Christmas is coming……

22 Nov

the goose is getting fat. Please put a penny in the old man’s hat, if you haven’t got a penny, a half a penny will do, if you haven’t got a half a penny, God bless you.

This was a saying my mother used very often. I am not even sure where she got it from, but it has stayed with me all these years. And yes Christmas is just around the corner. Stay tuned because we are going to bring you a wonderful seasonal array of books from the talented Gypsy Shadow authors between tomorrow and the 22 December. Great seasonal reads brought straight to your computer. Blurbs, excerpts and links provided to make your choice easy and comfortable. No fighting the Christmas shopping rush – let your fingers do the browsing.

First up, by way introducing the GSP Christms Promo is The Miracle of the Carp. It is a special read for me personally. The proceeds from this book is going to a charity that means a lot to me. This charity, YANA, is run by students of the International Baptist Church in Prague, working with organisations such th Salvation army.

Their out reach is to the homeless of Prague. They provide food every Saturday for the homeless, hand out clothes and blankets to keep them warm. During winter tempreatures can fall to -13C. Last winter during a cold snap deaths from exposure were recorded. YANA keeps going by donations.

Christmas is dawning and preparations for cats and humans are under-way. Disaster strikes. The centre of the Czech Christmas dinner is in danger. Stray felines? Or is it more sinister? FI aims to find out to save the strays and Christmas.

The Miracle of the Carp

The garden was covered in pure white snow. St. Martin had come early this year. Traditionally, on the 11th of November, which is his name day on the Czech Calendar, he would arrive on his white horse and bring snow to the Czech lands. Well, this year he had been impatient and snow had come early to cover the earth.

Zvonek didn’t mind the snow. He and Honza loved to race around and kick up snow at each other. Much more fun than cat ball. Things were quieter outside, the sound muffled by the layer of snow. He now sat on the window ledge and looked out at the two sets of paw prints patterned in the garden. Metaxa and Koule, playing in the snow, had made their paw prints into fanciful designs.

He smiled to himself. The two of them got on well and he was glad; it kept Metaxa busy, and for the most part, out of his fur. She was growing fast, and Zvonek had a hunch that soon playing around with her little friend wasn’t going to be enough.

He still hadn’t solved her connection to Clawdette. He was sure there was one, and it wasn’t just Clawdette’s compassion for a catlet that needed help. There was still the heart patch . . .

“Are you going out?” Metaxa, who had been sleeping by Mom, hopped silently onto the ledge next to him.

“Not tonight.”

They both sat on the ledge and looked out at the snow; the moon shining down on it gave it crisp shimmering look.

It was good to be home. He’d had two missions in a row with Clawdette in attendance and then Bobi’s capture by the rats. He looked forward to spending time with Mom and Metaxa. Also it was Metaxa’s first Christmas, and he knew Mom was going to make it exciting.

He remembered his first Christmas with Mom. She had put up this tree—well a branch, really—with lovely danglely things on it. He couldn’t resist pawing at them. She hadn’t even shouted at him when he broke one of the decorations by swatting it too hard. However, she did take the presents away because his curiosity got the better of him and he couldn’t help scratching at them. It was after the accident, and he was on sick leave from FI (Feline Intelligence, Czech Republic) and still recovering. It was great to be home, warm and snug while it snowed outside.

On Christmas Eve they’d had a feast of roast chicken, ham and smoked salmon. The smoked salmon was for him, as Mom didn’t like it; and not being Czech, she didn’t know how to make carp in the right way. But he hadn’t minded; there was enough food for an entire clowder! Double cream for dessert!

Later that morning after munching their way through chicken and ostrich wet food, then tasty granules and some cat milk to wash it all down, they settled into their baskets for a morning nap. Christmas was a tricky time as Mom, being on holiday, had an erratic schedule. Most of their going out was at night when she was sleeping.

It was a lazy day. Mom spent a lot of it at her computer typing away on the keys and watching movies on the DVD player. Zvonek and Metaxa amused themselves chasing each other around the flat and taking turns on Mom’s lap for pets and cuddles. Well, cuddles for Metaxa! He would only let Mom cuddle him for a short time. He did have an image to maintain, after all.

That night when Mom went to sleep Zvonek and Metaxa sneaked out the window and into the garden. Everything was blanketed in soft, white snow.

“Ooo, it’s cold.” Metaxa was testing a patch with her paw. “Come on, Zvonek, I’ll race you over the fence.”

They both charged at the fence and over it into the street on the other side. Kicking snow at each other and rolling around it. It was fun, just the two of them.

It had been about six months now since Metaxa moved in. They had their squabbles; Metaxa was feisty and bossy, but she had an incredibly generous heart. Zvonek saw her as his sister; in fact, everyone at FI now thought of her as his little sister. Only Clawdette’s ever-lurking presence and progress reports reminded him of Metaxa’s true identity.

They chased each other up the road to the park. The park had changed its cover from shades of gold, orange and brown to that of pure white. To Metaxa it looked like whipped cream covering the bushes and ground.

Zvonek dived and rolled down the bank with Metaxa in pursuit. She landed, breathless, on top of him. They both sat up and licked themselves. It’s great to have some fun, Zvonek was thinking to himself.

“Hey, what’s that smell?” Metaxa’s little nose twitched at the air. It wasn’t a smell she recognised.

Zvonek sniffed and pointed to a big blue plastic pool on the corner of the road opposite where they were sitting. Metaxa looked in the direction he was pointing and frowned.

“But it’s kind of like a . . . fish smell?” She was uncertain. Why would there be fish on the corner of the road?

“It is fish. Every Christmas there are these pools filled with carp on a lot of street corners. Carp is our Christmas fish,” Zvonek explained.

Metaxa looked incredulous. “Pools of fish, just sitting there!”

“Yes, Metaxa. Why?”

Metaxa thought about it for a few seconds, and then her face softened. “Oh, how nice of the humans to do that.”

Now it was Zvonek’s turn to be confused. “Nice? Why?”

“To leave all these pools of fish around for the stray cats at Christmas.” She smiled.

Zvonek burst out laughing. How so Metaxa to think everything revolved around the cat community. Of course, he agreed it should but, sadly, things had a long way to go to get there.

“What’s so funny?”

“Those pools full of fish are for the humans to buy. They eat them with potato salad for their Christmas dinner. During the day, the sellers let the humans choose their fish then sell it to them.”

“No! You’re not serious?”

“Metaxa, you can’t possibly think people really leave pools of fish around for strays.”

“Okay, so why tempt them, then?”

“What do you mean?”

“Zvonek, you can be so dense.” Metaxa was clearly losing patience with him.

“Would you care to explain it to me, then?” Zvonek asked, still amused at her thinking.

“Well, there are these huge pools, filled with fish swimming around, with no one guarding them. How is that not going to tempt a hungry, cold stray? It’s sitting prey.”

Kindle format:

4 Responses to “Christmas is coming……”

  1. Dawn Colclasure November 24, 2012 at 3:51 am #

    Hi Anne. Thank you for doing this Christmas promo. I’m very pleased to see a Christmas story featuring your Zvonek. Thank you for sharing that rhyme. It’s really sweet.

  2. Sheila Deeth November 27, 2012 at 1:44 am #

    This is fun. I’m enjoying catching up on the promo now I’m back on the computer.

  3. Sheila Deeth December 13, 2012 at 4:33 am #

    Ah, most certainly sitting prey. How can a cat resist?


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