I lost my temper today. The type where your fingers shake. The reason wasn’t anything to do with my family nor anything that had happened in the house.
As we are self isolating, we are all in the house so the telephone call I was making was overheard by everyone and repeated to me word by word afterwards by my kids who thought Mam had handled herself admirably.
I tried to stay calm but a single sentence during this phone call sparked a fury in me that even surprised myself and I’m ashamed to say I erupted and hit the roof.
There really was no justification for my outburst so I removed myself upstairs and I tried my best to do some yoga. The cat cuddles from Renee helped more today but It was nice to do some flows and calm down.
Keeping active is important to me and has helped enormously over the years to help me and has evolved into me realising I am capable of so much more (but that’s a whole other blog).
We had a meat delivery today from a local butcher so we have food again and we are stretching out what we do have. It saddens me to hear that the panic buying is continuing. We all need to eat but we all need to get a little more inventive right now with what we have.
I’m quite down right now but I’m sure five minutes of dog licking my face will snap me out of it.
The kids are great and very positive, I’m very proud but I think today I’ve let my positive crown slip. Tomorrow will be better.
We can’t go out. We can’t go to the shops.
I’ve got food in and we can cook.
But it really involves not going out.
Self isolation is four walls and many faces of boredom, many times a day.
Read a book, draw something, mam’s got a raging headache and a face like a tomato.
There’s no school today.
We can’t go out darling because I’m not well.
That means we have to stay in just in case, to make sure we don’t make anyone else ill.
It will be ok, Mam is just a bit sick and I’ll be better soon.
And you will be ok too. We have to make sure no one else gets ill so the shops may be shut for a bit.
It will be ok.
I did wash my hands!
But there we are. I’m sweating one minute, cold the next. Throat is swollen, glands are sore and head feels full of cotton wool.
And I’m so very, very grumpy.
So we’re washing our hands at every opportunity as we’ve been told to.
Shops have been stripped of painkillers, soap and bog roll.
Just come off the phone to my elderly 90 year old neighbour.
I was asking if she needed anything from the shops as you do.
Imagine if we all did that? All of us picked one elderly neighbour who was on their own and asked if they needed anything. Because it’s going to matter a whole lot more in the next few months when they cant get to the shops because they’re too ill to or because they have no bog roll or paracetamol because someones’ bought it all.
So I’m appealing to you, the person who filled up your trolley with toilet roll and pasta in the supermarket. I want you to redeem yourself and pop round to Bob at no 42 and see if he needs anything. Take a few rolls of your precious bog roll with you and see him alright.
That is what will make a difference rather than this utter selfishness I’ve seen over the last week. Do better, please.
“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.
Puberty one end, menopuase the other. Both made better by hugs.
I don’t want my children to have the same experience I had, we talk and we laugh about things and how rubbish hormones are. We slam doors and shout and cry. It’s good to.
I can’t protect them from the outside world though and it stinks that my daughter is constantly questioned over her decision to have short hair.
She’s twelve and she’s having to already fend off questions about appearance.
I tell her sometimes people just aren’t ready for fabulous but to carry on anyway and to be just so.
If you have a stroppy teen in your house, remember how much it hurt to be that age, it sucks majorly and you as mum are there to keep them going until they are ready to be a big person.
Until then, hold fast and try not to think about the hormonal plughole that you’ve become.
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.
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.
Cwtch is a Welsh word. It means cuddle.
And cats all over the world know exactly what it means when it’s cold and there is a warm lap waiting to sleep in.
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.
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.
It’s autumn, it’s lashing down with rain outside. Curl up with a good book and get lost somewhere.
Yes I have the knitting pattern right here. Use for your cats, use for yourself, knit millions and take over the planet with little woollen puffs. Knit kitty puffs, knit chickie puffs, knit lion puffs, raid your wool stash and get knitting.
The pattern is very easy and quick so great for beginners.
You don’t need much materials, a small amount of wool, if you have to change colour half-way through, great, your puff will look even better.
Get an old pillow and take out the stuffing, stuff with some cat-nip for very happy pusses.
Cast on 18 stitches.
Row 1: Knit
Row 2: Purl
Row 3: Knit
Row 4 : Purl
Rows 5-20 (repeat rows 1 and 2 8 times)
Row 21 : [K2TOG] across row – 18 stitches
Row 22 : Purl
Row 23 : [K2TOG] across row – 9 stitches
Cut your wool leaving a very long end. Thread the end into a needle and go back through the last 9 stiches left. Pull tight. Face the right sides of your puff together and sew up the seam until you reach the original cast on stitches.
Turn back out so the right sides are facing back out.
Stuff your puff.
Sew up the cast on edge with a running stitch so it creates a flat edge. You can get creative here and try and pull up little ears if you want. Doesn’t matter if your puff looks strange. You cat will still adore it.
Sew on a nose with a different colour wool and a mouth.
Sew on eyes.
Leave somewhere for your cat to stare at it for days until four am in the morning when you will hear the happy yowling of a cat with it’s puff.
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….
Evie has a box.
Not just any old box.
It’s a box of happy things.
So when things get bad or sad.
She pulls the box down off the shelf and looks through it.
The box changes throughout the year.
(I think there’s a few conkers in there right now).
Sometimes mum sneaks in some chocolate…
There’s a bar of soap too as it smells lovely.
There’s fluffy and shiny things.
Small things of wonder that when picked up, replace sadness or worry with smiles.
What would be in your box?
…coming in from the rain and sitting on my sketchbook! Quite an authentic, collaborative drawing tonight.
A drawing a day keeps the cobwebs flowing in my house.
Your inboxes have been a bit empty recently.
Expect it to get very, very busy.
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.
Evie started her transition week for high school today. I remember drawing about her first adventures in school when I first started the blog.
And now there she is off to new ones.
And I’m reaching for the higher strength glasses to draw about it.
Animals find humans who will help them. I’ve had many over the years. From a little sparrow up to a horse and her foal. (I don’t know what I’d do with anything bigger so if there are any elephants reading this, please consider, I live in quite a small house ok?)
Some I’ve saved and some have passed on.
Last night was brief and brutal.
A soggy, trembling wreck slipping away but in a terrible state.
She purred as I picked her up, warmed her up and dried her off.
She’d come to die and we knew it.
Later on the that evening, I went to bed and turned off the lights. One of my cats brushed softly against my legs at the foot of my bed. She had sneaked in (as she does most nights) so I gently laughed and asked her how she’d got in.
I switched on my light to see where she was only to find an empty room.
I think I was being thanked.
Renee figured out the cat flap today.
It’s taken her ten months.
I think she’s enjoying the garden and the sun very much.
We all get there in the end.
Spent most of it trying to remove a pair of knickers that got rammed down the vacuum cleaner.
I’ve decided that being the looney, grinning, woman I am is quite enough for planet earth to deal with. Be your own person and like yourself for all it’s weirdness and goofiness as that’s what keeps the world interesting and colourful. So massive bollocks to ordinary and hurray to extraordinary. Now go get your shine on (or tea on). Never be afraid to be different, I tell my daughters every day how fabtastic they are for just being themselves and to never apologise for that
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.
When the sun returns and warms the earth, there is nothing better to do than to feel the new air move through your fur and whiskers. Both black dog and black cat know there is nothing better than sun on warm fur. The other little one is busy half way up a tree, chasing flies.
I left some jaffa cakes in my gym bag. Guess who discovered my jaffa cakes?
Music playing in the background is on Spotify (to which I subscribe). It’s called Howl by Jake Houlsby.
Miya was allowed out for the first time today She took approximately twenty seconds to decipher the cat flap and flew out all guns blazing.
She then flew back in again, and out again, and in again. I have been listening to the sound of my spinning cat flap all afternoon.
Big giant clucky birds are amazing, just, amazing.
Enjoy these videos, my hens were clucking so much I went out and filmed afterwards as I thought you might enjoy meeting Miya.
Oh and by the way, I’ve spoiled us and paid to remove the advertising. Enjoy.
This one’s for the mums. We are all bonkers and amazing. Love to all mums doing their best to just get through the day in the hope that tomorrow they will find the floor free of toys and lego. Hold fast.
How on earth did Evie get to be eleven? Time has galloped at breakneck speed and I now have a beautiful, passionate, blue eyed artist with a love of books, drawing and cake.
Happy birthday Evie. Stay fluffy, always.
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…
I suppose Evie is right. Technically it is on her body, therefore she is wearing her coat.
I am not happy.
Yeah it’s autumn. I give up. Heater’s on chasing all chills out of my studio. Dog is in heaven. Don’t like Autumn much, back to school misery and school runs turn me into a right grumpy cow.
But for now, Northern Soul is blasting, sketchbook is open, tea is steaming and my head is elsewhere.
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.
First summer in decades. Yellow grass, blue skies and screaming swifts in the sky. It’s utterly wonderful. Feel like an ice cube thawing out.
Lovely to see Gruff with his newest playmate outside together chasing grass blades and toy mice.
To think she was unwanted when you see her play with such joy.
Two gentle friends enjoying just being free.
Renee loves her toys so much. She picks them up and carries them around and if you’re lucky, she’ll bring one to you accompanied by an awful lot of yowling. She hasn’t been outside yet as I want her to feel settled before I let her out in the garden.
She is a very talkative cat and will have small yowling dialogues with herself while prowling around the house. Little panther on an adventure. Black cats are so beautiful when they move, from head to toe a fluid tip toe of paws and haughty tail. Her eyes are bright green and go as big as saucers when something grabs her attention.
The kids are so happy that she loves to play with them. She and Bonnie are getting along with a healthy disregard of each other. There is no fear on Renee’s part and there is the endless need to sniff a cat’s behind from Bonnie.
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.
Tomorrow is a big day. We are missing Arnie terribly and although no cat could ever fill his paws, we have a home that’s missing a certain something. That something is a cat.
I’m happy to say that a cat answered our job application and interviewed flawlessly.
Renee is three years old and was found abandoned in an empty house, pregnant and very dirty. She was rescued by the Friends of Animals Wales who cared for her when she had her two kittens. Please have a look at the amazing work they do and if you’re looking for a animal to re-home, please think of them.
She has been in foster care with a very lovely lady and is now ready for her new beginning so she will be coming home tomorrow to meet everybody.
And yes she currently rules over a dog so Bonnie will be happy about that I’m sure.
Just look at that tail!
Can’t be shown, won’t be shown. Has to learn it himself. Can’t think who on earth he gets that from.
Brought Arnie’s ashes home today. We’re going to buy a plant and put him in the garden where he liked to sit in the sun and watch the sparrows chirp.
Spring is coming.
Here is a life lived in washing piles and fluffy toys. A life that padded out gently last week but never ever will be forgotten. I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed drawing them. Break the internet with cat drawings and purry love.
It’s international Woman’s day and I’m taking part in an exhibition at Cinema and Co in Swansea organised by Rose Davies. It’s a great way to celebrate female creativity and empowerment so do join us if you’re in Swansea this evening.
I’ve put in one of my early blog drawings as it holds so much relevance to me still now. It started my journey out of depression and towards so many things I never dreamed I could achieve. One thing I have learned is that Motherhood was only the very beginning for me and created so many obstacles but conversely opportunities I could never have imagined before having my children.
I continue to remind myself of this fact when I see the state of this world and worry for the future for my own children. If they have good role models and great support, they can achieve great things. Without that network, we are alone.
Happy Woman’s day.
Keep female and carry on.
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).
So you’ll be bombarded with drawings everyday this October, everything that comes out of my head and into my sketchbook gets put on here, warts and all and all that jazz.
Here’s day one, I’ll post days two and three today as well so I’ve caught up.
Enjoy and let’s get drawing!
Yes I’m cooking bacon, yes I see your nose has brought you from a deep sleep to my side. No there isn’t any spare, no you can’t have a bit.
Evie is my little magpie. My recycling bin is never full with her around. Todays creations were stuffed gloved creatures and plastic top hats for her dolls.
Don’t smile, don’t try to smile, in fact don’t even think about smiling ok?
Bonnie’s friend Mollie has come to our house for a weekend mini-break.
We have offered five star entertainment, three children to lick, cat watching and stunning views of chickens.
I hope she gives us a good review.
Bonnie is working hard as her concierge.
Go away cold, go and take a hike I’m fed up of sneezing and it’s no fun drawing when you’re dripping like a tap.
Evie had a cooking apron for Christmas. If something needs chopping, up she pops with her apron on ready to slice, dice and shred.