THE ESSEX CAT SCENE

New year, new post, new cat…..

cat

As a kid I always had a cat.   They were always there, like a reassuring, comfy rug with claws.  Coco, Blue, Bruno, Tyson and DJ were the names of my various moggys.  Creatures with attitude who’d give love on their terms only.  You never own a cat, it merely lets you look after it.

After much discussion we decided a young cat would be a good addition to our family.  Now that we live in the countryside there are mice to kill and monster spiders to devour.

Being the moral angels that we are, it was decided to score a feline from a local cat protection society rather than off some Gucci loafer wearing Essex cat king pin, who presumably breeds cats in an underground Brentwood dungeon.

It was rather surreal to find myself in the middle of Basildon at 10am on a Saturday morning at the wonderfully named ‘bascats‘ surrounded by 50-year-old ladies sporting mum jeans and knitted cat jumpers.  Their distinct look they rocked hard, respect!

BAS

I was at a cat homing show.  After giving my details I walked around and inspected the caged creatures.
A pair of tiny young kittens immediately caught my eye, extremely cute and meowing loud.  The previous owners had lost their home, repossessed by the bank.  Their meows were filled with heartache and pain.  The metal cages contained not only cats but also their sad stories and emotional turmoil.
People were forced to give up their cats for a variety of reasons such as death, accidents and economic hardship but on this particular morning I had to put these tales of woe aside and focus on the task at hand, I was gonna get our family a cat.

Although tempted by their cuteness the young kittens were too fragile.  They would’ve ended up either covered in permanent marker pen or in the tumble dryer.  My two-year old Theo will colour in anything that moves.
But alas the kittens heartache would soon turn to joy as a family in matching kagools and sensible shoes appeared on the scene and snapped them up.

At the opposite end were the old cats, they looked like they’d seen better days (and a couple of world wars).  By now I’d sussed out this cat homing vibe, so when I saw the old couple approaching I gave them a hard stare to try and scare them off.  Go and look at another cat you old duffers is what I didn’t say.

‘Hello dear’ said Mrs Brady, old lady.
I politely smiled and moved on, I wasn’t here to make friends and looking around cats were getting snapped up left right and centre.  I had to get my hustle on and fast.

My search became more frantic, I’d looked at just about every cat in the room but not one measured up to my high expectations.  There was no way I could go home empty-handed, maybe I would have to call up the Essex cat breeding king pin after all.
Just as I was about to give up hope, Molly came into view, immediately I knew my quest was over.  I casually strolled over (not wanting her to think I was desperate) and said hello.  She put her paw out of the cage and gave me a paw bump.  This 6 month old tabby had found herself a new family.

tabby

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MOVING HOUSE

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In one of my earlier posts ‘I’ve got 99 problems but a city ain’t one’ I wrote about whether our family should leave London or not.  I concluded that the pros far outweighed the cons and I talked like we’d never leave.  How things quickly change.

Since my last post we put our East London place up for sale, sold it and have brought a house in Essex (subject to all the legal stuff going through nicely).  So am I a hypocrite? Perhaps, but alas when you have children your decisions change as much as they do.

The decision to leave was a difficult one, different ideas bounced around  like a wandering soul lost in a maze of confusion.
We initially viewed larger properties in our existing area but soon realised that to buy anywhere with enough room for the four of us would require either a win on the Euro lottery or me donning a balaclava and ‘reclaiming’ some of Sir Fred Goodwin’s pension pot from RBS.
There was also the extremely important matter of schools.  In Tower Hamlets like many other London boroughs getting your child into a good school is very hit or miss.  There are more children than schools.  You see new apartments being built all over the borough but no new schools to accompany the influx.  We weren’t prepared to chance Rose’s choice of school being an unsatisfactory one.

We did consider a few areas in South London that were a bit more affordable, but after weighing things up we decided on Brentwood in Essex.  The area of Brentwood that we’ve decided on has great schools which aren’t over subscribed (a major selling point), is surrounded by miles of beautiful woodland and parks, is nearer to the children’s grandparents and is an easy commute into London.  Vicki will be commuting each day and I’ll drive in for my DJ gigs (there goes the drinking) 2 or 3 times a week so it’s not going to be that much of a change.

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Going from an apartment to a house with garden is going to be amazing.  I’ll be able to hide away to read my Sunday newspaper and cook up a storm on my new Aga.  The children are really excited about the move especially the promise of bunk beds.  There’s also talk of a cat, but let’s take this suburban dream / nightmare 😉 ? one step at a time.  Vicki’s already talking about a summer garden party complete with soundsystem so i’m sure the neighbours will love us.

The downside is that it isn’t London, it’s been many years since I’ve lived in a town so will I go out of my mind with boredom? I suppose the last time I lived in a town there was no internet and I didn’t have children.  But let’s be honest, if we were millionaires and could guarantee good schools we wouldn’t be moving from London (it’s the best city in the world!).
The kids might end up with funny accents and it’s where TOWIE is based.  The day that they come home with fake tans is the day we move!

It was an extremely difficult decision to make but we do think it’s in the best interests of the children.  We are near enough to London to be able to take the kids to shows, theatre, exhibitions etc and have the beautiful Essex countryside on our doorstep (as well as the coast not too far away).  So hopefully it’ll be the best of both worlds.  If it all goes pear-shaped we can always move back with our tails between our legs!