L’éveil des sens

On Monday night, our esteemed leader announced another national lockdown. Yes, he’s already shut schools once, then reopened them. Now he’s shutting them again. Are we all keeping up so far?

Although I no longer have to drive to work, getting up on a January morning is quite the most depressing thing ever. And, on a few occasions, the darned Lumie Bodyclock has failed to wake me up properly. Sometimes the light works but the sound doesn’t. And sometimes neither work. It is the most user-unfriendly gadget there is.

When/if the alarm goes off, there is no button to switch off the sound without also deactivating it completely. All you can do is turn the volume down – and, if you go too far and turn it right down to zero, again it deactivates the alarm and so you have to reset it. If you DON’T turn the volume down, the stupid tropical birds sing all day.

The last time this happened and I angrily pressed random buttons for no reason, the FM radio button – which had not worked at all previously – chose that very moment to decide to work, giving me Matt Hancock’s voice talking about vaccines. Quite frankly I’d rather have had the goats, and I think the rest of the country is with me on that one.

Cat Daddy thinks I’m just too thick to have figured it out, but the people leaving the reviews did warn me that it was, erm, problematic. However, like an idiot, I thought I would just learn to live with it. Which, I admit, was a bit thick of me.

Luckily our mutual friend has been on hand to alert me to the fact that it’s time to get up. A minute after my alarm is supposed to go off, he starts purring and bouncing around. It would be better if he did this once at wake-up time, and not also at random intervals throughout the night for no reason. But, as he is making the difference between getting up on time and not, I’ll take it.

Catorze’s Cat Grandpa used to say that electronics were only as good as the human being programming them. He may have been right, but I need something better than the person who made it, and better than me, otherwise there’s not much point.

Worryingly, does this mean that Catorze is better than me, the Lumie Bodyclock AND the person who made it? Oh. Mon. Dieu.

“Réveille-toi!”

L’horloge magique

During half term I decided I’d finally had enough of terrible sleep (due in part to checking my phone clock multiple times through the night to see how many hours of sleep were left; don’t pretend you don’t do it yourselves). So I treated myself to one of those Lumie Bodyclock things that wake you up to soft light and gentle sounds.

Now, we aren’t the most proficient when it comes to electronics. I am good at following instructions yet still can’t get said apparatus to function. Cat Daddy is rather less adept and considerably less patient, often throwing the item across the room and using Unrepeatable Expletives of the Worst Kind. And at half term it was still Mercury Retrograde so, during a week of zero success with electronics*, my expectations of figuring out this device were quite low.

*Cat Daddy’s bike light malfunctioned, his electric razor kept switching itself on and wouldn’t stay switched off and, to top it all off, his phone accidentally posted four unicorns on the food bank volunteers’ WhatsApp group, most of whose members he doesn’t know (although they now know who he is):

These, plus other unicorns in different poses, are now among Cat Daddy’s “frequently used” emojis.

I made it 60% of the way through the the Lumie Bodyclock’s installation process without mishap. Then, when selecting my alarm sound, I was met with some interesting and bizarre options. Click on “Sounds” on this link for the full list and to try them out in front of your cats: https://www.lumie.com/products/bodyclock-shine-300

Naturellement I was drawn to the kitten sound although, when testing it, it sounded like a disconcertingly aggressive kitten and I already have one of these who wakes me up. But I was intrigued by the goats – and by the kind of people who would want to be woken up by them – and so I couldn’t resist trying it on the clock to see whether it was as comedic as I imagined.

It was.

Then, of course, I couldn’t turn off the goaty sound. And an outraged, screaming Louis Catorze came barging in to find out why I had allowed farmyard animals to enter his Château.

Anyway, the next morning I was woken up by dreadful white noise and not by the tropical birds that I’d wanted. (White noise is the default sound and has its own button which overrides everything else, so no doubt I’d pressed it by mistake at some stage.) And Catorze, who was with me at the time, did not approve. But at least I know that it works. And the wake-up light gives Catorze some interesting shadows and an almost Steampunk look:

Sa Maj loves a bit of retro-futurism in the morning.

Le couvre-feu (Partie 3)

Since we implemented Louis Catorze’s Front Curfew, he has been in on time every night without fail.

Now, we know our boy and we knew something would go wrong. And we were right.

Last night we’d had the window open for several hours and Catorze had been back and forth numerous times throughout the evening whilst we watched television. Then, as curfew time approached, it dawned on us that we hadn’t been keeping track properly, and so we didn’t know whether he was in or out.

Calling him would have been pointless, as we know from bitter experience that he hides/ignores when he doesn’t want to be found. So we had no option but to sit with the window open until we were sure of his whereabouts, and we knew that we could be sitting there for several hours.

At 10:20pm, Catorze appeared at the living room door. He had been indoors and/or at The Back the entire time.

Cat Daddy was sitting nearest to the window so I asked him to close it before the inmate absconded. However, by that time, he’d had far too much of his weird cocktail* and wasn’t good for anything, so he just sat and flailed about like a flaccid octopus.

*Artisan south coast rum mixed with some of his dodgy home-made pineapple concoction. When I asked if the latter were alcoholic or not, he said he didn’t know (?).

Me: “He’s going to do a runner if we don’t shut the window.”

Cat Daddy: [Flaccid octopus flailing]

Me: “Did you hear what I said? I’ll take too long stepping over you, so it’ll be quicker for you to shut it.”

Cat Daddy: [More flaccid octopus flailing]

Me: “SHUT THE BLOODY WINDOW!”

The moment I raised my voice, Catorze picked up on the “Someone’s in trouble here” tone and, understandably, assumed it to be him. After all, it usually is. And he wasn’t hanging around to find out the specific nature of said trouble; he was out of the window like a speeding train before either of us could so much as draw breath.

So there we were, sitting and waiting. Again.

Cat Daddy and I really need to get better at this. It’s a tragic day when you’re outwitted by a cat who’s thicker than a block of wood and not nearly as useful.

Catch him if you can. (We can’t.)

Le couvre-feu (Partie 2)

Louis Catorze remains relentlessly and unnervingly punctual when it comes to his Front Curfew (10pm on weekdays and 10:30pm on weekends). He has never been late, not once, not even by a minute. It’s actually getting creepy now.

On Tuesday night, when we were a little later than usual after watching Brentford play Fulham in the EFL Championship play-offs (don’t even ask how that went), Cat Daddy decided to grant his boy a late pass until 11pm.

Me, as Cat Daddy opened the window: “Would you remind him that he has to be back by 11pm?”

Cat Daddy: “What, you actually want me to say it?”

Me: “Yes, please.”

[Silence, tumbleweed, crickets]

Cat Daddy, to Catorze: “11pm, please.”

Catorze, as he bounded out: “Mwah!”

Cat Daddy, muttering under his breath: “[Unrepeatable expletives]”

Unusually, instead of hanging around on the window sill, this time Catorze took off down the street, and I was convinced that that was the last we would see of him that night.

When Cat Daddy put out the recycling, he could just about make out Catorze’s silly shape rolling undignifiedly all over the pavement outside the gate of number 35 (or thereabouts). But he knew the futility of trying to herd him back in, because the little sod would only dart under a parked car and there would be no retrieving him from there.

We had no choice but to make some tea and sit with the window open, steeling ourselves for the fact that this could be a long night.

Then, before we knew it, the little sod was back. I checked the clock and it was 10:57pm.

We haven’t the faintest idea what to make of this. Yes, we are pleased that he is sticking rigidly to the rules and doing as he’s told. But we’re also bewildered. And terrified.

Ask him if he knows what time it is. Go on, I dare you.