Getting back to it
Phew, this week has zoomed past – here we are at Sunday already! It’s been a back to work, back to school, back to university sort of week and it takes some effort to shift back into normal gear after a couple of weeks of lazy lie-ins and too much chocolate.
It’s been nice to get back to the usual routine of an early morning walk – I truly appreciate the time to get my head together for the day. The weather has been a mixture of frost …
and fog, which always seems out of place in January – I always think of November as the foggy month. No snow, sadly (which people on the US east coast might think is a good thing after their recent icy blast), but just a bit of the winter whiteness for a day or two would be good. I’ve grown used to wishing and being disappointed every year living in this part of the country, but so far my efforts to suggest relocation to a snowier part of the world have fallen on deaf ears 🙂
It’s been a week of admin, recycling, decluttering (yes, I’m on with that again!) and general catching up, so there’s not much to show you in the way of pictures unless you really want to see the boot of my car loaded up with cardboard boxes, but frankly I think you can spend your internet time looking at far more interesting things.
Cats, perhaps? Fancy seeing some cats? Small daughter’s best friend is desperate for a cat of her own and her Mum isn’t giving way to her determination not to get one, so the Christmas present compromise was a trip to the Cat Cafe in Manchester. Small daughter and I were invited to go along with them and big daughter, not wanting to miss out on any furry action, came too; it was one of the last outings of the holiday before the girls went back to school and uni, and a nice thing to do on a Friday morning.
The Cat Cafe is in Manchester’s Northern Quarter, based in the bottom of a tall building in an area of offices and apartments. It’s light and bright with huge glass windows all around, full of big squishy sofas and comfy chairs, books to borrow and cats to watch.
Ah yes, the cats! You pay by the hour to get in (best to pre-book as it’s cheaper than a walk-in price), your drinks are free and unlimited, and there are 10 cats who live in the cafe who may or may not choose to come and talk to you. The cats are celebrities in their own cafe, pedigree breeds with their own information booklet (yes, I thought that was a menu too!) so that you can spot which ones are around.
I have to say that as someone who lives with two cats who generally rule the roost, sit on my keyboard whilst I’m typing, poke me in the face with sharp claws if I’m not producing food fast enough and make my world a better place with their magic purrs and soft, furry bodies on my lap, it seems like a strange thing to pay to sit in a cafe where someone else’s cats live. There are a list of rules – you can’t approach the cats if they’re sleeping, you can’t pick them up, you have to take your shoes off (or wear protective covers) – which don’t apply in our house, but despite this, the cat cafe is a remarkable place. It’s very calm and stress-free, the cats come and go as they please between the public cafe and their private area, often along the aerial walkways that you can see in the top photo, and when they do choose to allow your attentions, it feels like a wonderful thing.
It would be extremely easy to spend a very long time here, just topping up with free drinks and enjoying the atmosphere. Small daughter and her friend were in their element spotting where all the cats had settled themselves. This one is Ygritte, she’s a Norwegian Forest cat.
|“The cat has landed”|
I did wonder why they chose pedigree cats (I think this one a Toyger) rather than rescue cats or moggies of the catch-all breed “Domestic Short Hair” such as ours but apparently it’s because many rescue cats wouldn’t be suited to an indoor public life such as this one, especially if they’ve been rehomed from somewhere that wasn’t the kindest of environments. I can see that – one of ours is pretty handy with his claws when he’s not happy with something and that’s not good for cafe business.
My husband wasn’t sure that any cats were suited to the cafe business – “Isn’t that really unhygienic?” he asked, pouring milk into a bowl for one of ours who was sitting on the kitchen work surface at the time. (It’s OK, we have permission from our vet to give her milk and we never use that particular small section of the work surface for anything to do with food!) Apparently not – no food is prepared at the cat cafe and there are catnip-scented hand sanitisers for you to use on a regular basis, and the visiting slots were all booked days in advance so there is obviously no shortage of people wanting to be there.
Would I go back? Actually, I would. There are film nights and yoga nights (although it’s bad enough being shown up by the dog who does a significantly better “downward dog” than I do – would I really want 10 cats laughing silently at me from their lofty walkway vantage points?) which big daughter really fancies so we may go along to one of those one day. The Cat Cafe isn’t far from the Countess Ablaze shop so it would be a good excuse to visit there and there are lots of fabulous places to eat in the Northern Quarter too which means a return trip is definitely on the cards. Until then, I’ll be happy with the free cuddles from our own cats – they may not be pedigrees but they’re perfect for us 🙂
|Georgina, Birman Cross|
|OK, I’m up out of my basket now, you may photograph me 🙂|