So instead, you're getting a post about our cats and some friends.
This cat is nobody's cat, she's an independent country lady who pops in for meals from time to time and sleeps in a basket in our greenhouse.
We call her Stumpy, because the little bit of tail you see curled behind her is all the tail she has. She is stray rather than feral, and used to be fed by the old man next door (for at least 5 years we know of). When he went into hospital, and then a nursing home this year poor Stumpy cat got very thin. She also started getting in vicious fights with all the other cats in the neighbourhood. Next-door but one she had such a fight-to-the-death approach to Bertie that the two of them rolled into the garden pond, and were still fighting in the water as our neighbour (Bertie's owner) tried to separate them.
As she'd always slept in our greenhouse from time to time, I started offering her food there. At first she'd run away when I was still 20 feet from the greenhouse. Gradually she ran off later and later, and started peeping through a hole in the wall ready to run back for her food when the dish was down. Now I can get to within a few feet, and she talks to me. Talk still sometimes starts with a "don't get any closer" hiss, but she meows too.
Getting her to give up sleeping on some dead plants in the corner and to move into a comfy basket also took time. Eventually one day I put her food bowl in the basket, after that she realised it was comfy and now I think she knows it's special for her. I shake the cushion out every day, and so know by the debris that she sleeps there every night, even if she doesn't turn up for a meal.
Here she is again, with a customary, "I'm not quite sure about you, but you might be my friend as long as you don't get closer" look.
I'm also pleased to say that now she has a place of her own, Stumpy doesn't get into fights.
Now to introduce the boy from over the road, Jasper, a lanky fellow, smartly dressed in little white socks.
Cally, and other readers of Molesworth, will know what I mean when I say he's the Fotherington-Thomas type.
He's a great friend to our little Annie (and they're the same age, 2 years). Jasper spent the first 5 months of his life in a cat rescue centre with his litter mates. When he moved in over the road he was lonely for other cat company, and made friends with my old cat the late & lamented Oscar. When we went to the cat sanctuary after Oscar's death to find a new cat we were looking for one that would be a good friend to Jasper.
Our little Annie spent the last 5 months of her first year in a cat rescue centre with a litter mate, her litter mate found a home a week before we turned up and Phoebe joined Annie in her pen for that last week. Annie hates being without cat company, but her aunt Pheobe (originally from same home) is more independent. So Annie and Jasper are pleased to have each other around.
Here is Annie at the front door,
Being friends means to Jasper that he has someone to do cat things with, like creep up behind her and jump on her tail.
Being friends means to Annie someone to mutter and swear at and chase down the garden path. She chases him half way, turns round and walks back to the house, Jasper follows her up the path, and the game repeats.
Another game is where she hops through the cat flap that opens for our cats microchips, and Jasper tries to follow. She stops right in side so he can't get in, then he sits outside while she sticks her head out, swears at him, pulls her head in before he can get to the door. It is absolutely hilarious to watch. Jasper really is a very polite gentleman, he doesn't swear back, and he only rarely fights her (he'd easily win a proper fight).
Both Annie and Jasper are very respectful to Aunt Phoebe. She has a way of looking down her nose at them, and they respectfully take a few steps backwards while she walks past.
Phoebe surveys her realm:
Annie and Jasper, whose move next?
Here you see Pheobe has just finished inspecting the box containing my new Majacraft Suzie Alpaca spinning wheel, so now I can unpack:
And here's the wheel when I was part way through putting the bits together:
The assembled Suzie Alpaca has joined my two Timbertops Leicester wheels in my spinning corner:
I'm delighted to say that she is a beautiful wheel to spin on. I actually prefer the Majacraft treadle action, although the Timbertops wheels are very easy to treadle and made to last a lifetime. The Majacraft wheel is less robust, but folds and can be carried about.
Down on the floor to the left of the Suzie Alpaca you can see the little travelling lazy kate she was supplied with. I was a bit concerned before it arrived that I might not like this lazy kate, but I do. It works beautifully.
My Suzie Alpaca was supplied by the wonderful, helpful, P&M Woolcraft. She arrived with a broken bush (supports the wheel axle) which they replaced, and Martin talked me though how to get my bobbins to run smooth - they are plastic and were a bit rough to start with. The holes for the shaft are drilled out, but had been left a bit rough. The surfaces were easily smoothed off by scraping with a small craft knife, and a little vaseline on the shaft as well got them working properly.
Now the only thing that can stop me from enjoying spinning is the Top Cat, a.k.a. She Who Must Be Obeyed, who sometimes takes up residence on my spinning chair.
I suppose it's my own fault for putting the chair in the sun with a tapestry-wool covered feather cushion.