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Well, my poor old cat Fluff has got cystitis again. Our vet has given him another dose of antibiotics and will check him again in a couple of days. He seems much better today but apparently it can be dangerous in male cats as the urethra can become blocked. Trying to keep calm. This information online is not very cheering though:

Why do cats get cystitis?
There are a number of possible causes of cystitis, but the majority of young cats which develop cystitis do so as a result of stress. Sometimes an obvious reason for the underlying stress can be identified, such as the house being decorated or another cat or a dog moving in, but often it is difficult to recognise the actual cause of the stress. Once cats have developed this type of cystitis, they are very prone to having further bouts of it in the future and in some cases management of some variety is necessary to prevent further episodes.

A smaller proportion of cats, especially elderly individuals or those with chronic problems, such as kidney disease, develop cystitis due to infection, generally by bacteria.

Fluff tongue



Soon after the turn of the millenium I began to want to know more about J.R.R. Tolkien. The first resource I found online was The Lord of the Rings Fanatics Plaza, a sizeable site that encompassed everything from role-play to lore.

The plaza suited me perfectly, and I made good friends there, some of whom are now friends in RL, or at least on other parts of the interwebs!

Some, alas, are gone.

Moreover, the Plaza itself has gone, victim of the kind of person who enjoys destruction.

One of my online mentors in lore was ‘halfir’ who produced and guided a good deal of excellent work in Tolkien scholarship. Several of us kept urging him to publish, but he never did.

Now a group of us have decided to try and gather together whatever can be traced of his work, as a memorial to him. This is not to be a work of hagiography, and enshrining of work, but an attempt to get his work back into the flow of scholarship, where it can feed in and be a source of ideas and knowledge as it was on the Plaza.

That said,there are huge difficulties in our way. Leaving aside questions of how to edit, format and present halfir’s work, the two most basic problems are:

1) How many of the relevant threads can be retrieved?
2) How do we seek permissions from his family?

This post is an appeal to anyone who may have digital copies of halfir’s work which they may be willing to submit to us AND anyone who has contact details for his family. PLEASE DON’T post anything in blog-threads, but contact me by message in the first instance. Thanks.



One who never came home, some who did – all in my family. Never forget:……

Harry Oswald Adams, WW1

John Charles Tapson, WW1

Derk Tapson and Tony Tapson, WW2

Leslie Adams and Reg Adams WW2

Tom Neale, WW2

Uncle Leslie 1939 U Reg Uncle Tom

Surcouff 1944Jim in uniform 1


start to the day today. Entered kitchen to feed cat, and found blood-spatters all over the floor. Fluff looking unhappy and walking uncomfortably.

The planned quiet Saturday at home became a dash to the vet instead. My thoughts were flitting between his kidney trouble, his constipation trouble, and the fact that both his brothers had died of cancer, and by the time we got to the vet we were both very glum. I wished I could say ‘WAAOW’ by way of expressing myself, like Fluff.

Fluff’s favourite vet was on duty, and found the blood was in fact in the poor cat’s urine and he has cystitis, which was a far better outcome than I feared, insofar as cystitis can ever be described as ‘better.’

A seven-day antibiotic injection seems to have helped a bit already and he’s having food plus nice snoozes as an 18.5 year old should. Another ‘phew’ for an old cat.

Fluff tongue


Ursula K Le Guin’s works are full of quotations, both her fiction and her non-fiction.

Having just read her collection, or more accurately re-collection of essays, ‘Dreams must explain themselves’ I’d be hard-put to choose a favourite quotation.

This one from her 2014 acceptance speech on being awarded the National Book Award Medal for distinguished contribution to American letters stays with me and reminds me how much has gone from the world with her:

‘I think hard times are coming when we will be wanting the voices of writers who can see alternatives to how we live now and can see through our fear-stricken society and its obsessive technologies to other ways of being, and even imagine some real grounds for hope. We will need writers who can remember freedom. Poets, visionaries, the realists of a larger reality.’

Dreams must explain themselves

pic    Dan Tuffs (001 310 774 1780)
LOS ANGELES – DEC 15: Ursula Le Guin at home in Portland, Oregon, California December 15 2005. (Photo by Dan Tuffs/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Ursula Le Guin


Catching up on posts and news feeds after being away, I accidentally discovered that Dr Andrew Higgins had reviewed ‘Tolkien’s Poetry’ (Eilmann and Turner) in ‘The Journal of Tolkien Research.’

Naturally I sought out with special interest his comments on my own piece in that book, and was made very happy on reading it:

‘In her “‘What is it but a dream?’ Tolkien’s ‘The Sea Bell’ and Yeats’ ‘The Man who Dreamed of Faeryland’,” Sue Bridgwater compares the positive and negative aspects of dream and physical travel to and from the land of Faerie in Tolkien and Yeats. Bridgwater selects two poems by Yeats and Tolkien which reflect their changing thoughts on aspects of both the desire to journey to the “perilous realm” of faerie and the impact of what achieving or not achieving this journey has on the traveller or dreamer. Bridgwater’s comparative approach brings in many interesting sources and analyses of both Tolkien and Yeats’s use of fairy-tale, dream narrative and the topos of the fantastic voyage in developing their own unique positioning of the desire to travel to Faerie. Bridgwater’s argument convincingly shows several elements of the depiction of Faerie that Yeats and Tolkien share and some in which they diverge. Yeats’s poem describes the lack and loss of a man who never gets to Faery while Tolkien’s records the same effect of lack and loss in someone who does go to Faery. Although moving slightly away from the theme of Tolkien’s poetry, I found this paper to be one of the most interesting in this volume and Bridgwater’s conclusion (or non conclusion) that each poet had made use of his own vision of Faery to awaken our own visions, evoke our own responses, to the possibility or dream of there being “other worlds than these” and other modes of seeing most compelling for further investigation.’

Tolkien’s poetry

Tolkien's poetry cover image The_Adventures_of_Tom_Bombadil_cover