The Color Run™ and Me

It’s been a busy last few weeks and I fear that I have been burning the candles at both ends. Is it perhaps the time of year? The disgusting UK humidity (we gothic-types do not do well in Summer and heat)? Work has been pretty full on and I haven’t had much time to rest on my weekends… Case and point being last Sunday (4 September), in which I took part in The Color Run™ Presented By Skittles. This is a 5K run in which participants turn up at the starting line in a plain-white T and get splattered with coloured paint powder every 1km. I was invited along by some of my work colleagues a mere three weeks before the event took place at the London O2 on the Greenwich Peninsula, and I did fear for a little while that I had taken total leave of my senses for the following reasons:

  1. I didn’t think I could run 5km without training.
  2. Despite knowing this, I still didn’t train because I am a masochist.
  3. I hate wearing colour. My aesthetic is somewhat gothic, it’s just not my thing, OK?
  4. More than wearing colour, possibly more than anything else… I hate mess!

Well, as it turns out, I actually can run 5km — albiet very slowly — and being spattered in colour and mess is actually a lot of fun! OK, so my hands did feel all grimy and gross as my sweat mixed with the powder and became poster paint, but I did shower immediately as soon as I got home and it was one of the best showers I’ve ever taken, so it was worth it.

the-color-run

The Color Run™, founded in the USA, host a number of 5K running events across 60 different countries. The next UK event is taking place in Brighton on Saturday 17 September with more to follow, so if you get the chance, head on over to their website and see if there’s a run coming up soon near you. Speaking as someone who by no means runs long-distance on a regular basis, anyone — and I mean anyone — can take part in this event. I saw kids about a third of my height taking part, and there was even someone just doing the whole thing in a motorised wheelchair. It’s not a race, it’s just a bit of fun for a good cause!

Money was raised from the event towards the official charity sponsor, the NSPCC. I also set up a Just Giving Page to raise a bit of extra money for them, so if you are feeling charitable, please do consider donating either by pressing the Just Giving button on the right-hand side of this screen, or by clicking here.

Take care,

S.E. Berrow


Visit The Color Run™ official websites to sign up to an event near you:

http://thecolorrun.com/ – USA (main website, with links to other countries)
http://thecolorrun.co.uk/ – UK

NSPCC’s website:

https://www.nspcc.org.uk/

My Just Giving page:

www.justgiving.com/seemerunincolour

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Kittens, Cake, Cats and Tea

Screen Shot 2016-06-09 at 22.50.38On Friday 27th May, I hosted a tea party for my friends and family in aid of Battersea Dogs and Cats Home. The idea was that I would provide drinks, snacks and entertainment, whilst my guests made a small donation upon arrival. Relying heavily upon The Vintage Tea Party Book by Angel Adoree for recipes, I was able to clobber together a collection of delicious foods such as: camembert, walnut and cranberry puff parcels; Earl Grey truffle cakes; a salad ‘cemetery’; Sunshine Punch; and two tea-based cocktails called Rosie Lee (rosehip, vodka) and Gunfire (English breakfast, rum). Some of my guests also brought along a selection of home-made cupcakes, to the point that I was so inundated with cake once the party was over that I was able to hold a bake-sale at work on the Tuesday.

My target was to raise at least £150, but I’m pleased to report that together we managed to absolutely smash this target by a whopping 173%, bringing in a total of £260 (plus £62.50 in Gift Aid) for the 8,000 dogs and cats that pass through Battersea’s gates every year! To give you some idea of how much money that is, £260 equates to:

  • 6 cat scratching posts
  • 2 microchips
  • Shelter for 1 abandoned animal
  • Beds, bowls, toys and treats for 5 dogs

Those who have followed me for a while will know that I also volunteer on a weekly basis at Cats Protection, and I did not waste the opportunity to raise some money here too. In addition to the money generated for Battersea, I also sold 17 Cats Protection raffle tickets at £1 each – and bought 5 of my own – totalling £22 (plus £5.50 in Gift Aid) for Cats Protection.

Final total: £350

Thank You - Angel Adoree

Speaking of Cats Protection, after 8 months of volunteering and a near-miss late last year, I finally caved and adopted a little rescue kitten of my very own. His name is Edgar, named after the 19th century horror writer, Edgar Allan Poe.

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Edgar and Edgar; an uncanny resemblance.

Born on Easter Sunday earlier this year, he is a domestic medium hair, mostly white with black patches, and a complete and utter fluff monster. His hobbies include following my other cat Petra around the house adoringly, carrying his little pink mouse from room to room, secretly disconnecting my internet, digging up jade plants and knocking over full glasses of Cava. In fact, even as I write this blog post, he is making life very difficult by attempting to chase the cursor on my screen and by walking all over my keyboard. He has already accidentally opened Spotify, muted the sound, and turned the brightness way down. Cheers, Edgar, you adorable little beast!

That’s all for now. As always, I am several blog posts behind, but I’m hoping to write some more gig reviews and writing updates soon… If you wish to be overloaded with kitten pictures and updates on how the little monster is doing, be sure to follow my Twitter or Instagram, both of which are updated on a fairly regular basis.

Take care,

S.E. Berrow

 


Reserved for the EdgarAre you thinking of buying a kitten, or do you have space in your life for a little furry friend? Please consider adopting from your local shelter! Remember that when you adopt rather than buy, you save not only the cat you adopt, but also the cat that takes its place ♥

If you are feeling generous and would also like to donate despite a lack of tea, cake and cat cuddles, please visit my Just Giving page:

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Berrows-Battertea-Party

You can find out more about the event here; Perhaps you will feel inspired to try it yourself next year:

https://www.battersea.org.uk/support-us/events/tea-party-2016-0

Lastly, Edgar’s mum (lucky enough to be adopted by a lovely man named Paul) is on Twitter! Follow her @PoppyTuxedo

“The smallest feline is a masterpiece.” ~ Leonardo Da Vinci

If I may please take a moment to talk about something close to my heart.

WARNING: What I’m about to talk about is very sad, and involves neglected animals and animal death.

Earlier this year I made the decision to do some volunteering for Cats Protection. I do donate on a regular basis and always spare a couple of pouches of cat food for the donations box at my local supermarket whenever I go beast-food shopping for my cat Petra. However, I was feeling a little bit disillusioned with life in general and wanted to do something to make it worthwhile, so I volunteered to be a socialiser for Cats Protection. This is basically where you turn up at your local cat shelter and cuddle, play with, and generally be around the cats and kittens. They spend a lot of their time alone in their pens whilst they’re in the shelter and some are not used to humans (for example strays, mistreated cats, feral kittens etc.) It’s good for them to be paid some attention and given some love whilst waiting to be taken away to their forever-home.

I had barely been volunteering for two weeks before the saddest kitten I have ever seen turned up in the shelter. HIs name was Lewis.

Little Lewis

Lewis was abandoned by his mother when he was weeny, and so he’d been hand-reared up until the point he arrived in my local shelter. He’d been placed in a pen with a bunch of other kittens and their mum in the hopes that he’d learn socialising skills and be taken in. Because he was hand-reared and so tiny, he didn’t know how to wash himself, and so he smelled very bad and was covered in his own faeces.

I’ll never forget the first time I spotted him huddled and terrified in a collapsed cat tunnel, keeping out of the way and staying quiet. I hadn’t even noticed he was there until the owner of the shelter pointed him out to me, and I’d been in the pen for about half an hour by that time. I scooped him out and he was so shivery and smelly. Once the lady left, I couldn’t stop myself from crying, I was so upset. I stroked him gently and hugged him against my chest. I tried to encourage the other kittens to get used to his scent (which was pungent, because he was so dirty) by stroking them both and putting little Lewis next to them whilst they were asleep. All he wanted to do was cuddle up and get warm, and he kept trying to suckle (much to the kittens’ annoyance); he just wanted the mum he never had.

Screen Shot 2015-10-27 at 22.59.01I was so shaken by the whole experience that the next day when I went out for a meal with my boyfriend, I burst into tears in public just talking to him about it. I even resolved – with some emotional support from my boyfriend – that I would take little Lewis in myself when he eventually went up for adoption. I wanted to rename him Fitz, after FitzChivalry Farseer from Robin Hobb’s Assassin’s Apprentice; the scruffy dirty stable boy that nobody wanted. I was hoping things would be OK. I was hoping that when I arrived the following week, Lewis would be clean and frolicking around with the other kittens.

When I turned up, I was told that the other kittens had bullied Lewis so much that he had had to be taken indoors, also because it was cold and he had no other bodies to snuggle up with. I wasn’t allowed to see him because socialisers aren’t allowed in the house, but was assured that he’d been given a bath and was clean. He kept defecating in his bedding and urinating on the sofas, but nevertheless I still held out hope.

That was about a month ago now.

When I arrived at the shelter today, I was told that Lewis was dead.

He died earlier this morning. The lady at the shelter told me that he was due to be put to sleep anyway; he wouldn’t stop soiling himself and the vet said he wasn’t getting any better. There was nothing they could do. He had something majorly wrong with his insides (they’re not sure what) but they think that was why his mother abandoned him; she knew that there was no hope. The lady at the shelter said she let him out of his pen everyday and gave him lots of cuddles and playtime. He died warm and safe, and if he was suffering, he isn’t anymore. Cats Protection did everything they could.

This evening when I got in, I had cereal for dinner, watched an episode of The Muppets and consumed half my weight in chocolate biscuits. Lewis has been my first Cats Protection heartbreak, but I know he’s not going to be the last. And the truth is, as upsetting as this whole episode has been for me, I know in my heart of hearts that there is no one better than myself to give these cats and kittens the love, understanding and affection that they need during their time at the shelter.

Lewis was a hopeless case, but there are just so many cats in shelters who by all logical reason shouldn’t be there. Perfectly healthy, beautifully clean and gorgeously affectionate, more and more come in everyday. The saddest thing? About 95% of the cats I’ve helped to socialise have all been either fully black, or black and white.

27 October is National Black Cat Day. On average it takes 13% longer for a black cat to find a home than any other coloured cat. There are a number of reasons for this, from superstitions about them being unlucky to them not taking as nice pictures (yes, really!).

National Black Cat Day

So please spare a thought today for all the cats in Cats Protection shelters, whether they be abandoned dirty sick little kittens like Lewis, gorgeous healthy black and white strays like Luna here, or the long-overlooked black cats as Hallowe’en approaches. Are you thinking of buying a kitten, or do you have space in your life for a little furry friend? Please consider adopting from your local shelter. It doesn’t even have to be Cats Protection, and remember that when you adopt rather than buy, you save not only the life of the cat you adopt, but also the life of the cat that takes its place.

Thanks for letting me ramble. Take care,

S.E. Berrow


Cats Protection