Wednesday, 27 November 2013


Isabella Elizabeth
May 14th 2007 - October 18th 2013

My candle burns at both ends
It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends -
It gives a lovely light.
~ Edna St. Vincent Millay ~   A Few Figs from Thistles, 1920

Bright eyes, burning like fire
Bright eyes, how can you close and fail?
How can the light that burned so brightly,
Suddenly burn so pale?
Bright eyes
~ Mike Batt ~  for Watership Down



Remember me when I am gone away,
Gone far away into the silent land;
When you can no more hold me by the hand,
Nor I half turn to go yet turning stay.
~ Christina Rossetti ~  


I Am Not There
Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn's rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush,
I am the swift uplifting rush
of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there, I did not die.


This year the glowing embers of Autumn were snuffed out.

Our home is very quiet and still as if blanketed with deep snow.
It’s Narnia without the magic.
For the moment it feels safe here, silent, wrapped in all things white,
we are numb and dim of pain. 


We will return to posting when the ice that grips our hearts begins to melt.




It had been a long time since a kitten had come to share our home. We had lain to rest our three elderly cat companions, moved from life in town to a remote part of Devon and taken on two completely wild ferals to roam the farms. Then she came.

Issy ruled our house and stole our hearts and those of the two wild cats who hissed and growled at us, but were her 'Big Cats'.

Mrs Black and her husband who had once had their own kittens took Issy under their paws and brought her up as family.  They taught her to climb, to fight and to hunt.

She taught them to play and to trust in humans. Without Issy Mrs Black would never have become the excellent housekeeping and shoppe keeping cat which she is today.

A classic Tortoiseshell, from the beginning she was the centre of attention. Known as ‘the naughty kitten’. She was a pouncing contradiction, fiery yet frail, wanton yet affectionate, fearless yet timid. Always into everything, ferocious defender of her territory and a fierce hunter.

Her star burnt ever so brightly. She was, quite simply, luminous.

We took thousands of photographs of her.

It was impossible to resist her. She was a Peter Pan, never really growing up, a Tiger who was afraid of her own shadow if she thought her humans or the Big Cats were not near to protect her. Always reaching out to us with an uplifted paw - she is our eternal kitten.

Being feral and having lived rough before we took them in, the Big Cats had fragile health and many vet bills. We did not know that Issy was ill until it was advanced. We lost her to one of the big three of fatal cat diseases, FIPs (Feline Infectious Peritonitis). It is a secret killer, we seldom know when it strikes, it takes those with weak immune systems, and there is no effective treatment or cure. It is always fatal and takes the form of many disturbing and horrific symptoms before it finally stills the life which it has crept up on.

Issy fought it like a Lion inside of a beautiful kitten and hid the deadly disease from us. She suffered with resorption ulcers and had dental surgery .... and more dental surgery. She began to fade away and the bright light to ebb.

Her fever could not be controlled, she had blood tests, then an operation, we kept faith with Hope, who abandoned us. FIPs was found to be active in the tissue of a lymph node in her stomach. The vet visits and operations terrified her and we chose to have her put to sleep before the disease had the chance to frighten her further. She was recovering from the lymph node surgery and yet the evil disease would still claim her. But we did not let the wraith take her.

The Angel of Death - Evelyn De Morgan, 1880

We entrusted her to gentle Death who came on great silent wings and softly wrapped her in her cape while we held her in our arms. 

You cannot reach the age I find myself now at and not have loved and lost, pets, parents, lovers, friends and colleagues. I have known great love and am grateful for this. Yet in the face of all reason and logic - the truth remains that I have never loved any person or anything more than I loved this bright kitten.

In the greater scheme of events we realise the life of one small cat was rather insignificant. But to each of us our own sorrow is a deep dark ocean that we must cross without a lantern, boat or sail.

Our hearts and thoughts are one with all who have the courage to love.

 There is a light that never goes out.
 "Resembling a London street lamp it stood in the middle of the forest and shone day and night.
A lone connection to the outside world."

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