Les spiritueux vieillis

It’s happening! The Rum and Whisky Club, aka High Spirits, will be hosting its inaugural reboot – if, indeed, a reboot can be inaugural – tonight, at Le Château.

I know that there are other cat-loving gentlemen reading this, who would love to attend. But, since it’s not possible, here are the details. Perhaps doing one or more of the same things, on the same day, will make you feel a part of it?

Time: 7:30pm GMT until whenever the last attendee staggers home.

Drink of the day: Abhainn Dearg whisky, which I bought Cat Daddy for his birthday (but he drank it all so he’s had to buy a second bottle for The Club).

Menu: A variety of Scottish cheeses with oatcakes.

Activities: Drinking, stroking Louis Catorze, more drinking, admiring the inordinate amount of rocks that Cat Daddy has collected during various holidays.

Playlist: “God, I don’t know. I haven’t thought that far ahead.” (I would put money on Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd featuring at some point during the evening.)

I will be brushing Catorze thoroughly in preparation for this auspicious occasion. He is very much looking forward to receiving the gentlemen, mainly because he thinks they are all coming to see him.

“Messieurs, I’ve been expecting vous.”

L’eau est la vie

We are still suffering the after-effects of the crippling heatwave that peaked last week. At least we HOPE that was the peak, and that it isn’t going to get worse.

Most normal cats are flopping languidly around the place and not doing a great deal. Louis Catorze, however, is splitting his time between screaming, intensive Rodent Duty, more screaming, gorging on Orijen and indulging in all-night parkour around the back bedroom, including in and out of the window. (Don’t worry, there is an extension roof below and it’s not just a sheer drop. That said, he has tried to jump out of upper floor windows that DO have a sheer drop, and I’ve had to stop him.)

Like good citizens, we have been dutifully putting out extra water for the local wildlife. Stupidly, I assumed that Catorze were too engrossed in his other summer activities to bother himself with the birds’ water bowl. When he’s on Rodent Duty not even Armageddon will shift him, as you can see here:

Good boy.

However, I have just busted him doing this:

Nooooo.

It’s not the clearest picture as I had to take it from some distance away; any attempt to move closer would have sent him scarpering and denied me any evidence. But we can all see what’s going on, non?

And the prosecution would also like to submit this piece of evidence: on the same day that these photos were taken, the little sod came in from a long evening of Rodent Duty with a suspiciously damp body, when it wasn’t raining.

We are now concerned that Cat Daddy’s greatest fear will come true: that Catorze will drink from The Iron Pool (assuming he hasn’t already done so), making it the most expensive cat drinking vessel on the planet. And the fact that it’s not even his MAIN vessel, and only a secondary one, makes it worse.

Will the spooky Book of Hope work some self-preservation magic on its outdoor counterpart? Or will it and Catorze team up to form some unholy alliance that will take over the world?

“Your maman snorts catnip in hell, you faithless slime!”
“The haunted bones made moi do it.”

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.

Une femme noble et son thé

A couple of mornings ago, Louis Catorze and I settled in front of the television for our usual early morning horror extravaganza.

I had prepared for being TUC by making sure I had as many important things as possible – tea, the remote control, a book and my phone – within easy reach, so that I wouldn’t have to wake Cat Daddy and ask him to bring me further supplies. He was already cross enough with me because, since the research I carried out for my Louis le Comte post, he has been inundated with county notifications. So I didn’t really fancy annoying him for a second time.

Email sent to me by Cat Daddy the other day.

Anyway, as Catorze stirred on my lap, his tail dipped into my mug of tea. I had a teapot at hand but only one mug, and I didn’t want to pour good tea into a mug containing horrible taily tea. And there was nowhere to tip out the taily tea without displacing Le Roi. So I had a dilemma. I knew that Cat Daddy would not appreciate being woken to help me. In fact, he would have just drunk the taily tea had he been in this situation. But I have horrifying visions of where that tail has been, so that wasn’t going to happen.

Teay tail.

Just as I had finished typing my message but before pressing SEND, Cat Daddy’s wine subscription delivery arrived. Now, as I have mentioned previously, dislodging a cat when TUC is akin to blasphemy in the cat freak world. However, not answering the door on this occasion would have meant losing the life-giving substance that fuels Le Château and helps us cope with Catorze, and that – along with Cat Daddy’s Unrepeatable Expletives that would have ensued – was utterly unthinkable.

So Sa Maj was undignifiedly turfed off my lap to allow me to take the wine delivery. He was not pleased.

I am expecting nothing short of Armageddon now.

Send holy water to TW8, merci s’il vous plaît.

Le thé parfumé

I have caught Louis Catorze nuzzling the spout of the teapot.

(Yes, although Dry February is officially over, I’m not in any hurry to hit the booze yet and am happy to stick to tea. In fact, I might even try for Dry March, too, just to see whether I continue to feel healthy and alert or whether my body eventually starts to reject the unfamiliar non-alcoholic beverages and my organs slowly pack up and die.)

I haven’t been so disgusted since I caught Catorze’s big brother Luther doing the same thing to my electric toothbrush when I’d left it to charge up on the floor (because the plug points in our old house were all at ground level). Just as I had left the toothbrush in that same spot about 768 times previously and then used it afterwards, I have left many a half-pot of tea unguarded and then unsuspectingly drunk the tepid remains.

As nuzzlers go, Catorze doesn’t simply brush his cheeks against things; he really, gets stuck in, meaning contact with nostrils, lips, teeth and all sorts. And, because of his tooth impediment and the fact that his lower lip dips downwards to accommodate les fangs, his mouth can never close fully and therefore he would have spread saliva and snot all over the teapot spout.

Now, we all know that bacteria are wiped out by high temperatures. But Cat Daddy, who is a tea expert, has taught me well: green tea, my drink of choice, is brewed at 80 degrees, whereas a temperature of 100 degrees is what’s needed to destroy bugs. And, even if I had brewed the tea at 100 degrees, leaving it to go tepid would have undone any possibility of destroying germs. In fact: tepid temperatures are like a come-hither party invitation for all things gross and germy.

Anyway, I am now scarred for life and will never, ever recover from this. As for Catorze … well, this picture suggests that he might not be too bothered:

Morning tea with a hint of cat spit.

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”.

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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

Papa est déçu

Last week Cat Daddy ordered a trendy little drinks trolley from a swish furniture website, and, ever since, he has been going on and on about it to anyone who cares (and a few people who don’t).

This morning he had to pop into work for a bit, and he came home with a huge package in his arms. “It’s here!” he cried, unable to contain his joy. “And, would you believe, the delivery driver arrived at work just as I was leaving! How about that for good timing?” He grabbed a pair of sharp scissors, sliced deftly through the sticky tape and pulled the lid open.

Inside the box was not a drinks trolley, but an enormous sack of Acana Pacifica cat biscuits.

Cat Daddy’s face crumpled and dropped. “What?” he faltered. “This?”

“Erm, didn’t you wonder why it was rattling so much when you were carrying it home?” I asked, pretending to wipe my nose with a big tissue to hide my laughter.

“Well, yes,” he replied, “but I thought it was just the polystyrene packaging Wotsits shaking around. I can’t believe I just carried THIS all the way home!” He sank onto the sofa, still in disbelief at the magnitude of this disappointment; never have I seen such utter heartbreak on his face.

And Louis Catorze couldn’t have chosen a better/worse moment to pitter-patter into the kitchen, tail aloft, sniff the sack of food and promptly pitter-patter out again, as if to say, “Merci pour l’effort, Papa, but you needn’t have bothered.”

I wanted to take a picture of the parcel and post it here, but Cat Daddy got all cross when I suggested it and I wasn’t allowed. But, before he was able to chuck the packaging out, I caught Le Roi exploring it:

image

No doubt when the trolley arrives – date to be confirmed – there will be further photos, this time with Catorze perched elegantly on top. (Cat Daddy got cross when I said that, too.)