The Cat Owner’s Guide to Preparing Christmas Dinner

Christmas Eve: Remove turkey from freezer. Herd cat out of way with foot as you place turkey to defrost in oven – the only catproof place in the house. Leave note on oven in large capital letters reminding family DON’T TURN OVEN ON.

Christmas Day: Remove defrosted turkey from oven. Remove cat from kitchen counter. Take turkey out of packaging and prepare. Have to remove cat from counter so many times it’s easier just to shut the damn creature in another room. Finish preparing turkey to the tune of wailing sounds akin to someone being murdered.

Get turkey back into oven. Let cat back in, find it has begun a tunnel through the kitchen door in the meantime. Sweep up wood shavings. Remember you didn’t put turkey packaging in bin. Remove cat from plastic packaging, where it is suffocating in a happy way amongst turkey juices.

Christmas Day, 2 hours later: Start to prepare potatoes, vegetables, and other accompaniments. Cat thinks all these things might be of interest. Remove cat from various pots and pans. Give it a sprout to eat. Cat rolls it around floor instead. Oh well, at least it’s distracted.

Remove turkey briefly from oven to do final seasoning. Cat crosses kitchen in 0.0001 seconds and sticks head in roasting tin. Remove cat, check for hairs on turkey, return turkey to oven.

Christmas Day, 1 hour later: Rope in family to set table while doing finishing touches to cooking. Laugh maniacally at family’s efforts to lay out table with cat helping.

Serve up dinner to hungry family. Pretend not to notice that everyone is feeding cat bits of turkey under the table.

Finish dinner. Roll now very fat and comatose cat into its basket. Clear up, wash up, and join cat in happy stuffed-ness.

Merry Christmas!

Love from Karen, her long-suffering hubby and her four naughty cats. xx

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The Cat Owner’s Guide to Decorating the Christmas Tree

Bring in Christmas tree from boot of car. Go back to close boot. Remove cat from boot.

Set up tree base; fill with water. Stop cat from drinking the water.

Place tree in base; get husband to hold steady while screwing in fixing bolts. Push cat’s nose away from bolts. Cat decides to climb husband’s leg instead. Tell husband to stop jiggling around and moving the tree.

Cut mesh surrounding tree and throw to one side. This distracts cat for 0.0001 seconds.

Tree springs into shape. Cat springs into tree.


Remove cat from tree. Get Christmas lights from box and start to unravel. Cat tangles them up from other end as you unravel them.

Start to rope lights around tree. Cat unropes them faster. Distract cat by throwing a non-breakable bauble across room. Finish arranging lights.

Repeat as above; this time with tinsel.

Start hanging baubles. Continue to distract cat by rolling them. Realise there are 50 baubles all over the living room floor, leaving you with 4 to hang on the tree.

Give cat a scrap of tinsel to play with. Hang remaining baubles. Switch on lights. Step back to admire handiwork.

Get a well-deserved glass of wine from kitchen. Return to find cat in tree. Spend evening playing slightly drunken game of ‘catch the bauble’ as puss chucks them off the branches. Decide it’s quite cute, really. Go to bed.

Get up to find naked tree and highly decorated living room floor. On entering kitchen, find sparkly poops in litter tray.

Decide it’s not too early to start the wine again.

Our tree, before cats. It may not look like this now...

Our tree, before cats. It may not look like this now…

Thanks to Suzie over at Suzie81 Speaks for inspiring this piece, with her post The Cat Owner’s Guide To Wrapping Christmas Presents.

Next week: The Cat Owner’s Guide to Preparing Christmas Dinner… 😉

Winter Warmers

This post was originally written for a blog hop last year, but I thought I’d revisit it for Julie Valerie’s Hump Day Blog Hop. Bloggers – join Julie on the last Wednesday of every month, share a link and read others. Readers – get lots of varied content in one place. Result!

This is a very sad snowman. I shall post a proper one shortly.

This is a very sad snowman. I shall post a proper one shortly.

So for this blog hop, I had to name the following things:

Favourite song with winter in the title or lyrics:

In the Bleak Midwinter sung by any lovely cathedral choir, at a midnight service on Christmas Eve/Day. I’m not a religious person, but I love this.

Favourite book about winter:

I’m going to name three. They’re about Christmas as well, and I always re-read them at this time of year:

The Dark Is Rising by Susan Cooper – second in a series of five amazing books, filled with adventure and Celtic mythology. Will wakes on his eleventh birthday on Midwinter Day, to discover he is the last of the Old Ones of the Light, tasked with protecting the world from the rising Dark. He must seek out six ancient ‘signs’ to help turn back the Dark. This is the book that started my love of legends and magic.

Winter Solstice by Rosamund Pilcher – a good old-fashioned love saga, perfect for curling up with next to a roaring fire. A group of ill-assorted people of all ages are brought together in an old house for Christmas. Will it be a disaster – or the best Christmas ever? And it’s set in the Scottish Highlands.

Hogfather by Terry Pratchett – the Discworld’s version of Christmas is even better than ours. Featuring Death, and his granddaughter Susan, two of my favourite Pratchett characters. What happens when Death has to stand in for the Hogfather? Can Susan save the Discworld from the machinations of the evil Mr Teatime? If you don’t read Pratchett (why not??) this will sound like gobbledygook, but it’s brilliant.

You can see how battered my copy of Winter Solstice is...

You can see how battered my copy of Winter Solstice is…

Favourite ‘hot’ winter film:

‘Hot’ as in featuring a sexy man? Hmm…

The Holiday as it stars Jude Law. Understated British sexiness. Or Chalet Girl – Bill Nighy can be my sugar daddy any day. 😉

Favourite winter memory:

I’m going to be soppy and say the first Christmas hubby and I spent together. We put so much thought into our presents (even though we had very little money), we got a real tree, and we had a Christmas dinner that could have fed six people (the cat got a lot of it). It was magical, and we’ve tried to make it that way ever since. Aaww!

Favourite winter holiday destination:

You know, I like the crisp coldness of winter in Scotland. Okay, sometimes that’s rainy slushiness instead, but I think winter should be cold and summer should be hot. Don’t mix them up. So if I went somewhere, it would have to be cold and snowy. Vermont? Austria? Anyone want to pay for a holiday for me??

Snowman on Calton Hill, Edinburgh. Pic courtesy of bbc.co.uk

Snowman on Calton Hill, Edinburgh. Pic courtesy of bbc.co.uk

What books will be in your suitcase this winter?

All of the ones listed above. Also: The Christmas Spirit by Susan Buchanan, A Slip of the Keyboard by Terry Pratchett, and many others! 🙂

Like to party? Hop along the Hump Day Blog Hop on Julie Valerie’s Book Blog. Click here to return to the Hump Day Blog Hop.

Merry Christmas – and thank you!

What a lax blogger I’ve been this past couple of weeks. Life has caught up with me in a big way. Preparing for Christmas, visiting friends and family, writing an Open University course assignment. Where has the time gone?

I had intended to do a lovely summary blog post round about now, looking back over my year: the highs, the lows…that kind of stuff. But you know what? Never mind all that. What I really want to say is this: THANK YOU to everyone who has followed this blog, or my Twitter or Facebook ramblings, or all three. THANK YOU to everyone who has encouraged me, advised me, or simply read my writing. I’ve made lots of new friends and learnt so much. You are all awesome.

I’ll be around on Twitter and FB over Christmas, so I’ll see some of you there. If I’m not on here for a while, I’ll see you in the New Year sometime. 🙂

Have a wonderful festive season, whatever you’re doing.

Love ‘n’ hugs

Karen xx

Awesome pic found on Facebook - credits to whoever took it!

Awesome pic found on Facebook – credits to whoever took it!

Music Monday: Fairytale of New York

Our Christmas decorations are up! Hubby must put them up on 1st December. He can’t wait any longer. He’s a big kid really!

He decorates the outside of the house, while I do the tree and the indoor decorations. We have a real tree for the first time in years. It’s huge! It does look lovely though.

My lovely hubby, and my lovely Christmas tree! Hubby is six feet tall, so you get an idea of the tree size...

My lovely hubby, and my lovely Christmas tree! Hubby is six feet tall, so you get an idea of the tree size…

I also have cinammon-scented pine cones. I’ve been seeing them in the garden centre every Christmas for ages and saying ‘I must get some of those’. Finally, I got some – and between them and the piney scent of the tree, the whole house smells gorgeous.

I know some of you will be saying ‘Bah Humbug! How can you be doing Christmas things already?’ Truth is, I love it. I’ve always loved Christmas, but sadly in the household I grew up in it wasn’t a happy occasion. I’m not going to go into why in this post. Maybe I’ll explain some other time. But I always wanted Christmas to be magical (probably through reading too many books where it was), and ever since I left my childhood home, and especially since being with hubby, I’ve endeavoured to make it that way.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m well aware that there’s far too much consumerism and that the goodwill often gets lost. I try not to lose sight of the fact that it’s about love, not how big a tree you have or how many presents you’ve got. (Says the person with the ridiculously big tree). I know Christmas is a difficult time for many. Anyway, that leads me on to…

…Christmas songs. I love them too. The carols, the cheery ones, and of course the cynical ones… My Music Monday choice this week definitely falls into the latter category. Frequently voted the best Christmas song ever, Fairytale of New York, performed by the unlikely pairing of The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl, was first released in November 1987. It has been re-released several times since, and re-enters the charts every Christmas.

The song tells an Irish immigrant’s story about Christmases past while sleeping off a binge in a New York City drunk tank. It becomes a back-and-forth between the male and female characters of the story, their youthful hopes crushed by alcoholism and drug addiction, as they reminisce and bicker on Christmas Eve.

Kirsty MacColl’s melodious singing contrasts with the harshness of Shane MacGowan’s voice, and the lyrics are sometimes bittersweet — sometimes purely bitter: ‘Happy Christmas your arse/I pray God it’s our last’. The title, taken from author J.P. Donleavy’s novel A Fairy Tale of New York, was chosen after the song had been written and recorded.

Since Kirsty MacColl’s untimely death in 2000, the song has become even more poignant. It’s been a favourite of mine ever since it was first released. During my University years, a friend and I used to give a rendition of it at pub sing-songs. Not sure how well we did it, but it always went down a treat (possibly because our audience was inebriated). 😉

Here’s Fairytale of New York and the wonderful video that accompanies it. (Look out for an appearance by actor Matt Dillon, as the cop).

Winter Warmers Blog Hop

The lovely Cassandra Page tagged me in the Winter Warmers Blog Hop. It’s summer in Australia where Cassandra lives, but it is most definitely winter here in Scotland. The heating is on, cars need scraped in the morning, and all my big jumpers have come out to play.

This is a very sad snowman. I shall post a proper one shortly.

This is a very sad snowman. I shall post a proper one shortly.

For this blog hop, I have to name the following things:

Favourite song with winter in the title or lyrics:

In the Bleak Midwinter sung by any lovely cathedral choir, at a midnight service on Christmas Eve/Day. I’m not a religious person, but I love this.

Favourite book about winter:

I’m going to name three. They’re about Christmas as well, and I always re-read them at this time of year:

The Dark Is Rising by Susan Cooper – second in a series of five amazing books, filled with adventure and Celtic mythology. Will wakes on his eleventh birthday on Midwinter Day, to discover he is the last of the Old Ones of the Light, tasked with protecting the world from the rising Dark. He must seek out six ancient ‘signs’ to help turn back the Dark. This is the book that started my love of legends and magic.

Winter Solstice by Rosamund Pilcher – a good old-fashioned love saga, perfect for curling up with next to a roaring fire. A group of ill-assorted people of all ages are brought together in an old house for Christmas. Will it be a disaster – or the best Christmas ever? And it’s set in the Scottish Highlands.

Hogfather by Terry Pratchett – the Discworld’s version of Christmas is even better than ours. Featuring Death, and his granddaughter Susan, two of my favourite Pratchett characters. What happens when Death has to stand in for the Hogfather? Can Susan save the Discworld from the machinations of the evil Mr Teatime? If you don’t read Pratchett (why not??) this will sound like gobbledygook, but it’s brilliant.

You can see how battered my copy of Winter Solstice is...

You can see how battered my copy of Winter Solstice is…

Favourite ‘hot’ winter film:

‘Hot’ as in featuring a sexy man? Hmm…

The Holiday as it stars Jude Law. Understated British sexiness. Or Chalet Girl – Bill Nighy can be my sugar daddy any day. 😉

Favourite winter memory:

I’m going to be soppy and say the first Christmas hubby and I spent together. We put so much thought into our presents (even though we had very little money), we got a real tree, and we had a Christmas dinner that could have fed six people (the cat got a lot of it). It was magical, and we’ve tried to make it that way ever since. Aaww!

Favourite winter holiday destination:

You know, I like the crisp coldness of winter in Scotland. Okay, sometimes that’s rainy slushiness instead, but I think winter should be cold and summer should be hot. Don’t mix them up. So if I went somewhere, it would have to be cold and snowy. Vermont? Austria? Anyone want to pay for a holiday for me??

Snowman on Calton Hill, Edinburgh. Pic courtesy of bbc.co.uk

Snowman on Calton Hill, Edinburgh. Pic courtesy of bbc.co.uk

What books will be in your suitcase this winter?

All of the ones listed above. Plus my to-read list: Boot Camp Bride by Lizzie Lamb, Seasons in the Sun by Kristen Strassel, and Saints of the Shadow Bible by Ian Rankin.

And I tag:

Nicky Wells of Romance That Rocks Your World!

Lily of lilicasplace

Jennifer M Zeiger

Inion N. Mathair

Mari Wells