La Chatte Gitane (or The Gypsy Cat) was the name we chose for our cottage in France. We chose it while on the road, moving home, from Ireland to France with 2 dogs and 7 cats in the car.
This blog began its insignificant life as a recipe book for friends and family who would ask me repeatedly for a recipe of this, that and the other.
Since then it has taken many different directions, like gypsies tend to do. Sometimes making a U-turn and revisiting familiar roads and taking a break when necessary.
You'll find recipes here, but also musings about the places we've called home, the gardens that we've established, not always successfully, the homes we've improved and the environments we've lived in. Currently, that is back in Ireland.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Perpetual Home Movers

So we are now the proud new owners of two houses in our beloved Sneem, county Kerry, Ireland.
My life feels quite surreal right now. Who would have thought that after leaving 9 years ago we would ever go back.
I remember when we left, Bert saying, "You do realise that we will never be able to buy a similar house in  similar surroundings around Sneem for the price we got from the sale of the house."
He was right - for a while.  House prices went up and up and up, until the bubble burst...
Being the restless souls that we are and, not forgetting, perpetual home and country movers (gosh ! life would be simpler if we were just to get rid of all our tat and bought ourselves a gypsy waggon and a horse), we decided to go back to Ireland. 
It took us 2 years to plan and  to get things in order.

The timeline of the big move is as follows.
  • Friday, 12th April
- Arrival of shipping container (we bought a second hand one, that way we can make use of  it in Sneem as storage - we're gonna need it !)

- Cats go to  my cousin, Nancy's cat hotel , which is just on the other side of town.  Easy peasy.
The dogs will stay with us, hoping we'll be able to manage them as we load the container.

  • Saturday, 13th & Sunday, 14th April
- Load container with the help of friends.  Neatly loaded, to make good use of the 20 ft space.
  • Monday, 15th April
- Container gets picked up in the morning.
- Stuff 2 cars full of dogs and other belongings
- Get cats from cat hotel, stuff them in car too
- Pick up my mother (who will have made picnic parcels), she is coming for the ride and will get a suitable space in my car.
- Ready to roll by 12 noon
- Drive to Calais to get to the Channel Tunnel
- Hopefully all goes smoothly with importing the pets.
- Arrive in Ashford
- Drive through England and Wales towards Fishgard to catch the ferry....
  • Thuesday, 16th April
- Ferry Fishgard - Rosslare at 2.45 am
- Arrival in Rosslare at 6.30 am (or thereabouts)
- Drive to Sneem with estimated arrival at 12 noon
- Brass band, cheerleaders, flags will be welcoming us back (haha)

The shipping container will leave the docks in Antwerp on Wednesday and arrive in Cork on Friday morning, so we will not be seeing our worldly goods till the next Monday at the earliest.

At this point the pets have had their shots, micro chips for the ones that didn't have one yet, passports have been updated, etc etc.  The dogs need a treatment for tapeworm between 1 and 5 days before arrival in the UK.

Boxes have been filled and many more still need filling. The weeks ahead are going to be hectic, to say the least.

Thank you for reading
Patricia xxx...x

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

A Neglected Blog

Well, dear readers, I have neglected my blog good and proper !
There are reasons and a thousand excuses for that, but I'm not going to bother you with the latter.
The fact is that my head space didn't let me get onto the Blogger World.
We will be moving house and country soon. I wrote about that in October 2012 . I'll leave the developements of that subject for the next instalment on this blog.

Unfortunately when we got back from Sneem last October our dog Sam became ill. A bit of a dry cough at first, so a coughing syrup was prescribed by the vet. No sign of improvents made the vet give him antibiotics. Again, no improvement.
On the contrary, he became very weak and in a matter of days he lost his eyesight and lots of wheight.  In the meantime blood tests were done and the results showed absolutely nothing conclusive.  An ultrasound showed an enlarged spleen. Biopsy. Nothing conclusive.

Our next step was drive all the way to the Universitary Animal Hospital in Ghent. Obviously they repeated all the tests and were stumped, just like our vet. They advised a drip and cortisone treatment in the hospital, but we opted for that to happen at our vet's, which is nearer to us.

He got stronger and his eyesight came back.  He could come home, but has been on cortisone ever since.  Sometimes he gets a bit weaker still and then the cortisone dose gets upped.
It gets upped because he gets fatter, so he can have more.  He gets fatter, because he eats loads.  He eats loads because of the cortisone.  You got it, a vicious circel.

The vet now believes it to be a neurological problem.  Like a brain tumour.  Why not get a scan, I hear you ask.  1300€ is why.  They might find a tumour, but they might not.  And then ? We will know it's a tumour.  His treatment would still be the same.  Keep him comfortable till the day comes when we have to make this damn awful decision. 

A decision we recently had to make already with one of our cats, Squirrel. My little darling. Fourteen she was and was slowly getting  to the end.  Every day I think about her with pain in my heart.  I feel guilty, still.  But apparently it was for the best.

It is something you don't really think about too much when you get a pet. They just don't get as old as we do and there will be a point in our lives when we have to say goodbye.  It is hard.
On the positive side, they give us so much while they are with us. Unconditional love, great companionship. They make us laugh with their antics and sometimes they make us want to strangle them when they have pooped in an unreachable (for us) corner !

So you see, I have been preoccupied with  all sorts.
My next blog instalment will not be far off and possibly of a more positive nature.

Thanks for reading
Patricia xxx...x
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