Monthly Archives: December 2005

Stable vandalised. Holy family scattered!

It all began yesterday evening when Miffcat jumped up on to the table and hurled himself at the birdcage with an evil glint in his eye. Mr Miff uttered a shriek of horror – leapt up, snatched the would-be assassin and plopped him down on the floor. After checking the cage door he flopped back down on to the sofa with a sigh of relief….that turned to another shriek of horror as he realised that there was a black, furry cushion underneath him that hadn’t been there a second ago! By some miracle (or maybe because the beloveds lost so much weight lately), the cat wasn’t hurt, but after that no amount of coaxing would persuade him to take up his usual perch on my lap. Instead he turned his back on us and started stalking round the room with the look of a creature that has Things On His Mind. Next, he’d leapt up onto the dresser, and before we could stop him, was trying to insert himself into the little alcove where our Nativity figures are displayed – and began pulling at the straw.

Horrors! We had visions of many year’s worth of lovingly collected Santons de Provence being smashed to smithereens. Sacrificing theological and historical accuracy for the sake of safety, I hastily organised an emergency evacuation of the Holy Family and assorted hanger- ons to the far end of the alcove. It’s traditional in these creches to include not just shepherds and magi, but the butcher, baker, candlestick maker, priest, mayor and whoever else you can think of. At the last count ours has a duck, pig, pottery hippo from Disneyland, and two camels, one with a broken leg propped up by the rock wherein resides the Angel of the Lord. Another regular visitor used to be a super dooper reindeer pooper, only this year Ms Miffy put her foot down. Although in the spirit of inclusivity, one of her friends had slipped in a couple of Karma Sutra gingerbread reindeer and it was these that had attracted the cat. With Mr Miffy pulling at his hind legs, he held on for dear life with his forelegs whilst simultaneously trying to ram his head into the stable where one ‘couple’ of KS reindeer Number were lurking. (I managed to catch the infant Jesus just in time as he was sent shooting out into the cold together with the other reindeer (still clasped in a lascivious embrace) which landed under an armchair, much to the delight of the dog!)

What could it all mean, I wonder? 😉 No doubt daughter and BF would say it was a judgement on me for having turned away one overfriendly and plump little cat which followed me home one night recently. ‘ I bet you she’s pregnant,’ said Ms Miff. ‘And (accusingly) she’s probably called Mary.’ On the other hand, the scene bore a remarkable resemblance to The Goodies ‘Kitten Kong,’ that we’d been watching on TV just minutes before. I shall be watching Miffcat’s viewing with great care in future.


Before I forget. Poor Miffcat was taken ill in my absence and has spent a couple of days in retreat himself, at the vets. He’s safely back home now, but as a shadow of his former self, with acute, if not chronic renal failure. Poor little scrap. Tisn’t easy nursing a poorly cat – especially with Miffdog around – whose idea of fun is to bounce on top of his furry friend. Who now is too weak to escape jump up out of harm’s way. We’ve an appointment at the vets on Wednesday – although I’m not holding out any great hopes for the prognosis. We knew it would come sooner or later I suppose. And he has had a good run for his money since the original diagnosis it must be 16 months back.

Trying to see the funnier side – Mr Miff and I were talking earlier, and he said that he’d hesitated at first to contact me on retreat – but ended up texting me, as he really thought that we were going to lose Miffcat last week. Well, I said, perhaps I could have asked to have him put on the convent prayer list. Though I’m not sure about the theological correctness of mentioning someone called Mephistopheles in one’s intercessions.

I don’t know

I hide myself away in a convent for a few days P and Q – emerge, and find someone’s tagged me in my absence. ‘Ahem,’ (no, not you, smudgie!); how was I meant to respond? By Divine intervention?!;) I’ve been living in dread of this happening, you know. It all sounds so terribly complicated. I’ve been worrying that it might involve the sort of cyber-equivalent of rolling up your trouser leg and doing funny handshakes. Some facts about me? Horrors! From the world’s Queen of procrastination and self-doubt. As the poor sister who’s been suffering my ramblings these last few days would certify. Maybe I should ask her to supply the necessary facts.

O.k. then. Here goes:

1) When I was tiny, our family lived next door to the cousin of one of the chappies involved in the Profumo affair.

2) I received my first proposal of marriage at age 5, under an oaktree in the school gardens after John Napper asked me to remove my specs (and lazy eye patch). It’s not on record whether I accepted or not. Sadly his family moved from the area soon afterwards. I was to wait many years for another one. We’re NOT counting quite another proposal at age 16 from a fellow Christian teen and butter wouldn’t melt ex-chorister. I mean – what sort of a girl did he think I was?! I didn’t realise that cosy chats about the cricket scores incurred obligations. I refused him, you’ll be glad to know.

3) I lived in the ‘Crossroads of Europe’ for most of the 90’s. By the time we returned to the UK, Ms Miff’s French was fluent, and has remained so. Mine sadly was not. Although I found the ‘if in doubt make it up,’ method worked pretty well. Not to mention the ‘if you can’t say much, at least say it with a pretty accent,’ theory. I also have an Inst of Linguist’s prelim certificate gained at night class shortly after I married Mr Miff. It’s amazing what love will do! Needless to say I’m now unable to recall any of it.

4) Being where it was, the church I joined at the ‘Crossroads,’ saw its fair share of VIP visitors – generally of the funny hat, purple dress wearing variety. I once poured tea for the Bishop of Durham. Yes, THAT Bishop of Durham. I do wish I’d paid attention to what we were talking about. But to this day all I can remember was him remarking that he was looking forward to retirement so that he could spent time in his garden. Another boast was spotting Tony Banks at an ambassadorial reception. (Yes, we received regular invitations). 🙂 Ooh, and I nearly forgot to mention waiting for hours with two impatient Mifflets to watch the French forces roll through the streets of the city for the 50th Anniversary of the end of World War II. And we spotted President Mitterand in the procession. Where are we now?….

5) Deep breath. I was once a bellringer. And spent considerable amounts of my spare time hurtling round the South of England getting tangled in ropes in cold, damp musty country churches, hanging around in graveyards and sitting around in pubs. Have you noticed there’s nearly always a pub next to a church?

Noticed a lot of ‘I was onces.’ Well, you don’t want to know about me NOW, do you?

Now, let me think. Could I tag Threefold of diary of a newbody fame, dith,Cajenne, birdie, and Tigglet? Oh, are you meant to put in LINKS?! Oh dear. Back later.

New links

Seeing as they’re still ensconsed, and little Miff’s off watching the latest Harry Potter epic, I might as well explain my two latest wiblinks.

‘More Fauves’ leads to the home of Miffdog. Well, not his literal home anymore, but from where, 3 years ago tomorrow, our resident hairy horror came into the world. What illustrious ancestors! I secretly like to think of Miffdog as a bit of a tearaway element. Though a very handsome fellow, he certainly wouldn’t win prizes in the ring (unless Crufts introduces a clowning around or sloppiest kiss award). And as we had him ‘snipped’ quite early on, the patter of tiny Miffdog feet will not be heard chez Miffy. Still, they are great folk – and have been really helpful with the advice and support. Just look at that marvellous piccie on the home page! I wonder what they’re singing?

I looked at the Compton Durville website just now, and was pleased to find they’d updated their piccies on account of their recent centenary celebrations. It’s a lovely place which I stumbled across by chance and where I spent my first guided retreat a year ago. And talking of chances, it was quite a brave step for me; or so it seemed at the time. But one which worked out far better than I’d ever have imagined. Felt quite a pang as I browsed through the new content, especially the pictures of the grounds where I’d had a good few ‘God moments’ (excuse the jargon). I’d love to go back there sometime. If they were only nearer I’d be over there like a shot every five minutes. But domestic circs being what they are atm, I felt it best to stay nearer to home this time round. So, later this week I’m off into the darkest depths of Oxfordshire. And as I get the inevitable pre-retreat (OMG what on earth am I doing this for) ‘wobbles’ I’ll need to remind myself of the positive outcome from that first cautious trip into the darkest depths of Somerset. Going back to my ‘Beanstalk moments’ I’m in need of some ‘Miffy – GO FOR ITS!’ in my comments box!

Right – Monsieur Tour de France has emerged from his meeting. I need to get going.


Can’t get into the kitchen to cook the tea, thanks to Mr Miff being in there with a trainer discussing the possibility of him shadowing the Tour de France next year. Help!!


Happiness at this time of year is sitting at the pc with Classic FM burbling away in the background. (Yes, sad I know). I’m a creature of simple pleasures. Such a shame that I need to drag myself away to go and post some more sausage rolls at the post office.


Is that the right word to use? Work out the following. Answers on one side of A4 please and no conferring:

‘Shock, horror probe! Man mugged for moisturiser whilst posting sausage rolls at St X’s Post Office.’ What errands did I run on Thursday?

Answer – I bought the local paper, moisturiser for little Miff, then posted some parcels at St X’s Post Office (named after the church of the same name, whose vicar is preaching at ours on Sunday) having first stopped to buy some sausage rolls, as my contribution towards the refreshments after said service.

Good eh?!

I’ve now completely forgotten what I was going to blog about. Back later.