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Merry Christmas 2016

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It’s that time of year again when I count up the ‘charity jar’ and send donations to the animal charities I support.  It’s become a yearly Christmas ritual and it makes me extremely happy to be able to help the animals that inspire me all year round.

Included in these donations is money collected from my Etsy shop.  Every time you buy an item from my Etsy shop, Benja Blue, I put a small amount in the charity jar, so you can all give yourselves a pat on the back too!

The following charities have benefitted this year from the £120 raised through your generosity…

Fleecehaven – a rescue charity for our ovine friends.

The Harmony Fund – supports other small charities worldwide.

REAN – Rescuing European Animals in Need.

Cruelty Free International (was the BUAV) – against animal testing.

Hillside Animal Sanctuary – farm animal rescue.

Notts Nibblers – Nottingham-based ladies who rescue rodents and who let me take home my degus Pan, Saxon and Kanga last Christmas.

Bleakholt – pet rescue based near Manchester where we picked up our wonderful new cat Kizzy.

Brooke Hospital for Animals – equine charity working abroad in poor communities.



Speaking of animals, I’m so happy to introduce you to our newest rescue pet, Kizzy, who I first saw on the Bleakholt Facebook page.  His photo reminded me of Benja, our beloved bengal who we lost early in 2016.  I’ve always wanted to rehome an older cat and Kizzy fitted the bill perfectly.  He’s 12 years old and was extremely overweight when he first arrived at the rescue (8kg!).  He’s now half the cat he used to be and we have discovered he is also deaf, not that it matters a jot.  He does have a loud, strange meow though, probably because he can’t hear himself!

We did a 6-hour round trip about a month ago to pick him up in some pretty awful weather but we made it there and back safely.  Bleakholt is a wonderful place, with the ability to care for cats, dogs, rabbits, guineas and the odd goat!  The weather was very bad when we were there but I would have loved to have spent more time looking around.  I did have a quick look in the bunny shed and couldn’t resist giving some of the residents a little tickle!


Bengal cross rescue cat Kizzy


When he was first introduced to us Kizzy shot out of his pen and immediately pulled a tin of Whiskas off the windowsill, which goes to show what a food monster he is!  We think he is a bengal cross which shows in his big, friendly personality.  He was very quiet all the way back, but when we opened his carrier I think he knew he was home, and we spent the night in bed getting Kizzy-kisses.

So I would like to say a big thank you to Bleakholt, and especially Vicky Wardle, the manager of the cat wing.  It’s been a year and half since our wonderful cat Jemima disappeared, but thanks to Bleakholt and Kizzy our house is now a home again.



Although Kizzy is a house cat because of his deafness, I wil be taking him out regularly on a harness and lead.  Unfortunately the one we used for Benja is too small for Kizzy!  I now have a ‘large cat’ size on order!  And hopefully next year we will have a much bigger garden to explore together.

We are doubling the size of our garden in 2017 and I am so looking forward to working on it and sharing the progress with you.  Our garden has languished for the 3 years since we moved in, but now it’s ready to be transformed.  We hope to include a workshop for me, pens for guineas and bunnies, a flower garden, fruit trees, a greenhouse and a small pond perhaps.  I’ll be squeezing a lot in!



And finally, I would like to say ‘congratulations’ to my wonderful husband Steve, who has secured funding to set up as a full-time guitar maker.  Steve has been making guitars part-time for about 10 years now, but with bills to pay it’s been hard to make time for them.  But over the weekend we travelled down to the south coast to David Dyke’s wood yard where we spent a happy two or three hours picking out 6 back and side sets and lots of other materials.  I forced Steve to buy one particular set of birds’-eye maple with beautiful figuring – I can’t resist a bit of bling in my wood!

I’ll keep you updated with his progress, and you can see for yourself on his Facebook page, Stephen John Guitars.


Steve at David Dyke Luthier Supplies in East Sussex



Finally, it just remains for me to wish you a Happy Christmas and a wonderful 2017!



Kelly, Steve, Kizzy, Truffle, Tuppence, Pan, Saxon and Custard Cream xxx

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