Friday, November 28


28th November
I went back to the Gardeners yesterday. The whole cat thing has got me a bit anxious. As a child I went on and on about wanting animals and my parents drummed it in to me that pets are a Big Responsibility, and have a habit of either living for unfeasibly long amounts of time or, conversely, dying just when you’ve got very fond of them.

As an adult I’ve been far too unsettled for pets although years ago I did keep animals that I planned to eat. I loved scratching the pig’s bellies and spent hours watching them make straw nests. My first pig was a very sociable gingery Tamworth called Urquhart. When the time came, I got him in the back of my Morris Minor (my first car) for a trip to the butcher, he scoffed the nuts that I'd put in the car for him then worked out how to push the front seat down and get into the passenger seat next to me so he could look out of the window for the rest of the journey.

I’d asked the butcher to simply halve the dead Urquhart longways, but when I went to collect him his legs were sticking out all stiff, I had to manoeuvre the pig halves into the car diagonally, poking the extremities out of the front window and drive home with my head cocked to one side and Urquhart’s head rolling around in a plastic bag on the back seat.

Now, temporarily here in a French farmhouse, I'm still not settled enough for actual pets but wood pile cats seem an ideal arrangement for all concerned. Being old enough to fend for themselves I’m simply offering them an alternative place to live that won’t involve too much emotional investment on either side (will it?). My neighbours advised me to keep the cats shut in a shed for 3 days when I get them here. There is a pigeonnier and some odd little outhouses next to the Lovely House which seemed a good place to keep the cats initially. The pigeonnier is linked to the house with a tiled roof and a back wall making an open-faced barn where we keep our piles of firewood. There are various openings through the walls and lots of perches and hiding places. I think it must be cat paradise.

This time the Gardeners had managed to stuff a pair of yowling cats into two baskets, which I quickly put on the back seat of my car and drove carefully home, they growled like that girl with the revolving head in The Exorcist all the way. My heart was pounding as I placed the baskets on the new straw in the pigeonnier and left them to calm down for a while.

To release the cats into the shed without having to open the door and risk them escaping, I’d devised a cunning plan of attaching strings to the basket lids which I pulled from the outside through a little hole in the wall, this worked great, the lids flapped open, the cats shot out of the baskets like bullets, there was a very high up window - they bounded up the walls, through the window and escaped like rockets.

I thought that was the end of it and figured the cats would be well on their way home but a few hours later I went to clear away the food and water that I'd put out for them and caught a glimpse of a tail disappearing, I saw some eyes watching me from a high perch this morning - I think they are considering staying - I put out a dish of chopped ducks hearts.

My internets are being taken away tomorrow - who knows when I'll be back online…


  1. Uncommon cats doing cat-like things... Here,kitty, kitty, kitty.

  2. ah, another brillantly written episode. i am starting to get an vision of "i love lucy" episodes happening in your life....
    so hope you get the internet back soon as i am going to list your blog as a great read.
    maybe you and sally should sit down together to write the next sitcom series....

  3. Rather more like a Seinfeld ...

  4. Um, wow, the Urquhart story is ind of horrifying! You're so brave to do that, I could never eat something that had a name. But I'm very hypocritical on that because I do eat meat and of course Urquhart had a better life than any other pig we might be eating. I hope the cats like their new home and stay on- good luck.

  5. Oh Lulu!

    I don't know which feature of this blog post pleases me most. In contention are 1.) the "Tale of Urquhart." Was it Paul McCartney who said he would never eat anything that had a face or a family? Here we have a (near) family member - in the passenger seat on the way to the butcher's, for cripes sake - whose face was bagged for the return trip. 2.) The fact that you inhabit a property that includes a "pigeonnier" - and that you can throw a word like that around without any quotation marks or an internet link and 3.) The image of you standing at the window of a pigeonnier tugging a string to remotely release a pair of feral cats (and their near immediate escape). And, at last, the fact that you are mincing duck hearts in your kitchen for these cats. I don't think I would touch a duck heart with a barge pole, but it is so perfectly francaise, I am very impressed. Please don't stay away long.

  6. I will sorely miss this blog when lady Maidenform moves on to greener pastures...

  7. jeez lulu. You look like butter wouldn't melt in your mouth, but show you a pork scratching and, well, so no more.

    Concrete. Why not get a readymix co to bring the required number of cubic meters to your door? Have them do a self leveling mix, pump it in, go away for a couple of days, and bob's your uncle. Lovely level floor. Not cheap, but cheaper than the idiots will do for you, and less heartache.

  8. No, don't let them take the internet away. Don't - tie yourself to it or something.

  9. Oh great internet gods, please don't take our Lulu away. We need her here! I am fully prepared to sacrifice a pig in order to appease you.

  10. Hi there, thanks for all your comments. I'm using borrowed internets so service will continue patchily for a while.

  11. Hey Lulu -

    I had to add a comment so as not to leave you with an unlucky 13. Glad you are back, at least a little. I like what I saw of the newspaper articles, esp. that boules (or whatever the people are playing in that picture) and yoga count as "du sport".

  12. Oops. I looked at the post again and see it is "petanque" that the sports of your village are playing. My bad.


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