L’âme de la montagne

During our stay in beautiful Durness, Cat Daddy and I embarked upon a magical voyage into the home – and creative imagination – of artist Lotte Glob. Words alone cannot adequately describe her world and it really has to be seen in person, but you can find out more about it here.

We fell in love with one of Lotte’s pieces in particular, called The Book of Hope. It’s named after Ben Hope, the mountain from which the raw materials were gathered to make the book. But, somehow, it also sums up our optimism in putting a precious, fragile piece of art in the same house as a cat who always does the opposite of what you want. The exact combinations and proportions of clay, minerals, plants and bones (yes, BONES) that went into the pages are known only by it and its author, and that’s part of its wonder. It’s like the Cailleach’s personal book of shadows, excavated from deep within the earth, and we will never fully know its secrets. (Unless Louis Catorze smashes it up.)

When we returned to Lotte’s place the next day to collect the book, a second piece also caught our eye. This one is called The Iron Pool, and we hope that it will provide the birds with some much-needed water in this heatwave whilst also being high-sided enough to keep it from inquisitive Catorzian paws/tongues. We love the fact that it looks like an earth-toned flower from a distance but, when you approach, there’s a surprise blue loch inside:

The Iron Pool, supported by a small selection of the inordinate number of rocks that Cat Daddy insists on gathering, wherever he goes.

I wasn’t allowed to plonk Catorze next to The Iron Pool for a photo (Cat Daddy: “Nooo, we don’t want to draw his attention to it in any way!”), but I did manage to capture the little sod with The Book of Hope. The more I think about it, the less weird it is that a household with a black vampire cat also has a sculpture containing hidden bones.

“Magic et secrets et bones, oh my!”

If you are in the Scottish Highlands, Lotte’s place is well worth a visit (by appointment only). As well as being talented, she is a delightful person and so easy to talk to. We would love to see her again when we return next year to climb Ben Hope.

Un tableau noir à la lumière

Cat Daddy and I have decided, last-minute, to extend our holiday, to avoid the London heat which now looks set to peak at 41°C (FORTY-ONE DEGREES CELSIUS). Sadly we can’t stay in the eco-croft as it’s reserved, but we have booked a place in the north-east, in the same complex where KettleGate took place. It’ll still be 30°C there, but come on: 30°C or 41°C? The latter sounds like a made-up number, applicable only to Death Valley and to that place in Ethiopia with the acidic water.

Non, non and thrice non.

We are very lucky indeed to be able to do this, and our wonderful, kind neighbours have agreed to take over Catorzian duties for the extra few days. We feel for anyone who has to endure this weather covered in black fur, but not enough to go and join them in it. Sorry, Louis Catorze.

Anyway … cats and circles. We all know about that. (If you don’t, please have a look here.)

However, cats and RECTANGLES? That’s a new one to us. But for Catorze, who always does the opposite of whatever is expected or wanted, it’s absolutely perfect.

It’s not often that Catorze creates perfect moments but, on this occasion, he did. The little sod decided to position himself in a rectangle that isn’t even a real rectangle, but a shadow one cast by the trellis above him. Perhaps he understands that every work of art needs a frame, and in this case the masterpiece is himself.

Here he is, demonstrating that rectangles are, apparently, the new circles. This was taken some time before the raging inferno into which London has just plunged but, to be fair, Catorze would do this whatever the weather:

This art installation created itself.

On doit être un œuvre d’art

The big day is finally upon us. And I am ignoring Cat Daddy’s suggestion of giving Louis Catorze an extra pill tonight “just for a treat”.

Covid has done its utmost to destroy Hallowe’en but, here at Le Château we have A Plan. London moved into Covid Tier 2 a fortnight ago, which means no mixing indoors with other households, but outdoor meeting is still permitted (up to 6 people). So Oscar the dog’s family will be joining us outside for venison sausages cooked on the barbecue, and they plan to dress for warmth rather than for scares but will apparently be wearing, and I quote: “head outfits”. The mind boggles.

Catorze has also done his best to ruin Hallowe’en by becoming ill with his allergy (not that he notices or cares). As a result Cat Daddy and I have had the following conversations at least 463 times in the last few days:

Him: “Don’t we usually have a seasonal bouquet of flowers at Hallowe’en?”

Me: “Yes, but we can’t this year.”

Him: “Because of HIM? [Unrepeatable expletives]”

Him again: “Don’t we usually have black scented candles at Hallowe’en?”

Me: “Yes, but we can’t this year.”

Him: “Because of HIM? [Unrepeatable expletives]”

And so on …

Every year I attempt to persuade Catorze to sit for an official Hallowe’en portrait, and every year I fail because the little sod won’t comply. So, this year, because it was too important for him to stuff up, I decided to take matters into my own hands and implement foolproof emergency measures.

Behold his Official 2020 Hallowe’en Portrait (below), painted by my friend Victoria Watts, whose details are at the bottom of this post. C’est magnifique, non? The best thing is the fact that you can instantly tell that it’s Catorze; there’s no mistaking the deranged eyes, the messed-up whiskers and, of course, the fangs (which are slightly exaggerated here, just as I asked). This proves beyond any doubt that the “All black cats look the same” brigade – of whom Cat Daddy is a vociferous member – don’t know what they’re talking about.


I adore the portrait. And it’s just as well I had it done, because this was the best result of Catorze’s numerous failed photographic sittings with me:

Unofficial – and I needed the black pen markup tool to colour in his conspicuous pink arse.

On that note, happy Full Moon Hallowe’en to you all.

Please check out Victoria’s Instagram page pet_portraits_vick to see her fabulous work. Prices start at £75 for an A5-sized piece.

Je suis la résurrection

For a number of reasons but, in particular, because of Le Miracle de Pâques 4 days ago, I feel incredibly lucky to still have my boy with me when I thought I would never see him again. I can’t stop scooping him up in my arms and squeezing him, and he returns my love by looking thoroughly bored, as if to say, “You loser. Laisse-moi tranquille!” Then he wriggles to get free.

My joy, however, is tinged with huge embarrassment at the fact that we interrupted Oscar the dog’s folks’ peaceful Saturday to make them go out in the rain and search in their shed and summer house for a stupid cat that was indoors the whole time. Cat Daddy and I have since talked about how much time to allow before we start to panic, should Louis Catorze decide to fake his own death again, and we have agreed that 3-4 days seems reasonable.

In other news, his infamy seems to have spread as far as Canada Water in East London. A friend sent me this photo showing what appears to be some sort of tribute mural, lovingly created by one of Le Roi’s subjects in honour of his resurrection and the anguish he caused when he disappeared. We are humbled. And, yes, we concur.