Mad for the Mouse – The Disruptive Powers of the Cat

freddie next to computer

Gerroff my keyboard!!

I’m a fully-paid up member of the mad for moggies ladies club – so mad for them, I even wrote a book, Katie and the Deelans, where teenagers discover the power to change into cats. (Oh joy – can you imagine?!)

I’m not the only one to write a book with cats as the star. Editor, features writer and author Melanie Whitehouse was adopted by her cat, Gus, in 2003. He inspired her book The Tail of Augustus Moon (2008, Book Guild), which tells the story of Gus’s adoption of journalist Maisie and his experience of the chaos that is a 40-something woman in search of a man.

As a member of various writer forums, I’ve noticed a number of throw-away comments about cats and I began to wonder to myself: “Is there something to this ‘cats as inspiration’/’writers having cats’ feeling that I have?”

One thorough, scientific experiment later – well, a quick straw poll of a freelance women writers’ forum – and the results revealed themselves. Within minutes of posting up a question about cats, inspiration and how cats like to sit on your keyboard, I’d been inundated with responses.

And an awful lot of fabulous pictures of cats curled up next to laptops, cats sitting in in-boxes, cats taking up room on top of notebooks.

The overwhelming feeling was that cats make the writer’s life less lonely. In the main, freelancers work from home and the cat helps to make up for the lack of contact with human beings. Continue reading

Plan B – TV, Blackberries and Coconut

Young girls, chocolate and lots of, what else is going to happen?

Young girls, chocolate and lots of, what else is going to happen?

Always have a Plan B, eh? That’s what the wise believe, so my plan B career options currently involve tactics such as:

  • walking past occasional filming crews in my home city; this walk subconsciously translating to the crew (and indeed myself) my latent acting talent and this resulting in a moderately successful TV acting career
  • bramble domination – using the wild blackberries that grow in abundance around me to start a moderately successful cottage industry producing bramble jelly and a blackberry liquer which sells in vast amounts in deli’s, top-notch department stores and high-end hotels
  • winning the Lottery.

As option C is unlikely and not one to base the hopes of your life on, as blackberry supplies can’t be depended on and as my life experience so far has revealed no latent acting talents, an intelligent guess would negate all three options as money-making options. Time to think up something else instead in case the freelance writing gig doesn’t work…

[Incidentally, if any of you are being targeted by affiliate marketers – the folks who post up all the pics of themselves surfing, or drinking a beer whilst dressed in a tee shirt because they only have to work four hours a week blah blah – here is a quick explanation:

[Affiliate marketing for the uninitiated is where you place an ad on an affiliate’s website (someone you sorta know through internet acquaintance). If nothing happens, nobody loses out, in theory. If, as a result, hunners of folks head to your website from your affiliate ad, then bingo… But then you do have to share that exposure with your affiliate if you are an honourable individual. And if you have taken up an affiliate ad, but not checked out your source properly and they are a devious kind of cad who doesn’t pay you their due then, bummer…]

No, my plan B is rather more stellar. The other week I babysat. I opted for active babysitting, which involved the nieces and their assorted friends, and we all embarked on a little chocolate moulding and sweet creation. We came up with some Bounty Balls. Post my babysitting/choccie efforts, I learned that the family of one child so liked the Bounty Balls they would be willing to pay for them. Plan B is looking more achievable don’t you reckon folks?

BOUNTY BALLS

Recipe: makes a lot…

  • 1 x 397g tin condensed milk (it is just me or is that a really weird serving size?)
  • 350g desiccated coconut
  • 400g milk chocolate (you will have extra left over, but better to start with more)

Prepare a baking sheet with a layer of grease-proof paper. Empty the condensed milk into a large bowl and add the desiccated coconut and mix well. Roll into small bowls (about the size of a large marble) but bear in mind that you will probably need to wash your hands after every two or three rollings. Place the balls on a large plate or tray and place in the freezer for about 30 minutes to an hour.

Melt the milk chocolate either over a pan of boiling water or in the microwave (see here for proper chocolate melting techniques) and, using a cocktail stick speared into each coconut ball, dip in the chocolate fully to coat and place on the prepared baking sheet. Leave to set (they won’t take long because of the freezing) and enjoy…