Thursday, 6 August 2015

Cats - treat them mean...

My father was a big fan of Tom & Jerry. When they were on TV every weekday night before the six o’clock news, he would open the pub doors and let customers in but would watch the cartoon to the end before he served them.  He enjoyed his little indulgence and it kept him within the strict licensing laws.  

We had a kitten – he bought it when we first moved into the 16C coaching inn  - as soon as he realised that we had little visitors. Lots of them.  The place was over-run.  Mum arrived with the furniture three days later than him.  He and my Aunt spent those days making the place habitable.  He always says that if Mum had seen it from day one, she would have walked straight out again. Mice were nesting in the back of the cooker and the insulation at the back of the fridge.  They ran along the shelves in the bar and jumped out of cupboards.  There were other problems too.  As soon as Mum arrived, the place was closed to customers and Rentokil were summoned.

The kitten was a pure white, half-Persian, ball of fluff and so beautiful that she was given the fearful name Mimi.  Enough to send shivers down the spine of any mouse! Mimi was supposed to be a mouser.  Poor Dad had no chance – all the girls who worked for Mum in the kitchen gave her titbits, fresh salmon, cream.  She was spoilt rotten, lazy and to my knowledge never bothered to run after anything other than a ball of wool.  I would often dress her in my dolls clothes and sit her in a chair.

I have a photo of Mimi curled up on the floor, with our German Shepherd,  Zalme.  My Nana's beloved , bright yellow budgie is perched on her head. It was a very interesting pet perspective and not one bit Tom & Jerry.  Once Mimi brought home a mole.  Poor creature must have emerged right under her nose. Dad was not at all impressed.  Eventually he took her to the vet and returned with the news that Mimi was a tom cat. My brothers re-named him TC.  A suitable name for a cat with an attitude.

I don’t have a pet now. I feel strongly about leaving animals locked up all day and even more strongly about letting them roam. I have the care of two gardens and am frequently frustrated by small deposits among the rose beds and my veg plot. I also love wild birds.  After Dad died, I found an unused birdhouse, that he had made, in his shed.  Within days of attaching it to my sycamore tree, blue tits moved in and the box has produced a clutch of eggs each year since 1999. My little pals keep me entertained and the local moggies keep me on my toes.  This year one sat on top of the nest box with a paw in the entrance.  I had to shoo it away with my clothes prop.

A few weeks ago, I had left the back door open because the day was very warm (yes, there has been one warm day this year!)  I was sitting here at my desk when a large ginger cat strolled past me into the living room. I politely showed it the way out.  An hour later a dirty great spider came out of the corner and ran across the carpet.  I found myself wishing that I had a cat. Even Mimi could catch a spider!
 
Tomorrow ( Friday 7th August) we are hosting our Dead Good open mic night on the theme 'cats', so I have been re-reading T.S Eliot's - Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats.  It is a magical volume of poems, a delight to all generations and the inspiration for Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical 'Cats', showing at the magnificent Opera House, here in Blackpool until 5th September.  I have written especially for the event at Caffe Dolce and am reluctant to reveal my poem before I read it live.  I hope you will come and join the fun.  In the meantime, I will leave you with this ...


 

Pretty Miss Mimi
 
I used to belong to a family
who fed me fresh salmon and cream,
I tried to be nice but I couldn’t catch mice,
I didn’t like hearing them scream.
They thought I was lazy, maybe I’m crazy
but I’m a tom cat– not a she.
I took a career path that suited my style,
no kitty on earth is as pretty as me.
 
I'm Mimi Lamour, the cat they adore,
I’m strutting my stuff in burlesque,
I prowl in the foyer at Funny Girls show,
my elegant fur is as white as the snow.
I’m dripping with diamonds and pearls,
though I’ll never be one of the girls,
Lloyd Webber’ is calling for my caterwauling
Broadway is sending a scout,
So if anyone rings and asks for a mouser,
my darlings, just tell them I’m out!


P.S My earliest recollection of reading poetry aloud was Dr Seuss, The Cat in The Hat.
No wonder I rhyme! Hope to see some of you tomorrow evening.

Thanks for reading - Adele. 
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