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cats

S is for… 7 Things You Don’t Know About Me

Posted on 9th April 2010 in Art/ cats/ Cattery/ Feral/ Kreativ Blogger/ Twitter

7 things you don’t know about me…….

Day 2 in my blogging life and I have been tagged by @himupnorth

A thing called Kreativ Blogger – good, no pressure then.

Ok, so I’ll cut the crap and the intros and get straight to the SEVEN THINGS YOU DON’T KNOW ABOUT ME

1) When I was a child I wanted to either be an author or own a cattery.

2) I ensnared met my husband online. Myself and 3 friends all did internet dating. It was brilliant! Once we worked out how to weed out the weirdos (there were a fair few) it soon became obviously that most people were very genuine. I will probably make this the subject for ‘I is for….’ if I ever get around to it. Of the 4 of us, 3 of us are still with people we met online. NB: My husband didn’t meet my sons for 6 months, the children always did and always will come first.

3) Tenuous claims to fame….

– When I was about 3 I hit Christopher Biggins in the face! My grandfather was (among other things) a theatrical agent and he arranged for us to see Mother Goose and then go backstage and meet the cast. The character played by Christopher Biggins had been mean to another character who was played by an old lady and my 3 year old self felt this was wrong.
– My dad used to live in a flat above Jordan and ‘Ace The Gladiator’.
– I used to go out with a famous political correspondents son – allegedly.
– About a year before he hit the big time Dermot O’Leary used to come in and lay across my desk to show me holiday photos and generally rummage through my drawers! He used to bemoan his lack of success with women and his dreams of being famous. He taught us all the Macerena in the middle of the banking hall one day….. I know it is a cliché but it was obvious that he had IT and would be something special. Love you Dermie.
– I went to school with the boys who wrote ‘Eat My Goal’
– I went to school with Nihal from Radio 1
– My cousin went to school with Damon from Blur
I’ll stop now, it is along and increasingly tenuous list!

4) I have an underactive thyroid. Not the most glamorous of illnesses that one and nobody ever knows what it is. It was diagnosed fortunately by an attentive GP when I was about 18 – at that time it was overactive but had literally just burnt out. I much prefer the symptoms of it being overactive – at that time I was just under 8 stone, swam, jogged, did aerobics ate cake for breakfast (normally M&S walnut layer or cherry madeira), m&ms (peanut) for lunch and whatever I fancied for tea!

5) My mum brought round my old year 5 school report a couple of weeks ago, the nicest comment in it was from my Art teacher who (bless him) said ‘Lisa is a talented artist’. He was an entertaining teacher, always stank of booze and often nipped into the ‘supply cupboard’ during lessons for 20 mins or so. He was incredibly talented, while I would sit there cocking up the perspective on something and he would just lean over and in 2 strokes of a well worn pencil he would leave a perfect sketch on the paper. He was certainly wasted at our school, guess it’s no wonder he drank so much. It was known throughout school that he had an evil temper and it was rumoured that he once dangled a boy out of the window (10 floors up) for back chatting. Looking back I guess I am lucky that he thought I could draw!

6) If I won the lottery I would buy certain local Cat Rescue who are well known for only rehoming dying poorly cats. They have a ‘feral pen’ there which makes me sad. I have tamed (to varying degrees of success) a few feral cats and personally think that a fair few of the cats in the feral pen could be tamed and rehabilitated.

7) I regret not getting to know my grandparents better when they were alive. My grandfather left behind some typed memoirs which are fascinating but have left me with so many questions to which I will now never know the answer – if you still have your grandparents, ask away while you can.

Finding 7 people to pass this on to has been really hard, as I am new to all this I don’t know who has already done it and if it is a big blog faux pas to tag someone who already has? No bugger volunteered so I had to choose, fingers crossed!

My 7 people are:

1. @Sharonkitten
2. @redmummy
3. @blottedcopybook
4. @SingleDadsDiary He will kill me for this! :o)
5. @Hedgewytch
6. @christinemosler
7. @babydinesout

E is for… Elvis

Posted on 7th April 2010 in cats/ Elvis/ Mother/ Vets

There’s a cat works down the chip shop swears he’s Elvis….

Elvis is one of my cats. We got him from a rescue centre and he is a jet black cat. The children and DH wanted a different cat but I know that black cats often get left behind at rescue centres as people don’t think they are pretty. Being a sucker for a sob story it was therefore inevitable that I would be going home with a black cat. Personally I do think that my mini-panther is beautiful and he inspired my one and only ever Hiaku (at least I think it is one, be kind if I’ve messed up?).

Sleek, black, handsome cat
Sits, waits, aloof yet alone
Until I come home

Should point out here that while I am a sucker for a sob story I am also not a saint and my 2nd cat is a pretty little torti-tabby called Maisy!

Elvis may not deem himself a ‘lucky’ black cat as since we’ve had him he has had 2 major accidents.

Accident 1: 1 day a week I work late, on that day my mother collects my 2 DS from school and takes them for dinner at sainsburys (for some reason she won’t cook for them) on these days she thinks nothing of texting to me to ask ‘need anything from sains?’ or similar. However on this particular day I heard nothing from her. Then at about 6:30pm I got a frantic phone call from DH, he NEVER phones me so I knew something was wrong. So DH says ‘there’s something wrong with Elvis, he looks funny’. I dashed home, took one look at Elvis and screamed at DH to call the vets.

Meanwhile mother is muttering that he looks fine and DS1 is saying ‘I told nanny he wasn’t well but she said she thought he’d been playing with ketchup’.

There were bloody paw prints all over my cream suede dining room chairs, which the children had noticed at 3:30pm but my mum had insisted that the cat had just been playing with ketchup…

Anyway, after a night at the emergency vets – because of course by 6:30pm the regular vets was closed – an operation to reconnect his jaw, rest for his broken ribs and lots of painkillers (and a bill for £856 which wiped out our wedding savings) Elvis was mended. I can’t remember if he was particularly bright before the accident, but lets just say that although he is beautiful he isn’t the sharpest claw in the paw now.

Accident 2: Elvis had been missing for a week. We were about to move house. We had pretty much mourned the loss of Elvis. Then one Wednesday I was leaving the house to take the children to school and in the distance I noticed a black shape progressing along the middle of the road, terminator style, dragging itself by it’s front legs. Elvis was back. Screamed at DH who ran out of the house in his dressing gown, screamed at children to get back into the house (Elvis wasn’t a pretty sight and DS2 not good with horror) and ran down the road to Elvis.

Since Accident 1 I did have the foresight to get Elvis insured ‘YAY’. This time he had broken his pelvis in four places and had to spend three months in a cage. During his three months in captivity Elivs learnt to say ‘hello’ this I guess is because I used to call out ‘hello’ to him everytime I cam home. My brother says it isn’t because of that, he says it is because I am ‘not right’.

Miraculously Elvis made a full recovery. In the car journey on the way back from the vets after being told he had pulled through we switched on the radio and “Elvis isn’t dead, Elvis isn’t dead, Elvis isn’t dead ‘cos I heard it on the radio” was playing, we all laughed. I did reflect that if Elvis had in fact actually been dead that song would probably have just cemented a traumatic memory for the kids!

He is now back to bullying Maisy and on the first venture out into our new garden he discovered that the garden opposite contains an aviary…..he likes sitting on the aviary.

C is for… Coffee, Cats, Caffe Nero and Customer Service

Posted on 7th April 2010 in caffe nero/ cats/ coffee/ customer service/ review

CoffeeI’ve realised recently that some of my most favourite things being with the letter C.

For example: cats; chocolate; cuddles; cakes; coffee and customer service. Not exclusively those but they spring to mind as favourites, as it goes I quite like crocuses, clouds, crusts and charisma too!

Two of my favourite things have led to my first blog (insert first blog sytle fan fare here…..) and they are coffee and customer service, two things that I happen to be quite passionate about.

I remember feeling quite exotic (yes, exotic) when a branch of Starbucks arrived in town! Had a few coffees in there, once you got over the odd aroma that I’m sure they pump into every Starbucks, it felt decadent, luxurious and almost naughty to go somewhere just for coffee.

But then, one day on the way to Starbucks I noticed a Caffe Nero sign! When had this snuck into town? Why hadn’t I known before? I had visited Caffe Nero in Lakeside (buy peanut & choc chip cookie from Millies, take to Nero’s and sneakily eat while drinking coffee = heaven) and had marveled at the depth and strength of their coffee – buy the wrong thing and the coffee was strong enough to make you nauseous….

And so began my love affair with Caffe Nero and the grande latte *sigh*. The staff were smiley, the air didn’t smell of strangely burnt plastic, the chairs were large and comfy, it was relaxing – it felt like home!

I began going there once a week, sometimes with BF, sometimes with DH and after a couple of weeks the lovely lady started remembering what I drank and would say those most flattering of words ‘your usual?’. I began looking forward to my chat with this smiley lady almost as much as my massive coffee and soon my coffee drinking became more like visiting friends. Even the grumpy (in a nice way) manager soon managed to remember my drink and once I’m sure I saw him smile.

I looked for a facebook page to join in support of my Caffe Nero, there wasn’t one so I set one up. Soon after the lovely lady added me as a friend – now she added ‘I love your wedding pics’ to ‘your usual?’ – ah personal service I love thee so!

There was a dark day, when out for lunch with friends and one of them insisted on Starbucks…. Suddenly I was back in the burnt plastic aroma, no smiles at the counter, tasteless coffee that you had to wait for ‘at the end’ – the drinks appearing in no discernible order making you feel both impatient and unimportant.

The sheer level of customer service that I (and indeed all their regular customers) receive at Caffe Nero was summed up for me recently when I visited the day after my birthday. My lovely lady has long since been promoted – she deserved it and the grumpy (in a nice way) manager was serving ‘did you have a nice birthday?’ he asked, followed by ‘did you do anything nice?’ and ‘these are on me today’. After at least 4 years in this town would anyone at Starbucks even know what I drink? “I think not baby puppy.” ( #Cats & Dogs – 2001 great film http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0239395/ )

These two staff members, lovely lady and grumpy (in a nice way) manager could start a customer service revolution. You guys are great and I thank you for making me feel special just because I ordered a coffee – ok and the occasional almond croissant..

I read recently that in Japan there is now a coffee shop where you can rent a cat for half an hour to pet while you have your coffee – hmmmm I haven’t been to Japan, yet!

UPDATE

The UK MD of Starbucks has kindly offered for me to meet up with my local Starbucks District Manager to discuss company ethos – I have agreed and supplied my email address. Will let you know a) if a meeting happens and b) the outcome

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