Écharpe 2,0

I have finally finished knitting Cat Daddy’s Brentford FC scarf, just in time for today’s match against Huddersfield. The knitting experience has taught me a number of things:

1. Drink-knitting is a thing and, like drink-driving, it should be avoided at all costs.

2. No matter how many times you unpick and redo the bits that you drink-knitted, it will still look shite.

The sober-knitted and drink-knitted parts of the scarf are so utterly distinct that anyone can spot the difference, even from far away. This scarf is not just a garment for winter warmth and an emblem of our beloved football team; its stitches tell a tale of resolute concentration followed by “Oh, sod this” followed by more concentration followed by more “Oh, sod this” and so on, from end to end.

I have started knitting another scarf, this time for someone else, and I was feeling a little bad that, having now learned all the pitfalls, the second scarf would be much nicer than the one I made for Cat Daddy.

Cat Daddy: “Well, mine is the original, and you can never beat an original. Plus, no offence, but I think it’s highly likely you’ll mess up the second one, too.”

Great. Thanks.

Anyway, Louis Catorze approves, even though he is a Sunderland fan. Here he is, giving his final quality control check – and, yes, it seems that the tongue is a crucial part of this:

Où le chat et le loup jouent

Some time ago I posted about Little Sods’ Law, a black cat charter which dictates, amongst other things, the following: 

  1. If you see a black cat misbehaving in public, the chances are that it’s your cat.
  2. The likelihood of it being your cat is directly proportional to the embarrassingness of the misbehaviour. 

I am shocked to report that, on Saturday, the Law was disproven and, for once, it was not Louis Catorze causing the mayhem. But my phone still buzzed all weekend with messages asking me to check and be sure:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/47104907

When I became a member of the Chat Noir club, whose founding member was Le Roi’s big brother Luther, I was concerned that I would not be able to tell my cat apart from others. (With hindsight, I can’t think of a situation that would require such a skill. Perhaps if twenty black cats suddenly appeared in my house at once, it would be handy to know mine so that I could then kick out the impingers. Or I guess I could just keep all twenty.) But we know our own cats, don’t we, black cat owners? And the Everton cat’s hellraising shenanigans have demonstrated, if anything, just how different and distinct black cats are from one another.

This cat has a much fatter, rounder face than Catorze and no chin of which to speak (imagine a large grapefruit compared to a small lemon). And he has a thick, solid physique more reminiscent of Cocoa the babysit cat than of Catorze. That said, both causing trouble and large crowds of men are highly irresistible to Sa Maj, and we know only too well of his teleportation skills, so pitter-pattering to a stadium and invading the pitch are just the sort of things he would do. 

I do hope that this beautiful chap finds his way back to wherever he is supposed to be. If he turned up at Le Château I would be sorely tempted to keep him, and, despite everything I have said about the uniqueness of each individual black cat, I would ensure that he and Catorze were never seen together, in an effort to convince Cat Daddy that we still had just one cat. 

Cat Daddy, whilst watching the Everton v Wolves game: “Bloody ridiculous. First an Anfield cat, and now this. Why do Liverpudlians take their cats with them to football matches? Not even YOU do that.”

True. But only because I didn’t think of it. 

Je braille, donc je suis

What a wild few weeks it has been at Le Château. La belle France have come out on top, with even Oscar the dog’s daddy putting money on them. Louis Catorze has had an unrelenting whirlwind of attention from visiting football fans. And, best of all, he has displayed some razor-sharp match predictions, which has been a poke in the eye for cynical, doubting Cat Daddy.

Sa Majesté has even correctly indicated some of the finer details of matches which were not apparent during the prediction, but which later became clear as they played out; after agonising for ages about the butterfly (see previous entry) and what it could possibly signify, and even wondering if it could be a streaker, I now see that this was the pitch invasion by the aptly-named Pussy Riot.

Now that the excitement of the football is over, Louis Catorze is back to screaming. He just won’t shut up, and Cat Daddy said the other day that it was “getting him down”. 

He screams before we get up. He screams when we get up. He screams when we’re just watching TV and minding our own business. And, not long ago, when we arrived home from work (and he had escaped out at The Front), he greeted us in the street with such gut-wrenching screaming that we hid in the car because we were so embarrassed. Yes, it was mortifying beyond belief. And, yes, we got it on video (available on request, and screen shots of which are shown here). 

Nothing whatsoever is wrong; the little sod just likes screaming. We don’t, but then he has never concerned himself with what we like or want, and I don’t suppose he is going to start now. 

As a child, when I did a first aid course, I recall the teacher telling me that silent casualties were to be dealt with more urgently than screaming ones, because “if they’re screaming, it means they’re alive and breathing”. Le Roi certainly is. And, given the sad little thing he was when he first came to live here (sleeping all the time, barely interacting with us), I guess this is a good thing. 

So we’re just going to let him enjoy being healthy and happy. And possibly also buy earplugs. 

Le roi conjuré

Someone is feeling très pleased with himself after a fabulous demi-finale. But, because he doesn’t want to upset the grieving England supporters by being too smug, he has chosen the modest, discreet pose that you see below, for today’s entry of Le Blog.

Louis Catorze’s last prediction was right, his beloved France are through to la finale, and he spent la demi-finale being cuddled by a group of French and Francophile cat ladies who came to drink crémant and watch the match with us. He would, of course, have preferred boys, and he did pop next door to look for some, but soon returned and was perfectly cordial and gentlemanly towards his guests.

Today sees the very last of l’Assiette de Prophétie and Catorze is, once again, representing his country. His opposite number is Graham Poll, an English referee who famously gave a Croatian player THREE yellow cards before finally issuing a red in the 2002 World Cup. Sa Majesté hopes that, somehow, the use of Mr Poll’s picture will gently nudge the universe into righting the refereeing wrong that was done 16 years ago, preferably in the form of abundant Croatian sendings-off and a French win.

Prior to the prediction we had a situation d’urgence: NO JAMBON DE BAYONNE (apart from a few old scraps which we knew Sa Majesté would refuse). I wanted to slip him some supermarket prosciutto di Parma and hope he wouldn’t notice but Cat Daddy was having none of it and, luckily, when we went to the cheese shop, we were saved by its jambon sec de pays. Unfortunately we weren’t able to be so authentic with Croatia, and their food is a sliver of pâté (chosen by Cat Daddy) from the World Food aisle in Morrisons, which is perfectly nice but which is probably about as Croatian as La Marseillaise. I think he has done it on purpose to make his boy’s countrymen win.

  1. Sa Majesté stuck his nose into the pâté, enough to leave an imprint, but did not consume any
  2. Sa Majesté licked the jambon twice, but did not consume any
  3. A butterfly came along and he pitter-pattered after it, screaming 

The one positive that has come from England’s loss is that it has gained la France some unexpected support. With the exception of one friend who called Catorze “smug” and declared that he would “never support France” (YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE), everyone wants to see the team that clobbered England in turn be clobbered in la finale. 

There’s nothing like a healthy bit of eye-for-an-eye vengeance to unite the country, n’est-ce pas?

Le chat parmi les pigeons

As you are already aware, Louis Catorze’s timing is utter merde and we are convinced that he does it on purpose. If we’re home all day with nothing to do, he behaves perfectly normally (well, “normally” by his standards, anyway) but, if we have important, inflexible plans or are in a rush, that’s when he will play up. And Saturday was no exception. 

Cat Uncle was holding a barbecue at his place in south-west London to celebrate England making it to the quarter finals of the World Cup (which, let’s face it, is no regular occurrence). A few minutes before we were due to leave, Sa Majesté decided that that would be a good moment to foam at the mouth and pitter-patter about Le Château, dripping gross, stringy foam as he went. Oh. Saint. Jésus. 

Our options were: crossing our fingers and hoping he would be ok by the time we returned, or taking him to the vet, feeling stupid (again) when they told us that nothing was wrong with him and then being late for the barbecue. Given that the rest of him appeared to be fine (no lethargy, no temperature, no crack addict eyes, no other concerning symptoms), we opted for the former, and I ignored Cat Daddy’s helpful remarks of “Foaming at the mouth? That’s rabies, isn’t it?”

We had a lovely time at the barbecue but started to feel guilty and scared as we made our way home, in case it were something more serious or in case Catorze had morphed into a rabid French werewolf in London during our absence. As I opened the front door I almost didn’t want to see what was behind it … but we were greeted by a perfectly normal and foam-free Roi, pitter-pattering towards us, tail aloft and screaming himself witless. We were relieved beyond words, but will be keeping a close eye on him in case of future foam incidents. 

In other news: it seems that, despite Les Bleus playing in blanc and confusing Louis Catorze somewhat, he won the battle of the Louis/Luis and France have made it through to the demi-finale! And, on this occasion,  la France will be playing la Belgique, so l’Assiette de Prophétie bore a picture of famous Belgian Hercule Poirot and a mini serving of the classic moules-frites. (Yes, I did go to the fish counter and ask for just one mussel. Although I didn’t make just one chip, because that would have been silly.)

  1. There was a LOT of screaming
  2. Louis Catorze ate the jambon de Bayonne 
  3. There was more screaming, then a refusal of the moules-frites

Let’s hope that Les Bleus make it and don’t have to suffer the indignity of playing the third place play-off on 14 juillet. Because, as Hercule Poirot says, “If you’ve lost, you’ve lost.”

Tous ceux qui montrent leurs dents

So Louis Catorze and his Assiette de Prophétie didn’t get the last prediction right. And, somehow, according to Cat Daddy, this is my fault. “It’s because you didn’t give him proper Argentinian beef. I TOLD you to give him proper Argentinian beef.” 

[This is wholly and categorically untrue; he told me nothing of the sort. And, in the unlikely event of me finding any proper Argentinian beef, he would have been the first to complain about it being too good for Catorze.]

Not only did Sa Majesté’s psychic powers desert him during the last match but he, too, deserted us; instead of watching the match with us and mingling with our (predominantly male) guests, he decided to go to … a school fête. On his own. I’m not joking. 

Le Château sits right behind a school and, on Saturday, they held a summer event with loud music, crowds, kids … in short, all the things that cats are supposed to hate. Naturellement, Louis Catorze decided to shimmy under the fence and go there instead of cheering on Les Bleus with us. 

I called out to him at various intervals during the day and, although he didn’t return, he occasionally meowed back to let me know that he was ok. I don’t know how he spent his time but I have been picturing him pitter-pattering between stalls, shedding cat hair on the home-made cupcakes and being stroked by the school kids and their parents, smug in the knowledge that he managed to sneak in without buying a ticket.

Anyway, today is la France’s quarter-final match against l’Uruguay, and, since authentic Uruguayan choripán chorizo is rarer than diamond-studded unicorn horns here in the U.K., I had to settle for Morrisons chorizo. And, because he has the same name as the little sod – and also because we couldn’t think of any other Uruguayans – Luis Suarez represented his country. 

As you can see, we changed the French part to enable us to show two Louis/Luis, both alike in dignity (which, frankly, doesn’t say much), each symbolised by a sun and each famed for his headline-grabbing, extraordinary teeth. 

  1. Sa Majesté sniffed the jambon de Bayonne, made a weird kind of “Ow-owww!” noise and pitter-pattered outside, screaming
  2. He continued to scream outside and the noise riled Oscar the dog, who started barking 
  3. Sa Majesté came back later and happily ate the jambon de Bayonne when I fed it to him by hand (but refused the chorizo)

So … does this indicate a ferociously-fought competition throughout with a last-minute winner from an easy assist by les Bleus?

Cat Daddy, rolling his eyes: “No, it doesn’t. And, besides, they both play in blue, so “Les Bleus” is meaningless here.”

La patte de Dieu

Oh, Louis Catorze: how DO you do it? 

La France have played all 3 group matches, and the little sod seems to have been startlingly accurate with his predictions. In case you missed the excitement, here is a brief summary (you’re welcome): 

Match 1 (la France et l’Australie): Sa Majesté refused both pieces of food. Outcome: La France beat l’Australie (but the VAR revealed that one of the French goals should not have been a goal, so technically the referee was wrong but Catorze was right).

Match 2 (la France et le Pérou): Sa Majesté ate the French food. Outcome: La France beat le Pérou. 

Match 3 (la France et le Danemark): Sa Majesté refused both foods, screamed, then ran to hide. Outcome: A dull, goalless draw in which both teams were booed and jeered for their strategic time wasting; clearly Catorze had picked up on the poor, ungentlemanly play and decided that such mediocrity was not fitting for a Sun King. 

Cat Daddy: “This is absolute effing nonsense. People must be getting bored of it. I certainly am.”

So that I can embarrass Cat Daddy even further, we are having a football barbecue later today, with Louis Catorze as the star attraction. This means MORE BOYS COMING TO LE CHATEAU, so, bien sûr, Sa Majesté will be in his element. 

We couldn’t* get hold of any proper grass-fed Argentinian beef, so we had to make do with a sliver of supermarket fillet steak on l’Assiette de Prophétie. And the Argentinian representative was the only living soul who has had more drugs in him than Louis Catorze: Diego Maradona, pictured below with the same look that Catorze has after a steroid shot:

*I wasn’t allowed to

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This is what happened: 

  1. Sa Majesté licked the beef, then pitter-pattered away with his tail up 
  2. Cat Daddy: “When the octopus did his predictions, just one touch determined the winner. Maybe this means Argentina will win on penalties?”
  3. Cat Daddy again: “Oh my God, I can’t believe I just said that. Don’t put that in your blog!”

Let’s hope that God will be regretting THAT helping hand in 1986, and that he will swing the result Francewards to redress the balance. Allez les Bleus!