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”.