Category Archives: animals

Cats multiply – Universal Coons

Danger in Cat World

By Nina Post

A review for the publisher: Curiosity Quills

When asked to describe what Danger in Cat World is about during an interview Nina Post replied:

Danger in Cat World is a procedural murder mystery about a homicide detective who feels isolated by his work and investigates the murder of a reclusive heiress. When he discovers a window to another universe and dozens of cats begin appearing out of thin air, he must embrace the unknown to solve the case.

Now this is a different take of course on the idea of Schrodinger’s Cat – I must assume – mixed up with the latest physics about we are living in only one of many multiple universes – each of which contains the same matter but has deviated in its pathway due to a different decision made at a crucial point.

It seemed to me that I’d better explore this theory more and so found a ‘for Dummies’ site:

The multiverse is a theory in which our universe is not the only one, but states that many universes exist parallel to each other. These distinct universes within the multiverse theory are called parallel universes.

Every single possibility exists somewhere and has happened somewhere – thus Hitler won WW2 in several and /or invaded Britain and so on.

If there are multiple universes then it stands to reason that at times our universe may interact with other or cross over or… thus if you are clever enough you can build a machine that can make these interactions take place. And a Coon cat can therefore multiply in our universe as all these other universes all have such a cat, and they can all cross over into ours – every hour if the rather clever machine is still operating….

A Coon cat is an American breed that is rarely seen here in the UK, so I needed a picture of one and to learn a little more about them – being a cat lover, of course.

Maine Coon cats are among the top 10 breeds in the US I read. It weights between 12 and 18 pounds and is very large looking at the photos, and shaggy, and a good mouser apparently. It is hardy too and thus very much an outdoor cat I would assume. You can buy them in the UK of course but I personally have never seen one.maine coon

So what did I think of the book? Well Nina has a rather zany imagination as evidenced by her book titles.

And this zaniness is reflected in her writing style which I thought refreshing and different and amusing. I thoroughly enjoyed this book in a very light-hearted way and loved the detective named Danger and his

I think I need more about Danger to read and I see he a new book will come in February next year. I am definitely going to check out her other books too as she seems an author worth following.

5 stars!

Flying in the Sky?

A Witness Above

 

By  Andy Straka

 

A Netgalley review

 

These books just keep getting better.

So unless you really need to read all the back story, I don’t suggest you start here with the very first novel in this series.

I didn’t. and I’m really glad, I guessed all that was necessary from what was written in the book I did read. However, don’t let me stop you reading these books in order – it is often the best tactic .

This is an author who has learnt his trade as he has written and published.

His main character is fairly stock – especially in this first novel but with one great unusual characteristic – he flies hawks – taken from the author’s own passion. And in A Witness Above, we don’t hear enough about the hawks – for me. Which is why I prefer the later book which I have already reviewed (A Killing Sky on the 20th August on my blog: Tiggerrenewing).

So just 3 stars for this early novel, but then I find that authors with series generally fall into two categories:

  1. Those who start with a great bang and the subsequent books are more and more disappointing as they run out of storylines; or
  2. Those who start more modestly and improve steadily with each book written – their skills as story-tellers increase and they learn more about the 5 stages of classical story-telling and fit their characters better into them. This author falls into this category – I think.

 

 

 

Margate by the Sea: an unexpected delight

We went to Margate to visit the new(ish, 2011) Turner Art Gallery and the Grayson Perry exhibition.

We were slightly disappointed by its architecture – not the shape but the colour – dull grey. Apparently when opened it was coloured by banners but not now and whilst the sun was shining – quite remarkable for this end of summer this year, we could envisage it being very dull indeed on a wet grey day by the sea.85-turner-contemporary

It is positioned right at one end of the huge series of bays that form the Margate sea front. By the harbour wall of what was once Meregate a small fishing village . it has been inhabited since probably pre-historic times and certainly the Romans lived there but constant invasions made life difficult during the 8th, 9th and 10th century.

Margate is situated on the coast of the Isle of Thanet, which of course, hasn’t been an island for a long time. But it was still an island when the Romans lived there and a bridge wasn’t built until the 1400s. In the 1700s you could still reach it by ferry, but the channel silted up and Reculver is now on dry(ish) land. The land still needs to be defended against the sea trying to gain its channel back and so there are sea defences all along the coastline.

Margate – which is on the outer edge and thus faces the English Channel, was part of the Cinque Ports through the control of Dover, but became independent from their control in 1857.

It is claimed to be one of, if not the first, coastal resort for sea bathing which greatly changed its status from a fishing (smuggling) harbour to a fashionable bathing town bringing with it not only boats carrying traffic down river from London but eventually also the railway. Turner lived in Margate for some years coming down by boat from London and then leaving by boat to cross the channel from there. Very convenient – and thus the Turner Gallery was built here.isle of thanet

However, after the flush of post war holidays in seaside resorts within Britain and then the holiday camps of Butlins  and Pontins etc decline in the 1970s, when cheap Spanish holidays came in for the masses, Margate declined.

I went to this area of coastline often as a child staying at Broadstairs, just along from Margate in a bed and breakfast establishment of which there were huge numbers. These high terraced houses are now in sad repair but, since 2011 and the Turner Gallery, some are being bought up and refurbished and becoming boutique hotels such as the Crescent Victoria where we stayed, just along from the Gallery.

The Isle of Thanet has a most amazing coastline. It is really all sand and yet more sand. Great depth of beaches that are shallow in slope so good for kiddie play which is why the area was so popular when I was a child. And now there is a seawater pool in the middle of one beach for safe swimming.

Margate is tatty round the edges but has some interesting areas around the Old Town where they seem to specialise in vintage clothes and furniture. We found two really nice places to eat – Harbour Café which did the most amazing chips; and the Ambrette which is a modern Indian – even does roast Sunday lunches with venison and other exotic meats. However, rather lacking in vegetarian food which was a shame. Still good reviews from the meat eaters – even some suggesting it is worth a Michelin Star!

And then of course there is the Shell Grotto. No visit to Margate is complete without a visit to this very interesting but unexplained and without know history, underground cavern.shell-grotto

Stories about when it was created range from the Phonoecians in very early history (yes they did trade with the UK) as a religious place – with an altar at the far end of these underground passageways. Or a Folly of course. Or something else entirely.

What is certain is that all the shells apart from 4 are English, it has been around a few hundred years and has been open since the 19th century to the public, and the shells have been added, altered etc at different times but some are clearly very old. Many of the patterns are symbolic eg A Tree of Life; A Corn Goddess; A Ganesha; A skeleton; A Perseus and so on….

Spooky as it is all underground and quite large – 104 feet.

What is a really nice thing to have is the Viking Trail. This is coastal path for bikes and pedestrians which is very smooth and wide and goes all around the island’s coast passing through Ramsgate and Broadstairs and Reculver too. It is 25 miles in length so you can run a marathon if you wish – but the one running when we were there did a figure of 8 and came back to its start!viking trail