Monday 30 March 2009

Curtains !

There is no doubt in my mind that Austin has been a bit preoccupied of late. It's probably because it's officially Spring - although the season (being an emotional and delicate flower) is a little reluctant to wed herself irrevocably to the stern and rather inscrutable Sir Gregorian Calendar for the forseeable. I mean what if Miss Spring throws a wobbly and allows sleet, snow and gale force winds to define her existence during April? Will Sir Greg spurn her advances just because she's overwrought and exhibiting PMT (Post March Tantrums)? It's a conundrum that keeps me awake most nights. Anyway Austin is also exhibiting unstable behaviour at the moment. It may be because he's aware that something should be stirring in his loins, but cannot for the life of him remember what! Consequently, he's been wandering around the place sniffing the air, crying pitifully and sticking his nose in places he shouldn't. Tigger, who as you might remember, has all his accoutrements, doesn't seem to be manifesting any of this uncertainty. As long as there's "foooooooood" and a soft blanket in the conservatory, he's as happy as Larry (BTW who is Larry? I never really knew!).

The other evening I went into the living room. The atmosphere was rather tense, it has to be said. Usually I would check around for little brown deposits or the sticky aftermath of a frenzied furball evacuation. But it wasn't that kind of atmosphere. It was kind of resigned despair. There was someone there and they were troubled. I waited. After a couple of minutes there was a slight movement of the curtain. I moved to the window and looked behind it. Nothing there?? I stood back and stayed still. There it was again! tug, tug ..... !! I looked again. Nope, not a sausage. This is ridiculous, I'm going gaga (well!). Ok, enough is enough. I lifted up the front of the curtain and to my amazement a rather embarrassed Austin stuck his nose out, his face all flat and whiskers awry! It seems (and I had to have it explained to me) that he was trying to access his usual viewing place and somehow got caught up in between the curtain and the lining! The more he tried to extricate himself the more he got his furry knickers in a twist. There followed a fairly lengthy conversation:

I did call!

Sorry, didn't hear.

I was caught.

Yes, I realise that now.

I could have starved to death.

That's rather unlikely! Anyway you're all right now.

But I was very frightened

Never mind, it turned out ok in the end.

I will probably have nightmares!

You'll be just fine.

Can I sleep on your bed tonight?

I don't think that would be wise

I need succour

I think you've probably found one?!!

I had spent some considerable time explaining it was impossible to accommodate him exactly as he wished and that as a mere cat he was, sadly, not allowed access to my brand new 12 tog, especially after the jumping-off-the-wardrobe incident ruined the old one, he subsided and sloped off, ears flat and tail scraping the floor.

morning Austin went out very early. Eventually I came to, stumbled into the living room and pulled back the aforementioned curtains. This is the scene that confronted me:-

OK clever dick, when I said you were a mere cat I didn't mean you were a meercat for crying out loud!!! SOMEONE is taking the puss !!

Wednesday 25 March 2009

Haiku Revisited!

Haiku - Unrhymed Japanese poetic form consisting of 17 syllables arranged in three lines containing five, seven, and five syllables, respectively.

Sunlight, mirror, cat.
Prances, dances, advances.
Whiskers twitch, pounces.

Sleepless night thinking
haiku's a load of twaddle
doesn't even rhyme!

Catterel !

There was a young feline called Austin
Who'd no idea how much he was costin'
He just picked at his food
Such a wasteful young "dood"
So in the dustbin young Austin was tossed in.

Friday 20 March 2009


I take a walk most days ... well some days ... errr a couple of times a week ... ok, now and again - up the road outside our house, which has "panoramic views of Snowdonia and the Menai Strait". Often the "panoramic views" bit has to be taken by faith as this part of NW Wales is regularly enshrouded in mist and/or cloud. In fact the brighter and sunnier the day, the mistier it is over the mountains! And then we get low cloud that is sort of drawn up through the Straits like soda being sucked through a straw. It's quite spectacular when you can see the mountains peeking through the top of the cloud and from our vantage point we feel as if we're above it all looking down.

Being a creature of habit I tend to meander along the same well trod path. I walk past the dog poo bin on the right, making sure I dodge all the doggie dos that decorate the grass verge all the way along. A bit further up I pass the "American" house on the left where I keep my head down so I don't have to say "hi" to the garrulous owner who comes from somewhere like Slapout, Alabama and is never short of something to say very loudly in colloquial American. There are a couple of ponies grazing rather dejectedly in the field opposite. They are probably melancholy because they're worn out with all the southern chat:P I cross over the bit where the drunks coming back from "The Gazelle" stop to throw up noisily in the gritting bin, glance covetously at the posh house on the other corner and then, ignoring the noisy geese in the allotment, I turn right, down the road that leads to the old people's home.

Now this is the bit where it gets interesting (no! honest! bear with me .... please!). It is so atmospheric (even the OP home, but will come to that in a minute). Either side of the path there is a field. In the fields there are sheep. In one field (quite prosperous looking) there are usually black sheep and in the other field (not so viable due to brambles and Japanese knotweed) there are usually white sheep! Unlike "my field" where integration and assimilation has resulted in a certain degree of interracial harmony, these have obviously been kept segregated for some unknown, but possibly political, reason. One day, however, I noticed that a couple of white sheep had strayed into the field with the black sheep. It was an interesting sight!

The "foreigners" were huddled together looking bemused and rather miserable. I guess they were feeling overwhelmed and a bit isolated, being in the minority, and the black sheep were a tad threatening, encircling them as they were. I was almost at the point of sending out for a UN resolution or two to try and bring about a peaceful conclusion before the situation deteriorated to the point of internecine carnage. I wondered what caused the two white sheep to make the journey over to the other side? Were they asylum seekers, desperate to escape political instability in their own field; or economic migrants determined to try and elicit a better life for themselves and their offspring in a field that's clearly benefitted from EU category one funding? The indigenous sheep seemed quite suspicious of the immigrants, but who could blame them if they were unsettled? These interlopers would put a tremendous strain on an already finely balanced ecosystem. The scales could so easily tip over and plunge the fragile agrarian economy into a deep recession.

Musing for a moment over how the microcosmic can mirror the macro - at least it does in my overly exercised imagination, I eventually leave the sheep to work out their own solution and stroll further down the lane to an altogether more community orientated group gathered at
Watership Down. Here, on any given day in the spring and summer one can see between 20 and 30 rabbits doing what it is that rabbits do, and when they're not doing that they are hopping in and out the vegetation extracting the choicest morsels of food! When the sun is shining, their "cottontails" glisten as they catch the light and they appear to dance as they bob up and down. I give them names, Hazel, Fiver, Bigwig, but am surprised to discover that this has already been done, so I move on through the scattering "crowd of witnesses" to the bend in the lane. It is at this point the road emerges from the trees and the "panoramic view" thing kicks in.

Before me I can see the shimmering waters of the Straits (well, except when the tide's out and the cloud's in!), with Bangor pier and harbour opposite, and looming up impressively behind is Penrhyn Castle, which in the mist could be a dead ringer for King Arthur's pad in Tintagel! On a good day, further up on the left, I should be able to see the Great Orme at Llandudno - well, if
the trees weren't in the way and the mist shifted over a bit!

Moving further around the corner the sight that assaults ones eyes is quite a shock. It's a derelict looking house that looks like something out of a gothic horror movie! It actually isn't derelect, but most of the people that live in it are (sadly). It's the OAP home and although it is, I understand, comfortable inside and has wonderful views, it always makes me shiver inwardly, as the windows are dark and small and it's got gables and big chimneys. It's a bit of a time warp to be honest. I stand and look at the larger scene. It is different every time and it never ceases to amaze me how the prevailing weather conditions can have such a strong influence on one's view. This microclimate that is west of the Snowdonia mountains and over the Straits is a law unto itself; and, as far as I am concerned, long may it stay that way!

Tuesday 10 March 2009

Radiator Cat!

Having eschewed (love that word!) all things that blow hot air (well, except me) since he arrived, Austin has now discovered radiators. I think it's a serious addiction. It seems he can't keep away from them. I suppose as he's been balancing for quite a while now on the 3 inch wide fence outside, he's now thinking he'd prefer 3 inches with central heating as standard.

Trouble is he's crammed up against the wall and therefore is prone to topple off if he takes too big a sigh or sneezes or something. We've also had a nasty incident when his claw got caught in one of the vents - we almost had to call out the fire brigade for that one! Then there was the time he tried to turn round, banged his head on the wall, lost his footing and nearly chinned himself on the way down to deep embarrassment on the shag pile.

I thought he would give up after this indignity, but nope! Then having fried himself enough so that his fur is nicely singed and he's starting
to look a bit like a siamese, he rushes outside into sub zero temperatures!! What's that all about? I'm wondering if he was reading over my shoulder when I googled "Finnish Sauna" (purely for research purposes you understand) and decided he'd like to try it? He will of course need the birch twigs if he wants to do it properly. Hmmmmmmm!

Monday 2 March 2009

Postscript to last blog!

Not having taken too kindly to being "scruffed" by my good self during the bannister thwacking incident, Austin treated me with contempt for a day or two. This meant that every time I approached him, or was within spitting distance, he would give me that aristocratic nose-in-the-air I-am-totally-indifferent-to-the-lower-classes looking-right-through-you languid stare, toss his head and mince off into the garden.

I'm not saying I was happy about this, but to have a day or so free of his expert and enthusiastic Shiatsu treatment gave my pocked marked body a chance to recover. Also I have to say it's a bit tiring when a cat constantly tries to climb on your lap when you're just leaving the house to go to the shops, or trying to do a bit of light dusting!

However, as I type Austin issdddddddddddd sdssssss sderrrrrrre frrfggggrfgs as he is sfksddddddddddddddd cuddling the ooooooooooooo laptoppppppppppppp ppppppppppooooooooooooo. ........... assume thiiiiiiinvnvgs are back to normalllllllllllllllllllllll.