Tuesday, 28 January 2014


I don't usually make resolutions because I'm not very good at keeping them, but this year so many of my friends were making 14 resolutions for 2014 that I thought I would have a go at making some too.

I wanted to use a Dungeness photo here and this was the only one I could find on my computer, it's not the most exciting photo of the place, which is beautiful, desolate and surreal, but maybe appropriate for today's theme of looking back and looking forward...

Now we're nearly a month into the New Year, I thought I'd share my list and how I'm doing so far...

  1. Try to make at least one bear a month - I don't know about you but I've been feeling really flat this month and struggling to get going with my crafting after the big push to complete Christmas presents in time, but I may just manage to finish my current bear by the end of the month so I might be on track for this one  :)
  2. Rehome the last of Sue's things - it will soon be a year since my friend died but I still have a couple of things to deliver.  I just need to recontact the people concerned and make a bit more effort on this one.
  3. Visit Wildwood - a proper visit this time, and I promise to take my camera and share some photos with you.  It's such a special place, well worth a visit  :)
  4. A photo day in Dungeness - another great place to visit, I've been promising myself a return visit for about two years, so it's about time I got around to it!
  5. Stop lending (giving) son money!  This is a hard one as he's one of the most disorganised people on the planet, but he needs to learn to stand on his own two feet and keep helping him out isn't doing much for my finances.  Tough love is VERY hard and I've broken this one already, but I'm slowly getting better at it.
  6. Try to go to the pool more often - I was never a confident swimmer and these days I can rarely even bring myself to let go of the rail!  I go to a very warm pool just a few miles away when I do go, but haven't been well enough so far this year, so complete fail on this one so far  :(
  7. Be more organised - I've managed on the whole to keep on top of a couple of target tasks, so I'm going to count this one as a success  :)
  8. Try a new craft - hopefully this will be another success as I'm booked on a one morning workshop this weekend  :)
  9. Tackle the paperwork pile - well I've started, and even taken a bag full of shredded paper for recycling so another success  :)
  10. Declutter - I've done a bit of decluttering recently with the help of Freegle, so I'm going to count this one as a success.  :)
  11. Go to bed earlier and try to get up earlier - hmmm... I've been sleeping so badly that I think I'll call this one a work in progress.
  12. Make more effort to keep in touch with family and friends - I think this will have to count as a work in progress too as I've already missed sending a couple of birthday cards  :/
  13. Join in a craft blog swap - I'm actually working on this one!  I'm registered with a swap, I have a swap partner and I've even gathered together some items I've made so this one should be a success!  :)
  14. Eat more healthily - this is obviously a long term goal and ignoring today's rather haphazard diet, I have been working on this one.  It's my birthday this week so I'm not going to get stressed if friends or family feed me a chocolate muffin or a Crunchie bar (guilty on both counts) but on the whole I've been doing quite well at cutting down on unhealthy snacks and have so far lost around 6 lbs  :)
So on the whole I've been doing quite well I think so I don't think my resolutions are going to be a complete disaster.  Maybe this year I've been more realistic with my tasks?  Looking at the list, I seem to have set a range of long and short-term goals, some of which I don't need to tackle straight away and I'm not giving myself a hard time over any slips.  It will be interesting to take another look at the list at the end of the year to see how I feel about my list then.  I wonder if I'll be able to say I succeeded with all my tasks?

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Jaffa - My Awesome Friend!

I know I haven't posted for a while, my son gave me a virus for Christmas and it took me a while to recover.  I haven't been crafting much lately either, but hopefully I'll get back to crafting AND blogging very soon.  This post is a little different, I'm not writing it because I want sympathy, but as a celebration for the life of a wonderful cat who I loved dearly.

I first met Jaffa as I walked my son home from his first day at school.  My son was always rather obsessed by cats and wanted to make friends with every cat he met, unfortunately in those early days of our relationship with Jaffa, he wasn't too impressed with our attempts at getting to know him - in fact it would be no exaggeration to say he hated us and probably every other human in existence!

One thing we did notice on our daily walks past his house was that his food bowl was kept in the front garden and that sometimes when it rained the dish would fill with water and stay that way for a couple of days, so we started buying cat food and throwing it for our ungrateful new friend from a distance because he would hiss, spit and strike out if you got too close.  One day, a couple of years on, I noticed that Jaffa had one of his front legs trapped under his collar and he was struggling frantically to free himself.  I tried to help him but couldn't do it alone, so I knocked on his owner's door.  Luckily someone was home and between us we managed to take the collar off and that was when I learned our little furry friend/fiend was called Jaffa.  He seemed to be warming to us a little after that, so my son suggested I should try to stroke him - I waited till his mouth was full of cat biscuits before I tried and thankfully survived unscathed.

After that, both Jaffa and I became braver and I think we both used to look forward to our daily meetings.  Sometimes after dropping my son off at school, I would sit on the pavement and Jaffa would climb onto my lap for a cuddle.  This went on for several more years until one day, he just wasn't there anymore!  We were so worried that something had happened to him but then we met one of Jaffa's neighbour's in town who told us that he was now living at a local cat sanctuary.  Well as you can imagine, both my son and I wanted to go and see how our little furry friend was doing.  I didn't drive back then, but one of our neighbours offered to drive us over and I don't know who was the happiest - him or us - and I'm sure you've guessed by now that within two days, Jaffa had moved into our home.

The top right photo above was taken on the day he moved in, in fact it was taken within the first hour that he was under our roof.  When he arrived and was taken out of the travel box, he gave us a sniff, he stalked from room to room to get his bearings (or maybe just to be nosey), then he jumped onto the sofa, into the seat nearest the radiator (it was February) and as you can see, he made himself right at home!

I worried a lot in the early days that he wouldn't settle into living indoors after so many years outside, but he never wanted to go outside again.  The one and only time I took him downstairs onto our courtyard, he climbed onto my lap as I sat on the outside step and he was trembling so much that I quickly took him back indoors again and apart from the very regular vet trips in the last year of his life, he remained indoors for the rest of his life.

We had almost five wonderful years together before he journeyed across the Rainbow Bridge.  He was my constant companion whenever I was home, like a small furry shadow.  He was completely food obsessed, you can see him begging for a piece of chicken in the middle right photo; and see him drinking from his preferred water bowl in the bottom left photo - I tried everything I could think of to stop that particular habit, even tried giving him bottled water, but nothing worked, it was just one of his little quirks.  The top right photo shows him on top of the fridge, I have a very small kitchen and the fridge has to sit on the worktop as I have a freezer that lives where a fridge should be.  He only ever climbed on top of the fridge that one time - it had taken him ages to figure out how, he once did the same with the television too and sat himself carefully among the cat ornaments I kept there.

These days I share my home with another awesome cat, he's very different in looks and character from Jaffa for which I'm grateful.  I love Marley dearly, but there was just something about Jaffa that I still miss to this day - six years and three days after losing him!

After he died, I couldn't bear the thought of just walking away, so I asked for his ashes to be returned.  I would have liked to have buried them in a nice sunny spot but I don't have a garden, so his ashes are still with me.  Maybe one day I'll have a little garden where he can be laid to rest.

I would say to anyone who is thinking about getting a pet, check out your local animal rescue centre.  The connection you can develop with a rescued animal is amazing.  I've grown up with cats and dogs, we were never without pets when I was a child, but the best relationships I've ever had with any pet has always been with those who have been rescued.  I probably would never have considered taking on an eleven year old cat if I hadn't known him before he needed a new home but I'll never regret taking Jaffa into my home, he was such a gentleman  :) and I would definitely consider taking on an older cat again in the future.  Everyone loves kittens, but older cats need love too and if you find room in your heart and your home for an older cat, I found the rewards were definitely worth it and I hope you do too.