Tag Archives: Oscar the Cat

Oscar & Millie…

Are actually furious they haven’t been on the blog for ages and ages. After all who loves books and doesn’t love cats. Anyway, they would like to wish you a Happy World Cat Day! They have both been enjoying a day of treats and even more adoring love than normal. They would also like to remind you about a post of cats, books and book lovers that they did for the launch of a cat based book a while ago. Here it is.

If you have any cat and book based posts do let these two know, they would be delighted. Or if you could recommend any fantastic felines in literature?

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Meet Our Latest Addition Millie… and Great Expectation Winners

So I promised that a special guest would help with the draw of winners for copies of ‘Great Expectations’, the next Classically Challenged title, and while she didn’t pick them out of a hat at random quite by herself I thought it would be a nice way to introduce Millie the Kitten…

Meet Mildred the Minx

Yes, that is right The Beard and I have gone and gotten a play pal for Oscar, as with me going to Grans a lot he is spending a bit too much time on his own and we thought this would be a way of making him feel less lonely. I can’t say that he is 100% thanking us right now, there has been so much hissing and wailing, but he tolerates her at the moment and they can share a room, just not a chair or sofa… yet! That said we have warned him that he might not want to be too domineering of him now as in the long term, whilst a few months younger and rather smaller now, she will be the bigger of the two as we have been informed that, if not fully, she is definitely half Maine Coon and by the age of three years old could be almost a metre long. I shall have to sleep with one eye open!

Now she was named Millie when we got her and I desperately wanted to call her Daphne or Nancy instead but she knows her name and so we have made up our own histories of how we named her which weirdly aren’t the same. The Beard says we named her after Mildred Pierce because he loves Joan Crawford and the movie (which he didn’t know was a book) and I am saying it’s after Mildred Hubble, the worst witch, make of those stories what you will, ha.

She is utterly gorgeous and despite a slightly prickly exterior, she hissed at me for the first 24 hours and now hisses at Oscar on sight though no raised hair anymore which as she is so fluffy was hilarious, she is really friendly. She likes to sit on the reading chair, as shown in the picture, or sit on me in the reading chair or by your feet, apparently this is a Maine Coon trait, and while she can’t mieow she can ‘chirp’ which is the funniest thing every time you greet her, and really confuses Oscar! Anyway I won’t bore you too much but thought you would like to see the new recruit to the Burton-Savidge household. If any of you have Maine Coon’s I would love to hear from you about them, and if you have any tips for making cats be friends do please let me know, it’s going ok just very slowly, and I think the noise when they spat sounds worse than it is. Fingers crossed.

Now for the winners of ‘Great Expectations’ could Susan in TX, Brita Bevis and Laura Caldwell please send me your addresses and I will get Oxford University Press to send your copies out asap. Also, I haven’t answered comments for a while but it seems some people didn’t get ‘The Warden’ can you drop me an email if they still haven’t turned up and I will sort this out asap too. Oh and if you still want to win a copy then AJ is extending his competition entering times till 1900 GMT today as we got confused and posted at separate times so you can enter for another few hours there.

Right, I am off to coax the cats into friendship, or try.

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A Blogging Breather; What I Was Up To…

And he is back! I didn’t intend not to blog for ages, quite the opposite, but sometimes life makes you stop and think, get some space, and then you realise you quite like having that imposed breather and so you self impose it for a little bit longer. I was at Gran’s from the start of last week and was thinking that post radiotherapy she might be quite tired and need lots of rest and reading time.  Therefore, in my head I was expecting lots of time reading together between chatting and the like, and then while she needed a rest I could blog… Erm, wrong!

It was non-stop! Gran is certainly making the most of life, as much as you can in a wheelchair, while she can and good on her. If there weren’t carers and/or physiotherapists and other health workers then there were visitors coming round. Then we had a day trip to Sheffield on a rare ‘no one is in the diary’ day, we had meant to go to see the Warhol exhibition but it was shut alas, so instead as she hadn’t had the joy for nearly five months we went and did some retail therapy, including a trip to John Lewis (or JL’s as its simply known in the Savidge family) which is one of Gran’s favourite places. Weirdly we didn’t go to any bookshops which I would have thought was a must. Gran did however treat me a lot, I felt like I was little again, with stops at a posh Museum restaurant (where I had the most amazing vegetarian fish and chips) and then a trip to Patisserie Valerie, she knows me so well.

 

We did do a lot of talking about books though. Since Gran’s prognosis she, understandably, has been having trouble concentrating on reading. She wants to re-read some favourites but alas the one she had picked, ‘The Birds Fall Down’ by Rebecca West, simply wasn’t gripping her. So we had fun going through all the books on the shelves in her dining room which is where she keeps all the books she has read as the ones she hasn’t read stay out of sight (now I know where I get that from) and seeing if any grabbed her. Truman Capote’s ‘In Cold Blood’ seems to have done the trick. This lead to some interesting chats about books and authors she hasn’t read any really wants to, and which I felt that way about, plus also reading habits and the life of a reader in general. It got me thinking and talking about reading and blogging and the pros and cons of both of them and between the two of us she has sorted me out. I won’t navel gaze in front of you all, as it is never attractive, but the gist is life and reading come first, blogging second and only when I feel like it and when I feel what I am putting out there is good enough. Many of you have been telling me this on and off for ages when I have had wobbles but Gran really clarified everything for me. So thanks Gran, the blog sort of restarts now.

Anyway, when I got back from Gran’s utterly exhausted, so how she isn’t is beyond me, I carried on with my break from reading and blogging and just had a bit of a breather. The Beard and I have been getting addicted to old black and white Joan Crawford movies, though we did have a break to see Breaking Dawn Part 2 which I thought was a bit of a dud and expected more from, and also got a little bit addicted to bowling – a sport I am actually good at! The Beard was shocked at how good I was, but they don’t call me Simon ‘Strike’ Savidge for nothing… ok, so they don’t call me that.

I have also been spending lots of time playing with Oscar. It seems the Bengal side of him is really coming out now as he is suddenly growing and exploring more places than he has been able to previously. He is also higher maintenance, everything is more extreme, when he is manic he is absolutely bonkers, when he wants a cuddle he sits on your face quite literally smothering you with love.

We have made a big decision though, we are getting him a playmate, most likely a younger girl that he can have rough and tumble and cuddly times with when we aren’t home as he doesn’t like going outside alone or without a lead, and when he has he ends up freaking out and running up tall trees to everyone’s dismay. Ha! Any tips on making them get on please let me know and of course I will introduce her when she arrives. But enough of cats for now, I can bore you all to death on them so must show restraint, ha!

The break has done me good though and the reading funk I didn’t realise I was in has well and truly gone as in the last three days I have read as many books and loved them all, interestingly they were all whim reads. It’s the way forward.

So that is me all up to date with you all. You have my news and latest on Gran, Oscar and other non bookish stuff. So now I shall go and curl up with Anthony Trollope’s ‘The Warden’ in time for Classically Challenged on Sunday. What have you all been up to and what are you reading right now?

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The Cat Who Learned To Climb Bookshelves…

I thought that I would give you a picture post today that would update those of you who are Oscar fans and would also please the non crazy-cat people who pop by this blog with the bookshelve based book porn it also provides. Plus it gives me an easy post as I am shattered at the moment, ha.

As you can see Oscar is looking happy as anything, as he loves being the highest thing in the house, with his new favourite seating/viewing/hiding position. He is also getting a properly big kitten-almost-cat now, though fortunately staying as playful and cuddly as he always has been, if an occasional attack-cat!

So what is news with all of you? What have you recently added to your bookshelves… Books, cats or otherwise?

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Books! Books Everywhere! (Be Warned This Post Contains Book Porn)

I have mentioned a few times this week that my house has slowly but surely become a bit of a death trap due to incoming books (through publishers, the library but also mainly me finding bargains here there and everywhere) over the last few weeks. Well, I thought that I would share with you all just how bad things have actually got before I finally, because I still haven’t, got round to sorting them out.

Back in my old London flat, and the flat before that, I could pretty much let my books take over the house. I was deaf to my ex-husband’s pleas for actually having some space anywhere at all, I don’t think this is one of the reasons that we are ex’s, moving on… Then I moved to my aunt and uncles house and so I had a major cull and allowed myself only six boxes or paperbacks and three big duty weight bags of hardback books. Two of the boxes and the bags of books were allowed in my new room, which was the size of a small studio flat, the rest of them lived in the garage with a few boxes of the books that had read and wanted to keep when I eventually lived somewhere I could house them all.

I am now in such an abode and while I had yet ANOTHER massive cull before I moved, and then moved again to be here, and was down to the five boxes that you can see on the right hand side, which of course are now covered in piles of more books!

In fact the whole of, what I call, ‘reading corner’ has really become rather over run with books. The shelves, no more bags yippee, of hardback books are now having to be used as a shelf themselves and so has my reading chair (we are decorating so do forgive the rather shocking walls and lack of carpet, its rustic/Pompeii chic). Reading corner has actually, and literally, become TBR corner…

And forget my normal books by the bedside on my bedside table; they are now covering the bedside chair and bureau too…

It doesn’t stop in the bedroom either. Just look at the dining table, which shows the level of naughtiness I am at as I have read no Mary Stewart but bought all these as the local grocers was selling books for 10p each (so how could I not)…

Proof copies have started to decorate the table in the lounge window (where a copy of 1001 Books To Read Before You Die seems somewhat ironic)…

Library books have been popped on the hall table (well chest of drawers) and simply left there because there is frankly no room left elsewhere, though the ladder does lead to what will be the mezzanine ‘reading landing’ and spare room…

I was wondering where I had left all the books that Oxford University Press had kindly sent for Classically Challenged the other day and couldn’t find them. I scoffed when The Beard said that I had left them in the bathroom, I mean really who would do that? Oh…

Even the gorgeous shelves of books I have read is getting covered from above, even though there is space for more of them on the shelves, but that is how lazy I have been…

And as you can see even poor little Oscar is in slight fear for his life now that I have started using the coffee table…

So I guess I really better go out and sort it all out hadn’t I?

Does anyone else have the same problem? How do you go about sorting it all out? Where is the strangest place that you have ever left piles of books? Do you think this is some kind of addiction?

*Note – I did actually tidy up for these pictures, it was actually much, much, much worse.

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Oscar the Kitten… Update #2

I thought it was time for another update on Oscar the Kitten, mainly because he’s now getting so big and I am trying to record the moments of kittenish behaviour and the kitten years as much as possible before they vanish. As you will see he is getting much bigger now, we have discovered since he has been ‘snipped and chipped’ that he is not only half Bengal (how chic) but he is also older than we were lead to believe and today has hit the six month mark. But he is gorgeous.

The Beard in fear of ‘cat mountain’…

As he has gotten bigger The Beard says it is like living in a safari park (as the picture above shows) as he’s hiding behind doors and in corners ready to jump out at you at any given moment, generally when you are walking around at night. We have been told this is ‘very Bengal behaviour’ and at the moment he is amassing muscle meaning mad behaviour before deep sleeps. In fact any place is a possible hidey hole for pouncing on an unassuming owner (or guest)…

“You will not notice me until the last possible pouncing moment…”

He has also learnt how to find any cat treats no matter how well they are hidden…

“No, no, you’ve not seen me…”

Is still learning what an appropriate bed is…

“Do you mind? I am trying to sleep here.”

Has no respect for books still…

“Oh look a handy book based step ladder system… how kind to put that there.”

Has started to go outside, which leads to prolonged guttural mewing at a decibel I have not previously witnessed in a cat, though he has to be on a lead as he gets to know where his territory is, he oddly purrs as soon as the harness appears. Please don’t judge him; the other local cats already do…

“If I pretend I am not attached to this no one will judge me will they?”

And he really loves a box, even if it doesn’t really do its intended job of disguising mischief…

No really, he really does love a box…

“What do you mean I am too big for this? How rude!”

You can probably tell I am still kitten smitten, even if the amount of breakages in the house has gone bonkers, all plants must be out of reach for fear of being attacked or used as a toilet and the mewing when you are trying to do some work is slightly testing. So there we have it an Oscar update. Sorry to all of you out there who don’t like cats, but hopefully this has pleased all of you that do.

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Oscar The Kitten… Update #1

Well I have done as I promised and been very restrained in not giving you lots of Oscar pictures, even if I actually take a picture of almost any movement he makes still as he is so cute. However, a fair few of you said that you wouldn’t mind getting Oscar updates and so I thought late on a Thursday night was the time.

He has actually, only last night, had a rather influential visitor in the form of Polly of Novel Insights, who regular visitors will know I have been friends with since the tender age of four years old. She came to stay for the night as she was working not too far away for a few days and so naturally had to come and check out my new pad, new bookshelves and most importantly my new furry friend. As you can see from the picture here —–> considering he isn’t the biggest fan of ladies, as he lives with two men and the last ladies who visited either trod on him or brought a dog along with them, he was more than happy to perch on Polly. He does absolutely love being walked around on your arm, lazy so and so.

He’s finally had his first visit to the vets; we discovered he hadn’t been before we got him, which was his least favourite outing ever. Good news came though that nothing was wrong with him and he is a healthy little kitten. If a bit boisterous (the snip will sort that out in a few weeks). At 20 weeks he has suddenly found a new zest for life and when he isn’t pouncing on you, he hides round corners and jumps to much hilarity and then pain, he is also into and chewing on everything. Yes everything…

Even though he is insanely cute and very cuddly this is one habit that he is going to have to drop, pronto, I am a little bit anal when it comes to books staying rather pristine even if they have been read. Never mind!

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If You Don’t Like Kittens… Look Away Now

If of course you like cats and kittens then you will quite probably like this post, I just thought I better give any feline-phobes some warning. Last week you may remember I introduced the new furry four legged friend that has arrived in the Burton Savidge household in the form of Oscar the kitten. Well today I thought I would let you meet him a little bit more seeing as he has been spending much more time with us rather than hiding behind books which he rather enjoyed initially.

I’m not coming out…

I am probably somewhat biased, however he is an absolute bundle of joy. After the initial nervous first twenty four hours, when he was getting used to the house and then us after we had been away for a while with a double whammy of visiting Gran, despite the fact he is the runt of the litter (and a little bit weedy) boy is he playful, inquisitive and rather naughty. His favourite playful pastime at present is to run around like a maniac for an hourly stint playing with all his toys before climbing up a nearby leg and sitting on your shoulder.

En route to Simons shoulder

Everything holds interest to Oscar and he could beat Sherlock Holmes in terms of wanting to investigate everything for clues of a possible adventure. He is also, interestingly, a little bit of a scardey cat and likes to investigate with you, so I feel I am like his Watson, being mewed orders to be with him at all times. This has proved slightly distracting when trying to work from home, but Oscar has been trying to help with that too.

How can I help… or hinder…

His favourite habit is without doubt sleeping. He tends to do an hour or full on kitten psychotic running around and then need three hours sleep. He has his own cushion which he uses begrudgingly…

The kitty cushion

Though really he is partial to sleeping on a lap…

Note the literary Mr Men pyjamas

Or sleeping in his favourite spot, the crook of your arm, which can prove constricting but ridiculously cute.

Don’t you dare move Savidge…

But woe betide anyone who dares to read a book or do anything that might involve not giving Oscar their full attention even when he is fast asleep, you will be punished…

How dare you read a book…

Current favourite habit of his entertainment wise, for us, at the moment is when he falls asleep standing up and simply keels over, this has had us in absolute hysterics on several occasions. Anyway he has already, with his very cute playful personality, become a very welcome addition to the beardy Burton Savidge household/family.

The Beardy Burton-Savidge’s

There, that is your kitten fix for a while. I promise I won’t be putting too many kitten posts up… if I can help it. Back to books again tomorrow.

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To Be A Cat – Matt Haig

I don’t read young adult fiction as a rule, I wouldn’t say I am sneery towards it, I just always worry I will be much harder on a young adult book as an adult reader which would be unfair as I am not its intended market. That is why I used to get The Bookboy and The Girl Who Reads Too Much to review them for me. However a mixture of my Gran being ill, and the visiting and mind consumption that has taken up, along with the arrival of Oscar into the household led me to picking up ‘To Be A Cat’ by Matt Haig, an author whose adult books I have been meaning to read for a while.

Bodley Head Books, hardback, 2012, fiction, 320 pages, kindly sent by Shane at Nottingham Waterstones

I really don’t want to spoil this read by giving too much away about it, or indeed letting the cat out of the bag (sorry couldn’t help it), yet with a title like ‘To Be A Cat’ you might have figured out where the heart of this story might lie. That said Matt Haig does produce a book that has more layers than the initial one that almost hits you around the head, though the actual transmogrification doesn’t happen until 60ish pages in, sorry I have got ahead of myself…

Barney Willow is a rather unhappy boy. His parents have divorced, since which his father has disappeared (literally vanished) and his mother is trying so hard to be busy she has become ‘a blur’, he is bullied at school by both children like Gavin Needle and also teachers including the particularly evil and malicious head teacher Miss Whipmire. Apart from his best friend Rissa he really doesn’t like his life, it would be much easier if he was a dog, like his King Spaniel Guster maybe, or even a cat? Sometimes though you have to be careful what you wish for and the consequences that it might bring don’t you?

I really, really enjoyed this book, and I have to admit that I was initially a little dubious. Haven’t we all read books about a bullied child before? Would this book be original? It really is. I liked Barney as a character from the start he is immediately likeable, I ended up empathising with him as a bullied child (as I was myself for a time) and taking a real dislike to Miss Whipmire (who was my favourite character for being so evil, alongside Guster who when we hear his inner voice is a hilarious character/dog) and Gavin. As the book went on I also fully hoped Barney would get the happy ending he so deserved, without spoiling anything I can say that Haig gives us a very interesting ending you might not expect, I’ll say no more.

For me what really made the book was its sense of fun and the humour. Matt Haig gives the book a narrative from the author and does this in a really wonderful way by interrupting the story now and again, and indeed from the start, in a way that mixes witty asides that will instil the giggles in a child and the possible adult reading the book aloud whilst also having the edge of it being an oral narrative of ‘are you sitting comfortably’ which all children universally, along with most adults (I read ‘Redemption in Indigo’ by Karen Lord before this which does the same for adults, review next week), enjoy as it instantly pulls you in from the start. I was sold…

“Here is a secret I shouldn’t really tell you, but I will because I just can’t help it. It’s too big. Too good. Okay, sit down, get ready, brace yourself, have some emergency chocolate handy. Squeeze a big cushion. Here it is:  
 Cats are magic.”

I really have no criticism of the book to be honest with you, well apart from the cover which isn’t as good as the one on the proof copy I had which is illustrated below with another avid reader, yes fo course cats can read, tut.

Oscar makes it look so hard ‘To Be A Cat’

If you aren’t a big fan of young adult fiction then I would say give ‘To Be A Cat’ a whirl for the humour and that sense of being told a story when you were a child, and the fact that it is just a really good fun read. If you know the joys/terrors etc of reading to kids regularly then read them this, they will love it. It’s also a book that, without being moralistic, is a great book for younger or older people about accepting ones lot in life and the skin that you are in, without ever being patronising or twee. Mind you if you don’t like cats then maybe it’s not for you to be fair. That said I should warn you tomorrow’s post will be a very catty one (in the feline sense, not the vitriol type) though if you don’t like cats then I doubt you will have gotten this far.

I definitely want to get on and read Matt Haig’s adult fiction now. I am hoping it is this much fun, have any of you tried it? I have ‘The Possession of Mr Cave’ and ‘The Radleys’ to read, would you recommend either/both of them?

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I’d Like to Introduce Oscar…

Amongst all the unfortunate goings on with poor Granny Savidge Reads, again thank you for your well wishes she is doing ok no real improvement but she isn’t any worse, this week there has been some rather exciting news as here in the Liverpool/Wirral headquarters of The Beard and Savidge Reads we have had a new arrival… one that is a furry feline fun bag. I am kitten smitten at the moment.

Where is Oscar?

As I said I would like to introduce you to Oscar, officially Oscar Burton-Savidge (how posh) if you want to make a good impression with him or if you are cross/he is being naughty, but he is teasing you for now with just a glimpse. Actually he has been spending most of his time either hiding (as you can see), sleeping in secret corners (or on you so you can’t take a photo) or running around like an absolute nutter. He is very cute and I am sure, especially as he inspired some reading recently, there will be much more about him on the blog in the weeks to come. He is a bundle bit of joy in a week that has been rather up and down, don’t you think?

Why is it that most book lovers are also cat lovers? I have been having this conversation a lot recently, any thoughts? Do you agree?

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