Juggling life through a bi-polar lens. Sometimes up, sometimes down. Mostly trying to tread water in the middle. Creating a likeness to a normal life. Whatever "normal" is...

Monday, 25 March 2013

The Magnificant Seven

I will double check, but I made it 23 candles in 5 countries lit for Scooter! THANK YOU ALL! We are going to round it up to £75 £100(!) for Colchester Cat Rescue.

Now, here are the promised biographies of the cats I've been lucky enough to share my life with:
 1983- 2000, Katie-cat, from Cats Protection sanctuary, age 18 months and tiny. They had rescued her from a bunch of schoolboys who'd been 'using her as a football'.
I can't seem to find a photo of Katie when she was very young. I think my Mum has them in an album :)
Katie could sleep in any place, in any position.

 We moved house and Dad got us a cat. No more dogs, he said, as losing them was too painful. If only he knew! Did he really imagine cats were easier to let go? He doesn't believe that now, he has had several over the years since... Katie-cat passed in April 2000, age around 18 1/2.
She was an excellent mouser and once took on a rat that was over half as big as herself! She was tolerant and welcoming, letting a neighbour's cat walk right in with her kittens in tow, when the neighbour neglected to feed them.
 Here's me, taking wee Katie to the vet for the final time. For the last few years there was no need for a cat-carrier, she was so trusting.

1991 - 1996, Sam, a stray who came to live with me in my first 'own' home. Little by little -at first he was too nervous to come into the house so I left food on the doorstep. Then he'd come in to eat, but only if I hid. Eventually he became so affectionate, so special. He would lie belly-up with his head on my pillow. He loved to snuggle up.
 Sam, my tabby prince...

Helping with the decorating in 1993

Loving the sunshine in the garden...

Cuddles with Mummy

A beautiful mackerel-tabby. My first real introduction to being a cat mama. He taught me lots. He passed in 1996, age about 8. Someone shot him with an air rifle. 
1993 - Mama Cat and kits-
Mama-cat, the most elegant black cat you ever could imagine. Have you seen The Aristocats? Do you remember the white cat, Duchess? Well Mama was a black version. You would believe she was a ballerina, she was so dainty, graceful and poised. HUGE golden eyes. She would sit up on the table near the kitchen door each morning and wait for me to give her a forehead-to-forehead rub, which, as all cat people will know, is really special.
She came calling at my back door in early 1993, in thick snow. She was obviously pregnant so I had to help her. I invited her in slowly, watching to see that Sam didn't mind. Gradually she settled, and gave birth in my linen cupboard to 4 beautiful kits.  At first I thought I should re-home them, so once they were a few months old I tried to find new owners. But I didn't trust any of the people who came to see them, and chose instead to keep them all.

Mama passed in 2003, from an inoperable cancer in her mouth. We were so sad, and her kits missed her terribly.

FIGS- March 23rd 1993- June 25th 2005 (I originally called this kitty Figaro, but then I discovered he was a she, hence 'Figs'!)
A black and white girl, SUCH soft fur. We now use the memory of that fur as a measure of softness. We touch something in a shop like a soft bath robe or cushion and we say, "Look! Feel! It's Figgy's belly!" 

Figs & Mama, grooming.
Their GOLDEN eyes didn't come out on film very often!
 When she was 3, Figs was shot with an air rifle and went blind in her right eye. It never held her back.
Figs climbing the curtain
Going worra-worra-worra with a catnip mousie
Look at that bellah!

VERY affectionate and silly and funny. She would lie belly up and let me blow raspberries on her tummy!
I had to say farewell to sweet Figgy in 2005, because of cancer.

WELLINGTON - March 23rd 1993 - ?
A black boy, Scooter's twin, EXCEPT he had much, much shorter hair, He was more 'snouty' and had an Oriental sounding meow. 

He could really talk to you, he sort of chortled. So full of character. But he kept going missing for days, weeks at a time. One time when he didn't come back I called all the vets. The PDSA had treated a cat of his description for a displaced hip, due to a road accident (5 or 6 miles from home). 
I contacted the man that had found him and had got him treated. He said that as Welly hadn't been claimed he'd been happy to take him home. 
Welly seemed happy when I went to visit but purred and purred and purred when I held him, so I tried to bring him home, but he wouldn't settle. So the man, Andy Bathgate I recall was his name, came to collect him and adopt him.
He went to live with him and his golden Labrador where Welly soon claimed the dog's bed and ruled the roost.
I missed him terribly, but I think he just wanted to be in a one-cat household. I often wonder waht happened to Scooby's brother, and hope he did ok...

Wellington(top) and Mama

FLUFFY -March 23rd 1993- December 13th 2010
When I looked in on Mama in the linen cupboard that morning, to check she was ok, I counted her babies... 1...2....3...oh, what a clever girl you are, I said. 3 babies! And there were indeed 3 kitties at her tummy. But Mama moved slightly and lifted herself up, and a little bundle of thin grey fur rolled out from under her chest and chin. This was Fluffy. Though it took a month before she was fluffy. At first, she was called Midge, as she was tiny and had only very fine hair. Mama had been keeping her tucked up warm.

 A few weeks old, at the bottom of the linen cupboard...little pairs of navy-blue eyes look up at me...
 I still have the rosette Fluffy won for PDSA 1993 "Cutest Kitten" photo competition
 Completely zonked on catnip
She would find the most beautiful poses.
Fluffy passed away from renal failure a couple of months before her 18th birthday. She was playful, mischievous and loving. Though she looked like butter wouldn't melt in her mouth, she was the only one of my cats that could actually growl!!!! - and did so at Scooter whenever he tried to get her off a chair or move from the fire. They would 'box' up on their hind legs like March hares but only really 'hit' the air in between them!

SCOOTER- March 23rd 1993 - September 17th 2011
My Best Boy.
I know others mean well when they tell me to take in another cat. I have given it some thought. But my heart is still brimming with love for this boy. I am crying as I type! It isn't time to move on yet, as there are still so many things I have to tell him. So many things to say to him. I cannot put that away on a shelf yet. (I can't even put his bed away, or his cushion from the windowsill). It's like there is unfinished business. I need to stay close to him. Maybe in the future I might be able to give a home to an elderly cat in need. I don't think I'd like a youngster again, not after the wisdom I knew behind Scooter's eyes.

Scooter & Wellington being 'bookends' -looking out of the gap of an old sash window in my old house.
 Sometimes we'd put the chairs up on the old table when we hoovered. They then had to stay there for hours because the cats thought it was a great place to climb and chill out... Scooter took up two chairs of course!
Um... yeah, drinking out of the kitchen sink!!
Best Boy, he of the secret smile....

 I miss that soft velvet bellah

I hope my kitties felt loved and safe. I know I made mistakes, it was a learning curve. I was a better cat-carer in the later years. I had to learn, listen, watch, read... but I grew into someone who would do anything for them. They loved me all along, they just waited for me to catch up. That's how it is with animals, I now think. They love unconditionally once they decide they can trust you. And you love them as much as you think you're able, but then you grow and learn, and maybe, with their example, you love them as much back as they love you. Not all pet owners take the time to do it. Not all think about it.

There's a story doing the rounds on Facebook. It's about the reaction of a 6 year old boy when his precious dog is put to sleep. The vet has not yet left, and the adults are all chatting, asking why it is that dogs have to have lives so much shorter than ours. 
The little boy pipes up, "I know."
They stop talking and look at him. "Why is it then? What do you think?"
And the boy tells them- 
"Because we have to learn to be kind and loving but dogs know that already, they don't have to learn it, so they don't have to stay as long."

**** *** **** *** **** ***
Love, tea & cake,  

Saturday, 23 March 2013


Well, here it is: Scooter's 20th Purrday...

St Clare of Assisi: but wait, what's that at her feet? Is it, can it be... CATS?? YES! Because she is patron saint of cats!

The candles are lit...

In the garden, over their 'patch'. (There are usually 5 candles, but 2 of my candle-holders aren't snow-proof)

Next to Scooter's big 'canvas' photo. He watches over us from the top shelf here. That lovely felt heart was made by Helen, Little Leon's mum. (The candle is a battery one, which flickers, don't worry I'm not planning a fire...)

On the mantelpiece...hard to read here, but on the glass is engraved "Katie, Sam, Wellington, Mama, Figs, Fluffy, Scooter... run free and purr, dear ones."

I love this birthday card, which arrived today from Diane and Woodstock the Bear (their blog is http://blue-startingover.blogspot.co.uk -I can't seem to get that link embedded. Must be a blogger glitch.). It really touched me to get this on the day itself! Thank you, Di!

 A Purrday Cake.... an Angel Cake, as they were- and are- my angels.....
(In case you don't know what Angel Cake is like inside...)

 THANK YOU, everyone who has helped me through this week. All the texts, emails, comments, all the lit candles.

I've had a lump in my throat all day. This morning I just couldn't get up. I stayed put till the afternoon. But I had a lovely dream;

I dreamt that I went home to where I lived as a little girl, and I was a girl again. As I rang the doorbell my dog, Tog, from those times, ran up to greet me. He was up on his hind legs and pawing me and I made a fuss of him.
Once indoors, I don't remember where he went. Then I was all grown up again. I sat on the sofa and Fluffy jumped up to my lap. I made a great fuss of her, and she was purring and stretching and her paws were going in-out-in-out. I scritched round her ears and snozzled her toes and all the silly things she used to love. It seemed to last for ages.
Then, mum came in, and asked who I was talking to. I was surprised, but then I realised that mum couldn't see her. I told mum she was there, but she thought I was just being mad. I took her hand and pulled it over to Fluffy's back. There! She could feel her! So she knelt down next to us and stroked her.
She had tears in her eyes, and said, "Oh, I've waited YEARS to stroke her!"
Then Luvbug came in, and he couldn't see her either. I told them both to close their eyes and trust that she was there, and reach out- they could both feel her there, and both stroked her and talked to her...
I woke up as the three of us were cuddling her.

I have been thinking a lot about Fluffy recently. Whenever I try to talk to Scooter, there she is, in my mind. It's as though she's asked him to tell me she's there too, or to tell me to realise that she is still around as well.

Maybe the dream is a message- close your eyes and reach out because they really are there.

I'm off to finish my post about all my cat now. I've been collecting their photo's together. The scanner is a bit slow so I am doing photo's of photo's. Be back soon....

   Happy Purrday, my sweet ones... thankyou for all the love you shared... I miss being your Mama.... I miss you all....

Thank you, Karla, for this last picture..
"In Heaven you get all your old cats back."

**** ***
Love, tea & cake,  

Sunday, 17 March 2013

A strange week ahead....and donating to Colchester Cat Rescue

 Today it is 6 months since Scooter passed away. 

-And this coming Saturday, the 23rd, would have been his 20th birthday. So this will be a strange week....

I know that not all of you will get this, but some of you will, so here goes.
I want to ask if you would please light a candle -real or virtual- for Scooter and his kitty family, some time this week, especially on his birthday. I will make a donation to my local Cat Rescue for each candle lit.

This is the first March in 30 years that I haven't been carer of a cat. It would really help if you did this, as well as sending out a 'thank you' to all the kitties that have shared my life..... I will do another post next weekend, with a photo and short bio of each cat (all 7!).


-It only takes a minute....
If you follow this link you can light a virtual candle: Gratefulness.Org
You don't need to join anything, and you won't get junkmail; you're not asked to put in an email address.
When you input the info asked for, please type "Scoot" for group name. -This way all Scooter & Co's candles will be on one page to be seen together.
Each candle burns down gradually over 48 hours.

Next week I will send a donation to Colchester Cat Rescue in memory of all my pusscats. I already have a figure in mind, but I will add £1 to it for every candle lit.  So please leave a comment here if you light a candle, 

  • whether in the virtual candle website,  
  • or by copying + pasting the gif. at the top of this post to your blog,
  • or by lighting a real candle at home.
Thank you in advance, for all your kindness and support...

**** *** **** *** **** ***
Love, tea & cake,  

Tuesday, 12 March 2013


Miss Peach's momma, Karla, encouraged me to join an ATC swapping group that she's been a member of for a while. I'm really enjoying it :) 

Here are the ones I did for February's swaps...

Theme: "Yellow and Orange" 
I didn't sign up for this one originally, then I thought "Aha! I know: A ginger tabby!" and then I HAD to do it... This pusscat is a "Magnolia" cat stamp, and I drew the rest. He is sitting on the wall on 3D foam pads and he's holding a silver charm fish. For colour, I've used Promarkers.

Theme: "Children With Wings" 
I love doodling stained glass....
I found a website that gives free vintage photo images. You can't make them very big but they're ideal for ATC size...
That's my Indigoblu gilding flakes on the wings there...Promarkers again for the colouring, little paper flowers and baker's twine.

Theme: "Nautical"
I covered the card with gloopy PVA glue, then stuck some kitchen tissue onto it, and pushed it about, squishing it and moving it, leaving raised, squashed ridges in it. It had a pattern of blue and purple squares on it and I used this to form a suggestion of blue ocean, or perhaps the distorted view of mosaic in a swimming pool..... then added some acrylic bubbles... I like this one.

Theme: "Wordsworth"
I didn't want to do daffodils, I thought that would be too obvious :) so I looked up some more of his poems and found one called "The Wren's Nest", in which the little nest is hidden from predators by a primrose... I used an old farthing for the bird as these cute little coins had a wren on them. The flowers & leaves are made with a small cutting die (I've acquired a die cutting machine at last!) and as I didn't have yellow paper I used a post-it note pad :) In the background, I originally went over the card with blue Promarkers and then stuck a gold skeleton leave to it.
Ah yes, and this is Little Baby Bear Bob Jr, or Elb, for short.

I'm pleased that for this first swap, I am partnered with Karla :) I love her style and all her arty stuff, so I'm really looking forward to seeing what she's made. It's lovely to be looking forward to your mail in the morning, isn't it?

Thanks for getting me involved, Karla!! :)
  **** *** **** *** **** ***
Love, tea & cake,  

Sunday, 3 March 2013

How to draw a mandala

So relaxing. Must have a go at this.

What do you think?
If you have a go, send me a pic or a link; I'd love to see it.

**** *** **** *** **** ***
Love, tea & cake,  

A Nightmare....

Pretty low yesterday evening. Then I got myself all wound up by going over and over something horrible that someone had said. Why do I give them the head-space?

 Anyway, I went to bed around 9pm. Not been sleeping much lately so needed to catch up. Plus, I had given up on the day.

I pretty much slept through to 6 this morning, other than a stir when Luvbug brought me my meds. But in the night I had an awful nightmare.

-I was calling out apparently, so Luvbug shook me awake and said "It's ok, it's ok..." In my dream he and I were sitting in the living room in the evening and he had put something on to cook for dinner. I thought I smelled something burning, so I asked him if the food was ok. "No it's fine," he said, "I'm timing it, it's ok."
But I heard crackling, too, so went out to the kitchen to check.
There, by the oven, was Luvbug, stirring the food. I thought, "HOW the??" and looked back into the living room, where he was still seated.
Convinced this must be a hallucination I called Luvbug out and he came and stood next to me. I pointed to the man by the oven and said, "Do you see him? Do you see him?" Then I remembered that the way to make a hallucination disappear is to prove to your own brain that it isn't there- by touching it. So I tried this. I held Luvbug's hand, and then reached out to the 'other Luvbug' by the oven. He leant towards me and took my hand! I started crying, panicking and screaming, "How do I know which is real which is unreal? I can touch both of you! How can I tell which of you is real??" and this is what I was shouting when Luvbug woke me.

I told Luvbug the dream and he hugged me and said it's ok...

As I settled down to sleep again, I heard a few steps on the stairs, then a little meow. I said, "That's Scooter. He's checking I'm ok..."
We both went "Awww.." and got back to sleep.

**** *** **** *** **** ***
Love, tea & cake,  

Friday, 1 March 2013

Gelatin Plate Printing

This is fascinating. I could watch this woman all day!
I've seen soft plates for printing on sale, and never really understood how they would be useful. This video uses a home made gelatin plate, and there is also a video in the series that shows you how to make one.
Looks great fun!!
I think I'll save this for when it's warmer and get outside and have a go on the garden table as I'm likely to redecorate in the process!

**** *** **** *** **** ***
Love, tea & cake,