Litlove and the UFO

A couple of domestic incidents in fact, as quirk and whimsy seem essential qualities to balance out what’s going on in the world right now. You may remember a while back I wrote about my cats using next door’s delightful garden as the litter tray from Harrods? Well the campaign of intimidation continues. When the cats come sauntering into the kitchen with a particular look in their eyes we ask them where they’ve been, and they reply, ‘Oh just next door to do a poo,’ and wink at each other. Knowing full well that they annoy our elderly neighbours, they are doing what cats do and upping the ante.

About a week ago, Mr Litlove was just closing up the house for the night when he received an emergency text from our neighbour. Could he go round because Deedee was somewhere in their house and they couldn’t find her? Mr Litlove put his shoes back on and went round. Deedee had made the first stupid move by deciding to explore next door’s kitchen uninvited, and then our neighbour had compounded the stupidity by trying to chase her out. The result was a small black cat in a big dark house, coordinates uncertain. Mr Litlove hunted about to no avail, with our neighbour expressing disappointment that Deedee didn’t come when he called (as if!). And eventually they gave it up for the night, hoping she had left the building while they looked.

But by breakfast the next morning, Deedee had not returned home so Mr Litlove waited for the inevitable call about our miscreant child, which came about 9.30. Deedee had been found preening herself behind the dining room curtains and was now in the kitchen, and they couldn’t get her our. Mr Litlove went round again and was successful, for Deedee came rushing breathlessly into the kitchen, telling us excitedly that she had had a big adventure and been very, very brave, and maybe just a little bit stoopid. Then she wolfed a huge breakfast and rolled around in her favourite places until she calmed down. Mr Litlove returned having had to do a lot of apologising. and in need ot pretty much the same kind of therapy. ‘She kept making such strange noises,’ our neighbours had complained. Well, Deedee IS quite a chatty cat but she’s only really mastered the imperative (‘Stroke me!’ ‘Feed me!’ ‘Clear my path to the cat flap!’) so I suppose she probably was hard to understand. Mr Litlove looked grimly at Dexter and said that Deedee had gone one better than him, and what was he going to do about that? Dexter didn’t reply but in his eyes there was a faraway look. We live in mild dread.

As it turns out (and this will probably surprise no one) I live in a permanent state of mild-to-medium dread. Fed up with the perfect storm caused by perimenopause and CFS, I started working with the OHC, a clinic in London that specialises in ME/CFS, and I have finally had some tests. My big anomaly lies with my cortisol level, which is off the charts in places. What was really annoying was that I felt quite good on the day I did the tests and was of the opinion that they would come back fine. But high cortisol over a long stretch of time accounts for most of my symptoms. How to solve this problem? Well, that’s the million dollar question: it’s not easy. Diet, meditation, maximum rest and peace and quiet that sort of thing. I need to gain the sort of serenity I’ve never really possessed. Suggestions on postcards, please.

I’m working with a nutritionist who is okay but a bit scatty. Before our first interview I filled in a 16-page questionnaire and wrote a medical and personal history worthy of a Pulitzer. In our first skype call it was clear she had read neither. When I told Mr Litlove he said, ‘You should have asked her if she’d like to take a moment to read through the papers.’ I stared at him and told him that was brilliant and it had never occurred to me. He said modestly that he had learned one or two little things in his 25 years of conducting meetings. The nutritionist and I are at a bit of an impasse as we must move to the next level of tests but are undecided as to what they should be. I think my hormones are all to blame and want to have my estrogen metabolism checked; the nutritionist is longing for me to have parasites (I so do not). I am supposed to get arbitration from my GP who, as a matter of professional dignity, will undoubtedly disagree with both of us. It’s too hot for any of it.

But like the good girl I am, I go to bed nice and early and lie there listening to audio books, summoning inner calm. A couple of nights ago, as I was doing just this, the most extraordinary noise suddenly erupted directly above my head. It sounded like the extractor fan had gone berserk, or an old strimmer in the loft had leapt to ghostly new life. It was the kind of noise that propelled me off the bed, exclaiming, what the hell is that? I called for Mr Litlove who normally has short shrift for the strange noises I hear, but even he found this one disturbing. He went up in the loft, where all was quiet, and then moved towards the back of the house, feeling the ceilings as the noise carried on in staccato bursts. I had just asked him if he thought it came from outside, and he had said no, when there was a knock on the door.

Mr Litlove went down and opened it and all I could hear was some guy saying he was so very, very sorry. And then Mr Litlove went for his shoes again. He called up to me as he went past – there was a father and son on our doorstep apologising because their drone had got stuck on our roof. Who could have guessed that? Apparently they’d been fitting it with new batteries when it had come to life, completely out of control, and flown madly away down the street. It was lodged on our roof and Mr Litlove offered our stepladder. He said the first time was amusing, the second time he would be shorter with them and if there was a third time, it was staying there. The father hastily promised we would never see it again. The next morning, they came back with a bottle of wine as an apology, which was very sweet and as I said, entirely unnecessary. I told them I fully intended to dine out on the story for weeks to come. It’s so 21st century to have someone at your door saying, please may we have our drone back.

Yesterday we were in the garden, trying to brush Deedee (don’t ask) when we heard the strange noise again. I looked up and high in the sky above us, twinkling in the brilliance of the sunlight, was the oddest contraption I’d ever seen, a fine metal cat’s cradle flitting about. We stood up and waved at it while it hovered uncertainly over our garden. And then it flew away.



17 thoughts on “Litlove and the UFO

  1. Thank you for this wonderful story. I have had a very difficult week and this put a little twinkle on the start of a new day… and hope I’ll be having some better adventures than I’ve had recently. My recent ones wouldn’t make such marvelous stories.


    • It’s so lovely to have you visit! Thank you for your comment, which makes me very happy. Solidarity, love, imagination and resistance are my favourite things. Here’s to a MUCH better week and all the adventures you could wish for.

  2. I do love hearing tales from the lives of the Litloves! And your cats certainly do seem to be keeping you on your toes – your poor neighbours must be very understanding! I can appreciate your frustration with the nutritionist – you were much politer than I would have been, and Mr. Litlove’s tactic would have been perfect! In fact, I’m amazed the whole situation hasn’t completely disturbed your equalibrium. I’m not good at keeping calm either, and I should try – maybe I should have a go at taking to my bed in the evenings (and ignoring any passing rogue drones… ) 😀

    • I love your comments, Karen, they always make me laugh! Solidarity from one non-calm person to another – it IS hard, and the UK is not making it any easier right now. But we shall not speak of that today. Mr Litlove often passes by asking how my cortisol levels are and I usually roll my eyes and say you couldn’t make it up. Compared to that my dotty nutritionist is mostly comic. Though she still seems to want me to eat green veg for breakfast and….. no. Not happening!

  3. What an adventurous time you’ve had. Great fun for us to hear about but not exactly designed to give you the Zen like status. An yiu ask for a different nutritionist?

    • Quite! I could do with a less exciting time, really. I did think quite seriously about asking to change nutritionists but I am such a coward when it comes to doing things that might hurt someone else’s feelings. And in any case, she’s okay if not exactly earth-shattering. My tests are all interpreted by the doctors at the clinic and the results passed back to her, so the important stuff is well handled. I expect I’ll only have one more session too. And she did put me on a probiotic that I am finding very helpful. I just wish she’d give over with the stool test!

      • Have you read Michael Mosely’s book The Good Gut diet – he has some interesting comments about probiotics and advocates apple cider vinegar

      • No I haven’t read that. And I have apple cider vinegar in the cupboard – so this sounds like something I should definitely look into! Thank you.

  4. Note to drone fliers, ensure RC is OFF when doing anything other than flying! Also no flying of drones within 50 m or people or houses are the UK rules (and not within 5 km of an airport or over about 130 m without prior clearances).

    Have you come across cat combing gloves? My friend has just got one for her Russian blue and it works wonderfully AND her puss just loves it!

    I so want to see you before the end of 2019 too ,,,
    DP x

    • Apparently Mr Litlove tells me this morning that our community newsletter is up in arms about the drone, though if he’s flying it from the school playing field over the way, then that is the furthest from people and habitations you can probably get around here. When it landed on our roof it had gone out of control, which is a different issue! I’m sure it will all get worked out in the end. I hadn’t heard of a cat combing glove – how interesting! I shall look into that immediately. Duly noted for visit – we’ll have to see what we can do! x

  5. Fabulous story! I hope you get your cortisol under control and well done for continuing to have such a wry sense of humour about it all despite the difficulties…

    • Aw thank you, Denise. I find at the moment there’s an awful lot you have to laugh about because the alternative is so awful! I am doing my guided meditation every day and hoping for good things with my cortisol levels – I’ll feed back in the autumn.

  6. Love your cats! The nutritionist sounds a pain. You know I love my books about our guts – our second brain – so I would recommend prebiotic foods containing inulin which feed the good gut bacteria which helps make serotonin etc which could help. (Maybe ask the nutritionist about it).

    • I’m really glad to hear you say that about inulin! As it happens, I’m taking an inulin supplement at night because it really helps with sleep too. Though I must admit I read up about this online myself and decided to give it a go. To be fair to the nutritionist she did recommend an excellent probiotic which, hopefully along with the inulin and healthy diet, is making me feel definitely cleaner and clearer inside. She is a bit of a pain – I’ll only have one more session. As you rightly say, there is a LOT of information out there if you start to look into it yourself.

      • I’d heard about prebiotics and Inulin before, but it wasn’t until I went to see Dr Tim Spector who runs the UK Gut project speak and read his book that I believed it. Sifting the accurate true facts from the poorly informed or just wrong information out there is so difficult. Whenever a recipe needs onions, I put in double to up my natural inulin intake. It does sounds like it’s all helping though, which is good news for you.

  7. You bring a note of sanity (only just – those cats must have been driving you round the bend) and humour in a week rather fraught with political news, high temperatures and lots of work deadlines. Thank you so much! And good luck with sorting out your health issues – it’s tricky, isn’t it? I’ve been back several times to try and convince my GP that something is wrong with me for having almost permanent periods.

    • It is SO hard to find really good help, and this age is a nightmare for crazy stuff happening. In fact, you are not the first person I know to have almost permanent periods. The other friend ended up paying for a scan then having a mirena fitted, which the last I heard, was working okay for her. But she got so fed up with that particular problem and getting nowhere with healthcare professionals. And thank you for your lovely comment. Hanging on to sanity and a sense of humour isn’t easy either right now, but one must persist, etc, etc. I’m considering it an act of resistance. 😉

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