Monday, 28 November 2011

Jetikins Box Adventure

Jetikins Box Adventure
Hello,  Rappy here, mama can't put any new photo's up today cos her camera batteries died and she can't get anymore until she's got some spare pennies, so we are camera free until Friday anyway.  Jetikins is really happy about that cos he doesn't like that clickety thing.  But mama says she will find some old pics of us to put up instead, and one that she took when Stamps the Irish hedgehog postman came to stay with us.

Me and Jetikins frog and tadpole watching
Jetikins trapped himself inside a box this week, he could've got out if he'd really wanted, but mama started playing with him through the holes in the top, and he enjoyed that, then he dozed off until I came home and woke him up, we played patti-paws through the gap.  It was one of those long narrow boxes that have things like cauliflower or cabbages in them.  Papa brought it home with a big glass lamp in it, then he stood the box up on end against a chair and Jet started playing with it, he reached up to pull on a sticky-out bit and it fell on top of him.  There are little round holes in the bottom, which was now the top, so mama stuck the tail of one of our sisal mousies through and Jet caught it and pulled it through, then she found two more and he got them too.  When she put the toy dynamite stick cord down the hole he couldn't pull that through so then he went to sleep.

An old photo, but we are still doing this!
Papa with Stamps in Malton Market Place
Stamps the Irish hedgehog postman was knitted by mama's friend Geraldine, she lives in Dublin.  Stamps has travelled all over the world visiting members of - a website for knitters and crocheters like mama and Geraldine.  He stayed with us for two weeks and mama took lots of photo's of him before he left us to go somewhere else.  Stamps has his own blog called 'Stampses Travels' and you can visit him here:

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Calli Patch-Pelt

Calli Patch-Pelt
Hello, I am Calli, matriarch of the family, I am 12 years old, going on 13.  I have several titles, Papa's Princess, Mama's Mugwump (that means Big Chief in the Algonquin language, so the dictionary says.)  Mama and Papa also call me Calli poppet, Calli Patch-Pelt, and Sweetie-pie.  This is me relaxing on mama and papa's bed.  Yesterday was a stay-at-home-relax-in-bed kind of a day.  Rappy was on the bed too, all stretched out like a long sausage, mama said.  It is nice and warm up in their bedroom cos the chimney from the fire downstairs is behind the wall the bookcase is on.  Papa complains sometimes that it gets too warm, and he throws the duvet off himself.  He moves about a lot too so I usually sleep down by mama's feet cos she doesn't move much at all.  She doesn't kick me out of bed like he sometimes does when he tosses about.  Rappy likes to sleep on mama's side of the bed during the day, up near her pillow.  Sometimes Jet jumps up on the bed and he likes mama's side too.  He is a huge black cat and he scares me a bit, sometimes he waits for me when I come down the stairs, he hides behind the door and jumps out at me.  I hiss at him and run away and he chases me.  Mama says he wants to play with me and give me a head wash, he is always washing Rappy,
but he is so big I'm a bit scared of him.  Sometimes though we do sleep close together on mama and papa's bed, I know he doesn't want to hurt me, but big black cats are scary to me.  He is funny though, he likes to squeeze himself into small places, like the little cat bed in mama and papa's bedroom, it's really more my size, but he has claimed it and he squeezes himself into it, then turns round and round and ends up half hanging out of it.  He sleeps in it a lot now when he isn't on the bed.  Sometimes Jet and Rappy crawl under the duvet with mama, Rappy curls up in her arm but Jet goes

 right down by her feet and cuddles her legs, sometimes she has to jump out of bed cos she gets cramp and she says it hurts a lot.  It's cos he is so heavy, papa says he weighs about twelve and a half pounds, I only weigh about five or six, Rappy is about nine or ten pounds, so I don't want either of them jumping on me, they would squash me flat.

Today, Wednesday, is not much better than yesterday, it is very cold and damp outside so we are all staying in again.  Mama was very busy yesterday making lots of soup, most of it goes in the freezer, she made Cauliflower and Broccoli soup and Carrot and Coriander too.

We are going to relax in the bedroom for a while, until mama lights the fire this afternoon.

The picture opposite is Rappy stretched out like a sausage, he is just asking to have his tummy tickled, sometimes I like to have a tummy rub or tickle, but not so much as he does.  Mama even blows raspberries in his tummy, and Jets, but I won't let her blow them in mine.

This morning Jet jumped up on mama's lap when she was sat on the sofa having a cup of tea, so she got papa to bring the camera and she took Jet's photo, he doesn't like the camera, he calls it 'that clickety thing' and you can see him scowling a bit cos she stuck it right in his face.  Then she took one of Rappy cos he was sat on the carpet below glaring at Jet.  He gets a bit jealous when Jet sits on mama's knee. 

Rappy has been busy ratting again, he brings them all home to show mama and papa, I catch mice sometimes, but I eat them.

Mama and papa make a big fuss over all of us though, they love us very much and we are their family now that all their human babies are grown up and gone away.  We love them very much too.

Mama is still knitting those Santa socks for papa, she is almost halfway up the legs now, in spite of Jet, he thinks he is helping her when he jumps on her lap and holds the yarn down.  She doesn't get cross with him though cos she says he is cute.  'Cute' - him, hmmph!  I could think of something else to call him, but not 'Cute.  She is doing the legs in red and white stripes cos that's what papa wanted, he is going to a Bowls match one night in his Santa suit and he will be wearing those socks, and he will have to take his boots off if he plays; I think he will look like a Liverpool football supporter.  Mama has to go in her Mistress Holly costume too.  I wish we could go and watch the fun when they play.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Jetikins Blog

Jetikins Blog
Hello, it is me, Jetikins, and mama says it is my turn to do the blog this week, anyway Rappy is too pooped to do anything right now, he has been really busy lately, he has brought in a rat practically every night for the past week, and several mousies too.  Mama says he is probably creating havoc among the local rat families and she is very proud of him.  He leaves them for mama and papa to look at, then they get rid of them.  I can catch ratties and mousies too but I prefer to stay home and keep warm at nights, so I watch over mama and papa while they sleep.  I like to lounge on their bed during the day too, or keep mama company in the computer room.  It has been cold and damp all week and mama has had to light the fire to warm the house up.

Rappy sleeps most of the day so I am lonely without him to play with and Calli won't play with me, I try to make friends with her and roll on my back in front of her and try to look cute so she knows I don't want to hurt her, but she just hisses and spits and says naughty words, then she runs away from me.  It makes me sad, I just want to be friends.  Mama says she is very shy, and she doesn't much like having that clickety thing pointed at her either so mama has trouble trying to get pictures of her. 

Well I will keep on trying to make friends with Calli, I would love to cuddle her and wash her fur for her like I do with Rappy.  He likes it when I wash him.
Mama is knitting papa a pair of a pair of red Santa socks, so I need to go and help her with the wool, sometimes when I am sitting on her lap she tickles me with the knitting needles.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Mama and Papa's Cat-a-strophic week - Cats on Tuesday

Mama and Papa's Cat-a-strophic Week

Hello everyone,

Me in bed drawer
It’s me again, Rappy, mama and papa have had a bad week, their car is in the hospital since last Thursday night, it broke down when they were on their way home from Harrogate and they were stuck in a bad place for 2 hours until the RAC man arrived, he couldn’t fix the problem so he had to do a temporary job so they could drive it home.  He was afraid it would give up the ghost on the way home, 40+ miles on lonely country roads, so he followed them to a garage in Malton where they always have work done, then he brought them home in his van.  It was very late when they arrived and me, Jet and Calli were getting worried.

Me trying to get Jet to wrestle
Mama is still not feeling very well, and her camera won’t work, she said it needs new batteries but they can’t get into town cos there is no bus from our village.  So she said I can put up some old pictures of me, Jet and Calli.

We are glad the car is sick cos now mama and papa can’t leave us and we have them all to ourselves all day.  They have to stay in today cos an engineer is coming to look at one of our walls, the one between the kitchen and living room is not well, and the plaster is crumbling and falling off.  Papa says it is rising damp.

Me hiding behind coat on chair
Me guarding Mama's knitting wool

Jet sitting in the sunshine

Our Calli-poppet sitting in the back garden last summer

Our Calli has several names, Calli-poppet, Calli Patch Pelt, Papa's little Princess and Mama's little Mugwump.  Mama say's Mugwump is an Algonquin Indian word meaning Big Chief.  But I'm Big Chief here.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Report from Rappy for Cats on Tuesday

Report from Rappy

Hi Fellow Felines,

We are late getting here again cos Mama was very busy tearing her fur out yesterday trying to do her Random Pics blog, she says the intinet hates her, and blogger hates her.  Every time she started work on it the phone would ring and cut her off, then when she got the intinet back it would fall off again and she said it kept wiping out wot she wrote.  She was really spittin' fire in the morning.

Mama and Nina

In the afternoon she and papa left us and went off to a place called York to meet another blog person, Bjorg Nina Anderson, she is one of the teachers and leaders of a party of students from Norway, they were sent off to do sketches of York, and mama, papa and Nina went off into a nice little teashop for a chat over a pot of tea and toasted sandwiches.  Nina has a cat too so when she gets back home she may just come to Cats on Tuesday.

Papa and Nina outside the teashop

Nina and Papa (Santa Claus incognito)

Mama and papa then had to drive back and go straight to Thornton-le-Dale as they had an appointment with a friend, when they arrived at his house they found he had had an accident, he fell off a ladder the day before and had dislocated his shoulder and broken several ribs.  So it was late when they got back and they were tired out, poor old things.

Mama checked her other blog in and then found that there were pics showing up in the slide-show she had put up that shouldn't be there cos they were not in the album, but she was too tired to tear any more fur out so she went to bed, Jet and I cuddled up with them all night and this morning when mama came back from the bathroom I jumped into bed under the covers with her for a special cuddle to make her feel better.

I am in the computer chair today - so go wash your head fur.

But now, as you can see, I have taken over her computer chair and gave her a very stern look, no more computer for a while, so she is going to climb into the shower and wash her head fur instead. 

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Jetikins - Cats on Tuesday


Hello, my name is Jet, but mama often calls me Jetikins, or panther puss, especially when she gets soppy and starts cuddling me or blowing raspberries in my tummy fur.  I don't mind really cos I know she loves me, and so does papa.  I don't really like it when she starts following me around with that clickety thing she calls a camera though, she says she's trying to capture me in it, but wot happens then, it's too tiny to hold me?

                    This is my Papa, he showed me wot mama was cooking.

                                                 Get that clickety thing outa my face!

                         My rug on mama's desk, one of my favourite places.

We are late getting this up this week cos mama is not very well, and she ses the intinet is being hard to get along with, and it took her forever just to get her Our World blog to behave.  I asked her "wots a blog, does it have a tail?" and she said this is a blog and it's mine this week, so I said ..brrrup!

Oh, Rappy told me to tell you all that he caught another rat, not as big as the last one, just a young one.  He left it in the living room this time cos mama didn't like it by the bathroom door!

Monday, 17 October 2011

Temba - Gone but not Forgotten

Temba - Gone but not Forgotten
This is an account of the loss of our Temba, written in June 2003 


I stood gazing out of the window, lost in thought and not really seeing anything. My thoughts were of Temba, my beautiful Temba. Her name is the Zulu word for ‘Hope’. Temba was born in this house fourteen years ago, to our Matriarch Sammy Jo. At about five weeks old Temba and one of her siblings, Tombi (Zulu for ‘Girl’) had become quite ill, I nursed them both and Tombi, being the  stronger of the two, seemed to recover very quickly, but Temba’s condition worsened.  She was dehydrated and I fed her every 20 minutes with a saline solution from an eyedropper, plus I had to make up a special feeding formula for her.  She was so tiny and so weak, I was afraid to leave her for a moment in case she became chilled and gave up the fight.  I found one of Jim’s old woolly socks and turned it so the toe was level with the open end and I placed Temba inside it with her head cradled in the heel section, then I put her inside my jumper.  Wherever I went, she went too, it was the only way I could be sure she would not get cold.  Temba didn’t seem to be rallying at all and one day after giving her some of the saline she went limp and stopped breathing.  I sat with her in my hands and cried, then I started to massage her little chest and she started to breath again.  A few days later she slowly started to improve and eventually was restored to full health.
Temba grew into a big beautiful cat, she had long glossy black fur, white mittens, a white bib and white patches around her nose and mouth, long white whiskers and beautiful large amber coloured eyes. Her tail was thick and bushy and was always held upright when she walked. She and Tombi played together with our other cats and kittens, and the rabbits and guinea pigs that we had at the time.  She was such a gentle creature, not a hunter at all, although bees and butterflies intrigued her. When she was still quite young she came home one day with a butterfly she had caught, she was so proud of herself. She was carrying the soft body of the butterfly between her lips and the wings were fluttering all the time.  When we spoke to her softly and told her she was a clever puss she immediately let it go and off it fluttered, unharmed.

Temba loved to be in the garden whenever we were working there, she would go crazy, chasing around, pouncing on imaginary mice and patting at the bees and the butterflies on the flowers. She liked people and would befriend anyone who came to our house and would sit on their laps if they let her. She loved to be made a fuss of and have her tummy tickled or have her coat rubbed up the wrong way, that would send her into ecstasy and she would roll around making funny little chirping noises. Sometimes she would roll onto her back and grab the hand of whoever was tickling her tummy, she would kick with her back feet and pretend to bite our fingers but she never pulled a claw or used her teeth.

As she got older Temba became a home loving cat, she rarely wandered far from the house and could usually be found in our large lower garden when she did go out.  She liked to sit in the windows or sleep on the couch.  She wasn’t just an ornament and she knew she was loved.  All our cats talk to us and we talk to them and give them a lot of attention, they are members of our family.  Though we can’t speak their language, we know most of the time what they are trying to say, and they understand us perfectly.  I swear though that Sammy Jo has learned some of our words, being the Matriarch and now sixteen years old, she is in full control.  Jim is the Butler and I am the Housekeeper, if she wants to go out she will sit by the door and wait for one of us to open it. She is quite capable of using the see through cat flap but, if we are there, why should she! If one of us doesn’t take the hint, she becomes quite indignant and will sit there, glaring and saying 'out', ‘out!’  There is no doubt in my mind that she has learned how to say ‘out.’  Some of our younger cats have learned from her and are now following her example.

There is one object in our house that none of the cats like, they react in varying degrees, Sammy Jo tolerates it but the others take off, into another room or upstairs but Temba would bolt for the cat flap as soon as she saw it emerge from its den.  The vacuum cleaner is a menacing machine that threatens to gobble up their bodies if they allow it to get too close to them.

Last Easter Monday I brought the vacuum cleaner out of the cupboard and Temba made a mad dash for the door.  Normally she would have been back within the hour, usually hiding under the old rabbit hutch outside until she knew it was safe to come back in again.  This time she didn’t come back in, but it was a really nice warm day so she probably went to lie in the shade of a bush down in the big garden.  She didn’t come back at all, she didn’t come in for breakfast next day or the day after.  We searched the gardens, the village and the two roads leading out of the village, nothing. Once, several years ago she had gone ‘walkabout’ and had come back after a ten day absence, maybe she has taken off for a while. Two weeks later she was still missing, I made up posters with her photo on them and we posted them through every door in the village, even the milkman helped.  Still nothing.

It is seven weeks now, just a few days ago I was working in the garden and heard a soft little cry beside me, my heart leapt, for a split second I thought it was Temba.  It was Tosh from next door, he is a very large, sleek and well muscled black cat and he is a softie just like Temba, he loves attention and, like her, he loves being around us in the garden.  He chases the hoe or the rake as we use it or dives into the pile of dried grasses I have just pulled out and tries to bury himself in it.  Tosh’s house doesn’t have a cat flap and if his people don’t see him, he can’t get in, and he has to go out for the night when they go to bed.  He has a cat flap and a box in their shed, but what self-respecting cat wants to share a cold, musty old shed with a bunch of smelly motorcycles and lawnmowers and various other bits of machinery that the boys have brought home from the latest Boot Sale!

So Tosh spends a large part of his time in our house, he comes in for breakfast and then settles down on our bed to sleep, with Calli, our youngest cat.  She is about six years old now, a beautiful Calico, longhaired with a big bushy tail.  Tosh loves her but she likes to tease and give him a bad time.  Tosh had a sister and they were inseparable and very playful, but one day she was hit by a car and killed.   We believe Tosh was with her when it happened and he saw her die, he was traumatised for a long time and seemed to withdraw into himself, becoming a bit of a loner for a while. Also he didn’t make a sound for well over six months, we paid him a lot of attention whenever he came around to see us but he would disappear for days on end.  One day he came home with an extremely swollen paw so he was taken to the vet and eventually had to have one of his toes amputated.  When Calli came along he wanted to befriend her, but she was tiny, and to her he must have looked like a huge black monster, panther like. So she was a little afraid of him at first and would hiss and spit at him if he so much as looked in her direction.    One day Tosh came into the kitchen and walked up to me to be petted and he spoke his first words since Tish had died.  Not the usual meow but little chirps and brrrp’s, which is the way all our cats talk.  He is very talkative now and although he belongs next door, he spends most of his time with our cats and us.  A lot of people believe that cats are solitary animals, but ours like the company of their own kind and they are very close and affectionate with each other.

One of my last memories of Temba is from a couple of days before she disappeared.  She often had ‘mad moments’ and she had been lounging on the sofa when she suddenly started to pounce on some imaginary creature that was obviously hiding between the arm and the cushion of the sofa.  She was leaping about all over the place, her whiskers almost curled around to meet each other and ears pointed forward.  Then she jumped down and promptly ‘killed’ my shoes, after that she dashed around the room, into the kitchen, back into the room and up the stairs.  We could hear her paws pounding around the bedroom, then she charged back down the stairs, breathless and wide-eyed, to settle back down on the sofa!

I believe something bad has happened to Temba and that we have lost her.  She was fit and healthy when she went out that day, and still a playful 14 year old kitten. The worst part is not knowing what happened to her or where she is, was she hurt, did she try to come home? Did she lie injured somewhere, hoping we would come and find her?  It breaks my heart when I think about it.  It also makes me think of the parents who have missing children, how terrible it must be for them.  Some people would say “well, it’s only a cat,” but whether it is a cat, a dog or a human being, if you love it the pain is the same.  We miss her very much and I believe our other cats miss her too, they seemed a little subdued, maybe they know something we don’t.

8th June 2003


The night that Temba disappeared we heard dogs barking in the field opposite our back door, and I heard a scream.  A farmer used to cut across the field very late at night with his dogs, which are vicious little terriers.  We now believe that the dogs caught and killed Temba, and that he disposed of her body, everyone in the village knew we were looking for her. 

That farmer has since been charged with deliberately shooting, wounding and blinding a show dog, he claimed she was worrying his sheep, known to be a lie because the sheep were several fields away, and she had just popped through a hole in the fences he never fixes to the field which was empty of any stock, and he shot her immediately, straight in the face, chest and flanks then left her to die.  Her owner was with her when she darted through the fence from her own garden, and he went to retrieve her.  The Vet disproved the farmers lies in court and he was fined heavily and has had to pay for her ongoing Veterinary fees.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Cats on Tuesday - A Hectic Week

A Hectic Week

It has been a hectic week for me.  An almost last minute request for a Roman costume, tunic, armour and helmet, to be made by Monday night and to be worn first thing Tuesday morning by an adult Roman Centurion at a school assembly.
After shopping around in Malton and York I finally found what I needed, the fabric for the armour being most difficult, but I found some silver oilskin eventually and then got to work.  Yesterday I was in panic mode for a while, not sure if I was going to get it finished in time, but I did.

Jet relaxing on my unmade bed, they always look so comfortable I hate to disturb them.  That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.

He found the red feather boa I had bought to use in the Centurion's helmet, lying on the table and promptly sat on it, unfortunately I didn't have my camera handy to take a photo of him.
Rappy also on my bed attending to his grooming, I caught him sitting in this funny position. 

He has continued to nag me whenever I run off down the road to take photo's.  Trying to sneak out when he is not looking is not as easy as I thought, he is ever watchful of his mama.                                                   
Rappy brought us a special present this week, a rather large rat, he was very proud of himself.  I just wish he had not dragged it through the cat flap and brought it all the way upstairs to leave it right in front of the bathroom door on the landing. 
We told him he is a very clever boy and a very good hunter, so I am sure it won't be the last one.
Calli is also a very good hunter, a real mouser. She regularly brings a mouse home, and in spite of the fact she is very well fed, she insists on eating her mice.  Mouse meat must be very tasty.  They never eat the rats though thank goodness.  She has been elusive this week, I think she is rather camera shy.

And below, the cause of my recent panic.

The costume will be worn by an adult during the presentation of a Bible story in a school assembly.

'Open The Book' is popular in a number of schools here and the children really enjoy it, especially when they sometimes get to take part and dress up too.
P.S.  To see some pics of Western Scotland and hear my daughter sing 'Farewell to Tarwathie' - an old whaling folk song - click on the video near top right.

Monday, 3 October 2011

Heat-Wave - Cats on Tuesday

Heat Wave
This week the predicted Indian Summer arrived, we had record temperatures for October in the UK, 29.9 Celsius in several places.  It takes some getting used to after several weeks of rain, wind and chilly weather.

Calli likes to go out and find herself a hideaway under a shrub, or down in the long grass of the lower garden.  Rappy spent most of his time during the day sleeping in our bedroom, and poor Jet didn't like the heat at all, he was quite listless and stayed out of the sun most of the day, he complained a few times and I think he would have liked to be able to take his thick black coat off if he could.

For the past few weeks we have had visitors to our front and back garden every day, one of our neighbours keeps chickens and she has one that has a brood of eight chicks, they seem to enjoy scratching around in our garden, under the bird feeder and in a weedy border were the hedge has been cut back hard.  Rappy and Jet like to watch them from the window, but never bother them.

We had some beautiful sunsets and I would run off down the village road to a good spot to take photo's, neither Rappy nor Jet were happy about that, one evening Rappy followed me to the gate to the road and sat watching me walk away, he kept calling me to come back, and when I finally did, he led me down the garden path, continually looking over his shoulder to make sure I was still following, and chuntering at me all the way.

Two evenings ago Jet actually followed me down the road, which worried me a little, whenever a car came down the other side of the road he would dash through the hedge then reappear when it was gone; but one came on the nearside and instead of nipping through the hedge he panicked and ran into the road in front of it, fortunately the driver who had just come round a bend was going fairly slow and she was able to stop.  Then I picked him up, calmed him and carried him home.  In future I will have to sneak out when they are not looking!

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