A Blogging Breather; What I Was Up To…

And he is back! I didn’t intend not to blog for ages, quite the opposite, but sometimes life makes you stop and think, get some space, and then you realise you quite like having that imposed breather and so you self impose it for a little bit longer. I was at Gran’s from the start of last week and was thinking that post radiotherapy she might be quite tired and need lots of rest and reading time.  Therefore, in my head I was expecting lots of time reading together between chatting and the like, and then while she needed a rest I could blog… Erm, wrong!

It was non-stop! Gran is certainly making the most of life, as much as you can in a wheelchair, while she can and good on her. If there weren’t carers and/or physiotherapists and other health workers then there were visitors coming round. Then we had a day trip to Sheffield on a rare ‘no one is in the diary’ day, we had meant to go to see the Warhol exhibition but it was shut alas, so instead as she hadn’t had the joy for nearly five months we went and did some retail therapy, including a trip to John Lewis (or JL’s as its simply known in the Savidge family) which is one of Gran’s favourite places. Weirdly we didn’t go to any bookshops which I would have thought was a must. Gran did however treat me a lot, I felt like I was little again, with stops at a posh Museum restaurant (where I had the most amazing vegetarian fish and chips) and then a trip to Patisserie Valerie, she knows me so well.


We did do a lot of talking about books though. Since Gran’s prognosis she, understandably, has been having trouble concentrating on reading. She wants to re-read some favourites but alas the one she had picked, ‘The Birds Fall Down’ by Rebecca West, simply wasn’t gripping her. So we had fun going through all the books on the shelves in her dining room which is where she keeps all the books she has read as the ones she hasn’t read stay out of sight (now I know where I get that from) and seeing if any grabbed her. Truman Capote’s ‘In Cold Blood’ seems to have done the trick. This lead to some interesting chats about books and authors she hasn’t read any really wants to, and which I felt that way about, plus also reading habits and the life of a reader in general. It got me thinking and talking about reading and blogging and the pros and cons of both of them and between the two of us she has sorted me out. I won’t navel gaze in front of you all, as it is never attractive, but the gist is life and reading come first, blogging second and only when I feel like it and when I feel what I am putting out there is good enough. Many of you have been telling me this on and off for ages when I have had wobbles but Gran really clarified everything for me. So thanks Gran, the blog sort of restarts now.

Anyway, when I got back from Gran’s utterly exhausted, so how she isn’t is beyond me, I carried on with my break from reading and blogging and just had a bit of a breather. The Beard and I have been getting addicted to old black and white Joan Crawford movies, though we did have a break to see Breaking Dawn Part 2 which I thought was a bit of a dud and expected more from, and also got a little bit addicted to bowling – a sport I am actually good at! The Beard was shocked at how good I was, but they don’t call me Simon ‘Strike’ Savidge for nothing… ok, so they don’t call me that.

I have also been spending lots of time playing with Oscar. It seems the Bengal side of him is really coming out now as he is suddenly growing and exploring more places than he has been able to previously. He is also higher maintenance, everything is more extreme, when he is manic he is absolutely bonkers, when he wants a cuddle he sits on your face quite literally smothering you with love.

We have made a big decision though, we are getting him a playmate, most likely a younger girl that he can have rough and tumble and cuddly times with when we aren’t home as he doesn’t like going outside alone or without a lead, and when he has he ends up freaking out and running up tall trees to everyone’s dismay. Ha! Any tips on making them get on please let me know and of course I will introduce her when she arrives. But enough of cats for now, I can bore you all to death on them so must show restraint, ha!

The break has done me good though and the reading funk I didn’t realise I was in has well and truly gone as in the last three days I have read as many books and loved them all, interestingly they were all whim reads. It’s the way forward.

So that is me all up to date with you all. You have my news and latest on Gran, Oscar and other non bookish stuff. So now I shall go and curl up with Anthony Trollope’s ‘The Warden’ in time for Classically Challenged on Sunday. What have you all been up to and what are you reading right now?


Filed under Random Savidgeness

21 responses to “A Blogging Breather; What I Was Up To…

  1. Louise

    I have 6 cats of various breeds, bengal, ragdoll, maine coon are amongst the furries in my house and I’ve come to learn just how complicated cats are. If you haven’t watched a program about cats, presented my Joanna Lumley, it’s worth a watch, anyway.. My cats are different ages which makes a huge difference when introducing a new cat, the younger the better. If Oscar is still intact then get that done first. There are two ways to go about it, the recommended way is to introduce the new cat in stages, for short periods of time, extending the length of time they meet gradually, this means keeping the new cat locked away. This will let Oscar know that he is still in charge of his territory, and the new cat is not taking that or you away from him.. it will also prevent him from spraying and scratching to mark his boundary. (yes, spraying can happen even after getting the snip)

    The other way is to put them together, see what happens and let things run a course. I have introduced mine using both way, but it ultimately depends on the cats behaviour too.

    I do recommend a product called Felliway, it mimics hormones, and puts a safe feeling in the cats home, it stops unwanted behaviour and is great for introducing new pets. It might be worth you looking up cat behaviour and why they do certain things, it’s insightful and very clever to learn the hows and whys of being a cat 🙂

    • Louise

      Ooh I’ve just seen in your latest teetie thingybob, that your new kittie is a Maine Coon! Is she a pure Maine Coon?… she doesn’t look very Maine Cooney at the moment, bless! I have a Maine Coon and he is one hairy beast, with a tiny voice but a huge personality! He acts like a dog, follows me and is so loyal which is unlike cats. I know Oscar is only half a Bengal, but he does seem to have the traits, the differences bewtween the two is so obvious, you have two wonderful feline friends! If you were ever thinking of a third… The Ragoll is a most gorgeous breed!

      • We aren’t sure if she is a full Maine Coon or just a part Maine Coon but they apparently can tell from her bloods. The vet was 100% definite that she was at least half. It is the tail the paws and the vocals that had him convinced.

        Definitely no more cats though, they are getting on quite well now, he’s intrigued by her, she is slightly annoyed by him, but its only been a week and a half and they have only just started spending full days together.

        I watched the Joanna Lumley programme it was lovely!

  2. We have four different cats, all different ages and all of whom have just turned up on the door step. Once everyone understands and respects the cat hierarchy, it’s all ok (with occasional scraps, but nothing serious). All of our animals have been fixed though so perhaps that makes a difference (apart from being the right thing to do). I think the age difference helps (at least whilst one is small and the other one bigger – clearer who is Alpha Cat etc. from the beginning. Good luck!
    Liz in texas

    • We went from slowly getting them to meet to just letting them get on with it and its worked. She is still on some ‘Serenity’ tablets as interestingly she is the more aggressive, now that Millie has arrived (mere days after I posted this) he seems to be much more content and oddly even friendlier with us, we thought Oscar would be cross.

  3. We had three cats growing up pair Siamese and a moggy they got on fine .amanda and I love jl in Sheffield as well especially this time of year all best stu

  4. I’ve missed your blogs a lot, glad you are OK and always nice to hear about Granny Savidge, she sounds lovely.
    I just finished Citadel by Kate Mosse, it had me in tears by the end. Really good book. I’ll read along with The Warden if my winning copy arrives in time.
    So wanting a Patisserie Valerie cake now! Luckily they have opened one in my city recently so I don’t have to wait for visits elsewhere.

    • Sarah Cubitt

      You seem so strong Simon, you’re going through one of the hardest things life can throw at you, and I take my hat off to you & GS. It’s really nice to hear all your news & what you’ve been up to. Thoughts with you & your family.
      About the cats – feliway plug in diffuser is something I’d recommend too, it certainly seems to help my nervous cat. We had to reintroduce ours to each other after an episode of redirected aggression (an actual cat diagnosis!) – so no experience with 2 new cats, but hope it goes well!!
      I’m listening to Poppyfields by Raffaella Barker on audio, which is nice as it’s set in Norfolk where I live, and reading Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger as I fancied a spooky read. On to the warden next!

      • Ooh, I live in Norfolk too! I really enjoyed Her Fearful Symmetry, hope you’re liking it.

      • Oooh you two should meet up, yes indeed.

        It’s a difficult time but I am really lucky that I can jiggle things around and spend lots of time with Gran, even if it is hectic and she runs me ragged hahaha.

        The cats are doing lovely, we suddenly got Millie and she is slowly but surely settling in fine. She has just recently started to purr which is lovely. Her chirps are hilarious.

    • It is such a nice selection of cakes but really it is naughtily overpriced. Apols on The Warden, it was my fault, I will be updating you all by email by my faux pas and not checking my drafts folder, shame on me. Should be with you in a few days, sorry.

  5. Having you there must help your Gran a lot, especially as you seem to have much in common. She’s right, blogging comes second, and taking a break can only help you feel more excited about it once you’re back anyway, so everything else comes first. My family always found it best to just let cats get on with it when introducing a new one, and only intervene if there was a big fight (any little fights may be best left to happen). I think problems happened more with older ones where a certain respect-your-elders element comes into play.

    • I think loving books so much is a great bond, and the fact that we can both make each other scream with laughter can be really good at the moment. She’s been coming out with some right corkers.

  6. Sarah Williams

    very much enjoy your blog, but you were spending your time in a much more meaningful and important way.

  7. I’ve got a cat who only goes outdoors on a lead and freaks out and climbs up me anyway sometimes – thought I was the only one!

  8. David

    Good to hear how Granny Savidge is getting on, Simon – as others have said family must come before blogging and even work I think. And that cake looks lovely!

    I have two cats (just moggies) but they are brothers from the same litter and therefore are very close. When I was younger we had two male cats with about four years between them and it didn’t work at all (fights every five minutes, and not play fights either) but the older cat was never of a very friendly disposition anyway and I don’t think he appreciated a young whippersnapper muscling in on his territory. I didn’t realise Oscar was a Bengal. An online friend of mine is on her second Bengal – she lives on a houseboat on the Thames so the cat has to be on a lead outside lest it end up in the river! They certainly sound like a very lively breed.

    Currently reading? I’ve just finished Sarah Ridgard’s ‘Seldom Seen’ which, though not perfect, I enjoyed a lot. I’d recommend it as one to add to your list of village-y/rural novels (see: The Hunger Trace, The Proof of Love, The Claude Glass etc.). I’m also in the middle of Emma Donoghue’s ‘Astray’ which I see you gave 5 stars on Goodreads. Have to say I’m not bowled over by it myself – they’re enjoyable enough and highlight some intriguing footnotes in history but to me they feel more like sketched out plots for novels with only a couple so far that feel like proper stories (the one about the prostitute and her brother stands out). I think maybe I’d like it more if I hadn’t been on such a run of excellent story collections beforehand (Alice Munro, Andrew Malan Milward, Joan Wickersham, Richard Bausch).

    • I am very lucky to be able to switch worky stuff around at times like this, one of the perks of my job I guess. Lovely to spend time with Gran at a time like this as much as I can, especially when you know time is limited.

      Oscar is only half Bengal, we don’t let him think otherwise or he gets above his station, mind you the new one is a special breed, or partly, too.

      I must write my thoughts on Astray up actually, I really liked it but possibly more than you as I had some dud books on the go and was reading these stories between them. Seldom Seen is one I will be looking up, I do like that rural kind of book. Thanks David.

      You should really blog you know!

      • David

        I actually liked some of the stories in the last half of ‘Astray’ more – I thought ‘The Gift’ about the girl given up for adoption, ‘The Hunt’ about the German boy soldier in the American Revolution, and the final story ‘What Remains’ about the two sculptors, were all very good. I think what I liked about those and the earlier one about the prostitute was that Donoghue made them about the characters within a historical context whereas for me with a lot of the others the plot she had rescued from the margins of history seemed to be the main thing and I wondered why she had bothered fictionalising them instead of writing a non-fiction book about these intriguing historical footnotes (which would be a good book!). Another thing I wasn’t keen on was the afterword – the italicised passages at the end of each story I thought filled in the ‘real’ history adequately – the afterword seemed to be an author telling us not only why she had written each story but how to read them (a few times she says ‘this story is about…’) which I think is unnecessary. Anyway, I’ll look forward to reading your review of it.

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