NAMES TO SUIT YOUR CAT

Janice and Millie, Burmese kitten 

Are you looking for that perfect name to go with your cat’s personality or physical characteristic?  For example, if your cat is funny and amusing you might consider names like “Joker”, “Doodles”, “Noodles”, “Squirt” or “Pickles”.

Fluffy cats could be called “Fluffy”, “Furby”, “Fuzz” or “Fuzzy-wuzzy”.

Black and white cats:  what about “Domino” or “Boots”?  Black cats:  “Midnight”, White cats:  “Bianco”, “Blanco”, “Chalk”, Aspirin, “Cotton” (as in cotton wool) or “Coconut”.

Clever cats can be called “Aristotle”, “Py” (short for Pythagoras), “Newton, “Einstein”, “Socrates” or “Winston”.  Incidentally, Winston Churchill was a cat lover and had several.  Apparently, he was particularly fond of ginger cats.  A ginger cat with white chest and paws was an 88th birthday present for Churchill in November 1962, and was promptly named Jock, after the private secretary Sir John Colville, known as Jock, who gave it to him. This cat was such a favourite that he is even seen sitting on Churchill’s knee in his grandson Winston’s wedding photographs.   Jock was only two when Churchill died in 1965, but lived on until 1974 at Chartwell and is now buried in the pet cemetery there.  In compliance with Churchill’s wishes, the National Trust – which inherited Chartwell on his death – has since acquired ginger cats called Jocks II and III.

Have you found a stray, or perhaps rescued a kitten?   Many strays are named after the street or town where they were found.  Another common way is to choose the day of the week when you found the cat.  Other suggestions for stray cats are “Abby” (as in abandoned), “Alley” (found in an alley), “Bones” (found as skin and bones), “Chance” (you took a chance with him), “Hope” (given a second chance) or “Velcro” (he found you and stuck with you).

Travelling cats:  What about  “KATmandu”, “Katar” (as in Qatar) or “Paris”.  Speaking of Paris, some French names are: “Houppette” (powder puff), “Bijou” (jewel, trinket), “Douceur” (gentle one), or “Mou” (softy).

Posh cats: “Aristocat”, “Princess”, “Champagne”, “Posh Choo” (Jimmy Choo) and “Diamond” spring to mind.

Feng Shui names: “Crystal”, “Tai and Chi“ (for 2 cats), “Bamboo” (as in wind chimes) or “Harmony”.  “Hibiki” is Japanese for “Harmony.”

Chocolate shouldn’t be fed to cats, but there is no harm in naming them: “Buttons”, “Flake”, “Fudge”, “Truffle”, “Kit Kat”, Cocoa”, “Bean”, “Mars”, “Bounty” or “Choccie”.

Playful cats: “Speedo”, “Zippy”, “Zoom”, “Chaos”, “Frantic”, “Hypurr”, “Rascal” and “Mischief”.

MORE CAT NAMES
It can be fun choosing a name for your new pet.  A lot of people base the name on the appearance such as Smokey, Misty, Blacky, Snowy, Tabby, Ginger etc.

Human names are popular such as Lucy, Fred, Pedro, Dolly, Fanny, Maisie and Chantelle.

Food and drink suggest names like Pepsi, Kahlua, Cookie, Peanut, Sushi, Coffee, Toffee and countless others.
For a posh looking cat there is Princess, King, Czar, Sheikh.

Religious names are Soloman, Sampson, Delilah, Sheba, Buddah, Zen and so-on.

There is plenty of choice in the world of music, Jazz, Opus, Beethoven, Trumpet, Cymbal, Madonna, Jagger, Jacko.

Models spring to mind for delicate princess type cats.   Ellie, Naomi, Kate, Jerry, etc.

If you become the proud owners of two animals, choosing a name can be even more fun.  What about Adam and Eve if they always like to stay together.  Sometimes it is best to wait a few days to see how their personality develops before settling on names.  Alpha and Beta could refer to the first two from a litter.  A pair who keep an exceptionally clean litter tray could be called Spic and Span!  Or what about Yin and Yang for a passive female and active male?  Brahms and List perhaps for a tipsy, energetic, slightly crazy  pair.?
The most popular names are Tigger, Sooty, Felix, Charlie, Fluffy and Lucky (most cats are lucky to get away with some of their antics, so it is an appropriate name.)

Persian cats could take an Iranian name like Atoosa, the name of an Iranian Princess or Bousseh meaning kiss.  Likewise two Siamese cats could be named Si and Am like in the film “The Lady and The Tramp”.

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A POTTED HISTORY OF THE BEAR

 

In Switzerland and France the proof of bear worship can still be found. In Berne (meaning Bear), the capital of Switzerland, there are still bear pits where you can feed carrots to the bears. Many bones and skulls of cave bears have been found at a site in Drachenloch in Switzerland. Why Neanderthal man began hunting the Cave Bear is not certain. It was a formidable animal, standing more than eight feet tall when reared in anger, and must have been a dangerous foe.

Teddy bear collectors are known as arctophiles from the Greek words ‘arcto’ (bear) and ‘philos’ (lover).

Theodore Roosevelt, the American President, was responsible for the first “teddy bear”. On one of his Mississippi hunting trips it is believed that his assistants cornered a black bear after a long chase and tied it to a willow tree. Roosevelt refused to shoot it saying the immortal words, “Spare the bear! I will not shoot a tethered animal.” Clifford Berryman of the Washington Post drew a cartoon of the scene and eventually the cartoon bear became smaller and cuter. In 1903, a new stuffed toy was developed by Morris and Rose Michtom, owners of a store in Brooklyn and when they put it in their shop window they used a sign saying “Teddy’s bear” and it became a great success. Almost simultaneously in Germany Margarete Steiff, a disabled seamstress, was making stuffed teddies and selling them to the USA. The Steiff company went on to sell millions of teddies before the First World War in Germany, as well as the UK and USA.

A family business called Merrythought in the World Heritage Site of Ironbridge in Shropshire, England, have been making teddies since 1930. In the 1980’s they made showpiece teddies, some 6ft. tall for Hamleys and Harrods. In 1992 they won the TOBY (Teddy Bear of the Year Award) for Master Mischief designed by Jacqueline Revitt. In 2013 they produced a special edition bear to mark the arrival of Prince George of Cambridge.

A Poem – Spring is Round the Corner

SPRING IS ROUND THE CORNER

February is on its way

The end of winter, I suppose

Still lots of days completely grey.

 

Crocuses will burst through

The early morning dew

Hyacinths and snowdrops too.

 

March winds will soon blow

Daffodils may sway

Huddled together

Avoiding the last of the snow

.

Things to do in and around Benidorm, Spain

Benidorm used to have a bad reputation as a town/city attracting drunken yobs.  Either you love it or hate it.  There is plenty to see and do during a fortnight’s holiday.  It has two long beaches, The Playa Levante (wake up beach?) and the Playa Poniente (sunset beach?) often claiming the prestigious Blue Flag for cleanliness.  Tractors clean the beach every evening and the promenades are washed down.  Cars can still drive in certain areas along the promenade next to the beach.

Benidorm beach

beach Benidorm

Just behind Benidorm lies Finestrat, a mountain village close to a shopping mall and Carrefour hypermarket.  Many new 5 star hotels are springing up in Finestrat which is a short distance from the theme park called Terra Mitica.  Terra Mitica grows each year with new rides and attractions.  The entrance is impressive starting with the Egyptian area where there are shops selling Egyptian souvenirs revolving around ancient Egyptians and  there is an Egyptian restaurant.  From this area, you can take a ship to the next area.  Once inside you’ll see that this Spanish version of Disneyland has been given a Mediterranean theme with each sector of the park dedicated to a different civilization including the Egyptians, Romans, Greeks and Iberians.

A fairly recent addition is Terra Natura (a wildlife park where wild animals roam).  There is also a Water Park with a wave pool, beach, islands, spa, restaurants and generally, lots to do in the sun.

Also on the outskirts of Benidorm is Mundomar where you can swim with dolphins or sealions.  They also have parrot shows and offer the chance to be a park keeper for the day.

Aqualandia is another water park where you can try the Big Bang, Vertigo, Kamikaze water rides or if that is too much, then you could always laze around under a cool manmade waterfall.   The food on offer is anything from paella, burgers, to a barbeque.  There is the ubiquitous souvenir shop.

The lovely old village of Finestrat, 40 km. north of Alicante,  and a short drive from Benidorm, is a little unusual because it is an inland mountain village with its own touristy beach called Cala Finestrat. The picturesque village, which hugs the mountain side of Puig Campana, has beautiful views from the mountains down to the sea; the architecture has a distinct Moorish influence and many of the houses are colourfully painted.

A little further south of Benidorm lies Villajoyosa (meaning joyful town), a typical Spanish village, with a sandy beach and fishing port.  Villajoyosa celebrates the “Fiesta de Moros y Cristianos” from the 24th to the 31st of July every year and the central act is orientated around the Moros unship.

It is sheltered by the Sierra Aitana mountain meaning it has relatively mild winters.   There is a daily fish market, a street market on Thursdays, as well as a Sunday flea market.  The houses are painted in bright colours.

houses Villajoyosa

 

Baked Egg Custard

Ingredients

Use a coffee mug to measure

3/4 of a mug of sugar for the caramel

3/4 of a mug of sugar for the custard

1 dessertspoonful of vanilla essence

8 eggs, beaten

5 mugs of full cream milk

Method

Pre-heat the oven to 190 degrees centigrade.  Gas mark 5.

Melt the first mug of sugar in a pan until caramelised into a golden coloured liquid.  Pour the caramel into a large pyrex bowl.

Beat the eggs with the second mug of sugar.  Add the vanilla essence and the milk, then whisk until thoroughly blended.

Pour the custard onto the caramel.  Place the pyrex bowl inside a much larger ovenproof pan and add hot water to the pan up to 3/4 of the side of the custard.  Cook for 1 hour.  Carefully remove it from the pan, be careful as everything will be very hot.  Leave it to rest until it cools and then place in the fridge for 4 hours to set.

 

To serve, place a deep dish over the pyrex bowl and invert if you are feeling brave.  Otherwise it can just be served from the pyrex bowl as it is.

Enjoy!!

Arabic Minced Lamb Omelette

I think it is called “Mekloma”.  My husband taught me how to make this and his father taught him.

Ingredients

400g of minced lamb

7-8 beaten eggs (medium) or 6 (large)

salt and ground black pepper

A little oil

Lemon to serve

Method

Fry the minced lamb in the oil over a low heat for a few minutes, then add salt and lots of black pepper.  Cover the meat with water and cook for 20 minutes, adding more water if it evaporates.  When the meat is cooked and all the water has evaporated, cover the meat with the beaten eggs, stirring a little with a wooden spoon, so that the eggs sink in and start to cook.  When the eggs are cooked it can be divided into wedges and served with salad or potato wedges.  It is also nice when served cold.