Falling in Love With a Kitten: ten easy steps

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Having a baby cat in the house has got to rate as one of life’s greatest pleasures, and Westley Farmboy Chickenator has certainly proven to be the most amusing and affectionate of companions over the Christmas break. I don’t know how I’m going to bear leaving him behind when I go back to work next week! Fortunately, My Good Man will be here to keep him occupied.

Don’t say you weren’t warned about kitten saturation!

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Landscape Through Wild Oats: driving through South Australian croplands


Cropped paddock with trees and fence, shot on-the-fly through wild oats near Murray Bridge, South Australia. I loved the drama of the darkening skies against the blonde middle and fore ground.
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Memories Collected: an intimate view

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Sometimes we are blessed to be loved unconditionally by people who aren’t related to us by blood, or joined to us by law. Over Christmas, My Good Man and I were privileged to stay in the home of two such people who have taken us into their hearts and called us “family”.

Waking when the sun hit my eyes, I rose to prowl around the house, camera in hand, and began to notice what I have taken for granted for years: how thoroughly infused into their lives I have been. This is the most familiar and comfortable of my families’ homes, and there are signs everywhere that I belong: from the photos I’ve taken of them, which are displayed with other beloved snapshots in every room, to artistic shots printed large and hung on the walls, and various gifts presented over the years. There is even a photo from our wedding displayed on the wall alongside other family portraits.

Generous gatherers of life’s flotsam and jetsam, there are all manner of tiny trinkets and tokens of lives lived unreservedly on display throughout their home. Many of these things were frogs, cars, and Doctor Who ephemera – how could I not love that? And most importantly, I love the people who care enough to collect these memories, and include me in them.

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More Tiny Lions!: welcoming a new era of little lion men

Following the death by snakebite of my beloved cat, Pugsley, as is my way I grieved hard briefly then started to consider adopting a new cat. I knew what I wanted: a male of any breeding with distinguished good looks, preferably an adolescent; I also knew what I did not want: white fur (it gets all over every item of clothing you own, your furniture, the dark floor…), ordinary looks, a set-in-its-ways adult or a baby. It seemed right to adopt a cat in need, so on Facebook I found a few rescue organisations in my region, and kept an eye on new arrivals.

So when I came back to my office after lunch and was met with someone trying to find a home for a tiny ginger and white kitten of plain looks, I was firm in my resolve: I shook my head, said that he wasn’t what I was looking for; and then, for no clear reason, I picked him up and snuggled him on my chest. With a look of friendly recognition in his blue eyes, he stretched his little paws towards my chin, and I suddenly found myself saying I’ll take him! Explaining that I couldn’t take him until Christmas Eve, as I would be away visiting relatives interstate, the girl quickly told me that she worked at the local vet, and it wouldn’t be a bit of trouble to look after him until I could collect him. This suited me, as he was still only a baby, and would need the kind of care I wasn’t able to give; then it transpired that he was born the week Pugsley died, and you can’t fight fate, I figured.

Over the next two weeks I started thinking of names, dreaming my halcyon dreams of the kitten and me, playing and snuggling and chatting and hanging out…and now it’s starting to sound like I’m seven and waiting with bated breath for the kitten I’ve been promised for Christmas! As I was trying out names, I was considering characters from my favourite films when Westley popped into my head – perfect!

My Good Man and I both love the 1980s swashbuckling adventure movie, The Princess Bride (seriously one of the most quotable movies ever); the main character is Westley, a simple farmhand-turned-accomplished-swordsman who is rumoured to be The Dread Pirate Roberts, and who is in love with Buttercup – but you don’t really need to know all that. The main thing is that Westley had blue eyes, sandy hair, is highly intelligent and skillful in hand-to-hand combat, and when asked by Buttercup to do a thing replies “As you wish”.

Grandpa: [voiceover] Nothing gave Buttercup as much pleasure as ordering Westley around.
Buttercup: Farm boy, polish my horse’s saddle. I want to see my face shining in it by morning.
Westley: As you wish.
Grandpa: [voiceover] “As you wish” was all he ever said to her.
Buttercup: Farm boy, fill these with water – please.
Westley: As you wish.
Grandpa: [voiceover] That day, she was amazed to discover that when he was saying “As you wish”, what he meant was, “I love you.” And even more amazing was the day she realized she truly loved him back.

Also, my Westley looks quite similar to movie Westley, as these photos clearly show*:

Westley (Cary Elwes) about to show Buttercup some loving attention.

Westley (kitten) showing his first ever chicken neck some loving attention. 

So, naturally I thought that Westley would be a Name of Great Portent. Though I know which one I find cuter – just for the record, blue eyed sandy haired swashbucklers aren’t really my thing… Or are they?

Anyway, I think my Westley fits in with my recent theme of little lions; even more so if I get him this ridiculously beyond awesome Lion Hat for Cats on Etsy:

Lion Hat for Cats
Did you ever???

Stay tuned for the next exciting (?) episode of Westley Farmboy Lionheart.


*You do realise I was taking the piss there? Right, just making sure.


A Christmas Wish: have yourself a merry little Christmas!

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Have yourself a merry little Christmas,
Let your heart be light,
Next year all our troubles will be
out of sight.

Have yourself a merry little Christmas
Make the yule-tide gay
Next year all our troubles will be
miles away.

Once again as in olden days
Happy golden days of yore
Faithful friends who are dear to us 
Will be near to us once more
Someday soon, we all will be together
If the Fates allow
Until then, we’ll have to muddle through somehow
So have yourself a merry little Christmas now.