Plagues and Death

 

Well, May didn’t quite turn out how I thought it would. By that I mean, even in a pandemic, where your entire life is turned upside down, you can still end up on a spin cycle that you didn’t see coming, on top of the pandemic that you kind of saw coming, but still can’t believe arrived.

Our little ferret Maisy (pictured above) got a respiratory viral infection at the beginning of May and died. She fought so hard to stay, but in the end, her little body just couldn’t take anymore and we lost her on our wedding anniversary. It was horrible, and I miss her everyday.

At the same time, I noticed black dandruff coming off our five month old rescue cat Sparkles. She literally is a rescue cat, as I rescued her from the next door neighbours garden in January, when she was a tiny, lost scrap of a kitten. I casually googled black cat dandruff and discovered she was INFESTED with cat fleas. Now, I don’t know about you, but I have a bit of a phobia when it comes to fleas, and trying to deal with that, while Maisy was so sick, was stressful.

Thank God for my washing machine. Fifteen boiled loads of washing later, the house was sanitised and scrubbed, although my friendly vet informed me that problem will be with us for years, and in fact, I’ll probably never get rid of the billions of flea eggs around the house. So Lottie, our remaining ferret, and Sparkles settled into their new routine in our very quiet house. It didn’t last. A few weeks later, hubby and I agreed to foster three gorgeous ferrets from the ferret shelter. They needed a home, and they all come with physical issues, so they can’t be adopted out. We thought it was the least we could do to help out the shelter. Lottie and Sparkles were totally unimpressed with the new arrivals, but after a lot of squealing, chasing of the cat and general ponging of their scent glands, the tribe has now come together harmoniously, so we have five animals in our care.

Great, I thought. Everyone is getting along and it looks like we’ve flattened the flea curve so things can settle down now.

But no. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Turns out, as soon as I let my guard down on the flea front, we had a second wave. The new ferrets came with their own fleas, so everyone got reinfested, and all had to have baths and be dosed with flea treatments. Sparkles sleeps in our bed, and the new arrivals had been bounding all over the bed, and into every dark corner, and couch pillow in the house. It’s winter now so I can’t possibly wash everything again. The vacuum cleaner and flea comb have become my best friend.

Pandemic dramas. They bring their own special problems. Along with the fleas, I think I’ve given myself RSI from kneading bread dough, and whisking flour into butter and sugar, because I’ve been in a baking frenzy trying to get through a huge bag of flour I stupidly purchased, thinking we would never see flour again. The flour is poor quality too, so it hasn’t been a very satisfying experience. Thankfully I don’t have a stash of 540 toilet rolls to work through too. Honestly, 2020 is just the weirdest year all round. What else is going to happen?

We shall have to wait and see. Meanwhile, our house has closed its borders to any new animals coming to visit. A third wave of fleas is not going to happen (until next summer when apparently all the eggs will hatch – dear God).

Stay safe and flea free

 

 

Thank You Nurses and Frontline Workers

I gave up nursing a few years ago, but my God I remember how stressful it was. I worked a lot in emergency and it inspired me to write my novel Looking For Wonderland, which is a nursing comedy eBook, with the main character being a germaphobic nurse who falls in love with an Infectious Disease consultant. When this pandemic struck, I thought, what would Celine do? If you haven’t followed my blog, you may not know that Celine Dion is my touch stone for how to deal with life’s little stumbling blocks (and fucking enormous mountains that you think you will never get over). After reflecting on what my idol would do, I wondered, how can I support the front-line workers? It’s so bloody stressful dealing with the public, and the madness of working in a hospital.

Then I had a vision of tired nurses kicking off their germ ridden shoes outside their homes, boiling themselves alive in a shower before they felt safe, and maybe they could sit down with a glass of wine (or a bucket of gin), and have a read of something a bit light hearted. So, my publisher in the UK is making Looking for Wonderland a free download from May 1-5th, from any of the Amazon sites. It’s just a little something I feel I can offer in these weird and stressful times. Something a bit lighthearted that maybe can take you back to a time before…

Thank you to everyone out there putting themselves on the front line. I know it feels like you are not always appreciated, but please know, you are.

See you on the other side.

 

Delicious

Not so long ago, in a land now far, far away, a friend and I went walking one summer morning. And, we stopped at a bakery and had breakfast. I’m so glad now that I ate what was quite frankly, a glorious meat pie that morning, because now, we couldn’t do this activity at all. The bakery is closed for sitting down and eating, the road it is on is too narrow for social distancing with a friend, and if you did manage to get a meat pie, you’d have to eat it out of a paper bag, perched on someone’s fence down the road (okay, I might have done that). Yes, I know meat pies are not the breakfast of champions, but it was so delicious, and reminded me that sometimes you just have to seize the moment, because god knows (literally) what might be heading our way, so it is important to enjoy what is in front of you.

So Jane, I hear you say, share something with us that will help us while we are stuck inside. Okay, I’m not even going to pretend this is healthy, but it is seriously one of the most delicious slices I’ve ever baked (and eaten – I can’t stop when it’s around). It’s super simple too, so if you can get it into the oven and baked without eating all the filling, then you are in for a treat. It’s a really old recipe from New Zealand (where I grew up). Hopefully you can get the ingredients. It doesn’t contain loo paper or hand sanitiser so that’s a good start. Let me know if you try it!

TAN SQUARES

Base:
185g butter
310g flour
60g sugar

Rub the butter into the sifted flour which has been mixed with the sugar. Press into a sponge roll tin lined with baking paper, but save some of this mixture to sprinkle on top of the filling.

Filling:
125g butter
1 tin of condensed milk
2 tablespoons golden syrup

Warm these delicious ingredients together in a saucepan and don’t even think about the calories. Pour over the base in the sponge tin and sprinkle the remaining base over the top like breadcrumbs.

Bake for around 30 minutes at 180C

 

A New World

I’m not even going to try and justify the time it’s been since I last posted, but in this weird, new world we find ourselves in, I thought I’d like to fire up my blog again. Here in Adelaide we are not in official ‘lockdown’, but so many places are closed that there is no where to go, and really nothing to do. Plus, the government is asking us all the stay at home. So here we are…

To be honest, it’s strange, but not unpleasant to finally have an excuse to get on with all the craft projects that have been lying around half finished for what seems like forever. I was in the process of setting up my own business, but all that’s been put on hold. I have been put back on the nursing registry by the Australian Government, but whether or not I get called back into duty is something to wait and see about. Who would have thought?

My muse (husband) is around the house more, and thank God that’s a good thing. We also have a new member of the family – Sparkles – a rescue kitty. That’s her hanging off the front door. She even gets on with the ferrets.

So, here we are. A very uncertain future, but I’m certain there will be good things to come out of this situation.

But dear God, look at the banner for my blog. No social distancing there. I’m going to have to update that I think!!

Okay. See you soon.