Puddin Is the Name


For those who follow me on Twitter and/or Facebook, you will have noticed that I have had an addition to my household. A lost cat who tried to “adopt” me roughly four weeks ago. He is now a fully fledged member of the Smith clan, United Kingdom branch.

His newly christened name is Puddin as that was how I referred to him when I mistook him for a her. The lack of two appendages led me to believe that Puddin  was a she cat, turned out that he’d been “fixed,” Hence the missing cojones.

I had turned Puddin out the first time we met, almost four weeks ago, as after he’d yowled to be let in, he was in good condition. Not hungry or thirsty, I believed the little chap to be just lost and after calming him down I released him back into the night.

On last Friday, when I returned from visiting with my daughter Megs and her boyfriend Max at around half twelve in the morning, I heard a cat crying out in distress. At a decibel level that could shatter glass, some poor creature was in the car park next door, “screaming the place down.”

I walked over with my mini torch (flashlight) and found a very familiar little face looking back at me from under a car. I made soothing noises and the cat followed me into my house.

I knew immediately that this was the same feline who’d visited me before. This time, however, he was starving. I opened three tins of food; some salmon I did not like; a small tin of mackerel; and a tin of tuna. He scarfed the lot and then wound himself around me begging for attention.

I played with him and gave him the attention desired. When I finally had to call it a night, I put him back out as I had nothing in the way of a kitty toilet. I then went to sleep.

I was awakened by a neighbour knocking on my front door. I went downstairs and upon opening the  door, a grey and white streak shot into the house looking for the food dish. My Indian neighbour, whom I had never had the opportunity to speak to other than a friendly hello, was asking if the animal was mine.

Puddin's the name.
Puddin’s the name.

I gave an account of how the creature wound up at my house. She then explained that the little thing had been wandering between my front door and back garden, yowling non-stop. She had thought that Puddin was a cat that another friend’s neighbour had lost. She told me that when she walked up to the friend’s house, the cat followed most of the way, but turned back halfway there.

Later the “friend” and a small brood of female children came to see if this was their neighbour’s pet.

They brought up the possibility of the cat having a microchip and my neighbour asked if she could take Puddin to the vet to check for the chip and treat a bloody back claw. I thanked her and took her up on her offer, but decided after talking to my daughter, to take Puddin myself.

I invested in a litter tray, since my “new” cat didn’t appear to like the great outdoors, and invested in some cat food. I also checked with the local pet store who assured me that they could check for a chip.

I then bought a carrier and checked if there was time the next day for an appointment.

Needless to say, there was and I got everything sorted out. Puddin had no chip, but, he did have a new home. All the young ladies at the vet’s loved my choice of name and they assured me that it was just as suitable for a male cat.

Puddin is the name and he is now a very big part of my household. I have since discovered that his meowing is almost always at ear shattering level, except when his “pretend” meows. He is just starting to feel comfortable enough that he doesn’t enter an empty room and start yowling till I show up.

He is also a bit older than I originally thought. The nice vet explained that he’s around 10 years-old. I don’t mind. He is house trained, loveable, and he likes to snuggle. He is also starting to sharpen claws on my settee, I believe a scratching post is in order.

I will get him microchipped, unlike his last owner, and will enjoy him for as long as I can. He has given me a lot of joy in such a short time.  I’m glad he decided to adopt me! I also need to thank the neighbour who left a tin of cat food outside my front door for my new family member.

MY bed!
MY bed!


South Africa a Short Life Changing Journey Off the Beaten Path

South Africa: stamps and temporary residence p...
South Africa: stamps and temporary residence permit (Photo credit: Sem Paradeiro)

I sit here amidst the jumble of a partially cleared suitcase, with the the contents scattered across the entire living room couch, an empty backpack;  trip laundry (waiting patiently to be washed) and assorted clutter from my four day fact finding mission to South Africa. As short frenetic life changing journey’s go, this one has been startling, eye-opening and mesmerising.  I did not go to the usual tourist destinations, my journey was off the beaten path. A path that is now followed by the world’s journalists who, like myself, are looking for information.

Since Friday, when I first started on this fascinating and first of many trips to the country that of South Africa, I have been conspicuously absent from the world. No posts, not even sporadic ones, on my little blog. No tweets on Twitter or Friday shout outs;  no Facebook updates. I was invisible for the entire period of my travel and return. I did post two tweets saying that all would be revealed upon my return, but that was at the end of my journey.

This is the first of a series of posts that I will be doing that are apart from my work for the Guardian Express and not of a film nature.  These will be my own personal observations and what happened (again, on a more personal level) on my journey.  I’ve already written one post and it will follow this one shortly.

I am tired and I’m still suffering the effects of an inoculation I required for my lightening visit to South Africa. I haven’t washed in two days and I’m putting it off until my second cup of coffee and second blog post of the day have been completed. One of the benefits of living alone is that I am the only one who could be offended by the odour of travel dirt and sweat and the remnants of the South African country that still cling to my clothes and body.

Hastily and only partially unpacked suitcase.
Hastily and only partially unpacked suitcase.

I stayed with our local correspondent’s friends and both sets of folks treated me instantly like a long lost relative. At all times in this off the beaten tourist path I had to take, my safety and comfort were the top concerns of my hosts. My short life changing journey was one filled with information on how to survive this dangerous part of the world. South Africa’s crime rate is staggeringly high and it affects everyone, regardless of colour. Outsiders are especially at risk.

I am deeply grateful that I had the support of these “local’s” who knew which sections to steer clear of and how to “travel” from one area to the other in relative safety.

Although I am now back home, I’ve already been told to set the groundwork for another trip to this fascinating country. I still have much to do from the first trip. As it was primarily a fact-finding mission, I have to collate all the pictures I took (over 1,500) copy recordings from an interview, transfer my notes from the visit (slowly and painstakingly from a small “reporter’s” notebook to printed page) and start work on editing the articles written by our talented staff that will be based on my informations. I will have my own articles to write as well.

I am now trying to get my things, and me, organised. Getting ready to have  a nice soaking bath. My entire body aches, I feel like I’ve gone a round with Mike Tyson. I am bruised, battered, sore, dirty, and at the same time, excited, deeply satisfied, and changed.

I have somehow stumbled into a job that I never saw myself doing. I had only started working for the Guardian Express in April this year. I was made Deputy Managing Editor/Senior Entertainment Editor and I was very, very happy. Now through the paper and fate, I’m working in a slightly more serious capacity than reporting what Miley Cyrus‘ latest tattoo is.

I am now doing things that a year ago would have induced gales of laughter from me, as I have  never dreamed of doing anything like this. My last few years of change are now cranking up yet another notch as my newly exciting life changes yet again. God must be chuckling to himself at my bewilderment.  Last year, I pretty much felt that my life was over; at least the interesting and challenging part of it. And like many other mortals, God (or whoever is in charge of our fate) has set out to prove just how wrong I was.

My short life changing journey to South Africa that strayed far from the tourist’s beaten path  has been yet another sudden change in my perspective and vision of life and where I seemingly fit into it. My own personal journey has thrown me into an international arena with professionals who deal with the type of news that I will be reporting on  a daily basis. I am now a “proper” journalist. It excites and terrifies me at the same time.  A lot like South Africa itself.

To be continued…

My work desk.
My work desk.

Getting Used to the Silence

My front garden (aka front yard)
My front garden (aka front yard)

Up until Friday the 26th of March this year, I was used to a (to me anyway) fairly full house. Then my daughter and her fella moved out of the house.

Now the house feels very empty…and quiet.

I’ve spent the past two days cleaning and washing and sorting the house until it looks fresh. It also looks empty. I decided this morning to take a few pictures and describe this silent location I live in. So tighten up your belts, the tour starts now.

The first thing you’ll see coming into my abode will be the front hallway –

My front hallway.
My front hallway.

Not too exciting by anyone’s standards but it is mine and it leads into the kitchen.

See! I told you I’d been cleaning!

Then, if you turn around and go straight to your left you enter…The front room, aka sitting room.

My entertainment corner! Video games are mandatory.
My entertainment corner! Video games are mandatory.
My place of work...the downstairs one. Gloves for the heavy jobs only.
My place of work…the downstairs one. Gloves for the heavy jobs only.
My Stevie King collection, unfortunately a lot of them are in the attic due to lack of bookcases.
My Stevie King collection, unfortunately a lot of them are in the attic due to lack of bookcases.
My "remembrance" wall, The Twin towers skyline before 9/11 and my Gran Know way on the right.
My “remembrance” wall, The Twin towers skyline before 9/11 and my Gran Knox way on the right.

Then if you go up the stairs the first room you come to will be this one –

My third bedroom, cum spare room, cum office.
My third bedroom, cum spare room, cum office.

Then the very empty and too quiet second bedroom –

It's so empty! *sniff*
It’s so empty! *sniff*

And finally my last refuge at night, the master bedroom!

Complete with American "made in Missouri" quilt.
Complete with American “made in Missouri” quilt.

I’ve stopped the tour here. Why? Well because as the post title says “Getting Used to the Silence”  and that is a bit of a misnomer. I’ve discovered that since I have become the sole occupant of this house, that it makes one hell of a row at night. Especially at bedtime and especially just as I’m drifting off to sleep.

I don’t know how I never noticed it before. the house: creaks, pops, shuffles (I know, weird right), groans, snaps and makes a myriad of other sounds that defy description.

The end result of this cacophony of noise? Me jumping back awake every two minutes or so until I’ve convinced myself that, “Yes the downstairs doors were all locked and bolted. And yes, you are alone in the house!”

I personally blame the emptiness, and the pervading quiet that disarms me and is taking ages to get used to.

But honestly, it is allowing me to get on with my new-found work (I’m writing for Rogue Cinema and I’m now a part of the staff with owner/editor Duane L Martin and a bunch of other folks (including Misty Layne from Cinema Schninema).

I’m also signing on with Tomorrow Comes Media to participate in their author’s tour programme as well as writing my own blog and trying to write my first book (along with creating more short stories for a collection).

On top of that, I’m still watching films and excitedly awaiting the shooting date of Once Bitten, Twice Shy written, directed and produced by the super talented Natasha Harmer.

My cup truly “runneth over.”

So I’m trying to get used to the silence (except at night) and working on a schedule that will allow me to do everything and get to spend some quality me-time in my back garden.

We've got the sun, now we just need some warmth!
We’ve got the sun, now we just need some warmth!
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