Honestly, today has been a great day. My work allow us to take two days off a year to spend
at home masturbating and watching Jeremy Kyle, though not at the same time volunteering at local charities, so today I took them up on it and went along to the cat and dog shelter to volunteer. Dressed in my most fabulous tracksuit, I was given the job of walking Lulu, a tiny angry-looking staffie (and I normally say no thanks I prefer bigger to them, oh wait, a STAFFIE) which I set about with great gusto.
It was a great walk, but fuck me Britain, learn to take your litter home. Cans of Rockstar and spent johnnies I can sort of understand (because nothing says ‘I right fancy a shag’ like having to reposition yourself mid-thrust amongst the dogturds and needles) but some of the other litter was perplexing. Dumping an armchair down a back lane is one thing, but carrying it across a farmer’s field and dumping it in the middle of a bridlepath? Bewildering. Even odder, there was around 20 ‘Happy birthday Brother-in-Law’ cards blowing around in the hedges, all of different designs. Who not only buys these cards but then packs them into their bag and absent-mindedly loses them in the middle of absolute nowhere? They were all sealed too. Perhaps I could have sold them in my own little niche card shop – but then I’d need twenty people who wanted to wish their brother in law good wishes, but not enough of a good wish to give them a card that wasn’t streaked with dog-piss and armchair tassles. Ah well. I walked far too far before reminding myself I needed to turn back, and even poor Lulu looked pissed off with me as we began the long, long, LONG, uphill walk back. Nevertheless, she was dropped off at the centre, puffing and panting.
The next job was washing out all the cat litter trays and cuddling the cats. This was fucking amazing. Well not the cat litter, that was literally shit, but cuddling the cats? Amazing. Each one was more grateful than the last – all purrs and clawing and rubbing. Their homes were warm, clean and full of toys, and that made me incredibly happy and rather grateful. I knew that had I gone there and the cats looked as though they were feral Fukushima cats, I’d have taken them all home. And well, I don’t have good experience with cats in cars.
The first time we took Bowser to the vets he immediately retaliated by clawing his way out of his cat-carrier (it had a dodgy door) and set about hurtling around the inside of the car like a motorbike in a wall of death. Let me tell you, it’s hard to drive along a motorway with a black and white angry blur running horizontally around the interior of the car, simultaneously hissing in your ear and trying to remove your eyelids with its claws. Anyway.
The next job was even better – I had to spend half an hour socialising with one of the kittens who had to live alone. Only temporarily – he was brought back because someone had adopted him and then returned him because he has stomach problems meaning he has diarrheah. Frustrating that someone returned a cat just because it has the skitters – they’re testing him but apparently it’ll fix itself. I wanted to take him home – we’ve got plenty of experience with cats going to the toilet in odd places too. For example, our old cat (Luma – who went to live with my neighbour) used to go to the toilet not because she needed to but because she spotted an opportunity to piss us off – she pissed on our sky box, she pissed on the top of our hob, she had a crap in the plughole in our bath which we only spotted when we turned the shower on and the water didn’t drain away due to the little cat-poo floating around our feet. She remains the only cat I know who could turn Whiskas Bite and Chew into a weapon of mass destruction. Cow. Anyway, Starshine the Shitty Kitty (as I tactfully named him) spent half an hour climbing all over me, chewing my face, clawing my top, purring in my ear. He was amazing.
After helping tidy up a bit, I was asked to take another dog for a walk – this time it was Rascal, another staffie but this time she’d been treated for ringworm, meaning she came out of the kennel looking like a threadbare doormat. Naturally, despite having the freedom to shit away to her heart’s content in his cage, she waited until I was five steps out of the door before curling one out that even made my eye’s water. I didn’t know whether to call back in and tell them she’d had a puppy. Anyway, I took this patchy little wonder for a walk down under the A1 and back (oh the glamour) before accidentally stumbling across the place where my ex and I had our first date. He wasn’t out at the time (unsurprisingly, as when he did come out his parents held a screwdriver to his throat and told him they’d get the gay out of him, poor bugger) so we had to go for a walk in the country. Bless him. I thought he was shivering with cold, but he was just scratching away at the eczema on his elbows. I’m so grateful she was a staffie mind, because she quite literally pulled me back up the hill, me clutching at my chest and panting dramatically. See had it just been me and Paul, we would have stopped twice climbing up that steep hill to ‘check the view’ – actually a ruse to cover our panting and heart arrhythmias. I’m still out of breath now.
Upon returning poor Rascal, it was four o clock and time to go, but they had saved a special treat for me. They know I love cats and they let me into a back room where there was a mother nursing her four tiny, newborn kittens. Well, born a week ago. It was wonderful – they were tiny, whimpering and clicky-purring, suckling away on the mother cat who looked so content. She only moved to get a face-rub from me, and then she immediately lay back down on top of her cats. Wouldn’t that just have been my luck to have four poor kitties killed on my watch? After ten minutes, I left them to it. Aw.
On a serious note – if you’re looking for something to do, please volunteer at your local cat and dog shelter. The one I go to is amazingly well run but they’re always looking for help, and the exercise can’t help but improve my weight loss. Do some research and give it a go.
Now, tonight’s recipe:
to make chicken and lentil one-pot dinner, you’ll need:
ingredients: a tiny bit of oil, or frylight if you must. But you shouldn’t, so don’t. It’s my recipe, damnit. 2 chicken breasts, 1 small onion, crushed garlic, 1tsp made up of dried thyme and oregano, 1 tin of green lentils (rinsed), 200g of orzo rice, 1 litre of chicken stock and the juice and rind of one lemon. Plus a nice heavy pot. Not to piss in, to cook with, obvs.
to make chicken and lentil one-pot dinner, you should:
recipe: sweat the onion for a good ten minutes, slowly, slowly. Add the garlic and herbs, stir, sweat a bit more. Cooking’s hard, huh. Add the chicken, whack the heat up, cook it through. Chuck in the rice, lentils, stock, lemon juice, rind, bit of salt and leave it to cook slowly on a lowish heat (6 on our induction hob) for 25 minutes or so until the rice has cooked through. Chuck in the frozen peas, leave to sit for a moment or two, then dish up. Add a bit of parmesan to the top if you’re feeling fabulous.
top tip: I say it every time – if you’re grating garlic and lemon, use one of these microplane graters. This one right here. Quicker and better results. You don’t need one (you never need anything fancy for my recipes), but you’ll want one.
extra-easy: well, it’s syn free. Is it full of superfree? No. But then nor is chocolate, so really I’m saving you from yourself. So have a fruit salad or just get on with things. I won’t tell anyone, OK? Jeez.