2010 in passing

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January: took my Christmas decorations down on Twelfth Night. It rained.

February: started writing dialogues for a new imaginary language project. Hippies moved into the flat behind me.

March: The last of my aunts died in Invercargill while I was at an interfaith conference in Christchurch and I didn’t get back home in time to travel down to the funeral. I’m still pissed off about that.

April: ummmm…

May: new Doctor Who. A Samoan tribe visited me for Capping co-inciding with the High Holy Day of the Zen Bukkhists, the 24 Hour Book Sale. SG:U started, a slow mover.

June: was mostly television. A lot of exceptional weekends happened.

July: I wrote half a story in Brithenig. The soccer world cup happened and a lot of New Zealanders got excited about how well the All Whites played and had to have a liedown.

August: Tao went to the vets twice and died. Dragon visited New Zealand on a farewell tour.

September: Local body elections. The Christchurch Earthquake.

October: I left my lovely flat and moved into Manono House. I regret leaving that flat but the Castle had other plans for it. Presbyterian General Assembly: conservative and unpleasant. Infection in my leg.

November: end of year events began, and ice-cream cake. Burns Seminar.

December: more end of year stuff. Christmas with family.

When the coast is left and we journey on to the rim of the sky and the sea…


I did not hear from the vets today so at the last opportunity I went down to see how Tao was. Sadly in the night she had died. It was too much for her. We think that she was suffering from at least one tumor. They brought her body in for me to sit with. She was cold and beginning to smell, her fur was soft under my hand and her body had not started to stiffen. One eye was still open, perhaps she had faced her death. I asked for her body to be cremated.

In my imagination I imagined that she would at that moment stepping across the gang-plank onto the banana boat, forever Tao the Banana-Boat Cat, and it would set sail. She would be at the helm, Fremen at the bow, and Tessa, reclining in the sun, at the stern. They are pulling out into open water.

Lords of the Horizon, accept this child!

Let time be still…

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On Thursday Tao suddenly started chucking up her food. I decided that in a cat of her age and condition this was a bad state of affairs and made an appointment with the vets. It took them a couple of days before there was a time to see us. So I took her down this afternoon. This time the vet found a lump in her intestine. I am doubtful that it is a bit of food passing through her as she has not eaten since she threw up. She is again staying overnight at the vets and tomorrow they will give me another diagnosis. My own suspicion is that this is the onset of a cancer. In which case I will accept the option that she be euthanised as I did with Fremen some years ago. It may be that these last couple of weeks are her last gift to me. We shall see.



I took Tao to the vets on Monday. She hadn’t touched her food for a couple of days, and was becoming lethargic. I decided this was sufficient to get her checked. The vet, a big man with a lovely Scots accent, was concerned that she was dehydrated. Tao disdains drinking water that I put down for her and relies on the moisture from her petfood and a venture to my bucket to keep thirst at bay. He kept her in overnight on a dripfeed and took a blood sample to check how her kidneys were.

It’s surprising how much I missed not having her company. Her pitter-patter around the house, the super-gravity of her paws on my chest as I lie in bed, her snuggly presence taking over the bed from underneath my left arm in the morning before we get up.

Well she came home today. They found nothing wrong with her, and she perked up during a day on the dripfeed. Personally I’m not certain. She still doesn’t have an appetite back. I think that this is a respite and not the end of this crisis.

Tay-Oh can haz LOLcat

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My flatmate took some photos of my cat Tao and laminated them. I find that they make good placemats and coasters. When Southern Dave saw them he was overwhelmed with Cat Macros, which he has since created.

To share the pain, and honour Tao, the Banana-Boat Cat, I should link to them. Some of you have not been introduced to my Wee Girl.

Even a Doctor Who reference.

I thought about making a new icon of the last one. Sadly the reduction plays merry hell with detail.


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Tao brought breakfast home with her this morning. She hadn’t killed it when I got up after the 7am news. It was a chuffing HUGE rat, at least a hamster in size. After about 10 minutes I managed to chase it out onto the balcony. It must have slid through the slats as I heard a thump on the downstairs balcony. Tao was disappointed to miss out on a hot breakfast.

At least there were no bloodstains in the carpet this time.

Holiday Report

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Kurow: visit friends, Jumpgate and Rribbitt, who are setting up an orchard on a lifestyle block. Maybe I will go visit them again and help pick fruit. I should be a good picker as I hate eating fruit, so I don’t eat as I work.

Hanmer Springs: we took the water in the thermal pools. Recommended.

Nelson: Caught up with the cousins before they left on an overseas trip to Britain and France with their boys.

Wellington: six days in the capital city. Less flat than Dunedin, more upward in perspective. Did all the things I like doing in Wellington: ride on the back of a motorbike; a burger from Abrakebabra; a visit to Graphic Comics; and to Te Papa, where I saw the artefacts on display from the Presbyterian Archives in the Scots exhibition: a communion cup, flagon, and tokens. I found a snugglesafe on sale for cheaper than I could buy it in Dunedin. Tao has yet to be convinced by it. Also saw the latest novel by China Miéville, Un Lun Dun, a young adult novel set in a fantastic alternative London. It’s a different writing style to the New Crobuzon novels, and I took my time in warming to it; I’ve still got 70 pages yet to finish.

I found a friend in Blenheim whom I hadn’t seen since highschool. We went back to Cust to by a feather stick from Route 72. It was a craft shop and cafe. They were a little shocked because we were buying it for Tao! I insisted we go into Christchurch to visit Tête â Tête, a vintage clothing & accessories shop on Hereford Street. We only had half an hour on the parking metre. I still came away with three shirts.

Our last night was in Rakaia. The snow came down to 200 metres. I left my mother in Dunedin as she travelled home to Invercargill. Tao is looking glossy after her stay at Penzance Cattery. I must find out what they fed her.

All-in-all, a good break. When can I do it again?

Tao’s big adventure

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At first I wondered why Tao was making such a fuss downstairs. She knew where I was and despite making such a noise showed no hurry in coming looking for me. I went downstairs to investigate. I should have known. She had caught a mouse. A real mouse is better than a toy one for playing mouseball. Tao loves mice — this is the third one she has caught this season. I think when she’s bored with her food she goes looking for a little excitement. So long as she doesn’t catch birds or keep me awake with her food, I have no objection to her doing it.

It’s sort of fun to see how close I can get before she snatches it away.

One of my flatmates came home in the middle of Tao’s play. She was more squeamish than I to Tao’s activity. I assured her the mouse was dead. I did not mention that on closer examination I could see it breathing. To be courteous I put Tao and her new-found (and briefly-met) friend outside. This did not interrupt her play unduly.

Then towards the end of the evening I discovered that I had to deliver some overdue newsletters up the hill to Falcon Street. I set off. Guess who followed me? Yes, Tao. She miaowed when I got too far ahead and I would pause to allow her to catch up. When I lived in Opoho she would follow me down in the evenings, sometimes as far as Knox Street. I would not encourage her to go further as I did not want to risk her in the traffic of North East Valley. She always made her way home ahead of my return.

We encountered two dogs on our walk up the hill. The first was a well-disciplined labrador which turned back when its master called it. The second was a smaller dog and I carried Tao past it. When it followed us I shooed it away. We got a ride back down the hill. It was a long walk for a small 12-year old cat, the wee girl.

I understand that there will be a boycott of Livejournal on Friday 21st March in protest against the company’s new policies, starting GMT time, which is halfway through the day for me. Talk about confusing! To do my bit I have set my RSSfeeds to check again in two days time. A shame really as the day is a high holy day for me (in as much as Presbyterians have such things.) Well it doesn’t matter as no one I know who reads this journal shares my pieties:

Life, by Robert Wright. This photo was taken in the Recoleta Cemetary of Buenos Aires.

Happy Easter.

Love your neighbour – just don’t get caught

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Invercargill: still standing. (Is this a sign I’m picking up Southern Dave‘s writing style?)