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Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Rats, cats and jellyfish

Have just returned from a wonderful trip to Scotland where I stayed with dear friends on the West coast. I usually associate Scotland with midges and rain, the latter being why I assumed this was the reason a lot of people there have the word Mac in front of their name. However this time there were no midges and beautiful weather whilst down south(I gather) it rained. Originally I was going to travel with Beezle who's been to Scotland before and of course Pixie who is Scottish even though she's an Irish wolfhound. However this time I caught a train and a coach and a ferry instead of driving, so had to make do with this wire lurcher that someone had very skilfully made.

 Nearly trod on this Portuguese Man of War on the beach which although looks small in this picture was in fact the size of a giant dinner plate. Also saw a pair of Golden Eagles(not made of wire or jelly) which made my heart sing. What majestic creatures.

the wire version of Beezle
 Actually Pixie(in spite of being Scottish) would have been in terrible trouble if she'd come with me. Plenty of Monarchs of the Glen roaming around. We got into fearful trouble down here when she chased one across the stubble the other day  then disappeared into the woods and ate three pheasants.This aberration was watched by the Belgium deerstalkers who promptly rang the gamekeeper. We are in hiding.

 And talking of dead things there are a lot of them in the garden now.
 Apart from this magnificent thistle called Cirsium tuberosa which grows well from seed and is still looking good.
 This is an inessential thing but the death toll in the house is rising steadily too, culminating in the body of a HUGE rat laid out like a salmon on the bathroom floor. I am hoping (and I still don't know which cat it was) they found it dead and brought it in. There was no sign of a fight, no blood or guts and a rat that size was as big as each of the cats. Though having said that years ago when I first moved into the cottage I did find a live rat in the bathroom. It went up on its back legs and hissed at me, its mouth peeled back to reveal long yellow fangs. I felt like a lion tamer as I stood in the bathroom in a large pair of rubber boots, a broom and a bucket. In the end I had to shut the cat up with it, who to its credit did kill it. Still, they'd brought it in in the first place so I didn't feel too much like I was instigating some sort of bear baiting competition or a gladiatorial combat.

Inessential Things.

by Brian Patten


What do cats remember of days?

They remember the ways in from the cold,
the warmest spot, the place of food.
They remember the places of pain, their enemies,
the irritation of birds, the warm fumes of the soil,
the usefulness of dust.
they remember the creak of a bed, the sound
of their owner's footsteps,
the taste of fish, the loveliness of cream.
Cats remember what is essential of days.
Letting all other memories go as of no worth
they sleep sounder than we,
whose hearts break remembering so many
inessential things.

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