It was a really down end to 2009. First, my father-in-law passed away, aged 81 and left my poor wife to the devices of her mother.
My wife is an only child and doesn't get on well with her mother who, it seems, has some sort of high functioning autism. The woman doesn't have any empathy or sympathy. I mean none at all.
Oh, she can play up her emotions. You better believe she can. She is quite capable of turning her charm on and playing the gracious hostess. But she is also manipulative and conniving and only seems to call my wife when she wants something. But at 84, she is a little old lady who is particularly set in her ways and nothing will change that.
But for all her faults, she is my wife's mother, so we have to do the best we can to tolerate and help.
To add to our woes, we lost a dear close family member - our ginger cat - my best friend for 14 plus years - early in January. For such a small beastie, she left a huge hole in our day to day lives, so much so we had to go out and fill it up again recently.
We now have two ginger and white kittens, Dusty (after Dusty Springfield) and Strummer (after Joe Strummer). We adopted this brother and sister from a cat rescue association here in Sydney and we are absolutely delighted with the joy and life they've brought back into our house.
The best thing about having these lovely animals is we can talk about our old girl without getting upset. But they demand attention, which is why my time here (and indeed my writing in general) has been sporadic at best. But they are settling us into their routine so hopefully things should be back to normal pretty soon.