L’homme au masque de fer

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*SPOILER ALERT: THIS BLOG ENTRY REVEALS THE ENDING OF “THE MAN IN THE IRON MASK”*

Someone once told me that my naming of Louis Catorze had “forever ruined French history for her”. So what better way to empathise with her concerns, and to give le royal nod to the recent Oscar winners, than to watch a historically-questionable Hollywood adaptation of an acclaimed Alexandre Dumas novel, giggling like a little child every time Louis XIV is mentioned?

The Sun King is played by a man from Los Angeles, D’Artagnan is from Dublin, and two of the three musketeers are from Illinois and the Isle of Wight. But, as someone who has convinced half the world that my cat from a North London rescue is a French monarch, I practically invented the suspension of disbelief. So this was no problem to me.

The similarities between Louis XIV and Louis Catorze are staggering, the main one being that both are tyrannical despots who live in luxury as the peasants, who are forced to fund their lavish lifestyles, languish in poverty. And the single, minor difference is that Louis XIV, according to musketeer Athos, “is cold and cruel, and cares only for himself” … which is not strictly true of our little sod as he also cares for Cat Daddy and male friends/neighbours/tradesmen/trick or treaters/Ocado delivery drivers.

The end of the film shows the human Louis clapped in irons and locked up in the dankest, most squalid part of the Bastille prison, which is not a million miles from what Cat Daddy has threatened when Louis Catorze has woken us in the night with his whining/scampering/rodent-bringing/bubble-wrap-popping. And the positive and uplifting conclusion of the film, apparently showing the Sun King bringing prosperity and peace to the citizens of France, was actually down to the actions of his (much nicer) impostor twin brother, Philippe.

Cat Daddy: “You see? I think we ended up with the wrong cat. I want to adopt Philippe. There has to be a Philippe out there for us.”

Maybe, but not quite yet … after all, the human Louis reigned for over 72 years.

What’s that in cat years?

Chercher et détruire

Oh. Mon. Dieu. It’s every cat owner’s nightmare: you hear your little sod making that horking sound, you rush to the source with tissues and antiseptic spray, and there’s no puke to be found.

The last time this happened was (I think) May 2016. I am still looking for that one.

This time, not only did I hear the horking but I also heard the splattery thwack as the puke hit the floor. Horrifying, indeed, but this told me that it was on floor, at least, and not on carpet or soft furnishings. And, thanks to the disgusting yet reassuring echo of the splattery thwack, I also knew that it was out in the open and not secretly left to fester until the tragic day that I discovered it by opening a drawer or slipping my unsuspecting foot into a seldom-worn shoe. But, upon racing into the kitchen, I was greeted by the sight of a lip-smacking Roi and nothing else.

Où est le puke?

“I don’t understand,” I said to Cat Daddy. “I heard its sound, clear as anything. Why can’t I find it?”

“Oh, don’t worry,” he said, without looking up from his laptop. “You will.”

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Le portrait officiel du Roi

Our Gothic dining room which, of all the rooms in Le Château, does the most justice to a Halloween kitty with vampire fangs, is taking a little while to decorate fully.

Other rooms have somehow just worked, with us finding the perfect colours and furnishings through sheer good fortune (and the help of a fabulous project manager), but the dining room has, until now, remained with just table and chairs and very little else. I had an idea of what I wanted in terms of wall art – “rock and roll meets creepy Victorian Gothic” was about the best that I managed to articulate myself – but, unsurprisingly, this fabled work never appeared.

And then Cat Daddy found this:

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I kneel humbly at his awe-inspiring art-finding ability; this picture is sinister, humorous, unnerving, quirky … and absolutely perfect.

It may not actually be a picture of Louis Catorze but I am pretty certain it’s what he sees when he looks in the mirror, so, as far as his official Halloween portrait goes, it will have to do. And it wouldn’t surprise me at all if the portrait were to slowly deteriorate whilst Catorze, despite a hedonistic lifestyle of steroids and party powder, retained his kittenish looks. Oscar Wilde would be très proud.

La salle à manger is now officially open to the Sun King’s pilgrims.

Les pèlerins du Roi Soleil

IMG_8830I can’t think of the last time one of my friends was organised enough to make plans with me several months ahead of time. However, not only does a certain little sod have people who are, but they happily come from all over the place to see him.

The Sun King had a lovely day yesterday with one of his beloved and generous pilgrims (see above for the fabulous gift that he received) and he has further pilgrimages arranged for as far ahead as September, from as far away as Mexico.

Prior to receiving his pilgrims, Cat Daddy and I often have a conversation like this:

“So, who’s coming today?”
“[Insert name of pilgrim].”
“Where are they coming from?”
“Somewhere north of, erm … the equator.” [I usually mumble the words “the equator” to try and make it sound like an actual place.]
“What do they do for a living?”
“I don’t know.”
“Are they single or married?”
“I don’t know.”
“How old are they?”
“I don’t know.”
“Well, how old do they look in their Facebook profile photo?”
“I don’t know, because their Facebook profile photo is of a cat.”
“So you haven’t asked our guest ANYTHING about themselves?”
“Erm, well, I know about their cats.”
“Of course you do.”
“There’s Buddy, who’s black with 3 white feet and a white chest, who weighs 4.2kg. He’s going to be 2 on 7th November and he once brought a mouse and put it into [Pilgrim]’s laptop bag. And there’s Princess, a seal point Siamese weighing 5.1kg, who celebrated her 8th birthday last week and who is scared of the vacuum cleaner but fine with the hairdryer.”
[Silence, tumbleweed, crickets]

I know this must sound as if I’m not interested in people. I am. But, quite often, I’m more interested in cats. And, luckily, I know that not a single one of Louis Catorze’s pilgrims will be insulted by this, because they all feel the same way.

They are, after all, coming to see him, not me.

 

Le locataire du Château

Cat Daddy and I have a guest staying with us at Le Château. Now, for most cats, a big deal such as a new housemate would need to be brokered with expert skill and precision; however, because this is Louis Catorze, and because our guest is male, we had a feeling everything would work out fine.

Mind you, I wasn’t prepared for Louis Catorze to love Houseguest Matt more than he loves me, nor for Houseguest Matt to be quite so smug about it.

This is how things have gone so far:

– Seconds after Houseguest Matt’s arrival: Catorze runs to welcome him
– Day 1: snuggly selfies on Houseguest Matt’s bed
– Day 6: Catorze steps over my lap to get to Houseguest Matt’s
– Day 7: Catorze starts sleeping on Houseguest Matt’s bed at night instead of ours [although Houseguest Matt has just read this over my shoulder and he informs me that, in actual fact, this began on Day 3]
– Day 11: The pair of them invent their own meowy language that only they understand
– Day 14: Houseguest Matt and I do that thing where you sit at opposite ends of the room and both call the cat’s name at the same time … and it doesn’t go well for me

I feel partly responsible for this as I should have stomped down on it after Day 1. But I was too laissez-faire, and now it’s probably too late.

And, far from feeling bad about stealing our cat, Houseguest Matt finds it hilarious. His standard response is: “He’s MY cat now! Mwahahahaha!”

The upside of all the treachery, of course, is the fact that we could do a lot worse than a guest who dotes on the little sod and looks after him better than we do; it certainly beats those who are neutral (as a couple have been) and those who take one look at him and run away, screaming (yup, this has happened, too). Le Roi has no idea how much he’s lucked out with Houseguest Matt … but, fortunately, we do.

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La coupe du Roi

Le royal wine glass is no more. Cat Daddy kicked it over last week, smashing it to pieces and dismissing his accident with the words, “Well, we’ve all done it.” (No, we have not. Absolutely nobody else has done it, ever. Only Cat Daddy.)

Anyway, this left us with the onerous task of finding an appropriate replacement, which is not as straightforward as it sounds because Le Roi will not drink from any old glass. So Cat Daddy grumpily put down an old Bodum storage jar thing (minus the stopper) as an interim measure until we found something which Sa Majesté would deem acceptable.

Cat Daddy returned from the kitchen with an assortment of glasses in his hands, ready to try them out one by one. However, to his delight, he was met by the sight of Louis Catorze’s silly snout deep in the Bodum jar as he slurped away.

And that was that; as far as Cat Daddy is concerned, we don’t need to bother looking for a new drinking vessel. I, however, miss the elegance of the wine glass; it was just so much more fitting for a Sun King. I’m sorely tempted to try him out with a few glasses from our collection and, if none of them meet with royal approval, buy him a new one.

So … opinions on this one? Too much?

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La chasse de trésor

Cat Daddy is back after his 2-week business trip to the States, and he came home laden with gifts including this fabulous cushion cover.

imageI had a feeling that his return would either calm Louis Catorze down a little or send him into an even more excitable and annoying frenzy. I was right about one of those.

The little sod won’t leave his papa alone and has been yelling, climbing all over him and staring at him with crazed, psycho eyes. And, as we all know, some cats are known to bring gifts to staff on such occasions as returning after an absence, but Le Roi has taken it a step further and has devised a sort of twisted treasure hunt.

On the morning of Cat Daddy’s return, I had to clean 2 perfectly round, 5p-sized drops of fresh blood from our bedroom floor. There were no other smears or trails, just 2 solitary drops. Yet a thorough inspection of Louis Catorze – well, as thorough an inspection as he would allow without slicing me up – revealed that he was neither hurt nor in distress.

This could only mean that the blood came from another entity. And there was every chance that this entity could be somewhere within the walls of Le Château.

My mistake was cleaning up the blood before Cat Daddy had seen it because, bien sûr, he didn’t believe me when I told him about it. His theory is that it could have been nail varnish (?), ignoring my protests of “But I only own 1 bottle of nail varnish and it’s glittery silver, not red” and the rather more pertinent “I think I know the difference between nail varnish and blood.”

So this thing, whatever it may be, remains unknown and unfound, despite our best efforts (or, rather, MY best efforts, as Cat Daddy refused to help me look for an imaginary corpse that had shed imaginary blood). And I know that, if we fail to find it by sight, in time it will deploy the next clue: the come-hither stench of death, to help us locate it by smell. Let’s hope Cat Daddy finds it before I do.