2014 – animal memories

From bats, cats, snakes, iguanas and monkeys – and back to cats again…

First up is Jojo.  We’ve had him since he was a kitten and he’s now about 2.5 years old.

Everyone loves him – I’m sure you can see why!  Scroll down to the last picture to see Jojo and our other cat, Jj, curled up together.


Jojo and me overlooking our garden

Meanwhile, here are some more unusual animals I met last year… this must be the granddaddy of all iguanas:



Most of these pictures were taken at a very interactive animal home up in Bedugul – I can’t call it a zoo, as it’s far too small, but it does have some cool, tame, animals – and a giant fruit bat:

'Holy bat cave, Robin'

‘Holy bat cave, Robin’

I’ve no idea what animal this is – anyone know?  (please, no comments about me using him as a toothpick!)

Here he is again:

And then there was this hungry gentleman on my shoulders:

A hungry Luwak - but no coffee today!

A hungry luwak – but no coffee today!

He’s a luwak and they’re famous for ‘Coffee Luwak’.

Yes, these are the animals that eat the choicest of coffee beans which go through their digestive system completely ‘intact’.  When they come out the other end, the, err… ‘waste’ is scrapped off and the beans are taken from the shell and made into the most expensive coffee in the world! = Coffee Luwak or, as it is called over here, ‘Kopi Luwak’ (they have this in Vietnam too and it’s called Weasel Coffee – the luwak comes from the weasel family, I believe).

Anyway, here he is again:


No, there are no coffee beans in my hair, Mr Luwak

What about this sizeable snake – worn as a necklace!



I’m pretty sure it’s a python… keep it away from this little cutie:


Cutie – but are they porcupine quills on your head?

And what about this snake-like reptile, called an Alu:

Snake-like lizard

Snake-like lizard/reptile = Alu

And here’s that iguana again – my what a long tail you have!

Fully grown iguana

Fully grown granddaddy of an iguana

Here I’m feeding the fish – at our nearby restaurant!

Bale Udang has many bale’s (like gazebo’s) perched on top of a lake and that is where you dine – on fish.  If you have a little spare rice left over from your meal you can feed it to the carp swimming directly beneath you:  Eat fish, feed fish = balance.

Feeding the fish - at a restaurant

Feeding the fish – at a restaurant

And now I’m feeding a monkey in the Monkey Forest which is just 8 mins walk from my home – so close that, on rare occasions, the monkeys venture into my garden – they eat the leaves from my papaya tree but, luckily, they leave me with the fruit!

Feeding a monkey in the Monkey Forest

Feeding a monkey in the Monkey Forest

And here, as promised, is Jojo and JJ in perfect harmony:

Jojo and Jj - in perfect harmony

Jojo and Jj – in perfect harmony

A perfect way to end a post.


New T Shirts

We bought Gede and Ketut some new T. Shirts and they look like this:

Gede and Ketut

Gede and Ketut

They’re comfortable, practical and green in both colour and nature.

Whatsmore they spread the message about Rumah Jepun

Rumah Jepun on the back

Rumah Jepun on the back – look carefully & you see Jojo on the step between them

And the cats, Jojo and JJ, seem to like the new T. Shirts (well, a bit!)

Jojo and JJ  squirming to get away

Jj and Jojo squirming to get away

I asked Gede and Ketut how they felt about having a jepun flower on the T. Shirt and they were both happy with the design (can’t imagine many western guys liking that idea).

Outside the door to Rumah Jepun

Outside the door to Rumah Jepun

Gede serves a great breakfast on the balcony… a pot of tea or coffee, tropical fruit platter and a delicious banana pancake, drizzled with honey (his pancakes are famous now, as so many guests have commented about them in rave reviews).

Serving up a tasty breakfast

Gede – serving up a tasty breakfast

Gede is our regular live-in staff.

He does such a great job of keeping the house and garden clean and tidy not to mention cooking breakfasts for guests staying in the downstairs accommodation (and me!).

When Gede isn’t here Ketut takes over and both of them are very friendly, helpful and efficient.

They are more than just staff, they are friends and I know both their families too.  You can see Ketut’s wedding here and accommodation that Gede’s father, Nyoman rents out here – which is up in the cooler mountains overlooking the volcano.

Pouring tea with a smile

Pouring tea with a smile

Suksema Gede dan Ketut (= thank you Gede and Ketut).

Now, let me introduce you to Pasek, the man who built this wonderful house that I’m so happy to live in and share with guests.

Pasek - house builder extraordinaire

Pasek – house builder extraordinaire

Pasek expertly dealt with every step of the project from negotiating the land, designing and building, finding all the workers, ordering the materials and ensuring all the ceremonies were performed along the way.

He made the whole process a joy to experience and I was absolutely delighted with the end result – and I’m still delighted.

I moved in one year ago today and soon I’ll write about some of the changes and highlights of this first fabulous year at Rumah Jepun.  Meanwhile, click here if you want to see more of the house and contact me if you want to book a room.

Come and stay at Rumah Jepun

Come and stay at Rumah Jepun

Kitten – poem

The famous bridges restaurant in Ubud have invited me to read poetry on Sunday, 12 May – which apparently is Mother’s Day here in Bali… (that’s interesting, as Mother’s Day is always celebrated in March in England).

I’ve got a number of poems up my sleeve for this special occasion and I want to share one of them with you and, of course, with my own mother – hello Mum!

It’s a short poem called ‘Kitten’ and it is dedicated to Villa Kitty – for all they do to help cats and kittens (that’s where I got my two kittens, Jojo and JJ, from).

Every mother loves a kitten, don’t they?

A cuteness that can't be denied

A cuteness that can’t be denied


Small parcel of joy
wrapped in a Mother’s Day surprise
tied to your heart by a rainbow
scampering before your eyes

Furry to the touch
ears up high and alert
meowing with a sweet delight
running rings around your skirt

Ever loving and playful
a cuteness that can’t be denied

this kitten’s always purring
show your friends with smiles and pride

Bridges restaurant will also have classical music accompanying their special Mother’s Day brunch… yum, I can’t wait!

This elegant restaurant, perched on the side of Campuhan Bridge, will be donating a percentage of the proceeds to ‘Yayasan Bumi Sehat’, a foundation which helps Balinese women with childbirth – very fitting for Mothers Day, don’t you think?

Hope to see you there!

As cute as a kitten

Jojo and JJ are 6 months old now and we’ve had them for half of their young lives.

So it is about time I shared some more photos of these cute kittens – that I sometimes call my honeys…

All these pictures were taken while they were laying on the bed – it happens to be the only place I forbid them to go (that’s what they think of my rules!)

Trust me, it’s very hard to force two kittens off the bed – especially when they look like this.

or when they are engaged in synchronised sleeping

and when they are sharing such tender moments

Will I ever get a chance to enforce the rules?

My will power is beaten – by kittens!

Kittens with no respect for rules

Kittens that demand you feed them and then insist on sleeping on your bed

Hold on a minute – what about if I want to go to bed?

Hey my honeys, can I join you?

Jojo – in the garden

For the first few weeks Jojo and JJ, our kittens, stayed inside the house.

But then we let them out to explore a whole new world called ‘the garden’.

Jojo posing

Jojo posing – surrounded by Jepun flowers

They love it out there.

So many places to hide, butterflies to chase, birds to hunger after and feet to trip up – usually mine.

Jojo hiding

Jojo hiding

There’s a lot meowing to be done at meal times and then there’s the after dinner purring competitions which are frequently followed by nice long naps – good job cats don’t snore.

Is it a bird or a plane

Is it a bird or a plane

This post is focusing upon Jojo, but don’t worry… JJ’s moment of fame will come along in its own good time.

A cat in a dogs' pose

A cat in a dogs’ pose

Jojo – hmmm, what a big belly you have.

He eats extremely well and usually finishes off JJ’s food too, but then he is the more active of the two.

My, what big ears you have

My, what big ears you have

After an exhausting few minutes of chasing his tail Jojo deserves a little rest in the shade.

Time for a rest in the shade

Ohh, what a long tail you have

Yaniq took this great photo , which blurs the lines between cats whiskers and cats whiskers (the plant).

The cats whiskers - twice

Oh my, what long whiskers you have

So they are now mostly outdoor cats – but they still love to sleep on my bed and my daybed!

Ohh what long bodies you have

Ohh what long bodies you have

A New Year – a new sign

Firstly – a Happy New Year to you 🙂

But the point of this particular blog posting is my new artistic sign for my house ‘Rumah Jepun’ which was handmade by Nyoman (he is the father of Gede who works here).

Its light wood lettering sits perfectly on the dark wood based.

Rumah Jepun sign

Rumah Jepun sign

The two flowers on the sign are Jepun, reflecting the name of the house.

I have many Jepun trees growing in the garden – you can see some of them in the above picture (why not see them for real by staying here for your holidays)

Also these pretty flowers line the edge of my roof…

Looking up at the row of Jepuns lining my roof

Looking up at the row of Jepun lining my roof

You may know Jepun by their more common name of Frangipani.

The new sign was put up in time for New Year – a fitting start to the year (well our kitten seemed to think so!)

Anyway, I hope you suceed in your New Year’s resolutions – I’m sticking to the resolution that I made last year…. i.e. not to make any resolutions!

Happy New Year.

A cat with two heads?

When Gede said to me ‘Look, two kittens in the basket’, I thought he was joking because I could plainly see Jojo and JJ lazing on top of cushions on the balcony.  I just laughed at his little joke.

Jojo and JJ sleeping on a cushion

Jojo and JJ sleeping on a cushion

But he insisted, ‘Look, two new kittens’.

I bent down to peer inside and he was right.  There were two tiny kittens huddled up close together at the very back.  They were so entwined they looked like one cat with two heads.

A cat with two heads

A cat with two heads

Where were they from?  How did they get there?

‘Milk – quick’, I said quickly, realising that questions could wait.

While milk was on the way I learned that a guest in a neighbouring hotel had complained of noises in the roof .  Investigating staff found the little ones running around motherless.  Pasek had brought them to me, but I wasn’t there when he came which is why they were in the basket.

‘I can’t have four kittens!’ I purred, especially as the two new additions were too young to even drink milk from a saucer.

It was 7.30 pm when I called the ’emergency cat services’ with my fingers crossed, hoping they could help… they could!

After taking photos of the cuties I was on the back of Gede’s motorbike holding a pink basket containing a cat with two heads.

The two cuties

The two cuties

We drove out of Ubud into the dark countryside and headed to the cat shelter, Villa Kitty, in the next village (how come cats get to stay in a villa and I just get to live in a house! – thanks for that one Elizabeth).

The vet and his assistant were waiting for us at the door.  They skillfully assessed the situation – weighed the furry parcels, took temperatures and documented everything.

The kittens were approx five or six weeks old and in good condition apart from one which had a slightly puffy eye, nothing serious though – phew!

They are in the right place to get looked after, but soon they will need foster parents   — can you help?  Go on… you know you’ve always wanted a couple of kittens and they really are very entertaining, just look at my two…

Yaniq teaching JJ how to stand up!

Yaniq teaching JJ how to stand up while Jojo looks on!

Villa Kitty can be found on facebook click here and if you can’t take any kittens to look after then maybe you can give them a little donation instead (or preferably a big donation – given how many mouths they have to feed etc), and go and visit Villa Kitty to give the kittens some love and attention as well – ahh nice!  Meow…

Two cute kittens



Say hello to Jojo and JJ – our lovely little kittens.

We picked them up only a few weeks ago from Villa Kitty just outside of Ubud.

It’s run by Elizabeth from Australia who saw the need to look after cats in the same way that there are a number of places that look after dogs here – and very well run it is too.

We bought a pink basket (no, I did not intentionally want pink – but there was little choice at the pet shop!) to carry them back in and for them to sleep in at nights.

JJ sleeping on printer tray

But of course they never go in the basket as they usually choose to sleep in the most unlikely places… such as half on, and half off, my printer tray!

Uncomfortable I would’ve thought – ahh, maybe they don’t like pink either!

Luckily they were already house trained by Villa Kitty, so we just had the job of keeping them inside for awhile before letting them venture onto the balcony.

Jojo and jj sleeping on the desk

At first JJ, the female kitten, was very shy and barely came out of a hiding place that she found at the back of my desk.

But she did come out of her shell, and the desk, after a couple of days and she’s been excited by everything ever since.

The pair of them have been out in the garden just once so far, and on that occasion Jojo, the male, must have sniffed every single blade of grass out there!

I always thought that you gave a cat milk all though its life – but apparently not.  So at the age of 3 months we only have to give them water….  and food as well of course!  As well as cuddles and lots of play time too.

My claws are long than yours!

Their antics are very entertaining and Elizabeth was right about the advantages of taking two kittens together, they keep each other amused as well as us.

They have mock fights.  Leaping on each other, biting limbs and necks.  At first I intervened thinking they might get hurt, but they then turned their attention on me… they pounced on my hands and bit me – but oh so gently, so I knew they were just playing.

For some reason JJ likes to lick my fingers and Jojo likes to jump over things – including my feet while I’m walking and over JJ’s back as she is running around.  Not bad considering that when they were originally brought into Villa Kitty they didn’t think either of them would make it – there was talk of putting them to sleep!

Two adorable kittens

Yaniq bought a special scratchy box for them to sharpen their claws on.  You rub some catnip (which all cats are supposed to like) onto the box and, hey presto, they should use it, instead of using your curtains, as a scratching post.

Of course it doesn’t work quite as neatly as that.  I have a sneaking suspicion that Jojo has no sense of smell which would explain why he doesn’t relate to the catnip!

Elizabeth is giving a presentation about Cats and Villa Kitty at Bar Luna, Ubud this Tuesday evening (4 Dec 12) – come along if you are around.  I will also be reading one of my poems called ‘Kitten’.

Meanwhile, as I’m writing this they have just finished a long battle of ‘who can jump the highest’.

I gave the award to JJ, but then she does have the advantage of a particularly long body.  So much so that we sometimes call her sphinx! (or spink in Bahasa Indonesia).

Yaniq and JJ

They are tired now… Jojo is curled up right next to me in sleep mode whereas JJ is cleaning herself, doubtless getting ready for bed on the printer tray.

Goodnight kittens.


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