La liberté et le whisky

We are in Scotland, and what a feeling it is not to wake up at 4am to the sound of screeching parakeets, all the while knowing that our cat is partly responsible for the cacophony. In fact, the only parakeets that we’ve seen have been taxidermied ones in the Kelvingrove Museum.

Cat Daddy: “Dead and stuffed. Just how I like them.”

The only cats we’ve seen were in the same museum:

Cat Daddy: “I can’t believe Louis is descended from that. What an absolute joke.”
A cat impinging on what is supposed to be a bird display. The only surprise is that it’s not a black cat.
Citizens of Glasgow: a bell ain’t gonna do shit. Don’t bother.

Later today, we hope to visit one of Cat Daddy’s favourite distilleries because he, Disco the Dog’s daddy and Cocoa the Babysit Cat’s daddy have decided to form a Rum and Whisky Club.

What could POSSIBLY go wrong there?

And their WhatsApp group is called, erm, High Spirits. I know. I KNOW.

Cat Daddy first fell in love with whisky years ago, when my mum bought him a bottle. He later told me, “It’s really kind of your mum, and I appreciate the thought, but I don’t like whisky.” But he drank it anyway, and now he can’t stop. So all this is partly her fault.

The Club was born during the first lockdown of 2021, on Burns Night, when we weren’t allowed to meet indoors, so the three gentlemen lined up their whisky bottles and glasses on the front wall outside and drank on the pavement. And, because it was so cold, they didn’t need any ice for their drinks. I have no idea whether The Club plans to alternate drinks by having rum at one session and whisky at the next, or both within the same session or even, dare I say it, both from the same glass. And, frankly, I daren’t even ask.

Now that lockdown is over, plans are afoot to kickstart The Club (this time in the comfort of each other’s houses, not standing in the street) and nobody is more delighted about this than Louis Catorze. The only thing better than a drunk, animal-loving, man fussing over him is SEVERAL drunk, animal-loving men fussing over him.

Luckily we are holidaying in the best place for Cat Daddy to taste-test various bottles samples of whisky. And, in Catorze’s mind, we imagine that Rum and Whisky Club looks just like this (taken last month), except with harder alcohol and more men:

Dreaming of boys.

L’appel du réveil

Apparently U.K. pubs may open in April, but without alcohol. I KNOW. I’m not even drinking at the moment (because we’re doing Dry February) and I still think it’s a stupid idea.

When I am drinking, I far prefer to do it at home; I can have the wine that I want instead of being forced to have Compromise Prosecco, I always get a seat and there’s no queue for the bathroom. Yet Cat Daddy and I often reminisce about pubs and wonder when we will be allowed to go back. (I am talking about Covid, by the way; we haven’t been barred.)

A few nights ago, we remembered one particular occasion which was most certainly blogworthy but, for whatever reason, I didn’t write about it at the time (most likely because Louis Catorze had already done 652 stupid things that week and there wasn’t time/space). That night I returned home from the pub early, leaving Cat Daddy out on the rampage with our friends (and, more worryingly, with my debit card).

Unfortunately we had only taken one key with us and I had brought it home, so Cat Daddy was keyless. Not only that, but I forgot to leave him a spare one in our secret safe place. By the time he came home and realised that he couldn’t get in, my phone had switched to night time setting so all his calls went straight to my voicemail. Not even his knocking at the door woke me up, which was very unusual.

Merci à Dieu, then, for Catorze. For where our lack of organisation, our technology malfunction – even though it was, in actual fact, functioning as it should – and my uncharacteristic sleep-deafness let us down, his ear-imploding screaming saved the day. I came downstairs in the early hours to investigate the God-awful sound and found him sitting by the front door, psycho-eyed and puffed-chested, alerting me to his daddy’s predicament with all his might.

Cat Daddy later: “I don’t understand why he sat by the front door and screamed at me. Why didn’t he go upstairs and scream at you?”

I don’t suppose he needed to. I heard him. And so, I would imagine, did most of the street.

Yes, neighbours, THAT’S what that noise was. Sorry about that.

“Au secours!”

La reprise

Tomorrow I will be back at school. So, after almost six months of spending all day, every day, at home with Cat Daddy and Louis Catorze, it will once again be just evenings, weekends and school holidays.

I am looking forward to some workplace normality, whatever that may look like. Online schooling was never going to be a long-term solution, although I am going to miss the Google Meet and alcohol pairings: Crémant pairs well with virtual staff meetings, and neat Absolut Vanilla pairs well with Year 10 French. You can’t get away with such pairings in school in QUITE the same way.

I will also miss being with my two boys. However, I don’t think the feeling is mutual, and the novelty of having me at home wore off long ago as far as Catorze is concerned. These days, if the two of them are having a special Boys’ Club moment and I so much as walk past them, he meows disdainfully, gets up and leaves. And Cat Daddy doesn’t (usually) say anything in response to this, but he gives me the eye-rolly death stare which speaks much louder than words. So, in many ways, there’s no point in me hanging around where I’m not wanted.

Good luck to everyone who is having to precariously negotiate post-Covid workplace life. As for Cat Daddy and Catorze, their days will look something like this (except with appropriately-paired wine too):

“She’s gone. Merci à Dieu!”

Les deux garçons

The males in this household are driving me round the bend.

A couple of nights ago they stayed up late for an extended Boys’ Club, which is a fairly common occurrence here at Le Château. But, when they finally came to bed at 6am (!), instead of slipping silently into the bedroom, they were irritating beyond belief.

It wouldn’t have been so bad had they both been irritating together, getting the irritation over and done with in one go, but it was one of them first (Cat Daddy stomping, talking nonsense and generally being a moron), then the other a little later (Louis Catorze bouncing all over me, purring and screaming). After 45 minutes of trying and failing to get back to sleep, I decided I might as well get up and do some work. At 6:45am. ON A SUNDAY.

Anyway, it turned out that Boys’ Club had not gone on until 6am; in actual fact Cat Daddy had tried to wrap up the session much earlier, but had “fallen asleep whilst switching off the lamp” (?). (The fact that he had consumed 3/4 of a bottle of Limoncello had nothing to do with this … or, rather, it did, but this was apparently my fault because I needed space in the freezer for something. The Limoncello therefore had to come out of the freezer in order to free up said space, forcing Cat Daddy, completely against his will, to drink it.) He had woken up several hours later on the sofa, with Catorze snuggled up beside him, and that was when the two of them decided to come to bed and cause mayhem.

By 3pm that day I was exhausted and so I went back to bed for a nap. Within 5 minutes Catorze was back, leaping all over me and hollering his guts out, and further into my nap I was awoken by Cat Daddy playing loud (and not even very good) music. So, for the second time in a day, the pair of them took several years off my life, and I am now wondering whether I should get out and take my chances with the virus and the beach-thronging stupids rather than put up with their idiotic shite.

Cat Daddy, referring to the 6am incident: “We were only trying to be affectionate and to give you love.”

Me: “…”

Cat Daddy: “Are you saying you don’t want us to be affectionate or to give you love?”

Me: “Not at 6am, no.”

Cat Daddy, in a bit of a huff: “Fine. We won’t do it EVER AGAIN.”

Me: “Good. I’d like that in writing, please.”

[Silence, tumbleweed, crickets]

Cat Daddy: “It was Louis’s idea, anyway.”

[Stonier silence, more tumbleweed, noisier crickets]

Here is the gruesome twosome, utterly unrepentant:

The pair of them can kiss right off.

Le Roi Soleil, c’est un chat mystère

Not long ago we had a cat-loving male friend come to Le Château for dinner. Louis Catorze loves all visitors but cat-loving men are, naturellement, the best kind. 

When he arrived Catorze was all over him, up-tailed and purring. As our music grew louder and we grew drunker we didn’t notice until too late that, at some point during the proceedings, Sa Maj had disappeared. We did think it unusual for him not to partake in such an evening – predominantly-male soirées of loud rock music are very much his thing – but we weren’t concerned enough to halt our music and drinking to search for the little sod. 

When our friend’s cab arrived and he opened the door to leave, in dashed Catorze from The Front where, presumably, he had been all evening. 

How the flamin’ flip did he get there? (And why didn’t he use the same method to come back in again?)

We initially thought that, perhaps, he had pitter-pattered out when our friend arrived, but then we remembered the purring and flirting and the comments about how Catorze’s permanent up-tail revealed, erm, a larger-than-desirable expanse of rear end. So he definitely teleported AFTER our friend’s arrival, not during. Cat Daddy even thought I may have opened the front door during the evening to put bottles into the recycling box, but I am far too lazy to do this bottle by bottle and would much rather wait until the end of the night and take out all eight three bottles in one go. 

However Le Roi may have managed to pull off this trick, our greater concern is that, because of our music, we wouldn’t have heard him screaming to get back in, nor would we have heard an irate neighbour losing his/her shit and knocking at our door to return him to us. This is bad. VERY bad. 

I really, really need to find out how Sa Maj did this. But I probably need to apologise to our neighbours first.

Le crime de lèse-majesté

Cat Daddy and I decided not to bother with Dry January this year because, if you’re denying yourself something you like, January is just too difficult a month in which to attempt it. So we’re giving Dry February a go instead. February is just that little bit brighter and more hopeful, so embarking upon tough challenges somehow doesn’t seem quite so onerous. (Plus February is shorter.)

A friend recommended the “Dry January and Beyond” app to help track my progress, and it’s great apart from one thing: try as I might, I can’t enter my name into my profile. When I go into the settings and click on the name-changing bit, nothing happens. Now, this may not sound like la fin du monde, but I have selected one of my favourite Roi photos for my profile picture … and the generic default name alongside his photo is “null null null”. Which, unfortunately, is (pretty much) the French for “rubbish, rubbish, rubbish”.

265FB92E-A9C5-4613-9C0E-9600E096F8B3

Cat Daddy thinks it’s the funniest thing ever to have the words “rubbish, rubbish, rubbish” next to a photo of Louis Catorze. “It’s what I’ve been telling you for ages!” he hooted. “But so what? It’s not as if he knows he’s being called rubbish.”

IT’S (KIND OF) FRENCH. HE’S FRENCH. OF COURSE HE WILL KNOW.

“Or,” Cat Daddy continued, “if YOU don’t care about being called rubbish, you could just upload a photo of yourself instead.”

[Silence, tumbleweed, crickets]

“Oh. My. God. You don’t HAVE any photos of yourself, do you? Your camera roll consists ENTIRELY of cat photos!”

Oh. Ahem.

Anyway, I have contacted the good citizens of Dry January and Beyond to ask them how to change the name, although, naturellement, I have pretended that it’s I who objects to being called rubbish. I couldn’t really say “My royal French cat, Sa Majesté Louis Catorze, Le Roi Soleil, is highly offended at the très mal-fortunate juxtaposition of le portrait royal et l’insulte” because that might have sounded silly.

As for Catorze, I am hoping that his spelling is better than his, erm, other intellectual capacities, and that the slightly offish orthographe* will delay his realisation somewhat. Calling a monarch “rubbish” – three times, no less – is surely an act of high treason, punishable only by the guillotine?

*nul = adjectif masculin
nulle = adjectif féminin