Tragic, touching news:
Clyde (our friend Michelle’s Very Fine Cat Indeed): big, beloved, black-&-white puss; larger-than-life softie, sloppy old Bruiser Boy; patient, fur-pulled lover-of-small-children; has tragically passed away after his mysterious ten days’ absence. This we know, as his last efforts were spent inching his way homewards so that he could finally breathe his last: happy, warm, comforted & comfortable, in the arms of those he loved so very much. Poor Michelle held her dear old feline friend close, as he breathed his last; gently wiping away the tears so they did not disturb Clyde’s grateful purrs as he happily relaxed for one final, tragic time in her adoring arms. Oh my dearest friends, apologies thatwhilst it may be cold comfort for you, I hope it helps to know that cats normally prefer to die alone – unless they feel such overwhelming love, that they cannot bear to be apart from those who selflessly return their affection: so please feel comfort that Clyde came back, to end his life with the warmth of your unstinting, unfailing affection. After all, that bashful, bruising big gentleman has enjoyed the finest company, comfort, food & love any of us could ever wish for: his life has been nourished & enriched by your care as in turn he has endlessly delighted you. No wonder he wanted to come home, to share his last moments with his wonderful family.
Clyde – you big, beautiful puss: we will miss you so very, very much – & I know you’ll rest in peace with your great friends Bonnie, Cat & Shaui, in those eternal Elysian Fields filled with plump, playful, tasty mice. Rest in peace in that beautiful garden next to lovely lady Bonnie, mate.
Right. For those of you who prefer a more ‘fluffy’ diary entry from me as an artisan cheesemaker, what can I say but, ‘HARD CHEESE’? Life’s rich tapestry has ups & downs in it’s warp & weft: & the news of Clyde’s demise is a definite ‘down’. As was my backside, on the yard, this evening: having painstakingly spent a couple of hours shovelling sand onto the slippery liquid mess which emanates from the pigsty & at this time of year simply never dries out, I discovered I’d omitted to cover one small, welly-sized patch; which my boot unerringly located in the gloomy halflight of the grey close of day. My legs skidded from under me & flung me straight into the foul, greasy sludge as I sliced my finger on a sharp shard of slate protruding from the soil’s surface on making contact with the ground. The full scoop of mixed corn I’d been carefully cradling to feed the geese, was flung far & wide: not ideal, as the hens had long since gone to bed & so couldn’t clear up the mess for me before vermin venture out on their nocturnal quest for food – & rats are something we really do not want to encourage. Dave & Roberta Geese were still hanging around, waiting for me to guide them back to their accommodation but they then shovelled up the corn in greedy delight, so I decided to leave them to it for a bit whilst I cleaned up my cut hand, which was by now bleeding profusely. No matter; at least that would help clean the wound which hadn’t been inflicted in the most savoury of circumstances. So I hobbled back into the house, feeling thoroughly fed up.
The day hadn’t started well, either. I opted for the luxury of a bath after the last couple of gruelling days; & was startled at the state of my big toe, which had swollen to twice its normal size, sporting a massive black bruise & a neat, livid red line across the offending area where the plate had crashed onto my foot, the previous day. It was extremely sore; & one of the less pleasant experiences of the morning was squeezing it into my leather paddock boot before I went out to do the morning chores. Still less pleasant, when feeding the sheep, was having an angry Angelica demanding her breakfast & crowding her substantial wooly bulk into me, at the same time treading firmly on my foot, grinding the offending digit deep into the straw-strewn floor & causing me to squeak in agony.
As Tony was busy working on aircraft systems revision (once I’d got him out of bed at 10:30am, although he protested he’d already been revising for a couple of hours ‘with his eyes closed’ – hmmmm, I didn’t realise loud snoooring was included in the standard operating procedures) I had to drive to Newcastle Emlyn to run some errands; changing gear with said swollen toe, was pretty painful. I had a ridiculously triumphant moment in the local supermarket when I unwittingly eavesdropped on a conversation in Welsh – & realised I understood all of it (even with the local dialect)- which was boosted when I met our almost-entirely Welsh-speaking neighbours, two delightful old brothers – & managed to stumble through a brief conversation with them, entirely in Welsh. I really am starting to feel at home, at last!
I returned to the Ffarm to commence the afternoon/evening chores whilst Tony prepared us a welcome meal (I hadn’t had time to cook, thus far) of guess what, pork – after which he packed his case to leave for a couple of nights, as he was setting off to go to work in London at around 4pm. I was surprised he opted to stay in London overnight rather than having a concentrated day at home to revise; after all, he doesn’t report for work until early afternoon, tomorrow. And he hadn’t taken my advice to determine exactly what procedures he would be expected to follow for his Line Performance Check on Sunday; frankly, he really wasn’t sure what he should actually be revising. He’d admitted he hadn’t wanted to hear ‘bad’ news that it might be pure bmi procedures rather than a mix of bmi/BMed work; as the former would have involved a far greater volume of study – but better to find out in advance, surely, than to arrive at the simulator trying to plug knowledge gaps whilst frantically having to attempt to catch up on Saturday evening for Sunday’s early start (he finishes the practise simulator at 8pm, starting again at 09:30 the following morning)? However, I do get the impression that at present the whole thing is (& not in any way, the pilots’ fault) rather a case of the ‘blind leading the blind’ so perhaps he wouldn’t have got a definitive answer, anyway. But it’s a bit worrying to think that none of the aircrew really know where they stand at the moment because procedural changes have been continually ‘drip fed’ to them; indeed some of the cabin crew procedures were changed at a different rate so flight crews generally are not ‘singing from the same hymn sheet’ & are literally having to muddle along. But I have plenty of friends in the newly-merged companies; & they’ve cited many, many concerned & frustrated examples of confusing terminology. Looking at it objectively, from what I understand about the merger company, it has historically operated far less modern types of aircraft with significantly less technology & which require more cockpit ‘chat’ than the sophisticated Airbus, which has been designed to assist the aircrew to actually do their job rather than talking to each other about it! Unfortunately it would appear that many important procedures do not seem to have been permitted to quite catch up with progress, as yet; hopefully those who are brave enough to voice their concerns (& a few of my friends have advised they are reluctant to do so in fear of compromising their sought-after careers in such an ‘old school’, ‘traditional’ company) will be given a sympathetic & at least considerate, equitable ear; after all, these people are consummate, caring professionals who will manage to cope during the current confusion as best they can until the company realignment settles down.
So I hobbled through the chores, alone; & got into the house at nightfall, just in time to receive Michelle’s emotional call about poor old Clydie. I stumbled through a snuffle of sobs, carrying out the late check of the animals; then, too miserable to enjoy any supper, or even consolation in some late-night ice cream experimentation, I headed for bed with a weighty tome on cheesemaking tucked under my arm to help send me to sleep (hoping also, that reading about cheese won’t give me nightmares….we’ll see, I suppose!).
Thus; another day of complex flavours, at Ffarm Fach.