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Category for the Message from Pauline articles (pms)

Where it began, I can't begin to knowing,
But then I know it's growing strong
Was in the spring
And spring became the summer
Who'd have believed you'd come along

Neil Diamond, Sweet Caroline

The opening verse to Sweet Caroline by Neil Diamond sums up the birth of the Daily Mews perfectly.  I didn’t know, when I first, tentatively, began to put content on a rather rudimentary website back in May 2002, that it would still be going strong twenty years later.  There have been some ups and downs, and losses and the family that I feel the wonderful subscribers to the Mewsletter are to us, have kept me buoyant when there were times I felt I was sinking.

Sam, Garfield, Timmy, Billy, Ollie and RickyThe original Daily Mewsers: Garfield, Billy, Timmy, Sam, Ollie and Ricky (see photo) are all, sadly, long gone but never forgotten. There were a few other felines who passed through the cat flap from time to time, who left their pawprints on my heart; some were found homes with new families, some, sadly, passed away.

My house is small, just two up and two down, but with Garfield et al, it vibrated with purring all day, every day.  Each room had a feline stretched out – sometimes two – nose to tail basking in sun puddles, on a couch, bed, or cupboard.  Cats don’t mind where they sleep.  I’d walk from room to room and feel so blessed because these wonderful, amazing felines had made my life complete.  

Back in 1993, a miniseries based on the book by Armistead Maupin was shown on British television. I was hooked.  Tales of the City starred Olympia Dukakis as Anna Madrigal, the owner of a seemingly a large house with tenants renting rooms.  As a newcomer arrived, she would tape a joint to their front door as a welcome gesture. 

I had visions of writing something similar based on the lives of my cats. Garfield was the senior kitizen, who mentored the newbies as they arrived and offered the benefit of his wise counsel to the others. I wondered if I should leave a snifter of cat nip nearby to help each kitten or cat settle in.  But as we all know, life sometimes gets in the way of the best laid plans, and Tales from 227 (or whatever I was going to call it!) never materialised.  

And now the Lazypaws Guest House for Discerning Felines is home to Casey and Gibbs; two mackerel tabbies who found their way through the cat flap a couple of years apart and into my heart. 

Back in June 2006, I was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia, and two subscribers – Jeff Shepherd who lives in the UK and Stacy Mantle, who lives in the US, between them, kept the website updated with new content, and a Mewsletter was sent out each month.  I can’t remember now how long they did this for, (I think it was a couple of years while I was going through the worst of the journey,) but I am so grateful to them both for their selfless devotion to my little website, while I slowly recovered.

Thank you, Jeff and Stacy.

Friends were made along the way, either because they contacted me or because I’d read a book they’d written, and I contacted them to ask if they’d like to write for the Daily Mews. Jim Willis contributed from quite early in the Daily Mews journey, while Ed Kostro and Jared Kline have been friends of TDM almost - but not quite – from the beginning.  And from about 2006, Carol Turner, became a contributor and a great friend. Writers have come and gone for various reasons, and I have been grateful to each one for his or her contributions.

The current writing team consists of Carol, Audra High (with Raena Belle and Zebby – her service cats), Susanne Haywood with Bilbo, (who writes his Buzz when he isn’t too busy), Darren, who is dad to Ceci, who is blind, but lives life to the full, and her various house mates that Darren rescues.  Newcomers Andrew Lane and Gloria Lauris have brought fresh voices to the team and their writing is hugely appreciated.  

I am also blessed to have Aida Marina on the team because she has created some amazing banners over the years, and I have her to thank for this 20th anniversary banner on the Mewsletter.  I must also thank Aoife McCann for her beautiful illustrations in recent times.  

The Daily Mews is very different now to when it first began back in 2002. Back then, I wrote a couple of articles and sent out Mewsletters to a handful of people, some of whom have stuck with me through thick and thin, some of whom left when their own cats passed away. I am grateful to everyone who came, stayed, or left, for their contributions over the years.

I don’t have copies of the first Mewsletter I sent out, but I do have some of the articles I wrote. They seem a bit naïve and ‘innocent’ now, but I’ll put links at the bottom of this piece so you can check them out if you want to. A whole raft of my various pieces is in the ARTICLES section, just click on it, a drop-down box will show you lots of contributors – and you’ll see my name.  Click on it and you can read – if you want to – lots of stuff I’ve written over 20 years.

I can’t tell you how wonderful it is to still be here.  Last year, I had some very scary times when I really thought I would have to give up the website.  Many of you wrote with encouraging words of how much TDM meant to you and with suggestions to try to keep it going, even if it was only once or twice a year.  I still have Long Covid, and I do struggle daily with various symptoms which are unpleasant and difficult to live with. But I know it would break my heart if I had to stop writing about cats and never be able to share stories with you guys ever again.

None of us know what the future has in store for us.  We’re living in very uncertain times, but I hope the Mewsletter, with its links to the fabulous stories from my wonderful team of writers, will help you through your days, will lift your spirits, and perhaps, make you laugh.

I think I’d be very optimistic if I said, ‘here’s to the next 20 years’, but maybe I could say ‘here’s to the next 5 or possibly 10!’  

With love and gratitude to you all

Pauline xx

           

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