Ooh, I think that is Miranda calling. Now where did I put the phone?

Okay I know I am scatty but even I am beginning to feel it is getting out of hand. After getting locked in the loo during my book signing I actually began to wonder about all this. I mean, seriously, who manages that? As much as I admire Miranda Hart, I really do not want to be a real life Miranda but I actually fear I am. Oh, that can’t be possible, you shout. Oh really. Let us take today for example.
Breakfast was fine, no real catastrophes there and even the journey to work was okay. Oh, yes, we writers actually go to work. One day I will be rich and famous enough to not have to but at the moment it is for the best as I am far too weary to fight off paparazzi and collect numerous awards. Dream on Lynda! So I drive to work without mishaps and even find a parking space in the health centre car park. I then climb out of the car and meet my colleague who arrives at the same time. It is here it all seems to go downhill. I feel sure, no absolutely certain in fact that something dropped from my lap and crashed to the ground. I gasp and stare in horror. Was it my glasses? Oh, god, no, it was my Blackberry. I look to my colleague, who looks perplexed. I explain something crashed to the ground. Of course, this is bearing in mind that nothing can be seen.
‘What was it?’ she asks.
Precisely. What was it? Now, tell me, how many people drop things and then do not actually know what they dropped?
‘I think it must have been my Blackberry, or perhaps my glasses.’ I say uncertainly to which she gives me one of those ‘You are nuts’ look.
We both look around us and under the car. It is as I stand up that I see my glasses are tucked into the top of my blouse. Ah, yes, of course I put them there for safety which means it was the Blackberry. Oh, wonderful. It has been bucketing down with rain and neither of us want to actually get down onto the floor and look under the car. My friend comes up with the ideal solution.
‘Reverse your car slowly and in a straight line and you shouldn’t go over it and I will shout when I see it.’
Oh no, this is the kind of thing I am not good at. I am the kind of person that will run over the Blackberry even if driving in a straight line. I can’t tell her that, so I do it. No Blackberry. If fact there is nothing under the car. My friend suggests checking my handbag and lo and behold there is my Blackberry. Red faces all around. Of course this isn’t the first time and what is worse I repeat these things often.
Once or twice having parked much too far from Marks and Spencer I have made the fantabulous decision of asking the assistant if I could collect by car and they make this exceptionally easy and foolproof. Even total idiots can’t possibly get this wrong. Lynda, of course, can. I dutifully take my little number with the velcro sticky back and make my way to the car. The pick up point is literally just around the corner. What does Lynda do? Yes, you’ve got it. She drives the whole ten miles home with the little number tab grasped tightly in her grubby little hands. Bear in mind, that the whole idea of collecting by car was to save her the time it takes to walk with the trolley to the car and back. I mean, come on…
This is the woman who buys earrings in Sainsbury’s and throws them into her carrier bag. Yes, I know, most people would place them carefully into their handbags. She then, empties the bags, missing the earrings and later uses the bag as a bin liner. Andrew often asks why earrings are in the bin. I have also been known to smother my hair in cream cleanser rather than mousse because the containers look similar. I manage to lock myself in loos. The most recent time being when I was literally in the middle of a book signing at Waterstones. The nice assistant took me upstairs, showed me the loo and then politely left me. The lock seemed a bit stiff but I didn’t want anyone barging in on me so I pushed the bolt across It took me close on five minutes to yank the bolt back. I broke two nails as well as breaking into a sweat. I must have looked quite flush when I returned downstairs. I can’t imagine what they thought I had been doing in their loo.
I have left my lap top adapters at people’s houses. A pair of very expensive trainers at a holiday home and didn’t realise until weeks later. I have left my handbag in a supermarket trolley and driven home and have been known to drag a howling cat into the house only to realise it wasn’t my cat! I have put vegetables in the steamer and then plugged in the electric kettle only to moan to Andrew when he returns home, that the steamer has broken. I have attempted to get into other people’s cars because they look like mine. I throw keys into my handbag, and by that I mean anyone’s keys.
I leave the house and lock the front door while leaving the back door wide open. I walk into the house and leave the keys in the door where they have been known to stay all night. I also have this terrible habit of throwing the house cordless phone into my handbag after using it and then taking it out with me. I seem to repeatedly shut the cat’s tail in a drawer or step on it. If he could talk I am sure Bendy would ask to be put up for adoption or seriously consider buying a gun…
Oh, had better go. I do believe that is Miranda Hart on the phone requesting to do a series on my life. Now where is the phone?

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The day the cat overshadowed the bride!

I cannot remember a time when I have not had a cat. So I thought it was time to blog about my pets and Bendy in particular. As a child there was always a cat running around the house and they became my friends. Better than having an invisible friend I guess, although I think I had them too. Yes, I know, you are not surprised. One cat actually became a replacement dolly for me. We seemed to always have a cat that was in kitten when I was a child and sooner or later those kittens would run around the house too only to slowly disappear as people took them home. Kitty (not the most original name I know) was my favourite cat as a child and I remember dressing her up in bonnets and baby clothes.

 

Yes, you heard me correctly. How the cat put up with it I shall never know. One day I actually took her for a walk in my dolly pram and she just laid there. Another time I put her on the floor with a pillow for her head and covered her with a baby blanket and told her not to move until I came home from school for my lunch. Believe or not, she was still there on my return. Kitty would even lift the knocker on the front door when she wanted to come in. Of course even though cats were a big part of my life then and still are now, I never for one moment thought a cat would upstage me at my wedding… But as usual I digress. Of course, the worst part about owning a cat is when they depart. I have lost several cats and each time I have said I would never get another one but life without a cat is a very lonely one indeed. As an adult I have owned many cats. There was Kelly whom I had for fifteen years and what an adorable cat she was. Of course, I always believed that cats would stay with me for a long time and so after Kelly died I brought home two kittens and named them Saoirse and Roisen and thought they would be with me for fifteen years too. As you can imagine their names caused quite a problem and most people could not pronounce them and that included by then husband. I would phone the vets and say ‘Can I book Saoirse and Roisen in for their jabs’ and the receptionist would put always put them down as Mrs Lynda’s cats. Everywhere I took them they became known as Lynda’s cats. The fact that they were identical confused everyone. Sadly Roisen was knocked down by a car when she was two and Saoirse died six months later from a stroke aged almost three. The vet told us that there had obviously been some kind of interbreeding which had been the reason for the stroke. Both cats were highly strung and it does make me cross that owners do not take more responsibility for their pet’s reproduction habits. When I met my second husband and we bought our dream cottage in the country we decided to buy a dog but somehow this didn’t happen. Instead we heard through a friend that they knew someone whose cat had just had kittens and were we interested. Andrew insisted we only get one and of course I agreed. However as soon as we saw the kittens we just knew we had to have two. Six weeks after choosing them we brought Iris and Bendrix home. Iris named after my favourite author Iris Murdoch. I met Iris Murdoch’s husband just before getting our cats and was thrilled to be shown around her home. The cat we named Iris was so intelligent and human that I felt naming her after Iris Murdoch was the only thing I could do. Bendrix was immediately named after the main character in our favourite book and film ‘The end of the affair’ By Graham Green.

Bendrix and Iris as kittens

Bendrix, of course came to be known as ‘Bendy’ It was Iris, however who became the hit of the village. She would visit the local school in the morning and sit in on the lessons for a short time. The teacher allowed the children to stroke her and she stayed for part of the morning before being thrown out. She would then travel on to the allotment next to the school where everyone came to know her. Whenever we went for a walk in the village we would whistle her and like a dog she toddled along ahead of us and as soon as we whistled again she would turn around and come back.

Two little rascals

Iris was a wonderful hunter while Bendrix just sat in a box in Andrew’s office getting fatter and fatter. We figured he was depressed and though about taking him to the vet. We would watch as Bendrix tried to hunt but Iris always got there first and would drop her cast offs for him to play with and then growl at him.

Iris on the line. One of her favourite places

Bendy would eventually retreat to his box. We finally took him to the vet who said to give him time. Then we realised Iris was in kitten. I have yet to see a cat as happy as Iris was when she was carrying her kittens and even happier when they arrived. She would spend nearly an hour trying to get them outside so they could hunt with her and when we prevented it she would bring in a huge bird and teach them how to eat it…
Iris with her kittens

Meanwhile, Bendy got more depressed. Iris sadly died shortly after having her litter. A fly landed on her and hatched his eggs. We had no option but to have her put down when the vet explained the damage the maggots would do to her. We buried her at the allotment and were very touched at the number of people who knocked to say how sorry they were that we had lost her. Amazingly while we were sad and missing her dreadfully, Bendy’s spirits lifted. He started hunting and very much came into his own. He became such a great hunter that Andrew grew tired of getting up in the mornings only to step on dead corpses as he walked into the living room. Bendy had birds, mice, rats and has been known to catch Bats. One day tried to get a pigeon through the flap. It was when he started bringing home bunnies that Andrew put his foot down. At night he was to stay in the kitchen. At least that way the carnage didn’t enter the lounge. Sometimes our garden looks like a war zone. Okay a slight exaggeration. He has been the source of many problems since finding his personality. He gets into numerous fights and lost the tip of his ear in one. Another day we came home from the shops to find him nice and snug on Andrew’s computer while all around him there was blood. It was all over the floor, splattered up the wall and all over Andrew’s desk. I screamed and fled from the room not wanting to see the carnage when Andrew found it. After not finding any carnage, we checked Bendy over only to find a cyst on his neck had burst and we had not even noticed it was there.

A bandaged neck until the collar was put on.

One other thing that Bendy likes is the camera. As soon as we point it at him he begins to pose. It was with this thought in mind that the day before our wedding we bought a bow tie with the intention of putting it on him. Of course, on the morning he disappeared. He however reappeared as all the guests were settling and I was about to make my entrance into our garden where I was to walk to Andrew. At that moment Bendy jumped onto the garden wall and Andrew quickly popped on the tie. Bendy loved it and when people started photographing him he began to pose. He was the centre of attention with all the paparazzi around him. I had to wait until his photo call was over.

The best cat
He then disappeared, only to return later that night with bow tie all askew, like a cat who had been on the tiles. He later won a competition with the photos we took of him. For a cat who was once lived in the shadow of Iris he had now proved himself. Everyone who meets him, loves him and I very much hope he is with us for a long time.