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:

Chacun tire la couverture à soi

The members of our knitting class are now busily working on new individual assignments, having submitted our group one a few weeks ago. And we have welcomed Wife of That Neighbour as our newest recruit. Well, after making Freddie Mercury’s “I Want To Break Free” jumper she is knitting royalty, so how could she NOT join us?

Puppy Mamma is going to make a jacket for Nala the dog and I have started making a scarf for Cat Daddy in Brentford FC’s colours, but we might tell Cat Daddy and Puppy Daddy that our next assignments will be matching Freddie Mercury-style pink sleeveless jumpers for them, just to see their faces.

Anyway, I am sure you’re desperate to know what our group project was. (Cat Daddy: “NO. BODY. CARES.”) The multi-coloured, spirally squares that we made have all been coordinated and sewn together by our instructor to make a throw, and we have decided to donate it to a local charity shop to be sold or raffled. So, if you live in or around TW7 (which is where the shop is located) and you happen to purchase or win this item, you may wish to pay extra attention to the areas circled as they contain cat and dog spit:

Le maître de la scène

Cat Daddy and I invited That Neighbour and his wife for dinner the other night. Yes, THAT Neighbour; the one who is always having to escort Louis Catorze home when he escapes at The Front and causes carnage in the street.

To be honest we had been putting it off because, although they are thoroughly lovely people, we’ve been so embarrassed by Sa Maj and his behaviour that we haven’t been able to face them. We were going to wait until the little sod started to behave himself but, of course, that jour de gloire never came and, before we knew it, 4 years had passed.

Anyway, after the greetings, the hors d’œuvres and our initial shock at the generous amount of alcohol they’d brought with them (although we all know the reason why they need it), the topic of conversation inevitably got to the small, black, toothy elephant in the room. Mind you, this was unavoidable because said elephant presented himself as loudly as possible, screaming, purring and nuzzling That Neighbour’s legs (although, rudely, he ignored Wife of That Neighbour). Luckily they are animal lovers and they have been taking all his shenanigans with good humour. For now, at least.

During dinner Catorze disappeared. Then the howling started. The longer it went on, the less cat-like it sounded and, pretty soon, it was more like something you’d hear in the haunted Transylvanian woods outside Castle Dracula.

Wife of That Neighbour: “Is that … MEOWING?”

That Neighbour: “Yes. Is it Louis?”

Cat Daddy, hurriedly opening more wine: “No, it’s definitely not him. It must be some other cat. Here, let me top you up.”

The conversation turned to Brexit, then to my and Puppy Mamma’s knitting woes, then to Wife of That Neighbour’s absolutely brilliant true story about the time she knitted the pink jumper worn by a household-name pop star in an iconic music video*. Throughout all this, the howling continued and Cat Daddy poured more and more wine. By the time we got onto climate change, so much wine was flowing that nobody noticed or cared about the howling anymore. And, when Sa Maj reappeared (and, coincidentally, the howling stopped), That Neighbour sang that “Louie Louie” song to him and gave him a big cuddle.

It’s hard to know whether this means that he’s forgiven him his trespasses, or whether it was just the wine. Probably a better indicator is That Neighbour’s choice of musical links posted on social media, which, consciously nor not, often seem to channel Catorze. The first one was posted just before our dinner, and the second a few days after:

*Can you guess the pop star and the music video? Think of a charismatic, cat-loving British frontman – in fact, he’s known for having had quite a few cats, and my mum knows all their names – and the song is most likely the rousing anthem Catorze hears in his head every time he escapes at The Front.

Maille après maille

Puppy Mamma and I have really been up against it this week, not only because we are back at school but because our knitting project was due.

Despite always telling our students not to leave things until the last minute, we haven’t managed to follow our own advice on this occasion. Stupidly, we didn’t take into account the fact that our knitting designs are a sort of spiral shape working from the inside outwards, and so the larger outer sections take more time. We should have organised ourselves with this in mind, but we didn’t. (Cat Daddy, looking at our work: “You couldn’t figure that out? Even a 5-year-old could have managed that. Jesus.”)

And, of course, just when I was under pressure to finish the most time-consuming parts, and just after I bragged about him being a good boy who leaves my work the hell alone, Louis Catorze remembered that he is a cat and decided to interfere. Here is the little sod (below) the night before the deadline, arsing around with the wool whilst Cat Daddy egged him on and took photos.

Apologies to our instructor, who has now received not one but TWO parts of our project covered in animal spit. And, teachers, if you’re marking assignments of any kind, however much you think you can trust your students, wash your hands afterwards.

Une pelote de laine emmêlée

Nala the dog’s Puppy Mamma asked me if I would like to join her at a knitting class.

My brain: “What? Are we, like, 103 years old? It’s the dullest old-lady hobby ever, all our friends will laugh at us, and the things we make will look like shite.”

My mouth: “Sure, why not?”

Interestingly, it turns out that I was only 1/3 mistaken: knitting is actually a very therapeutic and relaxing craft. You go into the class feeling enraged as hell with, say, your cat’s latest display of bastard behaviour, and come out feeling utterly unburdened and content.

I was right about people laughing at us, though. (To protect the scoffers’ identity I shall refer to them as “Cat Daddy” and “Puppy Daddy”.) And the things we’re making do look like shite. Well, our other group members’ stuff is fine, but Puppy Mamma and I have each had rows unpicked by the instructor as they weren’t up to standard. And, when we were meant to be knitting a square, Puppy Mamma somehow ended up with a sort of asymmetric pentagon.

We also found out that it was a knitting COURSE, not a single class. And, because each group member is making one small section of a single larger item, and therefore attending just one session would mean letting down the team and not completing our project, we’re now trapped in our woolly prison, doomed to a lifetime of being laughed at and making things that look like shite.

Anyway, between us it seems that our animals have defied tradition somewhat. Everyone knows that it’s cats, not dogs, who play with balls of wool, yet I am delighted to report that it was Nala who caused mayhem. (This is because we have knitting homework every week. No, we didn’t take our pets to the class, but only because we didn’t think of it.)

Here is Nala being a cat, and here is Louis Catorze being, erm, whatever it is that he is. And, yes, I did warn our instructor that Puppy Mamma’s section of our project would have dog spit on it.