Monday, May 30, 2016

By Royal Appointment!

Hello, it's Chloe here . . .  I've some really exciting news to share.
Have you a spare moment . . . ?

I don't know if you've been there, but there's a pub across the road from where we live.  It's called The Windsor Castle.

My Mum and her friends really like going there for lunch, and, when they do, I make dead certain they don't leave me behind!

Needless to say, I'm always on my very best behaviour . . .  as you can see in this photo with one of my friends.  And, between you and me, everyone seems to agree just how much an intelligent cat can bring to such occasions. 

Well, you'll never guess what happened last week.  The person behind the bar came up to our table carrying a camera.
Would we mind, she wanted to know, if she took my photo?

Mind . . . ?  I love having my photo taken, so I gave an enthusiastic, "Miaow!".
And my Mum was very pleased when the person explained her reason.
It seems The Windsor Castle is having a Hall of Fame, a place to display photos of all the dogs who visit the pub, and of me . . . the one and only visiting cat!

I don't want to sound conceited, but are there any other cats on a pub's Hall of Fame?  I doubt it!

But now we get to the really exciting part.
The next day my Mum had the radio on.  They were talking about the Queen and it seemed she'd just celebrated her 90th birthday.  Well,  I'm as patriotic as the next cat, so I pricked up my ears.

And do you know what they said?
They said that the Queen's birthday celebrations had all taken place at . . . wait for it . . .  The Windsor Castle!  Did you know that?

You can just imagine how my tail twitched with excitement!
Who would have thought it?  My Mum never told me.
I know that kings and queens have lots of homes, but I'd never dreamed that our Queen had one just across the road from my Mum and me!

Come to think of it, I suppose she lives upstairs when she comes to stay.  I've certainly never seen her behind the bar.

But shall I tell you why I'm really excited?

Did you know that queens, unlike cats, have two birthdays every year? It seems that our Queen is due for another one on June 11th.

What I'm wondering is . . .  will she come back to The Windsor Castle?
And do you think that, if she does, she'll want to meet the very well-behaved and patriotic Bengal Cat who's going to share the Hall of Fame with her corgis?

Watch this space . . . and if you'd like to see the Hall of Fame for yourself, then please, do come and join us for lunch!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Friends for life!

I'm going to come clean . . . why not . . . let me willingly confess that some of my best friends are trees.

This confession is prompted by the discovery of a fascinating book, 'Blinded by Science' by Matthew Silverstone.
Amongst many other revelations, this book scientifically validates the incredibly beneficial effects that trees can have on us.

Did you have trees in your life when you were young? 
As a child, my closest confidante was the walnut tree at the bottom of our garden.  Easy to climb, it would harbour me in its branches and offer support in every sense of the word.  It was my friend.

Later, whilst at boarding school, I made a new friend.
Well off the pathway in the wooded grounds I discovered a massive beech.   A tree so huge that the tips of its branches reached down and touched the earth in a vast circle.

Carefully pushing my way through this hanging canopy, I'd gain access to an enchanted, green sanctuary . . . a secret retreat, provided by the tree, that supported me throughout my schooldays.
All friends deserve a name . . . I called the beech tree 'Jonathan'.

What children know instinctively has now acquired scientific confirmation, namely the wide-ranging benefits obtained from contact with trees.

Did you know that the wood oil, phytoncides, exuded by each tree has physiological effects on our bodies . . . including lowering blood pressure and calming anxiety?

It's also been discovered that trees have unique vibrational patterns, patterns which cause positive changes in us when we touch them.
Hugging a tree, it would seem, has much more to offer than mere emotional benefit.

Nor is that all, have you ever thought about the air quality in and around a tree?  Not only does the tree absorb carbon dioxide and emit oxygen, but a tree's leaves serve as filters which remove dust and pollution.
Bear this in mind the next time you stand beneath a tree, and remember whom you have to thank for the invigorating, clean air you're inhaling.

Have I any trees in my life at the moment?  Most definitely!

When my cat and I go walking in the garden our minds are set on a common destination . . . a seat deep in the wooded area beneath a canopy of horse-chestnuts.

True, Chloe's eyes are usually fixed on potential excitement at ground level, but this photo shows you what I see when I gaze upwards.

I see sunshine filtering through the leaves and, in Spring, branches laden with chestnut blossom which, in falling, lays a delicate white carpet beneath our feet.
I gaze up at beautiful, much-loved friends . . . friends who, standing quietly through centuries of massive change, show no signs of exhaustion.

These are uncertain and disturbing times    . . .   times, wouldn't you agree, when we could all do with the reassuring friendship offered by a tree?

Friday, May 13, 2016

Homes or Gardens?

I'm sure they would be happier outside;
You're sure they would give greater joy indoors.
I'm certain they would take far greater pride
In brightening the earth; you plead the cause
Of wards in hospitals, and brides' bouquets,
And city churches where the weary go,
And drab bed-sitters that knew better days . . .
Until, defeated, I - who help them grow,
And marvel as each shoot breaks through the soil,
And plan the borders with green-fingered care
That every specimen should be a foil
To best display the others growing there -
Am silenced. Cut them if you must, but take
Your scissors gently, for the garden's sake.