My Cousin, Doreen Tovey

by Caz Greenham


I do not have any cats, but I am very proud to tell you that the author of many Siamese cat books, Doreen Tovey was my second cousin (my mother's first cousin).

Doreen's book Life with Grandma was about my great-grandmother Rhoda.

I began writing 18 months ago, and whilst Doreen was cat bonkers, my main character is, unlike Doreen's, a quirky seagull.

I regret having no photo of Doreen, but I do have lots of stories from my mother. Doreen Tovey, née Mizen, was my mum's cousin. Her maiden name was Mizen too.

I am sure that Doreen would be proud to know that her writing gene has been passed down to me.

2014 - update from Caroline:

Caz Greenham first wrote to us in 2010, and I'm delighted to say that since then she's had two books published starring the quirky seagull mentioned above.

The Adventures of Eric Seagull and The Adventures of Eric Seagull 'Story-Teller': Book 2 - A Fairy's Wish are both now in print, and Caz is hard at work on a third book in the series.

    


You can connect with Caz at her own website, www.cazgreenham.com, on Facebook at Caz Greenham and on Twitter @TheCazzz.

Let's all wish her well with the sales of her first two books, and with her work on the third one!

Comments for My Cousin, Doreen Tovey

Click here to add your own comments

Jul 20, 2016
Question for Ray Evans
by: Caroline

Ray, do you happen to know who the breeder (or breeders) of Doreen's cats were?

Jul 19, 2016
Cats, Storms, and Sherlock Holmes
by: Lyn McConchie

Wild night last night, my area of New Zealand gets gales and last night we had 120k winds. I woke to find debris all over my lawn - and a large dead mouse neatly laid out for inspection in the kitchen. Swings and roundabouts.

Today, usefully is my day off writing, so I removed the mouse, had breakfast and spent a couple of hours raking twigs (and several large pieces of polystyrene blown in from heaven knows where) off the lawn.

Tomorrow I'm back on Sherlock Holmes/Watson, and cat novella. This started last year when I was invited to contribute a story to a huge 3 vol. hardcover Holmes anthology, so I wrote a short story (not at all twee) in which Holmes had a cat as client. It was accepted, and sparked a series of novellas where a cat, Mandalay, regularly brings his owner, Miss Emily, an odd assortment of found items, some of which are sufficiently strange or ominous to be taken to Holmes and Watson for investigation.

Wildside liked them, and two have appeared as e-chapbooks. (Sherlock Holmes in) Something The Cat Dragged In, and (Sherlock Holmes in) Cat With a Vested Interest. I am currently finishing Cat With Enough Rope and hope to have that out August.

It's great being able to combine my interests like this and I'm having fun. Again, I only wish Doreen was still around, she liked Holmes and cats, and I like to think she'd have enjoyed my take on the subjects.

Jul 18, 2016
Lovely to hear!
by: Anonymous

It was lovely to read your comments. I happened on Cats in May in a bookshop sale and all I can say is that I was so glad I was ferreting around so much and fell in love with the cover painted by Lesley Fotherby.

After reading that one I was hooked and found the Elek edition of Cats in the Belfry at Sydney University library and laughed and sobbed through my lunch hour reading it.

Since then I've managed to purchase all of the reprints bar the two books you mention. I never tire of re-reading these books. I'm always on the lookout for books that are in a similar vein.

Jul 18, 2016
Cats in Concord
by: Ann Marie

Yes Doreen did finish Cats in Concord but she was disappointed with its publication. It was published as a large print book by Chivers in an edition that was sold to libraries - I remember at the time that you had to order it specially to get a copy, it wasn't available in the shops.

It also contains a number of typos that I know Doreen said she was upset about. A great shame that the mainstream publishers weren't interested - Michael Joseph who published some of her earlier books said that the subject wasn't one that people were interested in any more!

Jul 18, 2016
Julie Mayger
by: Ray Evans

Yes, she finished Cats in Concord, my two daughters are briefly mentioned in it. Doreen asked them to look for one of her errant cats whilst they were out riding!

I will be leaving Rowberrow early next year but am always willing to answer any questions - if I can.

Jun 21, 2016
Just finished 'More Cats in the Belfry'
by: Julie Mayger

Hunting through the library one day I found Cats in the Belfry. After picking up Cats in May I hounded the librarian to find all Doreen's other books in the list. Some of them were 'in the basement' as they were now out of print, where a substantial fine would be levied should they be lost or not returned. The library is lucky it got any of them back.

The only ones we couldn't get hold of, including from other West Sussex county libraries, were Life with Grandma and Roses Round the Door.

Did she finish Cats in Concord?

She made me feel as if I was close to her. I was born 1957 when her first book was published, born in a cottage on a farm called White House Farm, a Scorpio like her, love writing, countryside and nature, have owned and lost six cats of my own, etc., plus other more esoteric events. I also rode horses for 20 years.

I have laughed and cried over her books.

How late I found her books, and I was so sad to find out that she died in 2008. I would have just loved to have written just a few words to her really just to say 'Thank you'.

Jul 04, 2015
Doreen´s last cats
by: Carina Nicklasson, Sweden

I have a question, that I hope someone can answer. Since when I first heard that Doreen passed away I have been wondering - did her last two cats still live than?

Reply from Caroline: Carina, I believe that two of Doreen's cats were still alive at the time of Doreen's death. And (I can't remember where I read this now) that arrangements had been made for them to be returned to their breeder.

Jul 03, 2015
Doreen´s books
by: Carina Nicklasson, Sweden

How I love the books by Doreen Tovey! The first two were translated to Swedish, and I read them as a teenager. A few years ago I started to buy them all, some was published again and the rest I bought from Amazon.

So much joy, laughters and tears she has given us all. How I cried when her cats passed away - and worst of all - when Seely disappeared. And, of course!, when she lost her beloved Charles/Rene.

Maybe that is why her books are so good, and so loved - the mix of life and death, joy and sadness. I will continue to re-read her books in the future.

Jun 07, 2015
Doreen Tovey
by: Anonymous

So sad to hear the cottage is no longer, I would have loved to have seen it. Several years ago we intended to do so whilst on holiday, unfortunately I broke my leg and had to return home.

Thankfully we have her beautiful books to remember her and for other cat and animal lovers out there, you may also like books by Derek Tangye. I am lucky to have known him and met him on many occasions, think Doreen knew him too.

There is also a web site Friends of Minack Society official well worth looking at.

Jun 06, 2015
Associations with Doreen
by: Lyn McConchie

I usually write Sf/F although I enjoy reading a very wide variety of genres - particularly including Doreen's books, but in 2013 I sold a collection of new Sherlock Holmes stories to a USA publisher (Wildside) and last year I wrote a duo of shorter books in one volume - Sherlock Holmes: Beastly Mysteries.

Since I recall Doreen writing to me saying that she had been in the Caverns in the Mendip Hills, and also that she loved the Sherlock stories, one of the duo, 'Mystery at Foxhunt Hall' is set in Somerset near Rowberrow and in a series of mostly unknown caverns. The book came out from Wildside in April and I'm only sorry Doreen isn't still here so I could have sent her a copy. It would have amused her that 'my' Sherlock is a cat-lover.

I have all of her books apart from the last, re-reading them regularly. We corresponded for around six years and exchanged Xmas cards until her death. In fact that was how I discovered she had died, my card came back, very kindly sent by the new owners. It was a considerable shock, and I miss both her and her writing.

Reply from Caroline: How nice to hear from you again, Lyn, and good luck with your book, I shall keep an eye out for it myself. In fact if anyone is interested in Lyn's book 'Sherlock Holmes: Beastly Mysteries' you can read more about it here.

Jun 03, 2015
Lovely visits with Doreen
by: Laura Young Schwartz

I was extremely fortunate to have visited Doreen a couple of times and met Tani and Rama. Doreen even made me a lovely lunch my last visit. I am so sad to learn the house is now gone.

It was a quirky structure, but very sweet, and I'd left a small legacy there as I'd sent Doreen a light cover that had been in my husband's family and matched very well one she had. She loved it and hung it in the upstairs hallway by the bathroom.

May 20, 2015
Doreen & White Cottage
by: Anonymous

We have lived next door to White Cottage since 1996. We loved Doreen very much and everybody in the valley did their best to enable her to keep her precious independence in her latter years. It should be understood that her health was not good.

Mike, who cared for her garden and did some running repairs to the cottage, was an angel, fetching her shopping etc. after she had to give up driving. As you all know after collapsing outside her cottage she died soon after (after being alerted by a passing walker my wife called the ambulance and stayed with her until it arrived).

What we discovered later was that she had been unable to go upstairs for some time, though her cats had. This had led, without me going into detail, into the top of the cottage being in very poor condition.

It should be understood that all the cottages in the valley were built in the 18th century as temporary residences for miners and unless given continuous care tend to quickly collapse. To 'renovate' it and make it fit to live in would have required it to have been levelled and rebuilt from the ground up. With the land alone being worth over £200,000 nobody was found to bid enough to do that. I own a number of these ruins in the valley and believe me that what has happened was probably inevitable.

As a lover of her books and someone who was very sad to see her decline I beg her readers to remember her as she was in her prime (and her cottage!) I am sure that she wouldn't want any animosity towards the new owners of the land. I have a number of photos of Doreen in my possession and if anybody wants to speak to me constructively or arrange to see them please contact me on rowberrow(at)btinternet.com

Reply from Caroline: Thank you so much for your message above, I'm sure it will help to fill in a number of details for all of Doreen's many fans around the world. And thank you and everyone in the village for looking out for Doreen in her later years.

Apr 17, 2015
Memories of Doreen
by: Ann Marie

I got my first Siamese as a result of reading Doreen's books and entered into a correspondence with her in 1982 which lasted almost until her death - I treasure all the letters I have from her with lovely stories.

I was so lucky to have visited her on two occasions and have a photo of myself standing with her outside the cottage and also pictures of Rama and later Rami and Tiah inside. I also have a claim to fame of one of my cats getting a mention in "Cats in Concord" - page 82, the cat weeing on the patio wall!

She was such a lovely lady - every bit in real life as she came over in her books. Very sadly missed and it breaks my heart to read of what has happened to her cottage.

Mar 17, 2015
The first four books
by: Anonymous

I re-read all of the first four books again after a period of time (Cats in the Belfry, Cats in May, The New Boy, and Double Trouble) and it was with added poignancy as Tamsin my beautiful Birman passed away after being with me for 19 and a half years and I first read the books when Tamsin arrived.

Once again I cried over Sugieh and Solomon and Sheba and Blondin with Tamsin alongside. They're such wonderful books, filled with job and sadness but such love, and now I'm sharing my life with four other Birmans, two Blues and two Seals, and a rabbit.

I wish I could let Doreen Tovey know what joy her books have brought me and how they have taught me what is really important in life (I have a hectic job!) I'm so sorry to hear that the house has gone. Also, I want to say thank you to Lesley Fotherby who painted such wonderful paintings for the book covers for some of the editions. The one of Sugieh and her kittens is just sublime.

I'm so glad to find other who love the books and cats and other animal characters as much as I do!

Feb 24, 2015
Doreen's cottage
by: Myriam Crijns, The Netherlands

Last week my friend and I rented a cottage in Gloucestershire, England. As I'm a great fan of Doreen Tovey's books, being also a (Dutch) writer and owner of three Siamese cats, we planned a trip to Rowberrow, hoping to take a look at Doreen's cottage and visit the woods and hills she writes about.

After a meal in the pub, we descended the path to what we thought would be White Cottage. But alas! It was gone... only two heaps of stones, some asbestos, rows of red roof tiles, pieces of wood, light blue, that once were the window frames. I was flabbergasted and hardly could believe what I saw. The house Doreen wrote about so often and full of love.

Some snowdrops still grew between the stones in the garden, cyclamen and daffodils too and her greenhouse was still standing, but without glass. Only the wood shed still existed with its slanting sheet of corrugated iron on top.

It's all very sad, Myriam. Philip Lawrence (the author of Cats in Charge) who lives in that area, wrote to tell me that the current owners of the land had knocked down the house. You've reminded me that I need to update my Doreen Tovey page to reflect this, and I'm glad we were able to find a nice photo of the house, taken some years ago by photographer Clive Perrin, before it disappeared. - Caroline

Feb 02, 2015
Fond memories
by: Cheryl Young, nee Stanbury

I remember Mr. & Mrs. Tovey and spent many a time down there with my brother Robin. My parents built the house at the top of the hill (which was mentioned in one of her books as I recall) so they were our neighbours as such.

Annabel the donkey was very special and as I was only very young at the time and often sat on ants nests (not recommended I must say!) I do remember the flood in 1968. I often planned to revisit to say hello but sadly didn't.

Jan 31, 2015
Karen Weare/family portrait/Gran Rhoda
by: Caz Greenham

Hi Karen, one more thing: the Weare family portrait you refer to originally hung on the wall at my great grandmother's Rhoda Emily Weare, (her maiden name) who married into the Mizen family in Bedminster, Bristol where I was born. Doreen Tovey then had the portrait, and at her death in 2008 she left it in her Will to her cousin, a male, also a Weare.

Good luck with your further searches. I do have a copy of Life with Grandma, a book about my Great Granny Rhoda written by Doreen Tovey - she did change the names in her book in some places. The twins mentioned in the book was my mother and her identical twin. Lots of name changes, but my mother knew just who they were in real life.

Caz

Jan 30, 2015
Rhoda Weare
by: Caz Greenham

was my great grandmother. My late mother and Doreen Tovey were first cousins. Small world.

Caz
Www.cazgreenham.com

Jan 01, 2015
Cousins
by: Karen Weare

I found your comments while searching for a copy of Life With Grandma. Rhoda Emily nee Weare was my great-great-aunt which makes Doreen a distant cousin. I first came across her as she was left a Weare family portrait and I was searching for a connection with that Weare family. Still searching...

Mar 29, 2014
I want that house!
by: Maryann

I always wanted a cottage like the White Cottage!

If I lived in the UK I'd have pounced on it! If I can, I'd like to build one as much like it as possible in America. The illustrations of it in Doreen's books were charming, but now having seen it via Google I'm hooked!

At the risk of being a pest, PLEASE, if anyone has ever seen the cottage, and could sketch its floor plan for me, describing details (what kind of doors, flooring, etc.) OR take lots of photos of it from all angles, inside and out, including the grounds and outbuildings, I would be most grateful!

Email to: aquamare[at]windstream.net

You and me both, Maryann! I agree, it looks charming. - Caroline

Mar 09, 2014
Spare books
by: Lyn McConchie

I can be contacted through my blog at www.lynmcconchie.com. I prefer not to give out my own email in a public arena, as I bet everyone appreciates, however I can also receive email messages at shari.aarlton[at]gmail.com as an alternative.

Mar 07, 2014
Spare books
by: Lyn McConchie

In the last few years two old friends of mine have died who were fans of Doreen's writing. I inherited three books from them as a result and as they duplicate my own collection of her work, they are spares. All are original hardcovers. If anyone would be interested in buying them, let me know. They are:

CATS IN THE BELFRY published ELEK Books Ltd 1957, spine is shabby, minor foxing, two small tears top of dust jacket.

THE COMING OF SASKA published Michael Joseph 1977, as new condition.

A COMFORT OF CATS published St Martins Press 1979. as new and also with slip of paper inside bearing the inscription "With all best wishes, Doreen Tovey" (this book was given to me shortly before the death of writer and friend Andre Norton who was a long time friend of Doreen's.)

Note from Caroline: Thank you Lyn. How is it best to contact you? Please could you let me have an email address or other contact point?

Mar 02, 2014
I'd visit it, no matter how sad it made me
by: Maryann

I'd want to see the cottage and yard from all sides. I want to see the inside, how it was laid out,the fireplace that gave them so many anxious moments, the stairs Solomon and Sheba and their successors raced on, even the "new improved" bathroom!

I want to see the stream, and where the fish pond and Annabel's stable and garage were, and the garden, and orchard, and the coalhouse, and the forestry gate and track.

If any English Tovey fans reading this have a camera and a sense of adventure... :) I'd also love to correspond with anyone who knew Doreen, or is familiar with her books and lives in the neighborhood of the cottage. I am at aquamare[at]windstream.net

Edited to remove live link - replace [at] with @ if you'd like to contact Maryann. Caroline

Mar 02, 2014
Wonderful Little Cottage
by: Malene, Denmark

Caroline! Thank you for posting the picture of the house - so lovely. Can we all picture two Siamese Cats - Sheba and Solomon sitting on the wall? I am going to England in August, but I really think it would be too upsetting to see the house. Wouldn´t look nice, howling like a Siamese in front of the house!

Mar 02, 2014
Response to Caroline
by: Anonymous

I have many recent photos of Doreen's cottage but I think many people would find it too upsetting to see the sad state of it now - probably best to remember it as it was.

Yes, I agree. It's why I was pleased to find the one taken in 2008 before the cottage was sold. It must still have looked very much as it did when Doreen lived in it. Caroline

Mar 02, 2014
An update
by: Caroline

Inspired by everyone's recent comments, I did a little searching around today. I found a lovely photo of The White Cottage taken in 2008, about nine months after Doreen's death, but before it was sold.

The photo is copyright but available to re-use, so I've put a copy of it on our Doreen Tovey page. In the photo, the cottage still has the blue shutters mentioned in one of the comments below.

I also tried to find details of any planning applications but was unable to find any - I'll carry on digging, though!

Caroline

Mar 01, 2014
Doreen's lovely cottage
by: Maryann

I was just net surfing and the idea of looking up Doreen's cottage on Bing Maps Streetside popped into my head. Why I didn't think of it before I don't know. Seeing the cottage in color, the actual road leading to it, the beautiful countryside, all were amazing.

I am saddened by the thought of this lovely little spot being ruined forever. As an American without means to travel, I'll never get to see it. I wish somehow one of us who loved Doreen and her books could buy the place and preserve it.

I love that blue door, and the old chimneys, the little picket gate and stone wall. I love every detail. I only wish there was some way to see the inside. If I ever get to build the house I want, I'm reproducing this one on my side of the pond.

Mar 01, 2014
Very odd
by: Lyn McConchie

Well, the impression I was given in their letter was that they'd had no idea the cottage had belonged to Rene and Doreen. Odd that they'd bother to write to me wanting more information about her life and writing. In fact all of it sounds weird.

And I do hope that they aren't given permission to tear down the cottage. Doreen was a well-known writer for decades, surely something can be done to prevent the destruction of her home? Is there a Somerset Historical Buildings Preservation Society?

Mar 01, 2014
Response to note from Caroline
by: Anonymous

It is a great pity that the cottage has been left unoccupied for so long without any attention to it, given the history associated with it. It should have been sold to someone who was interested in maintaining its original character, not some eco-friendly building, which I believe is the current plan.

Mar 01, 2014
Response to Lyn about Doreen's cottage
by: Anonymous

Unfortunately, it is true that the cottage has been left standing unoccupied since it was re-sold at auction shortly after Doreen's death.

I visit the site regularly as I live in a nearby village. The couple who purchased it do go to the cottage regularly (hence the collection of post I presume) but they wish to have a new house built at the same site, and currently their plans have not been agreed.

I believe that the same couple were well aware that it was Doreen Tovey's cottage at the time of purchase (validated by people who were present at the time of the auction sale).

But - people are strange!

Note from Caroline: Thanks so much for your information; very interesting and it helps in understanding why the cottage is still unoccupied. Very sad to hear that it may eventually be replaced though.

Feb 28, 2014
Doreen's cottage
by: Lyn McConchie

I find the comment that Doreen's cottage is now in a state of disrepair, and an indication that it is unoccupied, both odd and interesting. While Doreen and I stopped writing extensively after some six years, we continued to exchange Christmas cards and my last card was sent for Christmas of 2012 along with a one page letter telling how my year had been.

In early February of 2013 this was returned to me along with a note to tell me that Doreen had died, and that the writer was one of a couple who had purchased the cottage. I had been unaware of her death to that point and was deeply sorry.

However also at that point, the cottage was said by this person to have been purchased by them, and I am now surprised to hear via an earlier comment that they may have abandoned it within a year, and over that time apparently done nothing in renovation either.

The writer appeared fascinated to hear about Doreen, and had (or so it was suggested) gone off and researched her on-line, and was delighted to know that the cottage had been owned prior to them, by an eminent writer.It all sounds rather peculiar to me.

Lyn

Note from Caroline: I know, Lyn - I find it very sad and very strange too. With property in most places in this country at a premium, especially pretty cottages with a history, I'm astonished that it's been left to decay. I'm hoping to go down to that area later on in the year to see if I can find it.

Feb 27, 2014
Doreen Tovey
by: Diane

I have four of Doreen Tovey's books about Siamese cats in audio and I love them, I have listened to them many times. I find them very funny and relaxing. I cannot find any more of them in audio. I would like to find others of hers, or similar ones on tape.

Thanks

Feb 15, 2014
Doreen Tovey
by: Jean

I have recently started to re-read Doreen Tovey's books, many I have in my collection. I think I first started to read them in the 70's/80's, I enjoyed them immensely as I was a cat and donkey lover.

I was also a huge fan of Derek Tangye's books - he wrote about his life in Cornwall with his wife and a host of animals. I visited many times and came to know him quite well. I think I remember reading Doreen and her husband had met him also. Is there a biography written about Doreen?

Visited Somerset a few years ago, wish we had stopped off to look at her cottage. Unfortunately I broke my leg whilst on holiday, and had to return home! Such a shame the cottage is in a state of disrepair.

Best wishes,

Jean

Nov 13, 2013
Knowing Doreen
by: Lyn McConchie

I too am an author, and Doreen and I corresponded for some six years in the 1990s. I still have all those letters talking of her cats and events in Rowberrow and cherish them. She was as interesting a letter writer as she was with her books.

I have all of her books bar Cats in Concord and am really hoping that Summersdale Publishing will produce that one too.

Note from Caroline: How fascinating about the letters from Doreen, Lyn, and wonderful that you've got nearly all of her books, too. I've just found your website and will definitely be putting some of your books on my wish list! New Zealand is somewhere I've long wanted to visit but never had the opportunity to do so. However, it's top of my list if I ever get the chance!

Oct 01, 2013
Photos of Doreen
by: caz greenham

If you care to email me via www.cazgreenham.com and leave me your name and email address I shall chat with you further on the issues you raise.

Caz

Sep 30, 2013
Siamese cats
by: Anonymous

Hi. I have read Doreen's books for many years and have all of them as I have Siamese myself - I can relate to her, they have a place of their own in the cat world.

Is there any way I can get some pictures of Doreen and if possible Rene - do you know when he died?

Aug 30, 2013
Waiting in the Wings
by: Benita Lawrence

I have a hardback copy that I purchased on the internet - they are expensive (much more so than any of Doreen's other books)- probably because it is more about the death of her husband and how she coped with it, rather than about her cats and Annabel.

Mixed reviews about it probably due to the latter comment, but her writing shines through - I loved it!

Aug 30, 2013
Kindle
by: Lois

Hello there

I just adore these books. Unfortunately several of mine are now in pieces having been read, reread and loaned out time without number.

Having recently downsized I am trying to restock much loved favourites on my lovely Kindle. Can you tell me if it is ever going to be possible to get all Doreen's books on Kindle?

Thanks for looking,

Lois

Aug 30, 2013
Waiting in the Wings by Doreen Tovey
by: Caz Greenham (Doreen's cousin, & children's author)

Hello Daria from Russia

Waiting in the Wings can be ordered in audio or hardback at Amazon.com - I just looked.

My books: The Adventures of Eric Seagull Series - Book 1 The Mysterious Sea Creatures is available on Amazon too. My second book, 'A Fairy's Wish' launches 1 September, and is available on Amazon and most internet book shops.

Take care, and lovely to hear from you.

My website is www.cazgreenham.com

Aug 29, 2013
Rare books
by: Daria Olkhovikova

Hey, Caz, I'm Daria from Russia and I simply adore Doreen' s books and I cried so hard when any of the characters died. Unfortunately in Russia only 6 books were translated and on the Internet I can find others except for "Waiting In The Wings".

By any chance do you know how and where can I get this book? Thank you and good luck with your own books :)

Jun 23, 2013
Doreen Tovey's ashes
by: Caz Greenham (Doreen's cousin, & children's author)

I understand that Cousin Doreen's ashes were scattered with her late husband Charles (Rene) and not far from where she lived. It's lovely that she's still close by to her beloved cottage.

And, for those interested: My first book The Adventures of Eric Seagull 'Story-teller' published 28 February 2013 and, similar to Doreen's books, is now journeying around the world for all to read. Book 2 'A Fairy's Wish' will be published end July.

My family and I would again like to thank everyone for keeping Doreen's memory and her books alive. We know she would be absolutely thrilled!

Caz, Doreen's Cousin.

Jun 23, 2013
Doreen's grave
by: Benita Lawrence

Unfortunately Doreen was cremated, but her ashes were scattered opposite the White Cottage in Rowberrow where she lived, on the hillside together with her husband's ashes (Rene - or Charles as she called him in her books) and her last remaining cat Rama!

Thank you Benita - I knew someone would know! I'll add that to my page about Doreen - Caroline

Jun 23, 2013
Doreen's home and grave
by: Kerstin

Hi there,

I am a big fan of Doreen's books. I want to visit her home and her grave, maybe you can help me with the address please? Who is the owner from the house today? Is somebody living there at the moment?

Maybe there is somebody who lives near Rowberrow who wants to write about her with me ... I would be very happy to hear from you.

Thank you so much for helping. Greetings from Lake Constance, Lindau, Germany

from Kerstin

Kerstin, I don't know where Doreen is buried but perhaps others here (Caz?) may know and comment. Sadly, White Cottage, where Doreen lived in Rowberrow has not been lived in for some years. (see Benita Lawrence's post below) - Caroline

Mar 26, 2013
Order of Books
by: Caroline (Admin)

Lois (and Caz - so good to see you here and I hope your book is selling well!) - I think that when I wrote the page about Doreen here - Doreen Tovey - I listed her books in order of publication.

I'm fairly sure that they progress from the first to the last, but if not, I'll make sure that they do. The page needs updating now that Caz's book has been published, so it's a good reminder to check all the information on the page!

Mar 26, 2013
Order-of-Books
by: Caz Greenham (Doreen's cousin, & children's author)

I'm not sure what order my cousin Doreen Tovey wrote her books, I'm afraid. But I do know she would be delighted to know how popular her writing still is. Doreen passed away in 2008 and is greatly missed.

As I have said before, writing is in the genes ... my web site is www.cazgreenham.com for more information about our family and my children's book The Adventures of Eric Seagull 'Story-teller'.

Thank you for visiting.

Mar 26, 2013
Kindle
by: Lois Stacey

Hello everybody out there,

I too am a great fan of Doreen's beautifully written books. I bought my first one in, of all places, a cathedral book shop, and now have 8 in paper back. I also have all the ones available on Kindle, and keep on requesting other titles for Kindle release.

Can anyone give me the exact order to read them in if and when more become available.

Like other contributors I also wept buckets when poor old Seeley was lost. And regret bitterly that I never tried to contact Doreen.

Jan 26, 2013
Memories of Rowberrow with Doreen Tovey
by: Caz Greeenham

Hello Lesley

So lovely of you to post a comment about living at Rowberrow. I now have lots of photos of Doreen, thankfully. In fact in photos of Doreen as a much younger woman, put side by side with photos of my mum and her identical twin and myself - all with very dark hair - I can see the similarities between us all.

No doubt Doreen is looking down and smiling at all the fond memories from everyone. Bet she didn't dream she would be so very popular when she first started writing her books all those years ago.

Caz

Jan 25, 2013
We were in Doreen Tovey's books!
by: Lesley

We lived in Apple Tree Cottage, Rowberrow in the late 1960s and occasionally appeared in her books as the Penny family (our real surname was Denny).

I don't have any photos of Doreen, but I do remember going to see Annabel the donkey and the Siamese cats and I think there is a photo of me with Annabel somewhere. I was very young when we lived there, but I remember the floods.

Jan 12, 2013
Doreen Tovey's Cousin - update!
by: Caz Greenham

Hello everyone who has written such wonderful comments about Cousin Doreen.

It will be 5 years tomorrow, 13th January since her passing. Time passes so quickly. My mum, Joan, Doreen's first cousin who she played with as a child, is still living.

Mum has many memories of Doreen, too many to print. As I have said previously, Doreen's book 'Life with Grandma' was about my Grandmother Rhoda - now a family treasure.

I also mentioned some time ago that I too am an author, though not about cats. The Adventures of Eric Seagull 'Story-teller' - Book 1, The Mysterious Sea Creatures, by Caz Greenham will be available in a couple of weeks. It's a children's magical adventure and not one cat in sight!

Thank you all again, for your wonderful support and comments. Doreen would be amazed, I'm sure.

Caz Greenham (author)
www.cazgreenham.com
twitter @TheCazzz
facebook.com/CazGreenham

Oct 29, 2012
Meeting at the cottage?
by: Malene, Denmark

Hi Benita,

Thank you, I would very much like to meet with you next time I am in the UK. Maybe you could show me the village and the cottage?
Here is my email, so we can be in contact: malenelotz[at]gmail.com.

Kind regards,
Malene

(Note from Caroline: Malene, I edited your email address to remove the @, to reduce the risk of spam.)

Oct 27, 2012
For Malene, Denmark
by: Anonymous

Malene

Please let me know when next you visit UK and we can meet up. Benita

Oct 18, 2012
MALE Doreen Tovey fans
by: Fred Dixon

Am I the ONLY male Doreen Tovey fan in existence,or are there other blokes trying not to be too emotional about her passing too? All the reviews I've read have been from members of the female persuasion and none from us lot. Let me say right now: I loved her through her books, and don't mind admitting I wept at the news of her death.

Sep 17, 2012
The old cottage
by: Malene, Denmark

Hi Benita,

Thank you for the update on Doreen's cottage. How sad that it is in such a bad state!

Apart from all of the wonderful stories about her cats, the village life she describes also has a special role in her books.

I think we all have images of her cottage-village-life with her husband and beautiful cats in our minds as we read her books - and also envision a Siamese cat or two on the old cottage wall!

And Philip - I hope you keep us updated on the biography - it sounds exciting.

I often go to the UK for holidays, and would love to meet and go to see the cottage.

Kind regards from Malene

Sep 10, 2012
Update
by: Benita Lawrence

Like everyone else, I too am a huge fan of Doreen's books but sadly never met her prior to her demise.

I live quite close to Rowberrow, the cottage was purchased by a couple who unfortunately left it for four years without living there and so it is in a sad state of repair. Think they may have planning permission to do something but I think it such a shame to see the cottage now. I often visit just to take in the atmosphere but sadly one day it will be no more.

Recently, I canvassed opinion on whether to get National Heritage to buy it as a historical place (over 250 years old) but sadly no interest.

Maybe we could all get together as a DT revival group?

Aug 18, 2012
Fellowship
by: Trilby Ryan

My aunt gave me "Bats in the Belfry" when I was 10. At 56, I still have it and would never part with it!

When I read it I still cry when Sugieh is laid to rest under the apple tree. I know only too well the feeling that follows the loss of a beloved cat.

I have read the book over and over feeling like most, I think, that the vivid description and absorbing antics leave one with an empty feeling and a wish to have known such a talented lady and her animals.

Well, today I have discovered so much about her and some more books for me to read, I am very happy! Just like our animals, Doreen will never be forgotten while so many people are ensuring that her beloved cats live on. Thank you.

Jul 30, 2012
The BBC tape with Sheba and Solomon
by: Malene, Denmark

Hi Caz and all Doreen-fans!

I read all of Doreen books and loved every single one of them! It is my impression that although she loved all of her cats dearly, Solomon was her favourite.

I wonder, if it would be possible to find the footage from the BBC when Doreen and her cats were on the show? She wrote about it in one of her books. Of course this was many years ago, but it would be so very interesting to see it!

I have also wondered what on earth happened to sweet Seeley when he disappeared? I shed some tears over the loss of him.

I would also love to go to visit the cottage - it looks absolutely lovely on the photo, thank you.

Maybe some of us should meet there - I would feel so lonely going there by myself, all of the inhabitants from the books are gone. That is a bit sad, but I would love to go.

Kind regards from,
Malene, Denmark
...owned by a brown Burmese and a Burmilla!


Jul 12, 2012
Thank you
by: Ellen Pilch

Thank you Josephine and Gilly. I looked at the Google photo and it certainly does look similar. It is sad though that it is not kept up. I would love to visit there and see where all the wonderful stories of Solomon, Sheba and many others took place.

Jul 03, 2012
The White Cottage
by: Josephine Lane

That is the White Cottage that Doreen Tovey lived in for nearly 50 years. It was sold in Nov 2008. There is a photograph of it in Your Cat Sept 2005.

It looks derelict now, the blue shutters have all gone. Perhaps somebody bought it to make a profit later on, as I think there is some more land across the way that belongs to it.

May 01, 2012
Doreen Tovey's Cottage
by: Gilly Osborne

"I would love to know the actual address of her cottage so someday I can see where all these events happened. Also, I would like to know who owns it now? If you could answer these questions, I would be very pleased."

I'm not sure who owns the cottage now but it was in the Somerset village of Rowberrow. I'm sure it was called The White Cottage. I went on to Google Street View and think I might have found the cottage (see the link below). If you look at this pic AND the drawing of the cottage on page 150 of Waiting In The Wings it does look extremely similar!

White Cottage

One day I hope to visit the village and see the area where all Doreen's wonderful books were based.

Gilly

Mar 24, 2012
I have so many questions
by: Ellen Pilch

I just discovered these books this year and have read most of them. They are hard to come by in the USA and I had to get them from several libraries. Unfortunately, I can't find Waiting in the WIngs, and I can't afford the $70 on Amazon so I hope it gets reprinted.

I am so sad that I discovered these books after her death as I would have loved to write to her and let her know how much I enjoyed them. I have several cats, none are Siamese, but when I do get another one, it will be.

I would love to know the actual address of her cottage so someday I can see where all these events happened. Also, I would like to know who owns it now? If you could answer these questions, I would be very pleased. Thank you.

Jul 31, 2011
Please re-record books
by: Naila Caruso

I have the audio tapes but they are terribly high pitched and squeaky. I would adore her literary executor to get them re-issued with sound correction on DVD format.

I also found her in 1972 - and while I never had Siamese I was stuck since 1981 with two batches of abused/dog bait or phobic/biting/wetting animals on destruction lists from Humane Society or former owners who knew the idiot at the airport.

My worst case took five years for me to groom her while not lying flat, seventeen years to accept the cat sitter she knew from six months, eighteen years to accept and call for people to come to HER heated cat hutch on HER cat tree.

Pudge went at 21, finally wanting all people to pay attention.

I gave something called COMFORT ZONE Pheromone collars ($14) to Colony for problem Siamese biting returns to them, to avoid some problem behaviors on new adoptions. Inside three minutes both Siamese wanted people's attention and petting at adoption events.

PLEASE take note re problem Siamese, and use these when adopting!

May 18, 2011
Would love to see another Tovey in print!
by: Jodi

Am writing from an autumnal Sydney, Australia.

I first discovered Doreen's writing when, in 1966, as a book and animal-mad 10 year old, an elderly neighbour loaned me her copy of "Cats In The Belfry" many times and subsequently gave it to me.

Over the decades, I have been able to pick up the occasional Tovey book on my regular op (charity) and second-hand bookshop forays. However they were few and far between as they're simply NOT the sort of books you easily relinquish!

So many times I'd wanted to write to Doreen and tell her how much I loved her work, and sadly I have discovered today I will never get the chance.

Now, however, thanks to the Your Cat magazine's bookshop (and Amazon UK) I'm reading my way through Doreen Tovey books previously unknown to me, and enjoying them just as much as those which were! I'm also able to turn a whole new generation of animal lovers onto them - a bonus!

Hey Caz, good luck with your seagull book. As someone who has spent most of her life working in journalism and writing, I know it is hard to break through as a novice in a competitive industry, but I'm sure Doreen will be wishing you well and guiding your hand.

And Doreen, if you get a chance to read the I-net between trying to ensure those heavenly hordes of winged Siamesers behave themselves (can anyone IMAGINE the chaos cats with wings could cause?), I just want to say thanks thanks thanks for taking the brave move of putting pen to paper (or fingers to typewriter) and leaving a great legacy: timelessly enjoyable books which will be treasured, laughed and cried over as long as there are Siamese (and other) cats and humans willing to become lovingly enslaved to them.

Apr 14, 2011
I adore Doreen Tovey's books
by: Judith Parker

I wanted to say how I have loved Doreen Tovey's wonderful books on her Siamese cats since I was a little girl. I am now 41. I have had Siamese cats since I was little and if you are lucky enough to have read Doreen's books you will know just how charming and endearing these marvellous and enchanting cats are.

I cannot imagine life without one. Each has a distinct personality and charm all of their own and I confess they are addictive. I think the more you know of them the more you fall in love.

I cannot thank Doreen enough for sharing her stories of her own Siamese cats with us - they are treasured in our household and every time I read them they are just as good as when I read them the first time. I can't help myself being attached to her cats - I feel I know them so very well from her hilarious telling of their adventures.

I wish I could have thanked Doreen herself for all the pleasure she has given me and my family.

Yours most sincerely,

Judith

Apr 01, 2011
Doreen Tovey
by: Maryann

Hi Caz,

I was so sad to hear that Doreen had passed on. What an interesting life she had, and what a talented writer she was!

In 1970 I borrowed "Raining Cats and Donkeys" from the school library and could not bring myself to return it! I still have it, and since then have added all her books (honestly acquired) to my shelves. I love them all.

I attempted to send her a note but had no luck until 17 years later when ELEK books forwarded my letter to her. By then I had two Siamese of my own. She replied very graciously, and a few Christmases later sent me a wonderful card in response to a couple of photos I sent her.

Doreen had, as an author, the great gift of detail. I can picture, as if I'd been there myself, the horseback riding trip to Scotland, Grandma's singed eyebrows, "Charles" chasing Annabel, and Solomon and Sheba purring by the hearth (when they weren't getting into trouble!)

Thanks for sharing!

Feb 14, 2011
Doreen Tovey's wonderful books!
by: Ros

I absolutely love reading Doreen Tovey's books, they give me such pleasure, being a cat lover. There are only three books that I have't read. I am at the moment desperately trying to purchase them over the Internet.

These books will be stored away for a while, to be read again at a later date. (My favourite Author!)

Best regards,
Ros

Feb 12, 2011
Doreen Tovey
by: Sabrina

Hi Caz

I love Doreen Tovey's books - she wrote with such love and humour. I only discovered her books in 2007, when Cats in the Belfry was reprinted and I got a copy for my birthday. I wondered how to contact Doreen to tell her how much it made me laugh and how much of the Siamese cat I had owned, Ming, was in that book.

I decided, months later, to email the Siamese Cat Society and ask them to pass my message on. Awful timing - your cousin had died a few weeks before and I had no idea. I felt dreadful when I found out a month or so later she had gone.

Your great-grandmother sounds like she was a real character - and Louisa was one of my favourite humans in Doreen's books too.

Good luck with your quirky seagull - I hope you get a publisher. Why should Jonathan Livingstone Seagull have the market to himself?!

Aug 23, 2010
Runs in the family!
by: Caroline (Admin)

How lovely to hear from you, Caz - thank you for your message. I do love Doreen Tovey's books. For me, the Siamese cat ones are particularly special of course but I enjoyed the other ones too, and re-read them all from time to time.

Great to know that you've inherited the family writing gene - I do hope you manage to find a publisher. I shall certainly look out for books about a quirky seagull!

Click here to add your own comments

Like to write your own page? Click here to return to Miscellaneous Stories.


***************


If you like what you've seen, why not
sign up for our newsletter,
Meezer Musings?

An opportunity to share my reflections on life with
Siamese cats, stories in the news, photos, tips, goodies,
and our Meezer of the Month!

Enter Your E-mail Address
Enter Your First Name (optional)
Then

Don't worry — your e-mail address is totally secure.
I promise to use it only to send you Meezer Musings.


***************


Like us? Please share us with
your Siamese cat-loving friends





Home Sitemap  |  Resources  |  Privacy Policy  |  Disclaimer  |  About Us  |  Contact Us

Information provided on this website is not intended to replace professional advice. If you have any concerns at all about your cat's health, please consult a veterinarian.

Copyright © 2009-2016 Caroline Haines, Life with Siamese Cats. All rights reserved.




The Siamese Colors


Seal point Siamese cat


Seal




Chocolate point Siamese cat


Chocolate




Blue point Siamese cat


Blue




Lilac point Siamese cat


Lilac




Lynx point Siamese cat


Lynx/Tabby




Flame point Siamese cat


Flame/Red




Tortie point Siamese cat


Tortie