potting shed. Erin was hanging on to the saddle strap, grim determination on her face, and bouncing rather than sitting on her hotdog. Stopping would be fun, she thought, in fact there was a possibility that stopping wouldn't happen at all. 

The pair crossed the finish line at breakneck speed and headed for the moat. Panic gripped Mrs Hudson's face as the moat, and the thought of losing her princess into it loomed up large. She dug the wooden oars in, but found ice rather than the soft snow, and they snapped like kindling. Inspiration and training took hold, and she pulled out the knitting needles that had been holding her errant bun in place, and plunged them through the rubber skin of the inflatable. Its started to whine, but the decrease in size was not quick enough so she started stab wildly with both hands.

Stopping had not crossed Erin's mind, at all. Least ways it didn't until she saw the 'Caution, Moat Ahead' sign get flattened beneath he rubber stead. She looked towards Mrs H, and could see through her goggles that she was pounding the banana with the knitting needles. Her bun, Erin noted, now freed up, was being batted left and right by the wind. It would, she thought have made for quite an entertaining game in another circumstance. In truth, it wasn't so much a bun, more a large bagel or a plain cinnamon doughnut dusted in icing sugar. Neither of which Erin liked, though the hole in the middle was great for mice to climb through as part of their Mouse Cadets assault course at the summer camp.

Erin snapped back to reality. Mrs H's bun was the solution, well bread to be precise. Erin managed to get her claws back into the tartan blanket and then started to knead her way through its now crisp and cold surface. Then suddenly she hit rubber and frantically started to pierce the dogs skin.

Eighteen popping sounds and a whistling and whining of air signalled success, and Erin and the now almost flat dog dragged along the snow like an out of date cabbage leaf. The extra drag was sufficient to slow them enough to miss the moat, but it had swung them off course and they hit the potting shed side ways on, sending an array of ladders scattering across the finish line.

A loud BANG, followed by a less than ladylike sound, indicated that Mrs Hudson's blunt needles had finally made their mark. The Banana sank rapidly to the ground and, with the hotdogs brown and tan surface they looked some very strange discarded snake skins.

Mrs Hudson pulled herself onto her feet and tried to straightened her skirts that had frozen in a swept back fashion. As they were having none of it, she put on one of the gardeners aprons that had fallen to the floor. "Well Erin, dear me this is quite a mess. I dare say the gardener will have some moans tomorrow about this as he'd only just managed to get the ladders arranged how he liked them."

Erin pulled off her goggles and revealed two nice clean areas where the snow and ice hadn't formed. She looked around and smiled. "That was awesome, Mrs H, don't suppose you timed it did you? If we get cracking we could do it all again!"

"No dear, I did not keep time!" Mrs Hudson said with a grimace on her face. "Now don't you go getting any ideas either, young lady. Whilst it was all good fun, I do think that this sort of thing is a bit too risky for princess. She winked at Erin and pulled a little black box from the front of her waistcoat and showed it to Erin. "I did however use my Go Professional personal body camera! I got some really nice shots too, especially around the corners and I bet the crash at the end will look awesome too!"

"Well I never, Mrs H, you are full of surprises. I doubt you got any shots of me though."

"Oh yes dear, I did. Quite a few as it happens." She smiled broadly and pointed to the front of Erin's dog. There was a camera on yours, just above the tomato relish dollop at the front." She bent and unhooked the small black box. I dare say, with a bit of editing and some action music we can have a load of fun showing this later on. What say we head in and warm up with a nice cup of tea?"

"Wow, this could be better than Arnie, or Bond!" Erin smiled, and then, realising she was actually rather cold and her whiskers were starting to thaw, said "Tea sounds wonderful, though I think I've had enough of hotdogs for a bit!"

Later that afternoon, Erin and Mrs Hudson sat in the tower and savoured a hot cup of tea and some fresh made nip scones beside the roaring flames in the hearth. Erin stared out through the window, and sighed as she looked down upon the scene of devastation around the potting shed. Then, taking on an askant look, she called Mrs Hudson over, and pointed to the scattered ladders and snake-skin like deflated banana and hotdog skins.

"Mrs Hudson, are you thinking what I'm thinking?" Mrs Hudson sighed and nodded. "Well Erin, just one game as I've only just got my skirts dry. I'll go and get some of that black spray paint and mark out a grid if you you'll dig out those toy dice from the toy basket. I have to warn you though, I play a mean game of Snakes and Ladders!"

The End

Saturday, 3 March 2018

Aches and pains

This is my selfie for the week:-

The stresses of managerial work never ends, and some days I have had to undertake some serious work in the chair. 

Sometimes I works so hard I have to have a working lunch too..... and a working nap!

............... and now it's Sunday Story Time!

This weeks story is dedicated to a very dear friend to us all, Kali, from The Canadian Cats blog, who crossed the bridge this week. Our hearts reach out to Shoko and the family, and we are sending gentle purrs to help heal their loss......

This weeks story is........... Aches and Pains.

Mrs Hudson is lying down on the parlour floor, whilst Erin, who is sat on her chest, gently taps Mrs Hudson's right cheek with her paw.

"Is it numb yet, Mrs H?"

"Dumb, dear? Now don't be hard on yourself, Erin. I'm not sure it is the best idea you have come up with, but I'm all for trying alternative remedies and treatments. I have to confess that I had hoped though that it would be numb by now. You have been at it for the last fifteen minutes after all."

"I DID say numb, Mrs H. Maybe if you sorted that bun out you could hear me better?" 

"The Sun and some beer? Well I'm game for it if you are, Erin, but it is rather irregular of ones employer to ask one out to a pub lunch and a drink. Don't you think we should sort this matter out first?"

Erin slapped a paw to her head and sighed deeply. "OK so maybe I have been a bit too subtle. If I hit you very hard on the cheek like so...  WHACKETY WHACK WHACK..........WHAAAACK!  Then maybe that there tooth of yours will numb up a bit so we can pull it out. How was that? Do you feel any more numb than before?"

"Hang on dear, I can't hear you. I'll just slide this bun over a tad and I should be OK. My face is numb now though." Mrs Hudson sat up and moved the bun back behind her head and secured it with a hair grip. Feeling her jaw, she winced as she came to the area of the sore tooth. "Hmm, well so much for Felix-opawpatry! What's next on that list of natural remedies?"

Erin had been busy researching tooth ache remedies since Mrs Hudson mentioned it that morning. The palace medical plan would have covered such matters, but for one small point. Mrs Hudson, no matter how she dressed, just couldn't pass as a cat. Any work she had done would therefore have to come out of her own purse.

Of course as she also didn't actually draw a salary this left another minor issue. Erin felt a minor pang of guilt as it was she who had asked Mrs H to rake the leaves in the garden in the first place. She had also not tidied up the rake which Mrs H had trodden on and which had then smacked into her jaw and broke the tooth.

Reiki healing had seemed like an obvious popular choice. But given the rake was to blame it did other seem like adding insult to injury by using it to cure her. Especially as by waving a rake over her jaw, there was a distinct chance of being clobbered by it again.

Crystal healing had come up in the search, and had seemed like the best option as she had used it herself. In fact she had some of crystal dissolving medicinal feed left, but given the pain factor and time, she felt that dissolving Mrs Hudson's teeth might not be practical a solution.

Erin twiddled with length of yarn she had found laying around the drawing room. And then a sparkle appeared in her eyes and she mentally, for want of opposable thumbs, snapped her fingers. "Mrs Hudson, I have it!

"I thought you had the wormer a fortnight ago, dear, or was that just the flea treatment?" Pulling out a small diary from her pinafore, she flipped through the pages until she found the one she needed, and then nodded. Yup it was just the flea treatment. one dose of Frontline Princess mix, to be taken in cream 5 times a day for a week. That's what you told me the consultant said, and I jotted it down, look."

Mrs Hudson proffered Erin the page as evidence, and then popped it away again. "Well if you have worms then it is from all those take-aways you have instead of a proper meal. I could do you a nice sandwich or a packed lunch, with nip salad with a white mouse starter... or finisher dependant whether you can catch it."

"No no no. I assure you, Mrs Hudson, I do not have worms, well not yet anyway. No, what I have is the answer to your tooth ache."

"What? A dentist? Well that is very nice, Erin, but I can't have you spending all your money on me. Not when there are bills to pay, things to mend, and mice to put on the table."

Not a dentist, Mrs H, a piece of string. Well a piece of yarn as it happens. Same difference really unless you happen to be knitting soft undergarments in which case it wouldn't go down well.
All we, meaning you, will have to do is tie this yarn to the tooth and I'll pull hard and that tooth will come out. Well that's the idea anyhow and it worked in a documentary by Messrs. Hardy and Laurel. Meet me in the study in ten minutes and we'll have it out in a trice.

Mrs Hudson entered the unlit study very slowly. There was a chill in the air even though flames licked at a log in the hearth. The flames seemed to dance to a dark and sinister tune that played from the wireless. "Hello, is anyone there? Erin? You did say the study, didn't you?" Her hand felt along the wall and pushed the brass lever downwards. Nothing happened, so she flicked it up and down twice more and still no luck.

Reaching into her apron she withdrew a small lighter and a candle. No sooner than she lit it than a sudden breeze made it gutter and go out. At the same time a large white ghost appeared in front of her and let out a terrible moan.

Mrs Hudson screamed, dropped the candle and fled the room. As she did, Erin crept out from behind the ghostly sheet.  The was a muffled banging and thudding sound from the kitchens, and then a large yelp followed by a long sigh. Erin, fearing she might just have inadvertently killed her housekeeper, headed off to the kitchens to see what she had done.

Erin arrived moments later and found Mrs Hudson sat on the floor, nursing her jaw. She had a wad of cotton wool doused in witch hazel pressed up against a rapidly reddening patch on her cheek. "Oh my, Erin, what a start that was. A ghost popped up from nowhere and frightened the stockings off me. I think we really must have words with those guys, and say they aren't to haunt during working hours without prior approval. Gave me quite a turn, not that I mind ghosts, but that was my best sheet they'd used and it reminded me I hadn't got the washing in from the line."

"Erm, Mrs H, I must confess that it was me that tried to frighten you. Look I'm really sorry about that and I do hope that you didn't hurt yourself?"

"I know dear, I saw your tail sticking out from behind the sheet of the ghost. The tiara was a nice touch though. It was very sweet of you to try to cheer me up that way, so I'd forget. Tell me, why a ghost? I mean I hope you didn't pay them to do that when a nice bunch of flowers would have been just as good?"

"Well I was actually trying to shock the pain into going away. It said in the book that a sudden shock was good aches and pains. It was either that or a cold bunch of keys down the back of your blouse when you weren't looking, but I didn't think I could manage that. It did seem like a good idea, honest." Erin, shuffled her feet and bent her head to avoid Mrs Hudson seeing the tears in her reddened eyes, and drooping whiskers.

"Oh my, Erin, you ninny. Those remedies are for stopping the aches of hiccups not tooth ache. Still, you actually did make them pains go away, in a round about fashion that is. You see when I saw that sheet I ran to get the washing in and trod on that confounded rake again. Looks like the smack I gave myself this time has shifted the tooth, look?" Opening her other hand, she revealed a dainty white molar nestling in a small silk handkerchief. If I get a few more of these I can have a set of dentures made." She smiled and winked at Erin. "Of course I could just pop it under my pillow for the tooth fairy to collect and leave me a golden coin."

Erin perked up at the mention of gold. "This fairy, does she come by appointment or is it on a needs must basis? I mean it is always best to know these things for future reference. I wonder If I could maybe mail her and find out if there is an exchange rate for different sort of teeth. There are bound to be a few around here that aren't being used. And I wonder if she could bring something other than gold.... like gold top cream or maybe a mouse or two?"

"Now Erin, I can see where you might be going on that, so don't you go getting any ideas now." Mrs Hudson waved a reproving finger at Erin. "I want to hang onto the rest of MY teeth as long as I can and I'm fairly certain the Kraken's will be rarer than the hens. Best leave that idea until the next time it happens. Now help me up and we can put the washing back out as seems like the suns out and my tooth ache gone." With that she got up and narrowly missed the cupboard door that was open overhead.

Erin grimaced at the near miss, and prayed the clothes pegs wouldn't pose any threat to life or limb. "You know, Mrs H, that's a great idea. It seems every cloud clearly does have a silver lining after all, maybe even gold!" Erin smiled, and picked up the bag of clothes pegs and trotted out into the garden. "I think we can probably get a spot of gardening done too. Maybe you could finish off raking these leaves whilst we're here. What do you think?"

"Mrs H, are you coming....." There was a loud THWACK, a thud and then a groan from behind her. Erin turned to see Mrs Hudson lying legs akimbo on the lawn, beside the rake, nursing her nose.

"Hmm, I think maybe we'll just forgo the laundry and gardening today, don't you?" Erin sighed, and then got a glint in her eye. "I wonder how much I..... er..... WE would get for a nose from that fairy? Mrs Hudson, hold still and don't let that nose run off, I've just got a quick phone call to make!"

The end