Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Helping paws

The barest whisker of a cat-claw moon hides behind a pelt of thick cloud and only the brightest of stars shines its light on the world, and She is frantic with doodling to try and finish Her book on time. So I, well, I, must rest for her. And this I do well.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Paws crossed

Mr Griffiths

The house still waits, hidden behind a hedge of thorn, for Mr Griffiths to come home. He looks small in the hospital, out of place, and feels so too. His days are spent in waiting also, waiting, dreaming, remembering, lost in time and place, and with all the cats that have ever measured out his life beside him. A litany of cats, Daffyd, Blackie, Smokie, Ebril, Ewan the ginger, his old lame fox and Owain the blind badger, and more cats whose names I don't remember. All waiting.
My copy of Welsh Homes arrived and in it is a photograph of Glyn, so proud, holding the massive Ebril in his arms. In the other photos are images of Glyn in Africa, in his uniform, old photos hanging on the wall, and the markers in the garden of the cats' graves.

On the edge of the rain, walking

It was a blue sky morning and so we went walking, past the studio where She should have been working and through the farmyard which was mud mud mud.

In the green lane that leads to the top of the hill fragile mosaics of broken snail shell still lay on the saturated surface of the path. To one side of the path blue sky, on the other side the sky held a weight of water. Even as we walked the wind began to rise again, but the world was still all sunshine and sharp shadows.

On top of the hill we looked across the landscape. Everywhere bright pools silvered the land. In the sky a darkness was coming, bruising the heavens to inky blue. The air began to thicken with water. We turned for home, and all the way back were on the edge, the very edge, of the storm.

We could hear the rain falling in heavy drops dripping, we could hear the wind beginning to roar, we could hear as it rattled and ran through the black thorn bushes. But we were sheltered in the green lane and though the storm chased us through the farmyard mud we made it home to the cosy house, safe and dry.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Elmo the Bold

In the late evening we walked up the hill, just me and Her, through the farmyard mud to the hill top high where the ponies grazed. The air was still and cold. And while we were away Pixie and Maurice sneaked into Her studio and photographed the other table. Not the one where She works but the one where everything else lives, the pile that grows higher every day, the chaos. She took a moment away from Starlight to paint on some prints, a leopard, curled cat.

Now it is late. All are curled tight or prowling the kitchen hoping for a snack. Outside the wind cat rages and pushes her paw through the cat flap trying to snatch away the warmth from the house. The sliver of moon that remains in the sky gives no light and the light of the moon is once again taken to the land of the shadowcats. The doors and windows rattle and the rain washes over the roof like a wave. Storms are always worse by night.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Oh dear!

We all used to laugh at Kath's dog Puzzle. Her tongue was so long it would hang out the end or the side of her mouth. Puzzle is Rosie's aunty. Now we see that Rosie has Puzzletongue!

Meanwhile as the dogs run on the beach we dream of walking and wait for sunshine.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

I would just like to point out...

.... that while your diet is very varied, cat is NOT on the menu!

And this week Rosie has mostly been eating
a plastic spade
the potato peeler
a slipper
sponge for cleaning the kitchen
cat food
dog food
rabbit poo (small like raisins)
kitchen roll
toilet roll
stream water
a chocolate wrapper (or two, maybe three)

And the favorite this week?

Waiting and hoping

In the hospital the man wanders around the ward. Confused by illness he wants only to go home. Around him he sees not the beds and bars of the hospital, but heather and heath of the island where once he worked in his youth, through a hot summer, building walls, reshaping a cow shed. And with him are all the cats that have ever shared his days and his life.
Next door the house waits, patient, but with each day it looks a little sadder. If a house can have a heart, a soul, the soul of this one has been taken away.
At night no light shines from the window through patterned curtains. In the morning no glow disturbs the late twilight of diminishing dark. There is no sound of muffled radio voices, just silence, stillness and waiting as if the house itself is holding its breath.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Sunday, January 18, 2009


In the bright light of early morning Nadolig sat on the doorstep waiting for Glyn to wake and open the door. Last night the storm was fierce. Nadolig sheltered in a shed in a straw bed. We took him a plate of food, a bowl of water and told him to wait, be patient, Glyn would come back. And She took photos to take into the hospital for Glyn, of the cat, of the house.

Nadolig is a wild cat, a strong cat, a roamer. In summer he wanders the hill, Casanova of cats. He will visit, now and again, sit in the garden, pass the time of day. In winter he returns and measures out the days until spring, warm by the fire in the old house that whispers stories of cats long gone, by the fire, or curled on Glyn's lap, keeping him company, keeping him warm.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Treleddyd Fawr

It is said that Treleddyd Fawr was built in 1760. Some time around then it was made, from field stones and some dressed stones, gathered together by old hands and young, it grew out of the land around. And even as it grew the cats came to watch. The small cottage, two bedrooms and a parlour, low squatting against the wild winter weather, lime-washed in summer, the roof grouted with lime over slates from Abereiddi.
Storms washed over her and inside the family sheltered, warm around the chimney fawr, telling stories and singing songs, Always beside them a cat would sit quietly, licking her paws, and listening, remembering.
In 1930 Mr Griffiths, his wife and three sons came to the house. The children played in the farmland around, and grew and time moved them all on. Glyn travelled the world, to Africa and back to the small white house by the sea, where he settled down to a quiet life walking the cliffs, listening to birds and seals and talking the ghosts of Maes y Mynydd and always to cats. You could always tell where he was by the small flock of birds that followed above.
Many came to him to learn of the history of the land and the house and he always had time to talk with those who would listen.
In summer there was always a cat on the doorstep in the sunniest place, in winter they settled together by the fire, nodding together, lost in thought and in memory.
Now he alone remains, his brothers have passed away. Now with him only Nadolig sits, on the step in the summer, by the fire in the winter, listening, remembering, waiting.

The photographs above are by David Wilson.
Here you can watch an interview with David where he visited Glyn.
Glyn has appeared many times on both television and radio talking about his house. It featured in a television program recently on S4C, the Welsh language television channel and there is a book that accompanies the series with beautiful photographs of Glyn and the house in sunshine.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Sad house crying in the rain

Mr Griffiths, who has measured out his life in cats, who lives in the house next door, whose long days span almost a century, went into hospital yesterday. He was very ill, but as he was cared for and warmed through and as he ate he has rallied and is now much stronger again already. A few days in hospital should set him right again.
In the meantime his house is sad and we miss him.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

A helping paw.

Knowing that She is very very busy painting, and spotting a pile of washing up waiting to be done, I decided the best thing to do was to lend a helping paw.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Sticky whiskers

All this week Hannah has had an unusual breakfast made with milk and sort of oat things. Kiffer tried to get into her bowl, and being a nice girl Hannah shared.

Meanwhile She continues to ignore us and paint paint paint!

New sofa, old cat out-takes.

Preening prior to posing for photos. Such elegance!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Martha the firehog

Outside the wind roars to say that she is back. Inside someone is hogging the fire!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Rising wind

We walk around the village in the milky moonlight of a clouded full moon night. The moonshadows are softened by cloudlight. We see the barn owl, a fragile scrap of white, caught in the moonlight and lifted high by the paw of the wind. And the wind cat is rising still and calling her pride to come and play, bending the trees and lifting the waves to moonbows in the spray. The scent of woodsmoke threads through the path of the wind.
Back in the garden we hear the owl, still calling, still hunting.

This is how we spend our days

In the light of an early morning, when night time was reluctant to allow the day to start, we walked up the hill, past Mr Griffith's house where a light shone out of the tiny window.

The wind was rising, and there were snipe and curlew and lapwing and bright pheasants like flames. Beneath the music of the wind we thought we could hear the wind cat calling, but maybe it was just the buzzard mewing.

In a field we found tiny ponies, hair all blown about, hooves so small, almost as small as a cats paw.

At home She stirred up the fire and took out the ashes and fed more fuel into it and the sleeping dragon there began to glow again and send out warmth. We rested by the fire while She went into Her studio to scribble and scrawl and colour things in and watch the bright birds dance outside Her window.

Rosie wanted to share Kiffer's chair.

Martha, being the oldest and wisest, took up residence above the fire.

Pupur a Halen

Pupur: " Messy in here don't you think, Cariad?"
Halen: " Yes!"

A day full of birds

Outside Her studio window wild birds flock in the cold to the bushes where bird feeders hang.
A robin, bright eyed, red breasted.

Gangs of house sparrows that feed on all the different foods.

Great tits that bully and fight with the smaller birds and love the new suet pellets that are so very yellow.

Tiny dunnock, deceptively brown but with all shade of blues hidden in the feathers.

Rainbow dressed male chaffinch that feed on the seeds and glean the ground below.

Blue tits, bright and beautiful.

Female blackbirds and their bright yellow beaked partners, a whole flock, gathered together as the ground is so hard they cannot feast on worms, but love the trays of suet mixed with fruits and nuts.

Not bad pictures really, when you consider that She took them through the studio windows and we know how dirty Her windows are!