Archives for posts with tag: Pets

Hi there, stowed followers: guest blogger Lotus here today with some feline wisdom on surviving the guest season.

We have had many visitors to stay over the past few unsettling weeks; a tree was brought in from the outside; there were ribbons, roast meats (none for me, I discovered) and more wrapping paper than even I could possibly shred.

I have endured the attention and unprovoked cuddles with admirable fortitude, but one of the greatest challenges I faced was the mindless occupation of all my favourite nap spots. Kitchen sofa: taken. Kitchen armchair: taken. Living room sofas: taken. Even the small spinning desk chair with a comfy seat: taken. I have had to rely on my wits and my ingenuity, and can now give you a handy list of alternative rest spots for the displaced cat.

Number One: the kitchen stools. Close enough to the sink to observe all manner of interesting things going on, and yet innocently far enough away from the worktop not to invoke the wrath of the water spray.

I can't believe I haven't discovered this one before, it suits me so well

I can’t believe I haven’t discovered this one before, it suits me so well

The proud statement position: my pedestal

The proud statement position: my pedestal

A disapproving frown may free up some sofa space, if you have discerning humans. I don't

A disapproving frown may free up some sofa space, if you have discerning humans. I don’t

Number Two: the bin. I know, it’s a precarious, sloping position to maintain for long, but what it lacks in comfort it more than makes up for in pathos.

A subtle reference to what you feel you have been reduced to. Sadly subtlety rarely works on humans

A subtle reference to what you feel you have been reduced to. Sadly subtlety rarely works on humans

A soulful pose could go some way to expressing your annoyance

A soulful pose could go some way to expressing your annoyance

Failing that, a hard probing stare to induce guilt

Failing that, a hard probing stare to induce guilt

I call this one "La Miserable"

I call this one “La Miserable”

Number Three: the garden fence. For when there are more small children than is fair or advisable.

Sitting on the fence is apparently a human position of indecision. Find an appropriately spiky and uncomfortable fence and you may portray an attitude of resolve and stoicism

Sitting on the fence is apparently a human position of indecision. Find an appropriately spiky and uncomfortable fence and you may instead portray an attitude of resolve and stoicism

Number Four: a soft toy ‘bed.’ Looks so perfect, but not without its pitfalls.

Beware the frivolity of the season. When you do finally secure a comfortable space....

Beware the frivolity of the season. When you do finally secure a comfortable space….

....you can be sure that someone will tuck a soft toy under your paw and label you "cute"

….you can be sure that someone will tuck a soft toy under your paw and label you “cute”

Do not despair. You can take it out on the soft toy later

Do not despair. You can take it out on the soft toy later

Thanks for having me on the blog, stowed! I’d love to come back some time to impart more helpful advice to your readers.

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This title sounds like it should be accompanied by banjo. I admit overuse but I feel like I have got it out of my system now, so normal service will be resumed with the next post.

We had, as I mentioned in my previous post, many storage goals for the utility room. Coats, hats, scarves and countless sport-related items all need a home, and each person needs to know where they can find their own without too much rummaging and general panic. We had experimented with various boxes of items in previous homes, and I feel we may have achieved pretty much optimum access-storage at this point.

Coats live on hooks. And we have some excellent, chunky, practical hooks in the utility room (sprouting from dark blue boards) from Ikea, which are called Bjärnum.

We mean business: utility hook for a utility room/ Bjarnum from Ikea

We mean business: utility hook for a utility room/ Bjarnum from Ikea

Having two different-length hooks is very useful. Each member of the household has a Bjärnum for all their coats and jackets, and remainder hooks host bags and other useful hangable accessories.

Will you hook at that? Coats hanging out

Will you hook at that? Coats hanging out

Honestly, however many coat hooks you have never actually seem to be enough. We do fill these completely, but look at how many there are! It’s not as if we are impulse shoppers. I think you do generally just have more stuff than you like to think, and it’s important to make space for it.

A peg or two

A peg or two

Wide view of utility featuring coats and glazed door

Wide view of utility featuring coats and glazed door

Apart from the hanging items, we did have an amount of footwear and other accessories which needed a home. The aforementioned box system is now streamlined to two boxes each for the boys (footwear in one; scarves, hats, sunglasses etc in the other) and large baskets for Tim and I. Exiting the house involves a lot of “Mum!!!! Where’s my…” which requests are referred directly to these storage boxes for a satisfyingly quick resolution. We had a strange nib of wall (structural) which created a cosy nook ideal for shelving. I used the functional but brilliant Algot system of Ikea shelves with which you simply fix two vertical struts to the wall and slot in shelving at desired levels.

Top level storage

Top level storage

Even room for the cat bed below

Even room for the cat bed below

The big tall Ikea cupboard (in the foreground of my wide shot above) is home for Hoover, broom and other items, as well as cat food supplies and the more bulky items. Annoyingly the ironing board didn’t fit in but we found a snug spot for it next to the Algot shelves instead, so all was not lost.

Lotus is now fully cat-door operational and scoots in and out of her own little passageway through the wall quite happily. Initially we had struggled to find a location for her door since our kitchen doors and utility door are all made of glass. You can install cat flaps into glass, but it involves a lot of cost and replacing the existing glazing. I didn’t really want the tacky plastic on show in the lovely back door, either, because it’s visible from elsewhere in the house.

Having tripped over the cat bowls for a few months as they lurked on the utility floor, we decided to pop them up onto the work surface, to minimise spillage.

Prestige level cat dining

Prestige level cat dining

That’s when we realised that there was a handy access spot through the wall. We installed the little door into the cavity wall: Lotus now treats her passageway like a scouting post, hunched within to check that all is well before she leaps outside, fluffy tail remaining inside and sweeping sporadically over the leaves and footprints she brought in with the last visit. The little car mat we found for her seems to be a nice place to sit and eat, though she doesn’t wipe her paws on it on her way in, and invariably the sink is covered in muddy footprints.

Light at the end of the tunnel: cat access

Light at the end of the tunnel: cat access

For clothes drying I had imagined originally installing a large Kitchen Maid…

Suspend your smalls: Kitchen Maid can be a great drying solution

Suspend your smalls: Kitchen Maid can be a great drying solution

…suspended from the ceiling, but as the room came together it was increasingly obvious that this would block the light and make for a rather stooping journey from door to door. Then I found Ikea’s Grundtal drying rack, which fitted perfectly to the two facing surfaces above the sink, and can be propped up and down in a moment to provide all the hanging space we need.

Dry me out: Grundtal drying rack propped up for business

Dry me out: Grundtal open for business

Now this bijoux feline eatery is sometimes overslung with a few items of clothing drying in neat lines above, which I am sure adds a certain textile festival charm to the atmosphere.

Spot the difference: Lotus channels that holiday vibe with laundry drying above her dinner

Spot the difference: Lotus channels that holiday vibe with laundry drying above her dinner

 

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