Le maillot arc-en-ciel

A couple of days ago, I went into the kitchen where Cat Daddy was watching the Tour de France. Louis Catorze had squished himself so hard into his papa’s leg that it was a while before I spotted him.

I then noticed that THIS was happening:

Apologies for the Tour de France commentary in the background.

Me: “What’s going on?”

Cat Daddy, without taking his eyes off the Tour de France: “It’s Boys’ Club. This is what we do.”

Well, I wouldn’t know. I’m not a member, and if I so much as pass by when meetings are taking place, I am met with baleful glares from those in attendance.

It’s not really fair, is it? I am the one who organises all Catorze’s important stuff and, in return, I am merely tolerated. Cat Daddy, the one who swears at him, calls him names and roughs him up to the point of flatlining ears (Catorze’s ears, I mean, not Cat Daddy’s), is treated with utter adoration.

It would be annoying were it not for the fact that it’s also hilariously cute. I can’t help but love their partnership and, despite Cat Daddy’s protests to the contrary, I know that he does, too.

Le parc à chiens

I have just had the last of my set of cycling lessons with Cat Daddy’s friend Gerard. (It was supposed to happen ages ago, but then I had appendicitis and somehow I haven’t got around to rearranging it until now.)

We usually choose Monday morning as our cycling day, because there are fewer people in the parks than on a weekend. However: DOGS. Mon Dieu. Cycling in a park with dogs is like cycling in and out of moving land mines.

The horrors we were forced to endure during our last session included the following:

1. A russet-coloured sausage dog who sat stone-still in the middle of the path whilst his human was on the phone*, then sprang out in front of me just as we attempted to overtake him. The human did apologise but it was a dismissive kind of “Sorry” … and she remained on the phone.

2. A large, honey-coloured Labrador-type beast who chased us, barking, whilst his human was on the phone*. Gerard decided to bark back at him, which scared him witless and sent him packing.

3. A brown and white spaniel-type thing who offered us his stick, whilst his human was on the phone*. Gerard picked it up and threw it just a fraction of a second before his brain informed him that doing so was a legally-binding contract and that, from that moment onwards, he was obliged to keep throwing the stick forever more. We then had to cycle extra fast to get away from him.

*Do you see a pattern emerging here?

Cats, surely, are less trouble than this? Well, ok, Louis Catorze isn’t. But most normal cats are, right?

Catorze can be seen here, pondering that question and also wondering exactly who these “normal cats” might be:

Sa Maj says “normal” is overrated.

Le bonheur de la bicyclette

Sadly it didn’t work out for the Black Cats in the League 1 play-offs, but Cat Daddy and I were lucky enough to score tickets for the Brentford-Swansea Championship play-off final in Wembley … and we won!

In other news: I have had my first session with Cat Daddy’s cycling friend, Gerard, and it was actually more fun than I’d imagined (although my expectations were quite low).

Gerard came to the house at 10am and, as I was wheeling out the Millennial Falcon, Louis Catorze emerged, screaming, from That Neighbour’s garden. (We had no idea what he was doing there. And, no, we didn’t even know he was out at The Front.)

He was thrilled to meet a new man and hurled himself at Gerard, who stroked him and commented on his soft fur. Absolutely nobody has said this before, EVER, and it was such a departure from the usual assumptions (that he’s a stray, that he’s 102 years old, that he’s suffering from some wasting disease and doesn’t have long to live, or possibly all three) that I didn’t know how to respond. Then, as Gerard was adjusting the saddle on my bike, the screaming restarted.

Me: “I’m going to have to let him into the house.”

Catorze: “Mwahhhhhhh!”

Gerard: “Nah, he’s fine.”

Catorze: “Mwahhhhhhh!”

Me: “You don’t understand: I don’t want him disturbing our neighbour. He does it all the time.”

Catorze: “Mwahhhhhhh!”

Gerard: “Your neighbour just needs to ignore it and tune out. I have.”

Catorze: “Mwahhhhhhh!”

Me: “…”

Anyway, adjusting the saddle took longer than expected. All the while Catorze remained on full volume, screaming his lungs out, whilst I shuffled and winced awkwardly. Cat Daddy must have heard him from indoors – he can’t possibly NOT have heard him – and was probably hooting with laughter, but had clearly decided that it was my problem and not his.

Ten minutes later:

Catorze: “Mwahhhhhhh! Mwahhhhhhh! Mwahhhhhhh! Mwahhhhhhh!”

Me: “I’m sorry, I can’t take this anymore. I HAVE TO LET HIM BACK INTO THE HOUSE.”

Catorze: “Mwahhhhhhh!”

This time Gerard didn’t hesitate to agree.

He remarked that the screaming was “very effective” although this would suggest success in achieving some sort of goal, whereas we are yet to figure out the point of it all.

It would be good to be able to say “I won’t ever have to face Gerard again”, but he’s Cat Daddy’s friend AND I have a further two lessons booked with him, so the chances of that are slim-to-zéro.

Next time we’re meeting in the park. Let’s hope that Sa Maj doesn’t find a way of teleporting there.

Shush!

Aucune limite à son pouvoir

I have bought myself an electric bike, nicknamed the Millennial Falcon, and it’s the best thing ever.

Since most of my possible routes into work are now blocked off with those massive plant troughs in the middle of the road, I needed an alternative to the car. My commute is now fifteen minutes each way, as opposed to anything from twenty minutes to an hour by car.

I am quite a wobbly, nervous cyclist, so Cat Daddy has arranged for his friend Gerard – a qualified cycling coach – to give me some lessons. Gerard is very nice but I don’t really want lessons because I hate people looking at me when I cycle. I always make sure I get to school long before the kids, and leave after them, for this very reason. But Cat Daddy has gone ahead and booked the lessons anyway, so I don’t have a choice.

Cat Daddy’s Helpful Comment of the Day: “It’ll be fine*. Gerard does this for a living, and he will have seen plenty of people who are as bad as you.”

Me: “…”

Him: “Well, ok, maybe not QUITE as bad as you.”

Me: “…”

Him: “Anyway, he likes a challenge.”

*Non-Brits: when a British person says “It’ll be fine”, you should be very concerned indeed. If they say “I’m sure it’ll be fine”, expect the apocalypse.

When I used to drive home from work, Louis Catorze would always be aware of my arrival long before Cat Daddy heard me, and I imagined this to be because he knew the sound of the car. After switching to the bike, I didn’t think this would happen anymore, since nobody really talks about cats knowing the sound of bikes, nor am I even sure if my bike has a sound as such. But perhaps I had underestimated the little sod and his creepy kitty sixth sense because, when I arrive home, he never fails to greet me at the door. (Unless Boys’ Club is in full swing, in which case he doesn’t bother.)

Here he is, pictured mid-shake and, therefore, not looking too brilliant. But at least the Millennial Falcon looks good.

He is as handsome as he is clever.