Some things I have recently discovered to be true

I have found a number of things to be true in the past few weeks that I didn’t know before. Here are three of them.

• I can’t take a good photo of Minnie Mouser, the lovely cat I share in Key West. The only result that’s anywhere near OK has her looking cross, which is completely untypical and relates to her not liking the flash on my camera. But trying to take her photo reminds me of trying to photograph warthogs in Namibia, some years ago. There they are, rootling away at the side of the road in typical piggy fashion, and apparently unconcerned by passing traffic – but the second you slow your car down even slightly to try to photograph them they’re up and off, running at a remarkable speed. I got a lot of blurred photos of warthog bottoms in the middle distance, but none of warthogs rootling. And Minnie photos are rather similar, because she spends most of her time at ground level, and as soon as I kneel down to photograph her she’s up too close and in my lap wanting to be stroked, or winding herself around my legs: she has no concept of staying still and posing. I’d say I need a faster shutter speed, and a better zoom lens – or else I need to find her asleep, preferably on a raised site, and sneak up on her. But anyway, here’s a photo of the peerless Minnie Mouser, even if it doesn’t apparently catch her best mood. I realised on this trip that she must be at least 12 years old although she still looks and behaves like a young cat. And oh! Those whiskers! Those eyes!


• I have never felt confident about driving a rental car alone from Key West to Miami airport. Driving down would be easier but I’m too tired after the long flight to risk the journey; driving up is a better option but fraught with sudden and unexpected choices and lane-changes. But this time I drove up with Bruce in the passenger seat making notes about the hard bits and I now have perfect crib notes for a solo trip. So – hurrah! Yes I can!

• Who knew this: there’s actually an organisation that produces poems for doctors’ waiting rooms? It’s called, unsurprisingly, Poems in the Waiting Room, and indeed there they were in my doctor’s waiting room, just above the tattered pile of last year’s HELLO! magazines – leaflets of poems that you could read on the spot or take away with you. They’re a registered charity, and their website is Here’s one of the poems from their latest leaflet: NOT EVEN, by Ben Ziman-Bright.

the wet rustle of rain
can dampen today. Your letter
buoys me above oil-rainbow puddles
like a paper boat, so that even
soaked to the skin,
I am grinning.

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