Friday 30 June 2023

Sherlock Finale-Destiny Calls

Athos, Porthos and Aramis are a no show. Off swash buckling somewhere else no doubt...and it is a while before the window of  opportunity opens.Not speaking figuratively. Meanwhile I'm there counting those dratted magpies and jackdaws and blue tits and great tits and scratching off my days of incarceration on the wall. My kitty litter leg has disappeared but sharp pains and unexpected twinges now accompany my every move. My shaved flank is beginning to show stubble and night follows day seemingly ad infinitum while I'm cooped up here in the back hall... Then it happens.

There's a visitor staying and Mum is getting a bit distracted and one morning she forgets to close the window after her daily airing the cell caper. This is it. I mentally conjure up the most daring leap I can imagine and with a hop, skip and jump I am airborne. I hear a screech from the kitchen when she spots me dashing through the flowerbed, under the fence and out into the big wide world.

My trajectory comes to a sudden end when I feel a sharp pain in my back leg. I roll up into a ball and wait. Overhead I can hear them cackling.  A mob of them, an ambush. With my back to the fence I try to stave them off but they can smell my handicap and are in for the kill. It begins with the non contact swoop but progresses rapidly to beak snapping, pecking, dive bombing through to full frontal attack. Everything you've ever heard about magpies is true , they'd snap the tail off you.

Luckily our neighbour Rosy hears the din, storms into the fray and sweeps me up in her pinny.

Before you can say jack rabbit I am back in my cell and happy to be there. You could say I have found my forever home for sure...


So dear reader, I come to the end of my saga.I recovered completely in time from my injury. Well maybe there's a hint of a limp in my catwalk stride. But no more going walkabout for me. I content myself now strolling and patrolling between number 39 and 45 of our road. Between Mick's Barbecue Grill and Rosy's herbaceous borders, Dermot's back garden wall and our own overgrown flower bed. Plenty of action to keep me on my least for now...

Copyright 2023 Cathy Leonard All rights reserved

Tuesday 27 June 2023

Sherlock Episode 11- The Cat in the Iron Mask


Following discharge I am to be confined to a cage for 6-8 weeks. Yes, you heard right…a cage!!


To be fair the cage is big enough to house a Bernese Mountain Dog and vet says it’s for my own good. Well, vet would say that! Mum looks like I’ve just been handed down a jail sentence, bless her, and concludes,”This will never work!”


And of course it won’t. I set up such a din once placed in situ that everybody’s head is done in after half an hour.


“Those plates in his leg will never withstand this,” advises Red.

“I’m not paying for another operation. That cat’s costing us a fortune.” From you know who.

“Can’t we just let him out for a while,” says my BF, Longfellow.

“Seriously…he’ll be jumping all over the place. Can you just imagine!” says Mum.


I certainly can. From the arm of the chair to the top of the couch, a leap to the table and hey presto out the open window. I have already done my surveillance and my plan of escape is in final draft stage.


I do have one problem.  My back leg feels like a bag of kitty litter and seems to have acquired a life of its own, post op. Someone said something about a nerve block and an ensuing numbness that would wear off eventually but in the meantime there it is, my plated and screwed back right leg, always swinging and dangling in the wrong  direction delivering punches to everything in its path.Good as a battering ram, hopeless for flight...


But I can still head butt the top of the wire cage and bounce myself off its sides.


“I have an idea,” says Mum.

The idea turns out to be what they call the back hall. A high walled corridor outside the kitchen with a half door exit to the garden. Yes, one of those thatched cottage rustic half doors you see in Irish post cards… there’s usually a donkey’s head hanging over it. But it’s a giant leap from ground level to reach that window, what with the bag of kitty litter dragging me down, and someone will have to get careless and leave the window open for me for I'm not going to do a heroic crash through glass aka Indiana Jones.


Meanwhile the corridor is an improvement on the cage, more like a proper prisoner's cell, and I can at least see the sky and count the magpies and stroke off the days with my claws like they do in the movies and pretend I’m yer man in the Iron Mask waiting for The Three Musketeers to arrive and spring me out of this jail house…


To be continued…

Copyright 2023 Cathy Leonard All rights reserved

Sunday 25 June 2023

The Bend in the Road

Why am I always looking backwards

when from around that bend 

I can already smell salt in the air

and hear the screech of gull 

and feel the scorch of sand on foot

and cold rush of sea strike from toe to nape.

I could be savouring that

But instead here I stand

my face to the road already travelled

consumed by the wrong turns taken

the ensuing damage done, 

the time lost, the regret,

when I could at least be teetering

on the whim of something new.

Copyright 2023 Cathy Leonard All rights reserved

Thursday 22 June 2023

Poetry Competition Time

 Millcove Gallery are running their annual poetry competition. Details in link below. Writing poems based on paintings is a great way of playing with the imagination. So whether you enter the competition or not use the paintings as poetry prompts and enjoy. There's a lovely range of situations/settings suggested by the paintings in the selection so you are sure to find something to stimulate your creative genius...go for it...

Monday 19 June 2023

Left Foot Forward


Although I am totally consumed by the inconvenience of broken bones

 it is Summer here, and I can look out and see the drone bee, usually female,

fill her saddlebags with pollen and her honey stomach with nectar 

from the Purple Toadflax that has colonised the garden,

and admire her ten hour day shift, her fortnight or two life span

spent replenishing the hive, and notice the Oriental Poppy, 

its crepe paper blooms that swirl and fall, layer upon glorious layer, 

its scarlet skirts splayed and scattered to the breeze,

and see the yellow tongue of  the white throated Lily

trumpet forth, recede and give way to the next performer,

the Oxeye Daisy stirring in the wings,limbering up for its big debut-

And maybe in this way I can learn a thing or two...

Copyright 2023 Cathy Leonard

Friday 16 June 2023

Sherlock-Episode 10- The Hit and Run

 Sissy McKeown should be banned from driving for life. She damn near finished me off. And as for these new electric vehicles....don't even start me. The bumper is over your backside before you even hear the engine purring. A downright unnatural sound for a car. Give me a roaring exhaust pipe any least you know trouble's  a comin' your way.

Well there you have it in a nutshell. Yer one on her way to the butcher's, probably listening to Lyric FM, drives over me without so much as a by-your-leave...and I'm left there writhing on the road, hapless victim of a hit and run. You'd think she would at least have heard the thump and noticed corpulent me upended in her wake. A candidate for Specsavers...?

Emergency services not materialising I drag my poor maimed leg backwards, through the hedge, across the garden and, believe it or not, through the cat flap. All that boy scout pumping iron is paying off. I collapse spent on my bed in a heap. 

Mum passing by a few moments later notices nothing untoward. She could do with a spec test too. It's Longfellow, never missing a chance to stroke and provoke me, who alerts the household.

"Hey guys, I think there's something wrong with Sherlock. He's not moving and he's not eating."

A chorus of "Not eating!!!"

It's all state of alarmum after that.

"That cat's costing us a fortune!" This from, well you've guessed, Grumps.

"He's definitely had his nine lives." Cool as you please from Red. 

Reassuring to be listening to all this negativity when you've just been run over by an OAP on her weekly fresh chops' shop.

I won't bore you with the medical jargon and procedures that accompany our visit to A& E. Suffice to say there is talk of a possible broken pelvis and ensuing euthanasia and mum is weeping and the vet is shaking her head.

I am visualising the funeral service, Grizabella singing Memory, background score to screenshots of me in my various guises, when the cold liquid is injected into my veins.

When I wake up hours later with my left flank damn near shaved off me and my belly howling for grub I decide there'll be hell to pay for this...

To be continued...

Copyright 2023 Cathy Leonard All rights reserved

Thursday 15 June 2023



I think this may be the first poem I ever wrote.  I was  brought up in a council estate in Northern Ireland in the fifties/sixties. There were no playground facilities so we roamed, unchaperoned and there was a great freedom to that. The bars referred  to separated the footpath from the road and were a popular spot  to hang out and hang off, preferably upside down...But the religious divide was ever present. Council estates were segregated zones for the most part. Ours dubbed The White City  being the oldest estate had a mixture of creeds unlike the Ponderosa where Aunt Annie lived in a Catholic enclave. It got its name from the ranch in Bonanza a long running western soap from the fifties and sixties. But we all walked a very thin line and long before violence broke out we could smell gunsmoke on the horizon.The silence we lived in was one of fear.



Tumbling over the bars



Knickers in the air

Nobody watching.


Tennis on the footpath

No nets-no lines

Few rules-just balls

Always landing in

Mrs Quinn’s garden.


The delight of foraging

Through Toner’s back-yard.

Rumours extending

Like a ripple from the rear

of adults alerted.


And rumours of The Boys

Braving the Tricolour

Shouts of freedom

Heading for Coalisland

Followed by silence.

Copyright 2023 Cathy Leonard All rights reserved

Sherlock- Episode 9. The Boy Scout Summer Training Camp

 It's been a year since she has cut me any slack. By which I mean column space. For Mum's been too busy with poxy poetry to pass me the quill or rather mouse in this case.  The last you heard of me, dear reader, I was about to join a boy scout training Summer camp in the Wicklow mountains. 

Those kids were ace! Never a dull moment. What with the barrel challenge, the tyre time trial and the hanging tough,  I definitely earned that badger badge. And at least for that week I must have been Ireland's Fittest Cat!!

They included me in all their shenanigans and most especially in all their barbeques; sizzling Cookstown sausages, tasty beef burgers, succulent chicken kebabs. Boy those lads loved their grub. I had definitely found my tribe. By the time they were ready to go home I had several offers of foster brothers and a rather rotund belly. But scout master declared that I might after all actually belong to someone. 

What is it with humans? if cats ever belong to anyone...

Anyway I was carried off to the nearby DSPCA where a chip was discovered in my neck. When the heck did that get there?...I belonged. 

And before long Mum burst through the animal shelter  doors weeping up a flood. I hoped it was joy.

To be sure it was  and I was treated like the Prodigal son albeit there was no fatted calf ladled into my dinner bowl. Even  Grumps behaved with restraint and there was less tipping me off those chairs.

I discovered that during my absence Long Fellow had been industriously circulating my mugshot all over the neighbourhood. So much so that as I conducted my diurnal amble around the precinct I was accosted and manhandled and swept off my stride by various well intentioned neighbours who hadn't yet learnt of my prodigal return. Mum was promptly called and I was delivered yet again into her salvaging hands. In short it became dangerous to venture out of doors. 

But my itchy feet soon got the better of me and Michael's restaurant, now touted as worthy of Michelin standard (he'd surely been busy during my absence) was too much of an enticement to defer walkabout. After all I had celebrity status with Gaz the chef owner and was sure  of some five star treats. 

The waft of slow cooking Wicklow lamb hit my nostrils half way across the road and the prospect of a few amuse- bouche and Big Mike's Surf and Turf tickled my palate. I stopped to salivate and that's when it happened.....

To be continued...

My last post was June 11th 2022 if you want to check it out..

Copyright 2023 Cathy Leonard All rights reserved

Tuesday 13 June 2023


A new craft group has been set up in my local area and Jo, one of the group, makes quilts. Stunning  pieces of work that brought me back to my father's skill with needle and thread. He came from a line of stone masons and had very clever hands...




My father could cut fabric with either hand

taking cognisance of grain, warp, weft and diagonal.

I remember newspaper triangular patterns,

his tailor’s chalk left white crosses in its wake.


He figured dimensions in his head, but cut

with precision - no strip or machine quilting then

when we cranked the handle that thrummed out blocks

each with its own story to tell.


He finger-pressed frocks and cast-offs that conjured up

memories - sharp and ephemeral the way scents do -

pin-stitched and back-stitched, summers pinioned.


He knew that if pulled along the diagonal

the fabric would stretch

as memories do now across the bed.

Pink Gingham

 I have managed to break a wrist and two bones in the foot. All right side, my dominant one. Tripped over the dog...poor Molly. So not feeling creative am editing and re-blogging some of my poems from way back. This one relates to growing up in sixties Ireland. 

Garden looks good this time of year so some pics.

Pink Gingham


We were daughters of Eve

sacred vessels

arbiters of men’s fate-

we were to keep our hemlines low and our lips pursed tight.


Girls were expelled for attending dance halls-

the Spanish inquisition could have learnt a thing or two

from the Mercy nuns-


and then the Sex Education-

How far should you let him go? Was a kiss sex? Or a hug?

A button undone? A bodice too low?-


On Radio Caroline the Bee Gees, The Stones and The Beatles-

Women were burning bras all over America -

and we were forbidden to dance.


The arrival of the summer uniform

pink gingham that lasted one term

then back to the pinafore box pleats -

pink gingham was deemed an enticement to sin


and there were Homes for girls like that….

Copyright Cathy Leonard 2023

Thursday 1 June 2023



We tell ourselves it's the multitasking

the reason why we forget the task in hand

distracted and waylaid as we are

by a butterfly in full tilt, the scent of a memory,

the blue cap of a blue tit, anything

that edges between the thought and ensuing action

And when we have to scroll mentally through the alphabet,

 sometimes even twice, to recall a name

we tell ourselves that it's just 

that the range of our acquaintances 

has expanded exponentially

in recent decades

And this morning when I recalled and recounted

every detail of your dog's behaviour, 

idiosyncrasies and demise

and couldn't remember your name

while you stood there waiting 

for the introduction to my companion

I just hope you put it down to bad manners...

Copyright 2023 Cathy Leonard All rights reserved