We returned from Bristol yesterday evening and found everything in good order – except for the absence of a certain small feline person. When you come back from holiday, there are always things to be done to restore life to normal, such as unpacking, sorting through a heap of mail, restocking a depleted larder, etc. One of my favourite jobs is going to Chingford to collect Freya from the cattery or, as she seems to regard it, to release her from durance vile. Sometimes they bring Freya to me at the train station but on other occasions, she is so bad tempered that they don’t feel able to tackle her and they then take me to the cattery to fetch her myself.
As soon as she sees me, Freya starts "ecking", that is, making a series of staccato calls that I can only transcribe as "Eck eck eck…" Though that doesn’t convey the exact sound.
Whenever Freya has been to the cattery, we have to put up with several noisy days. Though Freya is a fairly vocal cat at the best of times, the volume of the calls is usually moderate. When she has been to the cattery, though, not only is she far more talkative but she also ramps up the volume. This is something we have to endure until her verbal self expression returns to normal patterns after a couple of days.
We left home at 9 am, hoping to get breakfast at the Glass Works. Unfortunately, we were informed that "he" (presumably the chef) had overslept and had not yet arrived. We decided not to risk further delays and to seek breakfast elsewhere. In the end, we caught a bus to Liverpool Street and had porridge and croissants at the Camden Food Co cafe. After breakfast I took the train to Chingford while Tigger returned home, hoping to buy shoes on the way. She had bought a pair on holiday that are very comfortable and it seemed a good idea to get another pair of the same while they are available.
As usual, I rang ahead to the cattery on arriving at Wood Street. No one picked up and I was put through to voice mail. I called again from the station and this time someone responded. I was told they would try to put Freya into the basket, otherwise they would pick me up and take me to her. I waited for what seemed a very long time, though it wasn’t really, and when the car eventually arrived, Freya was aboard.
I chose a seat in the very last carriage because experience has shown that while the front and middle of the train become crowded on the way to Liverpool Street, this carriage is usually only lightly filled so there is less chance of people wanting to stick their fingers into the basket and having to be discouraged. I put the cage on the seat facing mine so that she could see me. There are 8 stops to Liverpool Street and then we change to the bus.
Because this part of London has been turned into a building site, what with the replacement of London’s Victorian sewers and the building of the Crossrail railway line, all bus services are disrupted and the buses diverted. This means that there is only one bus serving the station that goes to the Angel. I have the choice of waiting for that, despite the reduced frequency because it is Sunday, or of walking to Finsbury Square where there is a choice of two buses. The walk to Finsbury Square takes me unencumbered about 10 to 15 minutes. Having to carry a heavy cat in a cage persuades me to wait at the station.
The number 153 is a small old bus and the ride was rather bumpy. Freya didn’t like being shaken about and continually looked at me for reassurance, emitting interrogative cries. We arrived at the Angel at last and I could release her from the cage. She expresses quite clearly her pleasure at being home and with us again.
The day had started sunny and seemed to promise sunny weather but in the afternoon this changed to showers of rain. We busied ourselves at home with various things, giving Freya the attention she craved. In the evening, Tigger started to prepare supper only to find that our two-ring electric hob had broken down and wasn’t working. Tomorrow we will have to buy a replacement and for this evening’s meal we decided to try "Jamie’s Italian", a pseudo Italian restaurant recently opened by Jamie Oliver at the Angel. Verdict: food not brilliant; staff amiable; service very slow.
This visit to Bristol concludes our holidays for this year. We will no doubt go on day-trips over the weekends and, if we are lucky, get the odd courier run.