Tilly’s Miraculous Kittens at around 8 weeks old

Tilly’s Miraculous Kittens are about 8 weeks old now, almost weaned (they are eating cat food but still suckling occasionally), and they are very active!  So active that its almost impossible to catch the action with a camera, even if I happen to have it to hand when I see something funny!  ( I don’t have a smartphone.)

So these pictures are the few I have taken in the last day or two that aren’t blurred – taken when they were sleeping or seemingly posing – smile.

They are absolutely normal kittens, and as Tilly is quite a small cat, I can’t work out whether they are small for their age because of their ordeal, or just small!

I’m keeping the kitten in the first shot, as she was the one that I found first and alerted me to the fact that they’d been born – I’ve called her Xavia (save’yer) – and hopefully I will find good homes for the other three …..

Tilly’s Miraculous Kittens – and how I nearly killed them!

Tilly as a kitten herself

Tilly as a kitten herself- last summer

I am embarrassed to share this story, but it is so amazing, and true, that I can’t keep it to myself!

I got Tilly as a kitten from a farm that I visited by chance last summer.

There were plenty of cats wandering around and a batch of kittens that were almost feral – and I fell in love with her and asked if I could have her.  The ‘owner’ – a young lad of about 5 years old – solemnly allowed me to take her home with me, after he had checked me out thoroughly!


sol as a puppy – he lived for nearly 13 years

She has been a joy.  I was still mourning my long time companion, Sol, a sheepdog, who used to come everywhere with me.  I wasn’t able to get another dog, for all sorts of reasons.  So, as I was used to taking him out for short walks in the early morning, and I wanted Tilly to know where she lived – I started ‘taking her out with me’.

Well, she just followed me.  I live on a moderately busy road, and I wanted her to get used to traffic, as she’d never encountered it before, and as there was very little in the early mornings, it was fine.  The odd lorry worried her and she ran straight home – I left the door ajar for her.

Over time, she got more adventurous, and explored her immediate surroundings with me, which allowed me to keep up the habit of stretching my legs for a bit of exercise each day.  I often thought I’d ‘lost her’ – and waited anxiously with the door ajar for her to come back – smile.  She always did!

When we were out one morning, she met another cat – a ginger one.  And then there was another tabby that she followed, and I watched them dance around each other, in courtship.  She followed him up the hill, and when I called her back there was this beautiful swift run back to me, and then – like a thief – her ‘boyfriend’ followed her and enticed her further down the hill.

You can guess what happened.  Tilly hasn’t been spayed, because I think its fairer to allow a cat to have one litter before taking nature away from her – and I live in a semi rural area, so its not as much of a problem as it would be in a large town.

I wasn’t sure whether she was pregnant, for a while, and couldn’t judge when she was due, she is a slightly built cat anyway, but there was a bulge appearing around her belly.

I was due to visit some friends last week, and was worried that she might produce her kittens, so nearly didn’t go.  In the end I took her with me.  She had all the signs, and her teats had dropped, but still no kittens, and I wondered whether she had lost them.

It was the first time she’d been in a car since I’d taken her home from the farm, so I wasn’t surprised she made a fuss, nor was I surprised to find that when I got her out of her new carrier, there was a mess for me to clean up.  She wasn’t all that happy in a strange place, and kept mewing at me.  I kept feeling her belly – there were some lumps, but nothing seemed to be happening, and I was getting rather anxious because it seemed to be getting rather late, and the lumps weren’t moving!

Well, after two days, we came home, and Tilly immediately disappeared.  I thought she was in the garden.  She was back for her food, and still had a huge appetite.  In fact my friends thought she might have worms and wasn’t pregnant at all, and I was going to give her a dose of the medicine.

Next morning, I heard some mewing and was relieved that she had finally had her kittens!

So I went to have a look.  Tilly wasn’t around – but I found a black kitten in the spare room crying for its mother.  But this kitten wasn’t new born – it was at least 10 days old!

I had given Tilly a box in the ‘study’, with a towel and her basket, but she hadn’t used it for a while.  The spare room is so full of stuff – that isn’t junk – smile.  I have boxes of my old greetings cards in there and old furniture etc, and its impossible to find anything!

I picked up this kitten and carried it around with me, calling Tilly for at least 20 minutes.  I was horrified.  Had this kitten nearly starved for the two days we were away?  I couldn’t find where it had come from, and when Tilly finally came back, she immediately fed the kitten – the lumps had been her milk not being able to be used!

I put the kitten in the box and expected Tilly to join her there – but she didn’t.  She kept going back to the spare room, so in the end, I picked up the kitten and put it back where I had found it and Tilly steered it behind the furniture, back to wherever it had come from.

I got to wondering why I hadn’t noticed that she had been a mother for over a week before we went away.  I had sat in the garden and watched her play – as normal, she had disappeared for various periods – as normal.  I had gone out and about my business, as normal.  The only abnormal thing was that she was eating about twice as much as she used to.

I hadn’t noticed anything different, and I had been looking for the signs!  I felt terrible.  And of course, cats normally have a litter of kittens, not just one, so had the others died?  Had this been the only one to survive?  Was Tilly feeding her in the den she had chosen, with the bodies of the dead kittens around her.

I had to check.  It took me about half an hour to find where she had made her den – it was behind several piles of boxes and in a cupboard which stored some old clothes.

I literally had to excavate my way through to it – moving the piles of boxes, and was absolutely exhausted, dreading what I might find.  Tilly was out and about again, and wasn’t there to help or hinder me.  I worried that the maternal link had been broken, and that she wasn’t too bothered – after all – I had taken her away from her kittens!

I didn’t find any inert bodies – I found 4 kittens – healthy and bewildered at being disturbed!  But I couldn’t leave them there, as I wouldn’t be able to get to them easily to see if they were OK.  So, I moved them into the study, and the box I had prepared, and Tilly arrived just as I was doing it, so I put her into the box too – and thankfully – she settled down to feed them!

So here they are – Tilly’s miraculous kittens – how they survived without being fed for two days I really don’t know, but thankfully, they seem fine!



In The Summertime – Mungo Jerry – 1970

Its the season of Summer – the solstice was yesterday – and the summer festivals – especially Glastonbury – are about to start!

Oh I remember, I remember, being young and in love and dancing to “In the Summertime” in a crowded sunny field somewhere in 1970!

So let’s have a bit more of that nostalgia – smile – you can dance along too if you feel like it!

The lyrics – below – would not pass the “thought police” these days – but here they are!

In The Summertime

written by Ray Dorset

Chh chh-chh, uh, Chh chh-chh, uh
Chh chh-chh, uh, Chh chh-chh, uh
Chh chh-chh, uh, Chh chh-chh, uh
Chh chh-chh, uh, Chh chh-chh, uh
Chh chh-chh, uh, Chh chh-chh, uh
Chh chh-chh, uh, Chh chh-chh

In the summertime when the weather is hot
You can stretch right up and touch the sky
When the weather’s fine
You got women, you got women on your mind
Have a drink, have a drive
Go out and see what you can find

If her daddy’s rich take her out for a meal
If her daddy’s poor just do what you feel
Speed along the lane
Do a ton or a ton an’ twenty-five
When the sun goes down
You can make it, make it good in a lay-by

We’re no threat, people
We’re not dirty, we’re not mean
We love everybody but we do as we please
When the weather’s fine
We go fishin’ or go swimmin’ in the sea
We’re always happy
Life’s for livin’ yeah, that’s our philosophy

Sing along with us
Dee dee dee-dee dee
Dah dah dah-dah dah
Yeah we’re hap-happy
Dah dah-dah
Dee-dah-do dee-dah-do dah-do-dah
Dah-dah-dah do-dah-dah

Alright ah


When the winter’s here, yeah it’s party time
Bring your bottle, wear your bright clothes
It’ll soon be summertime
And we’ll sing again
We’ll go drivin’ or maybe we’ll settle down
If she’s rich, if she’s nice
Bring your friends and we’ll all go into town

[Chorus]& Repeat

Have Fun This Summer!

Mrs Adlams Angels – Ralph McTell

iuWoke up too early this morning and rather than watch the depressing world news on tv, I did another rummage in my old CD box and found one of my old mixes – this time it was Ralph McTell – smile.

Mrs Adlam’s Angels was actually on the Album Spiral Staircase – another album I still have – released in 1969 – as was the first recording of that old favourite “Streets of London” – but its

Mrs Adlams’s Angels

which I want to feature here ….

These are the lyrics:

Sundays, as a rule, us kids went to Sunday School,
And Mrs Adlam said, angels stood round our bed.
To keep us safe from dark, right through to day begun,
And we used to lie awake, just to try to see one,
And though we never saw one anywhere,
We heard them softly singing in the air.
Sundays occasionally we were invited back for tea,
And bread with jam and cream, made Sundays seem a dream.
In the dingy mission hall, Mrs Adlam praying,

And down the street back home, all our mates were playing,
With Mrs Adlam’s angels everywhere,
And we thought we saw a halo in her hair.
Sundays, for sure, ain’t like that anymore,
Its getting hard for me, to see her face in front of me.
I wonder if her angels have their arms around her curled,
Keeping her safe from life, and guarding her from the world.
On a summer Sunday evening do I dare,
To hear Mrs Adlam’s angels in the air.

This song has ‘the smell” of the 1950’s in it, one I recognise as I was a child in that era – I didn’t go to Sunday School and I didn’t meet a Mrs Adlam, but I know who she is/was, and her kindness shines through this song.

ralph mctell todayRalph McTell is still going strong and is in his 70’s – he was born in 1944 – as his wikipedia page will tell you – smile – and he is still touring – see the ralph mctell website – if you want to catch him he’s on at the Beverley Folk Festival this weekend!

Find the chickens …..

marans, possibly a hen and a cockerel?

marans, possibly a hen and a cockerel?

The chicks are coming up to 12 weeks old now – and are out in the garden most of the time – and like all naughty kids, they will go into the fenced off area, where I have been trying to grow some flowers – I thought you might like to see how the marans have grown – but you’ll have to find them first! (there are two of them in this picture)

find the chickens

find the chickens

and – remember I told you the rose had fallen into the bed – well I took this picture when the chickens had been chased out – its just around where the chickens were hiding.

The stem on the left hand side is a vine – I got some lovely grapes last year – mmm ….

rose & vine

rose & vine

I told you the bay tree wouldn’t die!

This is the view from my back garden - stunning isn't it!  I actually took the picture to record the pruning of the overgrown bay tree - I hung the heavy clippers on the tree when I took a break!  The reason I did this was partly to give me space to put the cage I use when I introduce young chicks to the outside world - and my chicks are going to need it soon. Don't worry about the bay tree - it will soon be covered with new growth - they recover from massacres like this quite quickly!

This is the view from my back garden – stunning isn’t it! I actually took the picture to record the pruning of the overgrown bay tree – I hung the heavy clippers on the tree when I took a break! The reason I did this was partly to give me space to put the cage I use when I introduce young chicks to the outside world – and my chicks are going to need it soon.
Don’t worry about the bay tree – it will soon be covered with new growth – they recover from massacres like this quite quickly!

You may remember that in early April I put up a picture of my heavily pruned bay tree – and in the caption assured you that it would soon be covered with new growth……..

Well its taken a little while to agree with me – after all the “haircut” was pretty vicious – but here are the new shoots – all over the tree!

the same bay tree - now recovering from its 'haircut'

the same bay tree – now recovering from its ‘haircut’









And here is another picture showing the shoots all over the tree!

recovering bay tree

recovering bay tree

And this is a very old ‘rambling rose’ – can’t remember what its called – that was growing up some trellis work that was groaning under its weight.  It finally lost the battle in the recent heavy winds, and the rose has come down into the rest of the bed.  I don’t want to waste all those lovely pink flowers, so I’ll wait until they fade before I prune it! (see also next post)

the rambling rose no longer growing upwards!

the rambling rose no longer growing upwards!