Saturday Snapshot

Some time ago I posted a photo of Heidi in her little tepee. She still likes to sleep in it but she has other favourite places to nod off, one of which is our settee, so we cover the seat with a towel as she’s not very good at wiping her wet feet!

The other day we found her like this:

Heidi asleep P1090353
Fast asleep

She didn’t even move when David leant over towards her:

Cat napping

For more Saturday Snapshots see Melinda’s blog West Metro Mommy Reads.

Saturday Snapshots

Autumn in the garden:

Jap Maple Nov 2013 P1090302

The leaves are falling from some of the trees now, but our little Japanese Maple is still bearing its flame-coloured leaves.

Autumn trees Nov 2013 P1090305The Wych Elm leaves are a glorious golden colour.

Autumn leaves Nov 2013 P1090313And in our little wood the ground is now a carpet of rustling brown leaves.

D up ladder P1090314

Finally, here’s D up a ladder doing repairs to the roof – I had to watch because falling leaves are one thing …

For more Saturday Snapshots see Melinda’s blog West Metro Mommy Writes.

Saturday Snapshot: Cat in a Box/Basket

Heidi tries out this box, before deciding to find somewhere more comfortable.

Heidi in box

‘Ah! This is more like it and it’s padded with some nice clean clothes’, (all ready for ironing!):

Heidi in a basket P1010906‘Now leave me alone – I want to go to sleep’.

For more Saturday Snapshots see Melinda’s blog West Metro Mommy Reads.

Saturday Snapshot: Heidi doesn’t like the snow

We’ve had snow and more snow, our garden and the surrounding fields are all white, but the main roads are clear, and we haven’t had the snow that’s brought some parts of the UK to a standstill.

This morning the sun is shining, and the snow is sparkling in the sunlight.

Snow P1080401

The paw prints in the snow shows that Heidi has been across it, but she’s not keen. This morning she wanted to go out through the patio door:

Snow Heidi 26 Jan 13

but she didn’t want to get her feet cold and wet:

Snow Heidi (2) 26 Jan 13

So she came in and tried the back door, but that was no better:Snow Heidi (3) 26 Jan 13

She stayed away from the snow and soon came back inside the house.

For more Saturday Snapshots see Alyce’s blog At Home with Books.

Books for Cat Lovers

I loved both these books by Denis O’Connor:

Paw Tracks in the Moonlight and Paw Tracks at Owl Cottage.

Denis O’Connor trained as a psychologist and teacher. Throughout his career he taught in schools and lectured in colleges and universities. He holds a doctorate in education and psychology and is now retired, living with his wife Catherine and his two Maine Coon cats in a remote country cottage in Northumberland.

Paw Tracks in the Moonlight tells the story of how he rescued a kitten during a snowstorm and how kitten survived, despite the vet’s prediction that he wouldn’t. O’Connor lived at Owl Cottage and as he was out at work all day he put the kitten in a jug to keep him safe and named him Toby Jug. This memoir covers the first year of Toby Jug’s life and it’s a remarkable story because this is no ordinary cat (if such a creature exists, that is). He is a Maine Coon cross. He learns to walk on a lead and even goes on a camping trip on horseback during the summer in the Cheviot Hills with O’Connor.

Paw Tracks at Owl Cottage chronicles O’Connor’s experiences with four more cats, all Maine Coons. He had moved from Owl Cottage, unable to face living there after Toby Jug died in 1978, but years later, when he took early retirement, Owl Cottage came up for sale – and he and his wife bought it. it’s a wonderful place for cats and they acquired four – Pablo, Carlos, Luis and Max. The book is divided into sections describing each cat and there are also reminisces of Toby Jug, with more stories of their lives together.

Both contain beautiful descriptions of the Northumberland countryside, most of which I’m familiar with, which made the books even more special for me. Inevitably the death of Toby Jug filled me with sadness, but both books are full of the cats’ personalities and the joy they brought to O’Connor and his wife. They demonstrate the close bonds that are possible between people and cats:

I tell them [his friends who are astonished at the close bonds]  I believe that any animal, be it a horse, dog, cat, parrot or budgerigar, will always respond to kindly attention and caring affection, and that I know this because I’ve made good friendships with them all.

But to return to how I am with our cats, I can honestly state that quite apart from loving them deeply and being loved in return, I know them inside their minds and they know me; we are linked on a mental plane of mutual affection and understanding. (page 222 of Paw Tracks at Owl Cottage)

Definitely books for cat lovers!

Denis O’Connor has written a third book (which I haven’t read) – Paw Tracks: a Childhood Memoir, described on Amazon as ‘a searingly honest account of how the power of nature can lift the human spirit and overcome the most unloving of childhoods.’

Saturday Snapshots: Cats again

Sometimes I think I should call my blog CatsPlease as well as BooksPlease because of the number of cat photos I post. Today’s photos are of a called called George. He came to live with us when D’s mother moved into an apartment on the third floor. He was quite a character and liked to sit on/in things. He was also quite vocal!

One day out in the garden I heard him miaowing:

George in the compost heap

He was sitting on top of the compost:

It was just the same inside. He liked sitting on tables:

And he especially liked sitting in the laundry basket on top of the clean clothes waiting to be ironed:

For more Saturday Snapshots see Alyce’s blog At Home With Books.

Cats: Drawing and Painting

I drew this last week, copied from a card, using pencils and pens. It’s made me keen to try painting/sketching our cat Heidi. She’s white so I’ll have to use coloured paper, or a coloured background.

I looked for help in this beautiful book:

 Cats: Drawing and Painting in Watercolour by Lesley Fotherby. This is what she has to say about drawing white cats on white paper:

You can’t paint the cat in white, so you have to paint the background and leave the cat to show up against it, ie look at the negative shape, paint that in and the positive image will appear. (page 96)

I’ve tried negative painting before and didn’t find it easy. She also suggests using pencil and paint and to illustrate the technique shows this painting:

There is so much in this book, from using different materials, paper and techniques  to showing how to depict movement and markings and composition. I’m going to study it and have a go.

Previously when I’ve posted photos of my sketches some people have commented that they wish they could draw. I can only endorse what Lesley Fotherby writes in this book:

Many people feel that being able to draw is a gift and that either you can draw or you can’t. It is true that some will find it easier than others, but in fact drawing is a skill which can be learnt like any other. As with other skills, it can only improve with practice, so do not be discouraged if your first efforts are unsatisfactory. …

Learning to draw is a bit like learning to swim: you can stand on the side of the pool and listen to a lecture, or you can jump in, wearing your lifejacket of course, and feel the element around you. Then you understand what they are all talking about. (page 8)

Saturday Snapshot

Heidi’s new bed –

We bought this little bed yesterday and deliberately didn’t attempt to put Heidi in it or even to show it to her because cats are fussy creatures and like to find places to sleep for themselves. So we just left it on the worktop in the utility room, where she likes to sit and this morning this is where I found her. I’m so glad she likes it.

For more Saturday Snapshots see Alyce’s blog At Home with Books.

Saturday Snapshot

Reading and writing with a cat is not easy – this is the Heidi Handicap:

She likes to sit on my lap when I’m using the computer, or even in front of the keyboard, regardless of whatever else is there – in this case the book I was checking whilst writing a post.

For more Saturday Snapshots see Alyce’s blog At Home With Books.

Saturday Snapshots – Indoor Exercise for Cats

Last week we got an extending ladder and D temporarily opened part of it in the hall. Heidi loves climbing and I had to take these photos of her as she went up it. They’re a bit blurred as I had to be quick because when she saw me she jumped down.

For more Saturday Snapshots see Alyce’s blog At Home With Books.

Saturday Snapshot

We’ve had lots of rain recently, which Heidi doesn’t like. Yesterday she looked out of the cat flap and then settled down on the mat to wait for the rain to stop.

Is she going out? It looks like it, but no – she sticks her paw out and its still raining!

Back to the mat!

Just in case you think she was banished to the mat – it was her own choice. Later in the day, whilst it was still raining she made herself comfy on the sofa, with a handy cushion for her head.

She’s not as sweet as she looks because first thing in the morning I was greeted by feathers in the kitchen! But all was well as the baby bird had managed to escape by hiding on the windowsill and flew away when D rescued it.

For more Saturday Snapshots see Alyce’s blog At Home With Books.

Saturday Snapshot

Heidi asleep

About four weeks ago I posted a photo of our new arrival. Since then she’s settled in well, after a period of hiding on top of wardrobes and anywhere out of sight. We’ve renamed her Heidi, because of that. She knows her name and comes running when we call her.

She’s not really allowed on the furniture, but she’s tired out after a session in the garden hunting for mice and there plenty out there for her. She brought a dead one in this morning. I wish she wouldn’t bring them in, but she’s proud of her catch.

See more Saturday Snapshots on Alyce’s blog At Home With Books.

Saturday Snapshot – our newest arrival!

We went to get the car MOT’d yesterday. Whilst we were waiting we walked down the road a little way to the Animal Rescue Kennels – just to have a look, you know. Actually we’d been thinking about going there for months, but yesterday was the day. And look who came home with us:

She’s two years old and a little timid and camera shy at the moment, but I managed to take this picture. Whitie, that’s the name she knows, so I think we’ll carry on calling her that – she comes when you call her name, is sitting where Lucy used to sit – on the computer room windowsill. Lucy died a year last January and it’s taken us this long to feel it’s right to get another cat. She’s seems to be settling quite well.

Here she is deciding whether to sit down or not – she did and she’s sitting there now as I type.

Here’s another photo – taken last night in the kitchen:

No doubt there’ll be a few more photos soon.

For more Saturday Snapshots go to Alyce’s blog At Home With Books.

Saturday Snapshot

Here are a couple of photos taken in December 2010 when we were snowbound. I came into the kitchen early one morning and there on the decking outside was this little mouse, eating the bread we had put out for the birds:

There were actually three mice climbing all over and round the back of the loaf nibbling it. I wasn’t the only one interested. Lucy came to the patio door and wanted to go out for a closer look.

See more Saturday Snapshots on Alyce’s blog, At Home With Books.


Farewell Lucy

Last night our little cat, Lucy died. She was nearly 17 and was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism two years ago. Since then she did improve and coped with us moving house at the end of 2009. For a while it seemed she had a new lease of life, enjoying the garden and its wildlife. Last week she stopped eating and just declined. The vet said she had a growth in her stomach and an enlarged heart.

She was a wonderful companion, who stayed by our side like a dog, even wanting to come on walks with us. I’ve written many blog posts about her and have many photos that I’m going to bring together as a set on Flickr. Here are just a few of our favourites.

She often sat with me when I was blogging, sometimes on the windowsill and more often right in front of the keyboard whilst I was trying to type.


This is a painting of her by our friend John.

She is sadly missed!

Sunday Scene – More Snow

We woke up this morning to yet more snow, as in most of Britain.

The birds were flocking to the feeders – which now need replenishing. Today the woodpecker stayed long enough for me to take some photos.

The tits are bolder and come up onto the decking outside the kitchen.

This one landed in the snow and nearly sank.

Lucy, who hasn’t ventured outside since the snow first came at the end of November, sits and watches the birds as they come near the window.

This is what she wished she could catch

Sunday Scene

Yesterday it was my birthday and as well as books D gave me a new camera. I’ve been trying it out today: here are a few photos I took in our garden and

Back garden
Back garden from the decking

of the front garden

Front garden

and the field across the road where the rapeseed was being cut this afternoon.

Cutting rapeseed

(Click on the photos to enlarge.)

Lucy’s New Door

Lucy has now settled in our new house. We kept her in for a while and then let her out during the day. That wasn’t enough for her as she likes to come and go in the middle of the night – any number of times between midnight and 5am. We weren’t getting up to let her out and so she woke us up miaowing very loudly most nights.

Now she can come and go whenever she wants.  She hasn’t gone very far yet – she just likes to have a drink in the burn (even though she has fresh, clean water inside) :

Lucy and the Snow

Lucy has now ventured outside. We kept her in the house after we moved in, as you’re supposed to (the vet said so)  and we didn’t have an address tag for her anyway. Then the snow came and she didn’t want to go out. If she had I think she would have been buried in the snow, as she’s so small.

She has a tag now, so we thought she could go out into the garden. She didn’t really want to the first day, just looked very warily out of the door. Yesterday she had a walk along the decking, which extends round the back and side of the house. She didn’t stay out long – well it was cold – and she hasn’t gone down on to the grass yet. She’s getting to be an indoor cat!

Today the snow has nearly all gone and there’s just this patch left on the decking.

Is it just my imagination, or does it look like a cat running?