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This is our new cat Ralph. He is a Pixiebob which is a cross between a barn cat and a bobcat. They are supposed to be the most dog-like cats and will follow you around and go for walks. You can see his extra toes in the pic; they all have extra. I hope that will avoid getting a cat who then won’t have anything to do with you like some.

We went to view him at the weekend and he was nervous but friendly so that’s a good start and he seemed to like Martin. He’s a 3 year old who’s been used for breeding but will now be neutered and lead a pets life with us. He is large though, I think he's 11 kilos which may be right, the weight of a small baby.

We”ll pick him up an about 6 weeks which is something to look forward to in the bleakness of Jan/Feb and gives us time to get things ready for him ie all the paraphernalia of cat keeping,

Yesterday we took our decorations down so no more tinsel and glitter and promise of magical times (which Xmas never is really) there is so much lead up time and then it’s done. The cliche of the journey being better than the arrival maybe. But no, I’m being cynical; we had so much delicious food and lots of presents to enjoy we had a good day.

And friends on Boxing Day when we made a really good baked ham with orange and Demerara crust. Martin cured some salmon and made blinis himself as the ones we got from Waitrose were dreadful small dry discs. So lots of good food and wine. My favourite thing was the Alain Ducasse advent calender that M gave me; 1 superb chocolate every day!

I have been eating lots of watercress, radicchio and fennel salads (sometimes with orange and goats cheese). The dullness and cold make me crave something sharp and fresh. And we are trying to reduce our carbs both for different reasons. I think I risk becoming like a barrage balloon as my weight is increasing despite my not eating too much; another side effect of the medication. Satsumas are good too:

I am still very low on white blood cells and kidney function so I’m having my meds adjusted accordingly. I am also having to wear compression socks to try to get my body to redistribute/ absorb the extra fluid that’s been gathering around my ankles. I never thought i'd ever be wearing American Tan.

Christmas has disrupted my painting although I got some lovely new pots:

I am really pleased that Richard from the antique shop, where I also get some pots, has hung some of my paintings in his shop. They look rather good as the paintings of his old pots have a nice synergy with all his china, and when they’re framed it makes a difference. I came home to find this solitary little iris growing so I picked it:

It still feels odd post-transplant, getting used to being able to do things and difficult to explain how that oddness feels. We went to the beach a few days ago but I didn’t feel any particular joy at that although at the moment all walking feels like a physical challenge as my legs aren’t up to much.

A new start may be something to celebrate, IS something to celebrate but is also daunting. A life interrupted if you like and then restarted doesn’t follow any pattern that you might expect, in fact throws you off the trail I suppose.

I guess I’ll trundle along and gradually get some clarity. I will see the psychiatrist at Papworth next time so hopefully will have a sounding board and make some sense of it all. I am going back in 3 weeks time, fingers crossed with more white blood cells...

Meanwhile here are some nice David Pearce paintings. I like the naivety of them and the fact that he is self taught:

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