Thursday, 30 March 2017


No, not the musical. Which I've never seen, though I loved Old Possum's Book of Cats and used to know a couple of the poems off by heart - Skimbleshanks the railway cat was my favourite, followed by the Jellicle cats.

I was making a card to share this week using a lovely Siamese cat image from Art Neko, and it prompted me to dig out a couple of old memories - and photos.

As a family, we always had cats, usually three at any given time. Many were rescues, but we had a couple of more pedigree ones, and one was indeed a Siamese; Pandora. It has to be said that of all our cats she was the least likeable in terms of personality, and most like what non-cat people think of as typically feline, selfish and self-contained. But - she did love travelling in the car and consequently came on a few family holidays with us, so here's a photo of me, aged about 8 or 9, up in Donegal, the north-west corner of the country.

My own cat, whom I had from when I was about four or five till - well, she stayed at home longer than I did and lived on till after I was married, was also more pedigree than most - a Siamese-Burmese. And she was a sweetheart. My mother said that when I was very small, she always knew when I had gone to sleep because that was when Andy would join the rest of the family downstairs until they went to bed and then she'd return to my room. At one stage my mother thought she wasn't doing my bronchitis any good and tried banning her from the bedroom, but after a couple of nights when she kept everybody awake throwing herself against my door and crying, the ban was revoked. When a car hit her and broke her back leg she still insisted on sleeping on the bed, and after a couple of years recovery time was soon back ratting again. She was a devoted mother - no rats for her kittens, she managed to catch and bring rabbits back to the house a couple of times while they were still little.

Brambles was a much later addition to the family, well after I had left home. His owners were moving, and my parents took him in. He'd previously been a 100% indoor cat, and for a couple of months he lived on his own in an upstairs room while he acclimatised to the idea of living with other cats - and a dog. But as you can see from the photo below, he took very happily to spending time outdoors in the sunshine.

The card was made very simply, I inked the image with markers and huffed before stamping. A lovely line image like that doesn't need much!

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Birds and foliage...

 It was hard to capture the lilies starting to grow under the water, but this is close to what I saw.

Wooden garden bench

Monday, 27 March 2017

Magnolia and Cherry

The title says it all. I love magnolias, I think they are so beautiful and sculpturual.

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Ici le Gare du Nord

When C first started learning French, he had the Linguaphone course. He still quotes some of the dialogue from it on occasion, and one of the lines he frequently uses is a telephone conversation when someone has rung the train station looking for information. The dialogue starts something like this - "Bonjour, ici le Gare du Nord, les renseignements" (information).

Yesterday we had a very brief trip to Paris. We were lucky to get a non-stop train directly from the airport to the Gare du Nord. As our onward train left from the same station, we just spent an hour in the locality. We had lovely coffee and pain-au-chocolat in a corner bakery for our breakfast (not even having had time for coffee at the airport as the flight boarded early), and bought some sandwich rolls for lunch, which we had almost straight away! We'd seen two little nearby green patches on the map in my guide-book; the nearer one turned out to be a tiny little park in front of  the church of St. Vincent de Paul. We sat on one of the benches, enjoying the sunshine and our sandwiches - and then it was time to head back to the station to get the train again.

A big plus was that we put our watches an hour ahead yesterday, giving us a slight adjustment to daylight savings starting today; we just never bothered changing them back again when we arrived home at 10.30 local time last night.

Today was so beautiful and sunny that even though we were more than a little tired, we headed over to Farmleigh for a walk in the morning, and I hope to be back during the week with a few photos from there.

Friday, 17 March 2017

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Recently read:
A Boy Made of Blocks by Keith Stuart -  written by the father of an autistic boy, about an autistic boy. It has an implausibly happy fairytale ending but I really enjoyed it.
Dead Man's Blues  by Ray Celestin- set in gangster-era Chicago, with Louis Armstrong in a cameo role. He has another previous book  in the same series which I have ordered from the library. Slow-paced  but some of the most lyrical and beautiful writing I have come across recently.

Friday, 10 March 2017


Two cards using images from the set of 9 Flowered ATCs from Art Neko: the daffodils are really breaking out all over the place now and it's lovely to see. They brighten a grey day and make a brighter one shine.

Both were made with fun backgrounds - the daffodils was done using spray starch on glossy white card, sprinkled with Brushos and with cling-wrap laid over. The poppy was done for a direct-to-paper challenge, simply swiping some distress ink pads onto the paper, then embossing and dusting with the soft pink. The orange butterflies were a failed first attempt - I used an eraser while they were still damp, trying to removed excess chalk from the background. I did that alright, but I also caused the surface of the paper to pill so it was no longer suitable for use as a focal image.

The flower sentiment is also from Art Neko, and the Happy Birthday letters were formed by stamping a vertical birthday sentiment twice - the spacing between the letters was just enough to allow me to punch them out, so long as I edged the circles in black .