Saturday, 26 June 2004


Well, I suppose I should start by mentioning Barney. We succeeded in keeping him in today, and he seems pretty much the same. Still looks to be off his food, but there again we can't tell for sure and he looks as though he may have at least eaten something. But there is definitely no deterioration and I should add that he appears not only comfortable but most definitely content. He's constantly purring.

We went to Sherborne today for the first time, despite pretty foul weather. A really beautiful place, the kind of place I could settle. We went on to visit Sherborne Castle - the castle itself was all right, but the gardens were especially nice to walk through, again despite the weather.

From there we visited Jacquelne's sister, Lorraine, down in Dorchester. She has two kids and makes me relieved that we stopped at one.

On the way home, got stopped by the police for the first time in 9 years of driving. On a fast (70mph) road with no other traffic, the guy clocked me doing 91. I was a bit shocked at first, the main aim just being to end the experience as soon as possible and to continue on home. However, as I thought about things I just became more and more livid. I will not say what I think here, but it is very much in terms of expletives, with other terms like revenue sources and cash cows springing to mind. There is a phrase about not even stopping to p*** on someone even if they were on fire. It springs to mind.

At the end of the day, I will do what everybody does - take the £60 fine and the the three points, because that's the route with the least hassle on my part. Enough.

Friday, 25 June 2004

Well, it's taken a cat to get me blogging with any degree of regularity.

He's still with us, and is a lot better tonight than he was last night. He's been out today, which the vet said was a bad idea, but what the hell. I was in London today but Jacqueline said he kept pining to go out, so she let him. At the end of the day, if he's only got a couple of days left with us the last thing we want to do is to keep him a prisoner.

Anyway, I got home and went to see him (they'd got him in by this time) and was surprised by this purring cat approaching me, snuggling up and wanting a fuss. Twice. He even followed me from our bedroom into the lounge and hopped onto the sofa next to me (albeit to go to sleep on my knee). Fingers crossed, but he is a lot more lively and certainly has not deteriorated one iota.

Match of the Day

A quiet night for Barney. After I wrote last night's entry he actually got up from where he'd been lying since I got in, went and had a wee, and then came over to my sofa and demanded a fuss until I went to bed around midnight.

This morning I woke up early, half expecting to find a dead cat in the lounge. Barney always used to spend the night on our bed (frequently getting kicked off on those occasions when he encroached just that little bit too much). Last night, however, he seemed content to stay in the lounge. He didn't seem to have eaten or drunk anything, but of course with another cat in the house it's impossible to say for sure.

Anyway, I went into the lounge this morning and there he was, on the sofa he'd been on originally. So whatever else, he'd moved around a little during the night. I got myself washed and ready to go out, but decided to get the later train (from where I'm writing) and gave the boy a fuss for half an hour. He was very receptive - perfectly content and not at all in pain. The vet told us that the main sign of deterioration would be dehydration, which would manifest itself as an enormous hangover. On the contrary, Barney was happy to seek attention rather than wanting to be left alone to sleep it off. He's still quite lethargic, but maybe that doesn't necessarily spell the beginning of the end.

Before I go I must mention the football. England lost, on penalties in the end. But you'd have to say that the better team won. I'm just glad that I went through my "football" phase as a teenager - I was mad about Everton from about 1980 to 1990, and had a season ticket from the age of about 13 until I headed off to university. It used to cost around £35 in those days - I looked at Everton's web site a couple of weeks ago and you can multiply that cost by a factor of 10 now. In fairness, I used to stand behind the goal in the cheapest part of the ground, whereas of course football grounds are all-seater these days.

All I can say is that I'm glad I don't waste my money on it now. My Sky subscription is as close as I get to funding these clubs, and their players' enormous wage bills. And whilst a good game of football is a pleasure to watch, the notion of becoming elated (or more likely heavily depressed) because of the activities of 11 guys on a field is simply alien to me.

Thursday, 24 June 2004

At the end of the day...

I got home at 8 o'clock tonight looking forward to seeing Barney at home. What I found was the boy, curled up on a sofa, and not showing any particular vitality at all. Very lethargic.Very worrying - this can't be good. Yet Jacqueline says he's been up and about today, and of course he's got cracked ribs too, plus he's been on opiates, so maybe that's the reason? He perked up when Maisie came in, not that she was too impressed to see him...

In Euro 2004, England are playing Portugal as I write. When I got in it was 1-0 to England, which I found was Michael Owen after 3 minutes. But Rooney had come off injured. I've been watching it since and to be honest England have been terrible. The game has been all Portugal, and is wasn't surprising when they equalised with just a little less than 10 minutes to go. Then, right on full time, England had a goal disallowed (looked good to me but then I'm English), and you just know England are going to lose. It's almost as though it's scripted. As I write it is half time in extra time. England will be lucky to win because of posession, Portugal will be lucky to win because they got the break with the disallowed goal. England, however, look extremely weak. On paper, you'd think that maybe this year is the year. But unfortunately it just hasn't materialised.
But hey, what does any of it matter compared to the Barn? Looking at him, I really think he's facing a one-way trip to the vet's tomorrow or Saturday.
Barney is still with us - just.

We had a call from the vet yesterday to say, basically, that the end was nigh. He'd stopped improving and still had high levels of urea and creatinine. Not wanting to prolong the agony we arranged to go in this morning, to give him one last fuss, and to do the dirty deed.

In we went, but to our surprise as we (Jacqueline and I) were fussing him, the vet appeared and said that there was now an element of doubt in his mind. First, he'd been off the drip for about 18 hours. So if his kidneys were buggered there'd be expected to be traces of deterioration. However, they'd taken a blood test this morning and it was no worse than yesterday. Second, he seemed unnaturally bright considering... (Apart from when we initially took him in a week ago, he's been perky throughout his ordeal.) So, very strange.
The vet's theory is that perhaps one kidney has been damaged but the other kidney might be working, and basically the only way to test this out is to "suck it and see". So, Barney is now at home. If his kidneys are gone then we'll know within the next 48 hours, we'll watch him deteriorate and I'll have to take him for one last trip to the vets over the weekend. Otherwise, well, we'll have to take things as they come but at least he'll be with us for a little longer. He'll obviously have permanent damage to his kidneys, and he'll need a special diet, but what can you do? You've got to play with the cards you're dealt.

So everything is crossed at the moment.

Tuesday, 22 June 2004

Barney Update

Barney is still hanging on in there. Obviously, this is dominating our thoughts at the moment.

His bloods are getting better day after day, but they are still high and he's been on his drip for longer than is normal, apparently. However, my view is that he's been on the drip for 5 days now, so he was just as hydrated yesterday as he is today, and yet his bloods are better. So his kidneys must be improving day by day. We've just got to let him recover at his own pace. We found out yesterday that he also had two cracked ribs - this obviously explains the pain when I picked him up. God knows what happened to him for him to get into this state - if only they could talk...

Saturday, 19 June 2004


Well, an eventful last couple of days. A week ago all was well, last Sunday afternoon I fell asleep in front of one of the Euro 2004 matches, complete with Barney asleep on top of me.

The next day we didn't see Barney, and in fact we didn't see him again until bedtime Tuesday. I called him, and there was this faint "miow". Barney appeared, obviously in pain. I went and got him in, but he didn't appear to be wounded, so once he was in I just left him to sleep. Wednesday morning he wasn't any better, very lethargic, so we booked him in to the vet's. Thursday he just seemed like he had no will to live, although he did manage to get out of the house but I found him under his favourite tree.

Once we got to the vet's, it was obvious that Barney was very poorly indeed, and in fact we found out later that day that he possibly had a blockage in his intestines, and even worse that his kidneys had failed for some reason. It didn't look good - his bloods showed that his urea and creatinine were off the scale, plus he'd become very dehydrated. Anyway, they put him onto a drip to rehydrate him and we all crossed our fingers.
We got news last night that he was making some progress. His bloods were still high, but after 24 hours on a drip they were down on the previous day. Then, this morning I went to visit him. He was a little down on his normal self, but a huge improvement on when we took him in on Thursday, when he didn't seem to care whether he lived or died. Having said that, we have to be careful since the improvement could be solely due to the drip and that he's no longer dehydrated. What we really need are for his urea and creatinine to normalise. Let's hope when they take his bloods later today it'll be good news...

Apart from that I have been spending a little bit of money recently. Well, my company has... I needed to get a new laptop to replace one which is now 5 years old. I did and have been very pleased with it thus far. Also, we needed to get a digital camera to keep the company web site spruced up, so we bought a new camera as well. On the new business front it has gone a little quiet, although I did meet some potential clients a couple of weeks ago, but I decided early on that I didn't think we'd be compatible. There's a phrase in the industry about "death march" projects - you can guess what they are - and this looked like one of them!
Had lunch with Stuart Westwood (a mate I met whilst consulting at Coutts) a week ago, it looks like Jacqueline and I might be arranging a barbeque sometime soon to introduce him to Jacqueline's sister Lorraine. A bit of matchmaking - you never know...

Also, made contact with Paul McKibbin (again, an ex-colleague from Barclays) last week. Haven't seen him for a couple of years but it was excellent to catch up. Hopefully we'll be able to meet up for a beer soon.

Monday, 7 June 2004

Strange Email - a postscript

Conclusive proof I think that employment agents throughout the world are pretty useless.

For further information see entry of 11th May. Having taken the trouble to reply to this guy, did I hear back from him? You've got it. Totally, utterly unreliable.
Went to a place called Bucklers Hard yesterday. This is an 18th-century village in the heart of the New Forest, on the banks of the Beaulieu River. In days gone by they made big ships there (several in the Battle of Trafalgar), but these days the place is a yachters haven. Beautiful surroundings coupled with beautiful weather made for a really relaxing day out. We must do it again. (There are some photos in the Family Album section, if you've access.)

We managed to get out early so arrived home early also. Straight out into the garden to cut the grass - no peace for the wicked. Also there were lots of the D-Day commemorations on TV. It was shocking to hear the other day that the majority of kids had no idea what D-Day was. It's difficult to repeatedly harp back to things like D-Day without glorifying the whole concept of war, but I really think that it is only by remembering our history that we'll have a chance of avoiding these kinds of horror in the future. But it does beg the question, do we really learn anything anyway? I mean, we're currently hearing about Sudan on the radio. Plus, only 10 years ago we had Rwanda. Fair enough, neither of these places would have been directly affected by World War II, so there may have been a lack of personal memories in order to guide people toward political rather than military solutions, but how does one explain Yugoslavia, at the heart of both First and Second wars? And to look across the Atlantic and see a man who appears to have no knowledge of history whatsoever - a typical bull in a china shop - it does make you wonder whether we (as a race) can ever learn...

Enough depression. I finally took the plunge last week and upgraded the laptop. The current one is almost 5 years old so it's had a fairly decent lifetime. However, bits are now falling off it and it does seem to creak a little when it runs. If I can make the new one last as long I'll be happy.

Business is still full of promise, but as yet has failed to deliver. So we're sticking with the current clients in the hope of being able to pick up some new, more lucrative, business sometime soon. I just hope the situation in the Middle East doesn't get any worse and scare clients off. After 9/11 it was terrible because although clients had money, they were afraid to spend it because of the uncertainty in the world economy. So projects were put on hold, left, right and centre. And, of course, the first people to get hit in such a scenario are the service companies (of which I am one) from whom the clients would commission such projects. We're still suffering from this today, but let's hope we can turn the corner soon.

Still, the garden looks lovely at the moment, and you should see the hanging baskets...