“I don’t want another cat.”

I said it, and I meant it.

Our beautiful old boy had died after 21 years and he couldn’t be replaced.

Then along came Miaow, a cat like no other.

We found her one cold winter’s night, sneaking into the pantry to snack on the farm dogs’ biscuits. She’d been “sizing up the joint” for days before hunger drove her in.

She was perilously shy. One whiff of human scent and she fled.

But slowly, cautiously, back she came.  Food, warmth, a place to sleep eventually enticed her to stay.

Over the years we’ve come to an arrangement, she and I.

I feed her every biscuits in the morning and cat food each night. Once in a blue moon she will graciously allow a pat. I can tell she’d love more, but she just can’t bring herself to accept them.

From Wild Cat to Farm Cat

Miaow patrols the territory she’s claimed as hers. There’s no sign of a mouse in the pantry during winter, when she curls up on the box of stored farm papers she’s appropriated as her bed.

The hayshed is home over the summer months. Hidden in the hay, she keeps a close eye on the ducks nesting between the bales. She may be the bane of sparrows and mice, but I’ve never seen her pounce on a duckling. Early on, the ducks and Miaow declared a truce. Muscovies are big: the drakes easily outweigh and outnumber one little cat. Discretion is the better part of valour in Miaow’s pragmatic eyes when it comes to ducks and farm dogs.

Feed Me Now!

There’s no ignoring Miaow when she wants breakfast or tea.  A piercing call leaves me in no doubt that food is required. And not just any food: oh no, a nice cheap can of Chef or Whiskers would never do.  It’s got to be Fancy Feast, please, or maybe the expensive Dine Desire. It’s not worth my while to feed her anything else; the sounds of her displeasure can go on for hours.

All in all Miaow’s got me  wrapped around her little claw.  She is possibly the world’s most unrewarding cat. And yet, I’m pleased that she trusts us enough to stay.

I wouldn’t be without her.


The Electric Fan

I don’t remember a summer as consistently hot as this one has been. The month’s temperature map on the TV last night showed it clearly: the South was red (extreme) all over.

It’s weeks since I rolled shut the tunnel-house vents. Inside our house, everything that can be open, is. Most days the temperature is 30ºC or more. We’re tough, of course. No air-con here!

The HRV temperature gauge shows clearly that you wouldn’t want to be in the roof cavity in the afternoons —  it registers 50+ºC whenever the sun is out.

Now I’m not actually complaining about this. I much prefer having a dry, hot summer than the dry COLD summer that we had last year. That was horrible. And I know it could be worse.  At least I don’t have to play tennis in this heat.

But for the first time ever, this summer, I bought a cooling electric fan.  

And for that, I am very grateful.

I’m so grateful for my bed.

Every time I fall into my cosy, warm bed, I remember how lucky I am to be so comfortable.

There are so many people in the world who have lost the place they called home.  Whose beds are buried beneath the rubble of earthquake or storm-smashed buildings.  Or worse, in bombed out ruins.  Man’s inhumanity to man knows no bounds.

Closer to home, even in “Godzone” there are people living in cars, crammed into sheds or on the street.

There but for the grace of God…

So every night I pause to think, and thank God for my lovely bed.


“No pressure,” I said to all my daughters.

“Take as long as you want. Only have kids when you’re ready.”


Then along came Harvey.

The little miracle who undid all my fears and captured my heart from the moment I held his tiny, tiny body in my arms.

He was born 7 weeks early, and right from the start he proved he was a winner.

While other babies struggled along with oxygen and drip feeds, Harvey broke all the records for independence.  He lapped up his mother’s milk.  Tore out the drip feed line from his nose. Waved his arms and refused to be wrapped.  Slept, fed, grew and came home after only 3 weeks in hospital.

Now he’s 6 months old. His solemn gaze when I first appear, and the gradual smile that spreads over his little face when he realises it’s Nan – they just melt my heart every time.

What a lucky little boy – to have such wonderful parents, learning and growing with him; To be a fighter and a winner; To have so many people who adore him.

Today I’m grateful for Harvey.  Who said I’m not ready to be a grandma?

Down the Stairs

Every time I trot down the stairs at the Remarkables Mall I remember that once upon a time this was an impossible dream.

Once upon a time I would slowly dot-and-carry down the unending staircase, clinging to the rail for support.

And every step was pain-full. Each step brought the possibility of failure.  

My knees were so sore that ordinary, everyday activity was a trial, and actually getting fit a far off dream.

At least once a week I had nightmares about being caught in the middle of traffic (with no clothes on, lol) with my knees just refusing to move.  

I was 55 and, as my 79-year-old mum remarked, I was even more decrepit than her. (Thanks, mum.)

And I am thankful beyond words that those days are behind me.  It has been a long road to recovery, without medical intervention, I might add, because although it felt so bad and limiting to me, I was nowhere near bad enough to consider any sort of surgery.

So with a combination of supplements , shoes, exercise and most recently acupuncture, I can do the aforementioned stair trotting any old time I please. 

And that’s why I’m so grateful, today, to go up and down the stairs.

Putting on my wedding ring

Today I’m so pleased to be able to put my wedding ring on again.  

On Christmas Eve the muscles in my arm, wrist and hand cramped up. It was awful: my fingers curled and my whole hand seemed to spasm. Ouch.  We were out walking at the time, so all I could do was massage my hand and fingers, trying to loosen them up.  (I also spent time worrying that there were no doctors open, the hospital was 90 minutes away, if my fingers started turning blue I’d have to call an ambulance…)

That didn’t happen.

By the time I got home the cramp had eased but my fingers were swelling.  

With the help of soap and hand cream I managed to take off my wedding ring.  You know me, I’m so good at losing things – I was terrified that I’d forget where I put the ring, so I took special note that I was putting it in the pocket of my toilet bag. (Memory tip: Speak what you’ve done out loud. Create a picture in your mind and give that picture a “clue” so that when the clue comes to mind, the picture does too. Sounds crazy, but it really does work.)

Anyway, fast forward to today.  After four acupuncture sessions I suddenly thought about my ring.  Did I remember where it was?  You bet.

I felt so grateful when I slipped it back on my finger.