Herding just one cat, the Senior Cat, up and out of the house by eight in the morning is - a challenge.
The Senior Cat is not an early, early riser. Why should he be? He's 91 now. A little lie-in should be perfectly acceptable - and I won't mention the little "contemplation of the eye-lids" after lunch. Despite not being an early, early riser the Senior Cat is normally up at about half past seven in the morning. He always has things he wants to do but he likes to take his time and read the paper over breakfast.
Today I am keeping an eye on proceedings. He needs to be gone in twenty minutes at the latest. I think he will make it - just.
It reminds me of the days when all six of us - two parents and four children - needed to get to school. There was, of course, only one bathroom. The Senior Cat would need to shave. We all understood that and, to be fair, he didn't take longer than necessary.
My brother and I were in and out fairly smartly. We liked to be clean but we didn't fuss over our appearance. We still don't. I have never understood the desire to spend hours looking at oneself in the mirror. I sometimes look in the mirror with a slight sense of unfamiliarity - who is that person?
I have two younger sisters. One of them has been accompanied throughout life by the refrain, "Come on H....hurry up H....". She got distracted. She still gets distracted. She played with things. She still plays with things. It drives her family to distraction.
The other was one of those "look in the mirror" people. She still likes to fuss about her appearance, dye her hair and apply make up. That's fine now. She lives on her own. She can organise her life any way she likes.
My mother had perfected the art of doing things at speed - probably like most mothers.
I wonder how she would react now. I sometimes wonder what she would be like. I think the slow pace of the Senior Cat would infuriate her more than any slower pace enforced by her own advancing age.
I am, most of the time, happy to leave the Senior Cat to prowl slowly through his day. He shouldn't have to hurry. He's reached an age where he should, if he wishes, be able to take his time. It's the right of senior citizens. Most of them have spent a lifetime moving at a steady speed.
The Senior Cat's appointment is for 8:45am - and yes, he made it out of here at 8:02am. That's good. I don't much care for him going to the medical centre in early morning traffic but there is nothing that can be done about that.
When he gets home I'll make him a cup of tea and he will go back to his slow, measured prowl through life. He still has things he wants to do and that's all that matters.