I’m now over halfway through my post-surgery recovery, and things been quite hard as the fog of the anaesthetic has worn off and the realisation has dawned of what lies ahead: in other words, at least another fortnight of not fully being able to what I want, and being mostly stuck at home with a cat who couldn’t care less whether I live or die.
I’ve had a few dark moments when I have wished Luther were still here, because he was the perfect nursemaid when I was ill: instinctively knowing, caring and not leaving my side. I’ve felt a little sad wondering how I could have gone from that to this, yet also resigned to the fact that there is nothing I can do about it because Luther isn’t here anymore, and Louis Catorze is.
Yesterday afternoon Cat Daddy took me for my daily, medically-prescribed walk to the park across the road from Le Château; we have often talked about how Luther would have claimed it within a few days had we moved here with him, whereas Catorze has shown zero interest during the whole year that we’ve been here. However, this time the little sod shocked us senseless by deciding to come with us.
Although he didn’t vanish off into the farthest corner, as Luther would have done, for a short while it was like having Luther back with us. Louis Catorze hung close to the bench where we sat, yelling and sniffing, retreating home only upon the arrival of a menacing gang (an elderly couple) and their status dog (a tiny but very angry bichon frisé). And, when we got back, he even spent some time on my lap, in my favourite pose: with his torso and paws on me, and the less desirable arse end well away from my body.
Luther very often gives his little brother a beyond-the-grave kick up the arse when appropriate, and I really did need this one. I hope Catorze continues to remember that he likes me, even though I will only ever be, at best, his second favourite human.
Meteorological hot snaps and convalescence: not a good combination. However, one very flimsy silver lining is that Cat Daddy and I like to sit outside in the evenings and gaze up at the sunset through the telegraph wires at the back of Le Château, with Louis Catorze pitter-pattering about our feet. We used to find the wires a bit of an eyesore but now, somehow, we have fallen in love with their retro charm, and we adore watching the clouds glide and the colours melt hypnotically through their stark lines.
Not so yesterday. One moment they looked just as they do in this photo, and the next – no more than a second or two later – they were filled with starling-type birds, all eyeing us disdainfully. The whole flock had suddenly risen like a cloud of black vapour from behind the fence and alighted on the wires, then, as quickly as they had appeared and before either of us could reach for our phones, they vanished.
I have always found birds creepy, long before seeing THAT Hitchcock film – something about the combination of fluffy bodies and scaly, dinosaur feet makes me feel funny – but this was just too much. And Cat Daddy didn’t help when he remarked that these particular birds looked exactly like the one that Louis Catorze killed recently.
Saint Jésus: we are being hunted. The birds want to avenge the death of their fallen comrade, and they know where we live.
Louis Catorze also observed the feathered army’s sinister vigil and didn’t appear to be in the slightest bit intimidated – but I was. Under normal circumstances I would lay down my life to protect my boy but, faced with the prospect of a 100-strong throng of terrifying, vengeful birds, cowardice has prevailed and I’m more inclined to fling Le Roi in their direction and beg them to take him instead of me. (Well, he is to blame for this, after all.)
What should we do if they come back? What if this encounter was just the beginning of a campaign of terror and intimidation? If Louis Catorze, Cat Daddy and/or I are ever found dead in mysterious circumstances, possibly face-down in a pile of feathers and covered in what look like puncture marks, please show the police this blog entry and tell them that the starlings did it.