Monday, 31 December 2007

Seen alive! the half cat!

Well whilst I was busy typing up a mustard blog, guess who I saw on the stairs??

I wont keep you in suspense.. it was the half cat, Lilly with eyes the size of DINNER PLATES!!

She is getting braver.. and Im proud to present the first ever photo we have taken of her. I know its not very good, but this is the closest we can get at present :-)

Shes really very pretty, quite a bit smaller than Billy. I look forward to having a photo of both in 2008!

Oh by the way.. Happy New Year!!!


In response to Jaks question in comments about mustard.. I will say a bit on the subject here :-)

According to Wikki, Mustard was invented by the Romans (what have the Romans ever done for us??)

French mustard tends to be a greeny grey colour, quite often with the grains of the mustard seed in it, but English mustard is bright yellow, and a much stronger, sharper taste - its also smooth, and commonly served with roast beef or steak.

When Im cooking, I like to add a bit of this, and a bit of that, building up a nice rounded flavour, so when I make a nut roast, or a cheese sauce, I almost always throw in a bit of wholegrain French type mustard, and a bit of yellow mustard in a powder form.

Oh.. American mustard sauce is, from what Ive had a much much milder form of English Mustard that dosnt blow your brains out ;-)

I very rarely use a recipie, unless Im making bread. I use a recipie when Im making something new, but then once Ive made it once I play about with it and do things differently to make it better.

Hmmm not sure what to make for tomorrows tea.. will have to think about it!

I might persuade D to make goats cheese and red onion tarte since we have the ingredients.. all I have to do is make the pastry! YUM!

Jak.. I hope this answers your question!

Family Saturday

We had a really good time on Saturday, all elements of the family got on, and some lovely pressies were given and received!

I took loads of clockwork toys along for my older brothers kids - particularly two racing snails which went down very well :-) Older brother & wife gave us a funny cat calender and some eco washing up liquid (strange present, you might think, but we needed some!) They also gave Douglas a book about food from the wild, which hes very keen on.

Younger brother and wife gave us two cards which said they had given money to Oxfam to buy some health care and some mosqito nets, which was great - also two nice little prints of pictures Sis in law had painted/lino cut herself. We will have to put them and our other piccys up some time!

I made a nut roast for the veggies - here is a rough idea of how I made it.

Chopped mixed nuts ( half a pound I think)
Breadcrumbs (from about 5 dried slices of a small white loaf)
Eggs (3 large ones)
Tin of tomatoes (chopped, no skins)
Teaspoon of English mustard powder
Teaspoon of veggie Bouillion powder
Several teaspoons of onion chutney (this was knocking round the cupboard, and does not taste very nice on bread, so I decided to use some of it up!)

Mix the whole lot together - but leave the tin of tomatoes till last, because you need to make sure the consistency is not sloppy, just wet enough to plop off your spoon!

Put into a lined dish or bread tin, and put in a medium oven. It will take about 30-45 mins to cook - very nice served with a cheese sauce! (we had rice, broccoli and various nice cabbage salads as well)

Yum Yum YUM!!

Meanwhile, I have not been feeling well - I have a cough that has taken my voice away, and Ive got toothache. Douglas has the same cough but thank goodness not the toothache. Will sort out dentist soon :-(

Saturday, 29 December 2007

Saturdays plans

a) go to sleep now as its past 1am..

b) later go see big brother, his 2 kids and wife.. little brother 3 kids and wife.. and 2 parents.. now if I can add up that makes 4+5+2+2 = 13 of us!!! wow I wonder if Cousin Michael will be there too?

c) take nut loaf as big brother, kids and wife are veggie like me.

d) take camera

e) take blood pressure pill for mum ;-)

f) worship our one whole cat before and after visit :-) even if he does kill wine glasses! the half cat, Lilly is not yet in stroke mode.. give her another few weeks and you might get a photo :-)

Friday, 28 December 2007

Note to self and husband

When you get two cats in your house, delicate wine glasses are NOT a good thing to leave out on your sideboard, however remote the chance of either cat (Anna stares hard at Billy) having a mad 5 mins, jumping up and taking two down with a swish of his black furry tail.

Guess what happened early this morning? ….. We live and learn..

Thursday, 27 December 2007

2 days off now back at work...


We had a very quiet non celebratory Xmas day - Douglas wasnt feeling too well, so that made the day a little quieter than it might have been.

Our Solstice gifts are enjoying their new home - Lilly is getting braver, and although she still looks at us through "dinnerplate" eyes and scrams if we get too close, we can certainly see improvements.

Billy has discovered the joys of the cat "fishing rod" and has been going crazy when we dangle it near him :-)

My parents came round in the afternoon for a cuppa and a chat, we watched TV then the day was done!


Today we decided to go to the out of town shopping emporium near Sheffield, called Meadowhell (oops sorry Meadowhall) to get some clothes for Douglas, and a small heater for our attic bedroom, which gets very very cold. I wanted some leggings that went down to my ankles, to keep me warm on my way to work.

Within about 15 mins, Douglas had been into 2 menswear shops, and had purchased four shirts and two jumpers, and spent about £45.00, £10 of which was a gift voucher he got from his work place as a Christmas gift!

I got my leggings.. I got a discount off them, because when I tried them on, the fluff from the carpet in the trying on room got all over the legs, and they were the only pair they had. The fluff is very easy to remove, but I didnt object to the discount!

We got our heater, got some dvds for birthday presents (loads of family have birthdays in Jan) and we got a book each from Waterstones, our favourite bookshop.

We were exhausted after all this shopping, and the centre was getting very busy. We had arranged with my mum to go see St Trinians, so we met up at the Cinema and enjoyed the film very much!

Gave mum a lift home, watched Ballet Shoes on TV and went to bed, after making Billy rush and leap for the fluffy thing on the end of the cat fishing rod :-)

Monday, 24 December 2007

The Tail of one and a quarter cats

We are proud to announce that we have seen Lilly! Yes! we did get two cats, not one and a quarter ;-)

Douglas has seen her once or twice just before hes gone to bed, and yesterday I was in the kitchen and I saw both moggies :-)

Lilly poked her head out, so I took the cat food, put it in the middle of the lounge and went back to the kitchen. She was brave enough to come out and eat! I stayed in the kitchen, but moved around a bit, and although she looked pretty nervous, she kept eating!

She like her companion, is black and white, but she has a white patch on her face, and has more black on the rest of her body. Photo will have to wait a little longer!

Billy, meanwhile is becoming very friendly, and has been having fun chasing a wild and deadly animal (his tail!)

Saturday, 22 December 2007

Solstice Tidings!

We had a lovely day yesterday - we got up quite late (10.30am).

We opened our pressies - two amazing hampers, one from Ds brother Mike, and one from Ds sister Carolyn. We had to stop ourselves from diving straight in!

I went to walk Margarets Scottie Dog as promised at about 11.30 - she lives next door to us, is elderly, has just lost her husband of many years, and is waiting for various joint replacements to take place. She cant walk very far - even the steps up to the back garden are an endurance for her, so every few days, i take Oscar for a little walk up or down the road.

Oscar himself is an elderly gentleman, and is rather set in his ways, including telling me exactly where to cross the road! :-) He walks along, stopping every few yards to sniff another interesting smell, small tail wagging gently.

I think Oscar and Margaret are grateful for my help, and also for a bit of company, although Margarets children visit on a regular basis and take good care of her. I enjoy being able to help out.


Douglas took me to a rather nice cafe/restaruant he discovered recently called "The Milestone"
I had 2 tapas dishes.. mini potatoes in a tomato paprika sauce, and a goats cheese and something tarte. Douglas had a burger. The best bit was the deserts.. i had this amazing chocolate pud, it was like a chocolate brownie that melted in the middle, was bitter but sweet, set off beautifully with some ice cream on the side. (I think I could die in this pudding!) Douglas had a cherry pie, which he loved. I tried a bit and wasnt impressed, but then I'm not horribly keen on cherries!!

The Afternoon/Evening

My parents still dont have a working cooker - they are "camping out" in their kitchen using a portable two ringed cooker afair (Baby Belling) and their microwave. The electrician cant wire their new cooker up for another week or so.

We invited my parents round for dinner, so the preparations started.

Douglas had marinaded the beef with red wine and herbs, so that came out, went on its carrot trivet, and into the oven on Gas mark 2 on a very slow roast. (makes it tender etc so ive been told!)

I got a load of potatoes ready to roast, (put rosemary and garlic in to make them very tasty) prepared the sprouts, made Yorkshire Pudding batter and put my nut roast into the oven underneath Ds meat.

Parents turned up about 6, and we had a sumptous meal! We had a Tesco red bowl Xmas pudding to finish with. Yum.

We ate and chatted, Billy came out of the woodwork and impressed the parents by being cute, and at about 9pm they staggered home, rather full!


We went to Waitrose a while back, and got some nice wicker trays, and filled them up with some goodies to make two hampers, one for Les Parents, and one for my little brother & wife, Thomas and Kt.

We gave the parents theirs, and they were very pleased, as we had tried hard to pick things both of them liked.

It was really nice to surprise them - they have done so much for us over the years, helping with our various houses, and spending hours doing various DIY jobs and generally being very good parents. :-)

Next Xmas we plan to go up and see D's side of the family, and Im sure we will cook for them, and have a lovely time up North.

Thursday, 20 December 2007

99% Cute..


This is Billy! he seems to like his cat bed - hope Lilly feels brave enough to join him soon.

Ps Billy dosnt keep still very long.. I took about 10 photos to get this...

Wednesday, 19 December 2007

The Solstice looms!

We are looking forward to Friday, the Winter Solstice!

Im going to make a nut roast, D will do roast beef, we will do all the trimmings so hurrah for having two ovens!!

Cats doing ok.. Lilly "looked" at Douglas last night! wow! progress continues :-)

Monday, 17 December 2007


I think ive gone up a trust level with Billy (or is it just because he loves food?) I cut some thin strips of beef, left over from Ds dinner, got down on the floor and wriggled as far as I could under the sofa (its a reclining one, so there is quite a space underneath it when the leg bits are up)

Billy, obviously feeling hungry, crept forward and ate a bit of beef I held out to him. I fed him other bits.. slowly making him come further out from his hiding place.

At last, he came all the way out, and whilst hoping for more food, allowed me to stroke him, and he rolled on the floor with me present.

Lilly is still under the sofa, eyes like dinner plates glowing with the light from the room. Poor darling..

Sunday, 16 December 2007



Billy is getting braver.. he has been "seen out" of the sofa this evening, and a bit of my cheesy pasta was spotted on the kitchen floor ;) Hmm I wonder whose paw got that. He is slowly exploring the lounge and kitchen, and trying to get on and in everything, but when one of us moves he runs and hides again.

Lilly.. well shes magic.. we know she has eaten and done her business (well we hope she has) but shes made herself totally invisible, which is where the magic bit comes in ;)

Its only day 2.. early days yet..

We went to see the Golden Compass, and enjoyed it very much.

Now its time for bed. xxx



We went to the Cats Shelter - we had registered a few months ago, but today was Adopting day :-)

The staff remembered us, and were very friendly. They said they didnt have many to choose from, as one room had been closed due to a few poorly individuals, but we were shown round the rest.

In the first room, there was a lovely young friendly tabby, but we were told she wasnt up for adoption until the New Year. There was a long haired moggie that seemed very friendly, but kept hissing at the other cats, so we ruled him out.. then we were introduced to a black and white cat chilling out on a chair. He seemed quite friendly. The staff advised us that he had teamed up with another inmate called Fliss, also black and white but very nervous - a right scardey cat, so if Billy went, Fliss went too.

We had a look at other cats - there was a young tabby and white cat, who had recently had kittens. She was available, but the kittens wernt. I thought it would be nice to have a mum and kitten, but thei little ones were not available yet, and the staff didnt think homing mum and baby together would work out well.

Finally was a very large gentleman, who I would have named Bustopher Jones
(Reference Possums book of Practical Cats by TS Eliot) he is seen as "A fat cat, a "twenty-five pounder." Dresses in a snappy tuxedo and spats. Respected by all, as the upper class "St James' Street Cat." (Quote from Wikkipedia)

Having seen our choices, we decided that Billy and Fliss -black and white, Jelicle cats.. depicted by Eliot as common black and white cats whose daytime nature is peaceful, pleasant and restive — but who possess an active love of nightlife. We have re named Fliss - she is now Lilly, so we now have Billy and Lilly!!!

At present they are really scared.. hiding under our sofa, and being very quiet and invisible, but they have eaten (and used their litter trays) and ive just spent 20 mins lying on my back, arm stretched into the sofa with some prime roast beef on fingertips! Billy was brave enough to eat a little, and he submitted to being stroked, but Lilly is still being the shrinking violet.

Its early days yet - we have with time and love Im sure they will both come out of their shells (aka sofa) and make friends with us properly :-)

We are willing to wait.

Friday, 14 December 2007

Tips for a "green" festive season

Only popping on to offer you all this link.

Id be grateful if you would copy it, and spread it round.

Its going on the bottom of all my work emails in my siggy


PS Cat day tomorrow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

Dinner party!

Its Tuesday. 4 days before we get our cats (not that we are counting, mind you ...)

Tonight my older brothers ex girlfriend Miranda came to tea. They lived together in York for many years, and we all got on very well. Im not going into the very long story about what happened and why they split.. but they did - 10 or more years ago so I really should stop calling her my brothers "ex" but never mind :-)

Miranda is a lovely person, and Douglas and I are very fond of her, so we invited her round for a meal. She was veggie for many years and I am still, so Douglas made a veggie sweet and sour stir fry with tofu in.

My parents cooker has been disconnected prior to its removal, and a new one coming in its place, so they have 2 baby belling rings and a microwave for their meals at present.. so I took pity on them and invited them too. They were delighted at being cooked for, and also having the chance to meet Miranda again after so many years (they like her too)

I snuck off work 30 mins early (yeah ok I got permission, and Im working it back tomorrow) and got home at 6pm. Douglas - bless him - had prepped all the veg, and made the sweet and sour sauce from scratch (recipie will follow.. I promise..).

By 7.15 we were all sat down and eating, and it was a really delicious meal.. even my dad, a devout carnivore, enjoyed it!!!

Mil had got two galia melons for our desert, and they were sweet and ripe and delicious (also thanks to M&S where they came from!)

They all stayed a while later, chatting and playing around with various stupid ring tones on our phones, and they left about 9.30pm.

Douglas has crawled up to bed.. as he would say hes "puggled" now.. Im still wide awake so I thought id come write this up.

Other news.. cats? did I say we get our cats on Saturday??? well.. WHOOOOHOOO! Cat day is Saturday!

Also I have made one half of the front of Ds very bright patchwork waistcoat. When I eventually find our digital camera again, will post photos.

Thats probably all till Cat Day.

Sunday, 9 December 2007


No news but the Cat (aka sacred beast) is going home tomorrow morning, as my brother and sis in law have returned from their holiday.

Talking of sacred beasts.. follow this link.. its incredibly funny. Watch the two clips in order.

enjoy it..

Friday, 7 December 2007


Well, looks like we get to choose our new house mates on the 15th Dec.. watch this space carefully for news :-)

Thank you Miss Bliss, Jak and Dreaded Mum in Law (DMIL) for your comments.. Our present tennant, Olly is only staying until Sunday, then will be scooped up into the loving arms of his (and my) mum and dad with many "coochie coo" sounds coming from mum in particular! lol! They are missing him.. (everyone go Ahhhhhh!)

Ive wanted a cat as long as I can remember. Early on it was found my brothers and I were allergic to fur, so we had goldfish, reptiles but no cats of our own as we grew up.

When I was tiny I had a toy cat that I named Wah Wah. I couldnt say Cat at the time - that was my translation. WahWah wore out, and became shiny grey sheepskin leather with odd pathces on ( thanks Daddy :-) )instead of lovely black wooly fur. I must have been about 6 when we went back to the place he came from... I clearly remember proudly showing WahWah to the lady in the shop, who looked at it with dislike and asked "was it a penguin?" (Wah might have lost his tail by then.. not sure)

The shop still sold toy cats made from sheepskin. I was shown what WahWah looked like when he was new, and promptly fell in love with this newer version.. but was taken, tears streaming down face, out of the shop ... with no new puddy!!!

I probably only cried for about 20 mins but in little Anna terms it felt like hours. My heart was broken.. no new cat. My dear parents and maternal granny caved in.. they had purchased a new cat and were planning to save it for my birthday :-) Joy broke out, and both cats went to bed with me for years!

I think 3 other cats followed them.. 2 of them made by my mum with much swearing and heaving I seem to remember. (shes told me she will never ever make me another now lol)

I still had WahWah until a few years ago.. with much guilt I had to consign him to the cat graveyard in the sky :-( Some things just cant last forever.. oh dear Im feeling sad now..

Anna goes to mourn the loss of WahWah, but looks forward to the real things arriving fairly soon.

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

Count down to cats

My parents cat is once again installed in our house.. under the sofa I am lead to understand :-)

As we will have the Sacred Beast on Sat and Sunday.. with some luck we will be able to get our own on the 21st!

What better Solstice present could we ask for??!!

Will find out later today if the cats home are happy to lets us go in and choose a pair on the 21st.. since we really dont celebrate Christmas it will be like any other weekend, apart from a bit longer for us :-)

Fingers crossed....

Monday, 3 December 2007

Le Weekend

Nice quiet time... D did loads of housework on Friday, so I took him to see Beowolf on Saturday. It was a bit gorey, but a good story.. now want to read the poem (but not in olde Englishe)

On Sunday we went over to my parents. I plugged in my mums pc, D got the DVD/Video player working - both "fixes" much appreciated :-)

Very glad to say my mum has given into the gentle pressure from me and D, and has ordered broadband to be installed as well as going over to cable phone. Their number shouldnt alter!

I will be going over soon to get her computer set up for that soon.. I dont think she would cope :)

We have the sacred beast from Wednesday, and D goes back to work on thursday!