The rest of the runthrough

So what other challenges faced in our Great British homecoming? (And the weather doesn’t even warrant mention)

* Where to live – after 3 years spent in paradise, a return to the choking,busy, polluted streets of London? Not top of mine and the other one’s list. What about up north where we’re from? No jobs for me. So I took out a rail map, worked from the inside out from London and scouted for places affordable and commutable and ended up somewhere in nottinghamshire, but its not like we could move there straightaway…

* A place to pitch up – very luckily the other one’s family opened their homes to us, thus giving us some semblance of stability and normality with our 3 rucksacks (boxes, rug and pictures from Seychelles arriving a week after we did) and with the other one’s sister and family on holiday, a base from which we could watch the Olympics as we began to try and sort our lives out.Friends did offer, but it’s no fun staying on other people’s floors moving on from day to day, week to week.

* A place to stay – if you’ve been away from the UK for a few years, renting a place isn’t that easy. In fact, despite our offers to pay 6 months up front (think about doing this at a minimum if you’re away from home), agencies especially prefer a guarantor instead. So despite having our own house with equity, 6 months rent upfront if we had to, being professionals with degrees and the other one a career that almost (almost) guarantees work, the other one had to ask his mum. Worse still, the guarantor has to earn a certain income multiple above the total rent – my parents were out.  Had it not been for his mum, we were screwed (or sucking up mightily to some friends).

* A car – I’m not going to labour this. I hate driving, but we got an automatic just in case.I said not too big please. It’s a Vauxhall Astra and green. Not very rock and roll and well, I think a bit big.

* Jobs. Quite important this. The other one signed up to supply agencies and in less than a week into the new term was working. I’m not, not through choice, but because its tough out there and I hate interviews. I’ll let you know, but I am building my ‘social media presence’ and have started another blog that would be lovely if you could check it out :  )

* Moving. Another thing I hate. The day went something like this. Arrive London, empty garage with all our stuff in it. Men come and take it. I leave for new place. The other one leaves for Manchester. I arrive new place, clean, the men with the stuff arrive and leave. The other one arrives with the car. He doesn’t leave, we unpack stuff. We’re moved in.

* New place – everyone seems very friendly but we don’t actually know anyone who lives here. Closest mate, 35 minutes away, which I guess isn’t bad really.

It was stressful and unsettling, but I’m proud of what we’ve done. We might have come ‘home’, but we did so with no jobs, nowhere to live and moved to somewhere we don’t know and don’t know anyone, and the world hasn’t caved in yet – although the other one knows better than to expect his tea to be made for him everyday…there might be revolution brewing in the kitchen….



I hang my head in shame about how long its been since I last posted but in very wafer thin defence of my tardiness a lot’s been happening. Rather than bore you with the minutiae  – and one reason why I’ve been so lax  – I’ll do the quick run through, but first some bad news for anyone who’s been a regular reader, Minxie’s died, or more accurately she was put down : ( . Another reason why I was avoiding doing the blog seeing as though I’d written so recently about her (or not, as the case now is). So what happened? I don’t really know. After we left Seychelles, our appointed guardian did a wonderful job, she fed Minx her pills and took her to the vet and was told she was getting better. Guardian left, someone else was feeding Minx for a week before her new owners arrived. They arrived, two days later we received a mail to say that she’d been taken to the vet who said that there was nothing could be done for her and she was put down.  I don’t know what happened in the intervening week,  perhaps with all the comings and goings of new owners, she got distressed, I don’t really want to think about it.

We did our best, but I still feel awful. So for anyone who’s in Seychelles only for a short time, please think about what you’re doing if you decide to take on a pet. We ended up with Minx because her original owner left after a couple of years and she was kindly taken on by various people who lived in the block of flats where she was, but it was never fair on her to be left to the mercy of others. It’s also not that easy to find new homes, especially for cats and the SSPCA will literally take your cat Monday and if they’re not found a home by Friday (which is unlikely unless they’re kittens because of the change to their environment) they’ll be put down. So please think about it, who’s benefitting most from having the pet and is that fair? We loved having Minx, but if I could have spared her the upheaval I would have done.

Lovely little Minx

A 10 hour layover in Qatar. Brilliant I thought when we’d booked the tickets, I could maybe see my mate who lives there, except he mailed me a few weeks ago, he’s sodding well left.

Perhaps time then to go and explore the capital ourselves then? Fine if I hadn’t spent the hours before my 5am departure for Seychelles airport tidying up, so collapsed in a heap in the hotel provided in Qatar, waking up completely disorientated some time in the afternoon and deciding to go for a walk in 40 DEGREES HEAT AND WITH JEANS ON. Fastest walk ever. I collapsed in a heap on the hotel bed once more, groggily rising for food, then back to bed and up again for check in around midnight, onto the plane and asleep again, being sure I used my sticker so they knew that I wanted waking for food, obviously.

Best line of the flight, the pilot’s comment: ‘so nice weather on the way to Manchester’. If you’re from up north, you’ll get why that’s funny.

Home sweet Home.

Minx mojo

don’t worry her freedom is now guaranteed

Thank God. The guy moving into our flat is a cat owner and happy to take on Minx. He just isn’t moving in until mid August. Disaster averted by the opportune holiday of an ex school colleague and pet lover who’s staying in our mate ‘J’s flat, more or less next door. We bought a stack load of tuna, handed her a bulging bag of drugs, some money in case she needed to get more and put in a very desperate plea to ask if she didnn’t mind taking Minx to the vet’s in two weeks time for another check up. No problem, our saviour said, and plus she said she was a dab hand with giving cats pills.

I think Minx is in better hands than if we’d been there.


After much ado, we decided to have a leaving do at social seychelles hangout Exiles. Always up for a party, I end up dreadfully nervous of my own, and so it was, and I spent most of the hours before it trying to create the prefect playlist rather than doing the sensible thing of packing. But then as previously established, packing is boring. After much umming and ahhing, the other one drove to Exiles and did a sterling job of staying sober all evening while I had his share of the beers and chatted inanely to most of our assembled guests who’d very kindly put aside a saturday evening to listen to my drivel. It was lovely to see everyone and weird to think that many of them I’ll probably never see again – I’m sentimental like that. I also realised that there were a few people who I should have invited and completely forgot. Sorry if you’re reading this. The other one got a good school showing, and I can say the same from my work too although I’d have liked it not to have been just the expats from my side, but I guess a lot of Seychellois are used to people passing through, or they knew ahead  of time I was going to chat inane drivel.

I also managed to inveigle myself on someone I’d never met before and extract an invite to stay with him in Abu Dhabi – this diplomacy stuff must have rubbed off on me without my knowing – and also got a very touching thank you for all my work with social seychelles, which I embarrassedly tried to bat away. It was a bittersweet evening but one I left standing up. If nothing else, I may return from Seychelles a proper grown up.

With fresh fish Minx will never notice the 2 x pink pills, 1 x big white, 1/2 x small white pill we crush in her food every day will she?

Day 1 – success! Day 2 – Suspicion. Day 3 – Coaxing. Day 4 –  Whiskers away from getting down on all fours and pretending to eat the sodding stuff for her.

Day 5 – When do we leave Seychelles? Day 6 – Guilt. Day 7 – Back to the vets.

They think she’s getting better. One small problem, we have to leave for the UK the next day.

And just pop it in…

The lady on the online video says, stroke the cat, ease its head back, open the mouth from the bottom jaw and just pop the pill in.

The cat Minx says you can bloody well bugger off.

Minx jinx #3

‘Do you know why her mouth is so pink?’ the other one asked about Minx to the vet.


‘No, I’ve seen dogs with it but never cats’ the vet replied.

Being two prior non pet owners we didn’t follow up. Bad move.

Minx got injected, shaved and sprayed with blue antibiotic stuff and we for good measure bought some ‘kill the lice’ shampoo – cue the hilarious Benny Hill chase of the cat around the flat as we tried to bathe her (told you non pet people). She did humour us by sweetly succumbing to a wet towel rub, but that didn’t help her pink mouth, and it was looking worse.

We went back to the vet, which is when we found out that there are actually two vets, both very nice, but only one clearly knows what she’s talking about, and yup she was the one that we hadn’t seen. Immediately, she diagnosed poor minx with having a female indolent ulcer,  but what did that mean?

Answer: A shed loads of drugs to stuff down her neck, and a lot more Benny Hill.

Minx jinx #2

She was diagnosed with lice.


Minx jinx #1

Very cute in full health

What to do with the cat was a pressing issue, in the back of our minds and not something we wanted to face. We’d inherited her from our neighbours who’d left who’d inherited her from the previous people who’d lived in our flat who’d inherited her from the previous owner and original person who started the whole mess in the first place, the poor animal passed from pillar to post – though lovely how everyone’s tried to look after her. We considered bringing her to the UK but between needing to get her micro-chipped and inoculated against rabies (both not available in Seychelles necessitating them being sent from the UK), plus not knowing where we’d be living and likely to have to rent, it made no sense. Not helping our cause was some problem with her fur, it was falling out and she had scabs – could hardly advertise her in the paper ‘please have our lovely cute scabby cat, go on go on go on’. So we took her to the vet.