Still batting

It’s been a hectic few days.
Sunday I drove from Cornwall to Manchester and spent Monday morning discussing funeral arrangements and calling at my Mum’s home to feed the cat and take a first look at the “stuff” my Mum has left behind.
Quite an experience – she lived alone as a widow for the last 8 years and was clearly a hoarder.
First – just about every letter she has received in that time is still there, in it’s original envelope and with a note written on the outside as to what was happening. Piles and piles of envelopes, filling drawers, shelves, cupboards, work surfaces. In the lounge, the kitchen, the bedroom – everywhere one looked.
The temptation is to throw the whole lot straight into a refuse sack – but there is the nagging doubt that there may be important documents destroyed in the process – so it looks as if next Saturday and Sunday will be devoted to a paper-chase.
Secondly, Norma also hoarded clothes – every wardrobe and chest of drawers is brimming over with plastic carrier bags containing clothing for all seasons – most of it never worn.
And, finally, the house is a museum of goods offered by TV retail channels. One of the her final passions in life was to watch QVC and The Shopping Channel – and then order the junk that they sell, no doubt to armies of bored old ladies.
As I wandered from cluttered room to room, I found a varied collection of plastic electronic goods – a/c units, hair-dryers, food heaters, mini-fridges, portable TV’s and tape/CD/DVD players, hair-curling/straightening/colouring/de-colouring devices – and so on.
The house is a gigantic junk yard of late 20th Century tat.
And sat in the middle of this is my Mum’s 3-legged cat “Baby”.
Her penultimate cat pegged out last summer – so we popped to the local “Animals in Distress” centre and, faced with a choice, she chose a 3-legged black cat called “Tripod” by the owners of the centre. How could she resist – a fully grown cat that was unlikely to escape?
She decided that a more sensitive name was appropriate and so “Baby” was christened.
There’s something quite fascinating about a 3-legged cat – a kind of contradiction – agility with clumsiness – that makes for curiosity on the part of the observer. One is constantly expecting the poor beast to fall, face first, into it’s food – but it frustratingly never does.
A call back to the distress centre revealed that there was “no room at the inn” – and so “Baby” will have to wait a while before we find a kind-hearted organisation.
Anybody want a tripodic cat?
For some reason (probably my work schedule this week) I haven’t allowed myself to greive yet – I think that will come after the funeral – which is planned for 21st March.
Now it’s time to start the process of reaching out to lost relatives – on which subject I may have more to say later.
Work is filling my mind – a great workshop at the simply excellent Hilton Caledonian in Edinburgh yesterday – a long, dark drive to Gateshead last night and my second workshop of the week starts in a couple of hours.
Oh – and you must remind me to tell you about Charlie Trotter’s restaurant.


Published by

Chris Barrow

Chris Barrow has been active as a consultant, trainer and coach to the UK dental profession for over 20 years. As a writer, his blog enjoys a strong following and he is a regular contributor to the dental press. Naturally direct, assertive and determined, he has the ability to reach conclusions quickly, as well as the sharp reflexes and lightness of touch to innovate, change tack and push boundaries. In 2014 he appeared as a “castaway” in the first season of the popular reality TV show “The Island with Bear Grylls”. His main professional focus is as Coach Barrow, providing coaching and mentorship to independent dentistry.