Monday, 29 April 2013

Ready for your close ups?

I've just discovered the macro function on my camera. I'd no idea what it was but on a jewellery forum people talked about using it for close ups. As it is a little flower symbol I'd stupidly thought it was for flowers etc.....Doh! Anyway, here is Red in all his fluffiness and Magic in all her intense green eyed glory.

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Daytime fox

Oh, this is seriously worrying. Yesterday the cats were out and about in the garden and probably because I am more confident regards them being outdoors I was happy to pop back indoors to put the next wash on or pop to the loo.

This morning as I've been on the laptop Magic has driven me spare and finally I worked out that she wanted out in the garden again. Much explanation (!) ensued as I tried to convince her that drizzly rain, wet grass and soft paws was not a good or comfortable combo. She conceeded.

Anyway, just a few minutes ago I saw something flash past the patio doors and even Red popped his head up from the sofa. It was a fairly substantial big fox wandering about the two gardens at midday. I tried to get a picture but was so surprised it is not a great picture. The fox is beside the fence on my neighbour's side.

This area has loads of foxes, hence my dreams of having chickens has been shelved, and I never let the cats out when I go out at dusk or after dark to bring in the washing. I'd somehow thought only a sick or injured fox would be out in daylight but this one obviously didn't get the memo. I am now really concerned as to what this means for letting the cats out. What chance would a sweet wee chubby housecat with arthritic back legs  or a candyfloss weight cat have against a streetwise fox? I usually keep the dining room door closed when the patio doors are open because if one sneaks off to a hidden sleepy spot then I dont know whether they are in or out so when there is only one room to search it is easier. Now, if a fox got in two cats, a human and a contained fox is never going to end well.

Predicatably the sun has now come out and Magic is back staring lovingly at the garden...not a hope you are getting out petal!

Away and lie on your side

My grandmother used to have a variety of old saying's one of which was "Ach, away and lie on your side" when she wished to express disbelief, disagreed with someone or wanted to express her distain. Red seems to love lying on his side and, if Nana were around this would be no hardship or insult to him!




Saturday, 27 April 2013

The smell of sunshine

I've just discovered a new wonderful smell....sun-baked pussycat! As it has been sunny here, on and off, I let the cats into the garden and they've been in and out as they please. I know I love the smell of sun dried washing but I hadn't realised how gorgeous a little cat's head smells when it's been out sunbathing and you kiss it....ahhh, bliss!

I wonder if Yankee Candles will add this one to their summer collection?

Red's Favourite Sleeping Positions

The boy fair know's how to relax. The paws out position is another one of his favoured shapes.

 All things considered Magic and I will be planning to join him as we both need to use the weekend to rest and recuperate for the forthcoming week. So budge up my little Red boy as Magic and I want a slice of the action, or should I say inaction, too...? 

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Magic by lamp light

Just a nice one of Magic.

(In case anyone is wondering she isn't wearing a black welly on her right back paw, it's the tv zapper she is sitting on).

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

World Book Night

Tonight is World Book Night 2013 (WBN) and I was chosen as a giver this year. I heard an article about it on Radio 4 a few months ago when I was driving, and it was the last day to apply. I checked the website and thought it sounded great. All applications were vetted and you had to provide an idea of where and how you would plan to give your books out. My plan was to give books out in an Accident and Emergency Department (A and E). Most patients and relatives are there unexpectedly and once they've read the health information posters they are pretty stuck for entertaining reading while waiting, or afterwards if they are admitted. I also planned to give a few to some of the nurses.

My box of 20 books were delivered to my local library and had a special jacket giving information on WBN. There are 500,000 books going out tonight through 20,000 Givers or through organisations such as libraries, prisons or other institutions.

I chose Alexander McCall Smith's The No1 Ladies Detective Agency for lots of reasons. I'd read the book which was a requirement, the author is both a Scottish novellist and a forensic pathologist, the book is a full sized novel but it is a fairly light read, it appeals to both sexes despite the title, some receivers might recognise it from the BBC adaptation, it is quite an escapist piece AND it is set somewhere they have sun more than 2days per year unlike Scotland!

Tonight, finally the BIG NIGHT arrived, or I should say the big late afternoon. I'd received permission from the Director of Nursing and made all the necessary arrangements for access but what wasn't plan-able was a full waiting area! The place looked decidedly light on my target audience initially. Still I was raring to go and once I got into the trolley's area saw that the waiting room wasn't a good indicator of patient volume as the department was in good going flow.

I was keen not to interrupt the nursing staff or hamper their activity. However, they were very welcoming and most helpful in identifying patients who would be appropriate to access to offer a book to. Some staff were also keen and happy to receive a book and all agreed to read and share it with colleagues once they were finished.

I started off going round the cubicles and minor injuries areas offering to the patients or relatives that had been identified as fit to be accessed, then I progressed to the waiting areas. Despite my day job involving speaking to small and large groups it was still a little daunting to accost strangers and try to gift them a book. I know I'm a lady and apparently ladies don't sweat, instead they merely glow. Well, I'm not sure if it was the situation or the fact I've been fairly ill recently but I was glowing like no-one's business and my poor fringe and blouse were stuck to me by the end!

One nurse was polite but distant while I was chatting to the Nurse in Charge who was checking the screen to identify suitable patients. Then she hit me with her bombshell when she asked if I was one of those 'Holy Rollers' giving out Gideon Bibles. Later a lady's husband thought he definitely recognised me a Jehovah's Witness. Strange how we are often suspicious of people offering something for nothing, or maybe I've just got one of those angelic little faces...NOT!

Most waiting were very polite in listening to my little 30second introduction, with the odd exception. However, speaking to the small groups in the different waiting areas seemed to make some people embarrassed and I think perhaps the tendency for people 'not to step from the herd' and make the first move was behind some of the refusals. Much more successful was approaching individuals in the other small seating areas as, when people were asked in a one-to-one interaction, they were generally much more accepting. A few people laughed off the offer saying they were 'not great readers' but this only made me pounce on them and tell them they were the real intended audience as the big idea is to increase enjoyment of reading. All of these people chose to accept a book and seemed genuinely pleased by it. My box of books disappeared much more quickly than I'd expected and I could really have done with double the number.

One doctor decided the book was not for him as it wasn't available as a free kindle download. I thought this was a little at odds with the concept of World BOOK Night but he was insistent a kindle was a book. Personally I reckon a kindle is a reading platform  however, when you look at the increasing proportion of books sold in e-book format then he possibly has a point. I love my tech but for me a physical paper book remains a thing of joy. I hate the idea that I can't read a kindle in the bath or that its battery might conk out mid-read. I do have some e-books on my smartphone, and am less resistant now that colour tablets with lights are available, but still haven't made the kindle commitment.

On an amusing note, in the first of the waiting areas two gentlemen were sitting and listened attentively when I gave my little spiel. However when I presented the book they both looked a little put off and were adamant they didn't want a copy of the 'No1 Ladies Detective Agency'. This was fair enough and I went on with my giving. When I was leaving the department one of these gentlemen was on his phone and as his jacket was now open I could see his police identification card on its lanyard. This rather explained his, and his colleague's, rather scandalised look given the title of the book that was on offer and made me giggle all the way back to the car!

I've loved being involved as it was a lovely, heartwarming thing to do to bring the joy of reading to those in this setting. I felt truly honoured being part of the UK contribution to a worldwide charitable event and will definitely apply next year to hopefully be chosen to do the same in one of the other A and E Depts in this Health Board area.

Sometimes love hurts

Red has decided the best way to express love is to clout the object of his affections on the forehead....and unfortunately I am his favoured one. He has always been the type of cat who gently came up and rubbed cheeks with you in greeting. That was all very mannerly and sweet, and in all other aspects he is the sweetest and most delicate gentleman. However, as he has got older, he has modified this and become a bit more 'direct' in expressing his affection...and it has become more 'Glasgow kiss' than 'meeting of like minds'. The only blessing is that he is a light little cat otherwise he'd do some damage and I never wish to go to work with a black eye and an implausible tale about the cat being responsible.....!

In the style of those old "Love is..." cartoons that were popular many years ago, I cannot ever recall one that said "Love your beloved concussion".
As I write this it actually reminds me of a great big cat called Cheeky who lived in the flat upstairs who used to come calling on us most days. He was a 23yr old bruiser of a Ginger Tom with a head like a football and we adored him and his visits. He was a total Godfather character and used to do a security check round our flat until he was satisfied, before he'd accept his treats and cuddles. Despite being in his 20's and living on the third floor he'd claimed the back court as his territory almost immediately when they moved in by duffing up the locals in very short order.
Our old cat used to freak when he came in so we kept them well separated. We did try introducing them once but it didn't go well...she hissed and he walloped her...and that was the end of a beautiful relationship. 
Anyway, Cheeky was good at giving very solid head bumps which my Mother hadn't twigged till  the first time he stunned her and knocked her glasses off. She thought he was going to be like our little lady cat and was all affronted. My sis and I collapsed laughing because we'd both sussed that this might be his style. Every morning when Cheeky called he used to use his head to pound on the front door to let us know he wanted in....the clue was in the thud which sounded like a human knocking! Fond memories of brilliant character.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Cat with hoover

I've no idea if this link to the  Youtube Super cute cat with hoover link will work but I hope it does. If not you can find it if you google Super cute cat with hoover. I saw this when I was reading the paper online and thought it was so funny, especially when the cat slaps the hoover after his chin gets too close and is sucked a little too hard.

I cannot imagine any scenario where Magic or Red would even contemplate this as neither of them are keen on hoovers. The current pet hair upright is effective but very noisy so I dont blame them.

Magic will tolerate the robot hoover and will to stand in its path defiantly with her back to it. Luckily the sensor bar is very gentle and it turns and retreats which suits Magic fine as she 'wins' every time. However, Red just considers all floor cleaning devices to be the work of the devil. He just vaporises now when cleaning is taking place, but in days gone by when he was a braver little puss he did stick around, albeit from a perch to watch the strange non-furry pet. This was the first time he had seen it in action from a couple of years ago in our last house.

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Evening tuck service

Anyone know where my chocolate mint went from my mega thread count pillow?.....What do you mean it is self catering in this establishment...?

Thursday, 18 April 2013

The Great Leap

Oh, come on Red! You look like you are going to leap from a great height but we both know that scratch post doesn't even come up to my knee...!

Pavlov's Cat

This is supposed to be a way or 'enriching your cat's environment', providing stimulation through mental and physical exercise and rewards for appropriate scratching behaviour. I bought it to give the cats something to play with and as a way to make them work for their dry food throughout the day so that Magic, in particular, wouldn't keep 'inhaling' the bowls of dry food. This was at the time when Red was going through his size zero phase and Magic was snarfing up his high calorie foods so much her back legs were buckling.

Basically, the cats scratch the post and this pulls down the tube which releases the little trap at the bottom. I reckoned Red would love it and Magic would ignore it as she doesn't do working for food....WRONG....! Ah, the sweet stupidity of a human who thinks they can outsmart their cats.

Magic did her usual inspection, discovered whiskas kitten food crunchies came out and made very free and easy with it. Red was interested but just couldn't capture the concept. I tried showing him with Magic as he mimics her every move but not this time when I wanted him to learn. I tried holding his paws under my hand while I scratched it to prodce the treats, let him eat them then tried again, thinking repetition might make it click....nope!

I tried over 6weeks to no avail. Magic was in her element and had access to treats 24/7 while Red remained none the wiser and waited on me bouncing the top of it when I was passing to liberate the sweeties for him. He did try waiting for Magic to activate it then attempt to 'muscle in' on the spoils. Magic took significant exception to and made it clear that communal dining would not be occurring and only injury could ensue if he didn't scarper. In fact the only thing Red learned in relation to this toy was that if he sat beside it with his concerned face on and saying 'wow' plaintively to me then I'd relent and make the magic sweeties appear.

The thing is made stable by filling the paw shaped base with cat litter and I'd specially bought some heavy stuff so it was too much of a hassle to empty. So until the sweets were finished I put the spring in the high setting so that at least Magic would have to put some effort into releasing the trap.This meant poor Red, who weighed less than a puff of air, was unable to work it but as he refused to use it it was rather pointless anyway. I stopped putting food in it as Magic was the only one getting the food and supplementing her diet uncontrollably.

It still sits in the bedroom as a scratch post and Magic still uses it in the hope sweets will magically drop from it while Red is oblivious.

It just goes to show you that any plans you have to outsmart your cat are generally doomed.

Monday, 15 April 2013

Shaped sleeping

Hasn't Red realised when you sleep you are supposed to let your sleep surface conform to YOUR shape and not the other way round?

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Meeting the Neighbours

More new neighbours. This one visited last year but the pics have just been taken off the old camera. This one has been named Tinkerbell even though I do think it might be a male. Not a manly name but oh my goodness is he one seriously gorgeous full fluffy cat.

He visited one day while a friend and I were having lunch and her comment was "quick, there is a 'fluffing' big lion in your garden"! At least I think she used the word 'fluffing'. Excited by the idea of having a free safari attraction I raced to the window to see Tinkerbell and his foxy tail stalk up the neighbour's garden and disappear into his tented barbeque area. He came back a little while later and strolled around like a prospective purchaser before clocking Magic sitting scowling and low growling at the interloper. Tinkerbell was entirely unfussed, haughty as anything and decided to take up residence on the patio steps while posing shamelessly.

Red became alerted to this commotion and manfully ran up to stand shoulder to shoulder with Magic to lend his muscle (!) in support. When Magic realised he was beside her she barely took her eyes off Tinkerbell while swiping Red a decent thump for his trouble! Seemed a tad ungrateful I thought but Red was too interested in the new arrival to take much offense.

Anyway, the Mexican Stand Off lasted until Tinkerbell got bored and vaulted over the fence.

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Just press the Red button on your remote

I had the tv on and Jamie Oliver was waxing lyrical about how fast you could make a gourmet meal, I think this one was down to 15mins. I am just waiting for the day he presents a series showing viewers how to make a delicious midweek meal that can self prepare in the 3minutes from the moment people put their key in the front door to deciding they can't face cooking anything. 

This episode caught my eye as I absolutely love soup, and Asian seafood broths are just the food of the angels as far as I am concerned, with Yo Sushi's Spicy Seafood Udon reserved for the highest order of merit. As I only had it on in the background I'd missed what he was up to so brought up the tv guide at just the same moment Red decided to leap up and try out as a tv star.

My Father's frequent war cry from when one of us would wander past his ultra boring Saturday football viewing came to mind.... "You make a great door but your are hopeless as a window, now get out of the road!"

Friday, 12 April 2013

Blanket Boycott

The boy is not happy, in fact he is so unhappy he is having a huff....and the reason for the huff....? Oh, the huff centres on the blanket on the sofa.

Magic initially claimed this space as ideal. It is comfy, warm, gives excellent visibility to the garden and defence from sneak attacks. Red followed her lead and laid claim to it. This meant, if her despised housemate liked it, then she certainly didn't!

Anyway, the blanket got washed, dried and returned. Clearly, it doesn't smell the way it did before, so it is now being boycotted!

He really hasn't grasped the point of washing items, has he?

Wednesday, 10 April 2013


A nice pic of Magic in decent light sitting on the arm of the chair watching tv with me. This captures her colours and sweet expression as she turned round to answer to her name. She is much harder to picture well as she is so dark compared to Red who comes out brilliantly in photos. So it is nice to get a shot of her face even it the light makes the picture a little fuzzy.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Goose Down or Tail Down....?

How lovely to be a cat with a big bushy tail to rest your weary head on. It sure looks like it beat's the softest pillow on the market. What would you call it? Puss's Chinrest, Foxy Nose Warmer, Tempur Tail pillow....?