Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Tremplin des Créateurs!

Bonjour à toutes et à tous, je suis finaliste pour le Tremplin des Créateurs. Grâce à vos votes, je peux remporter la première place et bénéficier de nombreux lots pour m'aider à me professionnaliser. En votant pour moi, vous pourrez également tenter de remporter un bon d'achat de 100€ ! Pour voter, cliquez sur ce lien http://www.tremplindescreateurs.fr/contestant/264.html puis cliquez sur le bouton Voter !

Merci de votre aide et bonne chance ! :) Catherine

Hi everyone! I am a finalist in the Tremplin des Créateurs contest! Yippee! With your votes I may be in with a chance of making it to the top spot!  If you vote for me you will also be entered into the prize draw for a 100€ gift voucher to spend on A Little Market. To vote for me just click on this link http://www.tremplindescreateurs.fr/contestant/264.html and then press voter!

Thanks for your help! Catherine

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

It's Getting Chilly

The nights are drawing in and the leaves are falling from the trees. I've even had to get an extra jumper out of my wardrobe to keep me warm so autumn in certainly here. The cats have also grown their lovely thick winter coats and spend all day soaking up the sun in whatever patches of sunlight they can find. Yesterday Roux and Debbie decided that the compost heap was the best place to kip all afternoon so I tiptoed over and managed to get a photo!

It's also great to see some reviews popping up for The True Story of a Not So Crazy Cat Lady on Goodreads. It's lovely to hear what you think!

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

A Cute New Kitten

Don't you just love kittens? Not only are they adorable but they're so much fun. I visited my sister recently and I was especially excited because she'd adopted a new kitten. I'd seen a photo or two and heard a lot about her but that still didn't prepare me for the moment I first set eyes on her. It's been a few years since I had a kitten a home, they're all grown up now, but within a heart beat I remembered just how tiny and excitable they are.

Marnie putting on her cute innocent face

The new kitten's name is Marnie and she is full of beans! The instant I set down my bag she came galloping over, bounding up the couple of steps into the room, eager to meet the newcomer. I picked her up and held her close and already she was nipping at my hands, trying to catch my fingers with her paws. Next she jumped onto the seat which she'd already claimed as her bed and I tickled her tummy as she rolled round and around. Now I could remember why I never used to get much writing down when I had kittens at home. Their energy and playfulness is addictive, you just want to stay and play all day.
My sister tells me Marnie is a real mischief maker and likes getting into everything, I certainly remember that being the case with my own kittens as well, so she smiled when half a hour later Marnie fell fast asleep, worn out by playtime. I stroked a finger across her head as she began to dream and smiled as her toes twitched, wondering what games she was playing behind her closed eyes. I began to wish over my stay, that I could adopt a new kitten like Marnie, and her little antics would me smile everyday, but then, thinking sensibly, I knew I already had enough on my plate. I have a family of fur-legged friends at home already and although they may not be quite so tiny and energetic as they once were, I wouldn't change them for the world.

Catherine Walker is the author of The True Story of a Not So Crazy Cat Lady, available in paperback and eBook.

Monday, 29 June 2015

A Very French Cat

I don't know what your cats make of cheese, but my cats love it...well most of the time.

I was having a sandwich yesterday when Teddy appeared out of the long grass beyond the garden. He yawned and stretched his legs as though he'd been asleep all morning but considering how hot it was no one could blame him. Seeing me he wandered over, sniffing the air, trying to detect what was on the menu. I know he's a fan of cheese and so breaking a bit off, I offered it to him, but to my great surprise he turned up his nose. He begrudgingly sniffed it a second time as I tried to encourage him, but still he looked up at me as though to say, is that all you've got? I'd prefer something a little more mature.
I had no idea Teddy was such a cheese connoisseur but when I offered him a small chunk of the other cheese on the table, his frown disappeared. Within seconds it was gone and he looked back up wondering if I had anymore. I know we're in France and everything but I had no idea that even the cats here were picky about their cheeses! Just in case I'd forgotten he was there, Teddy reached up and prodded me with his paw. More please, he meowed and naturally I obliged.

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

An Unfortunate Fall

It has been a while since my last post and a couple of difficult weeks it has been too. Unfortunately during a horse riding session, the horse I was riding tripped and fell from under me. I was whisked off to hospital and told by a very grim faced doctor that I'd not only broken my collarbone, but that it was broken very badly. By the middle of the following week I had to go in for surgery and the break was pinned together with a metal bracket. It has been painful and unpleasant but everyone has been great and supportive. Unfortunately it means the writing has taken a back seat but once I'm back to fighting strength I'll be getting back into it. For now I'm taking it easy. Not sure when I'll be getting back on a horse though...we'll have to wait and see.

Catherine Walker is the author of The True Story of a Not So Crazy Cat Lady available in paperback and ebook.

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Horse Rally

My muscles are still complaining today following a very exciting and exhausting day on Sunday in which I took part in a horse riding rally. One of approximately thirty riders of all ages, we took on the challenge of a 30 kilometer ride through the green French countryside, navigating a wide range of terrain and speeds. I was on a horse called Jazz who belongs to the riding school I have attended for almost two years and although she can be a little stroppy at times, on Sunday she was mainly well behaved. I particularly loved galloping around the lakes and through the almost tunnel like paths we took through the trees. If you ride yourself you will know what a thrill it is when your horse picks up the speed and carries you like the wind, if you've never done it then I certainly recommend giving it a go. I will be back on a horse again before long, perhaps jumping which is my favourite exercise, but until then my muscles would just like a couple of days off.

Say hello Jazz.

Some of the horses tethered up as everyone has a short break.

Friday, 15 May 2015

A Sad Day

Today's post is a very difficult one to write and so I will have to keep it brief. Sadly Dolly never recovered from her illness and she passed away Wednesday on a warm evening beneath a beautiful red sunset. The world feels emptier now she has gone and I only hope that with time it will become easier for all who miss her. She certainly won't be forgotten.

Saturday, 9 May 2015

A Loyal Friend

It has been a very long, hard and emotional week, and I imagine many of you out there who share your lives with pets know exactly how I have been feeling.
Last weekend my dog, Dolly, fell ill and for 24 hours I thought my loyal friend was going to pass away. I have lost cats before and it breaks when heart when I remember them and those final moments we shared, and so I stroked Dolly's head thinking that this was it, she was ready to go her own way, somewhere I couldn't follow, but I am relived to say that she has been so strong and pulled through.
She's had me in tears so often over this last week I'm surprised I haven't run out of them, but she's curled up in her bed now as though nothing had ever happened. Finally I will be able to sleep soundly again with the knowledge that she's okay and I hope one day soon we will be walking together across the fields once more.

Friday, 1 May 2015

A Cute Surprise

Well this week I have been treated to a very rare surprise. Late one afternoon I was delighted to find that a baby owl was taking a nap in a tree in my back garden! I got out my camera and almost filled the SD card with photos. It was so fantastic to see such a shy creature in daylight and at close range and he looked so comfy just perched on that branch. He stayed there until nightfall when his mummy and daddy came to fetch him. He looks so fluffy!

I'm also so thrilled at the moment to see The True Story of a Not So Crazy Cat Lady at the NUMBER 8 SPOT on the cat care bestsellers chart for kindle books on amazon.co.uk
Thank you everyone, you've made my day!

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Rooftop Sunbathing

I'm not quite sure how they're doing it. I give the cats their breakfast, turn my back, and before I know it I hear a meow from up high and one or more of them is looking down at me from on the roof! Yesterday it was Archie. He strolled across to the chimney stack and sat there looking very pleased with himself. Within another two minutes he was back on the ground. Considering how tall the roof of my house is, and its an unusual house at that, I was wondering how he'd managed it. He certainly hadn't climbed a tree and gone from the outside anyway.

I'd forgotten about yesterday's event until just. I'd given the cats their breakfast, nipped to check the post, and this time it was Roux I heard meowing up on the roof. Only unlike Archie, hers wasn't a boastful look what I've managed to do meow, but a help, I'm stuck up here kind of meow.
Fortunately there is a safety measure for cats getting stuck on the rook here. A window from one of the bathrooms looks out over a section of the roof and going to it, I opened it up and called out to her. She came running like a lamb who'd heard her mother bleat! She's back on the ground now, happy and purring, but I wonder how long it'll be before she's tempted to follow Archie back up onto the roof again!

Love cat stories? Click here to start reading the beginning of The True Story of a Not So Crazy Cat Lady by Catherine Walker!

Sunday, 12 April 2015

The Perfect Sunday

It has been the perfect weekend for lounging about in the garden and that is exactly what the cats have been doing. It was also a perfect sunny opportunity to get out the camera and take a few photos. Here are a few of my favourites I captured over the last couple of days. Maybe you have some caption ideas? Enjoy!

Love cats? Check out The True Story of a Not So Crazy Cat Lady! Available in paperback and eBook.

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Midnight Feast

It seems my little animal collection is growing!
With winter and the cold weather gone, the hedgehogs who live in my garden have reappeared after months of hibernation and decided that they quite like the taste of cat biscuits! I woke up this morning to find that every last crumb of biscuits had been nibbled by the little tinkers over night and I probably wouldn't have minded quite so much if they didn't leave such a mess behind!
But it is also seems that my cats aren't too chuffed at having to share their grub. Today they turned their noses up at the bowls, maybe because they smell of hedgehog I wondered. It seems I will have to make two separate eating areas, one for the cats and one for the hedgehogs, each with their own specific bowls. And then of course there is the little dog who lives next door who trots over each evening to take her fill as well!

I also received a surprise in the post this week - a certificate of recognition from the BlogPaws Team regarding this years Nose to Nose Awards! The True Story of a Not So Crazy Cat Lady blog is proud to say that it is a finalist in the Best New Pet Blog category! Thank you BlogPaws!

Catherine Walker is the author of The True Story of a Not So Crazy Cat Lady available now in paperback and eBook.

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Cuteness Overload!

What better time could there be to visit a garden center than at the outset of spring? Seedlings are shooting out of the earth, plants boast full new buds, and some already look radiant in full bloom. And then of course, there are the animals and birds.
Archie the cat
I visited a garden center this afternoon and despite all of the things clamoring for my attention, what made me stop in my tracks were the baby chicks...and the baby ducks...and the little dwarf rabbits. In fact there was just so much cuteness surrounding me I couldn't decide what I loved the most! Standing there, I found myself deciding which ones I'd have if I irrationally took them home now and turned my garden into a farmyard. For the ducklings I'd have the three that were asleep in the corner, as for the chicks I'd go for three fluffy yellow ones. Then there were the rabbits. Now that's a tough decision. There were two sitting together, one almost on top of the other really, and they were both so fluffy. One was white with speckles of light brown and the other was a rabbity version of my cat Archie. The resemblance was uncanny! If he had a cousin in the bunny rabbit world then for certain this was he.
Yes I'd have loved to take them all home, I suppose it's a good job there weren't any kittens else I may not have been able to stop myself!

Catherine Walker is the author of The True Story of a Not So Crazy Cat lady available now in paperback and eBook.

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Town Cat, Country Cat

I have just returned from visiting my sister. She lives a few hours away with her boyfriend and their cat in a pretty French town. She's quite a cook so I was certainly well fed during my stay and I particularly enjoyed the home-made cheesecake. But used to the pace of country life I am always struck by the differences between my home and hers. Instead of the hooting and tooting of owls, the steady hum of cars outside the window in all I hear at night and the street lights cast a constant yellow glow over everything.
In the same way life is also very different for her cat compared to mine back at home. Whereas my four legged companions roam the fields and forests, napping in the hedgerows and chasing butterflies, her cat lives indoors. She is the queen of that house, bossing her owners about as she steals the best seats in the house or demanding that they open the door that leads into the conservatory so she can tease the neighbour's dog through the window. She's a particularly stroppy madam if I'm honest, and she's not keen on visitors who enter her realm. I sometimes wonder if she would enjoy a visit to the country, to roam freely outdoors with grass beneath her feet and not a car in sight but perhaps in reality the vast openness would scare her. I know for a fact that in reverse my own cats would not like to live in a world with gates and boundaries.
By the end of my short stay I was ready to head home and as soon as the car pulled onto the gravel drive my cat Debbie appeared, greeting me back, and not far behind her was Roux. I always enjoy a trip away but in my heart I know that, like my cats, I belong in the country too.

Catherine Walker is the author of The True Story of a Not So Crazy Cat Lady available now in paperback and eBook!

Sunday, 8 March 2015

The Best of Friends

Here in the French countryside life has a relaxed pace. When I take a stroll down the lane it is rare for even a car to pass by, I'm more likely to bump into one of the neighbours who has decided, like myself, to take advantage of the spring sunshine and go for a walk. We exchange pleasantries, sometimes they even give me a dozen eggs fresh from their chickens in their back garden. Today when I was out walking, that was exactly what happened.

The neighbour in question is an elderly lady, eightly years old and widowed almost fifteen years ago. She rarely leaves the vicinity and her life is a quiet one. I smile whenever I see her approach because never very far away is her little cat.

It was the cat that adopted her rather than the other way around, a couple of years back. It turned up out of the blue one day and sat on her doorstep. The old lady at first thought it was one of mine, I have a few after all. I told her I'd never seen the cat before but would be happy to take care of it, but this little cat had already decided who her owner should be. She followed the old lady (who'd never had a cat before) around from day one, into the garden, up the lane, everywhere! Initially the old lady was bemused. She didn't know what to make of her new friend who'd attached itself to her like a shadow, but bit by bit she began to soften and one day a food bowl appeared on her front porch full of cat biscuits...and then a little cat bed.

Now the two of them are always seen together, today being no exception, and they make me smile every time. It was as though that little cat knew that the old lady was lonely, that she needed a companion, and she was the one who would help her. Just like my neighbour, we don't always know what it is we're missing until it finds us and I think that that little cat might just have changed an old lady's life.

Catherine Walker is the author of The True Story of a Not So Crazy Cat lady available now in paperback and eBook.

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

BlogPaws 2015 finalist!!

Have you heard? I still can't quite believe it! The True Story of a Not So Crazy Cat Lady blog is a finalist in the BlogPaws Nose to Nose awards 2015! Along with three others, my blog has been named a finalist in the Best New Pet Blog category and I'm over the moon! In May at the conference in Nashville they will announce the winners but winner or not I am so chuffed to have gotten this far.
I started this blog back in summer 2014 with a love of two things; writing and my cats. From this concoction was born my book The True Story of a Not So Crazy Cat Lady, a labor of love which took a good eighteen months to write and was eventually published in October 2014.
As all pet lovers know, our four-legged friends are very important in our lives and I have learnt a lot since finding that litter of kittens all of those years ago. They offer us companionship, support, and unconditional love. Equally they leave great holes in our lives when they leave us, and all of these things meant that I could write the novel I did.
This blog coincides with the book, to further discuss the topics raised in it and to talk about others. I live in the beautiful south of France and I find inspiration everyday in my surroundings. I'm truly honored that my blog has been chosen and so to BlogPaws and everyone who reads my blog, and my book, I say a great big THANK YOU!

The True Story of a Not So Crazy Cat Lady is available now in paperback and eBook.

My little boy Archie.
Teddy when he was a mischievous kitten.

BlogPaws 2015 Nose-to-Nose Awards Finalist badge

Sunday, 1 March 2015

I Need Your Vote!

Hello everyone, today I'm going to talk about something a little bit different...needle felting! 
When I'm not writing I love to work with my hands and one of my favourite crafts is needle felting. I sell my miniature needle felt animals in a couple of online stores, one of which is A Little Market. I was lucky enough, very recently, to be asked on the strength of my creations to take part in a competition sponsored by the magazine Marie Claire Idées. I was asked to decorate an embroidery hoop on the theme of winter and just below you can see my entry.

It is now up to a public vote to see who will make it through to the top 10. It's only one vote per person and you don't need a Facebook account to take page, so if you have a minute to spare I would really love it if you could support my entry. Follow this link http://buff.ly/1AmpKtz (if you're using a tablet go to http://qlic.it/107486) to go the competition and see the gallery of entries. I'm counting on you :)

Catherine Walker is the author of The True Story of a Not So Crazy Cat Lady available now in paperback and eBook!

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Growing Up

I currently have 3 male cats in residence here and their names are Archie, Teddy and Hercules. All being related they grew up together as kittens and I have many a photo of them playing. They are very cute little fellas who are very well behaved...when I'm around that is!
This morning I rushed into the garden to find two of them having a pop at one another, surrounded by a shower of white fluff. I know they're trying to fight it out and prove who's top cat but I don't like to hear them growl and hiss. As usual when this happens they slink off when I appear, both looking at me as they cower back as though to say 'he started it, not me!' I stand in between them feeling like a mother scolding her children or a teacher in the playground. They certainly got the girl's attention who gather round and look on, wondering what all the fuss is about.
Pretty soon everything is back to normal and the boys can even stand to eat from the same bowl, as long as I'm there to keep the peace! I look back at those photos of them as kittens and think it a shame that they no longer get on as they did back then, but I suppose boys will be boys and growing up changes us all.

Catherine Walker is the author of The True Story of a Not So Crazy Cat Lady available now in paperback and eBook!

The boys as kittens playing in the garden.

Friday, 13 February 2015

A New Climbing Frame

It's that time of year again when winter's on its way out but it's still a bit cold and just when you thought you had enough firewood to last, you find yourself ordering some more! The cats were pretty chuffed with the delivery and have been using the wood pile as a new climbing frame/ scratching post/ adventure playground. It seems we all get a little something out of it! I had to take a short break from my writing to post a few pictures. 

If you didn't know already, The True Story of a Not So Crazy Cat Lady is currently taking part in a kindle countdown deal. Grab it for only 99p / 99c now on Amazon.

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Winter Warmers

It has been a cold start to the month although I have been fortunate enough to escape the snow here. Snuggled next to the crackling fire in the kitchen I feel almost like hibernating as the wind blows outside, even finding its way in through the draughts. My hands curled around a mug of tea I recall the heat of the summer and smile to myself as I remember sheltering from the soaring temperatures in this very same room. But refusing to let the winter win I head out each day, wrapped up in so many layers I've lost count, and wander the countryside with Dolly, the neighbour's dog, at my side. Even the cat's brave the chilly weather to stretch their legs before scampering back indoors for a nap beside the fire.
During these winter days it has been a pleasure to read the emails sent in by readers letting me know what they thought of The True Story of a Not So Crazy Cat Lady. I appreciate every single one! It's great to know that so many of you are enjoying it and just as lovely to hear you ask about 'the next book'. Well I'm never far away from my laptop and with so many ideas swimming around my head, I'm always working on a story. So for those of you eager to know what's coming next, be sure to stay tuned!
And if you haven't yet got your hands on a copy of The True Story of a Not So Crazy Cat Lady, then make sure you check it out here. Available now in paperback and eBook.

Teddy alongside the book he inspired- The True Story of a Not So Crazy Cat Lady

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Sight-Seeing and Making Daub

Blickling Hall, Norfolk, UK
1, 2, 3, 4, 5...6... Well I'm back and all of my cats are accounted for! To be honest I think my brother quite liked taking care of them whilst I was away. I absolutely loved it in the UK and spent many an hour entertaining my four month old twin nieces with funny voices, even funnier faces, and just all round games. I also enjoyed exploring the county of Norfolk where they live and visited country houses, tea shops and book stores to name a few. I must have taken a couple hundred of photos to boot and when it came to packing my bag in preparation for the flight home, I have to admit it was a squeeze! I'd gone a little crazy in the DVD shop and treated myself to a few sweet treats I can't get back in France. I'd picked up a few supplies for my needle felt creations too.
Southwold, UK
Now I'm back home it all seems so far away and to top it off it's raining. But I'm doing something rather unusual today. The property in which I live is hundreds of years old and in need of restoration. Part of that work includes the rebuilding of a wall in wattle and daub. For those of you unsure what that is, wattle is a weaving method using oak staves and then hazel withes. You then cover this is daub- a messy mix of mud, sand, lime, straw and horse hair. It's very eco-friendly and a method that would have been used in the building originally, but as I said- very messy! I have been up to my ankles (in riding boots) stamping the daub mix for good chunks of time. I suppose it must be a good work-out but the cats are gathering round and looking at me as though to say what on earth are you doing!? In fact it reminded me of a scene in The True Story of a Not So Crazy Cat Lady in which Harriet and Dan get stuck in some mud. Unfortunately I didn't have a handsome man to rescue me today, as she did, but at least I won't feel so bad about eating that cream egg later!

An English Country Pub

**Don't forget ** This month, The True Story of a Not So Crazy Cat Lady is in 'Your Cat' magazine and there are five copies to win for readers in the UK. Don't miss out on your chance to take part!

Monday, 19 January 2015

Nieces and Kritters

In a few days I will be off to the UK to visit my nieces. They are twins, only four months old and the sweetest little things (of course). They are the first in a new generation in my family and I really don't want to miss out on watching them grow. The last time I held them they were only a week old but going by the photos I have been sent over the months they have changed A LOT since then!
I'm really looking forward to the trip, back to country I have to admit I miss a bit, but of course the only trouble with going away is leaving the cats behind. On this occasion I have my brother to count on. Ok so the cats are scared of him; his feet are so much bigger than mine, his voice somewhat deeper, and they may wonder what on earth he think's he's doing trying to pick them up!
I know I'll miss the critters whilst I'm away, and they may sulk at having a few less cuddles. I'll be sure to give them a hug before I leave and promise I won't be too long, and then I'll try not to worry whether they'll still be there when I get back every time I go to sleep.

Archie does his best to win the king of cute award!

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Baby Photos!

From left to right; Cookie, Debbie and Hercules
Don't you just love looking back through all of your old photographs and finding those of your cat(s) when they were so small they could still fit in the palm of your hand? I remember wondering back then what those tiny little kittens would look like when they grew up... I wasn't disappointed one bit!
I remember one particular occasion when three kittens of mine, Hercules, Cookie and their sister Debbie were all curled up together in a pair of my dad's work boots. Their mother had nipped out to catch mice that afternoon and Cookie would not settle. He squeaked and squeaked and squeaked...constantly! He wanted his mum. I felt like I was baby sitting, but not very successfully! Thankfully my mum came to the rescue. A mother of six herself she knows how to deal with unhappy babies and amazingly as soon as she picked up that little kitten and worked her magic, he fell straight to sleep in her arms.
Cookie was in many ways the inspiration for the character of Modi in the The True Story of a Not So Crazy Cat Lady. I think we all have a Modi in our lives...get in touch and share your story. I'd love to hear from you :)

Hercules swats his little sister with a paw...
...then realises he's been seen!

Debbie sleeps soundly in a boot.