The setting for the 3rd book in the series:
Sing A Song Of Sixpence, takes place mainly in the Lake District of Northern England.
However, Bhu Fan and Hawkeye are very much in the thick of things. The Scottish
wildcat, a very highly endangered species of wild feline:
felis silvestris grampia, makes a
'guest' appearance. And I have to add, I hope he does not go extinct. He is a cat about
the same size as the Maine Coon. He deserves everyone's efforts to save his kind. To
see some fascinating photos, go to
www.scottishwildcats.co.uk/index.html. You will also
find books*, photos and a DVD there(although the DVD won't work on American players.
I'm told, though, it can be seen on one's PC.)
*Below is a picture of the cover of Mike Tomkies' book
Wildcat Haven. I have it and I
urge anyone who enjoys reading about cats and their wild predecessors to get it from
the website listed above. It is a fascinating book and will leave you firmly on the side of
this beleaguered feline.
The items on this page will change from time to
time; things I find interesting about cats, notes
from readers, photos or drawings. And if you're
interested in the Maine Coon in particular, go to
www.mcbfa.org which is the official site of the
Maine Coon Breeders and Fanciers Association
which has a magazine for all members if you'd like
to subscribe.                                                   GQ
Bulletin Board
The Kitten Soup Cookbook is a
fundraiser for the
Cat Care Society,
a cats-only shelter at 5787 W 6th Ave
Lakewood, CO. 80214. The price is $20.
They make great gifts for cat lovers.
Contact Jane Dorsey at
ccsvolunteer@catcaresociety.org. Their
phone number is
              303 239 9680 ex. 16
Another new character in Sing A Song Of Sixpence
is Loki, the Canadian Lynx. His is another endangered
species of wild feline and he's in not  much better
shape than the Scottish Wildcat. And in addition to loss
of habitat, it's this guy's pelt that is in great demand.
And you really don't want to know what I think about
humans who like to dress themselves in other
creatures' skins. I'm aware we all wear shoes of leather
but furs are a whole different ball game. And because
he's a bit closer to home, we can do a great deal to
preserve this beautiful cat for future generations. As
the old slogan goes: "just do it!"
At that moment in time, my husband and I had 3 dogs: a black lab, a weimaraner and a borzoi, and 3 cats, all
Siamese. I had been juried into the Waterfowl Festival in Easton, Maryland with my stained and etched glass
and we had loaded up the big Ford cargo van and were on our way from Tennessee to the Eastern Shore.
Along the way, we stopped to visit friends in Potomac, Maryland who had a small 'farm' on some 20 acres
outside of the town. When we pulled into the circle in front of the house at the end of the drive, we were
greeted by the most humongous cat I had ever glimpsed. While I'd never seen this breed before, I knew
exactly what it was: a brown mackerel Maine Coon. And what a cat he was! And unlike most cats upon first
sighting, he did not slink away nor simply stand his ground. He came up to us waving his huge plumey tail
and talking a mile a minute. "How are you? Welcome. Do come in and make yourselves at home"....Both my
husband, Bear, and I were thoroughly captivated by this  feline who behaved more like a dog than a cat.
At dinner that night, our host talked about this shaggy greeter they had named Deuteronomy, after one of
the characters in the stage show "Cats." It seems that he had showed up at their door a couple of weeks
previous and quickly and quietly insinuated himself into their household. We both, Bear and I, admitted our
fascination with this big boy. Alas, Chuck said, they were going to have to take him to the shelter as they
already had a barn full of cats and felt they were at max capacity. They had no idea where he'd come
from--purebred though he certainly was. They had placed an ad in the local paper, posted notices but to no
avail. Whoever he had belonged to--and he was sleek and well cared for--was either no longer around or he
was a transient who'd gotten away from a passing vehicle. At any rate, though, Chuck said, they simply
couldn't keep him.
I  told our host to put away his violin. No more exclamations of disowning the big guy were necessary. We
would take him home with us. BUT! It would have to wait until after the festival as we'd no place to keep him
while at the show. This was quickly agreed on and, on heading home, we stopped back at Potomac for our
new cat. We had no carrier, no cat box, no food and water bowls but somehow, we'd wing it. "No problem,"
said the cat as he climbed up into the cavernous vehicle. He promptly settled himself on the ice chest we had
between the front seats and there he rode in majestic mien, all the way to Tennessee.
When we arrived home, we weren't real sure how Deuteronomy was going to be received by our resident
critters and, as a result, were a bit apprehensive. There was no need. Dute, as he quickly became, followed
on Bear's heels into the back door,his tail high. The dogs looked at him, a bit non-plussed, but weren't about
to challenge his right to be there. The three cats, Peter, Skeeter and Tinkerbelle also made no hostile move.
Do cats communicate? You bet your bag of catnip they do! No
intelligible sound from any of them. Then or
ever. Deuteronomy came, he conquered and assumed his rightful place in the household, perhaps in a
variation of the old saw; "where does the 600-pound gorilla sleep?"
The next day we took him to the vet who pronounced him in excellent health, about seven years old,
neutered and most certainly a Maine Coon. It was the beginning of a beautiful friendship, a nudge in the
direction of adding more Maine Coons, a cattery...what can I say? He started it all. He lived with us a good
many years, suffered many changes of households as we moved several times. It was already obvious he'd
done some traveling. And we knew his former household had had some kids in it. While living in Florida with a
chain link fence in the backyard, the cats were allowed outside. The Siamese were quite content to stay in
the yard. Not Dute.  Every morning, he'd climb the fence, cross the lightly-traveled lane and plop himself
down among all the school children waiting for the bus, taking all the pats and rubs and sweet talk they'd
lavish on him. Once they'd boarded and gone, he'd get up, come home, climb back over the fence and take
his ease under the big live oak.
I have often wished there was some way I could have let his former family know that--however he got
separated from them--he led a long and happy life and was well loved. And inspired us to start a dynasty of
our own.
Deuteronomy Came First
Kendal, Cumbria rooftops
Castlerigg Standing Stones
Coniston Water
A few scenes above from the
settings for
The MerryMaines Sing A Song Of
Sixpence
There I was, trying to be a good catmom a couple of weeks ago. I had cut
and hung some catnip in the car port to dry for inserting into catnip bags
for my household. However, the leaves were not quite dry enough. So I
brought the stems inside, put them on a tray and inserted them in the
lowest setting in my oven for about 5 minutes. While this was finishing the
drying task, I got down my old blender and bowls and what-have-you.  
Suddenly, my grand old man, Freddie, 21 pounds of red Maine Coon
muscle, started to howl. I mean HOWL! As in
Wiley Coyote distress. I was
suddenly scared. What had he done to himself? Then, as if on cue, every
cat in the house was bouncing off the walls, ricocheting around the
kitchen..Well, I guess I'm just a slow learner. It finally dawned on me that
the aroma emanating from the oven was becoming very potent and had
activated that peculiar feline gene for mayhem. Sheer bedlam! I quickly
extracted the now perfect catnip, ran it through the blender, took it to the
sewing room, sewed up some little bags and distributed the largesse
among my resident cats. I won't say they were grateful but they sure were
having a high old time, if that's not putting too fine a point on it!
It never ceases to amaze me the various positions and contortions cats
can maneuver themselves into. And such fun to watch!
       Shere Khan's country
All for now!
Photo of the Scottish wildcat from the web
--A perfect Lord  Derryth
My Mum Miriam Mende
of MoonshineCoons Cattery in Germany
translated The MerryMains - a A Shaggy Cat Story
into German.  Alas.. I can
't read it but I'm sure I'm
in there somewhere.
The paintings are left were done
by the very talented Denise
Laurent who works in London.
You can see more of her work at
www.thepaintedcat.co.uk and
there's a place on her website
where calendars for 2015 can
be ordered. This lady does the
most beautiful (and true to type
and subject) renderings of our
beloved felines that I've ever
seen. Take a look at her
galleries and they can't help but
give you a smile
Hawkeye is no less opinionated than
Bhu Fan when he says the Serval, in
The Merry Maines Down Home
-above--
"looks like a cat that was put
together by a committee!" He also looks
like he could outrun a cheetah if push
came to shove...
The Amur Leopard and the Snow Leopard
are also endangered in the wild and it would
be a great loss for all of us if they would
soon be seen only in zoos. More so if they
go extinct!

These are stock photos from the web. They
also have a cameo role in The MerryMaines
& Something Wicked This Way Comes...I
think awareness of their plight is important.
Who's in Charge here?