Monday, November 03, 2008

Calling Molly Bawn - elementary my dear?

Well, Sherlock aka Molly Holmes-Bawn, you were right. (Are you a witch? Do you have second sight?) I didn’t publicise this till they were safely back home with Scruffy TheEmptyNestChild, but the very very nice people who came to cat-sit our catlets while we were in Wales were Thimbleanna (that's her on the right, bending at the knees because she's taller and generally more elegant than I am) and Mr Thimbleanna - TheManoftheHouse! I really don’t understand how Molly guessed – she can’t possibly know all the blogs I read and it could have been anyone. She’s psychic. Must be something to do with being Irish.

Anyway, how lucky are our catlets? Cat-sitters all the way from the American Mid-West! And how lucky are we? Anna and Mr Anna are LOVELY.

Isn’t the blog world wonderful? You put out a plea for domestic assistance and you get a volunteer. By return. (Now, would anyone care to pop round and do my ironing? Or my marking?)

It does seem deeply extraordinary to some of my real-life friends that we should hand over our house and pets to strangers and equally so that these strangers were prepared to come and stay – but in fact, the Lives and the Annas knew far more about each other than our family has ever known about the people with whom we’ve house-swapped on previous holidays. Like the many fans of her blog, I’ve seen Anna’s house (selected views) and some wedding photos of her son and some of the things she’s cooked and lots of the things she’s sewed and knitted. And I’ve read lots about what she thinks about it all. In fact, as I often ponder, we know far more about the day-to-day doings and musings of our blog-friends than we do about the daily lives of most of our actual friends. So I felt immediately we met that we were friends – and I’ve found this with the two other bloggy people I’ve met too – we meet with so much shared knowledge and – well, it's intimacy, really.

Still you want to know what she’s like, don’t you? Well, she and TMotH are just delightful. But you knew that, if you’re a reader of hers. They’re kind and sweet and funny. They couldn’t have been more helpful and friendly – the perfect house guests. They arrived on the Friday afternoon and even after 30 hours without much sleep, still managed to have dinner with us and chat away with apparent ease. They were so appreciative of everything; let me put on record, however, that we felt that the whole debt was on our side. Especially as Scotland did not rally itself and put on its best weather for our visitors. Rain. Snow (not in Edinburgh, but where they went, up north.) We cringed from Wales every time we saw a weather forecast. But I'll let her tell you all about it.

And look what Anna left for us! I couldn’t believe it! I’d seen this quilt on her blog ( but never imagined that it was for us. Look at the pretty material!

Look at the lovely combinations of colours! Don't they go well with our sitting room?

Look at the sweet embroidery!

Look at the little bees!

And flowers. And plant pots because I like gardening. So pretty! And cosy! I just love it – the colours are so much what I’d have chosen.

I feel that I should send her one of the cats as a thank you.

Or possibly one of the children.
Ah yes, the cats. Did they pine for us? Did they look anxiously for our return, refuse food, have problems sleeping in our absence?

Ahem. It seems not. Sirius apparently really likes helping with knitting and Cassie is quite prepared to accept her food whoever serves it up.

A huge thank-you to Thimbleanna and TMotH and love from us all. Hope Scruffy has forgiven you for leaving him with his big brother and sister-in-law. Keep in touch!

Now, our next holiday is probably next Easter…. Form an orderly queue now, folks – you don’t have to bring a quilt.
(By the way, my Jane Austen post attracted no more than the usual number of readers. So what on earth happened last Wednesday? 120 extra readers who took one look and never returned. Solve that one for me, Molly Bawn.)
PS one hour later - having noticed that I'd called Mrs Gaskell's book "Cranston" (a friend's surname) instead of "Cranford" in my previous post, I changed it, and then shortly afterwards got 90 extra hits. Wouldn't Mrs G be astonished if she knew?


  1. I wonder if Thimble Anna might like to come to my house?
    I DO like that quilt. Very much....

    Please remember, visitors to the UK seldom visit with the expectation of good weather. It's all part of the atmosphere! It's just lovely to be there. What lucky guests.

    I hope you enjoyed your holiday too.

  2. A new theory: maybe the "Cranford" mini-series is being shown on TV in America at the moment?

  3. Awww, Isabelle. Now you've brought a tear to my eye and made me miss you even more! I can only assure your readers that all the charm, humor and kindness came from the Life side of the room. You were the finest of hosts -- even down to the catlets who warmed right up to us (which is more than I can say for Scruff who hissed for 3 days at his brother. ;-)) If only I could now pop round to do your ironing and marking -- you should have left some for me to do!

    I do wonder how your mind works -- I LOVE the pictures of catlet (would that be Sirius?) and D2 in the bow! And I can't tell you how excited I was to walk into your house and see all the blue. Thanks for the picture of the quilt on your couch -- how fun to see it there!

    Anyway, I'll hopefully be blogging it all soon. And Molly -- well, we all knew that she was brilliant, didn't we???

    Oh, and Fifi was correct -- What lucky guests we've been to be treated so well by The Life Family. The weather was truly wonderful -- rain, snow, gale force winds and sun -- we DID love it all.

    Now...just where does Fifi live??? ;-)

  4. Oh, I do love it when I'm right! I just had a hunch.....The only other place I thought Thimbleanna might be was Houston, for the quilts. And I knew that if I was right she'd bring you a quilt! Such a lovely one too. She must have trolled through all your photos to get the colours so perfect!
    It's so nice to hear of blog friends meeting in person, and it always seems to be as you say. They get on like a house on fire! Glad you all had such a nice time.....

  5. I love the fact that your daughter will stand there with a bow around her so that you can put a photo on your blog.

    I'm glad you had such great housesitters!

  6. I couldn't get over how Molly picked up about the housesitters!! Maybe I should do the same and ask through blogland next time we go away! A farm in NZ - does it sound tempting?

    Love the quite, love the photos - and nearly saw one of you!

  7. Well, I've heard of all kinds of friendships springing from blogland, but this is the first time I've heard of someone having a blog friend from across the world (one ocean anyway) to be their house sitter! But I guess that's no different from getting a house sitter from an agency who specialises in those things. Probably better, considering you already know them well through blogging, as you explained, Isabelle. I wonder if any of my overseas readers would like to come to Australia? I doubt it, with the cost of airfares from Oz to anywhere else in the world!

  8. I'm certain that you could no sooner give away one of your children as one of your cats!

    The quilt is lovely and that Molly is wily.

  9. How wonderful for you! I have never met Thimbleanna but can confirm that you and your daughter are lovely company. And it is always brilliant to meet bloggy friends in real life and discover that you have had such good friends all along, you just hadn't met them yet! (PS As you know, I can't sew so can't bring a quilt next time we meet. Will cookies do?)

  10. What a wonderful way to meet blog friends! You're absolutely right: We get to know each other very well through our blogs.
    I love your story, Isabelle...and your humour, of course :)
    Both families are very lucky to have had this amazing adventure.
    Kathy makes a good point about your lovely daughter being willing to humour her dear mother's each and every whim.
    I do love that quilt. So beautifully made, and the colors are perfect! Lots of love stitched in, I'm sure.
    I think I could whip up a quilt by Easter...although I've never made one before.
    I love ironing and marketing!! (just a small fib).
    I'm off now to look into airfares to bonnie Scotland (how I wish!).
    Would you care to see NY in the springtime? We'd let Mr. Life drive a tractor! :)

  11. P.S. Molly is quite the detective. Clever girl! :)

  12. Isn't this bloggy world wonderful?

    I laughed at the picture of Daughter2, all wrapped up and ready to go to the post office.

    I wonder how I could wangle a holiday in Scotland? Hmmm.

  13. Having just returned from a house/cat sitting belonging to a fellow blogger, I know exactly what you mean. We seem to know a lot about each other from our blogs don't we> I knew that Anna was visiting you and wished I'd lived nearer to pop over and say hello, I would love to meet her one day she always makes me laugh. What a beautiful quilt she left behind! I am sure she was over the moon to be staying in your home, rain or no rain

  14. Great post. Lots of interest!
    I shall be back!

  15. Hi Isabelle - I just popped over to say hello and thank you very much for going on holiday and needing a housesitter!!! Lucy x

  16. I find ironing kind of relaxing. One of my ex-boyfriends accused me of being addicted to it, since I even ironed my jeans. Alas, now that I have two bairns, I don't even iron my own clothes!

  17. I do think it is true that if you like the blog you will like the blogger. Great to hear the cat-sitting was such a success.

    I should start saving up so that I could come cat-sit one day, I would so love to visit Edinburgh.

  18. You were very lucky indeed, to have Anna & Mr Anna.
    That quilt is just gorgeous.

  19. I read all about your adventure with Thimbleanna on her blog. I must say, I am so filled with all things good and right about the world after reading about the two of you. Amazing and so beautiful!

    PS... I do windows.

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