Attention aux courges butternut

Beware of butternut squash, Mesdames et Messieurs. No, not marauding street ones wearing hockey masks and carrying chain saws, but the innocent-looking seeds that you unsuspectingly toss into the compost heap.

Thanks to the amazing richness of the soil around our compost heap, Cat Daddy and I have managed to grow a butternut squash without even trying. This is good, right? Well, the bonus dinner ingredient is quite a result, but the plant is an absolute beast, sprawling everywhere like a flesh-eating triffid and suffocating everything in its path. And nobody seems to tell you this, but both the stems and the leaves expel tiny, invisible barbs.

I should have guessed that it was a nasty plant when, instead of stepping over it or brushing past it, Louis Catorze would clear it with a massive leap (which won’t be helping his knee one bit). I thought at the time that he was just being dramatic but, if an idiot like Catorze is prepared to take such pains to avoid this plant, there is obviously a reason. Even a cautious cat absentmindedly brushing past could find itself speared but, should your cat have a more gung-ho temperament and be inclined to frolic around in your vegetable patch, this could spell very bad news indeed.

Given all the health issues we already have with Catorze, we really didn’t want to be picking painful barbs out of his skin, too. So Cat Daddy got to work destroying the evil plant and sweeping the barbs off the path (which was quite some feat given that they are invisible), whilst I chopped up the monster tendrils into more manageable pieces for the garden waste bag. All that is left now is the main stem bearing the single fruit.

And Le Roi sat and slow-blinked at us throughout these measures intended for his protection, watching us get painfully skewered and disembowelled. It would appear that he is not as stupid as we thought.

Here he is, snuggling up to the butternut squash and continuing, inexplicably, to remain a barb-free zone. I’m prepared to bet Le Château on the fact that he won’t sit this nicely with the pumpkin I have bought for his official Halloween portrait.

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La terre se nourrit d’empreintes

Good news: despite our silly cat’s efforts to distract and interrupt the workmen, the patio area is almost done. Bad news: when choosing the colour of the paving slabs, we completely neglected to take into account Louis Catorze’s disgusting paws. See below for an indication of both the problem and Catorze’s level of contrition, summed up perfectly in a single shot. (The photo is actually a still from a video of the cheeky little sod rolling.)

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Le Roi’s footprints have had a curious mind of their own lately, appearing in odd places such as the middle of the bathroom yet with no trail of prints leading up to that point. Of course, those ones can easily be cleaned whereas, sadly, it seems that there’s not much we can do about the patio ones. We went through our options the other day, which appear to be as follows:

1. Ask Cultivate London to take up all the slabs and replace them with darker ones. (Rather princessy and embarrassing, so no.)
2. Spend half an hour a day cleaning the patio. (A pain in the arse, so no.)
3. Ban Catorze from the patio. (He would ignore us and go out there regardless, so no.)
4. Rehome Catorze. (Nobody would have him, so no.)

(The last 2 were Cat Daddy’s idea.)

Cat Daddy spent half the weekend on the Wickes website, looking for some sort of high-pressure water jet thing “to hose down that unsightly, God-awful mess”.

I hope he was talking about the paw prints.

Les mains sales

The nice gentlemen from Cultivate London have been working at Le Château for several days now, although I’m surprised they’re getting anything done at all, what with Louis Catorze’s work-halting flirting and rolling. Despite the fact that they’ve had to drag concrete, soil and plant matter through the house to dispose of it, there’s not been a speck of dirt anywhere; every day they leave the place so whistle-clean that we could eat our dinner off the floor if we wanted to. (Luckily we don’t.)

Louis Catorze, however, has had other ideas. Today, we came home from work to find this mess on the arm of the sofa:

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There were further grubby paw prints all over the floor, yet no traces of human footprints anywhere in the house. So it looks as if one of the following things has happened:

1. The workmen cleaned their own footprints but inexplicably decided to leave the paw prints intact.
2. Louis Catorze waited until they had scrubbed the place down and THEN did this.

Quel salaud.