Friday, December 30, 2011

Brick Oven part 7

Alan has been off work, and making some progress on the brick oven. Look at all these bricks he has cut! This is about a third of the number of bricks he needs. More cutting to do.

Meanwhile, we have had some visitors wandering through. Smokey is looking askance at Light Ginger who is loitering in our front yard.

Light and Dark Ginger regroup on our courtyard wall...

Smokey is supervising Alan while he measures the bricks for the front door of the oven. He is a very helpful cat...

Alan managed to work around the various felines and has cemented on the first layer of bricks! This is the first ring that will form the actual oven dome. More to follow!

Saturday, December 24, 2011


We can't give you Reindeer, but we have plenty of these White Tails... Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Assorted goodies; Brick Oven part 6

I know it's been a loooooong time since you read the words 'Brick oven', dear readers, but it has not been forgotten!

Alan has a new brick cutting machine. This weekend, the weather was decent enough for Alan to try it out. It's been pretty wet here the last few weeks so the machine has been hiding in our garage. Here's Alan cutting some bricks:

See how nice and straight the cut edges are!
Alan only cut a few bricks but he will be on the case in earnest soon.

In other news, you will be amazed to learn that Smokey is reaching new heights of laziness, needing all three cushions to properly support his sleep.

And finally, I made my first bit of glass in a year, probably, I can't remember the last time I did any but it has been far too long.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Roof Cat says, "Let me in!"

For the third time today...!

For those in cooler climates: Smokey is setting his claws into the mesh anti-mosquito screen outside the window. Just in case you were wondering what he's grabbing on to.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Smokey cuteness

Gratuitous cute picture of Smokey on his chair :-) He sleeps on here while we watch TV of an evening.

We got a new quilt the other day. This has caused Smokey to eschew his usual spot between our pillows in favor of leaning against my legs on the quilt instead. I guess that's a Smokey seal of approval. Here, we have no sooner made the bed, than he is on it, ready and waiting...

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Concrete Truck

I've been meaning to post this and forgot - I finally got a half decent picture of one of these trucks the other day, while stopped at some lights. These tend to travel in packs of three or four at a time, led by a flag car. Look carefully and you can see the entire truck is split in two - the driveshaft is hanging loose underneath, at the rear.

I think the concrete section it is carrying gets used to make road flyovers. They have been building some around here recently and the concrete pieces all seem very similar. The ramp shown here immediately behind the truck is a classic example. There must be a factory south of here somewhere, it is not uncommon to see these trucks. It's just taken me a while to get a picture...

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Besieged by cats

We had both Ginger Cats visiting this morning. Here is Light Ginger by the window and his brother Dark Ginger below. They come from the house across the way and are a little over a year old. They do have real names but I forgot them.

Smokey isn't convinced by them. He spent about half an hour growling at them, but they are thick and didn't take the hint, although Light Ginger didn't stick around for long. Meanwhile, Dark Ginger and Smokey took it in turns to nibble the lettuce from our tray. Damn cats!

And of course Snowman is wanting his breakfast, while Dark Ginger wants (a) to get in the house or (b) to eat Snowman's food; whichever is available... I am thankful he doesn't appear to have worked out what the cat flap is for. Yet. But if I open the door, he's in like a shot.

So I ended up having to hold Dark Ginger while Snowman ate. Again...

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

New sleeping spot

We have had the tall cat tree for a while. It used to be Bandit's favourite perch, but has lain largely unused since her passing. However, in the last few days, Smokey has decided he is going to sleep on top of there, instead of in his tower. Time for a change, I guess.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


For the first time in months, we are getting some much-needed RAIN! With the lakes at an all-time low and major league drought restrictions in place, this is so necessary.

This storm is moving from west to east, right over us:

As I type, it is up to 0.8 inches and rising, although the bulk of the storm has gone through already.

Look! Real, honest, water! And some thunder, too.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Moving house

When Americans talk about moving house, they mean it!

Friday, November 4, 2011


I managed to catch a nice one of our hanger-on Snowman in the golden sunset light, between beggings and mewings for his dinner...

Meanwhile, here is one of the ginger cats from across the way. Inside our sun room. He is a little menace, this one. Very friendly - almost too friendly - winding himself around your legs; you really have to watch where you step. He will come running if he sees us. And always dart for an open door. I had to let him stay in here while Snowman ate his breakfast this morning, as it was the only way he could eat unmolested, otherwise this one will steal it.

Monday, October 31, 2011


Happy Halloween! Have some pumpkins.

Who knew there were so many varieties?!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Smokey Cat

Smokey being his usual self in the garden. 

And being a sink cat again...

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Death and Remembrance

With Halloween season upon us, the neighbourhood is sprouting gravestones, white-sheet ghosts hanging from trees and no doubt the local children will be trick-or-treating in due course. I would like to take the festival back to its roots, as a rememberance for the Souls who have left us during the year.

It seems that we have lost a large number of friends in these last few months. Perhaps it is inevitable; as we get older, so do our friends, and as our circle of acquaintances increases in size, so do the chances of losing some along the way. None of that logic makes it any easier.

We remember our friends:

Diane's partner Toby Archer
Alzonia, a neighbour with whom I used to go walking
Dave Hall, purveyor of fine coffee and banter in his shop, Texspresso
Alan's colleague Kate Kneebone

John Agnew of Rougham Airfield
Greg Poe, aerobatic pilot
Frans Dely, aviation photographer
Our beautiful little cat Bandit

and while I never met Steve Jobs or Dennis Ritchie, their influence in our household is profound.

They are missed.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Smokey and the fridge

Smokey has discovered a taste for kale, which borders on obsessional. We can no longer open the fridge door and expect it to remain unexamined!
Mewing will ensue if he doesn't get any... Lots of mewing...

And yes, I did check; kale is fine for cats. Seems there are a few other kale kitties around on the interwebs, too.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Friday, September 23, 2011

A look back

It's almost a month now since Bandit was taken from us. I'm still not really used to the fact she's gone.

However, it has helped in some ways for me to go through this blog, and my other pictures that didn't make it online. I have put them all together in a book. I don't want to leave them all only online. Barring disaster, books are safer, they don't crash or get wiped or corrupted. So while this is primarily for Alan's and my benefit, I may as well put the book online here, for anyone that wants to look at it. I certainly don't expect anyone to want to buy a book of someone else's cats, but there's a few of you out there who met Bandit; I hope you enjoy flicking through the pictures here.

Monday, August 29, 2011


This is the last photo I took of Bandit, relaxing on the ottoman the other day.

I played with her on Saturday morning; she was helping me move some stuff around by chasing it and pouncing on things. Then she went outside.

Some time after then, she was taken by a wild animal. I found her remains this morning. There wasn't much left.

Rest in peace, Bandit. You were loved immensely. You were such a happy cat, and it's a crying shame your life was cut short. Alan, Smokey and I will all miss you.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Austin by Night

I love to take night shots, and views from high places. So when I recently had the opportunity to visit the 19th floor of the Hilton hotel in Austin, it made me happy! This is what I saw out of the window:

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Bandit and the Hammock

Bandit is field testing Alan's new comfy hammock. She is only on here because she was lying on the mesh on the ground, before I lifted it up. She will try and jump on, but she can't get far enough inboard; she lands on the edge and it tips her off ;-) I think this is really one big cat toy.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Lazy Smokey

Relaxing in the sun room. He loves to kick one foot up onto the wall; does the same thing when he sleeps in the brick oven.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Early morning Visitor

Sorry about the low quality picture; it was this or nothing! I guess the poor things are thirsty... It is DRY around here.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


Sigisgild, the Concealing Stool of Protection, grants peaceful sleep to those who seek shelter within.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Bandit, Jeeps and Snakes

Here is Bandit, investigating and enjoying the mesh roof on my Jeep.

She got inside and watched birds fly around for a while, chittering at me.

Action mirror shot :-)

A little while later, I was getting ready to leave. When I emerged from the house, this is the sight that greeted me on the driveway! Smokey was just out of shot. They were both dancing around the snake, prodding it with paws and nose. The snake was not enjoying this, and was making a few strikes back of its own. Luckily the cats are quick; I don't think the snake connected. Certainly the cats acted fairly normally.

I think it's an Eastern Yellow Belly Racer snake. Non-venomous. *whew*!

Here is a close up of the snake. You can see it has been injured... it was like that when I got there. Didn't seem to be too slow though, I hope the injury was not deep.

I managed to get a hold of it with a long pole (after a few attempts, the pole end got bitten a lot) and lift it back into the long grass. Then distracted the cats to a safe distance...