School days are a strange business during these lockdown days.
No car run, no rush out the door in the morning.
Still, early to rise, in the dark for a morning check in, registration or daily work download.
Gone are the assemblies, singing and hanging up of coats and hellos to friends.
It’s find a space away from whiskers and paws and chewing mouths.
Please let mum have a coffee and I’ll figure out that maths I promise.
Dressed and ready but no where to go.
Funny, lonely business this learning on screens but there we are right now, in the midst of a pandemic and figuring out the area of Tom’s Toblerone chocolate bar.
Let me tell you a little secret, us mums are looking at you and are very glad it’s not them having to do this.
Children of 2020, you’re doing amazing, don’t ever forget that.
Everything needs a little chew.
Stair gates, socks and especially nice toes.
Chewy chew chew.
Bonnie’s leg has been tried and found very nice, Bonnie doesn’t think that it’s very nice and tells Frannie in a very growly way to stop.
So back to socks and toes it is.
Apologies for the silence but the storms blew in a five month old street-puppy from Romania. I think she’s a keeper. Very scared right now but she’s joined the right family.
Meet Frannie, our new stowaway. Been with us a few days now and settling in so very well after a bumpy start of snarling and being all street tough.
I think we have a very clever pup here, she’s walked this earth before.
It’s late enough and Renee has started moving her little knitted kitty puffs upstairs for the night.
The kids sleep through the racket and wake to a landing full of knitted balls.
It’s better than Christmas as you never know what you’re going to step out to each morning.
One got taken out in the rain last week through the cat flap and forgotten about but I’m happy to report it has found its way back in late tonight.
One got placed inside a wellington boot.
One found its way inside the dog crate, Bonnie is very fond of them too.
Must knit more, I now have wool in rainbow shades.
Evie is the first to return to school tomorrow.
One day a week. All schools are running on reduced capacity until September.
Four months of home school, no friends. It’s been tough for children and it will be another adaptation to face returning to school.
And they’ve ALL grown out of their shoes and wellies.
But, we have hand gel.
Weather dog is at it again.
One sniff of the front door and this diva knows it’s going to rain and she can’t be bothered with a walk.
We went and got soaked.
Should have listened.
I had some meetings on my computer today.
You know, where you link up and all talk to each other in little boxes.
Miya decided to join in. She liked seeing everyone so much she showed them her nicely healed tail and watched the little people in their boxes. No one was swiped though, (she reserves that watching wildlife on you tube).
It’s the pandemic isn’t it? Summed up in little electronic boxes. All safe until the paws hit that keyboard.
They didn’t see the cat problem coming did they now?
There’s no muting a cat or it’s tail.
Look what we’ve found.
It’s not very big.
Just stick a twig in by that sticky bit of web between the wood.
Mum what did you just say?
Not all bullies are big.
Bonnie would not sleep in her crate tonight until the tiny terror vacated her position in the stinky den.
Had no idea she’d slunk in there and claimed her throne until Bonnie started whining.
Miya has had a course of medicine (which she gobbled whole inside a nice piece of chicken).
The nibbled tail is on the mend and is now busy parading around the house and garden with it’s usual sass straight up in the air where it belongs.
Hopefully whoever nibbled her tail has found something else tasty to eat.
Solve everything with this one cup in the morning.
Okay. Maybe it takes three these days.
Don’t talk to me, I haven’t woken up yet.
And there it lay, cold on the ground. Like a recently deceased creature of the night, slain by the rays of the early morning sun. Glistening and motionless.
The feline gently stepped away from its creation. Denying all knowledge of its part in bringing this thing into brief being.
The humans would rise soon and would fail to see it’s beauty, its purpose to simply exist on the floor of their dwelling and would cast it with disgust, into the bin.
The biggest hairball in living history.
I know the retribution will be swift and terrible but I really love drawing in other people’s sketchbooks…
The cat has come in from the rain soaking wet.
I’ve dried her off.
So she’s just come back in soaking wet again.
I’m starting to sense a pattern here…
I’d like her to get off my sketchbook now too…
My guys are real tech fans, they love a gadget, why not, it’s fun.
All the screens in the world however, will never replace a massive, cardboard box.
Endless worlds travelled to.
Infinite possibilities within four walls of brown.
Just the best thing in the world.
Climb in and make your den your own, (with the two cats and the dog as well please). Drag in all the cushions and throws in the house, fill it with cars or fluffy animals.
Eat your lunch in it, try it, food tastes brilliant in a box.
Within the parameters of four walls, embrace boredom and overcome it with imagination and fun.
Seeing my boy staring out of a box gives me a perspective on how this lock-down has played out for my children.
Where’s the cat?
What do you mean you haven’t seen her?
Walks fifty times past the studio window.
Well I’ve called her. She’s not coming, she’s probably on her rounds.
She’ll be back soon.
She is still not speaking to me.
Very exciting day today.
I vacuumed the house.
I terrorised children, I sucked up lego and the cats hate me.
How was your day?
Nothing to see here.
Because it is impossible to garden with a cat.
Really impossible. Fusses are required every minute or I get swiped or nibbled.
I feel very bullied.
Not much weeding was done.
In other news I went to the supermarket without crying but I forgot to buy chocolate.
I still wash my hands.
There’s more sassy in that tail than I have ever seen in a cat.
This little black cat with the huge meow.
One flick and you’re dismissed for the day.
It’s going to be a while.
No I’ve got to blow it up first.
Well it’s got to fill with water.
It’s going to be a while.
No it’s not ready, bit longer.
Might be a bit cold at first.
IT’S TOO COLD!
There’s sorcery in coffee and vision in spectacles.
Combine the both and I transform from shadow to human.
Sleep hits me when the birds start singing.
Might sleep in the garden, might sleep in a tree.
Can I have a coffee yet?
This birthday is very different this year.
No party*, no shopping trip, no friends and not very many presents and a global pandemic. It’s a bit rubbish.
I promise you that the postman has got a bit lost and I’m sure that the present I ordered will be here very soon…
In the meantime, let me remind you how utterly lovely you are and how unique you are. Please don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
There are many people on this planet but I got one of the very best the day you were born and I knew it (even though at the time I still didn’t know how to do your nappy, you always gave me the look that it would be alright).
I will always love you for being you.
*I did make a cake and so far the cat hasn’t eaten it.
Lots of rainbows in the windows as I pass by with dog.
Drawn by children. Thanking nurses, doctors, healthcare workers and front-line workers.
Some are painted, some are pieces of paper stuck together, some are prints of little hands, safe behind glass.
None have been drawn by dogs, or cats just in case you were wondering.
They see me rollin.
But what they don’t know
Is that the virus is not in your
It’s in your chesticles.
“I have something for you mum” are words that every parent knows are laced with a few meanings.
The first is innocent and lovely, probably a little handful of daisies or a hug.
The second, however, is something unwanted, sinister and must be approached with extreme caution and cynicism.
“Oh yes?” comes my reply (raised eyebrow). I am the master after years of being tricked, poker face is on and braced for impact,
And there they are in my hand, a scrunched up pile of months and months of school letters, casually handed over without a single drop of sweat shed.
Months of letters.
Suppose it could have been a slug or a dead spider.
Had a very loud thunderstorm last night. Ended up with a shivering 30kg wreck on me for the rest of the night…
I’m dedicating January to the birds that come to my garden. I have no exotic varieties, just your average Joes of the bird world but to me they are wonderful and they think I’m great right now as I’ve hung three brand new feeders from my studio in an attempt to encourage more into my little urban garden.
My house is part of a Victorian terrace built by the miners and their families 150 years ago. A descendent lives a few doors up and says that they were built to house the families who kept chickens and grew their food here.
Fast forward a century or so and the city has grown around these houses and the mines have gone. But the wildlife is still here, hanging on and adapting to the pace of life and the endless rain.
Today’s post is in salute to the starlings that frequent my garden. Sleek and noisy little birds. Starlings are wonderful mimics of sound. They will copy what they hear and repeat it back with relish. Well you can imagine that Swansea is a feast for these little flocks of sound machines. From car alarms, mopeds to mobile phones it is never ever quiet around here and these little birds congregate on the telephone lines in the winter and belt out their whistle and chirps.
In deepest January they are most welcome to strip my feeders, tease my chickens and entertain me in my studio to a Swansea mega mix of noise. Demolishing fat balls within ten minutes and then entertaining me with their sound effects.
One summer morning you could hear the noise of a single alarm clock coming from an open window, within seconds, the voices of twenty alarm clocks were ringing out over the rooftops and telephone wires.
A little mix of my best bits at Christmas.
I wish you all a peaceful time and remember kindness is always better than a plateful of sprouts.
Been laid up ill with flu. That was fun. Somehow it’s now Christmas and I’m in headless chicken panic mode.
A poem I made.
I had some wine,
It went to my head,
And off I went,
early to bed.
I’m under attack from a little, black, permanently ravenous cat.
(Not that she’s been put on a diet by the vet or anything for being a bit chunky).
I think the girls out did themselves this year. Evie’s wig was spectacular and Renee worked that Halloween cat vibe like the sassy puss she is. Millie ever resplendent as a 1920’s flapper girl.
(Wondering how long that feather will last with two cats in the house though).
Organised? I laugh in the face of organised and bring you morning anarchy!
I’ve just been looking through all my drawings on Doodlemum. There’s so many now. (2285 posts so at least that many drawings so far). It’s really made me quite proud I’ve kept going.
Anyhow, Evie has now turned twelve so here’s an Evie montage of my beautiful, sassy, fiery book monster!
Enjoy this selection of drawings of her over the years.
Angie bakes six layers of different coloured sponge cake and leaves them to cool on the kitchen counter.
Renee cat comes along and takes a nibble out of EACH layer.
A) The level of swearing from Angie at the discovery of nibbled cake.
B) The exact percentage of remaining cake.
C) The exact amount of extra buttercream needed to cover the nibbled cake.
D) The amount of tea needed to calm Angie down.
In comes the herd of arms, legs. noise, bags and school letters. Remove shoes with a lovely hands free manoeuvre only children can do with carefully bought school shoes.
Some days are longer than others. Some days have seen homework disasters and others brilliantly funny things involving a protractor, a frog and a how so and so from the other class thinks something that is so stupid.
And hit the sofa with a biscuit of triumph.
And Mum’s head spins.
There are morning people and there are people who shouldn’t see morning at all.
Just so I’ve kept you in the loop. Renee was adopted by us last year shortly after saying goodbye to her kittens who had also gone off to loving homes.
Renee had just been spayed and was calling for her babies for a few nights before she settled down and enjoyed the life of a pampered, happy puss.
One night, we heard an almighty yowling (similar to an air raid claxon). In she marched with one of Evie’s *kitty puffs in her mouth, gently placed it on the floor and went back to find another one. At this point, we all came to the same conclusion.
We gave her all the puffs we had.
Last nights puff activity was off the chart. Howling galore from Renee. We woke to puffs outside our door, on the stairs, in the sink, in Bonnie’s crate, one even found it’s way inside a wellington boot.
Renee, is now busy sleeping off her antics ready for tonight’s mass movement of puffs.
*Kitty puffs, for your information, are little balls of knitted wool, stuffed with stuffing and have sown on eyes and a nose. They are my idea in response of Evie asking me to knit something fluffy and cute. They come in various colours (whatever is in my stash of wool) and I think I’ve knitted at least over a hundred over the years for various children as they are very cute and totally squidge-able…anyway…I’m digressing….
So Renee and Miya have decided to “allow” Bonnie upstairs.
We didn’t know this was happening as Bonnie would slink off downstairs as we were stirring.
It was a 2am trip to the toilet that they were all rumbled, happily snoozing on the landing.
So my mornings now look like this. I really don’t need an alarm clock and there’s one animal per child to wake up with purrs or licks.
…coming in from the rain and sitting on my sketchbook! Quite an authentic, collaborative drawing tonight.
I’ve knitted little round cats for my guys to play with but Renee has officially moved in and adopted them as her surrogate “kittens”. I’ve never seen a cat do this before. She’ll call to them, pick them up and distribute them randomly around the house. Some have even found their way in this fine weather, out in the garden.(But they are always brought in for night time). Her favourite is the largest, knitted with a very fluffy wool and with blue eyes.
Once upon a time, there was a magic laundry basket.
Whatever you put in it, would multiply ten fold overnight.
Until a wicked witch stuffed it with Semtex and detonated it.
And then everyone celebrated with gin.
Spent most of it trying to remove a pair of knickers that got rammed down the vacuum cleaner.
Our two cats are very different personalities. Miya is the younger, newer addition to our tribe and is very much the extrovert and mischief maker. Renee, however, is not one to be bottom cat in the pecking order and will make sure our new little cheeky puss has the occasional back of her paw.
New cat, how will this one fare with a nice, sparkly tree?
Answers on a postcard…
I wake up in the morning and he’s visibly taller.
Installing Gruff, version 9.0 complete with sword upgrade.
Happy birthday bigger dude, you make me ridiculously proud to be your mum.
I’ve been looking at all my drawings of Bonnie and thought you might enjoy this little selection of her best moments.
Bonnie, the hurricane, the bottomless pit, the legend, my girl. Still ever the wiggle machine and all round stinkpot of love.
Evie is writing a list of things she might like for her birthday.
Gruff is making helpful suggestions.
Wondering if shell get a nice, shiny sword is something Gruff might wait a long time to see…
Explosive start to Monday with a vacuum rammed washing basket. You can imagine my sheer joy at working through that. Isn’t this fun? Bet Snow White held those animals at gunpoint to get them to tidy up her bloody cottage.
It’s just glorious. Low, warm sun to warm the bones and the heart.
Walking up the garden is a bit of a dance to avoid the dewy spider webs that have been ambitiously spun overnight. I’ll leave the lying down to you Bonnie as I’ve had my fair share of garden spiders in my hair today
I suppose Evie is right. Technically it is on her body, therefore she is wearing her coat.
I am not happy.
Didn’t think our new kitty was a lap cat. She just decided I’d do for now until I vacated her chair.
Our new puss has quite a penchant for little toys. She has already amassed an impressive collection of little fabric mice, stars and patchwork, catnip hearts.
They are stored in a little plastic tub every night and every night, when everyone is asleep, Renee starts her fun.
One by one, each little toy is carefully removed and starts it’s journey through the kitchen, into the lounge and up the stairs…so that in the morning we are greeted by a scattering of little soggy presents on the landing.
Even Bonnie is not forgotten, she normally gets a nice feather in her water bowl
And so, every morning, I bring down the little collection back to its box so Renee can do it all again.
Evie loves fluffy and Evie loves all things cute. She also loves animals, Roman history stories and dinosaurs.
Her new love is writing horror stories and illustrating them. I’ve bought her a book so she can keep her creepy collection together.
Anyone who’s ever brought home a rescue cat knows that they will have their peculiarities. Renee is no different to the collective. So far she has insisted that she sleeps in my utility room sink. She has however, taken a preference to sleeping under the bath by squeezing through a small hole but she comes out for her grub so there is no stuck kitty.
She has learnt already that the sound of the fridge door opening means there’s food on the menu.
Bonnie is still too much for her but she has shown her inner panther by roaring with that mighty pair of lungs she has. Bonnie is being very patient and an utter angel with her new kitty friend when I know all she secretly wants is a sniff at that swishing tail. Good luck there Bonnie with that.
So far so good.
This is the lovely shop assistant that I tolerated today. I had the misfortune of having to pay for a tee shirt and she had to press some buttons on her till. She was not enjoying her day in the shop, I think the combination of the blaring thump of the techno and my face was interrupting her daydream of a red carpet appearance.
In spite of her sulking I kept my cheery demeanour and all was going well until I focused on her eyebrows.
I couldn’t even do them justice in my drawing. I think her real ones were in there somewhere screaming to be released.
Can’t be shown, won’t be shown. Has to learn it himself. Can’t think who on earth he gets that from.
Got chased by ferel children in the woods. Jumped over fallen trees, scrambled through branches, hauled myself through mud. Their cries of “feed me Macdonalds ” grew more desparate the more I ran.
My breath grew heavy as I clawed my way up the mossy bank, rain drenching my clothes and hair, my Boots make up freshly applied that morning smearing my mud streaked cheeks.
I threw the dog in the car and screeched out of the car park desparate to escape.
As I drew up to the traffic lights, a small, bony hand grasped my shoulder and hissed, “There is no escape”.
The struggle is real this Easter. Send wine, send gin, I am hunted by children on holiday.
At the checkout queue in Morrisons. Old dude behind me keeps bumping and shoving into me in an effort to make me move forward but as there is a lady in front of me, I have nowhere to go.
Old dude is now getting tetchy as his frozen pilchards or whatever are melting, he continues to bump into me and starts tutting. So I take a nice step backwards as I’m not yet feeling the urge to turn around and clobber him with my thick sliced farmhouse.
Me being the manners queen is waiting for an “excuse me”, I do not hear an “excuse me” but I get more bumping and now vegetables are being passive aggressively thrown onto the conveyor belt along with his frozen pilchards and fixodent.
His wife is there too (or maybe his mistress, I won’t digress).
Nice lady cashier takes payment off lady in front of me and starts to help me with my shopping.
Old dude is now a funny shade of purple and is hopping from one foot to the other while throwing Mr Kipling mini battenburgs and garibaldi biscuits into his frozen pilchards conveyor belt collection. Wife/ mistress anxiously clutches her copy of Radio Times and a box of tic tacs (fruity flavour ones).
Cashier tells me that her daughter is being bullied so I listen and I tell her my experience of bullying taking as long as I possibly can and drawing on every minute detail I can remember, for as long as I can while watching Old dude’s eyeballs do strange twitchy things.
By the time I’ve packed and paid he completely erupts spectacularly. (due to the melting pilchards situation I’m presuming).
I may have had a little word with security on the way out about the aggressive man in aisle 10 towards a member of staff. 🙂
Have a nice day.
Bonnie has made a friend recently, a ten year old Jack Russel who we will call Sid (as I can’t remember his name and Bonnie doesn’t care what he’s called anyway).
Sid loves Bonnie and Bonnie loves Sid. They spend their time sniffing,weeing, finding crisp packets and chasing cats together on various happy adventures.
Today was joyous as they found some cooked potato.
There was much celebrating between the two of them and much screaming from me as they were far too away for me to stop them eating it.
There’s a human on the floor! Downward dog has become down dog lick face.
I took my dog into a lovely cafe, a dog friendly one. What a great idea, walking the dog and relaxing with a hot cup of coffee afterwards.
Not with this diva of a dog. She insisted on standing at the counter with her paws up and placing her own order.
She then complained very loudly when she didn’t get a biscuit and howled at the schnauzer at the next table.
All was finally going well until she waltzed off to say hello to a staffy (taking my table with me and my coffee).
We get a lot of rain in Wales, an awful lot. In fact it’s pretty much chucked it down all January and we’re all sick of it.
My poor chickens are wading in mud again so I’ve spent today shovelling in wheel barrows full of sand to absorb it.
I also use wooden planks and plant pots to create little perches so they can preen themselves when the sun dares to show itself.
I’m hoping February will be kinder and the sun will show itself a bit more!
I just pulled this out of my plug hole tonight. It just kept on coming. Obviously I wasn’t going to keep this to myself so I went and traumatised the family with the pileous beastie. Much screaming ensued.
When I brought Bonnie home, Arnie left the house for three days.
When he finally returned, I had to train Bonnie not to chase after him and after a few months, we made great progress.
What has not changed from the start is that they both share the same drinking bowl. I’m always surprised at this as Arnie has a particular look he reserves for “his” dog and that is one of utter disgust. They are not friends but they tolerate each other’s existence.
Bonnie drinks like she’s had a mouthful of anaesthetic injections with plenty of dribble and slobber. As though she has never drunk water before and she’s trying it for the first time. It’s spectacular and very, very noisy.
Now this is where it gets strange. Arnie will simply not have his own bowl and wherever Bonnie’s water bowl is placed in the house, you will find Arnie waiting for his turn after the tidal wave of doggy drinking has finished. He will then stoop in a neat arrangement of paws and and lap quietly.
Dogs are strange but cats are just unexplainable.
Christmas wrapping paper, present buying, panic, panic, panic. I am not ready for Christmas, I haven’t even got the decorations out of the loft yet. The whole street is lit up like an airport landing strip and our house sits in darkness.
Hang on a minute, it’s only the 5th of December.
When did Christmas start this early?
Santa gets Elves, I want an elf, an organised one please.