Sunday, 15 December 2013

Advent Diary, day 15 - Sailors’ Warning, Christmas Cards and the Dangers of Cats

 I should never watch more than 2 hours of TV at night and I certainly should not then go to bed and read a thriller until 1.30 in the morning; a fail-safe recipe for a disastrous night.  I must have slept in snatches, but I looked at the clock every hour on the hour until 6.30 this morning when I finally had enough and got up.

I dawdled and dithered before drawing the curtains but when I did, this is what I saw. Shakespeare said of such a sky: 

 Like a red morn that ever yet betokened,
Wreck to the seaman, tempest to the field,
Sorrow to the shepherds, woe unto the birds.
Gusts and foul flaws to herdmen and to herds.”

Hard to believe that a spectacular morning like this will soon turn into a wet and miserably grey day, even though there are plenty of metereological reasons. A German saying goes: Red dawn fills the well, red dusk will dry it.

Still, the miserable day had a good outcome, we finished writing our christmas cards. Music, a glass of Gluehwein and some chocolates were all part of the pleasure.

Finally, a bit of advice: Even in cold weather, beware of taking cats to bed for warmth.

‘As this beast has been familiarly nourished of many, so have they paid dear for their love, being requited with the loss of their health and sometimes of their life......for it is most certain that the breath and savour of Cats consume the radical humour and destroy the lungs and therefore they which keep their Cats with them in their beds have the air corrupted, and fall into severe Hekticks and Consumptions.’

Edward Topsell, History of Four-footed Beasts, 1607

You have been warned! Hecticks and Consumptions. Nasty!


  1. Re: taking cats to bed - I shall tell my daughter, then, she would never toss them out consumption or no.

  2. The company is worth the Hecticks and Consumptions! Nothing like a cat ignoring you in the nighttime.

  3. Too late for me, the pattern is set. My sweet 17 year-old Satchell cuddles closer and closer the older he gets.My biggest danger is all the cat hair I'm inhaling.

  4. Some sort of truth about cats... I used to take my neighbor's cat (at the old house) who loved to hang out in my backyard up into the hammock with me, which after a while brought out the worst allergy in me. Since then I know that I shouldn't get near any cat which is really hard for me since I love them so much. Good thing I hadn't one of my own, it would have been awful to give her/him away.

  5. Sorry that you didn't get enough sleep last night. Wonderful quotes and photos! I'll have to pass along your warning about sleeping with cats. It's nice to meet you, and I look forward to seeing more of you!


  6. pink at night sailors delight, pink in the morning sailors warning....ha...its good and bad when a book hooks you like that....smiles..i have been there....

  7. What beautiful skies!

    I hate insomniac nights. The've plagued me all my life.

  8. Me, I hate hekticks and nasty consumptions.
    My cats used to sleep with me, one by my left leg, and one by my right shoulder. On the floor, beside the bed, was the dog. For months after the dog died, I'd still find myself swinging my legs wide when I got out of bed. Then, of course, I'd cry. One of the cats, the eldest of my three pets at the time, spent weeks looking for "his" dog.
    Meanwhile, I seldom see the sunrise because I stay awake late, writing or reading, and then I sleep late. So I think your photos are beautiful, although our version of the old saying is "red sky at night, sailor's delight; red sky in morning, sailors take warning."

  9. So that is the reason for my poor health. Telling me is one thing, now to convince the cats.
    Love that sky, and your industry.
    I hope you sleep much, much better tonight.

  10. Lucky that is it the Pernicious Poodle Puppy that is sleeping on my husband's head then and not a cat....

    I do love these quotes you've been giving us lately.

  11. I took a kitten to bed with me when I was young. I got fleas.

  12. Ha, ha, thank you sooooo much for that cat advice, who would have thought of that!
    Love your music/chocolate/Gluehweinphoto on the Christmas table cloth - and are those Hyacinths in the waiting? Hugs! :-)

  13. The morning sky is spectacular! I never tire of looking at the sky, there is always something going on. While I am not familiar with the "well" saying, I know this one: "Abendrot - Schönwetter-Rot, Morgenrot - Schlechtwetter-Rot".
    I like the idea of you sitting at the table with chocolates and Glühwein (although I'd pass on the latter, since I never developed a taste for it), listening to music while writing your cards.
    Today, I will use my lunch break for one last trip to the post office with a Christmas card to a lady I thought I would not hear from but who sent me a card on Saturday, and small gifts for two of my aunts and uncles in Yorkshire.

  14. A wonderful post - reminding me of childhood nursery rhyme - 'Red sky in the morning - shepherd's warning; Red sky at night - shepherd's delight. Sleep well - cat and all...! Christine

  15. Ah well, no hope for me then . . .

  16. Well, we already knew about my consumption but now I have to worry about hecticks? It's always something. Poor Lizzie -- we must talk!

    Your photos are beautiful. How wonderful to take time to celebrate the sunrise. (I don't seem to see that one often!). I know those awful nights when you are awake at least once each hour. Unfortunately, too well. I hope yours doesn't last (and the thriller was good!)

  17. My cat sleeps with me every single night - I hope I will be ok lol. And that sky is absolutely gorgeous.

  18. I rarely have insomnia but when I do I find it a frightening state, haunted by ghosts past and freshly imagined ones from the future. Bah humbug.
    Lovely pics!

  19. A scary book and hours of TV - a certain prescription for insomnia. Big sympathy from over here, from one who indulges all too often, and then pays the price.
    Your Christmas card centre looks very inviting. I'd like to come over, just to sit and watch you write (and perhaps to sip a cup of gluhwein and nibble a chocolate!)

  20. I'm glad I'm not the only one who tosses and turns after reading too late and indulging in television. You make your Christmas card writing a real occasion - a festive tablecloth, the gluhwein and chocolates. Hope you can catch a nap today.

  21. The Red Sky saying is wrong, contemporary meteorologist say, it's just the opposite, at least for sailors. As for cats, I believe it. I love them, but have allergies. Dogs are okay I think. Great to have the cards done, but I can't find decent chocolate. Dianne

  22. Hecticks? Consumption?? That's why I've been a bit under the weather! It's the four cats who insist on sharing my bed.

    Love your pictures of the red dawn - but so understand the pain of a night like you had. I have those from time to time -- and it has little, if anything, to do with my feline bedmates!

  23. What silly things people believed in back then. I am glad we are more educated and 'civilized' now. We have saying:' Morgen rood, water in de sloot.' Sorry I can't properly translate this.

  24. What a beautiful sky.. and a great way to write out your cards. Sounds like a yummy endeavor.

    One of my cats sleeps beside my shoulder.. waiting for me to hug him close like a Teddy Bear. The other one demands that I lift the blanket and sheet so that he can lie under it by my legs. They keep me plenty warm.

    I hope you sleep much better tonight.

  25. What a beautiful sky! A reward for being up so early. I love the cosy scene with the Christmas cards...

  26. I love seeing this bit of your daily routine. There is probably contrary advice on sleeping with cats. My Slinky always slept at the foot of the bed, I loved it!

  27. Lovely red sky pics, I missed it, someone local posted a pic of it.

  28. Beautiful sky! Sorry you slept poorly.
    If the cat warnings were true I would have died of consumption as a child--LOL! ;)

  29. Hi Friko - stunning skies .. we've had a few here, but the sun sets over the Downs .. the cat - I should have known that earlier in life .. but I'm still here hale and hearty. Thanks for giving me something else to think about re a red sky in the morning - I like the German saying ..

    From a grey morning here .. cheers Hilary

  30. Oh those sky photos are fabulously beautiful. One of my New York friends lives on the east side with an open eastern view across the ...East ...River. She's always telling me about the sunrise views..

    My own open view is north (painter's light) and I do like it. I am too lazy to get up before sunrise and get outdoors to any nearby place with an open eastern view. And so, thank you so much for sharing yours!

    I also like the view of your Christmas prep tabletop.


  31. >>Hecticks and Consumptions<<

    Now that could be applied to many a blog...

  32. Wonderful sky. There have been some marvellous sunsets too. As for cats in bed, that was always the one no-no, when we had cats, so I should be safe.

  33. I love those first two photos.
    And I hope I never get Hecticks or Consumptions.



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