Professional Social Networking

 

I’ve been doing a bit of networking of late.  It’s reputed to be one of the most effective ways to grow your business.  In fact, according to write Adam Small, it is the single most powerful marketing tactic to accelerate and sustain success for any individual or organisation. It’s also quite a sociable thing to do, so what’s not to like?

I don’t remember how I first came across Dean Cassidy, director of Professional Social Networking (is not remembering a social networking gaff, I wonder?  I don’t think we met face to face.  I don’t think he knows how we first came in contact either so maybe we’ll just keep quiet about that and move on.)

I received an email from him recently, informing me that he would be inviting people to an event, and then, by chance, met him at another networking event.  I liked him and his enthusiasm.  So when I got the invitation to his inaugural networking event at the Stirling Bar at the Gherkin, I was in.

There are several networking organisation’s around, from chambers of commerce (which, to be honest) vary in their effectiveness from area to area, to dedicated networking organisation’s.  When you are starting a business, it’s all a bit hit and miss.  Or at least, that’s the way it has been for me.  You don’t know where to go or how to build your business, which networking groups to join or not.  The one I liked the look of, from a membership point of view, was 4Networking – you pay a membership fee but there is no compulsion to attend every week as there is with some.  It was at one of these lunchtime meetings that I met Dean face-to-face.

I like Dean.  He’s young and enthusiastic.  He’s worked for another networking organisation but his is different.  He doesn’t charge an annual membership fee, but he does charge more for an entrance fee.  It’s around £37 a throw.  Some people said to me that they thought it was quite expensive – I did a quick tally up in my head – actually, it’s not.  When you work out the annual fee that you pay to other organisations, and the fee for breakfast/lunch, Dean’s events are on a par or a bit cheaper.  Plus we got wine, yay!  (That actually didn’t work out well for me, I found a soul mate, or maybe I should say a drinking mate, and we ended up getting ever so slightly Brahms and Liszt, but that’s another story.)

There were about 16 of us at this event, which is a good size.  If there are too many people, it can get unwieldy.  I was lucky enough to see a couple of people I already knew, and met some nice new people.  There were people from a wide range of employments there: a jeweller (who is about to become my new BFF, her jewellery is stunning), a tax accountant, an osteopath, someone from IT, graphic designers, to name just a few.  Everyone I spoke to was very friendly and, I guess because we are all in a similar position, we are all prepared to try to help each other out.

Dean has big ideas – and good on him – he wants to be countrywide within two years.  I think that is entirely possible.  That works for people like me, too, because, if we happen to be working somewhere else, and the timing is right, it gives us a chance to go to a networking meeting elsewhere and meet different people.  (4Networking does that too.)

So what next?  Dean has another lunch coming up in a couple of weeks, which I won’t be able to attend, so I’d best be ready for the November one, when the tickets are sold, they are sold.

If you want to find out more about Dean’s company, check out his website:

www.prosocialnetworking.co.uk

 

© Susan Shirley 2016

 

 

The Day I Didn’t Go to Southend

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I had intended to go to Southend at the weekend, but for some reason I didn’t.  I fancied a walk along the front, to take in the sea air.  I checked the train times and fares.  Plenty of trains and the fare was not expensive. I was ready to rock and roll.  Except that I just couldn’t organise myself to go.  I had work to do and that took priority.  I’m not sure now when I will get the chance to go, so I read up on the town anyway.

Southend or Sarfend as it’s known in Estuary English (there is even a website of that name) is about 40 miles east of London.  Its proper name is Southend on Sea, but even the railway stations just refer to Southend.

Southend started life as the southern end (south end) of a village called Prittlewell, on the land owned by Prittlewell Priory.  Prittlewell Priory was not in the same league as Barking Abbey, it was home to only 18 monks.  Some of the priory building did survive Henry VIII’s dissolution of the monasteries, although not much of the original building remains due to the various subsequent rebuilding projects.

No visit to Southend would be complete without a visit to the pier.  It was built in 1830, when Southend was growing in popularity as a seaside resort.  The Southend coastline is made up of mudflats, which means that the sea is never very deep, and at low tide, it is about a mile from the beach.  This all meant that, unlike many other coastal towns, pleasure boats were unable to stop near to the beach, so pressure was put on the local authorities to build a pier, and a long one at that.

Southend Pier
Southend Pier

The first pier was opened in June 1830 but was still too short.  By 1833 the pier had been extended to three times its length, and by 1834 it was 7,000 feet long.   The railway hit Southend by the mid 1800s, bringing more visitors from London, which put a lot of pressure on the wooden pier.  By 1887, it was decided to replace the wooden pier with an iron pier, and although it wasn’t completed until 1889, it was opened to the public by summer 1887.

During World War II, the pier was taken over by the Royal Navy, closed to the public in September 1939 and was renamed HMS Leigh, with the nearby town of Westcliff being imaginatively named HMS Westcliff.  HMS Leigh served the dual role of being the Naval Control for the Thames Estuary and was also a mustering point for convoys.

The pier re-opened to the public in 1945, and very successfully, until a fire in 1959 destroyed the pavilion at the shore end of the pier.  The pavilion was replaced by a bowling alley in 1962 but Southend had missed the boat – the Brits had discovered cheap package holidays abroad and visitors to the pier declined.  The pier started to fall in to decline.  In 1980, the council announced that the pier was to close, which caused protests.  Clearly the pier has remained open and the pier has been restored as a visitor’s attraction, with a more recent Pier Pavilion for theatre and art exhibitions.

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The beaches at Southend are mostly sandy, great for building sandcastles, and there are several to choose from.  There are also a number of parks in the area, great for walking the dog, since they aren’t allowed on the beaches in the summer months.

Worth a visit is the Belton Hills Nature Reserve, or if the weather is not great, there are the Southend Pier Museums and Southend Central Museum and Planetarium.  There is the famous Cliff Lift at Western Esplanade, a funicular railway, and the Kursaal, which, as well as being a Grade II listed building which was an amusement park, is now a bowling alley and casino.

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© Susan Shirley

Bacon

I love bacon.  I love a bacon sandwich.  Nowadays, usually a toasted bacon sandwich.  I happened to catch a snippet of a TV programme about Wiltshire cure bacon…  Mmm, thought I.  Let’s investigate this further.

Bacon, as you probably know, is pork meat.  The process starts by curing – usually with large quantities of salt, which dries the meat, or with brine (generally known as Wiltshire cure).  The first bacon produced is known as green bacon (I don’t think I’ve seen this cut for a while, but I remember my Mum buying it when I was a child – green back bacon) otherwise known as fresh bacon.  Bacon is then usually dried for several more weeks, or boiled or smoked.  If it’s boiled, it’s ready to eat; otherwise it usually needs cooking first.

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Wiltshire cure bacon originated in the 18th century, apparently it has a milder flavour than traditional bacon, which was more popular at the time.  It means soaking the meat for four or five days, and needs less salt than the traditional method.

Boiled bacon (or bacon ready for boiling) is usually bought by the joint.  Bacon for cooking comes in rashers.  It’s also incredibly useful for laying over chicken to be roasted or to make “pigs in blankets” – sausages rolled in bacon rashers.

Pigs in blankets
Pigs in blankets

Bacon is distinguished from ham by differences in the curing process, and ham is traditionally made only from the hind legs of the animal.

Cuts of bacon vary around the world, but here in the UK, we commonly eat the following:

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Streaky bacon (also sometimes called side bacon) – this comes from the belly of the pig, and tends to be alternating layers of fat and lean.  (It’s the most common bacon in the US.). It’s ok if very well cooked.

Back bacon is from the loin in the middle of the back.  It’s very lean, with a layer of fat around the side.

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Cottage bacon is usually a thinly sliced, oval shaped cut from the shoulder.

Jowl bacon is smoked and cured meat from the cheeks, known as guanciale in Italy.  I don’t believe I have ever seen this.

Slab bacon (and again, I don’t think I’ve ever seen this) comes from the side of the pig and is usually not sliced into rashers.  It tends to be quite fatty and is the same time of cut as salt pork but differs in that the latter is not cured.

My favourite bacon is probably smoked back bacon, but I’ll eat any of it, as long as it’s well grilled…  Got to go, it’s just about ready to eat.

 

© Susan Shirley 2016

 

A is for.. August Bank Holiday

A is for August Bank Holiday, which is this weekend, yay!

In England, we have eight public holidays per year. The easy ones to understand are Christmas Day, Boxing Day, Good Friday, Easter Monday and New Year’s Day. The others are not quite so straightforward. Why do we have August Bank Holiday, for example? And why do we call them bank holidays? We need to go back to the nineteenth century to find out.

The Bank of England, founded in 1694, observed around 33 religious festivals, including saints’ days, as holiday, but that changed in 1834 when they reduced to four! And slavery had been abolished in the previous year. Just for interest, they were

May Day – 1 May
All Saint’s Day – 1 November
Good Friday
Christmas Day

These holidays became known as Bank Holidays because, in general, if the banks didn’t work, there was no point in other businesses working.

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In 1871, the Liberal MP John Lubbock, who himself had been a banker, put forward a bill to go through parliament to give workers an extra four days off:

Easter Monday
The first Monday in August
Whitsun Monday (the first Monday in May)
Boxing Day

Fortunately for the rest of us workers, the Bank Holidays Act of 1871 was passed. Good Friday and Christmas Day weren’t included because they were already recognised as common law holidays.

In 1971, the Banking and Financial Dealings Act was passed, which is the legislation that regulates the bank holidays that we have today. It covered most of the bank holidays that we have today, except for New Year’s Day and May Day. These two days were introduced in 1974 (New Year’s Day) and 1978 (May Day). In 1965, the date of the August Bank Holiday was changed from the first Monday in August to the last Monday of the month. In 1971, Whitsun Bank Holiday was replaced by the Late Spring Bank Holiday, the last Monday in May.

What I didn’t know until I started researching this was that bank holidays are proclaimed every year by way of Royal Proclamation, and to move any bank holidays that fall on weekends (so that we still get two bank holidays when Christmas Day falls on a Saturday and Boxing Day falls on a Sunday, for example).

So that’s why we have bank holidays.

© Susan Shirley

Greek Mythology

I recently had a conversation about a subject close to my heart – Greek Mythology. I don’t profess to be an expert in mythology, Greek or otherwise, but here’s the abridged version of what I do know:

The ancient Greeks, like the ancient Romans, and many other cultures, didn’t believe in just one God, they believed in many. In Greek mythology, the Gods originated something like this:

In something akin to evolutionary theory, first there nothing – Chaos – out of which came Gaia (the earth). There was also Eros (love), the Tartarus (the Abyss, which I think is perhaps most easily described as hell), and Erebus (a dark shadow). (Rightly or wrongly, I always associate this with Freud’s shadow.)

I don’t see any of this as being very different from the earth, air, fire and water that we see in other cultures. Maybe not exactly the same, but there are analogies in the properties.

Gaia gave birth to Uranus by means of asexual reproduction (as happened with all life on this planet in its early days), then, as a result of a union between Gaia and Uranus, the first of the Titans (the elder Gods) were born.

There were six males: Coeus, Crius, Hyperion, Iapetus, Oceanus and Cronus.

And six females: Mnemosyne, Phoebe, Rhea, Theia, Themys and Tethys.

They all had different attributes, good and bad. Cronus was the youngest of the Titans, and Mum and Dad decided that there should be no more offspring after this. However, Cyclopes (with the one eye in the centre of his forehead and Hecatonchires (hundred-handed ones) soon appeared.

Both Cyclopes and Hecatonchires were thrown into Tartarus, which did not impress Gaia one bit. In fact, she was decidedly pee’ed off (she was their mother, after all), consequently, Gaia persuaded Cronus to do a Lorena Bobbitt on his father (for those of you who don’t know, Lorena cut off her husband’s penis. Technically that is not castration but it’s a pretty effective way of making a point). Cronus castrated his father and became the ruler of the Titan’s. Rhea, his sister, but also his wife (how weird is this?) was his consort.

Rhea and Cronus were the parents of Zeus (thus, Rhea is known as the mother of the Gods). Cronus feared that his children would behave towards him as he had to his father (quite a reasonable concern, I should have thought) so whenever his wife gave birth, he ate the child.

Zeus
Zeus

Strangely enough, Rhea was not happy with this, so when she gave birth to Zeus, she hid him. When Zeus was grown up, Rhea drugged and poisoned Cronus and he vomited up all the other children. One wonders whether Cronus had a history of indigestion?

Long story short, Zeus and Cronus had a disagreement and, with the help of Cyclopes (whom Zeus had freed), they beat Dad. Cronus and the rest of the Titans were imprisoned in Tartarus and so the reign of the Olympian God’s began.
Zeus’s wife, Metis, was expecting, however, there had been a prophecy that she would give birth to a God greater than him, so Zeus ate his wife. (There’s a bit of a theme emerging here.). The daughter Metis was carrying at the time of her demise – Athena, the Greek Goddess of wisdom, reason, intellect and the arts and literature, burst forth through Dad’s head, fully grown when he ate her mother. (That’s what I call girl power!).

Greek Mythology continues to be equally complicated and violent. Here’s a quick overview of the Gods and Goddesses:

Zeus – became the supreme God after he kicked his Dad’s butt.

Hera – the Goddess of marriage and family, wife of Zeus. Zeus was a bad boy, but Hera didn’t take it lying down.

Aphrodite – was born out of the foam when Cronus threw his father’s testicles into the ocean. She was reputedly bad-tempered and jealous, as well as being the goddess of sexual love, and was married to Hephaestus.

Aphrodite
Aphrodite

Apollo – The son of Zeus and Leto, the God of music. He was the twin of Artemis (the huntress) and is usually known as the sun God.

Artemis – One of the virgin goddesses, and the huntress. She is called Diana in Roman mythology.

Ares – son of Zeus and Hera, he was the God of War and Aphrodite’s lover.

Athena – Daughter of Zeus and Metis. As well as the attributes I listed above, she is also the Goddess of War.

Athena
Athena

Demeter – sister of Zeus, goddess of agriculture and vegetation. She was the mother of Persephone, the goddess of the underworld.

Dionysus – the Greek God of Wine, (yay!). Otherwise known as Bacchus, he was the son of Zeus and Semele.

Hades – sometimes known as Pluto, the brother of Zeus. He ruled the Underworld and was married to Persephone.

Hephaestus – husband of Aphrodite, apparently he was a bit lacking in the looks stakes. He was the God of metallurgy.

Hermes – the messenger of the Gods. Son of Zeus and Maea (she was a nymph, and a daughter of one of the Titans, some serious interbreeding going on here).

Hestia – the eldest daughter of Rhea and Cronus, the goddess of the hearth, home and family. In Roman mythology, she was known as Vesta, she of the virgins fame…

Poseidon – aka Oceanus, the older brother of Zeus, ruler of the oceans.

Now doesn’t that little taste make you want to find out more?

© Susan Shirley 2016

Daydreaming Stanley Kubrick

I went, with fellow blogger Gianni Washington TK link to see Daydreaming with Stanley Kubrick at Somerset House. I confess right here that I am not an artsy person and what art I do like is mainly confined paintings or photography of wild life. I do think its good to push your boundaries a bit sometimes, so when Gianni suggested going to see Daydreaming, I was up for the challenge.

It was probably one of the weirdest events in my life. I am not someone who just goes to see a film because it is directed by a certain person, and I didn’t realise I’d seen so many of his films until today. The only ones I knew to be his were 2001: A Space Odessey and Full Metal Jacket.

Somerset House gave all the visitors a little guide book, although there were places where I found it too dark to read it!

The exhibition started with a display of a sort of three dimensional image of a chimp looking through into a space helmet – then went straight into a load of electric, log effect fires. Apparently, this referred to a scene in The Shining. That was pretty normal compared with the rest of it.  I tried to photograph this but it just turned out as an orange blob.

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Two big teddy bears on cardboard boxes, apparently with a scent in the room that I couldn’t smell (Gianni could, so it was clearly there) seemed OK, until I read what it was depicting a reference to the pantry scene in The Shining.

I completely missed the sinister aspects of some of the paintings I thought some of them looked quite nice, while others were just a bit.. Well, plain, I suppose. The picture of the barn for the final duel in Barry Lyndon fell into this category for me.

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I did like the breathing camera, although I didn’t realise that was what it was until afterwards. I started by thinking it was a peacock feather, but the eye of the peacock seemed to be the centre of the universe.

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I had to take a photograph of the concrete penis on top of a crushed car Partly because I could actually understand what I was looking at and partly because it just epitomised the weirdness of the exhibition.

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If I say that I didn’t really enjoy it, that doesn’t mean its a reason not to go – I did say at the start, I am not an artsy person. I feel a bit sorry for these artists, all their work was wasted on me, but if you like that kind of thing, go along.

 

© Susan Shirley 2016

 

 

Olympic Games

So the Olympic Games in Rio has just started, with all the attendant controversy about athletic enhancement.  It takes me back to the Olympics in London four years ago.

 

Winners' Parade 10/9/12
Winners’ Parade 10/9/12

The 2012 Olympics were amazing.  I am not a huge sports fan, but I will remember the Olympics until the day I die, and not just for the sport.  The main site for the Olympics was an ex-industrial site in Stratford, London E15 (thinking back now, I struggle to think what it was like pre-Olympics, although I have a photograph somewhere, and I’ve lived over that way for a long time).

The opening ceremony was directed by Danny Boyle (Trainspotting fame, to name only one).  Most of us Londoners were pretty impressed.

Winners' Parade 10/9/12
Winners’ Parade 10/9/12

 

A highlight of the games was that Qatar, Brunei and Saudi Arabia entered female athletes for the first time.   Female boxing was admitted as a sport for the first time, which meant that every sport had female competitors.  Yay for London 2012.

Transport for London built the cable car across the Thames between Greenwich Peninsula and Royal Docks (which was a very under-developed area before the games) to make travel between venues easier.  It is called the Emirates Air Line, because of the sponsorship.

View from the cable car
View from the cable car

Something that made the games stand out were the Games Makers.  They were a team of (in the region of) 70,000 volunteers who helped everyone (visitors, athletes, etc) to make their way aroud the venues.  They were amazing the whole way through, with some of them even handing out sweets to visitors.  I know we should never accept sweets from strangers, but when it’s a chocolate…. Lol.

The Olympics was followed by the Paralympics, which was renowned as a success for the athletes involved, and the number of countries who put forward paralymians.  And the number of medals Britain won.  (Sorry if that’s not very sporting but it was good for us Brits.)

 

Winners' Parade 2012
Winners’ Parade 2012

I was fortunate enough to attend the winners’ parade.  It was amazing.  All these people who had worked so hard to get themselves to their peak of fitness and bring home the goods.  Oh yes, the 2012 Olympics were good.  Here’s hoping that Rio is just as good.

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© Susan Shirley 2016

Ten Things I’ve learned about Catherine of Aragon

I took my brother and my sister-in-law on a little walking tour the other day.  We passed the site of Baynard Castle, which was originally a Norman castle in the area that is now Queen Victoria Street in the City of London.  Baynard Castle was, like so much of the rest of the City, destroyed in the Great Fire of London, but well before that, Henry VIII gave it to his first wife, Catherine of Aragon as a wedding present.  Researching that, I found out a few things, so here are ten things I’ve learned about Catherine of Aragon:

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  1. She was the great-granddaughter of Catherine of Lancaster on her mother’s side.
  2. She had a stronger claim to the English throne than Henry VII and Henry VIII – her ancestors were born on the right side of the blankets, the Henrys’ weren’t. That was why they were so keen to make an alliance with her.
  3. She was betrothed to Arthur, Prince of Wales, at the age on only three years.
  4. Had Catherine not married someone else in the royal family after the death of her first husband, Henry VIII’s brother Arthur, her (rather large) dowry would have had to be repaid. Not an appealing thought for the king or his son.
  5. Henry VIII was five years younger than his wife.
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  6. Catherine’s mother died before she re-married, which reduced her “value” as a bride. (Hey, I know it’s sexist, but that was the way of the world then.)
  7. Catherine served as Spanish ambassador to England in 1507 – the first female ambassador in European history.
  8. Although she had six pregnancies, only one of her children survived to adulthood – she later went on to become Queen Mary, also known as Bloody Mary.
  9. When Henry VIII married Anne Boleyn, Catherine was retitled “Princess Dowager,” a huge slap in the face.
  10. When Catherine first arrived in London, she brought her African attendants with her. They were the first Africans to have been recorded as coming to London, and were said to be luxury servants.

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© Susan Shirley 2016

Magna Carta

A visit to Windsor and Runnymede  the other day made me think about the Magna Carta.  The Magna Carta (Great Charter) was issued by King John in 1215 because he was facing a political crisis – to put it bluntly, he’d upset all his barons and they were raising arms against him.  He didn’t really have a great deal of choice but to try to appease them.  (As it happened, he didn’t stick to the terms, so his troubles were far from over, but I’m jumping ahead of myself.)

Windsor Castle
Windsor Castle

Why Runnymede?

I’d always wondered why John chose Runnymede as the spot for the agreement.  It turns out that this lovely little place, along the bank of the Thames, was the traditional place for assemblies at the time, but also, it was about half way Windsor castle, the rebels base at Staines.  It was neutral ground and did not confer a military advantage on either side.  That must have been an important consideration for the barons as King John had a reputation for being somewhat duplicitous.

Background

I hope you’ve all got over your shock and horror at learning that someone in a position of power had a reputation for being a bit of a cad.  Outrageous behaviour.  Wouldn’t happen nowadays.  Ahem.

Magna Carta
Magna Carta

John was the younger brother of Richard the Lion Heart.  Richard, loved as he was by the people, wasn’t actually the best king ever, he spent a lot of time away fighting in the Crusades.  (Good for him but bad for us peasants.)  So John, although not the greatest king, and a bit of a cowardly custard compared with big Bro, wasn’t totally to blame.  He didn’t help matters though, he didn’t have his brother’s charisma, nor his sense, and he lost a lot of the family jewels to France.  The long and the short of it was that John owed money to his barons and had no intention of paying them back.  That was possibly a good short-term plan, but was never going to work in the long-term.

The Magna Carta didn’t, if John complied with the legal terms, give him a lot of wriggle room.  Many historians say that there was only one way out – civil war.  And, sure as eggs are eggs, war broke out within three months of the signing of the Magna Carta.

Magna Carta
Magna Carta

There were several more “Great Charters” over the years; to be honest, the territory becomes quite technical in terms of legal issues, and I have no intention of going into them here.  (Two reasons: one, I am not a lawyer, two, I am not a historian.)  Suffice it to say that the Magna Carta had a huge impact, conferring a number of rights on the barons of the day (not on the rest of us, those of us that were peasants were really unaffected by it).  The rights conferred were built on over time, who knows where we would all be now, if not for the Magna Carta?  Although, somehow, I suspect we’d have reached a place not far from where we are now, just maybe with far more bloodshed.

 

© Susan Shirley 2016

Stray Cat

I am, and always have been an animal lover. I don’t like all animals – I don’t like slugs, not crazy about snails, and would really prefer not to be close to wild rats. Aside from that, I like animals. So when I found an injured stray cat in my garden a couple of weeks ago, I was in a bit of a flap.

Regular readers will know that I have four cats, all female, all beautiful, so it’s no surprise that the local boys like to come for a visit, but my girls are not very friendly. (They are to me, but they know me.). They don’t like these male interlopers staring in through the windows at them. I’ve even see Artemis “fighting” through the window because she doesn’t think they should be there.

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This little stray – I knew he was male because of his behaviour – had been hanging around in my garden for some weeks but I still didn’t know his distress call, and anyway, he didn’t make a noise until he saw me. I don’t generally feed the strays because my girls don’t like it. (Very jealous.). He had taken to sitting in Telesto’s favourite spot under one of the trees, which didn’t go down too well.

So it wasn’t until I got up to let my girls go outside that I realised that he was injured. He did his usual thing when he saw me and got up to move away from me so I could see he was limping, holding his right back leg at an angle and not putting any weight on it.

I knew I wouldn’t be able to just catch him, so what to do? I rang the RSPCA.

“Feed him at the same time every day, try to catch him. When you do, give us a ring and we’ll give you a reference number so you can take him to a vet to get him treated.”

“I don’t think it’s going to be that easy.”

“We’ll get one of the inspectors to give you a ring.”

Sure enough, one of their inspectors did give me a ring, a few days later, and came round. Of course, the cat had disappeared by the time Michael turned up. He told me that he didn’t think the leg was broken as the cat would have been dragging it rather than holding it up. My plan to try to get the little cat in one of my pet carriers had failed miserably – I’d bought some cheap food that little boy cats could have, put a bowl in the carrier but when the lovely Oceana went outside, she went into the carrier, ate the food and pushed the door “to” behind her. Well, she can open cupboard doors, provided the spring is not too strong, and very nearly open drawers, so why was I surprised?

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Michael told me that they use humane traps to catch cats but they didn’t have any spare at the time so he suggested I try Celia Hammond or the PDSA. I did, but they couldn’t help me. A few days later, Michael called me back,

“I’ve got a trap. I can be round in fifteen minutes.”

“Great, thank you.”

The little stray cat had been injured for a week now, and although by now he was able to jump, he still wasn’t putting his full weight on his back leg.

Michael showed me how to operate the trap. I didn’t try to catch him straight away, I really wanted it to be a day when I didn’t have to go out, but I was also conscious that the poor little boy was still in pain. Oh the best laid plans…

To cut a long story short, I did manage to trap him – it was actually much easier than I thought, but due to a break down in communication, he was in the trap for 24 hours, which upset me and him.

Joe, another inspector, came round the following day and took him. He told me that he could see by looking at him that the cat was not neutered, which probably meant that he wasn’t micro chipped. He also told me that only about one in 20 of the cats they collect has a micro chip. This little stray cat has gone off, and hopefully will be neutered and found a good home.

Cute huh? But don't be fooled.  Cats grow up.
Cute huh? But don’t be fooled. Cats grow up.

No-one knows exactly how many cats there are in the UK at the moment, but between July and September 2012, there were over 24,000 calls to the RSPCA and Cats Protection alone reporting strays or unwanted cats. As a nation of so-called animal lovers, we really aren’t doing very well.

If you do have a pet (cat or dog), unless you are a serious breeder, please get it spayed or neutered. It’s better for the animal, and it will help to reduce the number of strays. Some of the following charities are able to help with neutering if you are in financial difficulty:
http://www.celiahammond.org/index.php/about-us/rescue-work

http://www.cats.org.uk

http://www.rspca.org.uk/home

https://www.pdsa.org.uk

© Susan Shirley 2016