Tuesday, 3 December 2013

New Family Photograph

My apologies for the time I have been away from the blog. It's time I got back to you.

As Christmas approaches, the humans think about getting their website up to date (www.andrewandmikki.co.uk). Naturally, the website has a section devoted to me and one feature is a group picture of me with all the rest of my family - the other Figaro cuddly toys/plushes in the house - around me.

In the last year, two new members have joined the family and I'm sorry to report the humans have neglected to update the family photograph until now.  So here's the result.  This is a special preview for the blog as it is not yet on the website.

We have found a different settee to pose on but, as you can see, I am still in the middle.  The new members of the family are "Twin" (who looks a little like I did when I was young) and "Flat Tail" (who joined us on our August trip to Disney World).  "Twin" is on one of the stools in front of the settee and "Flat Tail" in on one of the cushions behind me. 

It's quite an effort getting all the Figaros in the house into one place but I must say we are very good at sitting still while one of the humans takes our portrait picture.  I think I shall add this to my list of "Why Toy Cats are Better than Real cats".  Imagine trying to get 24 real cats to sit still for a group picture!
More of the blog soon, I hope.  Meanwhile, I should remind everyone that I have been busy getting my pictures on Andrew's Instagram account and I have no intention of letting him stop doing that.  Look for me on Instagram on andrew1987young


Friday, 27 September 2013

I Have Been Busy - Honest

Many apologies to all my fans.  I know you must have been missing my blog posts terribly over the last month.  Please understand I have been busy and I have lots to tell you now.  I have been in Florida with my humans for about 3 weeks of the time.  We spent a few days in Tampa and then went on to Walt Disney World for the rest of the time. Here is one of Disney's Photopass pictures of my human Mikki with the mouse whose name sounds like hers.
While we were there, I had lots of pictures in new places or with other characters.  I also worked very hard writing a Trip Report for the Intercot discussion board.  I am afraid it has not gone up there yet but I am hoping Mikki will be able to deal with it soon.

Meanwhile, I shall also be using my human, Andrew's Instagram account to show you some of the pictures I had taken.  You can find them by looking for andrew1987young on Instagram.  I'm afraid that he does sometimes up up pictures that don't have me on them but I have given him enough good pictures to keep him busy for the next few days.

There are lots more I will be telling you about.  For one thing, I have a new cousin - "Flat Tail Figaro".  As so often, I'm not sure about the name the humans give to my family members but the new Figaro is really cute.  Look out for another post about him.

And here's a photo from our final day - again by Disney's Photopass.  Rapunzel was so nice and pleased to see me but I think it was Cinderella's idea that they both give me a kiss.

I like kisses - and cuddles.


Monday, 12 August 2013

Disney Pin Trading

My humans and I have been visiting Walt Disney World for a long time now.  We remember lots of changes.  One big one is the arrival of ;in trading as a "big thing".  Like everything, it appeals to some people more than others.  You can meet some lovely people through it - but also some rogues who will try to rip you off.  It can get very expensive - but it can also give you fascinating a beautiful mementos at a much smaller cost (and taking up much less space) than some alternatives.

My Mikki has enjoyed some pin trading over the years although she is much less active now than once.  We have a collection of various pins.  Obviously, Mikki collects Mickey.  Less obviously, Andrew has a small collection of Tinker Bell.  Here I am with my favourite pins.
There are nothing like as many Figaro pins as for some other characters.  Some people say this is because he is not popular but I can't believe that.  I think it must be because he is rare and special.  Whatever the reason, it means that I never get any objection when I see one and tell my humans to buy it or trade for it.  They really are beautiful, aren't they?

But not as cuddly.


Oh, we're off now so maybe no posts until I'm back.  We fly to Florida tomorrow and are in WDW from next Monday.

Monday, 5 August 2013

The Moods of Minnie Mouse

Just a week to go until we set out for our trip to Walt Disney World and I am still thinking about the fun I am going to have with the other Disney characters.

In the classic shorts, Figaro lives with Minnie Mouse so it's natural that we all want to see her.  Here is a picture of her being very nice with me when we visited in January this year.  This was taken at the temporary "Character Spot" in Epcot.
Minnie was very nice for this photo.  About the worst thing is that you will see my humans made me wear "mouse ears".  How undignified!  I have noted the hat is still about in our house and has been seen near the packing for this trip.  I would arrange for it to get lost but I suppose they'd only buy a new one.  My Mikki can get so determined.

Here is Minnie again on a different visit during our January stay.  No, that's not me.  It's our latest addition to the Figaro family, named "Twin".  This is because he is quite old and looks like I did when I was new.  Poor "Twin" has not had a lot of cuddles like I have but has, I fear, spent a lot of his time in sto**ge.  We like to give all the new arrivals their chance of a picture with characters - but only once.  Twin is not going anywhere near the packing this time.

And here's Minnie Mouse in a very different, and unusual, mood.  Mikki caught this shot of her in the "Character Spot" before its latest revamp.
Mikki was almost as surprised as the cast member "minder" and the families in the line behind us when Minnie grabbed Andrew as if to take him for herself.  We didn't get photographic evidence of her holding up her hand to push Mikki away.  And in case anyone from Disney is reading this, Mikki isn't jealous really.  We love this sort of silliness!

And I need not remind anyone that I love cuddles too.


Monday, 29 July 2013

Familiar Characters

I like my picture with other Disney characters.  I always hope for new characters but I love the familiar ones too.  Here are some from the Hundred Acre Wood.
I think I've put up some pictures of Tigger on the blog previously and I have lots with Pooh so I thought it might be a little different to show this one of me playing around in his Hunny pot.  Disney are very clever with the Hunny pot.  I stood right on the hunny but hardly got sticky at all!

Next, here's one with Piglet.  The picture was taken at one of the character breakfasts at Crystal Palace.  They are a lot of fun even if a little noisy and busy.  The atmosphere's really happy.

Piglet's quite big, isn't he.  I admit I sometimes get confused by the size of characters at Walt Disney World.  But they all seem happy to give me a cuddle, so that's all right.

Finally, I have a picture with one character who doesn't look happy - Eeyore.  I do my best to cheer him up, letting him hold me and cuddling up to him, but his face doesn't change at all.

Someone has told Mikki there is a chance to see less familiar characters at the Studios before Fantasmic.  We'll probably try to find them, but meanwhile I am still very happy seeing the familiar characters:  Mickey, Minnie, princesses, fairies and even Pooh and friends.

They all give me cuddles.

Just two weeks until we set off!


Monday, 22 July 2013

Travelling in Style

Just three weeks until we leave home on our next trip to Florida and I am looking forward to a nice comfortable aeroplane ride.  My human Mikki did a very good deal when British Airways had a sale on earlier in the year.  She found she could go Club Class for very little more than the class we normally fly so booked it quickly.

I enjoy flying in style.  Here is a picture from the last time I did so.  This is Upper Class on Virgin Atlantic. My cousin Floppy Figaro was travelling with us.
Everyone was very nice to Floppy and me on the plane.  The humans had seats that turned into beds and for most of the time Floppy and I relaxed on those.  We didn't stay long on the bar stools.  You see, we don't drink.  We are toys!

The humans were able to travel one way on Upper Class using the loyalty points they had saved up over the years.

Another great feature about travelling in the more luxurious parts of the aeroplane is that you also get to go in a nice lounge at the airport.  Here I am with Mikki in the Virgin lounge at London Gatwick.
Things are getting closer and closer.  We are all getting excited and Mikki, who does most of the preparations, is working very hard.

Looking forward to a lot of fun.

And cuddles.

Prrr Prrr

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Four Weeks (plus a bit) to go

I'm starting to get excited about our next trip to Walt Disney World.  One of the things I like to do is to have my picture with the other Disney characters.  This is the sort of thing I mean.  Here I am with two of my favourite characters, Pinocchio (who appears in my film) and, of course, Mickey Mouse himself.

Yes, yes, it would be a little unusual to see these two together and I admit I have not seen them together in Walt Disney World.  This picture was taken in Paris a few years ago.  But I think it captures my excitement about pictures with characters.

I will also be happy (and my humans even more so) if I can gets lots of my pictures indoors in air conditioned rooms.  This will be the first time for many years that we have visited in August and it will be hot.  We do not intend to spend a lot of time standing in lines in the sun. In England, we are practising for the heat by having our first long hot spell for several years.  The temperatures are about 10 degrees F lower than Florida and it is already too hot for my humans.  They will be glad that there is lots of air conditioning in Florida.

We fly out 4 weeks from today (16th July).  We are visiting some other places as well so it will be a few days more than 4 weeks before we get to Walt Disney World. My humans have already arranged for me to meet up with some of my fans over there. Lots of opportunities for cuddles!  Prrrrrrrr

Thursday, 20 June 2013

An English Summer

Tomorrow will be the longest day of the year, so some people might think we were enjoying high summer.  No, this is England.  Far too many of the summer days have been like this one.  And that's even when the weather forecasters promise it will brighten up by the afternoon.

Would you believe this window has the finest view from our house - when it's not raining?

But we have had just a couple of nice evenings in the last couple of weeks - and when they happen it is a delight to get out in the sunshine.  Sometimes the humans invite friends and neighbours round to relax on the deck beside the river that runs along the bottom of our garden.  Sometimes we just all go down and relax on our own.

Those few days when we can get into the garden or relax by the river like this are instant reminders of how little we miss London.

Sunshine is also a reminder of when we will next be in Walt Disney World (Prrrr).  It will be August.  That's normally far too hot for us but we have to go then because we are meeting some friends at a (non-Disney) event on the same trip.  Only a couple of months to go.

Saturday, 15 June 2013

My Humans Went to London

My humans, Mikki and Andrew, went to London this week.  It was only an overnight stay but I was still a little disappointed that they didn't take me.  It's not that I wanted to do anything in London:  I just like being with them.  I don't think the weather was that good either.  You can see Mikki is wearing a coat in this picture they brought back.

For anyone who doesn't recognise it, the picture was taken in Trafalgar Square. That's the National Gallery behind Mikki and she and Andrew visited it and the adjoining National Portrait Gallery while they were there.

Andrew once worked close to the Square and could pop into these Galleries during a lunchtime, but Mikki  did not know them as well and was fascinated at all the lovely pictures inside.  She specially liked the pictures by Monet of his garden at Giverny.  She brought back a magnet and a coffee mug of one of them.  It is a picture of the bridge she has stood on.  It's the same bridge as in the picture I've shown you with Mickey and Minnie Mouse standing on the bridge - but it's not quite the same picture (even without Mickey and Minnie).  Here's a photograph of the magnet on show back at home.

Well, it's good to have the humans back home.  I have missed them and I am sure they have missed me.  We've had some nice cuddles since they got back - but we could have some more.. Yes, now!


Monday, 13 May 2013

In Monet's Garden

This is a picture of my human, Mikki when she visited the famous garden of the painter Monet at Giverny, France.  That was a couple of years ago now but she really enjoyed the trip and still has fond memories of it.  It wasn't perfect, of course:  I wasn't there for her to cuddle because I had to stay at home to look after my other human, Andrew.

Well, now we have a different sort of picture of Monet's garden, delivered just a few days ago. It has been hung in the kitchen where lots of people will see it.
Mickey and Minnie Mouse are seen standing on the same bridge that my Mikki is standing on in my top picture.  Now she only wants for us all to go again so that Andrew can go round and take a picture of her and me from the same angle that the new picture of Mickey and Minnie is from.

Life is such fun with my humans.


Monday, 29 April 2013

Rather Special Motor Cars

On our trip round the south of England, we made two visits to the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu.  Here is my human, Andrew, showing me one of the exhibits.
Yes, for fans of films other than Disney animation, this is the underwater car used by Roger Moore as James Bond in "The Spy Who Loved Me".  It was one of the many fascinating Bond cars at the museum.  These ranged from Goldfinger's Rolls Royce to several from the latest film, "Skyfall".  There were also several other vehicles such as boats and "Little Nellie", the auto-gyro from "You Only Live Twice".

Rather like our trip to the Harry Potter studios, it was a chance to see what the reality is behind the magic you see on the screen. And for real Ian Fleming fans, the car from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang was there too.

There were also all sorts of more or less "real" cars. Here is one that was very real even if it never drove on a road.  It is one my human Andrew is old enough to remember.
It is "Bluebird".  This is the very car in which Donald Campbell set the land speed record of 403 mph in 1964 - a record that still endures for a wheel driven vehicle.  The model next to it, by the way, is of Thrust SST, which holds the current record (and the first to break the sound barrier on land).

Andrew says I need not mention that both record-breakers were British.  You may think people would have to be mad to take the risks involved in these records but perhaps the British are.  After all, my humans let their toy cat write a blog.

They also cuddle him.   Yes, now.


Saturday, 27 April 2013

With Harry Potter

It's been a busy time recently for me and my humans so I am sorry I have not posted much.  Still, that's past us for a day or two and it does mean that I have lots to tell you about.

We have just come home from a tour around parts of the south of England.  The first stop was the Warner Bros studio where there is the Harry Potter tour.  This means we have more toys in the house.  One of them is a large spider.
Fortunately, as you see, I have use of the most powerful magic wand in the world so I am keeping the spider well in control.  You may say it's only a toy magic wand - but she's only a toy spider too so it works on her just fine.

The humans enjoyed the Harry Potter tour enormously.  Mikki was much more a fan of the books but Andrew is much more a fan of the mechanics of theatre and movie-making.  The tour gave lots to look at for both interests.  Here are a few more examples.
Knowing they would be making several films, the producers were able to construct the more frequently used sets to a higher standard than is often the case, and the Great Hall of Hogwarts Castle is an obvious example. Visitors enter the studios through the door you see here so you can feel just like Harry and his friends did when they first arrived.  We took this picture after the rest of the tour party had left.

As well as the tables and furniture you can see, there are mannequins wearing costumes from some of the teachers standing at the high table behind us.
And here is my human, Andrew, with the set of the Gryffindor common room.  The commentary pointed out all the furniture was supposed to be very old so the film crew went to great lengths to make the carpet threadbare and the chairs worn. The common room was also one of many sets that had lots of portraits, all of which were painted specially.

This next picture is of something that wasn't used much but I can understand the studio was very keen to display it on the tour - and Andrew was keen to stand in front of it for is picture:  the "snake" door from the Chamber of Secrets.

If you are wondering where Mikki was, she was taking these pictures.  She also took this one of the set for Professor Dumbledore's office.  It was a magnificent set - as I suppose fitted the great wizard himself.

The humans bought a guide book that contained additional explanation of some of the work that went into dressing this set and building props.

Outside the sound stage, there was lots to see too.  Mikki climbed onto the three storey "night bus" and the Hogwarts bridge.  Andrew couldn't resist taking a picture of her in "Privet Drive".
As with all such sets, the houses in "Privet Drive" are only facades.  The interior scenes will have been shot on sound stages.  That's probably just as well.  It's difficult to believe there would be room inside a house this size for all the action that takes place in the films.  And we never saw the interior sets for these scenes.  I guess they weren't thought unusual enough to keep .

There was a whole lot more to see - like the complete "Diagon Alley" - and I may show you more pictures later.  There was also a magnificent model of Hogwarts used during the first four films (in the later ones, they had a "virtual" model and did shots of people flying over the castle with CGI).  One further huge attraction was a chance to fly a broomstick like the stars (i.e. in front of a green screen)..  Of course, my humans did that.  Here's Mikki.
All this was on the first day of our 9 day tour.  I was lucky the humans had energy left to cuddle me.

More soon.


Thursday, 21 March 2013

Villas at Wilderness Lodge

We spent the first few days of our holiday in Florida at the Disney Vacation Club section of Wilderness Lodge, the Villas.  We had a pleasant studio room that must have been about as close to the entrance as you can get.  This was specially helpful for Mikki when she had to push Andrew in a wheelchair:  shortest distance.

The room was on the ground floor, which meant that instead of a balcony we had a small verandah.  It wasn't bigger than the balconies - and it had just the same table and chairs - but it meant the planting was all around us so there was a lovely feeling of being out in the woods.  You can see a little of it behind me here.
You can also see that the sun was shining.  Even though it was January, it was warm enough for the humans and Me to sit out at times.

My human Andrew really loves the lounge areas at the Villas.  There's lots of dark wood and brick and big comfortable chairs.  It's also almost always deserted so you are quite likely to have the place to yourself.  This is a little sad in one way because there are some really interesting exhibits in there.  There are model railway engines and trucks from the "Carolwood Pacific" railway.  I need not tell anyone who knows Disney that this was the railway Walt Disney ran in his own back yard at home so these are genuine treasures.

No, my picture is not of the trains but of one of the big, comfortable chairs. I am joined on it by the latest addition to the Figaro family, known as my "Twin".  This is because although he is new to our family, he is of just the same design.  Yes, I looked like that when I was new.
.Now put the camera down and come over here and give us both a cuddle.

Prrrr Prrrr

Sunday, 17 February 2013

My Room at the Magic Kingdom

We are now back from our trip to Walt Disney World.  I have been very busy while away because Mikki likes me to write the Trip Reports she posts on the Intercot discussion board.  Now we are home, I would like everyone to be able to see it so I am getting the humans to put some pictures with it and publish it on their web site.  I'll let you know when it's ready.

Meanwhile here are a couple of pictures from one of my favourite places in the Magic Kingdom, the Figaro Room in the Village Haus restaurant.
I'm not sure what's happening here.  Poor Figaro looks like he's been surprised by something. Perhaps he's just slipped while playing with this ribbon.
In this second one, he's again playing with the ribbon.  It is quite ridiculous to think that he is trying to reach over to stroke my human Andrew's hair.  There are just so many reasons that can't be it. And it must be equally ridiculous to suggest he is trying to get to Cleo.

The humans visited the Village Haus twice during their stay.  They did not eat in the Figaro Room and did not even visit it on one of the occasions.  I was not with them.  Humans!  You spend years trying to train them but as soon as your back is turned.. . .

More news and pictures soon.

Friday, 8 February 2013

Pictures to Keep You Going

My humans and I have been in Florida for more than two weeks. I have been writing a report for the Intercot discussion board but uncertain internet connections have made it difficult.

I want to tell everyone about my trip aafter I get home. If you can't wait, there are photos - mostly of me - on Instagram. Look for andrew1987young.


Saturday, 19 January 2013

Need More Pictures

We are now counting down the hours until we are in Walt Disney World.  Unfortunately, my humans can't count very well - especially when they can't work out what, if anything, they should add for travel, different time zones and so on.  So let's just say it will be soon.  This will probably be my last post before we go.
I was looking for some nice pictures of the first place we will be staying, Wilderness Lodge.  This is one of the best and it is over 10 years old.  Lots of things change in that sort of time.  And lots of the things that are the same deserve better pictures (some of the interior ones are very dark).  And lots of the ones taken them don't have any suitable foreground subject, i.e. me!

So I looking forward to lots of pictures.  I am pleased to note the humans are taking lots of spare memory thingies and electronic gizmos to make sure they don't lose any of the pictures. They have a smart new camera too.

You'll notice I was doing a lot of my own stunts in those days. I think Travelling Beanie, the stunt kitten will be coming this time, though.

Remember I always fly with my humans in the cabin so they can cuddle me.  "Bon Voyage" to us.


Saturday, 12 January 2013

They're only Ornaments, but . . .

I sometimes wonder whether my humans think about me when I leave them on their own.  So, it was nice of Mikki to bring back this picture from her trip to Walt Disney World in October.
These figurines of the most adorable black and white kitten are in "One Man's Dream" at the Disney Studios park.  I'm sure we will be visiting that exhibit at least once.

We have a couple of small china ornaments of Figaro but I don't think we have any with quite these poses. It goes to show how cute cats are whatever they do.

Meanwhile, Mikki is very busy today making sure she has all the documentation for our tip to Florida.  This is becoming more difficult as everything is sent electronically now so she has to remember to print them.  Andrew asked if she had my "pet passport".  Cheek!  That's one of the reasons toy cats are better than real ones (you can take us away on holiday/vacation without worrying about injections, quarantine or passports) but let's get it straight.  Cats allow humans to look after them.  Cats are not pets.  Toy cats get cuddles when they want, like now.


Friday, 11 January 2013

Looking Forward

It's only just over a week to go before we set off for our next trip to Walt Disney World and I am really looking forward to it. Today, the humans have been making sure they have the user manuals for their new camera so they can take the best pictures of me they can.  There'll be lots of new things to see as well as older and more familiar ones to re-visit.

Top of the new things to do will be the new additions to Fantasyland in the Magic Kingdom. Here's a picture Mikki had taken of her with Minnie Mouse in the venue and outfit she has in the rebuilt area.  I don't quite understand it myself (possibly something to do with d*gs) so I'm looking forward to checking it out personally.  I so hope Minnie can cuddle me nicely while she's wearing that dress.

And here's a picture Mikki took of a recent but familiar character - Ratatouille as he appears going round "Chefs de France".  I am always a good cat and don't chase the rat when I see him.  I'll be pleased to go to Epcot too.  We can ride "Mission Space" and I might be "Commander Cat".

Mikki says there will also be new features at "Test Track".  I need people to hold on to me very firmly when we go on that.

And there has been more good news since my last post.  The humans have booked a second trip to Florida this year.  It'll be the first time for many years that they will be going in August.  I hope there will be lots of new and different things to do that trip too.

But I also like familiar things, like cuddles.

Prrrr. Prrrr.

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Remakes, Sequels and Spin-Offs

I enjoy my trips to Disney parks and I hope my humans do too.  There was a time when they had a much greater interest in all things Disney including the film making and the overall running of the company.  Andrew was once a Disney stockholder.

So here are some thoughts (with a little help from the humans) on certain types of film.  I don't know if I have all the correct words but I've called them remakes, sequels and spin-offs.  Basically, the point is whether film-makers should always seek something totally new or can re-use stories and characters they know have been popular in the past..

It used to be said of Walt Disney himself that he never made a sequel (no "Snow White Returns" etc).  One of the criticisms of his immediate successors was that they lacked originality and only wanted to make another "Herbie" movie.  The later management under Michael Eisner introduced many brilliant new stories and characters (Aladdin, Lion King, etc) but pretty soon we were also seeing a huge number of sequels too.

And as far as Walt himself was concerned, there was always a response that the fairy-tale movies were all to a formula: that, in effect, all his great classics were remakes.  Also, the "no sequel" claim could only ever be made of the feature animation:  the shorts depended on familiar characters in familiar chaotic situations.

One of the strongest current "spin-offs" is Tinker Bell and all the new Disney Fairies.  Here's a picture with of my Mikki with one of them I am still looking forward to meeting, Tink's sister!

Perhaps the talk about originality or remakes reflects a dilemma of film-makers.  For themselves, the actors and directors would like to explore new ideas, but they also want to please the public, who like an element of the familiar (and the financiers, who like proven winners).

I think that if you've got a good story it doesn't matter if it's a sequel.  "Toy Story 2" was a brilliant film  - and a sequel.  "Toy Story 3" was a quite different style of film - and still a sequel.

So here's my plan for the next sequel - or spin-off.  Pinocchio and Gepetto go to visit Hollywood where they have all sorts of adventures culminating in their precious kitten, Figaro, being acquired by Minnie Mouse (if I believe Jack Sparrow, Minnie stole him).  In later sequels or television spin-offs, Figaro has his own adventures in the modern USA (no aliens from space - not credible).  He then gets to appear in Disney parks and I can have my picture with him.

And I wouldn't mind a "based on an idea by" credit . . .

or a cuddle would do.


Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Bath Day

I have had another bath.  I am Figaro - and Figaro does not like baths (that's me on the left).
There is a problem in being such a well cuddled toy as I am.  The humans claim I need to get cleaned up before our trips to Walt Disney World so I can look my best for photographs with the other Disney characters.  So there I was getting soaked in detergent with my cousin, Floppy Figaro.  After that - horror of horror - they put us in the washing machine and turned it on.  It's all very traumatic but I am pleased  to say we both came out relatively unharmed.

This second picture was taken just after our release.  I was very pleased to be out and quite pleased with the result.  If you look carefully, you can see that my right eye is a little damaged but by the time I am writing this my human Mikki has carried out some delicate eye surgery so it is getting back to perfect.

All this means that we are another step closer to our next trip to Walt Disney World.  We are all starting to think about all the pictures we can take (of me) and all the other fun and relaxing things we can do.  There are lots of new places in the remodelled Fantasyland where I can pose and Mikki says there are new characters for me to meet.

Now put me somewhere warm and cosy so I can continue drying out and be ready for more cuddles.

And a very Happy New Year to all my followers and fans.