lexin: (Default)
2017-06-21 08:14 pm
Entry tags:

(no subject)

Smokey and I are throwing ourselves around in attitudes, as it’s very hot (for Britain) and very humid. I’m all miserable and sweaty, and I’m sure I can say the same for Smokey but she only sweats through her paws. She has quite sweaty paws, though, and was once found to be allergic to a specific type of kitty litter for that reason.

In other news, I’ve done the first pass of ripping my DVDs to soft copy. I’m left with a few irritations – some of the seasons of Criminal Minds didn’t rip properly and I’ll have to rip them again, this time into MKV files. Plus the titles got somehow mixed up (it was obviously my fault) on the Basil Rathbone Sherlock Holmes films, and I’m going to have to go through them patiently and make sure the right title is attached to each film. But it is mostly done.

I’m still following what’s coming out about the Grenfell Tower fire – the worst case of a fire since WW2, I think, and was totally avoidable if Kensington and Chelsea had just listened to the people who lived there and actually spent money on the place where it was needed. ‘Not political’ indeed! Ptui!
lexin: (Default)
2017-05-20 06:16 pm
Entry tags:


I am very slowly ripping my DVD collection into soft copies. Sigh.

Currently watching Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, which is the first HP film I came across in my collection and I wanted a change from endless things to do with Sherlock Holmes. Honestly, there’s not a film or TV series with Sherlock Holmes in the title that I don’t buy. From Sherlock Holmes’s Smarter Brother, through Jeremy Brett, to the Hammer version of the Hound of the Baskervilles, you name it, I’ve got it. I think I must have five different versions of the Hound.

In other news, I still don’t have a job. One of these days someone will have to be fooled into taking me on.

Kitty is a happy kitty.
lexin: (Default)
2017-05-16 01:33 pm
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I have started ripping my DVDs having lost the soft copies I had amassed when I had to reinstall my operating system. It’s tedious work, but I should have a more complete set of the DVDs I own when I’ve finished.

What I won’t have is the ‘illegal’ soft copies I’d downloaded over the years. Boo! I shall have to find them again, though some are bound to have disappeared. It’s a bit annoying, but I’ll learn to live with it. I am copying the soft versions to an external hard drive as I go along, as I learn from my terrible mistakes. Always make a back-up! At least my documents were backed up to the cloud, so that’s not an issue.

In other news, there is no other news.

Smokey is doing well, though she did give me a scare by having diarrhoea for a couple of days. I think she’d got into my left over milk from my morning cereal and upset her tummy. That seems to have settled, thankfully. Silly kitty. I’ve also started giving her a more expensive dry food, as she wouldn’t eat the cheaper Tesco’s own brand dry food. Just turned her little furry nose up and refused to countenance it. We had a Mexican stand-off for a few days and then I caved. That cat has a backbone of steel.
lexin: (Default)
2017-05-11 04:35 pm
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Still applying for jobs. Still not getting any. I get the odd interview, but so far none have been successful. I’ve got one interview outstanding since March – they interviewed me in March and I still don’t have the outcome. But then one of my FB friends applied for a Civil Service job last June and started a week ago, so I’m not quite losing hope on that one.

In other news, there is no real other news.

Smokey is very well, full of beans and cat food. She’s currently asleep on the sofa – we had a lovely cuddle this morning, but then I had to get up from my recumbent position and start doing some work on the computer. So she stretched out into my spot, perhaps thinking it would stay warm.

Oh, I know what I’m doing – I bought the AD&D 5e (Dungeons and Dragons 5th edition for those who aren’t geeks) and have been writing a basic scenario so we can see how it runs. In this I’ve been assisted by my friend Patrick who is such a geek he even out-geeks me, and he calculated everything on his character sheet out by hand to ensure that I wasn’t cheating him out of any advantages his character should have.

What between him and me, we managed to spot a bug in the computer program I’m using to roll up characters, which made us both very happy. We’re strange like that.
lexin: (Default)
2017-04-06 10:20 pm
Entry tags:

(no subject)

My computer has been a nightmare. Latest game was just going black, and it was by accident that I remembered that I’d left the HDMI plugged in to the television, and that was causing the problem. I did have, though, to reinstall my anti-virus program and hopefully that’ll last a while. I hate it when my computer collapses like this, it’s just a nightmare.

I must reset when it goes to black, though, because currently it does so if I turn away for more than three minutes. I live alone with Smokey and I’m sure she’s not interested in what I have on my screen, except for the background screen of kittens. I can’t enjoy the kittens if it goes to black in three minutes.
lexin: (Default)
2017-03-15 07:36 pm
Entry tags:


Still no job. Sigh. Still trying hard to find one, eventually someone’s got to be fooled into taking me on.

In other news Smokey gave me a scare by not having a poo for two days recently. I was all set to take her to the vet to check for a blockage of some kind when she finally gave way and did the biggest poo I’ve seen a small cat do. You would have thought she was the size of a Rottweiler.
lexin: (Default)
2016-08-31 02:07 pm
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I took my darling Smokey for her annual kitty wellness check up with the local vets. Her general health is excellent, though she is a bit podgy (5.02 kilos) and yet again I need to cut down her kibble. I’m sure it’s those treats; probably if we stuck to food she’d lose that weight.

The down side is that she has dental disease on two bottom teeth either side and will have to have them removed pretty sharpish. I have made an appointment for 28 September for this. Probable cost (sharp intake of breath) anything between £800 and £1,000 once you’ve taken into account blood tests, x-rays, anaesthetic and so on. This is more than my monthly income, and will have to come out of savings. She is insured, but I don’t think it covers dental problems; in fact I’m sure it doesn’t because I just checked. Interestingly, it covers things like acupuncture and homeopathy, neither of which work.
lexin: (Default)
2016-02-20 01:56 pm


Again I’ve been silent for a while; it’s curious that having had all this work done, the flat doesn’t feel like it’s ‘mine’ any more, and I’m waiting for this feeling to pass off. Which I’m sure it will.

The illness I mentioned last time is still with me; I’ve been to the doctor and he sent me for blood tests, which I did a week ago. My HbA1c result was not good – which didn’t surprise me, given what I’d been mostly been eating during that period.

It should improve when tested next because I’m currently bothered by a lack of appetite. I’m managing very small meals of not very interesting things. So instead of breakfast being one or two portions of porridge, it’s one and I can’t always finish that. Grump. I can’t manage anything sweet, either. People would say that I could stand to lose a bit of weight, but I’m bothered about it not being exactly my choice.

The rest of the blood test results the doctor didn’t tell me in detail, though I gathered my white blood cells are either low or high or something they shouldn’t be, but he has decided that the upper respiratory tract infection I have can’t be viral because it should be self-limiting and isn’t being. I’ve had it since the middle of December. So he’s prescribed an antibiotic in the hope that will work. Fingers crossed.

It is good to have Smokey back, she’s been home about a week or a little longer. She’s getting used to the changed flat quicker than I am.
lexin: (Default)
2016-02-03 11:29 am
Entry tags:


I have been away from LJ and DW for a little while and I can see that some of my friends have been having worrying times. I’m sorry if that’s the case. I can only offer belated hugs and commiserations.

I’m very close to the Great Work on the flat being finished – Marius the builder says it should be today or tomorrow. More likely tomorrow. At which point I’ll be able to get Smokey back from [livejournal.com profile] gloria1 and bring her home. I think I’ll put a Feliway plug-in thing in, because a lot has changed and it will smell rather different, not least of paint. I will try to post before and after pictures.

It has, and is currently still being little short of hell on earth, not least because since December, and worse since the middle of January I’ve been struggling with some sort of viral infection as well as the builders, and with a flare up of my IBS. It’s been horrible. Everything still tastes of metal. I did go to the doctor and he gave me a cough medicine call pholcodine, a medicine of evil that is banned in the US but is supposed to calm your cough. Did it hell. He also gave me, because I had oral thrush, a medicine called Nystatin which is quite the foulest thing I’ve ever tasted, even including that ‘lamb kebab’ from the nearby kebab shop that looked and smelled like poo.

Next Tuesday the Bulgarian cleaner mafia (Niki and Vesi) are coming over to put everything back in the right places and sort everything out. I’m so looking forward to it. I’m paying them well since I don’t know how much use I’m going to be.

I want my kitty back, I want my flat back and I want my cosy things around me. First world problems.
lexin: (Default)
2016-01-21 01:34 pm
Entry tags:

Current progress

Current progress is that I have a bedroom almost finished (there is some electrical work to do) and the builders have started to work on the living room. All the furniture is in my spare room and the hall cupboard is full of stuff which made it into boxes as opposed to being hurled into black bags to be thrown out. The other place full of said boxes of stuff to keep are my new wardrobes. I do need someone, though (looks at [livejournal.com profile] clare_nce in a hopeful way) to go through the three (!) boxes of wires with me. This is truly a flat of a million wires.

Not that everything made it. Over the last couple of days, Marius and Nico (the builders), Niki (my cleaner) and I threw out in excess of twenty black sacks of stuff, and I have a bankers box of stuff good enough to take to the charity shop, though for some reason best known to themselves the builders have stored it with the stuff I’m keeping. I presume they don’t read enough English to identify the note that says “charity” across it in big red letters.

Currently I’m ironing my bedroom curtains because it’s odd sleeping in a room with no curtains. Odd and unpleasant. Slightly creepy, even.

Smokey is safely at [livejournal.com profile] gloria1’s and I took her treats yesterday. She was so pleased to see me that her tail did that quivering thing that cats do when they’re delighted by something. I suspect it was the treats but [livejournal.com profile] gloria1 says it may have been my visit that did it. She did seem very happy to see me.

Work on the living room continues at speed. Niko is currently scraping away at the old woodchip wallpaper that I hate so much, and I expect him to finish that today as he really puts his back into it. Not like me who loathes ironing to an intense degree (I’m ironing the freshly washed curtains) and keeps on taking tea breaks to get through it. Not to mention the fact that I find it painful to stand for that long.

So there we are. Progress, but not yet completion.
lexin: (Default)
2016-01-18 08:38 am
Entry tags:

I have wardrobes

I have wardrobes. I'm not completely certain the builders are ready for me to start putting things in them, but they better be because tomorrow I have Niki (my cleaner) arriving to help me move stuff from the current boxes to the wardrobes so that they can start on phase two of the work, which is the living room. Exciting stuff.

Smokey is currently a guest at [livejournal.com profile] gloria1's pad.

It took me an hour and a half yesterday to persuade the kitty out from behind the sofa and into her cat carrier. I tried blandishments. No dice. I tried treats. No dice. I tried silence. I tried conversation on the phone to people - she would come out from behind the sofa but never got near enough to catch.

In the end I looked for sounds of kittens wanting to be fed on YouTube and tricked her into investigating the noises of desperate kittens by putting my iPad on the floor, and scooped her up when she got close enough.

I feel like a complete heel tricking her that way, but it was the only thing that worked.

She's much safer at [livejournal.com profile] gloria1's than she would be here just now, because they're painting and I don't want her to get paint on her fur, they're going to be replacing the floor in the hall, kitchen and bathroom and doing the work on my living room meaning there will be nowhere for her to just be for about three weeks.

She's much better off in the warm, peaceful flat that is [livejournal.com profile] gloria1's, but of course you can't explain that to a cat.
lexin: (Default)
2015-12-24 10:46 pm
Entry tags:

Short update

Well, the builders have not finished the first tranche of the work. Ho hum.

Smokey spent the last few days at [livejournal.com profile] gloria1’s house in the peace and quiet. It took her a day or so to settle in, but once she had she was stealing [livejournal.com profile] gloria1’s seat with the abandon with which she steals mine. I missed her dreadfully, but it was better that she was out of the noise and disruption.

Disruption continues – my stuff is around me in boxes and I have three outfits which I’m swapping into as and when two get dirty and have to be washed, which is going to make Christmas interesting and memorable. On the other hand, the fridge is stuffed with food, which will make it tasty and fun.

The builders start again on the 27th. Yippee.

The bad news is that the wardrobes aren’t going to be delivered until the 6th of January, meaning that they won’t be installed until the 8th or so. I’ve arranged for my old cleaner, Niki, to come and spend six hours with me on the 9th Jan putting my clothes away and preparing the living room for the work. Once that’s done, on the 10th, Smokey goes back to [livejournal.com profile] gloria1’s to stay with her while the floors are done and the living room is renovated. It should all be done (!) by the 31st. Hm. We’ll see.

The second tranche of work starts properly on the 11 Jan, and that’s also the day my new fiction writing course starts. I hope they won’t want printouts, because my printer will be put away until the second tranche has finished.

I will be putting pressure on the builders to have it finished before the 13th of Feb, because I have a get-together to play Call of Cthulhu that day and as I’ve had to cancel the one on the 9th of Jan, I don’t want to cancel the second one.

Still, Happy Christmas or whichever holidays you’re celebrating this weekend, and cuddles to everyone’s kitties and doggies.
lexin: (Default)
2015-12-18 09:14 am
Entry tags:

Changes and things

Life is somewhat uncomfortable Chez Lexin just at the moment. I knew when I scheduled building works that it would be, but really hadn’t realised – I don’t think anyone ever does – just how disruptive it would be. And this is the ‘easy’ part, the work on the bedroom. Tranche 2, the work on the living room, is going to be hell on wheels, I already know it.

Everything I own that was in the bedroom is currently in boxes, and they are all over the rest of the flat. My bed has been disassembled and is leaning in bits against my living room wall, the pictures that were in the bedroom are leaning against the table that was there, and are slightly in front of the TV – not greatly, but enough to annoy me.

Even with all this, the builder asked me if we could clear out the hall cupboard. I said well, we could, but where would we put it all? He didn’t have an answer to that, so the work on the hall cupboard hasn’t started.

On the other hand, we have progress. In the two days since they started, they’ve scraped the wallpaper off the bedroom walls and ceiling (yes, for some reason the ceiling in that room was papered. Go figure) and taken the old wardrobes down.

I just don’t know if we’re moving quickly enough to get all of tranche 1 done by December 24th, which is the date set in the contract for the conclusion of this section of the work. I hope so, it’ll be a bit of a grumpy-making Christmas if I have to have my Christmas dinner with my belongings in boxes. I have only three outfits accessible to me, and two of those have to be washed today.

I did wash the bedroom curtains yesterday, and it was astonishing (or perhaps not given how long they’d been up there) how much dirt came out of them.

My poor cleaner is coming today – it’s going to be heart breaking for her to see the state the flat is in given how much work she puts in to keep it tidy and clean. But she’s only really coming, and I have told her this, to collect her pay and her Christmas present. If she can empty the bins and unpack the dishwasher, that’ll be nice but not required.

Smokey is doing well given that cats don’t like changes, but if the work gets noisy today she may be going to [livejournal.com profile] gloria1’s today until the 24th. We’ll see how she gets on, because having her here is a comfort to me, but I’m not about to let her get too stressed.

In other news

The builders were a day late starting (!) and in that day, I toiled my dress. The only problem I can see is that the sleeves are a bit narrow for my taste. Georgian dresses do have tight sleeves, but I like to be able to move.
lexin: (Default)
2015-12-12 10:30 am
Entry tags:


I’ve been a bit quiet, what with one thing and another.

Smokey has been quiet the last few days. She seems to have picked up now, but I don’t think she was too impressed by the Christmas tree I put up. The flashing lights bothered her and she seems happier now I’ve put the lights to ‘always on’. I also changed the dangly thing on her thing on a string on a stick because she’d destroyed the old one, and she doesn’t like the new one, so I’m going to have to buy a replacement, perhaps with feathers. She likes feathers.

I don’t like it when she doesn’t run about after the dangly thing. I think she needs exercise and not just to lie about the place like a little furry cushion.

It could also be the weather, which isn’t all that cold but has been quite grey and depressing. As I type this, she’s sitting on her cat tree looking out of the window at the gardens, I think hoping for signs of birdies or other cats.


No news on the sewing front. I’m waiting for beads to be delivered. I could be getting on with doing a toile, but haven’t.


The reason for the above is that I bought at PS4. It took a while for Amazon to send the games I’d ordered (of which more below) but now they have I’m spending time playing LotR: Shadow over Mordor. details of interest mostly to other gamers )


Amazon pissed me off somewhat mightily over delivering my latest batch of stuff, most of which was for Christmas or for my dress. They managed to fail to deliver nearly all of an order (how? I’ve been a customer since 1999 and only one other thing has ever gone astray) and when I contacted them to get it re-delivered, they re-did the order, this time cocking up by sending me a second PS4. Getting that collected was far more difficult than it should have been.

In other news

I’ve been setting up having my flat decorated next month. So far, I’ve two really interested firms, but no actual written quotes for the work.

I did have a third firm come round and look at the job, but he didn’t strike me as really interested – the other two were full of ideas about how it could be done, but the third just noodled about, took my bit of paper explaining what I wanted doing and disappeared. I’ve heard nothing from him since, so I don’t know what’s going on there.

Running as favourite to get the work so far is the Italian girl (and her friend who didn’t speak English) who took photos when they first came to scope the job, then came round with samples a couple of days ago and are taking the whole thing very seriously. Second is the firm run by a Greek bloke called Demis, but I haven’t seen any samples of the stuff he wants to use so he is definitely as second choice.

We shall see.

While the work is done Smokey will become a lodger at [livejournal.com profile] gloria1’s, and [livejournal.com profile] gloria1 has kindly agreed to take her in and treat her as her own.

This is because the work will include floors in the hall, kitchen and bathroom, decorating my bedroom and decorating the living room, which takes up most of the flat. I can’t keep her shut up in the spare room for several weeks, so have to find somewhere she can stay in peace and quiet. I will miss my baby girl, though!
lexin: (Default)
2015-10-30 02:03 pm

Creative writing class

This week's homework was hopeless. We were supposed to be playing with the timeline, but I (admittedly along with everyone else in the class) forgot everything else we'd been taught, resulting in one of the class having a bit of a barney with the tutor. She said it wasn't any good him grumbling about her homework: if he'd asked her to do one thing and then she'd done that thing but not this other thing, how was she to know he'd also wanted this other thing.

Mine is more like a blog entry than a story. But here goes.

Read more... )

Comments welcome, as always.
lexin: (Default)
2015-10-06 12:22 pm

Short update

I've been a but quiet lately, largely because nothing much happened. But when I think about it, things did happen.

I ran a game of Call of Cthulhu not this last Saturday just gone, but the previous one. The characters rather bollocksed it up and allowed the King in Yellow (Hastur) to arrive on Earth. I mean, ouch! That means that the rest of the games from now on in have to be run with this Great Old One slowly taking over the planet. Thanks guys. It's a bit like Sauron running all of Middle Earth.

I also had my first Creative Writing class at the City Lit last Thursday. That went quite well, and I enjoyed it, so I'm looking forward to Thursday when I have the next class. The other students all seem OK, though there's one who looks as if she's going to be hard work for the teacher and for the rest of us. We'll see.

Smokey is a good cat, though a bit clingy. Not quite sure what's going on with that. She's absolutely mad on her 'thing on a string on a stick' and if I ignore her for too long, she'll find it and drag it towards me, so there's no misunderstanding about what she wants of me. Sweet kitty! She always looks so determined with this thing in her mouth, every hair indicative of desperation.
lexin: (Default)
2015-09-03 01:45 pm
Entry tags:


I took Smokey for her annual trip to the vet to make sure she's in good shape: she is indeed in fine fettle, the only moan being that she's a bit pudgy and could do with losing some weight.

I agreed to try to feed her fewer treats. She won't like that much. However, I will try.

In other news, there is no other news.
lexin: (Default)
2015-07-24 12:35 pm

Adventures in broadband

I haven’t posted here about my interesting experiences with my broadband supplier.

I arranged to have my broadband upgraded to fibre. So far so good. All the bits arrived and the installer was due round on Wednesday to put it in.

He arrived on time, which was the only thing that went right. He whinged the whole time about the way that telephone service in my flat were set up, and that he’d have to move my phone socket from the corner by the door to further into the flat and that would take wire.

During his stompy look around, he (accidentally) kicked Smokey.

He just wasn’t looking where he was going, despite the fact that I’d told him I’d got a cat when he arrived. Shutting her in my bedroom wasn’t an option, the phone service comes in the flat through that room. Putting her in the spare bedroom wasn’t an option either even if I’d thought of it, there’s another phone socket in there and he did need to see it even though it’s dead.

An accident I can forgive, but he didn’t ask if he’d hurt her, and he didn’t apologise. That I’m having trouble forgiving.

He didn’t hurt her as it happens, she was just a bit surprised. She’s been a bit clingy since, but I’ve checked her over very carefully and she is all right. She’s eating and pooing and nicking my spot on the sofa just as normal.

And yes, I know I’m quite mental about my cat, but she’s the light of my life and my constant companion and I adore her to little tiny minty bits. I don’t want her hurt by oafishness, not mine and definitely not someone else’s.

He finally did install the fibre broadband, but didn’t finish the job. He said it wasn’t up to him, and I had to put in the router and link it all up.

I did all that, and it didn’t work.

So I cursed like a cursor, and tried again.

It still didn’t work.

I phoned my supplier, who are PlusNet, and the person I spoke to said it was a technical issue that wouldn’t be fixed until Monday. Cross? I was well cross by that stage. Not only did I have broadband I’d paid for but was not working, by then my hard drive had fallen off my computer while I was lying on the floor plugging in wires and it had hit me in the face. So I had bruises to add to my troubles.

I phoned PlusNet again yesterday to complain about the installer kicking my cat, and was told initially that I had to complain in writing. This is not what it says on their website, the website says you can complain on the phone or in chat or in writing.

I tried chat next, and that customer service person was excellent. She is called Hayley, and she’s a credit to the company.

Not only did she take my complaint (though the company employing the installer is Openreach) and apologised straight away on behalf of PlusNet, she asked if she could do anything else. I told her about the problem with the broadband and she fixed it. It works! Yippee!

Then I tried to complain to BT/Openreach. Their website has a form for complaints but for some reason it won’t work properly. All day yesterday I tried to get it to take my complaint and it just wouldn’t have it. It ended up that I was whinging all day on Twitter (ably helped by [livejournal.com profile] shezan, [personal profile] legionseagle and today [insanejournal.com profile] yonmei). BT got in touch by Twitter in the end, but say that the only way of complaining to Openreach, which is a different company from them, is to use the daft form.

I did eventually get to make my complaint, but only by entering one sentence with no returns, no full stops, no commas, no capitals and no apostrophes. That’s a mad form. How are you supposed to guess its limitations? I bet there’s also a limitation on how long the complaint can be, too, but no sign that it might be there. They just don’t want complaints, that’s what it is. Plus, there are only three options for the kinds of complaints – (a) bad driving, (b) mess left in the street or (c) bad new positioning or plant work. Apparently these are the only things that can go wrong. Rudeness or cat kicking are not included.

Currently I’m hating Openreach and that engineer in particular with a large hate.
lexin: (Default)
2015-06-13 09:38 am
Entry tags:

Cat antics

I had a lot of innocent fun last night watching Smokey running around the bedroom trying to catch a mosquito. Mozzie 1, cat 0.
lexin: (Default)
2015-04-21 01:13 pm
Entry tags:

Cat update - good(ish) news

From Friday last week my lovely Smokey was, at intervals, shaking her back paws, even more occasionally her front paws, as if she'd got something stuck to them, and then she'd chew on the paw as if it hurt her or she was trying to get rid of something. I had a look but could see nothing stuck, not even little bits of litter. She was also shaking her head, but a bit more rarely.

I looked up the symptoms on Google and didn't find anything really useful on any of the (hundreds! thousands!) of cat sites. The possibilities were many and varied, but too many and varied to be able to make a guess about what was going on.

So yesterday I booked Smokey in for a vet visit.

Smokey hates going in her cat basket. She really loathes it and I felt a complete heel, because she was sleeping deeply on her radiator hammock and I grabbed her and stuffed her in the basket before she had time to really grasp what was happening and react. Poor kitty!

Luckily it was a bright sunny day, I'd hate to have to wait for a taxi in the rain as she doesn't even like wind on her fur, not being used to it. Rain would probably put the tin lid on it.

We had a long wait in the vets, but as it's a veterinary hospital which copes with emergencies as well as 'normal' appointments I don't mind that. I got into conversation with an old lady who'd caught and paid for neutering for over 25 feral cats in the local area over the last ten years, and also found homes for several of the younger ones, despite having had a stroke herself. I always meet interesting people in the vets.

I had Smokey on the bench beside me in her basket, and she cuddled as close to me as she could get while we were waiting. The old lady seemed to find this very sweet, and it was.

The vet took a really good look at Smokey, she was checked out weighed and measured all over, and she had a good look down her ears and at her paws. She told me that Smokey is a very healthy cat for her age, though a tad overweight. When I got her she was 4.2kg; last September she was 4.9kg, and yesterday she was 4.94kg. So she's not really gaining weight any more, but she's not losing it either and is a little pudgy. I said I'd take her dry food down to 40-45g a day from 50-55g and see if that helped.

The only explanation she could come up with for the shaking paws thing was an allergy. She noted that Smokey seems to sweat through her pads more than many cats, and that could be the reason she's picking something up from the floor. She asked me if I'd changed floor cleaner, carpet or anything like that recently. I haven't. She said it could be pollen or something like that, but she'd expect that to affect her respiration, which it hasn't.

She gave her a steroid injection in the hope of breaking the itch/bite cycle Smokey has with he paws, and we took our leave. If the problem doesn't resolve, we have to go back.

She checked out her ears, but could find no explanation for the head shaking. Smokey does not have any kind of ear infections, and only a little wax. So a watching brief on that one.

What I think the solution is

When I was telling the folk on FB about this, I happened to mention that I had changed Smokey's litter.

About six weeks ago, I needed to buy more litter. So I went to my normal supplier and discovered that my preferred litter (EverClean unscented) was not available. Baffled, I checked out Amazon.co.uk but the supply they had was outrageously expensive. All the other litter from my usual supplier seemed to be scented. I have a (probably unreasonable) prejudice against scented litter. Smokey uses one of those Omega Paws rolling litter trays and I think a scented litter in an enclosed environment like that would have my kitty coughing and choking. I may be wrong, but you know.

So I checked out Zooplus who have a very wide range of everything animal including lots of litter (but not EverClean), and picked the one which seemed most like EverClean unscented, but was on offer and therefore fairly cheap - it was Tigerino unscented. I didn't read the reviews, which turns out to have been a mistake.

One of my FB friends in the discussion there about Smokey said that one of her five cats had reacted very badly to Tigerino, to the point that her cat lost the fur on her belly and legs, and it had taken ages for the friend to work out what the problem was. In fact it wasn't until she read the reviews on Tigerino on Zooplus that she'd made the connection - the very same had happened to one of the other reviewers' cats.

So this morning I changed the litter in Smokey's tray to my emergency supply of Tesco own brand - and very horrible it is too, granules too big and very dusty - and I've ordered an unscented litter which has five stars and 295 reviews.

Yes, an entry mostly about cat litter. I am amazed at how many types there are and how wound up people get about it.