Sunday, 30 December 2012

Christmas - Some Nice Bits

Time to bring you up to date with what's been happening here over Christmas.  There have been some fun things happening and some nice presents.

We spent Christmas at home in our village in Lincolnshire and that meant we have had a quiet time - apart from all the little parties when either friends and neighbours came to visit us or we (well, actually only the humans) went to them.  There was (I am told) an especially nice meal on Christmas day at the next door neighbours' house.

But don't think I was forgotten.  I have had lots of nice presents.  My first picture is of the box of chocolates one of the neighbours brought round. Wasn't it so nice of them to get my name printed on the box specially?  I know I'm a toy and don't actually eat chocolates (I shall have to let Andrew eat most of them) but it was a very sweet thought.

And my humans were even nicer.  They have a new picture of Figaro.  The cute kitten is in his bed.  The picture came back from the framers yesterday (Saturday 29th) and has been found a good spot next to my cousin "Big Softy" Figaro.
My only small concern is that my humans might think they are going to get me to sleep in a bed of my own rather than theirs.  I doubt it.  After all, Figaro didn't stay in that bed but soon got in with Gepetto.

And talking about films, it is always nice to see so many Disney movies on the main UK television channels over Christmas.  The BBC has had Flubber, Flight of the Navigator, 101 and 102 Dalmations (yes, d*gs), The Incredibles and lots more.  Today, it's Bedknobs and Broomsticks. If they didn't have so many DVDs I suspect my humans would have watched more.

Now I am hoping for a cuddle - but I am afraid they are getting ready for the new year and the trip to Walt Disney World.  I love to go there but there's part of the preparation I don't look forward to.  Watch this space.

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

20 Today

Happy Christmas to everyone - and that includes a happy time to everyone who celebrates a different festival or none at all at this time of the year.

It's really nice of my humans to wish me Happy Birthday at this time of year too.  Of course, it's not really a birthday - it's the day Mikki gave me to Andrew as a present.  I suppose it's the day Buzz Lightyear would say I came out of hypersleep.  And today we celebrate 20 years.  That's not bad at all for a toy.  I don't suppose Buzz himself lived with his "Andy" that long.

There have been some changes over the years.  I've lost a little fur (and from this picture, it looks like I had more than Andrew back then).  I've gradually trained my humans to give me lots of cuddles.  On the other hand, they have make me write the reports of our trips to Walt Disney World.  I think I like writing the Blog sometimes and I hope you who read it enjoy it too.

I've had a lot of fun with my humans - and I intend to go on doing so for many more years to come.


Saturday, 15 December 2012


I have a twin - and he's in Florida waiting to meet me.

After I came to live with my humans, they looked at Figaro toys but they were not quite like me.  The eyes had a different shape or there mouth was different.  Before long, the changes became even greater with "Figaros" of different sizes and in different poses (lazy ones like Floppycat who lie down all the time) and so on.  That is how I have gathered quite a "family" of other Figaro toys around me in the house but none quite like me.

Well, that has changed.  Mikki saw this little fellow on "eBay" and bought him.  He was delivered to our friend Christine in Celebration and is waiting for us to come and collect him when we visit Walt Disney World in January.

I know, he's not like I am now:  he's like I used to be before I had as many cuddles as I have had.  I think he should be allowed to remain clean and tidy and with all his long ear fur.  Which means you can all continue cuddling me

Prrr Prrrr.

Friday, 7 December 2012

Christmas Friends Come Out to Play

 We will be staying at home during the coming festive season so we are having proper Christmas decorations up all over the house.  This includes lots of nice Mickey Mouse toys (and some Minnies and even a couple of the d*g).  They are all nice, good, Disney character toys so I was very pleased to see them come out to play.  Here are some.

There are no Figaro toys among the Christmas items.  That means none of my fellow Figaros have to spend the rest of the year in st***ge.  The humans have also been getting out Christmas ornaments.  There's one behind me here.
As you can see, I've been helping by doing some supervising.

Naturally, it wouldn't be Christmas without a tree.  Perhaps we can see some other pictures of that later but for the moment, I have been fascinated by the big new parcels the humans have put under ours.  Now I'm only a toy cat but you're not fooling me.  Those are just decorations with lights in them and the real parcels are still to come.  I just hope that when they do, mine's as big as this one.
And that reminds me of another reason why toy cats are better than real ones.  A toy cat will stand patiently watching you put up tempting little baubles like this one and not play with it - or all those other nice things on the tree.

You've done very well putting up all those decorations.  Now relax by cuddling me.


Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Back from Intercot 15

My human, Mikki, and my cousin, Floppy Figaro, are back from their trip to Florida.  With that and other distractions for the humans, it has taken a little time for things to settle down, so I apologise for not posting on the blog recently.

The main reason Mikki went to Walt Disney World when she did was so that she could join friends from the Intercot discussion board for their 15th anniversary meet.  I want to send a big "Thank You" to everyone who was hoping to see me or asked after me but I had to stay to look after Andrew.  My cousin, Floppy went instead.  He was given a nice T shirt.
Over the years, Mikki has had a lot of fun with Intercot.  They generally seem a friendly as well as an intelligent lot and the discussion board is well moderated so that people stay on topic rather more than on some others.  And it was extremely generous of them to bring a shirt just the right size for Floppy.  The humans insisted on trying, but it doesn't fit me nearly as well.

We are all now looking forward to the next trip when the whole family will go to Walt Disney World - early next year.  Meanwhile, I shall put up some pictures from the most recent as well as earlier trips for you.

And for those who have really been missing me, I was about while Floppy was having this picture taken - but I was rather busy - doing what cats do best (sleeping in the most comfortable place in the house).

Friday, 19 October 2012

Space Rangers

Mikki is in Florida and she is telling us how things are going.  This morning (Friday 19th Oct) she said she was off to the Magic Kingdom.  She has already been there once and part of her report was about riding the Buzz Lightyear ride in "Tomorrowland".  So here is a picture of me riding the same ride on another visit.  Judging by the outfits, I think (I certainly hope) the picture was taken at a "Pirates and Princesses" party.
You'll notice that it is Andrew who is looking after me.  Thee are good reasons for this.  Mikki takes high scores seriously so needs both hands:  one for shooting and the other to control the "spin" of the car.  Andrew can't see very well (his vision is within the legal definition of "blind") so he's not too concerned which way his gun is pointing.  He always has a spare arm to give me a cuddle.  I need not add that if there ever was a time Andrew got a higher score than Mikki, she is not letting him talk about it.

Which brings me to Mikki's report of her trip now.  It seems Disney have added a refinement to the picture so that the scores of the riders also appear in view.  But when Mikki rode there was a "glitch" in the software and the scores were reversed.  Mikki was riding on her own and she was shown as having a "Zero" score while the empty seat had achieved her total.  Well done empty seat!

She says Disney were very nice and gave her a print of the photo - where the problem didn't occur.

So, Mikki is enjoying her trip and it sounds like she is also already meeting a few friends there.

And back home Andrew can still give me a cuddle.


Monday, 15 October 2012

Mickey Comes: Mikki Goes

Some updating.  Today (Monday October 15th) my human Mikki sets off to Walt Disney World.

Also, we have been acquiring some new pictures.  One is of Mickey Mouse (and Tinker Bell) and it is in the photo.  Two more are just of Tink.  I may show you pictures of them later. It's a bit of a long story and I don't want to tell you all of it.  Shortened quite a lot, my humans saw this rather nice original cel from "Pinocchio" of a wonderful black and white kitten.  A friend was getting it but - after a long delay - it turned out the US seller had sold it elsewhere but meanwhile our friend had sent him our money!! Meeeooww!

So to help our friend, the humans have "bought" some other pictures from him and this is one.  It's quite nice but not the same as an original cel of Figaro himself.

So, (another) Mickey has arrived on one of our walls but today Mikki departs for Walt Disney World and won't be back for over 2 weeks.  While there, she will be helping with (and, I hope, enjoying) the 15th anniversary meet of "Intercot".  We all hope she has a lovely time and I have promised to look after Andrew for her.  I know she is very reassured by that.

But she will give me one last cuddle herself too.


Saturday, 22 September 2012

A Worrying Few Minutes

Are my humans going to abandon me? Are they even going to leave me behind for a few days?

Let me explain.  It's an important story for my human, Andrew.

Andrew has been waiting to hear about an operation to repair an enlarged blood vessel in his left arm.  It doesn't look very nice (no picture, you'll be pleased to hear) but it also means too much blood is getting back to his heart too easily and putting strain on it.  There's been a long story about arranging the operation and we have arranged two trips to London already only to hear at the last minute that the operation was cancelled.  So now we are all hoping it will be on Monday.  We will have to go to London for a few days.  Also, we think that immediately afterwards Andrew will have to keep his left arm raised and not be able to use it for much.  This is inconvenient.  He has been practicing things like shaving with one hand and Mikki has been gearing herself up for having to cut up food for him.  Most important, of course, is that he will have only one arm available to cuddle me.

The humans have been saying that the simplest thing is not to take me to London at all.  I will be left with the bed to myself (see top photo), which is nice in one way but really very worrying for a toy who is used to being with his humans.  They may have something of a point when they say Andrew may bleed a little after the operation and they don't want marks or stains on me - but I'm not convinced.  I could sit near him for the first night or two.

Well, we've been talking about it as the day approaches.  We're off to London tomorrow with an overnight stay in a hotel so Andrew can be at the hospital by 7.00am.  And I've finally convinced them they need me with them.  There was no serious doubt really, was there (see lower photo)?

It's what your right arm's for, Andrew.


Saturday, 15 September 2012

Why Cuddly Toy Cats are Better than Real Cats

I've noticed one of the things that divides humans more than most is their pets.  Some are "dog people" and some "cat people".  With my help, my humans have solved the conflict by becoming "cuddly toy people".

I've been thinking for a long time of all the reasons toy cats like me are better than real cats and I've finally decided to write it down.  I expect this is a post I wil edit as I add to the list.

1.           Cuddly toy cats don't need feeding.

2.           Cuddly toy cats don't demand to be let out of the house - only to ask to be let in again.

3.           Cuddly toy cats don't scratch the furniture, curtains or carpets.

4.           Cuddly toy cats don't need a litter tray.

5.           Since toy cats don't eat at all, they won't wait for you to fill their food bowl only to turn their noses up at anything less than the steak or fish you're eating.

6.           Toy cats don't prowl the kitchen looking for food to steal.

7.           Cuddly toy cats don't bring up hairballs on the carpet.

8.           Toy cats don't bring you little presents, like live mice and dead birds.

9.           When cuddly toy cats roll over to let you tickle their tummy, they lie back and enjoy it without suddenly trying to scratch your hand.

10.         Toy cats don't have to go to the vet or incur vet bills.

11.         You can take toy cats away on holiday (vacation) without injections, pet passports or quarantine.
12.         Alternatively, you can leave cuddly toy cats "home alone" without fear of prosecution from the RSPCA.

13.         Cuddly toy cats do not shed hair on your clothes.

14.         Cuddly toy cats really do love car rides . . .

15.         . . . and you can leave them in the car without leaving a window open for ventilation.       

16.         Cuddly toy cats don't wake up before you and start making a fuss of you to get up and feed them.

17.         Cuddly toy cats will lie on your lap without padding your legs down with their claws.

18.         Cuddly toy cats do not hiss and scratch when you move them off your favourite chair.

19.         Cuddly toy cats will let you put name tags or other things around their necks without developing allergies to anything but precious metals.

20.         Cuddly toy cats don't help themselves to what's left on your plate while you are distracted by the telephone.

21.         Cuddly toys are extremely patient.  You can put them in poses for any reason you like and they will wait for you.

22.         Cuddly toy cats will not hunt out the most awkward place to sit:  on the keyboard you want to play or on the operation scar that is still sore.     

23.         You can leave your Sunday newspaper next to a cuddly toy cat and it won't be shredded when you get back

24.         Cuddly toy cats don't wreck your newly planted bulbs by digging up the soft earth to make their little holes.

25.        Cuddly toy cats will not set off the motion sensors in your security system.
26.         If they have claws, the claws on a cuddly toy cat are soft and gentle.

27.         Cuddly toy cats are obedient.  They respond very well to the "stay" command.

28.         No tricks, no kidding:  cuddly toy cats really do love being cuddled.  And they don't even wriggle if you squeeze them just a little too hard.

29.         You never need to worry about the cuddly toy cat accidently climbing into the washing machine, sitting on the wheel of the car etc.  That's not to suggest cuddly toys like going in the washing machine but some people do it to them and sometimes they just come out cleaner.

30.         You can leave cuddly toy cats alone with cuddly toy dogs and they won't fight.

31.         Cuddly toy cats will not treat your other cuddly toys as things to play with and tear them to pieces.  Even cuddly toy mice are safe.

32.       Cuddly toy cats don't suffer from stress - or at least nobody tries to see you pills for them if they do.

33.       Cuddly toy cats grow old only as fast as you want them to.  If you want to call your 20 year old toy a kitten, that's fine.  And he will jump about and play with no more help from you than he needed when he was new.

That should be a long enough list to convince anyone.  Isn't it?


Sunday, 9 September 2012

Preparing for the Next Trip

With only about a month to go, it's time to be preparing for the next trip to Walt Disney World in Florida.  Except this trip is very different.  I'm not going - and neither is my human, Andrew.  So a lot of my preparation consists of dreaming about what I might have done or where I might have been.
Mikki is taking two weeks to include the 15th anniversary meet of the discussion board where she moderates - Intercot.  The meet is only over a weekend but Mikki said it wasn't worth flying that far for so short a time.

Mikki's preparations are quite different from normal.  There's no need to divert the post or warn the neighbours the house will be empty.  But she is worrying about Andrew.  I tell her I'll look after him but she worries about things like whether he will get enough to eat (oh yes, humans need to do that, don't they).  She's training him in using Skype and in texting so they can keep in touch.

She's also working hard on two events she's responsible for at the Intercot meet.  She'll do fine.

And so will we.


Friday, 31 August 2012

Characters: Pluto

I have many pictures with Pluto.  He is one of the "Fab Five" and is about lots in the parks.  And he also likes playing with me, as Pluto and Figaro play together in animated films.  Although both of them can be a little mean at times, they generally get on a lot better than the standard image of dog and cat.

I've had lots of fun with Pluto in the Disney parks.  Sometimes he has put me in his mouth but I know he isn't going to eat me (it helps that I know he can't close his mouth).  Sometimes he puts me on top of his snout.  And here he is balancing me on top of my human Andrew's head.
You can probably recognise that the picture was taken at Liberty Tree Tavern during one of the character meals they do there.  You can also see I am wearing a nice name badge my humans had made for me.  I wear it sometimes to please them even though everyone should know who I am - and most do.

It's now about 6 weeks until Mikki goes back to Walt Disney World.

6 weeks during which she can cuddle me.


Thursday, 30 August 2012

Characters: Alice

Here I am in Walt Disney World with Alice, as in "Alice in Wonderland" (except she's actually in Epcot but let's not worry about that).

Alice was very nice and gave me a little cuddle.  She was a little worried because it seemed she had a cat of her own called Dinah, but she was asleep and Alice didn't want to wake her up.  But I couldn't see any other cats around sleeping so I think we were all right.

I'm not sure Alice was terribly good at the English accent.  That's one of the difficulties for the "face" characters in the parks.  I am sure they all do their best but some can't quite fool real English people that they are young English schoolgirls.

My human Andrew tells me "Alice in Wonderland" was one of the Disney movies he never saw in the cinema as a child.  He only occasionally saw clips during the "Disney Time" shows the BBC used to have every bank holiday.  So he had no real idea of the Disney version of "Alice" until long after he had read the original book.  In fact he remembers he didn't see it until he had had the book (and "Through the Looking Glass") read to him as bedtime stories and then he had grown up enough to read them himself.  So he never really took to the Disney version.

I'm glad he never read "Pinocchio".


Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Characters: Bolt

There doesn't seem to be much happening in our village at the moment (raining today) so I thought it's time for more pictures of me with other Disney characters to hep us all think of nice times in sunny Wallt Disney World.  Here I am with the characters from "Bolt".
At first, I wasn't too sure about the film, "Bolt".  Yes, there were lots of exciting bits (especially at the beginning and the end) and there were lots of cute bits.  But the main character was a d*g and they had a black and white cat who wasn't Disney's established star.  But eventually the charm and cuteness got through to me - and I realised Mittens was a rather different character from Figaro.  So when we finally met I was able to talk abut the fun of appearing as a character in the parks (something Figaro hasn't managed yet).  It was, of course, rather devastating when Mittens was later withdrawn from park service after allegations of scaring guests (see my Post on 16 January 2009 - don't know why I didn't put the picture up then). Perhaps there was just a little too much black on Mittens' face.

This picture was taken in 2008 when "Bolt" was new in cinemas and they had the latest characters in what had been the Animation building at the Studios.  It's a bit of a shame characters from there recent films don't last.  Perhaps poor Bolt, Mittens and Rhino also suffer from not being Pixar characters. I suppose classic quality will out.

Oh, here's another picture.  See, I wasn't turning my back on the d*g all the time.

Still raining here in England.  At least we haven't had a hurricane.  But I still need a cuddle.


Saturday, 18 August 2012

Down Memory Lane: 1989

Here's some pictures my humans thought I should share.  They're from their trip to Walt Disney World in 1989 (can you believe their third trip!!).

This first one is of Mickey Mouse in a spacesuit outfit visiting guests at breakfast in what was then called the "Stargate Cafe" (since renamed "Electric Umbrella").  Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Pluto and Chip and Dale all used to visit that restaurant and play with diners.  And here's the special point:  nobody had to book and nobody had to pay more for their food.  In fact, so little fuss was made of the visits that my humans didn't know they happened until they experienced it.  Andrew recalls the first he knew about it was when Pluto stood behind him and let his tongue drop onto Andrew's face from over his head.

Elsewhere in EPCOT Center (as it then was), you could meet Figment being carried round by his friend, the Dreamfinder.  Perhaps I'll look out a picture of them for another time.

My second picture this time is of Spaceship Earth in all its original glory.  This view is now crowded with lots of distracting new stuff.  Inside, the commentary was by Walter Cronkite and the music included "Tomorrow's Child".

To the left and right were "Communicore":  beautiful, cool, relaxed places full of interesting displays.

I suppose I have to add that another change is that there appear to be a lot fewer people around than now.  You can't really blame Disney for wanting to get the best return for all the money spent on the place (or can you?).

One of the really special things about my humans' 1989 trip to Walt Disney World was that they hired a video camera.  It was a big thing that took full sized VHS tapes and produced them to PAL standards (that took a lot of finding).  So here's my first attempt to put a video on my Blog.  It's taken in the Magic Kingdom and shows the lagoon or "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" taken from the "Skyway". Both of those attractions had, of course, disappeared long before the latest revamp of Fantasyland.  The quality may not be that good but it is a little bit of history.

Ancient history, actually.  As you probably already realised, this isn't "memory lane" for me at all.  It is long before I even met my humans.

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Quirky, Crazy and very British

My humans watched some of the Olympic opening ceremony last night (Mikki watched more than Andrew:  once Andrew's in bed he doesn't stay awake for the television, whatever's showing).  They also recorded it and watched the rest today.

There was some clever story telling in it and some fun fantasy.  I was pleased when Mary Poppins turned up.  It reminded me of when my humans and I met her.  Somehow I have been left out of this photo taken during breakfast at the Grand Floridian resort.  I also met her in Epcot but she wasn't wearing her formal outfit then.

Walt Disney was a very clever story teller and never missed a trick with clever ideas.  I liked it when, in the original "Fantasia", Mickey Mouse went up to shake the hand of the conductor.  My humans saw this happen again, live, during the London premier of "Fantasia 2000" at the Royal Albert Hall.  By then it might seem an old trick, but the old ones are the best (as I keep telling the other toy Figaros in this house).

Generally, the Olympic opening ceremony has been called quirky, crazy, very British and things like that.  I suppose it was a bit crazy.  Then, British people do crazy but very nice things, like letting their toy cat write a Blog.

And giving him a cuddle.


Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Bringing Happiness and Fun - Even Unintentially

As a toy, I'm used to letting humans have fun playing with me.  I don't get to choose the game.  As a Disney character, I know my job is to bring happiness to people.  So I'm well qualified both to tell you about my human Andrew bringing a little fun to people in our region - and to reassure him he has done well.

My first picture is a graphic used by Disney to illustrate their service theme.  It is the corporate "Mission Statement".  Andrew was given it as one of the papers for a management course he attended at Walt Disney World as long ago as 1991 (yes, before I lived with him at all).  It was called, "The Disney Approach".  The presenters told the delegates that the company was thinking of reducing it to just the three words, "We Create Happiness" - which brings me back to what I'm talking about today.

I may have mentioned that my human, Andrew, started using "Twitter". Some of the first people he "followed" were the local BBC weather forecasters.  They were sometimes amusing and he got the weather forecast without having to watch the rest of the BBC morning and evening programmes.

After getting more used to "Twitter", my human plucked up courage and started "tweeting" himself and (mischievous little thing he can be) sometimes sent replies to some of the weather people. Anyway, he finally decided it was time to send a nice message to them all at the tv station.

I now need to tell you that the station concerned is the BBC and the programme "Look North" based in Hull.  I think the weather people are all in Leeds.  That probably appeals to Andrew since he trained and worked in Leeds after growing up in Harrogate, which is just to the north.  There is often some banter between the presenter Peter Levy and the weather forecaster.  It's often silly and that may be why Andrew makes so much use of "Twitter" and web pages to see weather forecasts. But on Monday he happened to be watching when the banter started - and it was all about his message.  He was probably quite pleased but definitely surprised.  The forecaster, Paul Hudson, was very nice and thanked Andrew for his kind words but the presenter, Peter Levy, was trying to poke fun at my human.

I was able to comfort and reassure Andrew.  He had created a little fun and happiness to a few people.  I told him that in a troubled world where most of the news is sad, this is a rare and noble achievement.  Indeed, the challenge for him now is to avoid getting big-headed and think he can count on regular television appearances.  Like we toys, he can't think about himself but only what he does for others.  It's like Walt himself said, which was also quoted in his management course.

Incidentally, I can't be sure but it looks like Disney never changed the "Mission Statement" after all.  It's nice to know they are still a fairly traditional company.  I'm a fairly traditional character myself.

And Andrew, while you're in the mood of thinking of others, how about a cuddle for me?


Saturday, 30 June 2012

Being on Your Own

My human Mikki has been away a lot this week and last.  Most of the time she left Andrew to look after me and I suppose he's done his best but it's not the same.  For one night, he went too!  I miss my humans when they leave me alone.

So here's a picture of me with no humans to cuddle me and no other toys to play with.  Pinocchio may be a Disney character but this one is just a bronze statue (it's one of the ones around the "Hub" at the Magic Kingdom).

Mikki has been away watching tennis.  Last week, she went to the tournament at Eastbourne, on the south  coast of England.  This is the town where Mikki grew up so she also visited people and places she hadn't seen for a long time.  This week it was Wimbledon for the tennis there.  Andrew doesn't go to the tennis because he can't see well enough to appreciate it so thinks it unfair to deprive someone else, who can see and enjoys the game, of the ticket.  Mikki has taken her aunt.

Mikki has been telephoning - using one of those awful new electronic toys (which she did take with her) and told us she had really enjoyed the tennis she saw on both days at Wimbledon.  She also offered Andrew and me "zen hugs" over the 'phone, but it wasn't the same.

And now, Saturday afternoon, she is home.  Yippeee.  Prrrr,  Prrrr,  Prrrr

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Clever Electronic Toys

You can never tell with humans!  You work hard on them for years, you think you've got them well trained, and then they start having silly ideas of their own and almost forget you entirely.

As you must know, we traditional toys live in special fear of clever electronic toys (as Woody was with Buzz).  My humans have been really full of their electronic toys lately.  First came a "capsule" computer (or was it "tablet", I don't like learning all this human electronic jargon either).  The big advantage of these (or as I see it, big disadvantage) is that they are very portable.  So the humans started carrying it about the house with them.  Worst of all, they sat playing with it in the bed when they woke up in the morning.  That's what I'm for.  Next it was something to help them use the "tablet" away from home.  This ended up with Mikki getting a new telephone - which she now plays with constantly.  Today, we went on a car ride and they even played with both.  They used the telephone as a mobile (let me get this right) "hot spot" and "tethered" the capsule to it.  I often go with them in the car and whoever is not driving is supposed to play with me!

I was getting a little depressed, so I thought of Walt Disney World. This is a nice picture from when we were there during one of the "Flower and Garden Festival" events.  We all like the flowers and it's a lovely time of year (May) when it's not too hot or too crowded.  More recently, they have done more and more topiary type arrangements - although I fear very few are "true" topiary in the sense of being grown as bushes and shaped just by clipping.

So I have this picture of me with my "stunt kitten" and a topiary.  It reminds me that there are some people who get permanently depressed - and I don't want to be like them.

And for the next few days, Mikki is taking all the new electronic gadgetry away when she goes to watch tennis in her home town of Eastbourne.  She will also be visiting old family friends.  This means that I will have Andrew completely to myself.

It also means, Mikki, that you won't be able to cuddle me for several days - so what about now?

Prrrr Prrrr.


Sunday, 10 June 2012

Our Jubilee Celebrations

It's high time I told you about our celebrations for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

The village held a street party on the Monday of the Jubilee weekend (4th June). For the weather, it turned out to be the best day of the weekend to hold an outdoor party and I was able to inspect the preparations in sunshine.
The day started with a large group of the humans from the village getting together to sing "God Save the Queen" and have an official picture taken.  They then went to the village playing field where a tree was planted and a plaque unveiled before games were played.  Then they processed back to the village for the party at the tables behind me.  There was lots of food and drink and everyone seemed to have fun.

Adults were encouraged to dress up the way humans did in the 1950s and children as kings or queens.  A "king" and "queen" for the day were chosen.  Some of the outfits were very impressive.

In the evening, the local pub put on a barbecue and there was lots more fun and relaxation for the humans.  I had gone home by then.  Ah, yes, here are my bodyguards to escort me.  And if you think that style of dress is not very "1950s", they will say that uniform is as accurate for then as it is for now (or any of hundreds of other years).

Do you really want to argue?  Now take me home for a cuddle.


Monday, 4 June 2012

My Humans' Silver Wedding

As promised, here are a couple of pictures of my humans at and after their Silver Wedding anniversary party.
The first one was taken at the party (quite early on!) where they enjoyed the company of many friends from the village and beyond.
This one was taken in the house a couple of days later and shows some of the many cards friends and family sent.  They were really delighted with all the cards, gifts and messages they received.

A special day for them..  I'll give them a cuddle.


Friday, 1 June 2012

The Big Party

The whole of Britain (and a lot of the rest of the world) is celebrating this weekend, including our village.  However, our big personal party was last weekend to mark my humans' silver wedding anniversary.  It was a lovely weekend for weather and I enjoyed supervising as the humans set up tables chairs and bunting on their decking.  There were even a couple of gazebos for shade.
You can't see it in this picture, but the river Witham is just beyond the decking.  One purpose of the bunting was to remind guests they were close to the edge of the deck and the risk of an unwelcome way of cooling off from the hot sun.

Lots of very nice people came to the party.  Most were from our village but quite a few were from other nearby villages and some from even further.  Some very good friends came from London and Andrew's brother and his wife came from Northumberland.

I think the humans say, "a good time was had by all".  I suppose they must have because everyone seemed to stay and lots of empty bottles and food trays were taken away at the end.  All the humans look to be enjoying themselves in this picture.
I think you may be able to make out my Mikki in this photo.  Andrew must be hidden somewhere among the trees.  There were also some other pictures just of them   They say I should put one or two of those up in another post.


Friday, 25 May 2012

25 Years Ago - First Visit

My humans were married on 23rd May 1987 - so they celebrated their silver anniversary a couple of days ago.  They are having a party for lots of friends and family tomorrow (Saturday).  Fortunately, it looks like the weather in England will be kind for once and they will have the party on the decking by the river that flows past our house.

River? . . water?   You guessed, I'll just be staying in bed.  I may get to know what happens so I can tell you in a later post.

Meanwhile, it is a time to look back.  My humans first visit to Walt Disney World was their honeymoon so they were there 25 years ago today.  Here's my Mikki with their Mickey.

Walt Disney World has changed a lot over the years (I am told).  For one thing, there were only two theme parks (MK and Epcot Center - although the studios park was being built) and one water park (River Country).

Another difference is that my humans were staying off property at a hotel on International Drive.  They had a limited number of shuttle buses they could use and had to fit everything into a 3 day ticket.  There was none of the relaxed fun you get when you can jump on a bus when you like and say as short a time as you like using your annual pass.

And the biggest problem was that they had no toy kitten either for them to cuddle or for Mckey to cuddle.  I may have been around for some time but not that long!!.. So here's another picture from our latest visit (January this year) where Mickey Mouse is able to give me some more attention.

I have been forbidden to make any comment on any changes to Mikki or Mickey over the years.  I think they both look super in both pictures.

Oh, and I'm sure Mikki did take Andrew on her honeymoon.  I guess he isn't in the picture because he was taking it.  There was no Photopass then.


Monday, 7 May 2012


Time to catch up on the trip I took to the English Lake District with my humans last month.
Across most of Britain, the weather was very wet and the forecast was that the Lake District would be one of the wetter places (where do you think all those lakes come from?).  In fact, we were very lucky.  We had scarcely any rain during the day while we were out, although Mikki could see it rain around us several times.  We had one day of lovely sunshine.

Early in the week, we went to Cockermouth, a town that had some terrible floods a couple of years ago.  We saw the birthplace of the poet Wordsworth there.  During the flood, the cellar of that house was full of water.  The humans were very impressed at how well the house and the whole town had recovered.  They had lunch there - and bought themselves and their family sweeties as treats.  I don't need that sort of thing:  just cuddles.

This picture was taken on the edge of Ullswater on a day that was cloudy but dry.  As you can see, I was very brave and went out onto a rock to pose for the camera.  That day we also went to a big house which holds a marmalade festival each year.  The humans bought marmalade for family members they would be visiting later.

I think I enjoyed the trip to the Lake District.  There was a lot of driving around in the car.  I always sit in the front for long car rides so that the humans can stop me getting bored.

That water looked cold and mucky.  Wasn't I brave?

Thursday, 3 May 2012

What Have They Done to the Trees?

Meeeeooww!  My human Andrew has been spending a lot of time scanning old photographs from his father and mother - and now he expects me to tell you about his little attack of nostalgia.  He's found the pictures of Walt Disney World taken in 1994 when his parents visited.  This one is of the "Hub" in the Magic Kingdom.
See if you can spot any differences between it and the next one - taken in 2008, but I expect not from exactly the same place..
Don't you agree the recent picture is much better in so many ways.  The colours (colors) are nicer; the sky is clearer; there is a better view of Cinderella Castle and so on.  Most important, the recent picture includes a cute black and white toy kitten in the foreground.  I admit it:  I came to live with my humans in 1992 but it took me a few years to train them properly to take me with them on all their trips to Walt Disney World.

But Andrew says he misses the trees and the topiaries of Mickey and Minnie (replaced by the "Partners" statue).  He starts talking about a time when "Empress Lilly" had several lovely restaurants; when the best Disney merchandise came from "Centorium" in Epcot; and when the waste bins in the Magic Kingdom were painted differently in each "land".

But just a minute, Andrew.  You say you remember when you found Mickey Mouse just standing around in the Exposition Hall.  Well, that's where you find him now.  Like many things, Disney have had to make things more formal and organised because there are more and more humans there.  And if you want trees, you should find enough to satisfy anyone in Animal Kingdom.

I think one thing hasn't changed.  You have to be lucky (or get up very early in the morning) to get a picture of the "Hub" with as few other people as there are in either of these.

Now stop thinking about the past and give me a cuddle.


Sunday, 15 April 2012

Village Life - Owning a Winning Racehorse

Yesterday was a big day for horse racing in Britain.  No, I'm not talking about what happened somewhere called Aintree but what happened here in our little village - where the local pub (the Pack Horse) ran a Race Night.  I ended up owning a racehorse - and it won its race.  |Prrr.

Village life is very different from living in London (where I used to live with my humans) or other big cities.  In the village, your neighbours talk to you (and about you!).  In the big city, you can search out someone with interests to match yours.  In the village, if you are sensible, you just get involved in what is happening.  And maybe - after 5 or 6 years - they get used to you too.  They may even tolerate one family in the community having a toy cat who writes a Blog!

Our village is very small.  There is no shop; no Post Office, no school.  There is a pub but business is hard for all rural pubs these days.  The current landlord of the pub is a nice local man who has given good service so my humans want to support him and help him make a success of the business (this is where it gets a little difficult because they talk about the quality of the food and drink and I don't really understand that because I'm a toy).

So the point is that my humans are not really keen horse racing or betting people but they went to the Race Night because there would be nice neighbours there and to support the village.  It turned out there were eight races and people were offered the chance to be named "owner" of each of the horses as well as to bet on them. All the horses had funny fictitious names (like "Nearly Fell, by Eileen Dover").  In the Fifth Race one was called "Pinocchio by Wooden Lie".  Nobody had yet "bought" him and my humans decided to give the money to name me as owner.  The horse ran as "No.2".

The evening got under way and the humans apparently had fun (no, I wasn't actually there!).  As it happens, the horse in position "No. 2" won in both the third and forth races.  My humans tried to console themselves that one race should not affect the result of the next but the chances for "Pinocchio" did not look good.  Well, I don't need to waste time - "No. 2" did win three races in a row.  The landlord called up the owner and Mikki went up representing me to collect my prize.  Here I am with it in the picture.

I'm very pleased with my prize - and even more proud that I can call myself the owner of a winning racehorse.  I don't think I'll be drinking any of my prize.  On balance, I'm glad my humans didn't act on their friend's suggestion to set up the picture with a  drinking straw from the bottle to my mouth.

I don't even think the humans drink much Martini.  It'll have to wait until they find another way of taking part in village life - by inviting the neighbours round for a party!

And what about the big horse race yesterday and the poor horses who died?  What do you expect me to think?  Moral dilemmas are for humans.  Life for toys is more simple.  Give me a cuddle.


Friday, 6 April 2012

The Whole Family - The Rest of the Weekend

My humans and I were quite busy over several days last weekend:  the wedding was the highlight (see previous post).

For a lot of the rest of the time, we were looking after Andrew's mother, who is now 89 years old and lives in a care home in Hexham.  I am interested to watch all generations of my humans' families but (or because) I don't really understand this idea of getting old.  As my friend Mickey Mouse once said, "the great thing about being a cartoon character is that however many birthday parties you have, you never get any older".

Andrew's mother now needs quite a lot of help.  She wanted to arrive at the wedding in style from a nice hotel so we took her to one nearby.  We asked for a specially adapted room but the one provided (said to be "accessible") was useless.  She could not have used the bathroom safely).  Strangely, the regular rooms were better and Mikki looked at several before moving Andrew's mother.  It all took time, which tired her. Well, she slept soundly through the night.

Fortunately, the next day - the day of the wedding - dawned fine and we all got out into the sun to admire the gandens.  Here am I with my human, Andrew.  Yes, that's Mickey Mouse on his tie.  Mikki decided he should have a cheerful tie because weddings are happy events - as this one was.

And Andrew's mother was looked after extremely well by the bride and groom..  Thanks, again, Anna and Tom..

On the way to Hexham - and again on the way back - we stopped in Harrogate to do business relating to the sale of Andrew's mother's flat (apartment) there. We visited the lawyers and got a removal man to take out some of the larger items of furniture.  It added to what were already long days driving for my Mikki.  She likes me to sit in the front passenger seat when she is driving and I do my best to amuse her, keep her awake and remind Andrew to give her things to eat and drink from time to time.  "Eat and drink"?  Now, that something else about human behaviour I don't fully understand.


Monday, 2 April 2012

Anna and Tom's Happy Day

Just home from a weekend in Hexham, Northumberland, and I will tell you about the most important thing.  We want everyone to know how much we all enjoyed Anna and Tom's wedding celebrations and how much we wish them well for the future.

I suppose my humans aren't totally conventional.  Andrew must be a little unusual.  He lets his toy cat have a blog, after all!  But even he wasn't intending to take me to the wedding of his nephew Tom to Anna.  It was last Thursday evening, over dinner with Anna and her parents, that she invited me specially to the ceremony.  You see what a wonderful, kind and very special person she is.  She volunteered a photograph:  and here it is. Doesn't she look good in that lovely wedding dress!

The whole day was lovely.  It was held in a sort of giant glass pavilion, called "the Winter Gardens", that was connected with the school Tom went to.  The ceremony was held there and Tom and Anna chose their own special readings and had their own special wording for their vows.  After that, we went into another hall while the Winter Gardens were prepared for a meal and then dancing.  It was in this hall that I had my picture.  I think Anna looks very pretty.  I also think my Mikki looks very good - and Andrew says I must say he thought so too.

Once the food and drink came out, I got back in a little carriage the humans had brought for me.  But I will show you another picture we took earlier.  This is me standing next to the wedding cake.  The peacock feathers are appropriate as Anna's surname before marrying Tom was 'Peacock'. In this picture, you can get a bit of an idea of the glass walls of the building and the lovely grounds outside.

I didn't eat any.  I'm a toy.  Andrew says it was delicious.

More news of the weekend in a later post.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

(Toy) Cat and (Tin) Dog

Time for a little change from Disney (my humans say:  Why?).  Here's a picture to illustrate my humans' interest in science fiction.  Here I am with Doctor Who's dog, K9.
K9 wasn't very lively when I met him.  Dogs are such lazy creatures:  or perhaps he was just switched off.  All he did was sit there in this exhibition letting people look at him.  This was in Cardiff (Wales) a few years ago.  I think it was soon after he had made his return to the show in "School Reunion".

One of my humans' special memories is the one time they went to a Doctor Who convention.  That was even longer ago - back in 1993.  It celebrated 30 years since the show first aired and, of course, was long before it came back to tv.  One of the humans' special moments was being in quite a small room watching John Leeson (the actor who does the voice of K9) get down on hands and knees and speak the voice.

Another memory of that day was meeting Mikki's favourite Doctor, Jon Pertwee, in his TARDIS.  I really don't want to say anything that might suggest how old my humans are - but Andrew's favourite Doctor was William Hartnell!!

It was at that same convention that the humans bought their own TARDIS.  It's a little smaller that the Doctor's (that's only on the outside, of course) at only about 3ft 6in high.  My cousin Big Softy sits on top.   He likes cuddles  . .

 . .  And so do I.


Saturday, 17 March 2012

Happy St Patrick's Day

Happy St Paddy's Day - as everyone seemed to say when were were in Walt Disney World at the right time (which I have to say was about 10 years ago when my humans didn't have anything like as nice a camera as they have now.

This is a picture of me (and my "cousin" Travelling Beanie) taken at the Rose and Crown, the "English Pub" in Epcot during celebrations of St Patrick's day.  All the human visitors were given these silly plastic hats to wear and my humans thought it would be funny to embarrass their toy cats with them too.

The humans accepted the invitation to buy green beer in accordance - they were told - with the "Olde English Custom".  Well, I don't know whether there were any places in England that did this but we had never come across it before.  We think it may have originated in such traditional "Olde English" towns as Chicago.  I'm told students in Miami also have some sort of Green Beer custom and perhaps that's where Disney got it.

My humans have visited Ireland several times (though not on St Patrick's day).  They can assure you that the Irish have great respect for their beer and are unlikely to have thought it a good idea to pollute it with green dye.  And the best beer is black anyway (having tasted both extensively, they offer no public preference between Guinness and Murphy's).

So, if it's a day for embarrassing pictures, I am also putting up this one of my leprechaun (aka Andrew) taken at the same time.  There's one of Mikki on Twitter but she looks a lot better.

  Andrew claims he only had the one pint of green beer and that his appearance is totally due to the camera (and his normal mis-shapenness).  I leave readers to judge.

OK, that's it.  We've all had our fun and we've all been willing to join in having fun poked at us.  Perhaps next year I can say something more interesting on St Patrick's day.  Meanwhile, let's all have a group cuddle.