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able sea cat

    Able Sea-Cat Simon

    My heart was broken this week by a weathered, whiskery old Sailor. His name was Simon, and served gallantly aboard the HMS Amethyst at times under heavy fire in turbulent seas during World War II.

    Able seacat Simon

    Regarded as very lucky by sailors, cats were welcomed on board many early ships for their rat hunting skills as well as their cute faces (I may be slightly paraphrasing here). Simon was picked up off the Hong Kong docks by a drunken sailor, the young black and white moggy took to life a sea like the proverbial duck to water. Hunting rats, improving morale and performing tricks (when he felt like it, cat’s perogative of course) he was incredibly popular amongst the hard-bitten sea men.

    Badly injured by shrapnel during an attack on the ship that became known as the Yangtze Incident, killing the captain and 15 sailors, Simon recovered and carried on with his role as a ratter, killing the rats who were eating and befouling vital rations whilst comforting the sailors who survived.

    Are you crying yet?

    After a few years at sea scooping ice cubes out of water jogs, sleeping curled up in the captain’s hat and running a tight ship accompanied by the captain’s dog, Simon was brought back to the UK to recover and rediscover his love of rolling meadows – rather than bouncing foredecks. He became so infamous one of the ship’s crew was appointed to deal with the resulting mail for him.

    Sadly a few months into his quarantine Simon succumbed to the rampages of a viral infection, and was honoured with a full military burial in the Illford PDSA pet cemetary. Many of the ship’s crew turned out to say goodbye to their feline companion.

    Posthumously Simon was awarded the PDSA’s Dicken Medal, the pet world’s Victoria Cross for boosting the morale of stranded shipmen under fire. Of only 53 animals in the world, Simon is the only feline to receive this honour for displaying “conspicuous gallantry or devotion to duty.”

     

    50 years later, almost to the day of his passing (unintentionally) we made our way through London through the grizzly grey Saturday to remember this little fellow who made such a mark on so many lives, so many years before.

    But what really broke my heart? Someone had taken the time earlier in the month to leave a wreath on his tiny grave, to mark another fallen warrior on Remembrance Day. 50 years later, and people still think of this small black and white cat.

    Call me a softy, I don’t care.

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    The Best Cats in London | A Feline Guide to my adopted city

    Cats. According to one of my misquoted sources, they run the internet. What I can confirm is that one definitely runs our home – and I just had to put together a list of the best cats in London – both real and sculptural. They’re historical, mischevious, know exactly how to wrap their humans around their paw, and are really rather cute.

    Best cats of London

    – Kaspar the Cat at The Savoy Hotel, The Strand –

    Not only does he have a restaurant named after him, but walk past the entrance to the famous 5-star Savoy hotel on The Strand and you will see a topiary cat. Kaspar’s story begins with the legend of an 1898 dinner at the Savoy given for 14 guests by a South African diamond tycoon. One of the diners was unable to attend, leaving the number of guests an unlucky 13, and another diner predicted that whoever first left the table would soon die. The first to leave was Joel, who died a few weeks later in Johannesburg. After this, the hotel offered to seat a member of its staff at tables of 13 to ward off bad luck

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    The Laura Ashley Iliffe Hotel – An Afternoon Tea Fuelled UK Staycation

    Sometimes in this life, you just need to stand still, take stock and appreciate elegant simplicity with a couple of friends. Our stay at the Laura Ashley Iliffe hotel was just that – an overnight that was beautifully easy. Disclosure: we were guests of Laura Ashley but all cheesily posed photos and musings are very much my own. Where to stay in Coventry

    Where to stay in Coventry

    I adore staycations. (Goodness knows I’ve written about many here, and I’m sure I will do so.) where to stay in Coventry

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    5 Green Travel Ways to be Sustainable and Eco-friendly as a Travel Addict

    Every journey begins with a single step – and if I’m entirely honest, this month’s travel linkup on green travel and being more sustainable was more of a challenge than usual. It’s never been the most important consideration when we’re planning travel – we can definitely do some work on that.

    Green Travel Sustainable Adventures of a London Kiwi

    We try and do our very best on a human scale; we don’t own a car and use public transport when at home and travelling where possible (not to mention the wai-wai express – that’s walking to non-NZers), reduce/reuse/recycle as much as we possibly can, and we adopted a small wild animal into our home – who definitely has a zero carbon paw-print. (She’s also worn a bell for years to protect birds & local animals – now she’s a bit too old and lazy.)

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    10 of the best cat cafes in the world

    I have a confession to make. I have a full blown cat addiction, and, I’m not even sorry. Those soft little ears, twitching tails and indifferent faces cast a spell that have us dashing around the globe and visiting enough cat cafes to have a shortlist of 10 of the best cat cafes in the world. All the while a sleepy little tabby cat snoozes at home in London…

    The Best Places Long Weekend in Budapest Adventures of a London Kiwi

    Once we’ve booked flights and perused hotels, Google searching for a cat cafe is one of the first things I do – and I’ve been accused of carrying out those 3 tasks in a slightly different order. It’s something I can neither confirm nor deny, but we do have a rather high hit rate of booking accommodation close to cat cafes. I’ll just leave that there, shall I?

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