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Archive for May, 2010

The last few weeks have been a bit chaotic at work resulting in long hours and hard, testing days. Living almost a full hours drive from work, (public transport is nigh impossible), makes the days even longer. My average day for those  few weeks averaged around 12 plus hours per day. As a result, the weeks have felt, and have been, even longer. On most evenings I was happy to sit on the couch, watch TV and check Twitter making the occasiional tweet.. In the middle of these long days we suffered the loss of Coco. The loss was a body blow and for a week or so, it is fair to say, I lost a little bit of heart.

Everything seemed to suffer. I had been asked, contracted,  to vet a teaching support pack something I would normally turn round quite quickly but couldn’t find the time or make the time to do the work. Work on the book and the blogs came to a crashing halt. I couldn’t find the time or the spark that I needed to find in order to write. Not having time is an easy excuse for non-achievement, if you want to achieve, the secret is to make time.

To turn my writing round I had to find time but had to find something to write about that would help me get that rhythm or routine back. The first blog was about Coco, it was quite a difficult blog to write, primarily, due to the content but also in part the drop in confidence in writing. The blog, Remembering Coco, didn’t get many readers but the process was cathartic. I looked at the blog the other night and was quite pleased with it considering the circumstances in which it was written.   I started tweeting a bit more regularly again and a number of twitter friends provided tremendous support and started to restore my confidence. The next step was to find another subject to blog about and ‘Introducing Leo’ was ideal because Leo’s stort was one that I was very comfortable with.The feedback on Leo’s story was great and provided an ideal pick me up.  Over the last week I  have started to edit and vet that teaching pack.

My working hours are still long but beginning to settle down and I’ve started to work on the book again. I’m now making time. What seemed to work for me was

  1. that cathartic piece about Coco, write those feelings down
  2. twitter – speaking with friends (cat lovers and writers) helped considerably
  3. write about something you know. Leo’s story was just that.
  4. make time, on set days or at set times. Work with the family.
  5. Write, write and write.

It took a few weeks to get back. It has meant a delay on the book, also not helped by a delay on the book cover designers part. I’m reworking a couple of chapters, especially the first chapter, but I now feel good about the story. The launch date will be August now but will ne a lot more polished as a result.

http://www.wix.com/bernieboltsbergen/Bernie-2

Speak soon

Rhumtetum

Rhumtetum

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Introducing Leo

This posting came about as  a result of me getting a new mobile (cell) phone. Actually, we both got new phones, the exact same make, the difference being I don’t know how to work the thing properly. Me and mobile phones don’t have the best of histories, so the learning curve for this so called smart phone (it sure ain’t referring to the operator) is a bit on the steep side. One of the phones attractions, apparently, is that it has a really good camera built in. The trick for me was not only to master all the add ons but to master the camera. Leo happened to be in the room, hence the photo and hence the blog.

The eyes in the banner above are those of Leo. His mum was Coco, his dad, Rhumtetum, both sadly no longer with us.. Bringing together two stunning parents, with huge pedigree and show success behind them, doesn’t always guarantee beautiful offspring but with these two I think of the 3 litters they had every single kitten was gorgeous. Leo, as a young kitten, stood out in every way. So we kept him

Leo as a kitten

All our cats, i.e. cats bred by us, are named after Scottish islands or have of the names of Scottish Islands incorporated into the their name. Leo is no different is full name is IsLe of  Ewe (I love you), the Leo coming from within the name.

We tend not to speak of  Leo much, he is a quiet cat who has  lived most of his life in the shadow of his mum, who was a character and a half. He is now three years of age and is a big pussycat by anybody’s reckoning. About this time last year he was a long gangly teenager. He reminded me of a hare; he had a long slender body and when he stretched his legs they just seem to go on forever. Over the last 6 months he has filled out, yet there is not an ounce of excess fat on him. His shadow markings , (spotted tabby) have darkened as he has matured and his blue eyes have developed and they are just incredible.

He is an entire tomcat and his domain is the house, he won’t go out at all, but he will protect the house from any other cat who wishes to come by.  For anything, or anyone else, he is a ‘scaredy’ cat; visitors to the house are surveyed from a distance and in the majority of cases they won’t even know that he is there.  Slightest sight of a little person, anything less than 10 yrs of age, and he is off.

Keeping an entire tom in the house is usually fraught with problems namely their propensity to mark and spray around the house. As a teenager he was a bit of a problem but that has passed. During his teenage years his principal target was the toaster. For some reason the toaster needed to be scented We must have gone through 6 toasters over that period. The smell of bread toasted imbued with an aroma of cat pee is not one that most people would welcome at breakfast time. We learned to hide the toaster and since then his marking and spraying days seem to be over.

Like his mum, he has wonderful markings the perfect M on the forehead and the spectacle lines at he side of the eyes.  But he also has a marvelous physique and he  is the closest thing I’ve ever seen to a big cat when in chase, as one or two of our other cats can testify.  His long powerful back legs provide a spring and a movement which is as much a bound and leap that is both graceful and quick.

He is a mummy’s boy. We talk about cupboard love but that doesn’t apply to Leo. If mum isn’t in, Leo, generally, won’t eat, even if it is his favourite food, Tuna.  He is dedicated to mum, he sits beside her and snuggles in on the sofa. If she is working around the house he will follow like a dog and will meow until mum sits down at which point he will snuggle into mum once more.  On one occasion when we were joking around, mum squealed at which point Leo stood up,  faced us and meowed, as if to warm me off.

Leo

Leo

So that’s Leo. He is a different character but a better housecat you couldn’t find. He is also a bit of a looker in the cat world.

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The holiday Monday started like any other day. Dad did some work on the computer and I was allowed out to do my thing in the garden and everybody seemed fine. After a while I was returned to my pen as Mum and Dad had to go out, but something was wrong. I couldn’t tell dad but I knew that something had happened. I think Dad picked up that I wasn’t quite right but he had seen everyone earlier in the day so there didn’t appear to be any cause for concern.

Anyway, Mum and Dad returned a few hours later and Dad did what he always does when he gets home he came out to speak to us. He shouted my name but I just lay there with my head on my paws. I did, I think after a minute, walk over to him, I meowed quietly and looked up. I think Dad knew at that point, something was wrong. He shouted Coco’s name but Coco didn’t come. He shouted again and whistled, but still no Coco. This time he knew that something was wrong. It was then he found Coco lying dead. She had been bouncing around in the morning and she hadn’t had a minute of illness in her whole life. So finding her was such a shock. Dad was really upset, he fetched Mum who burst into tears.

Coco

Those who have read some of my previous blogs will be aware of my affection for Coco. We came from the same breeder; mum and dad spent a lot of time tracking a tabby point of Coco’s calibre. Me, well I was an afterthought. almost a charity cause. I was quite poorly and mum says that she bought me in order to save me. So we were the same age, came from the same breeder, different breedings, and had been friends forever. Unlike me, Coco took the cat shows by storm and she achieved champion status within a few shows. Her markings even down to the cute thumbprint marks on the ears were just perfect. She was, and still is, the only cat that mum and dad have had professionally photographed, all in all she was such a beautiful creature. She was a perfect, but strict, mother rearing her kittens until they were about 6-8 weeks old; after that they had to come up to the mark. Even her kittens were beautiful. She was a loving cat who adored mum, (more than dad), and she would lie beside her and purr contentedly. But more than that, she was my friend.

The last week has been difficult. Dad buried Coco in the garden on Tuesday and the world has been a much quieter place since last week. Mum and Dad were upset and so was I. People forget or don’t accept that animals have feelings or emotions. Dad knew that I was upset on the Monday, on Tuesday, he kept checking up on me, as I moped around; I still can’t bring myself to go near the spot where Coco is buried. So, we animals do have feelings. Think of Greyfriars Bobby and look at the videos below, the squirrel defending his dead friend and the grieving chimps. As animals we may not communicate the way humans do but that may say as much about humans as does it about us. We sense loss and feel the pain of loss like any other. So remember us when loss does come around but also remember the love and pleasure we share.

We all hope to see Coco at the Rainbow Bridge where we know that she will be reunited with Rhumtetum and Rhumbaba. Until then she will, forever, be in our memories.

All my love.

Costa

P.S. Thanks to all of you who posted such kind words

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