Like Squirrels to Nuts

Apart from my brief sojourn to the Scottish Highlands, I am mostly staycationing this year, so another beautiful Sunday afternoon found me out on the patio with a picnic and a terrific book, Like Bees to Honey by Caroline Smailes. (Lovely lady, if you’re reading this, any chance of a sequel, Like Squirrels to Nuts?)

Of course, just because I am only out on the patio, it doesn’t mean to say that standards need to drop. I hauled out my indoor hammock (no, Kaff still hasn’t got me a groovy outside one), picnic blanket, a hamper of nuts which was very heavy but happily, quite a bit lighter when I brought it back inside, and a lovely bottle of something cool and pale. I wish I could say it was the Cisk beer featured in Caroline’s book but it wasn’t. I had to settle for a bottle of Dalwhinnie instead.

My shades and sun hat are very important – I don’t want to end up a red squirrel, after all – so I made sure to take those with me on the first trip out to the patio. (I am only a little squirrel and had no help shifting everything, so it took a couple of trips.) However, when I finally had everything around me, I kicked off my sandals, and read for a while.

Caroline Smailes is a lovely, very clever lady and a top writer. I’ve been to a lot of islands but haven’t been to Malta, yet she described it so well that I feel as if I’ve been there this afternoon. I had taken my iPOD outside with me as well, but I didn’t need it, I was so engrossed in her book. If you want to find out more about it, Kaff did a review on her blog The Nut Press. (She should have been writing my book, The Adventures of Squizzey, but instead read Caroline’s and then wrote about it. I think that’s a little naughty but Caroline’s so lovely, I don’t mind too much, I suppose.)

All in all, it was one of those lovely, restful paws-up afternoons that a busy International celebrity squirrel like me doesn’t get very often. I enjoyed it immensely. How did you spend your weekend?

Clearing Out

This is a photo of me on an extremely powerful and poignant memorial statue called The Emigrants which commemorates all those who were forced to leave their homes in the Highland Clearances. It is situated in Helmsdale on the east coast of Scotland. The father and son look out to sea and an unknown future and the mother (with her baby) turn back towards the Strath and the home they have left behind. You can find out more about the statue here.

This statue made a lasting impression on me. While I’m not in any way being exiled, unlike those who were cleared out of their homes and sent to far-flung countries, it does sum up how I feel after visiting this part of Scotland. I feel sad about having to leave. It is a wrench to have to go to home. But from the time spent in this beautiful part of the world, I also draw an incredible strength for whatever lies ahead. So, much like the father, I feel like I am striding forward with determination.

Bright Prospects

This is one of the stops we made on the way up from Helmsdale to Strath Halladale: it’s a picture of me at Baile-An-Or, the site of the Sutherland gold rush. Kaff’s grandfather took part in it. No, he didn’t find any gold – like Kaff’s family has ever had any luck with finding their fortune! – but it is a beautiful part of the Strath. Whenever we reach Baile-An-Or, we stop and have a breather, knowing that we’re very close to reaching the croft where we usually stay.

It’s also by this point that we lost any decent Internet signal so mine and Kaff’s hopes of blogging and tweeting our vacation were abandoned. The poor thing tried to get a signal and drove up and down the Strath, stopping in almost every passing place to try and see if she could get 3G, but it was never strong enough for mobile Internet. She managed to get some time online at the local library in Thurso to deal with some emails. Ho hum. In the end, she was forced to do what everyone should do on holiday, and RELAX. It was kind of funny watching her struggle to switch off and enjoy that she couldn’t get online and nobody could reach her. She has become Geek-Girl in an alarming short space of time, bless.

I’m thinking that being able to take a real holiday and disconnect from the Internet and mobile phones might just be the GOLD DUST of our time.

A Wee Dram

Hello there! McSquizzey here…

Yes, I am at long last on my summer holidays and whizzing ever northwards. After a fab-ly fun stopover with my lovely mates in Kendal, I have made it into Scotland. Currently in Fort Augustus on a stop-over, we visited Dalwhinnie Distillery yesterday to pick up some of their special brew for Geek-Boy who’s been left at home. He’s fine. He has computers to play with and a kitchen floor to put down. 🙂

I persuaded Kaff to get me a bottle of Dalwhinnie whisky and I look forward to having a wee dram this evening when I put my paws up.

In the meantime, here’s a pic of me with my bottle among some of the casks at Dalwhinnie. Like the outfit? It’s so Moi, n’est pas? It was a pressie from our mates in Kendal. That’s how cool they are.

More posts to follow, lovely friends, so you can follow me on my Scottish adventure.

Happy Easter!

I am so incredibly happy and beside myself with good thoughts aimed in the direction of my bestest mate in all the world. Yes, Kaff, I mean YOU! I actually do mean it this time as well and I said that with a straight face. (Okay, slight manic grin but I am sooooooooo happy.) Just look what a stupendously nutty Easter Egg the lovely Kaff found for me and my crew this year. (Between you and me, I ain’t sharing it with them!) While it is from every little helps Tesco, they do seem to know what makes their squirrel customers tick so I’ll let them off just this once, given it’s a holiday weekend and all. Those are whole nuts – almonds, brazil nuts and hazelnuts – actually melted into the dark chocolate shell. And it gets better, because not only is it a chocolate shell, but that chocolate is Belgian Milk Chocolate. I am in squirrel heaven. I have seriously never had such a brilliant Easter Egg before and I am going to now go and attack this with the gusto it truly deserves.

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday weekend, however you celebrate it.

Luv ‘n’ nuts,

Squizz x

Squirrel Kisses Kitten Shock

Because I’m quite bad in this life – let alone past ones – I have to share my pad with a pussy cat called Tux. I know! It is a rough life that I lead and not at all as glamorous as you might assume for a squirrel of my standing. Anyhow, I guess most of the time it’s okay because the dear thing does sleep rather a lot and I am usually up high somewhere out of her reach – sitting on Kaff’s desk or in my hammock, which is even higher out of reach up on top of Kaff’s desk. I think you could safely say that we tolerate each other’s existence at best. What annoys us the most about each other is that we usually want to be where the other is in the evening – namely snuggled up with Kaff on the sofa. I like being here because Kaff likes to a) eat chocolate and b) sometimes does this while watching a half-decent television programme, such as Fringe or True Blood. She will sometimes sit there and read but hey, as long as she has chocolate, I’m happy. The trouble starts when Tux decides that she’ll jump up and cuddle in and that’s when I usually get displaced or knocked over or tumbled to the floor.

So as you can see we’re not best mates, which is why when I saw this picture of a squirrel smooch attack, oh how, I laughed. And imagined myself and Tux re-enacting it. I quickly dismissed that idea – I’d get her fur all over me, the creature molts like she regrows new fur every day, but I thought the pic was fun and every so often I do imagine myself springing a surprise luurrve offensive. It won’t happen but this is kind of cool, all the same and the pic comes courtesy of one of Kaff’s Twitter pals, Miss Fizzy Duck, who is brilliant and funny and worth a follow, if you’re on that social network.

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY, Everyone. Pucker up now!

Squirrel Appreciation Day 2010

Two of my favourite days combined in some kind of cosmic alignment wotsit today – not only was it National Hugging Day, but it was also Squirrel Appreciation Day. You mean, you didn’t know there was either one of those?

I don’t know who started the first one but Squirrel Appreciation Day was started by Christy Hargrove at WNC-Rehab.org. There are no official events as such but Christy suggests that you put some extra food out for the squirrels in your neighbourhood. Great idea.

Other ways to celebrate:-

1. Make peanut cookies… and then eat them

2. Listen to some cracking tunes by the Squirrel Nut Zippers

3. Watch for squirrel cameos in your favourite films. You’d be surprised how many times a squirrel pops up.

What I did was to spend the day with my crew and the lovely Kaff got us some of our favourite chocolate covered peanuts – made by Cadbury, so we felt it our squirrel duty to eat them before the Americans get their hands on the secret chocolate recipe and they start tasting like the chocolate in America. Eugh! We might also have had a wee glass or two of amaretto which was lovely and warming on this chill winter night. So, all in all, a pretty relaxed day – I can’t party like I used to – but enjoyable and fun.

Snow Day

F-f-f-freezing my paws off...

Goodness me but my little corner of south Wales doesn’t half seem to be getting its fair share of the white stuff. We’re snowed in again and can’t get the car off the drive, let alone round the corner and up the hill. Ho de hum! I can’t say that I’m too gutted about it because it means that my hordes of fans won’t be expecting me to grace them with my luminous presence and I can have some rest at home. This is a good thing. I am a little pooped.

Kaff and I had some fun in the snow this morning. We went out to scamper around, throw some snowballs – she’s not such a good aim as I am and is now retrieving the remains of snow from the back of her neck, tee hee! – and we made a snow squirrel. Very fine he was too until the neighbourhood brats decided to run their sleds into him. Honestly, they are so uncultured and don’t appreciate true snow art when they see it. Plus, being from the south Wales valleys, they have no driving skills whatsoever. How was your snow day?

A squirrel is not just for Christmas…

All I wanted for Christmas... was another squirrel

So Christmas Day was fabulous. My nut store runneth over. I hope Santa Squizzey could read your writing and brought you all you hoped and wished for this Christmas, too. I had a fun day spent with Kaff and her rellies, odd bunch but fairly squirrel-friendly, apart from Bertie, the dog.

On Boxing Day we headed north to the heady heights of Valleys to see Geek-boy’s parents and spend some time with them. There was more present exchanging and  imagine my surprise when this little fella started to fight his way out of the wrapping paper. I had thought our squirrel crew complete and Geek-boy wanted reassurances that this was the case. So to be scuppered by his own mother must be truly gutting. Hottie – not my first choice of name but that’s what he came labeled as – seems very forthright and chatty and I may have to watch this one. He has delusions of power, methinks, and I will have to watch that he doesn’t try and muscle in on my cushy Kingdom.

Oh, don’t give me that, “But Squizz, he looks sweet and I’m sure you’re being paranoid” rubbish. The little fella has been in his new home for all of 30 minutes and he is already snuggled in amongst my crew in my usual position and telling me that I can go upstairs and ‘play’ on the computer, he’ll look after things downstairs and protect the nut stash and amuse my crew. I smell a very tricky rodent, which is just what I didn’t need this holiday with my stuffing reserves depleted and being in need of a good rest and not at all in a position to overcome an attempted coup. Life is never easy, is it?

Santa Squizzey & his sledge

Nadolig Llawen!

Well, it is nearly time for me to set off into the night and start delivering my presents to all the naughty boys and girls out there – and there have certainly been plenty of mischievous little critters this year. I’d have my work cut out getting it all done in one night were it not for my space time continuum shift widget.

So all I need to do now is wish each & every one of you out there a very peaceful and HAPPY CHRISTMAS choc-full of nuts and hugs from loved ones and may you get to spend time with those special people in your life.

I will be spending Christmas Day with my lovely Kaff and her assorted nuts of a family. Then in the evening the crew and I will be having a select party out in the woods behind my mansion.

On Boxing Day, I’ll be distributing nuts to those squirrels less fortunate than myself – which, let’s face it, is most of them!

HAPPY HOLIDAYS EVERYONE!

Luv ‘n’ nuts, Squizzey and Crew xxx