20 February 2016

saying goodbye to sarah.

My favourite girl passed away a few weeks ago. As the healthiest cat I've ever known with zero trips to the vets since she was still barely months old and I was twelve, the discovery of stomach cancer was a shock to my family and absolutely devastating to my Mum. After the final diagnosis, her condition went rapidly down hill. I missed saying goodbye by two hours, after a frantic drive back home. I'll always regret not saying goodbye, having one last hug but it was better than her being in pain for any longer.

She was a contradiction of an animal. Hated attention but never wanted to be alone. Would never allow herself to be picked up but would maybe possibly tolerate it for a few minutes if you let her look out the window. Hated going outside but loved chasing birds. Grumpy and aloof but completely loveable.

Isn't it funny how something so small can leave such a big hole in your life and the family home? My Mum even missed having to tip toe down the hall in case she kicked the cat. So Sarah, you'll always be missed but you'll always hold a massive part of our memories and love.

16 February 2016

one good thing a day.

A post written on my old blog, brought back for memories.

This was an idea I saw floating around this time last year. Every day, you write down one good thing that's happened to you that day and keep it all in a jar (I kept mine in my Jew cookies jar!), so that you can look back on it all. I didn't manage the whole year, I managed up until the 6th July, which coincidently was the day I left the Netherlands. I fell into a bit of a funk about leaving Leiden, which is probably why I stopped doing it. I wish I hadn't. Looking back over these little slips of paper has actually been wonderful. I haven't smiled so much in a long time. 

Some were a bit sad - things like leaving the house, or having a nice dinner, or not burning my toast that morning. But I suppose it helps you to look at all the little things. I left the 21st June completely blank, I honestly couldn't think of a single thing that was good that day. But its there as a reminder that I'll never let things get that bad again, and that on the 22nd June, I was able to think of something, so that it all gets better. 

I picked out a couple (lot) of highlights. Props if you read them all. I don't expect you to. I don't think I would.

15/01: Getting hot chocolate on the beach with Patrick and Karel, and them helping me to move house.
19/01: Playing darts and snooker at the Hogewoerd with Karel, Patrick and Yoran.
21/01: Winning the pub quiz, and getting a pint of Bok as a prize.
24/01: Walking on frozen canals with Karel.
27/01: Karel came over and brought breakfast (apple juice and croissants). 
28/01: Went for tea at Patrick's. Watched the Dutch Queen's abdication with everyone. Couldn't understand a word.
30/01: Went to Dylan's at 1.30am, drank wine in his kitchen. Told me he used to get paid $20 to spit on a man in NYC. 
13/02: Ed gave me five creme eggs.
21/02: Having the sense to leave Karel's "destory the house" party before the police came.
28/02: Being asked out for a drink by a bloke. 
01/03: Tom arrived for his visit!
04/03: Birthday! Had cake with Tom, dinner at Yorans with everyone, battered Mars bars. Andy gave us Cognac. 
05/03: Went out for said drink with Thomas. 
10/03: Grandad's 89th Birthday - always thankful.
14/03: Hanging out with Thomas, drinking lots of beer and watching football. 
15/04: Realising I was just being a bit of a twat.
16/04: Going back to the UK and having a full English. Mum looked happy to see me.
22/04: Cycling to the beach with quite literally hundreds of people.
25/04: Beers with Thomas on a jetty. He told me all about the stars and their stories. 
27/04: Visit to Amsterdam and new M&S there. Thomas' party was fine - I'd been really worried about this.
29/04: Queens Night with Patrick and some of his friends from America. They asked me about living in London - cliché.
30/04: Queens Day in Leiden. Watching the Coronation of King Willem Alexander, drinking and wearing orange.
06/05: Being bought breakfast, and having it in bed.
07/05: Really good sex.
11/05: Long conversation with William (my brother) on Skype. Rare.
14/05: HEMA breakfast. Pot brownies. Aston Villa saved from relegation. 
19/05: Went to the Keukenhof and saw all the flowers.
20/05: Drinks with Patrick, Karel and Yoran. P&Y danced on the table with frat girls at De Kroeg. 
01/06: Waking up at Thomas'. Chatting for two hours on a mattress on the floor. 
06/06: Tom staying on Skype to help me with my thesis.
10/06: Handing in my thesis. 
16/06: BBQ at the Swamp. It was freezing.
18/06: Day at the beach. Bonfire with Patrick and Yoran, drinking beer.
25/06: Thesis result received. Relieved and happy. 
02/07: Dinner with Yoran. He gave me a going away present (pictures he'd had printed of my time in Leiden). 
05/07: Got last ice cream with Yoran. Last night in Leiden. Felt loved and special all day. Spent night with Thomas. Got drunk and soppy. Cried about leaving Leiden whilst watching Storage Hunters and Dutch adverts for psychics at 4am on Thomas' sofa. 

And this special entry, which Karel drew for me. We got bored one night, ended up going for a walk and he drew a penis on the snow on top of an iced over canal. We stood there admiring it, when an American couple walked over and spent a good ten minutes discussing it. We couldn't stop laughing. Then we went back to mine and had crap noodles. 

I'm sat here now with tears in my eyes because this has reminded me of so many good times. It was an exercise that was worth doing, I only wish I'd completed it. If you'd seen it and thought about doing it, definitely go for it! 

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