Cats in the Park

I encountered these two cats on my walk in the park, the walk from my previous post.

I took several pictures of this cat, who looked like quite a young cat, perhaps still half a kitten. I first spotted her (I’m going to refer to this cat as “she/her”) at that tree in the back of this photo. She didn’t run when I walked closer to her, but instead focused on something, which I soon saw were two squirrels. She wanted to catch them, or one of them at least. However, both squirrels dealt with the predator easily by swiftly climbing up the trees. One squirrel even–and I swear to you, it did–taunted the cat by shaking its tail and letting out shrieking noises. In fact both squirrels made this noise, and it was the first time I’ve heard squirrels making any kind of noise. And I see squirrels all the time in Heaton Park.

This one ran away as soon as I started getting closer.

The Deer at Lyme Park

As promised, here is another Lyme Park post, this time animal-themed. Because they have deer.

See them, in the distance? (Also why climbing that hill was worth it.)

And here they are, closer. I don’t know what made them come down to the foot of the hill, but they look curious about something.

not deer in headlights

What I know is that they legged it back straight away. Getting this shot was pure luck, it would not have been possible only seconds later.

Apparently, the deer have been present at Lyme Park for over 600 years.

Looking it up, I see that there are a few collective nouns for deer: a bevy, a brace, a bunch, a gang, a herd, a leash, a mob, a parcel, and a rangale (never heard that word before). Oh, deer.

Finally something new to my animal collection that isn’t a cat or a bird!

Although… last September I went for a walk to one of my usual places, the wooded area near my home, pictures of which have featured on this blog numerous times, when I spotted a doe with two little ones. I literally stopped like “eh?” and she saw me too, and swiftly as a deer, they ran to hide away, before I took my phone out of my pocket. Understand that, though it is a wild, wooded place, it’s still the inner city of Manchester, so not a location where you expect this type of wildlife. How in seven hells did they get there, or indeed why they’d want to stay there, is a mystery.

I haven’t encountered them since. I hope nothing bad happened to them.

The Love of a Cat

I’ve been tidying my blog lately; by which I mean sorting out my tags, mostly, and even deleting some older posts. One of the deleted posts was titled “Animal” and I wrote it in response to the WordPress Discover Challenge. (Remember that one? Yeah. They killed that one before they killed the Weekly Photo Challenge. What was good about the Discover Challenge was that you could respond in any way you wanted, using text, photo, video, music, anything. I made four posts for this challenge before it quietly disappeared, all of which I have now deleted.) It was a good post, though, so I decided to repost what I wrote, with better pictures. If you’ve visited my blog before, and even from the title of this entry, you can guess that the animal in question was a cat.

This is from February 2016, one of the first photos taken with my Canon camera

My cat is called Pepper and, as you can see, she is black. Black cats are not popular, they struggle most with being rehomed from shelters, whether it’s due to prejudice or the fact that people think they won’t look good on Instagram–both stupid reasons. And that’s why I like them. Someone has to stick up for the unloved, forgotten creatures.

Chilling?

I’ve learned a lot from Pepper. Without her I wouldn’t have known how magnificent cats are. And most of all, I would never have discovered that I was a cat person. I would have lived my life without this knowledge. She made me know myself better.

Pepper I’m READING this book!

That’s her resting her head on the book I was reading. It’s The Hollow* by Agatha Christie (actually it’s a volume of four novels, also including Three Act Tragedy, Sad Cypress, and Evil Under The Sun), featured in my post about Yggdrasil tree.

People joke about cats wanting to take over the world, but I disagree. They already rule the world. They do what they want and we love them and feed them. Why would they bother? Also, they’re quite lazy. Ruling the world would be just too much work.

Here’s some good quotes about cats:

I would like to see anyone, prophet, king or God, convince a thousand cats to do the same thing at the same time.

Neil Gaiman

Women and cats will do as they please, and men and dogs should relax and get used to the idea.

Robert A Heinlein

If animals could speak, the dog would be a blundering outspoken fellow; but the cat would have the rare grace of never saying a word too much.

Mark Twain

Cats are far wiser than we; their language is silence.

Ki Longfellow

What greater gift than the love of a cat.

Charles Dickens

Dickens got it right. There’s nothing better than a love of a cat.

And finally, let me throw in some Star Trek.

And creative beings too, I’d argue.


*I feel I have to mention this, The Hollow contains some bad antisemitism, so just content warning about that. The book wasn’t fresh in my mind when I did the Yggdrasil post, and only on the recent re-read I noticed how bad it really was. Although *** spoilers, I guess *** the Jewish character is not the victim or the culprit. It’s just a minor character, Midge’s boss, but she’s badly stereotyped.

Robin, Robin!

And this, my friends, is the proof that it pays not to be lazy, sometimes.

I had a couple of days off work and on one of them, the weather being camera-friendly, I decided that instead of sitting at home, I would go to Heaton Park. This is normally too early for me, I don’t go there before Easter, but like I say, it was dry and sunny and as it was a weekday, I knew there wouldn’t be many people. It turned out to be a right decision because I scored an absolute scoop:

Funny thing is that I don’t think I’d seen a real robin before, ever in my life. I couldn’t believe how friendly it was, coming quite close and not scared at all. I snapped a few photos; these are the best ones.

So, there you have it. Also, the second time I went to Heaton Park outside of my usual season and returned with something beautiful!

Starlings In The Tree

They fly together in loops above the roofs of the houses in my neighbourhood, and once they’re done with that, they settle down on this tree next to my house and chill out.

I wonder if they know how much they provoke my cat!

They also make appearance in my flash fiction short story The Camera Smiles (written for a prompt by The New, Unofficial, On-Line Writer’s Guild). The story is true, except it was initially a crow that made me reach for my camera, not the starlings, but by the time I got it out and pried the lens cap, which really got stuck on the lens (to the point where I had to google how to take it off), the crow flew away and the starlings took over the tree.

The Constant Companion

My cat is very unbothered by *points at everything in the world*. What matters to her is what has always mattered to her: that she gets fed and finds a comfy place to chill out. This sometimes means she steals my spot, for which I have to fight her for.

She is constant.

However, she is also constant in other ways.

Pepper came to my life seven years ago. She’s been with me while I went through all the stuff I went through, the good and the bad and the ugly; she’s never left my side. She may not be able to speak human, but she’s still a faithful companion. Better than other humans, often. She’s not the one who, for example, disbelieves me when I tell her something. She’s not the one who dismisses my trauma or handwaves my worries and fears. She doesn’t belittle me and she never laughs at me.

There is evidence that pets are good for our mental health. Of course, everyone who has a pet knows this, but it’s good to have it backed by science nevertheless.

Magpie in a Tree

The first post of 2021 is here!

I start the year with a photo of a bird in a tree, for once not taken from my window. I took the picture while I was walking under the tree.

The magpie looked pleased with its catch–I think it’s the little cup-like thing that you bake muffins in, I don’t know what it’s called.

There are lots of crows and magpies in my neighbourhood, I can always hear them shouting, especially the crows in the mornings.

Caw It From The Rooftops

Look at this majestic crow, sitting there and cawing like it’s on top of the world.

Okay, from the picture you can’t tell it was cawing but believe me, it was. That’s how I noticed it, as I don’t normally look at tops of houses.

Pics captured on the way from the supermarket.

I love it when I get amazing results when doing something so mundane as shopping for groceries. It’s the little things, hey. Which is a lot, in this year of hell.