As you can see the stone itself has wonderful colours and textures.
One of the great things about staying there (in addition of course to the warm welcome, good company, excellent food, and walks in the woods) is that my sister-in-law Gill looks after a colony of feral cats.
These qualify as feral cats only technically: they live out doors most of the time (a few of the bolder ones come in to curl up in the warm for a while sometimes and in inclement weather the doors of various outbuildings are left open for them) and from time to time hunt their own food - a cat has to keep in pratice! The colony remains, but the members of it change - the lives of feral cats are short, but there are several kittenings a year (local farm-cats oblige as absentee fathers). My sister-in-law feeds them, with some of the food subsidised by a local cat charity.
The cat on the right is the mother of many of the colony. The grey cat behind is called Bat because he had to grow into his large ears and Tiger is the youngest of the current colony, still a kitten. The other tortoiseshell, on the left, has a habit of disappearing from time to time (probably to chat up the farm cats!). The older toms (two each of ginger and black) are rather nervous around humans. Momma is the only one who will let herself be stroked and then only occasionally - with the exception of Bat who will let my nephew cuddle him (Gareth has always had a way with animals and really works hard at gaining their tru
As you can see from the state of Ginger, they actually look nothing like feral cats - very fluffy and well-rounded and beautifully clean - a short life but a happy one, as far as we can see.
Oh yes, the voiceless bit: I had a cold, then a nasty chesty cough. Went to bed late after celebrating the New Year. Woke up this morning - no voice - which is weird and VERY frustrating!
Anyway, since I can't say Happy New Year to anyone by phone let me say Happy 2008 here to all my cyber-friends!