Saturday 28 February 2009

Bit of a drama queen!

I've mentioned before how Austin is like a little dog the way he follows me about. He keeps so close to my leg, he's practically walking to heel! And if he wants me to do something for him, he's fine tuned his vocal repertoire to the point where he now swears I understand every word he says. And we argue! Oh yes we do. I almost, but not always, lose any argument I embark on with him as he can shriek louder and longer.

"I want fooooood. Now"

"Well you can't"





"Can" ....... I give up through sheer exhaustion. And he really doesn't "want foooood now", he just wants to annoy me. His eating habits are what you might call dainty! He will never eat his whole dish of food (unless it's Tescos finest boneless chicken breasts, cooked for exactly 33 minutes in tin foil on 190 degrees, chopped into one centimetre cubed chunks and left for precisely 7½ minutes to cool and served up on the best bone china and I sit there with him watching his back for infestations of Tigger or Two. Yeah right!). He'll pick at Morrison's TroutnPrawninJelly, then stick his delicate nose in the air and mince off into the garden to murder an innocent blue tit passing by on its way to next-door-but-ones cordon bleu bird feeder with a la carte menu and all weather roofing installed!! I actually saw him bouncing one poor unfortunate avian up and down like a basketball in front of the conservatory window; "Na na nana na, I don't need you or your poxy skinflint rations".

When he's killed enough
of the local wildlife to cause me great distress and to satisfy his carnal desires, he returns to the house and sniffs contemptuously at the now encrusted and fermenting TroutnPrawninJelly, goes to the cupboard where the much inferior cuisine is kept and sets up such a yowl of derision and contempt that any opera diva would be jealous of his vocal range. Basically he's a Tatler Caff cat with Savoy Grill pretensions.

Desperate now to establish my moral, physical and speciest superiority I resort to giving him those pellet thingies that look as though they would be better utilised as ammunition during armed combat, inflicting mortal wounds on all those who are unfortunate enough to get in their way. He doesn't like them as it hurts his ginger-vitis, but the vet says they are good for him. Hee Hee Hee! I then hastily remove myself from the vicinity and retreat downstairs.

not finished with me yet. He waits patiently on the stairs until he hears me coming up, nips round the corner, sticks his head through the bannisters and thwacks me hard on the shoulder while making a petulant "myat" sound. I pin myself against the wall in an attempt to avoid the "long arm of the claw" and sidle along until I'm almost behind him. Because his head is wider than the gap in the bannisters, he has to turn it to get it through. The time it takes him to do that is just long enough for me to pounce and get him by the scruff!

Unfortunately, I'm not able to multitask, so getting a picture of Austin being "scruffed" is a bit beyond me until I employ a permanent film crew - you know like one of those fly on the wall docu thingys! Any offers?

Sunday 15 February 2009

Two's company, three's another blog post!

Take a close look at the picture! Go on. …. look closer. Who’s that? No really; who is it? You might be forgiven for thinking it’s Austin, but I swear it isn’t – unless he’s managed to clone himself. Look at the paws though!

I have suspected for a while now – I know I’ve mentioned this before, like errr once or twice – that Austin and Tigger’s relationship is at times a bit edgy. For instance my elderly Ma once had to intervene to stop Austin disembowelling Tigger in the cupboard under the stairs. It was a very traumatic experience for her, poor dear. She hasn’t been able to eat offal since – or venture under the stairs. Then, of course, there was the conservatory door fracas, which almost resulted in me needing a couple of skin grafts. So when I heard the usual scrabbling sound of claw on fence yesterday, I was expecting to see Austin or Tigger, or Austin and Tigger coming over from next door after a few hours of the usual rampaging through the uncharted territory of the east Anglesey back garden “seeking whom they may devour”.

Well, there were two cats, that’s for sure; and there was no doubt that the first one was Tigger. He was quite sure of himself, the path he took, the route well trod. The black and white one behind was not so certain and Tigger kept turning back as if to check it was still there and offering encouragement; “it’s ok, just follow me; jump down to here and up the side and along the top”. I thought it strange. Why would Austin need detailed directions to enter his own domain? I turned round at this point to carry on with whatever I was doing to the sight of Austin lounging on his bed! Huh? Bit of a double take moment as I whirled round again to check I hadn’t been hallucinating. Nope! Tigger rushed through the door and headed for the food as usual and Austin mark 2 tentatively stuck his head inside “Is it ok if I come in?”

I backed up against the wall to keep out of the way and to watch and see what happened. Austin mark 1 made like a giraffe – all neck and antenna ears, his whiskers became huge and bristling. No sound though; no threatening growl or welcoming chirrup. I’ve no idea what would have happened next had I not trodden on Tigger (stuffing his face on leftover breakfast by the door). His indignant “yaaht” galvanised Austin mark 1 into action and with one bound he leapt to the door and it wasn’t until the dust settled that I saw the tails of Austins 1 and 2 disappearing over the fence at the top of the garden. Meanwhile Tigger …..
There has to be an explanation for Tigger bringing another black and white cat to chez Austin. Could it really be because of a breakdown in feline relations? After much thought and rumination I have concluded that it could be any or all of the following: a) Tigger, unfortunately resorting to racial stereotyping, thinks that because they appear to have the same ethnic heritage, they must be related; b) Austin and Tigger have had a big row and fallen out, so Tigger now wants to make Austin jealous; c) Austin mark 2 has applied for the job of Austin mark 1’s stunt double and was invited along for an interview; d) Tigger gives off a pheromone which is irresistible to black ‘n whites; or e) Tigger thought it was Austin all the time!

I believe Austin thinks he’s looking in the mirror when Two is around, as he tolerates him much in the same way as he does Tigger. Two does have less white on him, but I still have to peer a bit longer to determine which it is. In actual fact I really don’t know if it is a he, she or undecided. I will have to find out!

Anyway what we have now is a gang! I fear for the future of the neighbourhood if the mob from the other side of the estate gets wind of developments!

Friday 13 February 2009

"Two into five won't go!"

I am starting to think that the cat(s) in my life are refugees from a cartoon strip. Or maybe they are just figments of my fevered imagination. There was an incident the other day that really defies description - but that doesn't mean I'm not going to try and form the words, even if I have to swallow the dictionary first and regurgitate portions at random – bit like one of Darwin’s descendents or the “infinite monkey” concept.

Ok, check out the pictures. As you, my loyal reader know, we have the famous conservatory door, which is upstairs and at the back. This door opens out onto a path and there is a wall on the left which leads to steps down below. Ahead there is the neighbour's wooden fence (he with the holiday home, the neurotic pooch called Toby and an unfinished balcony out the front). The fence as you can see has got a couple of what can only be described as vantage points - for cats. Austin spends a great deal of his outdoor time balanced on one of these three inch wide slats of wood, master of all he surveys. Sometimes I look out and Tigger is there instead. When I open the door, whichever cat is perched will leap from the wooden fence onto the wall, run along the top, jump down onto the path and in through the door. This is quite a precarious exercise as there is a 15 foot drop down onto concrete on the other side of the wall! When it was icy one day Austin did his usual leap and literally skidded along the top of the wall, very gracefully, rather like a little furry four-legged Olympic tobogganer who was giving his all for the gold medal.

On the day in question, they were both there on the fence, one up above and one down below, looking for all the world like a couple of tiny sphinxes on the watch out for the old “Giza” next door. Soon as my hand touched the door handle they both, in one unanimous fluid movement, leapt from the fence to the wall. It was like a scene out of Swan Lake! So balletic ….. so graceful …….. so dumb! In their eagerness to get in the door, they forgot that, mathematically speaking their combined body ratio was greater than the surface area of the top of the wall. They came together like a couple of juggernauts sideswiping each other on the motorway. The result was that Tigger, having the greater body mass index, managed by sheer weight to dislodge Austin from his claw-hold on the 5 inch wide wall! Thankfully Austin was on the side of the path, so, although he was surprised he wasn’t injured as he picked himself up from the paving stones. Tigger, however, because of the momentum (i.e. product of the mass of a body of matter multiplied by its velocity) disappeared for a second over the other side! All I could see were a couple of claws!

After what seemed like an age, his nose appeared, then his face, straining as he tried to get a foothold on the smooth wall. Somehow with a supreme effort he heaved himself back up on top. Any normal cat would have given it up as a bad job, but he was having none of it. With one leap he was on Austin’s back, who was making the most of the advantage and was halfway through the door. He almost made it. But Tigger was lightening quick, and with a yowl he wrapped his jaw round Austin’s neck and chomped a mouthful of fur. Austin squealed and turned to fight him off. There was fur, teeth and claws flying in all directions. By this time I had come to my senses. Galvanised into action I grabbed a scruff with each hand and wrenched them apart. Tigger struggled, Austin struggled, I struggled. I dropped one outside the door and slammed it shut. I took stock. The question was did I have the correct cat inside? By this time I couldn’t have cared less really. It was a cat, it was inside. The household status quo was one cat, two humans. It had been restored.

Thursday 5 February 2009

Balconies and Wardrobes!

Just thought I'd give a quick update on Mick and Pat Enterprises who are allegedly building a balcony next door. Remember them? They are now seven months into the 2 - 3 week job! Good old Bodgit and Scarper - I do believe the council are going to start charging council tax on the scaffolding, as it's been there so long. We've chatted up the builders and they say it's because the owner keeps changing his mind. We've also chatted up the owner and he says it's because the builders don't listen! Meanwhile a family of small rodents have moved in and taken up residence on the scaffolding, which would be advertised in the property pages as a one up, one down bijou residence with air conditioning and outdoor plumbing. Who can blame them? It's a steal.

I think it will be very nice when it's finished, but fear the scaffolding will still be there long after the house has become derelect with dry rot or rising damp. The latter would be from the Straits of course.

Apparently global warming is causing the polar ice cap to melt and the water to rise until the only hope we have left is Noah floating by in his ark, although have to say that the current health and safety regulations would not even allow him to start building, let alone have animals holed up in there with humans! Not that anyone would be worried particularly about the humans, but the furry, feathered and flying things have a host of regulations and legislation to protect them. So each would have to have it's own room, mini-bar and satellite TV, with room service and swedish masseur available 24/7. It would necessitate a rather large craft in order to accommodate everyone and their requirements, I fear.

I'm actually not totally convinced that, in the current financial climate, the necessary funding could be secured in order to purchase the raw materials, and also poor old Noah would have no end of a problem getting his carbon footprint down to an acceptable size 8 in order to obtain permission to sail. In any event I'm still waiting for that whole greenhouse effect thing to kick in, having had below freezing temperatures for it seems like forever - and snow!!! Here?? At least it would save on the heating bills.

Well, I've got a couple of digressions in first. So now back to Austin.

Way, way back when we first encountered him and he inveigled himself into our hearts, we thought he might be a bit lacking in the mobility department because of his putative disability. Ha! That thought was soon despatched and filed away in the drawer marked "yeah right" in the skeptics library of aphorisms, as I watched him strolling along the ridge of the neighbour's roof!

Since he's rediscovered "on high", he's conquered all the book cases, book shelves and wall cupboards, not to mention getting his head stuck up the back of the curtain rod in the living room! And now it's wardrobes! He can't see one now without having to plot a course to the summit. It can be quite tricky balancing on the top of the bookcase trying to negotiate the chasm over which he has to leap to reach his ultimate goal. Descent can also be tricky as he found out when he tried to jump from the top of the one in my room to the bed - and missed. Ouch! He was very graceful though, as his paws slid slowly down the edge of the duvet, landing on the floor with a thump and a bump. His embarrassment was profound, but he tried to cover it up by pretending it was all part of the plan and he really wanted to explore under the bed anyway! Have you ever seen a black cat blush?