Life as a Cat. Or Life’s a Bitch?

I have clawed my way through the week.

I have wept when the internet failed and Hat watched forlorn as I battled to get a connection and all the while her Science lesson ticked away. She didn’t mind missing the lesson she said. But I knew she minded missing the contact. With Beth and Zoe and Victoria.

I have ranted at poor beleaguered Husband, ‘I don’t know what to do with myself all day’, I rage. So I do mad, nonsensical things like apply for editorial jobs in London. In London? In London! I live in an Outpost in Africa for God’s sake; what was I thinking? I ignore the email that comes back, ‘Your message sounds interesting. I would be interested to know where you are based? Perhaps you could also send me your CV and telephone number to discuss with you further’.

Where you are based. That’s the crux of the thing.

I have ploughed through water spangled with sunlight and strung with the last of the flamboyant blossoms and swimming with scorpions so I watch where I am going which briefly distracts me from my furious, tearful frustration.

And I feel better then. And I say sorry to my Husband. ‘ I’m sorry OK. I am confused and lost and lonely and bored. Sometimes I don’t know what to do with myself.’ and I fix the internet connection so that Hat can go back to school and I can assuage my lack of retail therapy with a wander through the cyberaisles at Amazon and Ebay. I might even pick up something pretty at Monsoon or Karen Millen to admire and quietly put back on an invisible shelf.

I am writing an article on what makes a survivor. Your DNA, your experiences, your exposure as a child, your support network – they all mesh to knit an armour-plate of resilience. So I owe it to my genes, my upbringing, my Husband and Hat to try harder.

Bugger this place. I will bloody well survive it.

Even if it kills me.

We have two cats.

One grey, one marmalade.

The marmalade is old – at least ten. We thought she was a he until the vet came to pick his/her pockets and found there were none. Orlando morphed into Orlanda. She is affectionate with a plaintive, pathetic miaow.

Moshi is grey. Moshi is younger. Moshi is fickle, and a bully. If Moshi were a woman she’d be the kind who flirted with your husband and bitched about you behind your back (at the top of her voice; there is nothing plaintive or meek about Moshi’s miaow) whilst borrowing your best shoes and never bothering to return them. And she’d be beautiful, where Orlanda would be plain and kind and dependable.

Orlanda discovered that the thick foam padding discarded from the packing around an oven made a fabulous bed, perfectly feline-shaped and warm. She enjoyed it for precisely three days until Moshi copped on and with exquisite ease and subtle, silent, exacting tactics evicted Orlanda and occupied her space.

Now she spends her days atop her illgottengained bed watching the world go by in an imperious and slit eyed manner, whilst Orlanda seeks refuge with the dogs.

At least Moshi will leave her alone there I think.

15 Responses to “Life as a Cat. Or Life’s a Bitch?”

  1. nuttycow Says:

    Moshi does have those “I’m in charge” eyes, doesn’t she?

    I’m sorry you’re going through a tough time at the moment. Are the kids back for Christmas?

  2. Potty Mummy Says:

    What is it about grey cats and their imperious, entitled manner? I grew up with one – Cindy – and she was definitely the boss. It must be so tough to be where you’re at. Wish I could offer more comfort than a comment on a blog post…

  3. reluctantmemsahib Says:

    thanks Nutty. and they are! Yay! so i will have fully feathered nest. Head down. look forward. (how do you do that at the same time? without stubbing your toe?)

    Ah but Potty a comment on a blog post makes all the difference; thank you. x

  4. rosiero Says:

    Awwwhhhh. I love that last photo of the dog cuddling up to the cat. I can see Moshi has attitude!!

  5. Nola Says:

    I looked at the pictures of the cats before reading your words and I reached the conclusion you then explained. That Moshi – I want to have words with her! I hate bullies! Sweet Orlanda with dog. Aw.

    It is Thanksgiving here in the States – so we can give thanks that you got your internet connection back!

  6. Melie Says:

    Your post almost made me cry…you write in such a touching, personal manner. I have a cat JUST like Moshi so can completely understand where you’re coming from…if I had just a fraction of that confidence I could rule the world 🙂 I’m sure your kids cant wait to be back

  7. Mwa Says:

    I can see it in Moshi’s eyes. The whole description. Mi-ow!

    I’m glad you got your internet connection back. There’s only so much swimming with scorpions a woman can do.

  8. daisyfae Says:

    swimming with scorpions? i shall never again complain about the alien lifeforms that seem to infest the bottom of the local YMCA swimming pool… hairballs and bandaids won’t send me to a hospital.

    hope you post the article on ‘survival’. it’s something i wonder about… watching my family. watching different people weather the same storm with results that are 180 degrees out of phase…

  9. Mud Says:

    Moshi’s got attitude, but Orlanda looks like she’s working on the back up!

  10. Tash Says:

    follow Orlanda’s example and take comfort where you can get it – at least you have warmth and security… But, I understand, so well… keep at the writing, share more with all of us – I miss you when you go quiet…

  11. R. Sherman Says:

    Hang in there, dear. As cliche as it sounds, it’s good to take stock of the stuff you’re thankful for during those times when you want to strangle someone.


  12. reluctantmemsahib Says:

    Rosiero, she does. absolutley. but the bucketful.

    Nola – and boy did i give thanks too. Skipped around the garden gleefully. My internet is my conversation.

    thank you Melie. I know x

    Mwa. I agree. about the scorpians. Which btw are occassinally joined by kamikaze spiders and disorentated lizards which drown and hang gruesomely suspended … internet is safer company!

    It was fascinating stuff daisyfae – all about building up an AQ: adversity quotient to add to the IQ and the EQ!

    Except, Mud, that the backup is as scared of Moshi as dear Orlanda is!

    Hello Tash! And thank you. I am thankful, really. for lots of things. Do i sound like a moaning minny? I don’t mean to. It’s the frustration more than anything.

    Thanks Mr S. I know. You’re right. And I do. But sometimes the frustration bubbles over …

  13. Iota Says:

    Rage is good. I think you have a right to feel that your talents are wasted in Outpost. I like the sound of that article, by the way.

    I was brought up to be accepting, with a healthy dollop of bolshiness, and a loathing of self-pity. “Count your blessings” was a habitual refrain. “Think of those less fortunate than you”. It’s very old-fashioned, but I have found it has stood me in such good stead over the years. And a support network is so important too, of course. Which is why you mustn’t give up blogging.

    Have just read a book on how mental attitude (largely ignored by medical profession, or just nodded at in passing) is a major weapon in overcoming cancer. And of course – though the book doesn’t say this – even if it isn’t at all, it means you have a better time while you go through all the things that are medically proven.

    Rambling a little here…

  14. Tash Says:

    Never a moaning minny… just as Iota and Mr Sherman say – look for the silver lining…. and blog about the rest to us; we don’t mind you using us to vent your frustration – it puts all my issues in balance, that’s for sure! xx

  15. 3limes Says:

    Really really enjoying your blog and your tales of children and schooling and ebay retail therapy and surviving the frustration of no internet. Just wanted to say. I am only up the road in Kampala and I have days when I don’t imagine how I will survive the frustrations and then we leave the city and go into the real Africa and we breathe and feel so much better. You blog is a bit like that.

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