Becca Jane St Clair

Personal Blog

Happy Birthday Hexe & Merddin!

When Tim and I went away to Manchester for an overnight last October, we had no idea that the night we got home would be our last night with our cat, Prudence.

Prudence was Tim’s cat. She had wandered into his garden about 12 years prior and just made herself at home. Tim determined that she must be the cat from Prudential, so Prudence became her name. A few years after I moved, when Pru finally decided I was going to stick aound, she accepted me and she became my cat just as much as she had been Tim’s.

In 2014, she had an operation to remove a tumor from the base of her tail. It was cancerous, and the vet told us if it came back there wasn’t going to be any possible treatment other than to make her comfortable. He couldn’t tell us if we would have 2 weeks, months, or years with her. We decided that we would make the hard choice when she was ready, as we were sure she would let us know when she knew it was her time.

While we were away in Manchester, she started gnawing at her leg. I can still remember (and still have a slight stain from it) the puddle she was sat in when we got home. Her cancer had come back, and it was brutal. We spent the last night together all on the sofa bed in the living room and in the morning said goodbye to her. Instead of cremation, we opted to bury her in the garden.

I was distraught. Being home 90% of the time, she and I were companions. She would usually be in the room with me and we would have our little rituals together. I couldn’t even get to sleep the first few days because there was no fuzzy lump purring on me. I slept cuddling a Bagpuss toy and with a white noise app on my tablet set to a cat purr.

It was during this time we started to plan our trip for our anniversary. We were going to go to Yorkshire to see a lecture by Tim Peake. Unfortunately, Tim had to cancel. But we still had a hotel booked for 2 days in Bradford, so that was when my friend stepped in and invited us to come over and visit her and her 6 cats and to pay a visit to the Yorkshire Cat Rescue. We were going just to visit the cats……Tim, Nicola, and I all had the idea in the back of our head that we would get another cat that weekend, but none of us said this thought out loud to each other.

Once we were at YCR, we started off in the adult cat room. There were nice cats, but none that really spoke to us…..until we got to the kitten room.
In the kitten room, we watched a trio of kittens. A rambunctious boy and 2 girls snuggling together on a bed. One of the girls got plucked out to go to her fur-ever home, leaving the other girl trembling and upset. Since we were allowed to open the pens to play with the cats, I opened up the pen and picked the little girl up. She curled up against my chest and started purring! Not wanting to be outdone, her brother poked his head out and climbed straight onto Tim’s back! We had found our kittens.

Since the kittens were in Keighley and we were in Lincolnshire, we made arrangements for my friend Nicola to pick them up for us and foster them for a day or two, when I would come up on the train to retrieve them.
Tim and I were riding on the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway that afternoon trying to name them. With our girl being a tortoiseshell , we decided she needed a suitably witchy name. With her brother being ginger, I first naturally considered names out of the Harry Potter Universe…..but somehow Hermione didn’t sound like a good fit for her, and Minerva would only suit a grey tabby….so then we started thinking about our favourite places, and we finally settled on Hexe (German for witch). But what would we name the boy? He needed a suitable name to go along with a witch, and we joked about naming him Aslan…..but then Tim was worried I would come home with a third cat, a white kitten we would name Pax (points if you get the references!!). Somwhere along the line we started thinking about engines – and so Merddin got his name after both the Welsh legend (Merlin) and the double fairlie at one of our favourite Welsh narrow gauge railways. Officially, Hexe is Countess Hexe von Fluffington, and Merddin is Merddin Emrys. (though really, I think he should be Sir Merddin Emrys!). Well, I say officially, but you know….they’re cats.

And here we are…..our kittens are turning one today!! I can’t imagine my life without them in it…..but we do still miss our Proodle Doodle (among her other silly nicknames!)

It’s been a learning curve for us, too. Tim hadn’t had a kitten in many years, and I never had had TWO kittens at once! Merddin finally grew into his ears and feet (and boy has he grown!) and Hexe continues to be our little dainty girl who loves her snuggles, but on her own terms!

Happy Birthday Kittens!!!

(I’ve made both a short and an extended edition of their first year. Watch them both below!)

PS: Did I mention our cats came from Yorkshire Cat Rescue? They are an AMAZING home grown charity and they place cats all over the country! So if you’re looking to adopt, consider YCR…plus you cn ride the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway the same day!

The contents of this post, including images are © Rebecca J Lockley and Tim Lockley unless otherwise stated and should not be reproduced without permission.

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Photos Post

Last photos from Manitoba, traveling, and the index of all the albums from my trip:

the 12-seater prop plane I was on!

The snack shop once you go through customs in Winnipeg had a huge mural of US sites….including flying killer whales.

Snoopy is all over the Minneapolis airport. I forgot to take photos of this, but the airport also had a vending machine for Elizabeth Arden perfume and for Sony products (like a PSP and games!).

and one more photo:


Photo Index:
Walking around Winnipeg
VIA Rail Winnipeg to Dauphin
Quincy, Hobbes, and Casper
Lake Dauphin
Camping at Blue Lakes
Vermillon Park and Manitoba Brain Injury Assn. Walk
Flying Home

13 Days until I leave for the UK! The blog might be a little on the light side as I work on unpacking and repacking, but expect regular updates once I’m in the UK! 😀

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Leavin’ on a Jet Plane

…don’t know when I’ll be back again.

Last post from Dauphin. Farewell kitties, new friends, CBC, prairies, and labels half in French.

My next expected update will be tomorrow from home. I have a nearly 18-hour trip to get myself back home ahead of me:

6:50AM – Taxi from Sarah and Joe’s to Dauphin Airport
7:50 – Small plane Dauphin to Winnipeg
8:40 – Arrive Winnipeg (small airport), take Taxi to International Airport
1:21PM – Depart Winnipeg for Minneapolis Airport
2:42 – Arrive Minneapolis Airport
4:45 – Depart Minneapolis for Philadelphia Airport
8:30 – Arrive Philadelphia Airport
9:39 – R1 from Airport to 30th Street
10:00 – Arrive 30th Street Amtrak Station
10:45 – Amtrak Keystone Service
11:55 – Arrive Lancaster Train Station

I’m hoping since I get to Winnipeg so early that I’ll be able to get myself put on earlier flights – or at least that I can get an earlier flight to Minneapolis. If I have to wait there for 5 hours for the original connection I won’t mind so much because once I’m back in the US I have access to my mobile phone. I really don’t like it that I have to be in the Winnipeg airport without a working mobile.

This morning when I got up to use the bathroom I didn’t notice Hobbes sleeping next to me, and when I got back into bed, he was like this:

I made myself a HUGE travel bento so I hopefully won’t have to buy too much food on the trip:

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I know sitters aren’t supposed to pick favourites, but I really am going to miss Hobbes the most when I go back home, even though I’m going home to Will, who will probably cuddle me at least the first night I’m back.

Hobbes and I started out poorly. The first day I was here Joe tried to put Hobbes on my shoulder and I got clawed. The second day I was here I was trying to unpack my suitcase, and Hobbes decided to lay claim to it and clawed and hissed at me when I tried to get my clothes out. I spent my first two weeks absolutely terrified of this little cat who growled and hissed at me even when I got into bed at night!

But then, something changed. I don’t know if it was him realizing I was the one keeping the litter box clean and the food and water dishes filled, or what happened, but he started to like me. He would climb onto me while I was at the computer and try to perch on my shoulder. When I went into the kitchen to cook, he followed and snaked around my ankles, he followed me into the bathroom when I’d shower and sit on the bathmat to wait for me, and he cuddled me while I slept.

Last night when I got home, Hobbes immediately started following me around the house as I got myself ready for bed. When I sat at my computer last night to post the short blog, he was perched next to my laptop, every once and while leaning down to rub his head against my arm, and at one point put his paw on my arm as if to say “ok, time for bed”. When I got up to go to the bathroom, he was there again, following me…and as soon as I got into bed, he jumped up and curled up right next to my head…so close his whiskers were ticking my ear.

I will really miss this guy. Casper was easy to love. He’s just loveable in general and loves everyone who shows up. Quincy is aloof and comes to you on his own terms. But Hobbes? Once he decides he likes you, he really likes you.

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Will I Miss Dauphin?

That’s a very good question.

I want to say that I won’t miss it here – I won’t miss being alone and not having access to the things I’m used to (24 hour stores! a car!)….but I do think I’m going to miss the three little guys I’ve been taking care of for the past seven and a half weeks. These guys have imprinted themselves on my heart…Hobbes in particular. I suppose it’s wrong to pick favourites, but when you have a cat that climbs up and sleeps against your side and cuddles your arm….that one becomes a favourite.

This morning I had Hobbes up against my side, Quincy down at my feet, and Casper against my legs. I wonder if they know my time of taking care of them is coming to a close…my suitcase got placed up ontop of the dresser the other day and I started tossing things into it…I moved all my stuff from other areas of the house so its all in one location…I started cleaning things that I wouldn’t clean on a daily basis…poor kitties.

BUT – They’ll have their “parents” back soon enough, and I’ll go home to my cat, Will. I’ve really missed Will while I’ve been up here because he’s really my companion at home. He’s with me all day and usually follows me around the house!

Perhaps there will be an opportunity in the future to come back and catsit again for Sarah and Joe, or maybe I’ll actually be able to visit WITH Sarah and Joe sometime!

Or at least, I’ll be back to catsit again if Sarah and Joe like the way I took care of the cats and house…I do worry that I might have overlooked something in cleaning up after myself, or didn’t take care of something I should have….but I’m hoping I haven’t.

So….I’ll miss the cats, but I won’t miss being alone here.

Quincy is king of the mountain!

Hobbes, curled up for a nap

Casper, stretching out

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So, apparently it’s allergy season in Dauphin. For the past few days I’ve been sneezing non-stop and have had an on and off sinus headache. Wheee. But, the Movie Channel 2 has been showing Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, so I’ve been entertained. The nice thing about re-watching this over and over is catching things you didn’t see before….and with the large TV, it’s easier to catch the things in the background.

I’m used to my allergies though. At home sometimes I’d have to take three different kinds of allergy medicine before being able to breathe, so this is pretty mild.

I spent all weekend inside though, and my leg finally feels better. Walking down to the basement sort of hurt this morning, but I don’t have that dull constant pain I was having over the weekend. Yay for no longer falling apart! 😀

Really, I just wanted an excuse to post more cat photos (are you tired of them yet?)

Hobbes and Quincy in a sun spot

Casper, covering his eyes snoozing in the sun spot. He’s snoozing on this padded envelope Sarah and Joe got in the mail last week. I put the envelope on the floor while I was sorting the mail in it and the cats claimed it as their cushion…they all take turns sleeping on it.

Lately Hobbes has been sleeping right up against my side, under my arm. I managed to snag this last night when he had his paws wrapped around Mitch, my UM bear!

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Hobbes wants to come home with me!

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Johnny Appleseed

J IMed me this afternoon and asked me if I wanted to help C pick apples at her grandmother’s. Apparently C went over to pick apples while her grandmother is out of town and there was a whole bunch as well as loads of string beans and cucumbers, so she wanted some help. I agreed, so she came and picked me up.

Her grandmother’s apple tree is HUGE and a ton of apples had already fallen to the ground from the windy storm we had on Friday, but there were still so many left to pick that when we got back to C’s house to cut them up, we filled 2 gallon sized ziplock bags and one quart sized bag before we gave up for the night…and we still had a huge bagful of apples we didn’t cut, AND there was probably the same amount of apples that we picked on the ground around the tree!

The apple tree

Our Haul:

Not pictured: a giant tubfull of cucumbers and a quart sized bag of string beans.

Our hands are stained brown from all the apple cutting we did tonight, too.

Tomorrow is a BBQ over at C and J’s…should be loads of fun! 😀

*edit* I was telling my mom about how chilly it’s been and how all the cats keep sleeping on the bed in such a way that I can’t get in with them, and she asked for a picture:

And last night, Hobbes decided getting stuck ontop of the fridge was a good idea:


14 and Raining (or 57 and Raining)

It’s a chilly, raining day today. Which is a nice change from the overly hot made-me-feel-like-I-was-down-South weather we had been having here. I was planning on walking down to the library, but not with this weather! Fortunately, I received my care package from my mom yesterday, so on this chilly day I can have Ramen soup mixed with some veggies and a nice cup of Swiss Miss.

Inspected by customs

My loot – iced tea bags, lemonade mix, ramen noodles, coffee singles, the Sunday paper, and two bottles of bodywash (not pictured)

The only thing missing today is my big U-M sweatshirt to snuggle up in, but since I didn’t pack it, I’m sort of out of luck with that.

Oh, and because this was cute:

Quincy, stretched out on the newspaper, with Lolly to the side.

he pulled Lolly over across him, though i did reposition her so she was face side up!

This afternoon I’m headed to the farmer’s market with C, so expect lots of photos later!

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