Of cats, being stylish and guests
Published on: Sunday, February 09, 2020
By: Sylvia Howe
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Amber gets the green light

I have acquired a cat. A kitten, very tiny, very sweet and probably far too young to be taken from her mother but she’s a rescue and she is thriving. Hybrid vigour. She has a piercing and loud voice for such a little thing, but she uses it to declare her presence, to demand food, and to scream when I accidentally shut her in the fridge. I didn’t mean to, obviously, but she gets everywhere and I didn’t notice for a few seconds. After that, you would have had great difficulty turning a blind ear! 

Another unavoidable noise is the purring which she manages to keep up while yelling at the same time. 

Despite the teething problems there is little more charming than a kitten wrapped around your shoulders, purring like a steam engine. She has been to the vet for the first time, and I almost purred with pride as she put up placidly with her temperature being taken rectally, a vaccination being delivered in the skin of her neck, a spray of anti flea stuff and an anti worming pill. The next visit will be to be neutered, but I’m not telling her that.

She is ginger, and pretty, and we have called her Amber. She has taken to her litter box, after a few accidents involving a duvet and a pillow, but the least said about that the better. Thank heavens for washing machines. 

 Older style, to be relished

I have been noticing a lot on social and other media about stylish sexagenarians and above. I expect you have guessed, dear reader, that I am past my first youth, and slouching towards my second. But never say die. I am not going to give up dressing for fun and what I think is stylish. I don’t by any means consider myself past it (someone said ‘age is just a state of mind’ and if they didn’t they should have), and at an age when my mother (pretty stylish herself) had collapsed into Crimplene (if you don’t know don’t ask), and divested herself of denim (if she had any in the first place), I continue to peruse the fashion pages and adapt what I see to what I like. Layering, m’dears, lives on. Colours too – black and navy are useful but never forget what Diana Vreeland, the influential Editor of  US Vogue and Harpers, said about shocking pink: ‘the navy blue of India.’  And if anyone knows about fabric and colour and style it’s a fashionable Indian woman. My hair is grey, but I play with shades and highlights. I never go out without visible earrings, and I have trousers of every length and width. Dresses are easy in this climate, and listen, linen is the BEST. OK OK it creases, but it’s cool and falls beautifully, and I love love love it. If you haven’t discovered it yet, do so. You won’t look back. Jakel has some fabric tucked away, but the stocks have been declining and I haven’t noticed any additions. Shame. Metrojaya sells (often at sale prices) Anne Kelly dresses and tops which are worth looking at, although even at a discount, they aint cheap. But then they don’t look it.

Fashion must be fun. And fun means trying on all sorts to see what suits. Decide on your look, and stick to it. I don’t encourage very figurehugging kit. Leave that to the young. Be careful with cleavage – the wrinkles, dears, the wrinkles. If you are thin, anything skintight  can make you look scraggy and unappetising and if you have the extra layers that have nothing to do with fabric, then these need to be cleverly and successfully disguised, not highlighted. Another thing: don’t, whatever you do, go all matchy matchy. It looks contrived. Go for good accessories, avoiding pointless trims, frills and bows. A big plastic necklace beats a lacy lining any day of the year. It’s often too hot for a scarf, but if you are going somewhere frostily airconditioned, make the most of it and top up your outfit with a bit of added flair. Believe me. And here’s to a snazzy older age! 

 

The good guest guide

One set of guests gone, three days’ grace and along come the next. It is a joy having friends to stay, but sometimes it can be a strain. Everyone is trying to be nice, but there will undoubtedly be some hiccups. I have drawn up the following guest guidelines for a harmonious holiday. Leave them visible in the guest room, and add to them at your discretion.

Your host wants you to be there.  Accept this.

Don’t say ‘I don’t mind, whatever’s easy’ when offered a choice of activities. For goodness sake, say what you would like.

If you don’t like something,or something doesn’t work, say so.  Nicely, of course, but don’t just keep silent, until your host finds out later that you have had no hot waterand feels mortified.

Offer to split bills or pay for dinner or whatever, but if it is declined, don’t go on about it. Just do something nice later. 

If you have been asked to bring something that is not easy to find in Sabah, hand it over to your delighted host and forget about it. Do NOT work your way through the packets of cheese or the duty free gin or the decaffeinated coffee beans while you’re here.  You can go back and feast on all these, but we can’t.

If your host has put together a file of Things to Do and See, as I have, at least glance through it.  Mine took a while and I did it for your information, and also to avoid having to answer the same questions for every visitor. 

‘Yes, you can go on to Kinabatangan from Sandakan.’ 

‘No, there isn’t a beach in KK that’s safe and clean to swim from.’  

 

‘Yes, medical care is very good here and we can take you to a very good hospital if you need one.’

See what I mean..?

If the host offers something helpful (a lift to the airport, a morning sightseeing and shopping with you…), accept with a good grace (see No 2). If you say no thanks, don’t change your mind later – hosts have lives too.

Download Grab on to your phone and get a local Sim card. This gives you a bit of independence which everyone will appreciate. 

 





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