Sunday, 23 March 2014

The Furry Friend Tag

It has been a really long time since I attempted any tag posts hasn't it? I came across this one on Nuala's blog (her cat Billie is cute beyond words), and I couldn't resist an opportunity for more cat photos. Figgy has actually been ours for a whole year on April 1st. I can't believe how fast the time has gone!

1. What is your pets name? 

My cat is named Figgy.

2. When did you get Figgy?

We adopted Figgy from the RSPCA last year, when she was three years old.

3. What is something that Figgy does that annoys you?

Most of Figgy's annoying traits are actually quite endearing! She meows constantly in the morning, and that can start to irritate me, especially at six in the morning when I'm trying to stop her from waking up my sister. She is very loud for such a small cat! She also chews/plays with everything, and I caught her trying to eat my dissertation notes. Luckily she had only torn off a corner before I caught her!

4. What type of breed is Figgy?

Figgy is a semi long-haired black cat.

5. Has Figgy ever had a near death experience?

Fortunately not! Because Thomasina was so sick before she passed away, I worry about Figgy all the time. She was a stray before she belonged to us, which is all I can think of for this question! She was also abused either by her last owners or when she was a stray, so she had a lucky escape! I'm very grateful to the RSPCA for finding her and taking care of her. She hasn't been sick while she has lived with us, luckily.

6. Does Figgy know any tricks?

She sits down on command. I often find her sat down in front of the cupboard where we keep her treats in the hope that I give her some for sitting down!

7. Does Figgy like to snuggle?

She loves fuss, and craves attention all the time. If I'm not stroking her she'll rub her head along my hands until I start! She snuggles on my lap sometimes but she'd rather sit next to me so she can nudge me when I stop fussing her. I've never met a cat as fussy as her. Thomasina loved to be cuddled but Figgy is definitely more forceful when it comes to getting attention!

8. Where did you get Figgy?

We adopted Figgy from the RSPCA, the same place we adopted Thomasina fourteen years before. We went and saw her on the Sunday, and collected her on the Monday. She was hiding underneath a blanket at first, but came out and climbed onto the lap of a volunteer for a brush. When she saw us watching her she ran out to us for attention and we knew she was meant to be ours.

9. Does Figgy get along with other cats?

She does! If we had a larger house we would probably adopt a friend for Figgy as I think she gets quite lonely sometimes. She likes dogs too. She tries to play with the other cats on my road and always looks shocked when they hiss at her!

10. Does Figgy get along with strangers? 

Absolutely. She presumes that anybody who comes into my house is there to see her. We have to warn people before they sit down that Figgy will jump on them for fuss. She often runs to the door whenever she hears the doorbell just in case we have visitors!

11. How much does Figgy weigh?

I have no idea. She is due for a check-up at the vet next week so we'll find out then! She looks a healthy weight to me.

12. Do you ever dress Figgy up?

Absolutely not. 

13. Has Figgy ever tried to run away?

No, never. She vanished and went exploring for a few hours when we'd only had her for a few months and she didn't know the area, which scared me. Fortunately she came back and doesn't tend to go far when she does go out, she sticks to our garden. She is allowed out and has access to the garden through her cat flap.

14. How did you come up with Figgy's name?

Figgy is the name she was given at the RSPCA. We'd thought of a few names before we went to collect her, but it was just so perfect for her that we couldn't possibly have changed it. 

15. How much does Figgy mean to you on a scale of 1-10?

10, of course.

Please let me know if you've completed this tag! I hope you all have a wonderful week. 

Friday, 7 March 2014

Books That Changed My Life

I'm always fascinated by other people's book collections. Whenever I visit people I always have a look at what they've been reading, or what books they own. I think what you read says a lot about you as a person. Some of my favourite posts to read are peeks into other people's bookshelves. I'm sort of doing the same today, but only with a few of my favourites. There's been a few of these posts circulating around at the moment, and I thought it would be interesting for me to take a trip down memory lane and list five books that changed my life. None of these books changed my life in a dramatic way. They didn't alter the way I think, they didn't change what I wanted to do with my life, not really.But they all did have an impact on me, regardless of how small. And sometimes little things make a big difference.

The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe

The first novel on my list is The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S Lewis, and in particular, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Everybody has a childhood book that they will treasure forever. For my mum, it is Polly of Primrose Hill by Kathleen O'Farrell, and for my sister it is The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton. For me, it is The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. I discovered Narnia even before I discovered Wonderland. It was the first book I read that truly captured my interest and my imagination, and without it, I doubt that I would be reading fantasy today. I was first in line when the film adaptation was released, and I still pick it up when I'm feeling sad for some childhood comfort. I think I will always enjoy Narnia. I'm going to end this paragraph with a quote from C.S Lewis that I think is very apt.

“A children's story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children's story in the slightest.”

The Lord of the Rings

As a fantasy reader, there was absolutely no way that Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings could not make this list, and I doubt anybody will be surprised that this has been included! I was actually quite old when I discovered Tolkien. My Dad convinced me to read The Fellowship of the Ring when I was eleven as he'd read both The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. The Fellowship of the Ring was one of the first books that I can remember picking up and refusing to put down. I can distinctly remember trying to read it at night and my mum wandering into my room and telling me to switch off my light (they eventually caught on and bought me a book light). Everything about The Lord of the Rings fascinated me. The language, the sheer scale of the plot and the imagination involved were just beyond anything that I'd read previously. I still read the trilogy at least once a year, and I wrote a piece of comparative coursework using LotR and Beowulf for my A-Level in English Literature when I was 18.

Lord of the Flies

Next is the book that I studied for my GCSE English Literature. Lord of the Flies by William Golding. The first real 'classic' that I read was actually Great Expectations by Dickens, but I think I was a lot more interested by Golding, which I suppose is quite unusual. I was torn between choosing Lord of the Flies for this slot or 1984. I decided on Golding because Lord of the Flies led me to both 1984 and Animal Farm. It's one of the most haunting and striking books I've ever read. I've never met anybody who has read Lord of the Flies and simply forgotten about it afterwards. It's the kind of book that you never truly put down. It's a fascinating study of human nature and there's a lot of truth in it too, even if that truth is a little unnerving.

The Bloody Chamber

I first encountered Angela Carter's collection of short stories titled The Bloody Chamber when I was studying for my A-Level in English Literature. Reading The Bloody Chamber for the first time was like pieces of a jigsaw slotting into place. It was like I was finally reading what I had been searching for throughout my life as an avid reader. It is everything that I love about writing. It's elegant, it's clever, beautiful but grotesque, and simply wonderful. It has an almost hypnotic quality to it. One girl in my class was so appalled by Carter that she refused to study The Bloody Chamber completely. Perhaps you either hate or love her, and I certainly fall in the latter category. Reading this made me want to start writing. Not professionally, but for myself. I read the entire thing in one hour. I own several of her other works, but The Bloody Chamber is still my favourite. My favourite stories in this collection are The Bloody Chamber, The Erl-King and The Lady of the House of Love. They are perfect for a quick read on a dark, lazy Sunday afternoon.

Measure for Measure

I couldn't quite decide if plays were supposed to be included in these lists, but since Shakespeare has had a huge influence on me on my studies, and I thought it would be impossible for at least one of his plays not to make my list. The first Shakespeare play I encountered was Romeo and Juliet when I was at school. I studied Much Ado About Nothing for my SATs, Romeo and Juliet again for my GCSEs (my school did not encourage variety) and Othello at A-Level. I've taken theatre modules in every year of my studies at university, and I didn't encounter Measure for Measure until my second year, and I have now written an essay and a dissertation chapter on it. There's something particularly captivating about Measure for Measure as Shakespeare's first Jacobean play. It's an incredibly intriguing study of government, power and immorality and it quickly became my favourite play. I discover something new and interesting every single time I pick it up.

I'd love to know what books would make your list and why! If you've written a similar post to this, please send me a link! I love seeing what other people enjoy reading! I'd also like some feedback on whether or not you enjoy this kind of post?

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