Thursday, October 13, 2011

No forest of death so far this year

I am OK without the flap

Tomorrow we start our trip by travelling to Bruges where we spend two days before boarding the Elodie on Sunday.

As usual I have been left in charge of booking the hotels but this time – at least in Bruges – I can blame the Bicycle Tour people because I am just using the hotel they recommended. What could go wrong with that?

Well I make my usual disclaimer about blogging. It will be my intention to blog – but things happen. Last time on our bike and boat trip in Italy we were supposed to have an internet connection in every port – but rarely did – and Captain Pugwash showed no interest whatsoever in our desire to contact the outside world. We shall see. We are in the middle of Europe so it should not be too difficult. Yeh right!

Now none of us has done any training whatsoever for this and the last time Cate and I had a bike ride in Vienna was about two months ago - so the first two days could be a bit tough – but we have our padded bike seats with us and will take Vegemite for breakfast - and to rub on sore muscles.

I have been trying to teach Monika how to use the cat door. This is necessary now that the colder weather has arrived because I sometimes have to keep the flap on the door. It will not be too long before I have to take the door off altogether and keep the terrace doors closed.

Anyway, Monika cannot use the cat door so I usually leave the flap off. If the flap is on she will watch Sissi come and go through the flap but simply cannot get the hang of it. I am not blaming her. Muffin was 19 years old and could never use a cat door. And Muffin was intellectually gifted. Sort of.

But I have to put the cat flap on while we are away in case of inclement weather - which means that if the weather is sunny Monika will be stuck inside. There are plenty of sunny spots in the apartment but she likes to lie on the table on the terrace.

But the lessons have been a complete failure. So if anyone has any bright ideas please let me know. (She won’t watch YouTube). Her problem is that – because of her background – she is very timid and is not willing to push the flap hard enough to get it moving.

Which reminds me – I have to wrap up the terrace plants as soon as I get back. When I bought them the man at Dehner said they would grow like Topsy all Spring and Summer and then would need to have their roots wrapped up for winter.

Well they grew not at all until about a month ago when they suddenly shot up about 20 cm – so now I have to wrap them in blankets until the end of winter.

I can deal with that. By this time of the year I am normally looking at a forest of death on the terrace. I now have two bright and healthy things (I have forgotten what they are called) looking just wonderful. And – miraculously – Sissi has not nested in either of them since they arrived.

Wrap them in blankets? I will give them hot water bottles each night if it will get them through winter and I don’t have to go through a re-potting experience next spring.


  1. I saw Dr Harry teach a dog to use a cat/dog flap on the tele once.
    The problem was as you described - the door was too heavy - so you have to build up their confidence.
    You start with a light gauzy bit of fabric - then a heavier fabric - then maybe some of that heavy, floppy plastic - then they get used to it and you can put the original flap back on.

  2. If the door is transparent, as freefalling describes some alternatives, then I think a cat treat visible on the other side of the door might help.

  3. So funny. Elodie was a Romanian woman, gone a few yars ago and whose body was never found:))). Anyway nice picts. Thx!

  4. freefalling: Excellent idea - but I am not sure I have the patience to undertake this project with winter coming.

    esbboston: Also excellent. But Monika's favourite treat is lying on top of me so that could be a bit tricky.

    Cambe: I will keep an eye out for her. Thanks for the comment.

  5. I taught our cats to go through the cat door by using a toy on a string and pulling it through, prompting their chase response. But it does take some repetition each way.

  6. I am thinking your cohorts have a fine sense of humor, so they have you do the planning as they get a huge laugh during the trips. No offense intended.

    I know very little about cats, but I would think putting up a sign that says no cats allowed might do the trick.

  7. I found the website for the barge-bike tours, read through quite a bit of it. Fascinating!

  8. ah, your cat is so cute!
    just been catching up on some blog reading whilst ill in bed. your adventures always make me laugh :)
    i've always wanted to go to county kerry.
    hope you're having a wonderful cycling trip!
    p.s. i love artner too. never been to ein weiner salon though. i must try it out!

  9. I am in urgent need of a new headline of yours! ;-)

  10. Anonymous: Another excellent idea Thanks.

    fmcgmcclic: I could put the reindeer rug out there - she would go for that.

    esbboston: There are some fantastic tours.

    angiv: you must try ein wiener salon!

    Merisi: here it is

  11. I cannot train any of my pets to go through the flap. Bunch of dummies. Cute, but a bunch of dummies.

    Do you have access to burlap? That's usually what I will wrap around my plants.

  12. smedette: I think I will also fail with Monika. I have some canvas which I thunk will do the job with the plants.