Thursday, 18 December 2014

Short and busy days, a lost friend and a close call

The days are at their shortest; the evenings are long and cold; it is the season of coughs and sneezes – and yet it is one of the busiest times of year. We have quite a small family now and only have a few presents to buy for the festive folics. There will only be five of us sharing turkey-with-all-the-trimmings on the 25th. Yet there still seems an awful lot to prepare in a short period of time.

Photo 2014-11-08
One member of the family we will miss this year is Spots. The beloved cat died at the end of November. She started to look a little under the weather and to lose weight towards the end of October. She had various tests at the vet’s, but she went downhill quickly and died of heart failure. I miss her. There are empty cardboard boxes in the house and no cat in them!

Her mother, Smokey, has been unwell for quite a while, but is not doing too badly. She has been eating better and has put on some weight. Today however, she is refusing to eat. Today she is also wandering from room to room and keeps going outside. I wonder if she is looking for Spots. Perhaps it has taken a while for Spots’s total absence to really sink in for her.

At the beginning of December we had a wonderful retreat with our students. It was a splendid and inspiring week. One of the gifts that we were so kindly given contained rechargeable candle lights. They flicker with a warm glow, just like a candle. We are using one set in our shrine room at home, and another in the lounge or dining room. The third set I have taken to use at Aro Ling Cardiff Buddhist Centre as they are much safer than an actual candle and look lovely.

Talking of safety . . . I did something that was decidedly unsafe last week. I have been hanging clothes near the wood burning stove in the kitchen to dry them. It is fantastic – drying a whole load of washing in a day. I got a little too enthusiastic however, and was hanging items too close to the chimney. The chimney gets very hot when the fire is burning well. This is the result – a close call. I will not be hanging washing in that particular spot again! We intend to install an old-fashioned laundry airer that hangs from the ceiling on pulleys eventually, as the ceiling is nice and high in the kitchen.

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