Monday, 24 February 2014

Jess - Whiskers at Dawn

Jess and G. My two girls.
A story of our cat who died peacefully sleeping on my chest last night age 16. First posted 2010

A paw lands softly on my thigh. I look down from the laptop where I sit blogging away insomnia and am met by two huge luminous green eyes engaged in unblinking human contemplation in return. She is beside my chair here at the kitchen table, illuminated by the glow of the lamp which is the only light in the room. She stands on back legs, holding herself erect with her right paw against the chair seat, leaving the other to deliver a gentle tap to the top of my thigh which is feather soft  yet by its very softness, reminds me that there are claws behind it which can be deployed against tender flesh if needed.  The eyes narrow and a pair of whiskered white cheeks move as they funnel a quiet, soft and manipulative miaow in my direction as she repeats the movement, emphasised by a slight deepening of those same green eyes, an act which only seems to increase their concerned impact.

Jess has arrived.

I left her sleeping beside The Lovely G a couple of hours ago when my twisting and turning threatened to wake them.  {experience has taught me that waking either of them in the middle of the night isn't a plan to be described as good.}
I murmur 'good morning' as I reach down and scratch behind her ears. Her head tilts against my palm and fingers with approval, turning and twisting to achieve the desired effect as we exchange greetings, her and I together for a mutually pleasant moment or two before I leave her and turn back to coffee and computer. She sits back down beside me and as I begin to type I wonder if she will head to the utility room a few yards away where I have already filled her bowls with food and fresh clean water.

Engrossed in what I am doing I'm startled when she appears sitting beside my elbow, a place and position she has reached in one with an impressive and silent leap. Not bad for an old lady. She contemplates me anew and surveys the content of my efforts. She's not in the least impressed and purrs a few suggested improvements in my direction, nudging my arm to hint that perhaps I should get started on them right away. As I obey she rubs an approving cheek against my bicep with her eyes fixed on the screen to make sure of typo-free amendments before resting her head on my shoulder as I carry on typing and reviewing, typing and correcting, in my stilted two handed, four/sometimes five/rarely six - fingered typing style. Approval is purred directly into my ear.

Job done she is bored now and stands to step over my right forearm into the circle of me and computer, standing full, obliterating my view and turning, tail raised, to show me proudly how clean her bottom is.

"Aye, very nice Jess! Lovely! Thanks for that."

She turns and repeats the maneuver from the opposite direction as if  to show the effect is the same from any angle before folding herself into a curled position with her back against my chest, stretched out from left to right round the support of my arms. She proceeds to raise a front paw and begin her morning ablutions by fastidiously running her teeth through the fur of her forearm and licking the tug free area back down to run in the right direction. She stops and looks at me for a second, not understanding or caring that this is not the best place she could be doing this - in my humble opinion. "After all," she seems to say,  "what could be better than writing about a cat - and you only ever see what's right under your nose!"

I continue to write, half-heartedly now as I watch her, engrossed in contortions to reach each and every recalcitrant hair, impressed by her methodology and feline thoroughness as she clears tugs and straightens hair, moving on to the next only when catty approval is reached after close inspection. I find myself wondering if she would be equally impressed with my own shower technique.
Probably not.......

I reach for my coffee to find it's cold. Time has moved on and dawn is softly pushing a hint of pale amber through the window at the end of the kitchen. I'm suddenly tired and Jess is looking expectantly at me once again. Even before I move for the light switch she is up and moves to sit at the door to hall and stairs. Her eyes turn to me once more as she steps aside to let me pass. As I take the stairs to the bedroom she is two steps behind. Somehow I know how a sheep feels being herded expertly towards its pen by a collie dog.

I know my place.

By the time I have shed my clothes and climbed quietly into bed beside my Lovely G,  Jess is already there, curled in a ball and apparently just as deeply asleep as when I left them a few hours ago.

Bloomin' cat!

Sunday, 23 February 2014

The Sunday Posts 2014/ The Way Through The Woods

They shut the road through the woods
Seventy years ago.
Weather and rain have undone it again,
And now you would never know
There was once a road through the woods
Before they planted the trees.
It is underneath the coppice and heath,
And the thin anemones.
Only the keeper sees
That, where the ring-dove broods,
And the badgers roll at ease,
There was once a road through the woods.
Yet, if you enter the woods
Of a summer evening late,
When the night-air cools on the trout-ringed pools
Where the otter whistles his mate,
(They fear not men in the woods,
Because they see so few)
You will hear the beat of a horse’s feet
And the swish of a skirt in the dew,
Steadily cantering through
The misty solitudes,
As though they perfectly knew
The old lost road through the woods….
But there is no road through the woods.
Rudyard Kipling.
Photo By Alistair.

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Years Later.

Today, from a distance, I saw you
walking away, and without a sound
the glittering face of a glacier
slid into the sea. An ancient oak
fell in the Cumberlands, holding only
a handful of leaves, and an old woman
scattering corn to her chickens looked up
for an instant. At the other side
of the galaxy, a star thirty-five times
the size of our own sun exploded
and vanished, leaving a small green spot
on the astronomer's retina
as he stood on the great open dome
of my heart with no one to tell.       

Ted Kooser
Photo By Alistair.

Sunday, 16 February 2014

The Sunday Posts 2014/Bloody Men

Bloody men are like bloody buses —
You wait for about a year
And as soon as one approaches your stop
Two or three others appear.

You look at them flashing their indicators,
Offering you a ride.
You’re trying to read the destinations,
You haven’t much time to decide.

If you make a mistake, there is no turning back.
Jump off, and you’ll stand there and gaze
While the cars and the taxis and lorries go by
And the minutes, the hours, the days.

Wendy Cope.
Photo by Alistair.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

The Sunday Posts 2014/Sea Fever

I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by;
And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking,
I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.
I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull’s way and the whale’s way where the wind’s like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.
John Masefield.
Photo By Alistair.

Sunday, 2 February 2014

The Sunday Posts 2014/Loss

The day he moved out was terrible –
That evening she went through hell.
His absence wasn’t a problem
But the corkscrew had gone as well.

Wendy Cope.
Photo By Alistair.

The Sunday Posts 2017/Mince and Tatties.

Mince and Tatties I dinna like hail tatties Pit on my plate o mince For when I tak my denner I eat them baith at yince. Sae mash ...