Merry Christmas, and a good start into the New Year – we’ll talk in January

jule our cat
Julchen a little more than four years ago

The last couple of weeks have not been nice here, to say the least. Little boy, hubby and I all have been sick on and off all the time. I am worst off, with just 2 days feeling well in the past two and a half weeks. Miraculously little girl is still holding up and has not skipped a single day in nursery since it started.

Because I – and the others – felt so off, everything that usually would have to get done in this time of the year got delayed: we bought a Christmas tree on Thursday (with me still being sick, but I managed not to throw up in the B&Q) for a last-minute-discount: not bad as such, and I was so late writing Christmas cards that only a few will actually make it for Christmas (mostly done now, but a few are still unwritten). I posted the birthday present for my youngest sister (birthday yesterday) two days ago. They told me it will not even be in time for Christmas.

Yesterday and today I spend mostly in the kitchen, making up for the time lost and cooking 6 different types of biscuits and sweets. These are for our neighbours:

Schweineöhrchen for the neighbours

Well, all this means of course that also Büchertiger’s Studio has been vacant for weeks. During that time a friendly inspector from British Gas helped figure out a problem with our heating, and needed access to parts of the system through my studio. Boxes needed to be moved and never went back to their place, some toppled. I looked for paper and fabric for wrapping some gifts, found them beneath a pile of other stuff which got scattered around during the process. If you could have a look now, you wouldn’t believe it is a studio. It looks like that small room at the end of the corridor into which all the little things that have nowhere to go get thrown for years.

I had hoped to clean that up before Christmas, but I am not sure I am going to make it.

To top off our weeks of sickness, last week our cat Jule died of old age. I remember well seeing her for the first time. My mother, my sisters and I selected her from a litter of cats who were born on a farm near to where we live. When we arrived, we could see a large dog and the mother of the kittens carrying them jointly, side by side to the dog’s basket where they continued to sleep. We selected the kitten, and it almost broke our heart to take her from that basket, and separate her from her brothers and sisters. She was already 3 months old and had learned from her mother to use the litter box. Cats shouldn’t be separated on purpose from their mums earlier than that, pet shops usually do because their baby faces sell better. – Really a shame, but this is a different matter.

Despite being able to use the litter box, Jule chose to rather use our beds for the next couple of months. – She was just so lonely. Just when we were about to give up, she finally accepted us as our new family.

A couple of days after she arrived at my parent’s house, I left for studying in Göttingen. But I saw a lot of her when I went back home (still frequently at the time), and I used to cat-sit the house for a couple of weeks in the summer, when the rest of my family went for vacation.

She was a kind and patient cat, especially with her family. My youngest sister used to put her into her doll’s pram and walk her around. But she also fierce and independent, partially fed herself through hunting outside, and would not come in for days if we had visitors.
When she got older, she got more easily annoyed, and more demanding of the humans around her. She was becoming a lovely grumpy old lady…

I was not very close to Jule, I never lived with her. But I loved her very much, and she never failed to recognize me, even when she got older and older.
When I brough M. home to introduce him to my family, he didn’t see her for the first couple of times he visited. But in the evenings she would find me when I was on my own and curl up beside me for the exchange of some caresses.

It will be very strange to find her gone when I go there again.

Well, this all kind of spilled out of under my fingers, while I was just going to say Merry Christmas, and Talk to you in the Next Year!
I hope you will find inspiration in this time, whether it be busy, noisy and full of people, or calm and serene and/or lonely. If you celebrate it, I wish you a very merry Christmas. If you don’t, I hope you’ll have something nice to do during these days anyway. And I wish you all a good start into the new year 2015!

3 replies on “Merry Christmas, and a good start into the New Year – we’ll talk in January”

  1. Your cat Jule was adorable and i think she had a long and happy life with your family.
    I hope you and your family get well soon, and have a happy christmas and new year.
    I think that the end of the year is so stressful for many , because there is a lot of things to finish before the year is over.
    I wish you the best for the next year , with a lot of success in your projects and peace at home with your beloved ones.


  2. Oh Hilke… I finally made it back to my computer after answering your kind comment earlier and just saw this. I’m so sorry. I know you loved Jule and you must be heartbroken. She reminds me of our black and white cat a bit (who, although as far as we know was not born on a farm, we refer to as our “barn cat”–it seems to suit his personality). How especially hard that you’ve known her since she was a baby. My sincerest condolences. It brings tears to my eyes just thinking of it. It’s so hard to lose a cat you love, no matter if you were living with her or not. There’s something about the shy ones, too. Larry was like that. People used to joke that he was really a figment of my imagination, since visitors never saw him. To have that kind of trust and love from a creature who doesn’t give it to just anyone… I liked your description of her as a grumpy old cat. She obviously had quite a personality. Such sad news.

    And that on top of everything else! Being sick and having to deal with your studio being turned upside down to get your heat fixed! UGH. Perhaps this hasn’t been, after all, the most joyful of holiday seasons.

    But your homemade treats look delightful. I’m sure your neighbors will love such a thoughtful gift.

    My heart goes out to you and the family, both in England and Germany. I do hope you manage to have a good Christmas.

  3. So sad to lose a longtime friend, even when that friend comes in feline form. Sounds like you have been having a horrible month. I hope the last part of December is much better, and that you and your family have a wonderful 2015!

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