Saturday, 10 February 2018

A New Path

It's Sunday Selfie time.... 

We are joining The Kitties Blue, from The Cat on My Head blog, for the weekly celebration of blogs and bloggers from across the world and across the species.

Download the linky link from their site and join the fun!

This weeks selfie is part of a training manual I am preparing for young princesses. In this shot I am demonstrating the correct way to take a repast and maintain ones modesty.......

A wool duvet in pink, whilst desirable, is not a requirement. Although plenty of practice time is MOL.  

If you have any modesty tips to include in the book, please forward to me in a plain and modest sized gold envelope, and address to Erin the Cat, Princess. C/O The Palace, Middle England, UK.

To see what all our pals have been up to, click the links below.

............... and now it's Sunday Story Time!

It was with much, much sadness this week, that we heard of the passing of two great friends to us all,  Mr Jack Freckles of the 'Meezers Mews and Terrieristical Woofs' and  blog, and Sister Kit from the 'Brians Home' blog.

Todays post is dedicated to them both, and we send many purrs and prayers and much love to their family, to help them heal their hearts.....

This weeks story is...................... A New Path.

The long winters nights had taken their toll on Erin's enthusiasm. She resigned herself to the fact that winter couldn't be rushed or otherwise coerced into departing any sooner. She had even contemplated burning more wood to start a local global warming effect and kick start spring. The thought of Mrs Hudson wielding an axe was however sufficient to put paid to that idea.  Of course if she had chopped down any she'd be planting many more in their stead to ensure the palaces carbon footprint was neutral.

What this carbon footprint was, she wasn't sure. She certainly hadn't on her many daily trips around the estate hunting, and visits to mice in need, come across and strange carbonised tracks. She duly surmised that you only get tracks if your carbon footprint is so heavy it leaves a mark on the grass. Ergo, she thought, the palace must be doing OK. But then it occurred that she didn't want to go too far the other way in case the footprint was so light the palace floated away. After lunch that day, being a weekday, she resolved that she and Mrs Hudson would go and tie the palace down, just in case.

Erin strolled into the parlour that evening, in search of a bite to eat and a chat with Mrs Hudson. She found her dozing in the warmth of the range, that sat slowly cooling down from the days batch of nip scones and bread making. Her feet were soaking in a cooking pot in which a small goldfish lazily swam and nibbled at her bunions. In her hand, looking quite precarious, sat a cup of tea adorned with a straw and a lopsided umbrella.

"Mrs H, are you awake?" Erin placed a cold paw on her ruddy cheek.

"Yes, Erin dear. Just dreaming of being on the beach with waves lapping at my feet and a cold drink in my hand. Can I get you something before you go out on the night shift? Maybe a slice of cheese and a draught of that new Red Lion No-Nip™ tonic drink. Guaranteed nepetalactone free! Fun without the fizz, they say. Tried it myself yesterday and, bar an urge to lay on my back and have an itch, didn't have any adverse effects at all!"

The thought of Mrs Hudson rolling around, wanting to be itched or not, wasn't an image Erin wished to encourage. Best say nothing, she mused, and get on to the business at paw. "Hmm, well maybe another time Mrs H, but for now I am bored and need a new challenge, maybe a new career. What we need is a brain storming session.  Maybe you could rustle up some notepads and pens, and meet me in the library, shoes on, in say half an hour. Bring a flask of something hot too, if you will, with a sprinkling of nip." With that she jumped off the table and headed up to the library to cogitate the meeting ahead.

And so a short time later, we find Mrs Hudson and Erin in the library, studying the jobs section of the London & Regional Society Cat Gazette. Between them, on a low coffee table, sit two mugs of steaming nip cocoa and a half eaten plate of dainty sandwiches.

Mrs Hudson crossed out one vacancy with a look of despair on her face. " Erin dear there is no way I can allow you to be a parking meter maid. That is NOT the thing for a young princess to do and you you don't get to keep the money in the meter either. No, we should steer clear such things. In the olden days I would have suggested entering the church. Or being a governess for a some young family in need of a mature upbringing. If you pick a warmer country like Spain, it would save loads on heating costs and we could get a discount on the sherry too!"

Hmm, well the thought of entering the church, Mrs H, does have some appeal. I mean the mice are supposed to great sport, being extra quiet, bar during the hymns. And one of my ancestors found favour with the Vatican by removing an evil Cardinal from their midst. Yes it does sound a plan, all but for one thing. I fear the Queen of Spain is still harbouring a grudge for my forebears pillaging and plundering. Word on the plaza is that teams of Spanish Inquisitorial Cats are, as we speak, looking for the map and treasure of El Creamado. And a bounty remains on all my line who dare pass into Spain. It's a risk I am not prepared to take, Mrs H, as I value what remains of my ears. Though if queen and country call me, I will always answer. Of course I will have to finish my naps first.

Deep in thought, Mrs Hudson took a slow bite from her sandwich. With a sudden squeal of delight, she flung her arms out at Erin and shouted "I have it!" Such was her vigour, a slice of spam with a lettuce leaf and slice of tomato attached, flew out of the sandwich and across the table, landing unceremoniously at Erin's feet with a cold damp 'flooping' sound.

"I think, Mrs Hudson, that you do not now have it, in the sandwich sense, though I now do! Thank goodness it wasn't 'slaw or a chutney, is all I can say. Pray tell, my good housekeeper, what is it that you DO have?"

Mrs Hudson blushed a radish red, and scooted round the table and gathered up the filling. Having popped it back into the bread, she took another bite and settled back into her seat. "Well what about something that keeps you closer to home, then dear? Maybe the Royal Poet Laureate or one of Her Majesty's Ambassadors. You could represent the village, maybe? We do seem to have a lot of international guests on the blog these days, and it could boost international trade too."

"I do think that is more in line with my standing, Mrs H, for sure, but as you know I am not one for putting myself around. The quiet life for me rather than the glitz and glam of socialites. Of course if we get our movie made and maybe get published I would have to make select PUBLIC appearances. No as good an idea, I think maybe something a little less assuming. Lets look through the books here and see if we can come up with an idea?"

Mrs Hudson choked back a gasp as she looked at the many tomes lining the walls of the small library. "I think I best get some more sandwiches then. Looks like we'll be in for an all nighter!"

By the time the clock on the mantle struck midnight the library was awash with open books. Mrs Hudson slumped back into the wing back chair and sighed. "You know dear, I thought surgeon would be right up your street what with your aptitude with them there claws. Well it's witching hour, so I best scoot to my bed. No good comes of staying up late you know, and I do wish you'd be more like a normal princess and keep daylight hours. Only villains and spies are out at this time and look at all the adventures and risks they take. Nope I do think it's time we went digital high tech.

Maybe you could just get a surveillance system instead, one with those laser beams like that nice young man, Mr Bond, was demonstrating. As long as I doesn't have to do back flips and crawl under them to get to the lavy, I don't mind."

Erin's face lit up. She trotted over and jumped onto Mrs H's chair and rested her paw on her arm. "You know Mrs H, you are quite an inspiration to me..... sometimes."

"I am? Well that is good to hear especially so soon into my employment. Remind me dear, what is it I've inspired you about?"

"Well yes of course you do. I think you have just given me the answer to my new career. OUR new career as I will need a sidekick to help tackle matters for me.

Mrs Hudson suddenly frowned. "You haven't chosen to be a footballer, have you? I'm sorry, but I draw the line at getting into a huddle and having to wear body armour. A corset is bad enough when you're my age!"

"No, not a footballer! Heaven forbid, though you may need something a little protective for what I have in mind.  What I thought we could do is some undercover work, Mrs H, and I don't mean laundry either.  Something we can do under cover of night, pardon the pun, and still be home for breakfast. Maybe start our own service, a secret service for those cats in need and who want complete discretion. Why stop there, governments and the famous will be our customers too, and nothing too small. Or too large, especially if it's a particularly juicy mouse, sorry I meant case!"

"Oh my, this all sounds so exciting, Erin. Will I need a cape and a mask? I have a raincoat, and I could cut some eye holes in my sou'wester and pull it down over my eyes, if that helped? Or are you thinking something more along the lines of that Iron Man and jet packs?"

"I think the less flying we do Mrs H, the better. For now at least I think we should stay earthbound wherever possible." The thought of her housekeeper in charge of a broom, let alone a rocket powered suit or anything more advanced than a vacuum, made Erin's whiskers twitch. "I think if we have to travel, then we'll take the Bentley, or the bus. Remember we need to inconspicuous at all times. Plus I'm fairly sure we need a pilots licence for that sort of thing."

"Yes that does all sound rather sensible, dear.  We wouldn't want to get done by the police for speeding or not having the right insurance or licence.  I'll nip down tomorrow and get a bus timetable from the Post Office. Wouldn't do to start a covert case of national importance and miss the bus, now would it.

"Best not get too ahead of ourselves yet, Mrs H, we haven't even got a name for the business yet. I was toying with Detection, Investigation and Espionage Incorporated, but DIE Inc seems a little bit, how should I put it.... NOT subtle."

"Maybe we shouldn't have a name, Erin, if we're that covert. And we certainly should have code rather than use our own. You could be Agent E, and I, Agent H. Hows that sound? If its OK I'll have some business cards and embossed and letterhead note paper done in the morning. And if you leave your pyjamas and cape out I'll stitch name tags in for you." Mrs Hudson smiled and got up to leave the room. As she reached the door she turned and smiled sweetly at Erin. "Breakfast at the usual time, Agent E?"

'Yes that will be lovely, Agent H, thank you. I do however think we should forgo the name tags, I really don't want folks thinking we are fresh out of kindergarten. Though if we're going high tech, maybe you could have a chip fitted?"

To be continued..........

Saturday, 3 February 2018

So-far, So Good

It's Sunday Selfie time.... 

We are joining The Kitties Blue, from The Cat on My Head blog, for the weekly celebration of blogs and bloggers from across the world and across the species.

Download the link link from their site and join the fun!

This week I have a string of shots taken by my selfie drone, that shows some of the effort I have to go to to get my work done......

First one has to eye up the settings. 

Observe the look of concentration on the hunters face, the whiskers fanned out to optimise radar reception.

Then I take the jump, factoring wind velocity, gloves, and trajectory.....

And at the last second the claw is extended to press the timer, and........

Voila!  The perfect selfie (complete with photobombing mousie!)

To see what all our pals have been up to, click the links below.

............... and now it's Sunday Story Time!

This weeks story is.............. So-Far, So Good!

It is a cold winters evening, and Erin is sat in the flickering red and amber light of the drawing room fire, reviewing the soon to be published blog post. Beside her Mrs Hudson is enjoying not only the warmth of the log fire, but also a small pale cream sherry. She is also knitting Erin a new scarf and a four set of socks. Erin, whilst appreciative of the gesture is somewhat concerned that maybe the sherry glass was not small enough, and has drawn Mrs Hudson to the fact that they, the scarf and socks, are not normally part of the same garment!

And so the evening rolls on until it comes time for Erin to read the blog out loud.

"Ok, so here is the latest version of the post, Mrs H. Please feel free to jump in if I have something wrong......

So Far So Good, another episode from the diaries of Palace Life, by Erin the Cat, princess.

Now, I have to say that I do take my seats seriously. I'm rather partial to having somewhere comfy to sit, to take the strain of my paws during those long periods spent doing my blog dictation, cogitating the meaning of words such as cogitating, doing the Palace accounts, and tending to my pasteurising... er... pastoral duties. A task, I must add, that can be in excess of twelve hours a day, every day, and weekends too, at least!

Now as my housekeeper has some back issues, I'd obtained at no small vast expense, some marvellous sets of those rather natty food savers with blue lids, from a certain well know Scandinavian purveyor of fine food savers.

Note from Editor:- Please note, for the sake of fairness, balance, and a strongly worded letter from the Honourable Guild of Natty Food Savers (with blue lids), about our post entitled "Brainwaves and Boxes", we need to advise that other fine purveyors of food savers, doubtless with blue lids and possibly in Princess Pink, are or may or may not be available from all good purveyors of such items. Now back to the story....

What do food savers have to do with the housekeepers back, I hear you ask? And well you might, as I did, and therein lies today's tale. Not that I am fibbing, no ma'am not this princess. Heck you won't see my nose growing like Pistachio.

Mrs Hudson looked up from scarf she was knitting and, scratching her head with the end of one of the needles, gave a thoughtful look. "Erin dear, surely they're nuts. And wasn't he Pinocchio?"

"Now Mrs Hudson, I do think I know my nuts from my potato dumplings, when I see them. And one thing I am sure of, that lad wasn't made of potatoes and flour. Think of the mess if he'd gone out in the rain. Besides, he was made of wood, so he'd have had squirrels, and we all know they like nuts. I rest my kernel... er... case.

Now where was I?  Ah yes. As Mrs Hudsons back had been playing up, a trip was required to a certain emporium, of certain boxes, who also happened to do furniture. After copious amounts of out of tune humming and haring, and much fuel wasted visiting said store countless times and only coming home with a selection of food savers, she bought a new chair.

All however was not as I had hoped, and I soon discovered that my housekeeper had an inclination to incline and fall asleep in this chair on account of it being too comfortable. She dropped right off and forgot to feed me. In fact she was spending so much time on that chair sometimes she didn't drop off and still forgot to feed me.

Now as the other piece of furniture in MY office was one of those mono legged swivel stools, there was no way I could be expected to use that. I don't know if you have ever tried to gracefully jump onto something that not only spins but also tilts, but let me say it isn't for the feint hearted. So I did what any discerning princess could do, I jumped on it, or specifically I jumped on Mrs Hudson's new chair. And there, dear readers I have stayed, until last week when more boxes arrived!

Like a scene from that documentary series, Dr Who, like time travellers from another world those boxes materialised right before my eyes.

OK so maybe I might have dozed off for a bit... OK for an hour... or two... or maybe three, but those boxes just turned up!

So as all good princesses should do, I took the necessary time to contemplate the situation, to calculate and redefine the parameters of the dilemma, the quantum mechanics, velocities of worm holes versus relativity of Mrs Hudson's court shoes? Not entirely certain how they got in that equation, but they do seem to get everywhere so maybe they form the basis of time travel? Well they certainly could do with being out of this time zone on account of the aroma!

Anyways, lets just say I did a lot of cogitating and ruminating!"

Mrs Hudson looked up and gave a telling smile. "Erin dear, it sure looked like you asleep. You had that gentle purr going on and your ears and nose were twitching like you were dreaming of mice."

"I'll have you know, Mrs Hudson, that this Princess never naps on the job, that would be most unprofessional. Not least because... er... well there will be a reason, best I get back to you after checking the Official Secrets Act, just in case it's a secret.

Oh, and when I say secret, I don't mean the Official Secret Act, that's not secret as I know about that and I know you know about that too, on account of telling you just now. Nope, the secret is what Secret Act is secret about. Though one could argue that if we don't know it exists it actually doesn't exist for us and so it isn't a secret needed to be a secret.

Anyways, at the end of the day, napping is for nap time and working is for work time. So, if I am napping, it is safe to say I won't be working, or on work time.

Of course if I needed to nap for work that would be different. Then I would be work napping and it won't be a secret, unless of course it is the interests of National Security. In which case I will be working but will pretend I'm not and it WILL be a secret.

But whatever you do, DON'T wake me up to ask, well not unless its in the interest of National Security. I mean I do have to get my beauty sleep too, which has nothing to do with naps, and definitely nothing to with officials or official secrets.

Are we clear, Mrs Hudson?"

"Erin, you have totally confused me with all those secrets and not secret secrets. What secret is it that we're talking about?"

Erin smiled at Mrs Hudson and gave a very pronounced wink. "Glad we are on the same page there Mrs Hudson. By the way, I would recommend NOT sliding the knitting off the needle so as to scratch your head as it looks like you have dropped a few hundred knits and a thousand pearls."

Mrs Hudson gave a gasp and frantically tried to reinsert the needle back through the loops of black and white yarn. " I could maybe make you a nice set of ear warmers instead, dearie, if you prefer?" 

Erin sighed resignedly, nodded, and carried on.

"Anyhows, those boxes were a threat to National Security. To some they might just be boxes, but to Palace Security they are threats, as NO box enters this domain without my say so.

So, after due investigation, various angles of olfactory discernment and some smackypaws, I discovered a label. Seems like them boxes were for me!

Mrs Hudson, bless her, had in fact ordered a new Chaise Lounge. Yup those fiendishly clever Scandinavian peeps, purveyors of those storage containers, also do natty sofa's, in blue. Thankful though NOT with blue lids!"

Note from Editor:- Please note, for the sake of fairness, balance, and before we get a strongly worded letter from the Honourable Guild of Natty Sofas, we need to advise that other fine purveyors of  sofas, doubtless in blue and possibly Princess Pink, are or may or may not be available from all good purveyors of such items. Now back to the story....again!

"I do need to explain that the Palace has been devoid of a chaise lounge for some time, since my accession to the thrown in fact, on account of squatters. Yup seems like the previous housekeeper had allowed a certain group of individuals to take up residence, and breed no less. In fact if they had bred less it it wouldn't have been an issue. The trouble was they bred more, and in the Palace sofa. Mouses!

In deed the mouses soon started to take over the lower floors and also the arm rests and latterly were even seen to be enjoying afternoon tea on the head rest!

Well, you can imagine my upset.... OK there was a fair degree of upset and.... OK paws up, there was a modicum of pleasure when I had to deal with this issue on the old housekeepers behalf, who was sadly lacking in the requisite expertise and claws to get to grip with the matter.

Anyways, those there boxes contained a super-duper vacuum packed, squeezed flat, fully DIY enabled sofa,  and all the housekeeper had to do was assemble it.

Now being the modern princess, I was happy to lend a paw. Trouble was, things got off to bad start when the housekeeper, who had laid waste to vast tracts of the Great Hall during the unpacking stage, managed to lose the little pack of tools and the instructions booklet!

Well, many hours of nappi... er... searching later, I discovered that the instructions booklet had started to form its own thermally efficient, dynamically resilient, insulative substrata. OK, paws up, I was sat on it. But it was a rather comfy cushioning layer and how was I to know? After all it did have a sofa on the front page, and they're for sitting on, stands to reason.

I didn't feel too bad though, as it wasn't I but the assembly challenged housekeeper who lost the special spanner to assemble the sofa. Nor was it I who assembled the legs sticking sideways rather than down, and put the cover on back to front, twice. Nor I, that forgot to buy the back rest! I mean, I must be the only Princess that has a fully functional, five times size footstool.

Of course had this Princess been doing the actual assembly and not delegated, it would have been delivered, assembled by those funny looking stick insect like, two fingered humans in the instruction booklet..... AND it would have been in Princess Pink!

Not that I'm complaining of course, no ma'am, as I do have a rather nice new selection of cardboard boxes and the Palace hasn't acquired any more of those natty food savers with the blue lids. I mean, what more could a Princess ask for, besides a new sofa that is?

The End"

Mrs Hudson stood up and applauded. "Bravo bravo bravo, Erin dear. A wonderful tale without doubt one of your best. Now this housekeeper, do I know her as she does sound quite familiar?"

"You know Mrs H, I think maybe it's time for bed, don't you?"

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The End ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~