Saturday, 26 October 2013

Prickly!




Many years ago my mum bought a sickly looking little cactus because she felt sorry for it. She put it on her sunny kitchen window sill and the cactus grew and grew and eventually produced beautiful cerise flowers in a ring around the top.



The flowers lasted for about five minutes then it went back to being just plain ole prickly again. But my mum loved it. She called it Big Ben.

When she died ten years ago, I brought the cactus home. It grew two more prickly lumps and it carried on flowering for about five minutes every year.

The picture below was taken a few years ago before the third appendage made an appearance. It was much smaller then.



It got in the way, prickled people (and curious kittens) and gathered dust. Beloved tried vacuuming it and several hundred spikes disappeared up the Dyson tube. It had to be propped up against the window to stop it hurling itself in the sink.

All I said was, “I think I’ll see if someone would like The Cactus.” I made a few enquiries.

I might have said, “I really wish I could throw it away, but my conscience would prickle (ouch) me.”

I went downstairs a little while ago and noticed the kitchen seemed brighter. And then I saw it – or rather I didn’t see it.

“But I thought you wanted me to get rid of it,” he said. “I thought you meant you wanted it to go, but you didn’t want to be the one to do it.”

Well I sort of did, but I still feel bad. I would far rather have seen it go to a new home.



With Indy’s many health issues, I always imagined that our next emergency dash to the vet would be with him, but Fizz had other ideas.

Last weekend she started throwing up – and wailing something awful. Then I saw blobs of blood in her litter tray and more when she tried to use it. Frightening. We rushed her off to the vet where she was examined and given an antibiotic injection (would you like an injection or would you rather give her pills? I tried giving her a worming pill not so long ago and barely lived to tell the tale. Ridiculous when I used to have to give our last poor old cat a combination of about a dozen pills a day with no problems). I opted for the injection.

Then she had a steroid injection. The first needle took her by surprise and she merely had time to spit. She was more prepared the second time and clawed (me) with all four feet and bit my finger. But despite her being scared and feeling ill, I only had two small scratches.

The next day she was fine. We assume as there appeared to be no infection present that she’d eaten something that disagreed with her. The bland recovery diet certainly agreed with her – now she turns her nose up at bog-standard cat food unless I mix chicken in with it. Sigh.

She’s going out in the garden now, but doesn’t linger unless Indy is out there with her.




They say a bad storm is headed our way - Fizz knows where she's going to hide.

Take care and stay safe!


54 comments:

  1. I have a love hate relationship with my cacti. Actually, they are my daughters (who just loves them) but she left them with me when she moved to her first job in Manchester. I would get rid of them - but would feel bad as they aren't mine. Glad Fizz made a swift recovery... chicken and a cosy bed of her own - what next, Teresa?!

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    1. I have another prickly cactus which my daughter grew from seed - I'll never be able to get rid of that one, Wendy :-) Isn't it funny the things we end up with? :-) x

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  2. I hold onto supposedly decorative plants long after they look good, especially if they were gifts, so I can imagine how you felt about your mum's cacti.

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    1. You can't help but get attached to them and as you say, especially if they are gifts :-) x

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  3. Where did the cactus go? Poor thing. Understand completely. I have a plant my aunt gave me. It only ever has two or three leaves and flowers once a year. I wish the LSO would take it away one day and not tell me.

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    1. I don't like to ask, Lynne! Get the LSO to read this - he might see your comment and take action ;-) x

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  4. Awww Teresa!! I would have had this beautiful and unruly cacti - I love love love these plants!! :-)

    Awwww Fizz!!!! What a frightening episode all round! So glad she's doing ok now but oh what a fright!!! Yes, I always opt for the pill alternative - I'm yet to successfully pill my cats!

    Hope you have a not so windy weekend - all this talk about the upcoming storm is pretty scary!! Batten down the hatches!! Take care
    x

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    1. Oh bless you, I would have happily given it to you if there had been any way!

      I think sometimes all the dire warnings they give us these days are worse than the actual weather - I hope it proves to be the case this time :-) x

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  5. Your animals do seem to lead dangerous lives, Teresa!

    Re the cactus, I honestly can't see the point(s) of them. Your husband did the world a favour!

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    1. Yes they do, Frances! Is it me??

      Must admit I'm not fond of plants that can cause injuries :-) x

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    1. Thanks, Colette! It was a great relief when she picked up so quickly :-) x

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  7. Oh, I can identify with your story of the Cactus, Teresa, although mine wasn't from my mum. Finally got rid of it! So pleased Fizz is okay.

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    1. Glad it's not just me, Rosemary! I've got rid of a few plants over the years and I can't say I've ever regretted it :-) x

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  8. So glad Fizz is OK now Teresa. How scary that must have been.

    Yes here on the East Coast hoping, as you say, ithe storm is not as bad as the dire warnings. Not sure what we are actually expected to DO except try and stay out of it as much as possible. Nothing can stop it can it?

    Fizz has got the right idea hasn't she!!! :0) xx

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  9. My thoughts exactly, Sue! I mean I won't be walking in the woods, but apart from using our common sense there's nothing we can do. I might just get under the duvet with Fizz though!! :-) x

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  10. I'm so glad Fizz is recovering and love the way she keeps wanting to have her chicken.
    I've got a dusty, tired cactus that refuses to flower anymore and I can't quite bring myself to lose it. Hubby asks why we still have it and I'm not really sure I can explain. xxx

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    1. It's difficult isn't it, Joanna :-) x

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  11. Teresa, I have an orchid in a poor way, but can't bring myself to throw it out as it was a gift, so I can identify with your story.

    Keep warm and well, the storm has arrived, Fizz certainly had the right idea. Animals know these things.

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    1. It's hard isn't it, Maria, especially when it's a gift.

      The storm got really bad here about 7 am. We've had some damage and there are a lot of trees down in the area and people without power and water. Hope you are okay x

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  12. Poor Fizz. Glad she's ok - hope your scratches have healed, Teresa?
    And if the storm gets worse, yes, snuggle under the duvet with Fizz and Indy.
    xxPat

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    1. Indy was quite unworried by it all - even when the gate got blown off its hinges, Pat :-) x

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  13. Glad you survived the storm, as did we! Glad too that Fizz is recovered. As for the Cacti, I dread people giving me house plants as gifts. I have never yet managed to keep one in good health. The Aloe Vera plant my son's girlfriend gave me, has been very useful but spends its life on the brink. Reminds me, maybe I should water it...

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    1. Yes watering is good :-) Unless they're one of those that keel over if you give them two drops over enough!! Now you've got me wondering what happened to my aloe vera plant! I love house plants - unless they're prickly! :-) x

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  14. Sorry Fizz felt sick, but I'm glad he's better.

    I'm usually around plants, since I have a way of accidentally killing them. Funnily enough, though, my orchids are an exception.

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    1. Orchids terrify me! They look so delicate and difficult, but they are so beautiful! :-) x

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  15. Ooh, pretty flowers, but they are a bit weird aren't they, and dust collectors too.
    I hope you're all OK after the wild weather, and little Fizz after her sickness, aw.
    I have the fussiest cat, she turns her nose up at most cat food flavours, but if I open the fridge door...there she is. Human food is her thing :)
    x

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    1. They are funny aren't they? I used to have a cat that went mad for spaghetti! And Fizz loves crisps - but only ready salted!! :-) x

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  16. I know just what you mean about having a 'guilt' plant, I had one for a long time that my gran gave me as a house-warming present - an ugly thing that needed dusting or its shiny leaves looked dull. It eventually died, but I kind of missed, especially after my gran passed away.

    So glad Fizz is okay now - these pets of ours do put us through the mill!

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    1. I know what you mean about missing them. I keep looking at the empty space on the window sill and oh the guilt!! :-) x

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  17. Oh I would have loved your mom, so beautiful, really it touched me so much. I hope you'll keep the cactus for many years to come. And I am sure Fizz will be fine, with so much love around her how could she not.

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  18. I'm pleased Fizz is better now. It's such a worry when a pet is ill as they obviously can't tell you what's wrong and that makes it worse. I'm sure your Mum would have understood about the cactus. Lovely photos of it's flowers, Fizz and Indy. Thanks, Teresa x

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    1. Thanks, Sharon - yes, I'm sure she would have understood too - I hope so! :-) x

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  19. Wishing you a happy weekend and a fun bonfire week! Hope the fireworks don't scare little Fizz too much!! Take care
    x

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    1. Thank you, Kitty. It seems round here that every night is bonfire night! Fizz said "meh!" - she's not even scared of the dustmen! But I feel for all the poor animals that are scared. There's no getting away from it x

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  20. Oh she will be safe under there anyway! I am sorry to hear that the cactus went, although sometimes it's for the best when something of sentimental value is taken away by someone else!

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    1. Yes, Jenny - always easier to let someone else do it. I did tell him to take my beloved toy monkey to the tip years ago and he hid it in the attic - I hope he hasn't put the cactus up there :-) x

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  21. A lovely post Teresa and I sympathise re the cactus. After several years of putting up with a window sill of dried dead looking cacti, I finally plucked up the courage and threw them away. Now I have another palm like plant with a trailing ivy and that is dying too. But as it was a present I can't throw it away, and the container is lovely. What to do?

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    1. Good for you, Maggie :-) Oh dear though - the ivy and palm. Could you separate them? They might thrive? :-) x

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  22. Funny thing about cacti - they always seem to come to us from somebody else, don't they? I have beautiful one in flower now inherited from my Mum: not prickly but only flowering for about 2 weeks and just and green and dusty the rest of the time. Couldn't throw it out though! x

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    1. I couldn't either, Lydia - but I turned a blind eye when the deed was done :-) x

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    2. Oh poor Fizz, glad she's better now, and hope you can wean her off the chicken!

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    3. She still goes mad for chicken :-) Indy has a piece after his injections and if I'm not careful, she pinches it before I have a chance to give it to him, so I often have to have a spare bit for her :-) x

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  23. I don't think I've ever owned a cactus, I always worry that someone will stab their fingers with them - namely me!

    I hope poor Fizz is much better soon. x

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    1. I know of someone who had a horrible injury from a cactus which involved a hospital visit. I shan't say what it was as it makes me squirm just thinking about it! Fizz is 100% again now :-) x

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  24. I think you are going to spend a fortune! But our pets are family and we will do anything to make them better. Just a shame they don't realise when the convalescence is over!

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  25. Funny things cacti. I've had about a dozen for years and years. Each summer one or other of them flowers just to stop me throwing the lot away. This year I managed to fall into a bowl of them. It took forever to get the thorns out of my hand. and yet still I have them on the windowsill...

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    1. Ouch that must have hurt! They're not the friendliest of things. But that's exactly how that one survived so long, for those rare bursts of flowers :-) x

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  26. It was more the connection with your Mum Teresa I expect. Bet the windowsill looks clearer. I've been de-cluttering a lot. I have to be quick because every little ornament means something. Our daughter won two little people from the amusements when we were on holiday a few years ago. She called them mum and dad, but they're getting in the way..... bit like us I suppose:)) so in the bag they went, and lots of books. I have so many. The place feels fresher now, and you can't keep everything can you. Oh,,,, kitty looks so sweet there. Send her to People's Friend Teresa, you know they'll publish it...xxx

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    1. Yes, it was that connection. My mum was so fond of that thing!! It is hard to declutter isn't it when so many things mean such a lot. I pack things away in boxes and pretend that one day I'll have enough space to get them out again ;-) x

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  27. We need a rehoming centre for plants, where they can be nurtured and loved after we have outgrown them (or they've outgrown us.)

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    1. That would be a brilliant idea, Joanne! :-) x

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