Monday, 29 December 2014

Chilly Sunny Days!

 
 
Well it's almost the end of December and it's been a very chilly one here. Fortunately the sun is out today and both the cats and I are taking full advantage of it!
 
 

 

I expect by this evening they will all be ready to come back inside and sit by the fire and that's where I got the inspiration for my latest little creation; a room box scene, complete with a little kitty sitting by the fire. To see more pics click here.

 
I hope you all had a Merry Christmas!
 
 

Monday, 22 December 2014

Toulouse Christmas Market

At the weekend I was lucky enough to visit Toulouse and it was a great time to go because in the main central square there was a bustling Christmas market selling everything from melted hot chocolate and Arigot (a sort of mix of mashed potato and cheese famous in the area), to handmade jewellery and sculptures. I was tempted by a few things and certainly tried the hot chocolate, I just wish I'd put on an extra pair of socks!

The bustling Christmas market in the Capitol Square


The church of Saint Sernin.

A quaint French street just off the main square.


Naturally Archie stayed at home snuggled up next to the fire. My chilblains suggest maybe I should have done the same!
The True Story of a Not So Crazy Cat Lady is available now in paperback and ebook!

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Cats and Christmas Lights!

Are you all ready for Christmas? Is the tree set up and decorated?  Does your cat have their own stocking hanging up next to the fireplace? I'm not quite there yet but I have seen some very impressive Christmas lights. Have you ever been to Bordeaux in France? Imagine Paris but a little smaller, with the same old stone buildings and wonderful architecture. Every little street is effortlessly chic. Picture decorative ironwork balconies, little cafés on street corners and galloping horses at the centre of water fountains.
At this time of year the city is just magical. As the sun falls beyond the horizon the Christmas lights go on and I have to say I have never seen such a beautiful city. The lights dance and sparkle against the dark sky and at the end of a wide street, set against a backdrop of the cathedral, is a tree shimmering with a thousand lights. Christmas in Bordeaux isn't just elegant and stylish, it's got a magic touch, and I only hope you get to see it for yourself.
Tomorrow I will put up my own Christmas tree, hang on the lights and baubles, and wonder which cat will be unable to resist pinging a decoration from the lower branches first!


Friday, 5 December 2014

Exclusive Excerpt!

Today I thought I'd share with you an excerpt from the beginning of The True Story of a Not So Crazy Cat Lady which is currently available in both paperback and eBook. Enjoy!

Chapter 1

They came into my life, quite by chance, the same week as my husband walked out of it. I’d dragged myself out of the house to stock up on ice cream, chocolate and DVD rentals and although it was May, the sun seemed about as enthusiastic with life as I was. Alone in the corner of the supermarket car park, I heaved the bin bag of clothes Richard had left behind from the boot of my car and dropped it into the charity bin, dusting off my hands as though that meant he was out of my life for good. It was then that my attention was drawn to a cardboard box sitting amongst the puddles, almost buried beneath a mountain of recycling encircling the glass bottle bank. Rats, I thought as it shuffled and I backed away but then, quite unmistakably, the box meowed. Frowning I pushed aside the rubbish, lifted the box lid and found myself nose to nose with five kittens. One was white, another grey, two were cinnamon coloured and the last was a spotty mix of everything. They looked up at me unsure and afraid, and I stared back, already falling in love all over again.
Less than two months later I opened the cards on my twenty-ninth birthday to find that there was a cat on the front of all but one. I smiled and stood them in a line along the kitchen table then took another sip of coffee and looked over at my laptop as it made a number of irritated beeps. Bea was standing on the keyboard, her tail held high as she looked back at me with large innocent eyes. But innocent she most certainly was not. Of all the kittens I’d acquired that May day there had been only one boy. Modi I’d called him and like Bea, he was predominantly cinnamon coloured. He was also well mannered and hassle-free, two things his sister was not. Although the runt of the litter, what Bea lacked in size she made up for in spirit and once she realised I was eating toast she made a dash for my knee, knocking over the birthday cards on her way. I didn't put up much of a fight and broke her off a small piece, then I stood the cards back up trying not to notice that I was two shy from last year. Sophie had been my best friend for years and bridesmaid at my wedding. Richard had once promised that this year I'd spend my birthday in Venice, but as I sat alone at the kitchen table I couldn't help but wonder if right now the two of them were there together. I shook my head, telling myself not to think about such things, and surrendered the rest of my toast to Bea. It was time to go to work.
My cottage sat on the outskirts of a small village perched on the edge of the Peak District, surrounded by grassy hills and dry stone walls. The day looked warm beyond the French blue painted windows and I called,
‘See you later guys,’ as I picked up the car keys and opened my front door. ‘Be good,’ I smiled as five pairs of eyes looked back at me from various vantage points of the kitchen.

I walked towards the gate, an azure blue sky overhead, and then climbed into my rumbly old Citroen CV, the roads still quiet as I headed into town.
Squeezed in between a florists and Harper’s Bookshop on the main street, Brambly Antiques had an elegant black shop front with gold lettering and two storeys of red brick above. Inside, the exposed beams were lime washed white, the terracotta floor blanketed in Persian rugs and the room abundant with treasures from throughout the ages. Ramblers and tourists were already strolling down the town’s cobbled streets as I opened up the shop and suddenly I felt hungry to get stuck into some work.
‘Hi Harriet, sorry I’m late.’
‘No trouble,’ I said as Charlie arrived ten minutes later and shrugged off her jacket. Charlie had olive skin and dark hair and at twenty-three, had been working for me for almost twelve months.
‘Lovely day isn’t it? And of course, happy birthday!’ Charlie pulled a purple envelope from her bag followed by a small box.
‘How cute!’ I said, this time faced with a litter of kittens as I opened the card. Inside the box was a pair of cat silhouette shaped earrings and I smiled. ‘Thank you.’
Charlie was the sort of girl who loved buying gifts and looked pleased with my response. I stood the card on the counter and she asked, ‘Up to anything special tonight?’
‘I’m cooking dinner for my family.’
‘All of them?’ She looked impressed. ‘That’s quite a gathering.’
‘I’m looking forward to it,’ I smiled. ‘There’s a lot of catching up to do.’ Having hammered in a nail, I picked up a painting and hung it on the wall, squinting as I nudged it straight. 
‘So where did you nip off to last night?’
I stiffened, surprised Charlie had guessed that anything had been up. ‘Nowhere special, dentist appointment,’ I spluttered, my gaze lingering unnecessarily on the painting. The last thing I was going to tell her was the truth. I'd only agreed to go on the date to stop Lou nagging. The phone rang and I dashed perhaps a little too eagerly towards it. ‘Brambly Antiques, how can I help you?’
‘Sis' hey, it’s Ryan. Happy birthday!’
‘Thanks, how are things?’
‘Well, I’m ringing because Karen can’t come tonight.’
‘Oh what’s up? You know you can just say if she hates my cooking.’
Ryan laughed. ‘No, she’s feeling rough. She’s got a cold, lost her voice, the works.’
It was common knowledge that Karen didn’t get on with her husband’s side of the family, with the exception of my mum, and I wondered whether she really was so conveniently unwell or not. Either way I wished her my best and told my brother I looked forward to seeing him later.
‘I’m just going upstairs Charlie,’ I called as I headed for the wooden staircase in the corner of the room. I was trying to avoid further interrogation and Charlie knew it. ‘You okay with everything down here?’
‘Sure,’ she said.
The treads creaked underfoot as I bypassed the first floor full of more antiquarian curiosities and climbed to the second. My workshop was light and airy compared to the rooms below but as usual it was a mess. I could already hear voices downstairs as I walked over to the sash windows and heaved them open, welcoming the sunshine in, and for a minute I gazed down at the street below and then glanced over the rooftops of the buildings opposite, just able to glimpse the turrets of the castle on the other side of town. I'd known the view since I was a child, when the workshop belonged to my father.

Turning back to the room I looked at the mound of newly acquired stock stacked in the corner. Every weekend I went to local flea markets and car boots, on the hunt for unique treasures that people were throwing out, unable to see their potential as I did, and I rarely went away empty handed. Last Sunday had been no exception and amongst the goods I'd returned with were old baskets, copper pans, books and silverware. I crouched and lifted the lid of a vintage trunk, surveying the damage that years of neglect had inflicted. It had to be late nineteenth century and I frowned as I caught sight of a label stuck inside the lid and tried to read the handwriting. It had once belonged to a Madame Jeanne Hecquet from Paris and I pondered how it was that it had come to be in the middle of England. A little tender loving care would be required before the trunk was ready for the shop but I had seen worse.
Beside it sat a heap of enamelware and I picked up the nearest pitcher. It was a little rusty and chipped in places but once the dust was wiped away I knew it would look charming downstairs, perhaps displayed with some flowers in. My gaze then ran over a copper kettle and the ornate frame of a mirror before stopping on a painting. I leant forwards and picked it up. It was a landscape, the sky moody above a large majestic lake, and my eyes wandered over the surface of the canvas as I remembered the last time I had visited the Lake District. I'd been to many countries and places but nowhere for me had matched it. Richard had always been disparaging, unable to see what I did. To him it was just the place where he had grown up, nothing more, but if there was one thing I thanked him for, it was introducing us. The painting was shrouded in a crude frame and the glass was ill-fitting, but its housing for the past goodness knows how many years had at least kept it safe. I took it back to my desk and propped it up against the wall. Then I reached for a bottle of cleaner and a heavy copper pan.
By the time Charlie took her lunch break I had polished a set of six copper pans and a whole host of silver flatware, and I carried them downstairs where I set them down on a table. An elderly woman was deliberating over a coffer across the room, whispering with her friend, and having returned to the counter with a handful of books which needed pricing, I looked towards the door as it was pushed open. The man who walked in was tall and blonde, a few years older than myself with a smile that made me wish he had been sitting opposite me last night. Slowly he began to peruse the room and I looked back down at the book, but before I had chance to jot the price inside the cover he was standing in front of me.
‘Hi,’ he said. He was even better looking up close.
‘Hi,’ I repeated.
‘The tapestry hanging up behind you; is it French?’
‘Flemish,’ I said. ‘Fifteenth century.’
He wanted a closer look and before I could say personal space he had skirted around the counter and was standing next to me. I subtly shuffled backwards until I felt something behind my knees.
‘It depicts the Sybil of Cumae,’ I offered. ‘Here, you see?’
‘Yes, yes,’ he murmured, looking across at me with another smile and he only looked away after I did first and immediately I wished I hadn't. I started reeling off some other facts, not to sound smart but to fill the slender gap between us with something other than an awkward silence, completely unaware that the woman interested in the coffer had crossed the room and was trying to get my attention.
‘Excuse me?’ she tried again in a meek voice.
This time I heard her and as I span back to the room my fingertips brushed the man's thigh. I couldn't believe it. I felt like such a clumsy fool and I didn't need a mirror to know that I had instantly turned an unattractive shade of crimson. I clenched my fingers into fists, and biting my bottom lip I looked back at him.
‘I'm so sorry,’ I spluttered.
He didn't say anything but it was clear from his expression that he was amused. I asked the ground to swallow me up but as the seconds on the grandfather clock ticked loudly by in the otherwise silent room, it seemed I'd have to make it out of there on my own. I looked down, my face screwed up in agony and at last sidled out from behind the counter.
‘How can I help you?’ I asked the elderly woman, trying to keep my voice level. She had all the characteristics of a mouse, from her rounded shoulders to the small hands which clutched her handbag tightly. She opened her mouth to speak but it was her friend beyond her shoulder who answered first.
‘We'd like to know your best price on this?’ she said curtly, her voice masculine and her expression stern.
She was the shape of a diamond but lacked the elegance of one and when I gave my answer she rebuffed it with a snort.
‘I don't think so Julie, not for that.’
Julie glanced from me to the coffer and then back at her companion with fidgety lips as though she wanted to speak but daren't. I could see it in her eyes that she wanted to say yes but her friend was already walking away, directing her towards another chest that was far inferior in quality and was reflected so in the price tag. ‘This one's much better,’ she stated confidently.
Julie knew she was obliged to follow but didn't.
‘It's a lovely piece,’ I smiled, leading her back to the original coffer in question. ‘It's made of oak and the craftsmanship is superb.’ I lifted the lid so that she could look inside and I watched as she gently ran her fingers over the dark wood. ‘It's likely Elizabethan as you can tell from-’
‘It's not as nice as this one,’ Julie's friend interrupted as though determined she would be the one to decide.
Julie pulled back her hand like a child whose fingers had been caught in the biscuit tin and like a spurned hound, she peered over her shoulder before loyally, albeit with great reluctance, thanked me for my assistance and caught up with her companion.
I closed the coffer lid, unsure whether to be amused by the pair or not, and then sensed that someone was standing behind me.
‘I'll take it,’ the blonde guy said as I turned around. ‘Could you hold it until next week?’
‘Sure,’ I said.
He left a deposit and a smile and when the doorbell rang again it was Charlie returning from her lunch break.
‘Hello, I'm back,’ she called but then stopped in her tracks as she saw me perched on the bottom tread of the staircase, lost in my thoughts. ‘Are you all right?’ she frowned.
‘Yes, I'm fine,’ I lied as I stood back up and walked over to the counter and the books that still needed pricing. I knew she didn't believe me. I was a bad liar but I was incapable of putting what I felt into words even if I had the courage to talk about it out loud.
‘What's happened?’
‘Nothing,’ I said, offering her the most convincing smile I could muster. ‘The tapestry's sold by the way. A man's coming back next week for it.’

When I got home I could see Modi lounging in the garden, soaking up the late afternoon sunshine, and I knew the others wouldn't be far away. I unlatched the gate and suddenly they appeared, dashing towards me like I was the pied piper playing their favourite tune. I appreciated the greeting.
‘It's good to see you too girls.’
Flicks was a meek white cat and loved to sleep in the most unusual of places. From the looks of her fur, speckled with compost, the wheelbarrow was currently her favourite spot to kip. Coco had undoubtedly spent the afternoon playing in the garden shed amongst the stacks of plant pots if her cobweb covered head was anything to go by. She was an adventurous sort and her fur a spotty mishmash of browns, white and ginger, almost as though she were wearing camouflage face paint. Then there was Mona, named so because she loved her food and didn't stop moaning until she got it. She had a beautiful long grey coat and dewy eyes that never failed to win me over. Bea was hungry too but as usual one step ahead of everyone else, including me. I heard the shopping bag at my feet fall over and then saw, not to my surprise, her ginger tail poking out of it.
‘Hold on there you,’ I said, persuading her out and then picking the bag back up. ‘We're not inside yet.’
Modi was still climbing to his feet, stretching as though he'd been in that spot amongst the geranium's all afternoon, but by the time I unlocked the front door he'd caught us up. Excitably they circled my feet as we crossed the kitchen, their trust in me outweighing any fear of being trodden on, and then once I'd filled their bowls I continued on into the living room alone.
Having dropped into my chair I listened to the silence and my gaze bore into the vacant chair across from me until tears blurred it into obscurity. Richard had been there, in the back of my mind all day. Like every day. No matter how hard I tried I missed him. I was supposed to hate him after what he'd done but still I closed my eyes wanting to hear his voice. If I tried hard enough I almost could. I pretended I could feel his breath on my face, his hand in my hair, unable to imagine replacing him with someone else as he had done me. With a deep shaky breath I wiped the moisture from my face with the back of my hand and then opening my eyes felt, against all the odds, a spark of amusement lighten my load. Suddenly sitting in Richard’s chair and looking back at me, was Modi. I got up, walked over to the chair and sat down on the carpet then reached out with my fingertips and stroked his head, smiling as he nuzzled back into my hand. His fur was so smooth and as his chest slowly rose and fell beneath my hand and he looked back at me with large yellow eyes which seemed to gaze deeper than the surface, I felt a surge of love for him which had beaten back my tears more than once before.
‘What would I do without you?’ I said as he reached out towards my face with a paw as though trying to dry my cheeks.
Modi gave me strength at times like this like no person could and I knew that as long as he was there, I'd be okay. He was the man of the house now and I just hoped that unlike his predecessor, he would never abandon me.



Copyright (c) Catherine Walker 2014



Monday, 1 December 2014

Snuggle Up with a Book

Well December is here and as though timed to perfection here in south France, the temperature has fallen too. It's the time when we start thinking of those gifts we're going to buy our family and friends for Christmas and I have to admit that I have bought just one or two things myself. When it comes to our pets it can be a little trickier to find that perfect gift but fortunately Cat World magazine is on hand! If you check out their December issue you'll find a whole gift guide packed with goodies for your kitty but also some ideas for those owners too...including amongst the book reviews an editorial for The True Story of a Not So Crazy Cat Lady.
December is a great time of year to snuggle up with a book by the fire. It's almost like hibernating as you watch the bare branches, having dropped their leaves, sway in the cold breeze beyond the window. So a big thank you goes out to Cat World Magazine and remember to get your copy!


Thursday, 27 November 2014

Cats v Dogs

If you're reading this the chances are you like cats and probably have at least one of your own at home, perhaps sitting on your knee right now, but what do you make of the other four legged friends, man's best friend? Dogs? I don't have one myself but my elderly neighbour has and unable to take care of it herself I step in to help feed and walk the dog each day. Her name's Dolly and she's a Breton Spaniel. She's a good girl on the whole but this afternoon she made another Great Escape from her enclosure in the garden. That's perhaps the third hole she's now made and I'm beginning to tire of fixing them back up. Squeezing under the gate like Peter Rabbit from Mr McGregor's garden, she then races round to my house ready for play time. Dog's are very different like that compared to cats. Sure the kitties like to play and hang out with you but a dog is in constant demand of your attention. The limitless energy Dolly has tires me out!
My cats are my allies, my best buddies, and like me they're pretty chilled out. There's no fetching sticks, running through wet grass and jumping in puddles. They're sophisticated, relaxed, undemanding, tidy. I look across at Archie, my cat, and he's asleep or lounging in the sunshine, content. I look at Dolly and she's looking back - ready for yet another walk. So as the sun fell beyond the horizon I put Dolly back to bed and I just hope that she doesn't squeeze out of a new hole before I've caught my breath!




Monday, 24 November 2014

Breakfast Photo Shoot

Don't you just love the way your cat says hello to you in the morning? My cat Teddy practically head butts me in his attempt to get as close as possible when I pick him up and he dances in my arms, rubbing his nose against my nose, my shoulder, in my hair, until I'm grinning from ear to ear. It's a great way to start the day! He is also one of those cats that likes to wander and it is not unusual for him to disappear for a day or two and when he does return he is more excitable than ever, as though he's been on holiday and is so pleased to be back home.
This morning however I was met with a number of very confused faces when I failed to fill their food bowls.  The truth was we were out of cat biscuits and they were at the top of my shopping list, I just hadn't been to the shop! The cats followed me round, wondering what was going on. Does she realise she's forgotten to feed us, I could almost hear them whisper. We're not seriously expecetd to go and catch a mouse are we? They were steadily gathering as they smelt something fishy going on (or rather smelt nothing at all!)
I dashed to the shop and grabbed a couple of bags but whilst I was there picked up something for myself too; a new telephoto lens from my DSLR! I had fun this afternoon testing it out, taking lots of photos of my cats, who have, I'm pleased to say, now got full tummies!

Meet Roux!

 Maybe I'll climb this tree...

 Maybe not.

YAWN!

 Feeling shy.

Is that a bird?

See you again soon!

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

A Lot of Cats...and Even More Steps!

Have you ever seen the town of Rocamadour ? If you ever visit France it is certainly a sight not to be missed! As soon as you see the towering cliff face and the buildings clinging to the rock, you cannot help but feel your jaw drop. Looking at the town from afar down the valley, anyone would be enchanted by its beauty and in awe of its magnificence.

The upper stages of Rocamadour are comprised of a number of chapels and has long been a place of pilgrimage for Christians. Buildings date back hundreds and hundreds of years and in days long gone monarchs of Britain and France amongst others would journey there and climb the great staircase on their knees. Don't miss the fabulous wall paintings of the skeletons and the sword wedged into the rock high above your head, and throughout the city are a number of ancient stone gateways which look like something out of Tolkein's Lord of the Rings. If it wasnt for the ice-cream stands (I recommend the chocolate flavour) you would think you'd travelled back in time!

Rocamadour is also a wondrous place for people who love cats, like me! There are many to be seen sleeping on stone walls or sitting in open windows, rolling around on the cobbles or exploring the dustbins. Cats of all sizes, of all colours and all patterns. I knelt down to fuss a couple who were eagerly gathering around the doorway to a shop at closing time, knowing that the owner of the shop would soon present them with a saucer of milk.

Despite the extraordinary sights at Rocamadour, the cats were very popular with many passers-by. I, like so many, took many photos of this magical city but couldn't help but sneak in just one or two of the cute little moggies sunning themselves on the famous steps!






Friday, 14 November 2014

The World of Writing...with a cat on my knee!

I'm returning to my blog after a couple of days furiously tapping away at my laptop, writing several thousand words to meet a tight deadline. It's been tiring but worth the effort in the end and of course I had my cats to keep me company through it all. Writing is a craft I have always enjoyed, right from a young age. I wrote my first book when I was barely ten years old and presented it proudly to my younger brothers to read. I probably still have it in the house somewhere.
It is a tremendous feeling you get when someone tells you how much they have loved your book and a moment that will stay with me forever is when, earlier this year, I saw my name and the title of my book, The True Story of a Not So Crazy Cat Lady in the list of short-listed entries in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. It was the first time I had entered the competition and having been a bundle of nerves as I checked the second round list first thing that morning, I was overwhelmed with delight.
The stakes raised, I counted down the days until the quarter finalists were announced and I couldn't help but get a little emotional as I again saw The True Story of a Not So Crazy Cat Lady on the list. It felt tremendous. Out of 10,000 submissions worldwide I had made it to the top 100 in my category! The top 95%
It was also a nerve racking time too. Amazon released the first chapter for anyone to download and review and despite my achievements so far, I felt anxious about what lay ahead. In the end I needn't have worried. Before I knew it I began receiving 5 star ratings and praising reviews from readers on the other side of the world. I can't imagine I am the only writer who struggles sometimes with confidence in their work but everything about that competition boosted my optimism and motivation. I watched with a smile as my book climbed ever higher in the charts until it was sitting at the top of the results when you typed ABNA 2014 into Amazon. I may not have won the ultimate prize but what I won was confidence. It proved that people all over the world liked my book and wanted to read more and then of course there was the review from Publisher's Weekly who said, 'The prose is solid...it contains some striking images.'
The Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award was certainly a roller-coaster ride of emotions for me. Will I enter again? You bet!

Monday, 10 November 2014

Drawing from Real Life

Hi there, hope you had a good Monday! I decided that it was about time that I introduced to you the cats I share my life with properly. There have been a few that have come and gone over the years but in residence at the moment there are six. The eldest in Isla, a very shy but incredibly sweet girl with a short tail and bright blue eyes. She has a fluffy white coat with splodges of pale grey and is the mother of three of the other cats that live here; Debbie, Hercules and Roux. All three of these are ginger and white and get on so well. They love tumbling around and chasing one other and when it's chilly they like to seek out your knee and curl up on it! The remaining two boys are their cousins, Archie and Teddy. Although brothers they look nothing alike. Teddy is also ginger and white with a very refined handsome face, whereas Archie is a long haired, very fluffy black and white cat who squeaks like a mouse when he sees me in the morning.
Six! I hear you cry. Well they all came to me as stray cats and not one to turn down a cute face, I decided to take them in. They have grown up in the countryside, roaming the fields and exploring the pathways, and it is not unlike Teddy to disappear for days at a time. This morning he turned up for breakfast for the first time in a week and I have a sneaking suspicion that he has found another home, a holiday home if you like, that feeds him on all those other days that he doesn't show his face here. Perhaps, I wonder, he takes it in turns to visit each house on the street, getting the best of the grub in exchange for the cuddles.
All of these cats have played a part in the creation of The True Story of a Not So Crazy Cat Lady, whether it be their appearance, their character, or the times, good and bad, that we've been through. In the book Harriet has five cats; Modi, Bea, Cocoa, Flicks and Mona. Some of these characters are a concoction of several cats combined, others drawn straight from real life. As I continue with the blog perhaps I will share a few more of their secrets with you :)

The True Story of a Not So Crazy Cat Lady is available now in paperback and eBook!


Sunday, 9 November 2014

Unusual Cat Beds

I walked outside this morning to find a cat sleeping in the wheelbarrow. She looked very comfortable curled up on top of the grass clippings I'd collected in it yesterday afternoon, the wheelbarrow itself sitting in a warm pool of sunshine beside the vegetable patch. It wasn't until I'd got stuck into some weeding that I realised another cat was curled up under a box plant and, baring all her teeth as she yawned, she stretched her toes and came over to say hello.
Cats really are adaptable creatures, their ability to make a bed from almost anything the source of much fun. Every day I see photos on-line of cats sleeping in unusual places, ranging from the bathroom sink to an open drawer, empty boxes and old buckets. For their owners it certainly provides a great photo opportunity.

I have accumulated a number of cat beds over the years, ranging in shape, size and colour, but it doesn't cease to surprise me when my cats wrinkle up their noses at each of them. They look perfectly warm and cosy to me but the cats have their own ideas. They want to make a nest in the airing cupboard, squeeze into a space on the bookshelf or perhaps the laundry basket. Why sleep in a cat bed when you can have a pile of old newspapers? Or an old shoe box? Or for this little kitty...a bag of compost! 


Where do your cats like to sleep?
I'd love to hear from you!


Saturday, 8 November 2014

Cats and their Nicknames

Have you ever walked into the room and found your cat looking very guilty? You look around, wondering what they were up to just before you opened the door and then you see it- the cake you just spent ages baking has got small cat teeth shaped nibbles out of it! For one moment you want to scream but then you look down at the cat at your feet and realise you can't get angry with something so cute. So instead of telling them off you call them a trouble maker, or a rascal, as the frown disappears from your face.
We have so many nicknames for our cats, ranging from the obvious to the ridiculous; Darling, Sweetie, Titch, Tinker, Flower, Cutie, Poppit, Mr Fluffy, Handsome, Princess, Fella', Little'un, the list could go on and on. I sometimes wonder how cats have managed to wrap us humans around their little fingers...or paws. How many of us let our cats win in every situation? If the cat's on your chair do you turf them off? I doubt it. What if they want your breakfast? Yep, they get it! And if you want to get up but they're very happy sitting on your lap?...
Is it those big eyes that win us over? Their little noses? That contented purr or sweet meow? I swear I never used to be such a pushover but when it comes to cats they know they can always win. So even though I've been sitting here too long and I want to stretch my legs, Roux's looking pretty comfy so I'll probably just stay put! The Little Tinker!

Thursday, 6 November 2014

A New Wardrobe

November is here, the nights are drawing in, and to coincide with the change of the seasons my kitties have each grown their lovely winter coats. For Archie, there's no better time of the year. He stands out in appearance a great deal from the others, and not just because he is black and white rather than ginger, but also because he has a very thick, long-haired coat.

He was one of those kittens that everyone commented on more than the others. "I love the black and white one," they would say. Four years later he is still a popular fellow and his is the first name anyone will call when they want a cat for company. He's a gentle sort with a petit meow and this afternoon he is lying on the garden wall soaking up the November sunshine. I am very tempted to follow his example!

Showing off his handsome coat, autumn suits Archie well. The only trouble is of course, is that after a wander through the fields and the hedgerows, he comes back home looking like a mobile compost heap. There are leaves, seed pods, grass, all sorts of things tangled up in his fur and I have to dig out the brush. He doesn't mind this; naturally who wouldn't enjoy being brushed and pampered, but he has a limited attention span. Before I can finish tidying him up he's off again, a leaf or two still stuck to his tail.

Those people who know me will say that wherever I am, Archie is never far away. His existence in my life was another stepping stone towards writing the book, The True Story of a Not So Crazy Cat Lady, and so I had to squeeze in his name somewhere. And so... QUIZ TIME!

QUESTION; Which character in The True Story of a Not So Crazy Cat Lady had a cat called Archie?

If you don't know then it's not too late to find out!


Sunday, 2 November 2014

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Chapter 1

"They came into my life, quite by chance, the same week as my husband walked out of it. I'd dragged myself out of the house to stock up on ice cream, chocolate and DVD rentals and although it was May, the sun seemed about as enthusiastic with life as I was."

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Out Now!

The True Story of a Not So Crazy Cat Lady is out now!

to get your copy.

Available in paperback or eBook.

'The prose is solid...it contains some striking images'
Publisher's Weekly

Friday, 24 October 2014

Thursday, 23 October 2014

New Release!


It's here!

The True Story of a Not So Crazy Cat Lady will soon be released in paperback and eBook!


Drop by here again to find out exactly when and where you can get your copy. 


If dog is a man's best friend, then a women's best friend is her cat...or cats!






Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Crazy Cat Ladies

Welcome to the official blog for The True Story of a Not So Crazy Cat Lady by Catherine Walker, shortlisted in the 2014 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. 


If a dog is a man's best friend, then a woman's best friend is her cat...or cats.

On a cold wet day not long after twenty-eight year old Harriet falls in one fell swoop from happy wife to broken hearted divorcée, she finds a litter of abandoned kittens. Relating to their vulnerability as she peers into the soggy cardboard box, she decides to take them in and soon finds out that the perfect antidote for a broken heart is falling in love all over again.

But not everyone understands the relationship which builds between Harriet and her five cats. It isn't until her birthday that she realises she has earned the official title of Crazy Cat Lady of the family but it is not just their teasing which she finds irksome. It seems life won’t cease to conspire against her; that is until she meets Dan, a talented photographer, whose past is as chequered as her own. Despite the scars they both bear, they dare to fall in love again, blissfully unaware of the loss and regret that lies ahead which will threaten to bring the world they have created, crashing down.

Almost everyone has a pet either at home or locked within the most tender memories of their past and we all know, whether we like to admit it aloud or not, that animals have the capacity to touch our hearts. A fresh angle on an eternally popular subject matter, The True Story of a Not So Crazy Cat Lady brings the cute and cuddly into contemporary women's fiction, and looks at the love triangle between boy, girl and cat. We have all fallen in love and had our hearts broken, never forgetting the four legged friends who stood beside us through it all.


The first chapter of The True Story of a Not So Crazy Cat Lady, is available to download on Amazon.
 


If you wish to contact the author please leave a comment or write to;walkercatherine@ymail.com

Saturday, 7 June 2014

ABNA 2014

If a dog is a man's best friend, then a woman's best friend is her cat...or cats.

On a cold wet day not long after twenty-eight year old Harriet falls in one fell swoop from happy wife to broken hearted divorcée, she finds a litter of abandoned kittens. Relating to their vulnerability as she peers into the soggy cardboard box, she decides to take them in and soon finds out that the perfect antidote for a broken heart is falling in love all over again.

But not everyone understands the relationship which builds between Harriet and her five cats. It isn't until her birthday that she realises she has earned the official title of Crazy Cat Lady of the family but it is not just their teasing which she finds irksome. It seems life won’t cease to conspire against her; that is until she meets Dan, a talented photographer, whose past is as chequered as her own. Despite the scars they both bear, they dare to fall in love again, blissfully unaware of the loss and regret that lies ahead which will threaten to bring the world they have created, crashing down.

Almost everyone has a pet either at home or locked within the most tender memories of their past and we all know, whether we like to admit it aloud or not, that animals have the capacity to touch our hearts. A fresh angle on an eternally popular subject matter, The True Story of a Not So Crazy Cat Lady brings the cute and cuddly into contemporary women's fiction, and looks at the love triangle between boy, girl and cat. We have all fallen in love and had our hearts broken, never forgetting the four legged friends who stood beside us through it all.


The first chapter of The True Story of a Not So Crazy Cat Lady, is available to download for free on Amazon.
http://www.amazon.com/The-True-Story-Crazy-Lady-ebook/dp/B00JOU33NS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1401469503&sr=8-1&keywords=the+true+story+of+a+not+so+crazy+cat+lady

If you wish to contact the author please leave a comment or write to; walkercatherine@ymail.com

Friday, 30 May 2014

The True Story of a Not So Crazy Cat Lady by Catherine Walker

Welcome to the official blog for The True Story of a Not So Crazy Cat Lady by Catherine Walker, currently shortlisted in the 2014 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award.


If a dog is a man's best friend, then a woman's best friend is her cat...or cats.

On a cold wet day not long after twenty-eight year old Harriet falls in one fell swoop from happy wife to broken hearted divorcée, she finds a litter of abandoned kittens. Relating to their vulnerability as she peers into the soggy cardboard box, she decides to take them in and soon finds out that the perfect antidote for a broken heart is falling in love all over again.

But not everyone understands the relationship which builds between Harriet and her five cats. It isn't until her birthday that she realises she has earned the official title of Crazy Cat Lady of the family but it is not just their teasing which she finds irksome. It seems life won’t cease to conspire against her; that is until she meets Dan, a talented photographer, whose past is as chequered as her own. Despite the scars they both bear, they dare to fall in love again, blissfully unaware of the loss and regret that lies ahead which will threaten to bring the world they have created, crashing down.

Almost everyone has a pet either at home or locked within the most tender memories of their past and we all know, whether we like to admit it aloud or not, that animals have the capacity to touch our hearts. A fresh angle on an eternally popular subject matter, The True Story of a Not So Crazy Cat Lady brings the cute and cuddly into contemporary women's fiction, and looks at the love triangle between boy, girl and cat. We have all fallen in love and had our hearts broken, never forgetting the four legged friends who stood beside us through it all.


The first chapter of The True Story of a Not So Crazy Cat Lady, is available to download on Amazon.
 
http://www.amazon.com/The-True-Story-Crazy-Lady-ebook/dp/B00JOU33NS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1401469503&sr=8-1&keywords=the+true+story+of+a+not+so+crazy+cat+lady

If you wish to contact the author please leave a comment or write to; walkercatherine@ymail.com