Thursday, 16 December 2010


Candy had to be put to sleep on Tuesday evening. Her kidney disease was discovered when she had a blood test before a routine dental back in August. At the time she was showing no signs of illness. She went on pills and paste, which she accepted when disguised with salmon spread. She went from being a lively, active cat to one that sleeps all day in such a short time I took her back to the vets twice to question her medication, but they said it was fine. Her hind legs grew very weak and wobbly. She struggled on, and I took her back to the vets last Friday. She was given an injection of steriods for her hind legs. It had no effect whatsoever.
On Tuesday evening her front legs folded up, and she all but fell into her litter tray.She had had enough. She was 16 years old, and the only one of my five cats that I have had from a kitten.
I hope she is running around somewhere with Biscuit; the only cat she ever really liked.

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Pot Belly

I live in a tiny house, and my pot-bellied stove provides enough heat to warm all of it, with the exception of the bathroom (soon to have a new heater).
It is stoked up with smokeless coal last thing at night, and I clear the still-hot ashes every morning and get it going again. I took this photo this morning, early, still dark and freezing cold outside. Some more coal and a few bits of kindling wood soon sparked off a warm glow. I gazed at the flames and wished I could just curl up asleep with the cats, instead of getting ready for work and a meeting with our union about redundancies after Christmas.

Friday, 3 December 2010

Paw prints In The Snow

I love the book 'Paw Tracks In The Moonlight' by Denis O'Connor. It's a lovely tale about a unique and extraordinarily trusting friendship between one man and a cat he rescued as a new born kitten. Like all true animal stories, I first have to read the ending to prepare myself, as more often than not the animal is no more. Once I know the outcome I can proceed, and enjoy the memories.

Today I paused to look at tracks of another kind, zig-zagging across the snow. Rabbits, hares, foxes? What did they make of the sudden changes in their familiar landscape?
How far did they have to travel for food?

In the distance is the medieval lighthouse of St. Catherines, or, as it is known locally, the Pepperpot. Once fires where lit inside to warn ships of the treacherous rocks that lie beneath the sea around the most southerly tip of the Island.

Lucky are the blackbirds in my garden. I never clear the old cookers, as they provide food for many weeks. A few kicks brought them to the surface and then in flew the blackbirds, squabbles and territorial disputes put aside for once.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010


It's so cold today! The Isle of Wight often misses out on the snow that falls on mainland south coast, thanks to that little stretch of sea, but this morning the road I live along was covered with slippy, compacted snow. The Military Road runs along the south western coast of the Island. It rarely gets gritted, and always gets the worst of snow and drifting.
Driving in second gear all the way to work, I had IOW Radio on cheerily announcing that all Island roads are clear. Grrrr!
In the village where I work, no sign of gritters either, until a pile up of cars occured along a steep hill and the police had to close the road. Finally news reached all those proudly declaring business as usual that the southern most tip of the Island had treacherous road conditions.......and was the only place not to be gritted by the council!
In my garden a very late nasturtium has flowered, and even the sharp frost and snow was not going to stop it!

On our walk along the Yar estuary last Sunday, we sat on a bench sheltered from the icy wind, and watched the ever-increasing numbers of migrant birds, most of which remain unrecognisable to me but all seem to have lovely, haunting calls. I could sit there for hours watching the comings and goings.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Rolly's Tail

Rolly has had a painful lump halfway down his tail. I knew it was an abcess, a result of his constant little battles with Whiskers. He is prone to abcesses whenever he gets a wound, and they make him very grumpy indeed.
He growls at me if I try to check it. He growls at himself when it hurts. His coat has a woolly layer of fluff next to his skin, which makes it almost impossible to see anything. With scratches all over my hands, he was bundled into the carrier and off to the vets we went.
The vet managed to have a good look, albeit with Rolly's head squashed deeply into my tummy. It was an abcess, and it had opened. He had two injections, just in case I could not bathe it.
He is already looking happier, warming his poorly tail by the pot bellied burner.

A few photos from out walk. Didn't see any squirrels again. This is usually the best time of the year to watch them. I hope they didn't suffer too much from the bad weather we had earlier in the year.

These ducks had found a warm spot, sheltered from the biting wind by the reeds.

I finished my squirrel. It's taken from a photo I took last winter.

Monday, 1 November 2010

Tinted Pyrography

I have tinted these two pieces with ink. Should I or shouldn't I? That was the question! I didn't want to loose the pyrographic 'sepia' look, the natural colour of the burnt wood, but at the same time I wanted to highlight some parts of the pictures, especially the blue of the heron and the red hawthorn berries the sleepy dormouse has stashed away in his nest. I decided to use inks, so the grain of the maple wood base will still show through. I am pleased with the result.

Sunday, 24 October 2010

In my shed.....

I can shut everything out and sit in a little square (well, it's 4' by 5' actually), keep nice and warm with the heater on, the radio on and just do my pyrography happy with the knowledge that when I leave something unfinished I don't have to clear everything away. In the ideal world I would have a spare room, but my tiny house is an ex holiday chalet. It looks like a tiny bungalow, white washed and cosy inside but no spare room. I won't say there's no room to swing a cat, because I have five!
So after a lovely walk down the old railway track, I spent a couple of hours in here. I'm doing a red squirrel on an acorn-shaped cutting board. It will be sitting in an oak tree eating an acorn when it's finished, and will be available on my Folksy site.
We didn't see any red squirrels today. I have plenty of photos of them, but I decided to use a book for reference as I needed clear details of their paws.

The cats are fascinated with the novelty of a new room to explore, even if it only takes a few minutes. There's always fresh smells to interest them. Here's Whiskers sniffing around the chair, which, incidently, I got from B&Q for £3.99, as it has a slat missing beneath the cushion. I painted it white to match the inside of the shed.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

The Cotswolds

In February my old fiesta gave up the ghost, and I had to replace it. The car I got is not new, in fact it's a W reg so it's already 10 years old, but it's the newest car I have ever owned and it has opened up my travelling options when I visit my parents in Leicestershire. I have just returned from my second car journey from the Isle of Wight to the Midlands, and decided to stop somewhere in the Cotwolds as my half-way point, and continue the rest of the journey by following the Fosse Way Roman Road which runs right up to Leicester.
The stop I chose on the way there was Burford. It was a Sunday, but really busy! So sunny as well, with the lovely, honey-coloured stone glowing in the sunlight.

On the way home, I decided to visit Stow-On-The-Wold. Again, a lovely, sunny day made all the difference to this busy little town. So many tea rooms, and a great bakery! I paid for a 2 hour car park ticket thinking that would be plenty of time, and only just got back before it expired. I walked round the church on the way back to the car, and there was this amazing door, bordered by two very ancient yew trees.

Friday, 17 September 2010

A Boat Trip

Today I went out on an old steam paddle ship called The Waverley. It takes pleasure trips round the Isle of Wight, or, in this case, a two hour trip from Yarmouth pier, round the Needles and back. For anone who doesn't know the Isle of Wight, the Needles are a line of jagged rocks that stick out of the most westerly point of the Island. There is a light house on the last rock. We sailed past the coloured sands of Alum Bay, where thousands of visitors collect sand of different colours and have it displayed in glass containers. We went past Freshwater Bay, and continued along the south coast. I live on the south coast, and I didn't know we were going so far. I zoomed in to the area where I live, but it as just a little too far away.
Although I live by the sea, I only venture on it when I need the ferry to get on and off the Island. Yachting is not my idea of fun, but it was lovely to see all the other sailors and fishermen wave at us as we steamed-paddled past.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

My Shed

At last I have a shed to sit in and peacefully do my pyrography whilst listening to radio 4. What utter bliss! D has two, larger sheds of his own. One is where he paints his abstracts, and the other is where he stores them. This is neccessary because his early paintinge were 5' by 4'8" or thereabouts, and he has about 30 of them.
A few years ago he reluctantly decided to go smaller, and they are now about 2.5' by 3.5' (I guess, looking at the one on my wall in front of me)
Anyway, I digress. I have been umming and ahhing over a shed for years.We do not have much room. My tiny home is at the distant end of my landlady's very large and rambling ancient orchard, so although we have in theory loads of space for cats to race about in, it's not ours so shed building has to be restricted. My landlady can see D's sheds from her house. We had them painted dark green to be as unobtrusive as possible, and she is happy with them.
As landlady's go, she is very cool about most things. I don't even have to notify her when another cat arrives to live with us, but I don't want to take advantage of the situation, so my shed had to fit snugly in the courtyard bit (sounds far too up-market for a bit of concrete) behind the house. To do that, and not obscure the windows, it had to measure just 5' by 4'. I worried and worried about feeling too claustrophobic, and once it was up having to abandon my dreams and just use it for garden tools!
Now it is so nearly finished. Just need a few shelves, and it is wonderful to work in. A little space of my own! So quiet, unless I tune in to radio 4. I have not done any work since the shed idea started to take shape. We are soon to have an exhibition of art by staff at the library where I work, and I am itching to finish some pieces and design a display.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Sunny Afternoon

Rain was forecast, so the sun was a bonus! My half day spent painting the inside of my new shed, all ready for moving all my pyrography gear into.
Just time for a quick sit down with my camera, and there, in front of me was a ladybird climbing up a cane. I watched it get to the top, expecting it to fly, but no, it just about turned and climbed down again. A few minutes past, and there it was, at the top. Hesitated, looked all set for take off.....but no, it changed it's mind and went back down again.
I took some photos from my position on the bench. Cats, mostly. Finished my drink, closed my eyes for a few seconds in the sun, opened them and watched the ladybird climbing back up to the top.
I got up and walked away. There's only so much excitement one person can take in a day.


Sunday, 5 September 2010


Walked along the old railway track, and ....."as if by magic".....a variety of toadstools have emerged on the side of the track. I have no idea what variety they are. I always intend to look them up in a book, but I never do.

Drat, the last two pics are sideways!

Kitty has settled in well. We've had her about three months, now, but it seems like she has been here for ever. She still sleeps in our bedroom, but seems more reluctant to join us in there, so the time is right to leave her with the others at night.