Queen and Latifa


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Blatant Plug

Posted on February 7, 2011 at 12:30 PM Comments comments (0)

I would to take a moment, if I may, to shamelessly plug my brother’s and his girlfriend’s blogs: Salonian Rhythms and ‘Ow Di Body?’ respectively.


In November of last year, David and Laura, both of whom have pretty much always worked in the charity sector, made the bold decision of moving to Sierra Leone for 12 months (potentially longer) when Laura was given a job opportunity. I was not shy about voicing the following ambivalent opinions to them:

  1. From a personal point of view, I am very sad that they’re no longer going to be in Britain.
  2. I am over the moon for them that they have the opportunity to do something that they have always really wanted to do.


My selfishness about them not being around pretty much evaporated over Christmas when my Mom, Dad, and I had the opportunity to video call them over Skype. Putting it bluntly, I’ve never seem them happier and more upbeat: how can even I, with my near infinite resource of personal bitterness, possibly resent that they’re not here when people I love are so clearly very happy?


Around the same time as said phone call, they both launched blogs documenting their lives in their new home. Some of their escapades make my toes curl! I couldn’t think of anything worse that the lives that they are living, but they are revelling in it all. It makes a stark, albeit pleasant, contrast to the mundaneness and frivolity of this little blog about my diva kitty. I know that random people’s ‘holiday blogs’ are generally self-absorbed, dull and tiresome pap, but David and Laura’s (at least in my opinion) are really rather compelling. Why not have a quick clicky clicky and check them out?


M x

Three Names

Posted on February 6, 2011 at 3:48 PM Comments comments (0)

Considering that I consider myself something of a Sci-Fi fan, it's was shameful that at 32 years of age, I'd never seen Logan's Run. This shocking omission was rectified yesterday at a friend's Sci-Fi film evening (yes, I really am that nerdy... and so are my friends!).


There is a character that we meet later on in the film simply known as 'Old Man' that is played by Peter Ustinov (who is, frankly, the only actor in the whole thing who can actually do his job with any skill whatsoever but that's by the by). The Old Man was an awesome character! He is quite clearly a little bit bonkers, and lives on his own with hundreds of cats whom he dotes upon. My friends cracked that that would be me when I was 80. And, well, it was a fair cop, to be honest, wasn't it?!


This a quote from the Old Man about cats that I particularly liked:

“You know, they've each got three names. Yes. The naming of cats is a difficult matter, It's just not one of your holiday games; You may think at first that I am mad as a hatter, When I tell you that each cat's got three different names. See, they got their ordinary name and then they got their fancy name. And that makes two names, doesn't it? And now it's got a third name. Can either of you two guess what that third name is? (beat) Come on! (beat) Above and beyond, there's one name that's left over, and this is the name you never will guess. The name that no human research can discover, but the cat itself knows, and never will confess.”

(Thank you Wikiquote!)



Latifa is obviously 'Tifa's 'ordinary name'.

But what of the other two?


I am inspired to give 'Tifa a 'fancy name', but I am currently unable to come up with one that I am totally happy with. I was thinking something along the lines of 'Gentle Princess Magnificent and Splendiferous'.

What do you think? In fact, why not reply to this blog with a suggestion for me?


As for 'the name that no human research can discover', well, I fear I shall go mad if I ever attempt to research it, so I'll have to resign myself to never knowing it. It's not as if she ever sees any other cats to be able to tell them anyway!


As a side note, some vague internet 'research' informed me that the character's cat naming thing is partially inspired by a TS Eliot book, Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats which I have now resolved to read (despite it not being available on Kindle!).


Have fun,


M x


Posted on February 6, 2011 at 2:35 PM Comments comments (0)

I feel that you're owed one. Sorry.


For no real reason, I've just not blogged recently. There's been family bereavement, a renewed interest in reading since I got a Kindle for Christmas, and a lot on at work: all of these things could be blamed, but that'd be a cop-out. I just got a bit lazy.


If you follow me on Twitter, you'll have seen snippits of Q&L campery throughout the last two months, but the twitter account was always supposed to be a supplementary bonus to the blog, not a poor substitute.


So, please accept my apology. I am hoping that from this point that normal service will be resumed (roughly an update a week, hopefully). Thanks for your patience and continued support.


M x

Vote Bruiser!

Posted on December 9, 2010 at 12:29 PM Comments comments (0)

This is Bruiser:






I love Bruiser nearly as much as ‘Tifa. He is awesome! Bruiser is part of the RSPCA Manchester and Salford branch's rescue animal of the year contest, and I really want him to win!


On the RSPCA website, I am quoted as saying the following:

Having adopted my cat Tifa from the branch in 2009 with the same personality as Bruiser I couldn't help but follow his plight for a new home. Tifa can be such a diva kitteh at times so I knew exactly what kind of home Bruiser needed. I really wanted to adopt him but Tifa would not have allowed such a thing so instead I did all I could to promote him on my blog Queen and Latifa.


Poor Bruiser reminded me of my girl: older, black and white, set in his ways, and no-one wanted him!


Also, Bruiser is undeniable a massive lump with an ugly face! Personally, I love him all the more for this, but you can see why shallow people might have gone for a more aesthetically pleasing cat over poor Bruiser and this happened time after time after time for the poor boy! It’s no coincidence that Bruiser was without a home for a whopping 9 months (roughly five times the usual turnaround for a rescue cat). I really did desperately want to adopt him as month after month went by without a shred of interest in him!


So please take a moment to click this link and VOTE BRUISER!


Thank you!


M x

Q&L Seasonal Card 2010

Posted on December 7, 2010 at 1:39 PM Comments comments (0)

Seasons’ Greetings to all my friends and blog readers!


As I have done for a number of years now, I’m not sending out paper greeting cards for the usual reasons. Without wishing to be a preachy, environmentalist, save the planet nutter, it is clearly better for the environment to send an electronic card rather than chopping down trees to say what can be said on my blog. Beyond this, as always, the money I save by not paying for paper cards is given to a charity. This year, unsurprisingly, I have once again decided to give a donation to the RSPCA Manchester and Salford branch. So you may not have a paper card from me that you’ll throw away in January, but you did get goodwill vibes and the satisfaction that some money went to helping out poor kitties in the situation that ‘Tifa was in before I adopted her: homeless and with nobody to love them (yet!).


Also, I would find writing out cards incredibly tedious, and those other two convenient reasons give me a good reason not to!


Another thing that using this medium allows me is the opportunity to do something a little more personalised. So here you go, a proper Q&L seasonal greeting for you:







I say it every year, but one the biggest things that I am proud of in my life is that I have made a huge amount of truly fantastic friends all over the country and, indeed, the world. That’s you, that is. I am humbled that I can consider so many decent, amazing, and diverse people as my friends. Thank you for being one of those people that make my life awesome.


And with that, all that is left for me to say is that I hope that you have a relaxing and enjoyable seasonal break, and a prosperous and happy New Year.



Have fun,



Mark & ‘Tifa


Mundane Things That 'Tifa Does That Delight Me

Posted on December 2, 2010 at 8:50 PM Comments comments (0)

One thing that I did manage to do over November whilst writing my novel (and I do use the term 'novel' rather than 'mess' with a certain amount of irony) was update the Q&L Twitter. I like Twitter because it allows me to feel like I’m still doing Q&L justice by at least writing regularly on the microblog when I haven’t got time to write on the actual blog: it’s a poor substitute, I’ll grant you, but it’s better than nothing, right?


Over the course of November, I did a series of tweets that I entitled ‘Mundane Things That ‘Tifa Does That Delight Mark’. It’s true that ‘Tifa really doesn’t have to do very much to make me full of glee, and I enjoyed coming up with the list as a mini-break from my novel writings. Seeing as not all my readers follow me on Twitter, I thought that I might reproduce the list (posted roughly at a rate of one every other day during November) for those people here.


  1. Squints when the sun gets in her eyes.
  2. Does big yawns after waking up from a sleep.
  3. Laps milk noisily (and yes, it's the special cat milk).
  4. Curiousness around any new items in the flat.
  5. If you leave a cupboard or wardrobe door open, she will rub her face on it.
  6. Meows loudly to announce her presence as she enters a room.
  7. Purrs when cuddled.
  8. Sits in my lap while I watch the telly.
  9. Sits in her predictable, favourite places around the flat.
  10. Follows me around the flat when she thinks there's a chance of me giving her treats.
  11. Cocks her head to acknowledge me when I enters a room where she is sitting.
  12. Gets very, very excited when it's feeding time.
  13. Goes crazy for anything that dangles even slightly.
  14. Sprawls in front of the electric heater.


Love that cat: even reproducing this silly list has made me all warm and happy inside!


Have fun,


M x

50,000 Words In A Month

Posted on November 30, 2010 at 11:41 PM Comments comments (1)

Hey! It's been a while!


I apologise that there's not been a blog entry for so long! Some of it was planned (no blogs in November because I was writing a novel); some of it not so much (laziness during October). Normal service will now resume, but I thought you might like to know that my lack of blogging was worth it, and bore fruit:





Yup, despite my incredible neurosis, I actually managed to write 50,000 words of a novel in a month! I'm over the moon that I managed it, and would just like to thank my lovely man Jamie for not only introducing me to the whole NaNoWriMo thing, but also supporting me throughout the month when I was panicking.


M x

Like Their Owners?

Posted on October 3, 2010 at 4:49 PM Comments comments (0)

Sporadically, I check things like the front page and about the author sections of this blog for accuracy. On my most recent check a couple of days ago, something suddenly dawned upon me.


From the front page of Q&L:

My Princess has a personality like no other, and I completely love her to bits. She is prissy, contrary, set in her ways, fickle, grumpy, clumsy, curious, moody, impatient, intelligent, resourceful, loving, snoozey, needy, playful, dopey, talkative, coquettish, cheeky, friendly, stubborn, eccentric, easily bribed, and a complete diva.


I've always thought it a cliche that pets resemble their owners, but what happens if you switch that cliche and says people resemble their pets?


Let's go through the list of 'Tifa's traits and see if they could be attributed to me too:

  • Prissy - more often than I'd like to admit
  • Contrary - also more often than I'd like to admit
  • Set in her ways - without a doubt
  • Fickle - goodness, yes
  • Grumpy - oh yes
  • Clumsy - unfortunately true
  • Curious - ish
  • Moody - hmmmm; ask The Jamie
  • Impatient - hell yes
  • Intelligent - I don't see it; but it is something that has been used to describe me
  • Resourceful - I'd like to think so
  • Loving - in the right context
  • Snoozey - unfortunately
  • Needy - occassionally
  • Playful - perhaps not as much as I once was, but yes
  • Dopey - unfortunately
  • Talkative - yup
  • Coquettish - I'm too old, but formerly maybe
  • Cheeky - yeah
  • Friendly - I hope so
  • Stubborn - definitely
  • Eccentric - and proud of it
  • Easily bribed - yeah




Maybe there is something to that old cliche after all...


M x 


Silver Jubilee

Posted on October 3, 2010 at 4:27 PM Comments comments (0)

Since I got 'Tifa, I have been monitoring who she dishes out furry punches to when she's had enough fuss. I even wrote a list of who she's bopped, with plans of potentially writing a blog entry with statistics on whether she prefers to bop boys or girls, gay people or straight people, young people or old people, &c. I was thinking pie charts actually! I still intend to do that particular blog, but recently 'Tifa made something of a milestone: 25 people bopped! It's her Silver Jubilee!


I present to you 'Tifa's Silver Jubilee 'hit list':


  1. Mark (me!)
  2. Sue (my mom!)
  3. Laura (my brother's girlfriend)
  4. Philip
  5. Dan
  6. JT
  7. Lisa
  8. Rob
  9. Ryan
  10. Jonathon
  11. Bec
  12. Gareth
  13. Chris
  14. Craig
  15. Neil
  16. Oli
  17. Claire
  18. Stephen
  19. Clive
  20. Sara
  21. Susie (the manager of the local RSPCA!)
  22. Aaron
  23. Dave
  24. Dunkan
  25. Paul


Considering that I've had her just shy of two years (20 months to be precise), that's an average of more than one person bopped a month. This doesn't include repeat boppery either as I've lost count how many times she's bopped me and there's people on the list that've also been bopped on more than one occassion. She definitely dishes out those bops!


You will notice that I have also discounted The Jamie from this list because, as yet, she hasn't actually bopped him merely terrorised him and attacked his knitting rather than him as a person.


So raise you glass in celebration of 'Tifa's Silver Jubilee!


Have fun,


M x

Knitty Kitty

Posted on September 8, 2010 at 11:38 PM Comments comments (0)

With a title like 'knitty kitty', I suspect you've got an idea about what this blog entry is about. You're probably right.


Both The Jamie (my boyfriend) and I have knitting projects at the moment. The Jamie is making a very long scarf a la Tom Baker's Doctor Who for the Winter, and I'm working on a necktie a la Colin Baker's Doctor Who got a fancy dress costume. Our coolness knows no bounds, but that's beside the point.


Stereotypically, cats really like wool. 'Tifa is clearly a stereotype.


So... As I'm sure you've worked out, there is an unfortunate clash here.


The Jamie and I were sat in front of the telly last weekend, innocently getting on with our knitting whilst watching the telly. A loud 'meow' from 'Tifa announced her arrival into the room, and I fear my giggle at Jamie's exasperation at her arrival was not the most appropriate reaction that I could have had. Past experience of terrorisation had made Jamie justifiably cautious. True to form of making his life miserable in a way that amuses me, 'Tifa immediately went for his knitting. Poor Jamie was horrifed and ineffectually attempted to brush her away whilst attempting to be subtle as to not encourage a clawing. I am made of sterner stuff and batted her away. We earned a hiss for our troubles. I don't like it when she hisses at me because, as she only does it very occassionally when upset, you know you've really annoyed her when she does it.


'Tifa really likes wool when it is being knitted. It is pretty much impossible to knit if the diva is in the room as she'll go for your knitting. And by 'go for', I mean really pounce and attack and go nuts. Poor Jamie: imagine the horror one must experience when something that you're desperately allergic to actually goes for you!


In an attempt to distract the kitty away from our precious knitting projects, I cut off some wool and dangled it in front of her. She went absolutely crazy enthusiastic for it. More so than any other dangley toy that I've ever used (and she goes pretty mad for them, I can tell you). She was loving it (and so was I to be honest - she was so cute going all nutty for the wool!). However, as soon as I wasn't dangling it and dropped it on the floor, she was instantly indifferent to it and went back to wanting to attack either The Jamie's or my knitting. Blooming awkward kitty!


As yet, I have come with no solution to 'Tifa obsession with my knitting other than stop knitting when she is in the room. Even that isn't enough sometimes and my knitting has to be put on a high shelf out of attack range.


As it's so very cute, I can't be annoyed with the diva's obsession with my knitting. I'm not so sure that the same can be said for The Jamie!


Have fun,


M x


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