Les visiteurs

I have started asking Cat Daddy to write down all the drunken topics of conversation that arise during the Zoom calls with his pub mates. This is mainly so that I don’t have to bother listening and trying to keep up.

Cat Daddy: “Why do I have to do this? You’re only going to blog about it and ridicule us.” Well, obviously, yes. I have never kept that a secret from him/them.

Anyway, these are the highlights from last Friday’s 2-hour (!) session:

1. Pete’s 15-minute Jamie Oliver brown rice recipe (but he didn’t use pre-cooked brown rice so it ended up taking much longer than 15 minutes, making him late for the call)

2. Pre-dinner drinks that start at 4:30pm and go on until 11:30pm (no idea what sort of dinners they go to, but they sound terrible)

3. The worst time they ever got drunk

4. Simon’s cake mix (to which he forgot to add butter, so the cakes ended up like biscuits)

5. Underfloor ventilation and air bricks

6. Lifestyle coaches

7. The website from which Tim has just bought a fancy piece of art, and whether it’s a real website or whether Tim has been scammed

8. Toilet facilities aboard World War II Bombers

9. “Then things descended into drunken nonsense” (Cat Daddy’s very words)

Whilst normality is slowly creeping back for us Londoners, Cat Daddy’s Friday night Zoom meets look set to stay for the time being. However, I think Louis Catorze misses having visitors to Le Château and would far rather see the boys in person.

During our pre-Covid life, people would visit us all the time. Most of them, as you know, came to see Catorze. And, on football days, when friends would come over for pre-match hot dogs and drinks, Catorze would assume they had also come to see him and would happily pitter-patter from guest to guest (favouring the males, of course).

Now, of course, we haven’t had anyone over since March, and I genuinely think Catorze wonders what’s happened to everyone. Cocoa the babysit cat’s daddy captured this beautifully in this lovely card for Cat Daddy’s birthday last week (see below).

Hopefully it won’t be too long until we’re allowed to see people properly. And we will be sure to let you know when Sa Maj dusts off his guest book and starts taking bookings again.

Un chat sur un maillot

Cat Daddy and I are thrilled that the football is back. Louis Catorze would have preferred it if we were able to invite the boys* round to watch it, bien sûr, but I think even he accepts that compromised football is better than none at all.

*Catorze is, however, still able to get his virtual boy-fix through Cat Daddy’s Friday night Zoom meet with his pub mates. Last week’s topics of conversation were as follows:

1. Moles (at the time I misheard and thought it was “Mould”, but I have since been corrected and I am sure you will all agree that “Moles” is a far more interesting topic)

2. Who slept with whom in their youth (and finding out that they had women in common)

3. Gin

4. Hot TV presenters from the 70s and 80s, and which ones are still hot

5. Hoarding/finding food items in the cupboard with ancient expiry dates

6. Ice Road Truckers, and which ones have haemorrhoids

7. Pensions

8. Simon’s fruit loaf, and whether or not he should ice it

As we aren’t able to attend matches, our beloved Brentford Football Club have offered season ticket holders the chance to have photos of themselves printed onto a giant banner. (Again, an implied presence at Griffin Park is better than none at all.) And I thought it might be rather fun to, erm, PhotoShop Catorze’s face onto my body and submit that, instead of submitting a photo of myself.

Cat Daddy, when I suggested the idea: “…”

I don’t have the skills to do such a thing but, luckily, Cocoa the babysit cat’s daddy does. So I sent him a photo of myself in my Brentford shirt, plus a selection of Catorze head shots, and let him work his magic. And this is what he created:

“Allez les Abeilles!”

Cat Daddy, when he saw the above image: “…”

The only possible glitch that I can foresee is that the club supplied a humanoid-shaped template into which supporters have to somehow make our photos fit, and of course this doesn’t allow for Sa Maj’s ears. So, in the very unlikely event of him slipping past the censors, his image will probably be earless. This will make the end result creepier but also much, much funnier.

Here is Catorze in the template:

“Où sont mes oreilles?”

So now we wait. The possible outcomes are as follows:

A. Brentford Football Club accept the photo and Catorze is shown on TV, with or without ears.

B. They send me a politely-worded rejection email.

C. We never find out whether I have been accepted or rejected.

Obviously option C would be very disappointing indeed, and I hope beyond hope that it’s option A. But I’d settle for the moderate comedy value of option B.

Thank you so much to Cocoa and Chanel’s Cat Daddy for his magnificent work.

Le Spécial

It’s rather ironic that, after panicking that Louis Catorze’s skin flare-up might be an allergic reaction to The Special One (my merino wool scarf), and after shutting myself away and panic-speed-knitting like an absolute demon to finish the darned thing quickly, there is now no football due to the Covid 19 virus.

I finished the scarf quite some time ago, but it’s now sitting in the under-stairs cupboard, out of reach of curious pitter-pattering paws. The plan was to take it out on match days only, handling it very gently both to keep it from unravelling – because I accidentally cut off two stray ends of wool before I had knotted them, and now they are too short to knot – and to stop too many stray fibres from being dislodged and transferred onto La Personne Royale. But now, of course, with no football and with the weather turning unscarfworthy, it lives permanently in its dark prison, having barely seen the light of day.

After researching merino wool, I have discovered that it’s actually LESS likely to trigger a reaction than many other fabrics. But, since we will probably never know the cause of Sa Maj’s irritation, we intend to keep treating the scarf in the way one would handle an unexploded World War II bomb. And, knowing Catorze, it would be typical of him to be allergic to a hypoallergenic substance just to be difficult.

They say that the football is only on hold until 3rd April, but this seems like an eternity. And the thought of having to fill in the time by making actual conversation, with actual people, about things that aren’t football, makes me shudder.

What a good thing there are still cats.

“Où est le football?”

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

C99D0167-7110-4B70-85DA-BCBCD948988C

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?