Well. That was a busy few weeks. Going back to work after the summer holidays is always a shock to the system (yes I know your heart bleeds for us poor teachers) but it’s been extra specially busy this year partly because I stood in for a colleague who had paternity leave and partly because our school is merging with two others and this involves synthesising all our ways of doing things, which basically boils down to a lot of extra paperwork, never my strongest point.
As I glare at the computer screen and try to look brave in front of new students, cobwebs and cat hair have silted up round the house, there are muddy pawprints in the bath and on every flat surface there seems to be a pile of paper, a miniature stable made from cardboard boxes, a plastic-bottle spaceship or a doll’s encampment. I have also blown up my lovely new food mixery thing, which I bought after this unfortunate incident, and had a first driving lesson which was pretty terrifying for all concerned including the trees.
Meanwhile in the garden, all those weeds who were discouraged from sprouting by the horrifically hot summer have now burst forth with a vengeance everywhere. Last night on Gardener’s World Monty Don told us we should never let weeds get out of hand but should tackle them a little and often; I had to sigh and eat some cheese.
When I have time to read, it’s mainly been detective novels I’ve purloined from the charity shop and I don’t have anything particular to say about them. I’ve also read Saplings by Noel Streatfeild, The Outcast by Sadie Jones (both of which treated the effect on children of a parent’s sudden death), Hag-Seed by Margaret Atwood and The Changeling by Victor Lavalle. The first two explore the effects on children of a parent’s sudden death, the third examines father–child relationships in a clever retelling of The Tempest, although it’s not the main theme of novel, and The Changeling explores the darker side of fatherhood. I hadn’t thought about these connexions until now but they are there. I have written half a confused post about The Changeling but I don’t know if I’ll ever finish it.
Meanwhile, Frosty Chicken spent most of her days brooding.
In cat news, Clara remained aloof for a week or so but has slowly thawed, at least to Nala. The two of them play with each other, though it’s usually a chasing game that looks as if it teeters on the edge of not being a game. Clara continued to hate Olaf for much longer and I cannot say they are best friends now but all three cats will sleep on the same bed or in the same room together so I feel that all will be well.
Nala has turned out to be a big baby; she rushes about crazily and then falls asleep on someone and then bounces up again and bounds away. She collects things. She wags her tail like a puppy and is the most frightful thief and greedy-guts. She ate a frying-pan full of bacon which K had foolishly left unattended and will creep up on the unwary and try to bat food out of their hands with a sneaky yet very effective paw.
Olaf, apart from a disturbing taste for cellophane, is more discriminating in his eating habits. He rather views himself as Nala and Clara’s lord and master and simply expects to have the best place on the favourite blanket and first dibs on any food that’s going. However, he is also completely craven when it comes to children. He adores my daughter and loves being petted and spoilt by her and her friends, hurrying up to them when most cats flee in horror at the prospect of being clasped, kissed, bellowed at and bossed about.
Life is easing up a bit and I am feeling more chirpy; I still have to vanquish the combined evils of digital and planning but I am sure the forces of light are with me.