Friday, June 29, 2007

How to make a Gingercat

Where did we come from?
Why do we walk so far?
How were we trained?
Sometimes when we walk we meet people and they ask questions for it is strange to see three ginger cats so far from homes and houses, out in the wild lands.
Sometimes She says that She spent years training us to walk.
Sometimes She says that we are a special breed of Welsh walking cats, trained by shepherds in ancient times to do the work dogs do now.
Sometimes She says that we are not real cats but replicants.
Sometimes she talks of St Elvis where the Lady of Many Ginger Cats lives.
But one night, when we were all alone with Her, She told us a story which also might be true.

This is how to make a gingercat.

First find a large pot with a good lid. Then gather together these things

• The sharp edge of a blade, knife, sword or dagger.
• A thimble of salt water from the golden path of the setting sun.
• The shadows between tall stems of grass flowers.
• A clip of the sky at the very edge of the claw moon.
• A small piece of amber, ancient and glowing.
• A flick of flame from a driftwood witch fire.
• The soft breath sound of a whirring moth’s wings.
• A wish spoken once, softly in secret and never ever spoken again.
• Last of all a breath, just one, to bring all to life.

Put all into the pot and stir with the ochre feather fallen from a barn owl’s wing, withershins thrice.
Then bury the pot in the garden under the light of a full moon and wait.
When the night tips over from dark to light dig up the pot and open. Inside should be the smallest of ginger cats.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


We walked in the morning up to the rock on the top of the hill and while we were there the rains came. At first we sheltered in the lee of a rock an the rain blew hard and parallel with the earth, sharp, fierce pin pricks of rain. The we walked home in a lull in the weather, but the rain came again, this time falling straight from the sky, sticks of rain until we were all soaked.
Back home we cleaned and curled to sleep and to find the warm again.

Inside outside

Martha is in the studio supervising the painting.

Elmo is on the plan chest keeping the papers in order.

Maurice is in the garden, exploring the rockery.

Sunshine, stonecrop and heather.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

St. Elvis

We were born in a shed on a farm in a windy place midst green fields at St Elvis. From the farm you can smell the sea and across the fields you can see the houses of Solva.
The farmer’s wife found us and took our mother into the house to keep us safe.

For the first few weeks of our life all we knew was the warm circle of our mother and the voices of children and the smell of cooking. Then She came and we ran round Her feet and the little girl picked up Pixie and She picked up me. Then we were taken from our mother to a house far away.
It was warm, and there were three cats. Still we missed our mother.
But the other day She had an email saying that we had new brothers and sisters. Nine! All ginger.

This is where we came from.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

OK. Who ate my tail!

A small lizard, sloughing its skin, was found in the house by two cats. All it could say was, "have you seen my tail? Elmo kept very quiet, but looked a little sick.
So Maurice and Pixie tried to help the lizard look for its tail. At least that is what they said they were doing when She came along and rescued the poor creature. Meanwhile I was trying to get some sleep. These gingers are monsters!
by Max.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Heads and tails.

Or, tails and......


Or heads and tails. Tom's been fishing again. We love Tom! Mmmmm... fresh fish off a golden plate. What could be better.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Elmo's vigil.

I knew that the time was coming. I was a year old. Every cat has to do it. We walked up to the rock together, Maurice and Pixie and me, and The Lady Debs, who we were looking after while She was away. The sun was already low in the sky. We sat together for a while and then Maurice and Pixie wished me well, and they walked away. For a while The Lady Debs walked up and down, calling, calling for me. She did not understand. Every cat has to do it. As the light faded more she joined the other two, grey cats now in the twilight, and left.
Alone on the rock. Alone for the first time in my life. A year ago She had come to the farm at St Elvis and taken me from the warm circle of my mother’s love. I remembered the day I moved to my new home.
And so the sun sank into the sea, lighting the water with the glow of fire, then colour drained away from the day and the moon rose.
I heard the moon call. An owl answered, ghost bird on hushed wings. The night came alive with noises. The sharp scream of a fox over the valley, owl and nightjar, the clicking, ticking song of the moth echoed by the winged mice chasing through the sky, following the patterns made in the day by swift and swallow. Now the night sky is ruled by bats. Beneath it all the murmured hush lullaby of the breathing sea.
It grew cold and I shivered as the silvered air stroked my fur. The night began to fill with the ghosts or the echoes of those who had lived on the hill. Not just the people, clothed in skins and smelling of the earth, but the ghosts of the forests, of wolf and of bear, hare and eagle.
I closed my eyes and breathed in the night smells, distant honeysuckle, moth-wing and heather and the sharp cutting scent of fox.
In the deepest and darkest part of the night the ghost wolves sang their song to the bone white cat claw moon, and beneath their song I heard the rumbling purr of the wild cats of old. In the sky the stars turned and added their music to the night.
I felt the brush of wings on my fur before I saw her. She landed by my side, the Queen of the Owls, Blodeuwedd. Her claws curved scimitars, sharper than cat claws, her eyes great pools of darkness. I sat as still as ever I could, not daring to breath as she changed and became beautiful, a woman, hair the colour of a barn owl’s wing, skin as white as a barn owl’s breast. She reached out her hand and stroked my head and her hand was so warm in the cold of that night.
We sat together through the rest of the night and she showed me the patterns of the stars, Epona the horse stars, the Great Bear and the Great Cat. I learnt how to find my ay home by the stars and she told me the story of how she came to be. All the while she held me on her lap and stroked me.
The moon set over the sea, a silver path on the black water and even before the sun came again the balance of the light and the night tipped towards day. At this moment Blodeuwedd again became owl and flew away across the valley, singing her song to the moon.
The sun rose and called out across the land and the wren, small queen of all the birds, answered. Soon the sound of birdsong, praising the rising of a new sun, filled the sky. As the bird song rose the moth song sank back to a night time whisper.

Colour flooded back into the world, blue sky bruised by small grey clouds that made shadows dance across the fields. A late fox loped over the heather a pheasant, still warm, held fast in its bloodied mouth. Beside me I found a small mouse, Blodeuwedd’s gift.
On top of the hill I catnapped and waited. All around me butterflies opened their wings to the growing warmth of the sun. Dragonflies rattled past, rainbows held in their flashing wings. Soon Maurice and Pixie brought the Lady Debs back to find me. She was so pleased to see me.
I had survived the long night on the hill, learned the song of the stars, and just before the moon had dipped her silvered claw into the shining sea I had heard her give me my true cat name, my secret name that held the key to the nine lives of a cat.
Together we walked back down the green lane that leads to the house.

Dancing,levitating, magnificent cats.

Talk about "The House of Flying Daggers". Here is "The House of Flying Cats".

Friday, June 15, 2007

Rainy days

Outside the music of the rain played all day, tapping out a gentle cat claw rhythm on the glass then building to a heavy wave of water washing over the roof and back to a steady beat. And so we slept, curled warm in Hannah's room, on the rug, and we waited for the beat of the rain to stop and the breeze to break up the clouds and for the world to be washed clean again.

Storm cat.

She went away for a while. We should have realized something was happening when he went to go and he remembered his dog, but She forgot to get out of his car when She kissed him goodbye. Lady Debs came to look after us and we took her for walks. Before we could even miss Her She managed to find Her way back.

Walking this evening the air was still, but dotted with bird song. Stop for a moment and close your eyes and listen. Around the edges of hearing there is a gentle breathing of the sea. Above the birds talk with an indecipherable musical language. The air smells clean. Then the thunder cat began to roar in the sky and gray cat-clouds gathered with a huge weight of water. The storm cat lashed his tail and roared and ripped at the sky, but the rain fell over other fields as we hurried home.

She brought us back a postcard of a waving treasure cat from a window of a shop.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Cath Palug, the clawed one.

Cats have lived with humans for centuries. We were worshipped in ancient times as gods. Now we live as pets and are shaped by humans to fit their lives. They spay us, they take out our claws. If we have kittens they are taken from us and drowned in water by callous people. They use us as they wish in the name of science.
If we are lucky we are cherished, but many a cat is thrown aside to live or die on the streets.
But once we ruled over people and one day Cath Palug will come again to avenge us.
This is her story, a story told to kittens as they curl in the warm circle of their mother’s fur. A story as rich as the warm cat milk they drink.

She was born on the edge of the land, on the edge of a storm, eyes closed fast against the world, a tiny mewling thing. No comfort from her mother, for she was a wild thing, and magical, born of a wild boar, her sister a wolf, her brother an eagle. All would grow to be the scourge of Arthur’s Britain.
A shepherd found her. He picked up the small, black scrap and she became claws. Deep ribbons of blood flowed from his hands and he threw her from him, out over the cliffs and she fell and turned and twisted and tumbled into the raging waters of The Menai Straits.
Her world became water as down she sank, but she fought against even the power of the Straits, clawing the waves as she swam, away from the land through water so swift the surface was like mirror glass. She swam, and the current pulled her on, until exhaustion claimed her. For a moment she floated, still on the surface, then the weight of water began to pull her down. As she gave herself up to death warm hands scooped her up, wrapped around her and placed her inside a dark warm cave against skin. She slipped into a sleep.

They called her Cath Palug, a miracle cat of claw and bone. She was ever the shadow of Palug’s son, would walk with him, eat with him and slept curled around his head at night. She grew, first as big as a cat, then a hound, then a horse. In any other place the boy would have been burned as a witch along with this unnatural creature, but this was Ynys Mon, the Island of Dreamers. She hunted with Palug’s boy and his hounds and she was ever the swiftest. Her claws were sharp as swords, curved like the new moon, her teeth like daggers. Most times she was the shadow of the boy, but when the moon was full, for a few days she would be gone. No one knew where, but tales would be told of devastation on the mainland, of cattle taken, of hunters who disappeared.
And so Cath Palug came to the attention of the Great King Arthur feasting at his round table in the court at Glastonbury. Boastful and bragging that he would rid the country of all who stood against his rule of law he sent out his knights to hunt the legendary wild lion of Wales. Cai went forth, with many a knight.

The day was hot when the knights came to the shore and looked across the treacherous waters to the Dreamers Isle. Sun glinted on armour and swords and spears. Flags waved in a gentle breeze. In the hush before battle the buzzards called. Distant clouds began to build, dark clouds of raven summoned by rumour of battle. And on the shore of Ynys Mon Cath Palug waited and watched, amber eyes like fire, watching the mice-men.
Little is known of the battle that followed, for humans like only to tell of their victories. Some say that Cai returned to the court of King Arthur with the head of the lion of Ynys Mon as a trophy gift to his lord. They lie.
The battle was fierce and the battle was bloody. Side by side the Dreamers and the cat fought. She clawed and she spat and she ripped and she crushed with claw and with jaw. Her claws ripped the metal of the shields, sliced through armour. Her jaws crushed the helmets and splintered bone. Nine score warriors fell before her and when the battle was over few were left to crawl back home. She feasted with the raven and buzzard and kites on the bodies of these heroes and Cai, seeing his comrades so destroyed, ran into the woods, driven mad by the slaughter until he too died and became food for the wolves.

From that day Cath Palug, the clawed one, disappeared into myth and memory. No one knew where she went, but some say that she swam across the sea to Ireland where she mated with Murchata, the Irish sea-cat. Together they would lash their tails in the water to summon up storms. And together they would swim out into the sea and claw boats down into the watery depths, hunting the sailors like cats hunt mice and amassing a huge treasure hoard. Their children are still seen today by the lucky few, when the moon is a claw moon and the shadows are deep, a movement on a hillside, a dark shape in a forest. These are the children of Cath Palug and Murchata, a shape in the gloaming, a scream in the valley.

At Ynys Mon, every year, the ravens still gather in great numbers. Thousands come from all over Wales and Ireland to roost in the trees and to remember the great battle of Cath Palug.

Tales from the claw moon

Martha, the old one speaks: The moon is fading from full. Gather round cats and soon I will tell you the tale of a cat so fierce from ancient times, from fragment of a poem found in The Black Book of Carmarthen, told by the oldest of bards, unfinshed.
Only we cats know the trues tale of Cath Palog.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Elmo attempts to levitate

Maurice: Nope. I think that is falling, not levitating.
Pixie: Six out of ten for effort. Never mind 'Mo. Keep trying.
Elmo: Listen you two! A minute ago I was doing a front-paw-stand! This is just so impressive even I am amazed at myself.

International washing line week.

We heard on the radio that this week is International Washing Line Week, so just wanted to do our bit to celebrate. Pixie checked out the washing basket to make sure everything was hung up. Elmo swung on the line and tried to hang himself up, while Maurice went around the house gathering up all the socks that had run away. Meanwhile Max sat on the clean things so that they could be washed again because She does so enjoy hanging up the washing to play in the sunlight and breeze against a clear, blue sky.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Do you recognize this teapot?

Tidying up the kitchen today we found a teapot which is somewhat familiar. And so we say, do you recognize this teapot?
It does not belong in our kitchen and underneath it says "this item is ornamental only and not to be used as a teapot". So we ask also, what should it be used for?


Floss was jealous as Bella was getting all the attention, so she dug a hole and posed in the flowers. A very special dog, Floss works only in the binary system and still thinks that there is only one of us. Bit like Mr Griffiths!

Ernest again.

It is not that we are stalking Ernest, but....
Yesterday She tidied Her studio, with a bit of help from us. She is still painting like a donkey, so thought that a clear out might help and we found this, by Tsugouharu Leonard Foujita, a Japanese painter working in France. Must have had a past life as an artist's model.

Clouds rolled away.... an ocean wave and the rest of the world was still there! They left behind flicks of white, cat tail clouds in the blue-est of blue skies. Good to be able to see the world again, and the stars pinned to the night sky.

Monday, June 4, 2007

We found

a picture of Ernest on a bottle of beer.

Yesterday and today

The world has been eaten by cloud. All that remains is our small hamlet and the hillside. We are alone in the universe. The sea is still there. We can hear it purring on the shore.

The lane is so wet and the grasses bent low. Full of flowers. Campion and buttercup, foxglove and navelwort. No butterflies. The air is too heavy for light winged butterflies.

It was yesterday that the cloud ate the world. We did not walk. She painted all day and then settled down on the sofa with our favorite wolfie rug to watch a film. We settled on top like a ginger blanket.
There was some argument as to which film to watch. It went something like this:
Her: CasinoRoyale.
Maurice: No.
Her: Why not?
Maurice: You just want to look at Daniel Craig.
Her: Actually, darling, I want to see Venice.
Maurice: And my mother was a doberman. If you want to see Venice watch The Merchant of Venice. I am given to understand that William Shakespeare was a much better writer than Ian Fleming.
Her: We saw that last week.
Maurice: Well watch it again if you "want to see Venice". I think you missed some of the more subtle plays of language and haven't quite got your head around the treatment of anti semitism in the film.
Her: You aren't jealous are you?
Maurice:(Unpronounceable word in cat language) What you see in that man I have no idea. He looks the sort that wouldn't know what to do with a mouse if he found one in his martini glass. At least with Saun Connery there was a bit of totty in the film. That white cat was a beauty.

With that she put Casino Royale on the computer and Maurice sat around her shoulders and covered her eyes whenever he thought it necessary.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Visiting the ghost cats

Evening. Early twilight, and the world wrapped in a shroud of cloud. We went visiting the ghost cats.
On top of the hill we could hear the waves washing the shore at Whitesands Beach. The air was still and full of the weight of water. The world closed in tight by clouds. At Maes y Mynydd we looked for the ghost cats, climbing the ruined walls.

Here, once, one hundred years ago, a cat sat by the fire after a feast of fish heads and tails, while the men and women mended the nets for the next days fishing by the light of a fish oil lamp. Flames flickered and the cat was warm as he listened to their tales of the sea, and of selkies.

Here, once, the cat sat at the window and watched as carts rolled past carrying the heavy weight of hay to the farm over the hill. Then the cat hunted in the stubble field for the rats and the mice and the rabbits.

And here, now, in the full moonlight, the ghost cats still sit in the windows and warm by the flickering ghost fire as the ghost fishermen still mend their nets and the shadows draw in the night. If you listen you can hear their soft purr riding on the gentle breeze.

Smells lovely

Tom went fishing and he caught three fish. Fresh from the sea, they smelt so so good, and shone with colours like a rainbow.
We love Tom.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Quiet times

The weather cat still plays games. Yesterday it was sunshine beautiful, but on the edges of the sky great castle clouds loomed and threatened the whole day. Evening sky full of bats, the night full of rain. The path to the hill has grown to almost a tunnel of grass and flowers with the sun and the rain. Green, shaded.

On top of the hill the earth was baked and the sun so hot it made us pant.

So we sat down, looked at the view. It was bleached by sunshine. We looked like wildcats on a distant rock.