Saturday, 2 September 2017


It may be blindingly obvious unless you’re not an animal lover, but having a cuddle with a cat can be very good for your mood.

For the last few days I’ve been feeling a little defeated, which is a thought I’ve tried to not become to attached to, as the intensity of the last few weeks in Edinburgh will inevitably leave me drained and with my positivity frankly zapped (not to be confused with the musician who fronted the Mothers of Invention and had a similar name).

My approach to this is as it was when I was in Scotland: to surround myself with things that I enjoy and give me a sense of normality, to not fill my day with too much, but to make sure I meditate regularly; usually once in the morning and once before bed.

One thing I turn to to keep my mood on an even keel is to watch and listen to the programmes that make me laugh without fail; most recently Hancock’s Half Hour, The Simpsons, Peep Show and Everybody Loves Raymond. Of these four choices, Raymond might seem the most unlikely, but it’s something I genuinely enjoy; more for the strength of the performances of the supporting cast, than for the writing. It entertains without challenging, which can be comforting when you’re feeling overworked.

Another thing that helps me - or at least eases some of the background noise - is spending time with animals, so it’s been lovely to come home to my cat and to give her a fuss. I also happen to be cat-sitting for a friend at the moment, which involves me popping to her flat for an hour or so a day to feed her and keep her company (the cat, not the friend). For one, the change of scenery is good, plus the cat is affectionate to the point of ridiculousness.

My visits tend to follow the same format: they’ll start with me following the cat into the bathroom (she’ll run in there as soon as you arrive) to switch on one of the taps, so she can drink from it and play with the flow. After that, I’ll refill her food and settle on the sofa with my laptop or the paper, while she stares at me suspiciously from the floor.
A few minutes later her shyness will vanish and she’ll be all over me, covering me in fur. She’ll then wave her paws in the air and stick her chin out while I give her a tickle as she purrs quietly away; no-one can feel bad for long when faced with that; they should put pets on the National Health.

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