... feminist, atheist, autistic academic and historic narrowboater ...
Likes snooker, beer, tea, rivets and solitude, and is strangely fascinated by the cinema organ.
And there might be something about railways.

Friday 12 February 2021


I've raided just a couple of photo albums from our most cat-intensive period (my mother indulged in a kind of pet shop retail therapy, and this was a tough time for her. Maybe buying kittens wasn't the most terrible response. (This is another 'remember when you could' ... just walk into a pet shop and buy a kitten?). I worked out a while back that I've had over thirty cats over my lifetime, so this really is a very small sample of terrible Instamatic (and in one exciting example, Polaroid) photos.

Leo, 1977. Actually our second cat, ever. Leo was lovely, sinuous, extremely lazy and slightly smelly. He liked water and would sit in the sink under the dripping tap. Like every white cat I have known, he had very thick fur and moulted copiously. After I had put on my navy school skirt in the morning, I couldn't sit down.

By the way, I grew up with that carpet, so it is hardly surprising if I am slightly disturbed. As if it wasn't bad enough in itself, it was cheap foam backed carpet that stretched after being put down ('laid' would imply too great a degree of professionalism) and thus had a ridge running down the middle of the room for fifteen years. And - the greatest crime of all - we had just moved into a brand new house with teak parquet floors and they put this on the top of it.

This quartet date from what was clearly a very stressful period, and were the third to sixth feline additions: front left to right, Sebastian, Tabitha and Jessica, with Carlos on the back of the sofa. Yes, I think there really was a hamster in that cage.
Then came Nicholas, along with his brother Oliver, who like (cat) Sebastian was extremely cuddly, docile and, to be honest, dim, and got run over (as did most of them, sooner or later). Nicholas was sleeker and more savvy, and lasted rather longer. Oliver did have the charming habit of, when I came home from school, running up and leaping onto my chest.
Of all those cats, only one was ever allowed to have kittens. Unfortunately it was Jessica, who was neurotic (she used to lick her armpits bald) and clearly very poor breeding stock. She produced one kitten - Monica - who lived for twenty eight days before dying of a congenital heart defect. Sorry about this, this was supposed to be cheering you up.
As if breeding our own defective felines wasn't enough, we went through a phase of rescuing feral cats from behind the hospital laundry at the massive old psychiatric hospital where my mother worked. This (above, in case you didn't believe the carpet the first time) was Mouse and below is Dylan

Finally we have another two from the pet shop who lived rather longer and healthier lives: Belinda
and Hywel:

Spare a thought also for the children living in that house in the days before effective flea control.

Cups of tea so far this February: 113
Online meetings so far this February: 30

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