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! 

La mort rampante

It’s a football day again! Well, most days are football days at the moment, but we are perfectly happy with that. And Louis Catorze is riding high on the success of his last prediction. The only thing is, having told my friends that he was rubbish and that they should put money on the opposite of whatever he did, a couple of them followed that advice and now aren’t too happy. Oh dear.

Anyway, today’s opponents: le Danemark. Today’s food: Danish bacon (and there was a LONG discussion about whether or not the sample should be cooked or raw, but I ended up keeping it raw to maintain consistency and keep it a fair contest). And today’s Danish representative: Lars Ulrich of Metallica, who is quite an apt choice as Louis Catorze happily spends many late night Boys’ Club hours listening to rock music with his daddy. 

Catorze was brushed to smarten him up for the prediction, and this was the outcome of his most recent Assiette de Prophétie: 

  1. Sa Majesté sniffed first the bacon, then the jambon de Bayonne, then screamed as if alarmed and ran away
  2. I went after him to try one more time, he continued to run, screaming, then he hid in the tiny gap between the shed and the Forbidden Greenhouse, which is impenetrable to humans
  3. I gave up 

Me: “What does this mean?”

Cat Daddy: “It means he doesn’t like raw bacon. Or maybe it means the apocalypse.”

We repeated the experiment again with cooked bacon, just in case a few minutes under the grill was all that stood between us and doomsday. Le Roi sniffed both meats and pitter-pattered off, screaming. 

Conclusion: inconclusive. The end of the world? France and Denmark to draw? A protest against the Putin regime? Any ideas, Mesdames et Messieurs? 

Le match est fichu?

Phase Quatre is now under way; Louis Catorze is happily munching a 50:50 mix of Acana Pacifica and Lily’s Kitchen, and there have been no further puke incidents (that we know of).

His football predictions, however, have been somewhat offish, with France actually beating Australia (contrary to Catorze’s indication that it would be a draw). That said, given that France’s penalty really shouldn’t have been a penalty at all – and with the Video Assistant Referee, rather like autocorrect, managing to stuff up the very thing that it’s supposed to fix – morally I’d say Sa Maj got it right.  (If I’m honest, though, it’s more likely that he refused both foods because I accidentally served them fridge-cold, forgetting that he favours room-temperature. This is very poor servantry on my part.)

He actually watched the match, too, meowing encouragement at Les Bleus all the way and pretending not to notice his countrymen’s cheating, diving and handballing. However, rather than watching from the comfort of our laps, he decided to sit outside and watch through the window. Yes, he could have come in had he chosen to do so. And, no, we have no idea why he didn’t. 

La France’s opponents today are Le Pérou and, to represent them, l’Assiette de Prophétie bore Peruvian ceviche and a picture of the only Peruvian that we know: Paddington Bear. Cat Daddy got all cross with me for buying good fish just for this, but he felt much better when I told him that we would be having Louis Catorze’s leftovers for dinner. 

Anyway, this is what happened: 

  1. The fish was sniffed, then Catorze walked away
  2. He approached the jambon de Bayonne from a completely different angle, as he did with the previous prediction, thus ruining the aesthetics of the sequence of photos
  3. The jambon de Bayonne was consumed with enthusiasm 

The third photo is pretty conclusive, n’est-ce pas? 

Cat Daddy: “Oh. I wanted Peru to win.”

On verra. 

On devrait être si chanceux

Louis Catorze is a huge football fan, and, whilst he was happier 2 years ago when the Euro tournament took place in his fatherland of France, he is still content to follow this year’s World Cup. And, naturellement, he will be firmly supporting France and hoping that they fare better than they did in the Euro 2 years ago, when they were devastatingly defeated à la dernière minute par le Portugal. 

A new football tournament means the return of Louis Catorze’s results predictions! Hurrah! And we shall be ignoring cynical Cat Daddy’s joyless cries of, “But he didn’t get a single one correct last time” and his visible cringing when I tell people that he did (twice) manage to correctly predict Brexit.

To mark France’s opening match against Australia we lined up a serving of French jambon de Bayonne versus probably-unauthentic-yet-more-accessible-than-witchetty-grubs Australian shrimp, with Catorze’s taste buds set at “winner is eaten first”. Each nation, as you see below, was represented on the plate by their respective diminutive yet charismatic figureheads (the human Sun King for la France and Kylie Minogue for l’Australie). 

The results were as follows: 

  1. The jambon de Bayonne was licked once, then Catorze walked away
  2. The shrimp was licked once, then Catorze walked away
  3. Both foods still remained at the time of writing this 

We can only assume that this means a draw, which, given each team’s track record, makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.

Kick-off is at 11am, so we shall soon see whether the little sod has managed to fine-tune his extra-sensory powers since the summer of 2016, or whether this is all just a(nother) pile of merde.

Cat Daddy: “Seriously? Nobody cares.”

Le silence du Roi

Louis Catorze has a swish, new transportation pod. One of the pictures below is of that very pod. The other shows a pod that is far more appropriate for him given his chequered history when it comes to being transported, but Pets at Home don’t appear to stock it. And I suspect that the armed guards would have cost extra.

Cat Daddy: “He doesn’t need a new transportation pod. The old pod is fine.”
Me: “But I find it hard to carry the old pod, the way he fights and flips.”
Cat Daddy: “He doesn’t fight and flip when I take him. He behaves perfectly well for me.”

Well, that’s delightful news. Thanks.

Anyway, the new pod is super-stylish and considerably more fitting for a Sun King than his old one. It’s not often that we encounter his comrades or adversaries in the vet’s waiting room but, when we do, we want to look the part, n’est-ce pas?

On Friday we decided that it would be a good idea to give Le Roi a preventative steroid shot before going on holiday, as he was starting to get a bit scratchy and we didn’t want his gouvernante française to have problems. The triangular – rather than square/rectangular – profile of the new pod makes it very easy to carry by my side, even with my neck and shoulder problems, so, for the first time ever, I was able to walk to the appointment.

Sadly, the ergonomic shape and Chanel-inspired quilting did nothing to alleviate the screaming. Catorze hollered his lungs out all the way there, and, because we were walking, the screams echoed through the neighbourhood as opposed to being confined to the car. Even the workmen, who were digging up the road, stopped what they were doing to look at us. And, upon arrival, le fichu salaud was so noisy in the waiting room that the two ladies who came in after us, with their nice, quiet cats, decided that they would rather sit in the Dog Area than in the Cat Area with us, completely messing up the vet’s new apartheid system.

We feel a bit bad for our French cat-sitter as the steroid shots usually turn our boy rather manic and psycho, but better that than to have him scratch himself to bleeding point and require a trip to the vet in our absence.

There won’t be any blog posts for a short while, unless we see any cute cats on holiday, or unless we hear that Louis Catorze has done something especially impressive or horrific. Please keep well until our return, and continue to obey your furry overlords at all times.

 

 

Protéger et servir

Cat Daddy and I are going on holiday in a few days’ time, and we have a friend coming all the way from Paris to look after Louis Catorze in our absence. Oui, Mesdames et Messieurs: Le Roi is going to have an ACTUAL French person as his full-time, live-in majordome/esclave.

“Do you speak French to him all the time?” she asked us. “Because I intend to. So, by the time you come back, he won’t take any notice of anything you say.”

Louis Catorze, not following instructions? Whatever next?

Anyway, Cat Daddy and I are currently putting together a set of manuals for her reference. The Château manual was complete some time ago, and contains the following sections:

1. The Sonos multimedia system
2. The kitchen appliances
3. Local places of interest

The Roi manual, which is proving to be rather more of a lengthy task, contains the following sections so far:

1. Food
2. Drink
3. Play
4. Catnip (for medicinal purposes)
5. Nocturnal gadding about
6. Brushing
7. The vet
8. Dog warfare
9. Prey, dead
10. Prey, living
11. Prey, partially-living
12. Lockdown at The Front, and how to manage escapees
13. Health and safety drill for Ocado delivery drivers

“It’ll be fine,” said Cat Daddy. “What’s the worst that could happen …?”

[Silence, tumbleweed, crickets.]

He continued: ” … Apart from us returning home to find the place knee-deep in dead vermin like some post-apocalyptic horror film, and our poor friend crying in the corner?”

Right. Où est ma valise?

You will notice that there is no “Medication” section in the Roi manual, and that wasn’t an oversight: notre cher ami has officially been given the all-clear from his favourite vet, who is back from her travels for a short while. No more Gabapentin! He has had no relapses at all during his tapering-off detox programme and, whilst we will miss the little sod for the next couple of weeks, we know that he will be fine and that our friend will look after him wonderfully.

We just hope that he will be equally considerate in return.

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