A massive thank you to Kanashay Photography for making this lovely video for us. A big thank you to Oscar for the music – we hope the trip to Borneo goes well 🙂
Please like and share our page so everyone gets to enjoy the video 🙂
Still availability over the summer – worth asking!
I’m feeling a tiny bit very outdone.
Sunday morning I raced to the shops very early and resembling an ancient banshee so I could sit in bed at 9am precisely to start shopping for Glastonbury tickets. 30 minutes later a tweet emerged apologising for the ticket site technical difficulties and that tickets were now actually on sale. Great. 30 minutes wasted. I spent the next 87 minutes frantically redialing and refreshing to be told all tickets are now sold. It’s surprising how stiff three pieces of toast can go in 87 minutes.
My neighbour, Sue, says it’s because we’re old. (She’s officially evil because I’m only 41- honestly!!) She says it’s because we’re not technically “with it” and that young people know the best browser to use, what device is best and which link is quickest – we’ve got no chance in our house then because I’m the most technically minded around here – I order the printer cartridges.
I want to go to Glastonbury next year with my husband. I’ve been before and I want to take him because it’s magical. Everyone should go to Glasto at least once in their lives. I feel a bit let down. A tiny bit disappointed.
So after I’d trudged up the garden to start cleaning the cats out (a bit late but they’d already been fed and loved) I started to think about all the things that I wanted to do. I want to finish writing my novel, I want to go touring round France next summer, I want to set up a new business the idea of which I had 2 years ago. I want to work for the BBC. I also want to be a great Mum; and I really want Glastonbury tickets. Now I don’t know about you but that’s only a fragment of my massive list of “I want to”s and I can feel the weight of it being pulled behind me every minute of every day. I’m ironing but really I want to be writing. I’m cleaning the bog but really I want to be cooking on an open fire. I’m hoovering hairs off the stairs but really I want to be up to my neck in mud somewhere in Somerset (not somewhere, exactly at Worthy Farm).
So where does it all stop? Where does all that guilt about not being the best at everything actually live? Is it on the pages of Facebook? (I noticed such and such has 50 million friends and I don’t even update my status – I must be boring) or the glossy leaves of RED magazine (I love RED but if I open that magazine and see the same bunch of people winning awards again I’ll scream! I make a mean lemon drizzle cake – trophy please).
This morning I worked in the cattery, mowed half the garden, walked the dog and ate beans for lunch (green types; I’m dieting) and it’s still only 11.58am.
I wash, I iron, I file away bills and I still feel bad that there’s an untidy heap on the worktop in the corner of the kitchen. I cart children to maths clubs, rugby, Cubs, Explorers, horse riding, Rainbows, swimming and the Trafford Centre and still I feel like I’m short changing my children. I’ve a BA and an MA under my belt and still have a sense that I’m not setting a good enough example. Why?
Because for lots of different reasons we don’t value our triumphs. Only our dreams. We belittle our achievements and worship the objects of our frustrations. Why? Because we focus intently on the whispers around us instead of the music in our hearts. I refuse to feel ashamed because my kitchen floor needs mopping and my kids don’t go on an annual ski holiday.
Some people would love to run a cattery and live in a picture box cottage in Cheshire (tick). Some people would die for the chance of one child let alone three perfect ones (tick). Not everybody meets their soulmate (tick) and finally, most people haven’t cooked stew on an open fire and slugged Jack Daniels from the bottle in the middle of a force 7 gale 3 metres from the North Sea (tick).
So excuse me; not wanting to be rude. I’m off to write the next chapter of my novel with a cup of cha and the promise of pizza for tea; and as I’m passing the unsightly heap in the kitchen I’ll cover it neatly with my best tea towel.
See you next time xx
The sun was definitely shining on us for the open day! Lots of people had followed the road signs successfully into the garden…
It was so hot that all our visitors were inside their cooler sleeping areas…..
As the ice pops had refused to freeze we had to make do with tea and cake…. it’s such a hard life!
But there was dancing….
and singing ….
and lots of lazing around!
You can see more of our photos of the open day in the gallery.
If my memory serves me right in 1987 Work Experience at secondary school was optional. Having a Saturday job (£1.57 an hour at Greggs – it’s amazing how quick you get sick of strawberry tarts) and a M.E.N. paper round I thought maybe I knew all I needed to know about hard graft.
And that’s as far as my thoughts wandered on that subject.
That is until a regular customer at the cattery confirmed their summer booking and caught me on the hop. Could their 15-year-old daughter spend her work experience week with me?
I’ll be honest.
I wanted to say “NO!”
Very quickly and very loudly.
I had a system. A routine, even. I started in the morning with a cup of tea calling “good morning” to all my residents in as many different voices as I could muster that early in the morning and I really didn’t need a witness. But the slippery word “maybe” shot from between my teeth at an alarming speed before I could catch it.
“Maybe!!” I whined later to Bob “Why didn’t I just say no?” Yes – a statement rather than a question.
Several emails later I agreed a start time late enough so as not to disturb my morning stroll down the garden to work. And sulked.
From the moment Lauren walked into the cattery on that first day my eyes opened just a little wider and saw something a little shinier than my ordinary working morning.
Lauren was firstly great company. She giggled at my jokes and said how pleased she was to be here. A far cry from bribing my own children with an hourly rate that might bring early bankruptcy. While she cleaned and brushed her enthusiasm and energy was infectious. I screwed loose, (snubbed) panels tight, realigned emergency exit signs, filed accounts and cleaned windows I purposely never observed. (It’s called selective vision – I’m an expert) I was bowled over by her focus. She is an accomplished photographer. Her confidence was so inspiring to witness. I’d only ever seen her on a quick drop off visit and mainly spoken to her parents. I realised how much I’d overlooked this blossoming young lady in those meetings and then came a realisation. The question was not just what I, as a small business owner, had to offer her. But what she had to offer me.
Consequently my shame rose to new challenge. That I would offer a pupil at Knutsford Academy a work placement every year.
So when Sarah phoned the cattery looking for such a placement I said “yes” immediately.
“I was really nervous phoning businesses out of the blue and asking for a work experience placement so having the first one say yes was a real surprise but a big boost to my confidence.” Says Sarah, 15, from Knutsford Academy as we plan her placement.
Sarah was looking for something working with animals in a positive environment. From my point of view, offering a job just cleaning out cats with the icing of the odd cuddle seemed a little under whelming – I felt I had been the winner with Lauren’s placement. So, to enrich the experience I decided to ask Sarah to organise an open day event!
“When Zoe asked me to organise the open day I was a bit nervous because I really wanted to do a good job and not mess it up! But at the same time I was really excited to do something I’ve never done before!”
I’m amazed at Sarah’s enthusiasm! So far she has planned musicians, stalls and even come up with an idea to raise money for her chosen charity.
Above all the whole experience of working with a young person has been inspiring. In the current climate where jobs are in short supply, and the negativity surrounding young people appears to be spiraling slowly towards nonchalance, I’ve had my eyes opened somewhat.
It’s such a shame small businesses aren’t given the information, or encouragement; they need to consider offering a creative contributor of the future a heads up. Maybe it’s because we ourselves need a little pat on the back, a bit of reassurance that the experience we’ve gathered over the – let’s face it, sometimes torturous – years is actually worth something. Like sharing.
So if you’re a web designer, florist, gardener or farmer please share your experience and passion with someone who may look cool and blasé – but is actually storing up all that material for something bigger in the future.
After all, life is a team effort and one day they’ll be telling their work experience placement exactly why they are there…..
In conjunction with Emma from Damsel in Design we have endeavoured to create a portfolio of our cottage industry.
The website is divided into two areas but each is designed to compliment the other. One is our working cattery – Mobberley Cottage Cattery – and all the information customers need in order to make an informed decision on finding a decent boarding cattery. The other is material offering to share our experience of buying, designing, building and the running of such a business.
For prospective customers we are hoping that the consultancy information regarding running a cattery will be of interest when you are making your decision on whether to use us. We very much hope that the website offers an insight into our daily routine and the ethos of Mobberley Cottage Cattery.
For those of you who are considering opening a kennels or cattery, even those who may be thinking of starting a business involving looking after other animals, we are sure the information and experience we can offer you will be of help and, more importantly, provide empathetic support.
Whether you are new or old customers please give us your feedback! After all, this has always been a team effort!
It’s difficult to understand how much enjoyment a cat gets from the cattery unless you have either worked in one or your cats are extremely regular customers. Cats don’t hate catteries. If they are calm when they arrive then they will enjoy their stay. Cats are nosy little monkeys. They sit on window sills and survey the grounds, watch stealthily from under sofas ( I have the scars to prove it) and sit behind doors watching your every move. In our cattery my residents love to watch me work! It’s a running joke with their owners and I’m sure they get great pleasure from it! But cats also like to watch each other.
Initially a first timer may hide in the sleeping area when they see the other cats. I like to think that this is because of my beautifully polished glass dividers! The glass is so clear some cats do not realise there is a safety net between them and their neighbour. In our cattery there are white perspex barriers at floor level. This is so a resident can have some privacy without their neighbour nose to nose. Above waist level matching the sunning / socialising shelf there is toughened, polished glass enabling observation of other cats in residence. Once a first timer realises the other cats cannot actually reach them they become very brave! Cats are social animals. But on their own terms. The safety of segregation gives cats an ideal situation in which to observe their own species.
The other point that is important when it comes to the cattery is this. Your cat will remember the cattery. Cats have long memories. That’s why rescued cats often have odd habits – they developed them as coping strategies in their previous environment. I have the privilege to build relationships with our residents. They remember me and the sights and sounds of the cattery. It is wonderful to experience the trust an animal gives to you over a period of time. It is also reassuring for the owners to see evidence of that relationship and watch their cat settle quickly. If your cat doesn’t settle in a cattery after many visits then think carefully about whether he or she is happy there. Trust your instinct. Should you try somewhere different? Just because your cat doesn’t settle doesn’t mean he is being mistreated – it might just be that there is not enough stimulation and he is becoming depressed. Look at other catteries. Do your research. A happy cat means a relaxed start to your holiday.