Shad does Worthing Pier

You can’t beat a leisurely Sunday morning breakfast followed by a stroll along the seafront to brush off the cobwebs and clear your head.  Whether you’re a muesli fan, an egg and bacon fiend, a baked bean or sardines on toast aficionado, or a continental fruitcake, a full tummy is essential in my book before heading out into the early morning sunshine for a good sniff of salty sea air.  John and I took the car to Worthing this particular morning for a wander along the promenade and managed to find some free parking which always puts John in a jolly mood.  When we got out of the car we realised why the parking spot was free, because the pier looked quite small in the distance to me.  But John said it was a stone’s throw and we decided that the walk would do us both good.


The wide promenade and long shingle beach met the wet sand being exposed by the water as the tide made its way out and I had a feeling of being free with a sense of appreciation as I thought about the many animals across the world that don’t have the luxury of freedom.  Looking out to the horizon across the expanse of silvery water, I wondered what the ships in the distance were doing, may be fishing or carrying cargo or people from one place to another.  You wouldn’t catch me on a boat because I have a delicate stomach and certainly wouldn’t welcome the endless bobbing up and down.  Talking of bobbing up and down, there were quite a few joggers out in their Lycra shorts and fancy trainers and they all smiled at me as they pounded past, panting and glistening in the warm glow of the sun.


As we headed towards the pier, we stopped to read about its history and discovered that it was opened in 1862 and, having been through a fire, a war and extensive renovation, it is a Grade II listed building.  The first moving picture show in Worthing was seen on the pier in around 1896 and there used to be a steam ship in operation between Worthing Pier and Brighton, a few miles to the East.  The front of the pier is currently home to the Pavilion Theatre and we saw posters advertising films and shows including old Greg Wallace hosting a dessert cooking session where he presumably makes puddings and everyone tucks in.  Sounds yummy!


Without the crowds and tourists that no doubt visit during the day, I could hear John’s footsteps on the wooden boards and the squawks of the gulls flying overhead as we made our way to the sea end of the pier which boasts an Art Deco style tearoom.  It was too early for the tearoom to be open but try telling that to the crows and pigeons sitting on the roof waiting for titbits.  There were several guys passing the time fishing, their rods all pointed outwards in an array of lines as they waited patiently for an unsuspecting fish to take the bait.  I tiptoed bravely towards the railing to get a better look and felt a bit woozy at the sight of the dark water sploshing around underneath us.  Then I suddenly spotted 4 pretty little plovers strutting along the beams and pecking at the barnacles.  I stayed perfectly still so John could take a few pictures and then I meowed ‘hello’ because I’m a polite boy but they ignored me and eventually hopped off.  Charming!


John and I turned around and headed back to the car which seemed further away than we thought.  As we strolled back, the wind was behind us and there were more people this time on bicycles or walking their dogs.  I was so tired that John agreed to carry me back after picking up a couple of odd-shaped sea shells for me to take home and sniff as a reminder of our early morning trip to the seaside.

Shad does the Cat Protection annual summer fête

I just love days like this, waking up to the sound of birds singing and the early morning sun warming the air, I felt an optimism that you feel when spring is just around the corner.  Overcome with an urge to share the moment with my John, I hopped on to the bed and stood on his chest as he lay there pretending to be asleep.  I started kneading the duvet and purring which is usually an effective way of getting the old fella to stir.  Failing that, a good chomp on a big toe does the trick!  Today we had plans that I was looking forward to – a hearty breakfast followed by a jaunt to Clapham Village Hall to show our support for the Cat Protection summer fête.


I had that Sunday morning feeling and was taken by the desire to appreciate the wondrous complexity of my environment.   Like the beauty of the flock of Canadian geese that flew overhead just as John was putting me in the car, the scent of the honey-suckle bush that grows underneath the lounge window, the simplicity of the life of the bumble-bee that buzzed happily across it’s flowers and the comfort of the motor vehicle that allowed us to travel several miles in a short space of time.  As I enjoyed my philosophical ponderings, I looked up at the sky and hoped that the dark clouds would clear in the time for the afternoon.


By the time John and I reached the Linga Longa Café in Findon, the rain was bucketing down and we both got wet just dashing from the car to the door.  They wouldn’t let me sit at the table due to health and safety regulations (although really I think it was because there were other customers there) so I had to eat from a plate on the floor which I’m not used to.  Nevertheless, I had a delicious cooked breakfast (which consisted of a fried egg, a rasher of bacon and some baked beans) which filled my tummy up a treat.


As we arrived at Clapham Village Hall for the fête, there were no marquees in sight, only the vibrant green grass of the rain-soaked fields that framed the venue.   Apparently the volunteers had tried to put the tents up but the strong winds had defeated them so all the action was to be held inside.  John carried me in (as I don’t like getting my paws wet) and I was greeted by lots of smiles and friendly caresses from many of the volunteers who know me and/or John from previous events as well as our photos.  I was in my element, surrounded by cats, cat people, cat pictures, cat paraphernalia and all things cat!  There was a lovely assortment of cats looking for new homes, like Widget (a cheeky 6 month old who charmed everyone with his playfulness) and Posh (an attractive black girl who had her eye on me).


Incidentally, do you remember Teddy and Tinks, the kittens I told you about a few weeks ago who came into care in a poor condition?  Well you’ll be pleased to hear that they have found a great new family to look after them.  And so has Jasmine, the shy black and white lady I befriended at my mate Ginger’s house.  Since Jasmine moved on, two brothers called Harry and Bertie (the fluffy ginger and black cats pictured here) took up residence in the pen but were soon re-homed to a nice family, which left a space for a lovely cat called Milly who I am hoping to meet next weekend.  You’ll also be pleased to hear that a few hundred pounds were raised at the fête which will go towards caring for the cats and cheeky Widget found a new home that day too.  The money was raised through generous donations, sales of cakes and drinks and cat related bric-a-brac.  But it wouldn’t surprise me if a large portion of the money came from John and a fosterer called Penny who went mad on the tombola, buying tickets galore.  Penny ended up with a bag full of goodies she could hardly carry and John won 3 cuddly toys, 2 bottles of beer, 2 bottles of wine, 1 bottle of coffee liqueur, a cat calendar and a bottle of mouthwash.  I guess we all know what to expect for our birthday presents this year!!