cat litter

I’ve always been fond of felines, whatever their size and, until I was actually in a position to keep a domestic cat as a pet, I had an extensive collection of tigers.

There were book marks, tea cards, themed birthday cards and calendars, soft toys of all sizes, an Esso tiger-in-your-tank key ring from the 70s, a Russian porcelain figurine, tiger’s eye quartz jewellery…

Some were given away, broken, lost or abandoned. Others must be in a box in a lock up in Spain with so many of my other possessions. A few survive: I’m sure there’s a supermarket trolley token with a cartoon tiger’s head in the bottom of one of my handbags and a Schleich white tiger called Frankie continues to accompany me whenever I travel away from home.
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august

Tomorrow is the first day of August and we’re well into the period corresponding to the astrological sign of Leo. So I’m posting a photo of this rather lovely – and, I think, benignly superior and suitably august – lion, which I found in one of the local churches.
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last post before Christmas

I’m fairly sure I won’t write on the blog again before Christmas – though I am quite likely to spend far too much of the day itself on the computer so there may be a post then – which is one reason for the post title. The other reason is that if you haven’t already sent your cards, they probably won’t arrive in time for the 25th unless you get to a post office tomorrow and pay extra for Special Delivery.

Post Office Box lions, Avila
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the lion in autumn

It’s the second half of December and we are heading quickly towards the shortest day of the year. This year, though, the solstice isn’t until Tuesday 22nd, so talking about it today, Sunday, is a little premature – hence the post title, which gives me the excuse to post a picture of a lion:

lion relief carving

A quick look around online tells me that the word solstice is derived from the Latin, and combines the word sol, sun, and the word sistere, to stand or stop: it’s the moment when the sun seems to pause – the point when the year turns.
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roaring drunk

I spent an interesting morning on a private visit to Stoneleigh Abbey in Warwickshire, where I found the beast in the photo.

white plaster lion

The young lady who showed us around told us that the word “plastered”, meaning “drunk”, derives from the habit of adding white wine to plaster to keep it malleable: the artisans who worked with the mix were exposed to the alcoholic fumes all day. What’s more, she said, they were allowed to keep and drink the wine that remained unused at the end of the day.

I’m really not convinced that a drunken artisan could produce the spectacular plasterwork of which the lordly lion was just a tiny motif. I note, though, that the decoration was in the room known as “the saloon”.

life, death and points arising

Lion, sovereign's entrance, Houses of Parliament, London

Despite all succeed-in-social-media advice, I don’t have a regular schedule for blog updates, but this hiatus of nearly a fortnight is not the norm.

While travelling last week, I found I was doing my own impersonation of the Seven Dwarfs: puffy, sniffy, whingey, dozy, grumpy, busy… well that’s only six, but I tagged coffee onto the list, and kept going.

I grew up thinking the seventh Disney dwarf was Dock – a very dwarf-like name; listing my symptoms in an email, though, I had a moment of clarity: I was missing Doc.

So I went to the doctor and discovered I was rather more poorly than just a “stinking cold”. Dosed up with three types of antibiotic, I am now beginning to get back on track.

This means I’ve been out of commission for most of the initial furore surrounding Thatcher’s death, but am still just in time for all the fun of the funeral.

Although there’s little to be added to all the keen online wit and repartee, I do want to raise a few points:
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yet more mythical beasts

golden lion's head

It’s half a lifetime ago that I first left the UK to live abroad, but barely a day goes by when I’m not in touch with someone there, and I still read the British news when I have time.

Usually, my friends and family keep me up to date when there are stories they think I’ll find interesting, so I was disappointed to realise that no one had told me that the hunt was on in Essex for a lion until it was practically all over.

I’ve always been fond of cats of all sizes, so, since the Essex lion has (probably) turned out to be a mythical beast, I thought I’d post some of the lions I have among my photos.
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