>Me And My Friend The Cat…..

>Coldest day so far since we came down here from Sweden. Temp about 15 degrees, cloudy, overcast, breezy. Temps probably on a par with the Hebrides today. Ironically Fun City is basking in warm sunshine:


Tue Jun 07 Wed Jun 08 Thu Jun 09 Fri Jun 10
Tmin 11°C 10°C 12°C 10°C
Tmax 26°C 26°C 26°C 28°C
a.m. mostly sunny  mostly sunny  mostly sunny  sunny
p.m. mostly sunny  various clouds  mostly sunny  mostly sunny
evening various clouds  various clouds  mostly sunny  mostly sunny
Last updated: Tue, 07 Jun, 10:34 BST

It does get hot up there in summer. But, of course, the blood-crazed (usually mine)  Mozzies and  hungry Horseflies will be out in huge numbers, too. So mustn’t grumble really.

Summer in Langvattnet:

Charlie is behaving a bit oddly, even for him, right now. Since he returned from the Froggo Cattery about a week ago, he has been a bit more skittish than usual and seldom comes into the house, save at night when he pops in briefly, eats, wails for attention from me, bugs Jack and departs to hunt again, I presume. He’s not even coming in for his traditional morning cream (I’m a sucker, I know!) – and the prospect of him using his bleeding, expensive Cat-Bed thingy is about…..well,….zip, I’d say. I’m not sure what the problem is, though if I’m out in the garden or thereabouts he does come to me for a cuddle. If jack’s out there, he rambles over to him to bug him, as normal, so maybe he’s just being a bit temperamental. All will be revealed eventually, I trust.

Here he is, giving me the ‘eyes’.

J thinks it’s because she’s around and he notoriously avoids her for the most part – despite the ironic fact that he is ‘her’ cat, she having selected him from his (all now dead) siblings. He was basically an indoor feral in Sweden. His mother was owned by a neighbour of ours, Ulf, who worked in Norway during weekdays erecting log cabins. His parents called past his house,  collected mail, fed and watered his cat etc indoors, a few times a week while he was out of the country.

His cat – an untreated queen kept getting pregnant from a another neighbour’s (Rolf)  untreated male – neither of them would stump up for the vet bills, so it was a recurring cycle.  Normally in Sweden cats are difficult to find and always expensive. Ulf, however, was happy to get rid of his. Hardly surprising given the circumstances!  He invited us over to choose one from the latest litter, all of whom were running wild throughout the house with litter trays in strategic spots. All hid under a bed when we appeared and when I finally managed to catch one after a lengthy chase up and downstairs etc., J decided it wasn’t the one she’d originally wanted. So it was back to square one again, the chase on till Charlie was captured with loads of hissing, spitting, scratching and biting.

Back home, he was untouchable for weeks on end, only gradually coming round to occassional sightings and carresses with a long wooden chopstick with a feather on its end. I spent hours lying on the floor of the study where he lived stretching out, ignoring his threatening hisses, and stroking and talking to him, often till 02:00 in the morning. He eventually seemed to bond with Jack – to everyone’s surprise, especially poor Jack!  When he was about six months old, he was savaged by three farm terrier/hunting dogs and virtually killed. I luckily heard a noise outside, ran out and kicked the dogs from him – one had him by the head, another  by the behind, while the third barked and ineffectually snapped at his middle.  I had initially thought him to be dead – his pupils were fully dilated and he made no movement when I picked him up to carry him indoors. Luckily, however, he showed life when he simply bit though a finger. I had to prise his mouth open to release it. After three days at the vets, he was lucky to survive but has been a tricky booger ever since!

Ulf, we later discovered to our horror, had simply killed all of the litter, including the adult queen, a pretty tabby, soon afterwards. Rolf lost his cat over winter. We felt guilty for not taking the cat I fist managed to catch hold of, and Charlie. But we think it would have been too tricky to domesticate two semi-feral kittens simultaneously. It still rankles, though.

When we took him to the local vet for his rabies shots, de-nutting etc., he clawed his way through the side of the heavy, reinforced cardboard box he was in and we had to borrow our neighbour, Hakan’s gunsafe to transport him. This was a heavy, metal affair with a lock and vents. When I turned up at the vet with it, they opened it and out came this:

Apart from the big ears – which I’ve only really spotted now – he didn’t appear to warrant such a secure strongbox!  The vet just sniggered.  If only she knew……..

The sun is trying to break through right now, so perhaps it’ll improve later this afternoon. Hope so, anyway.

And another fine song from the guy who gave us, ‘Me and my friend the cat’ (couldn’t find on Chube) and the unforgettable masterpiece:

Not many lyrics to challenge these, I’d say.

We went for a wander yesterday along an old, disused railtrack nearby. It has been levelled and resurfaced by the local commune, and work is still going on apace. It was very tranquil and leafy. We found some Blackthorn, though not many had fruit, even now. A few had small,, hard green berries developing, so should be okay for Sloe Gin later in the year. J enjoys berrying:

Jack and Charlie had a fine rootle in the garden yesterday evening. Obviously, they both found something to interest them. Damned if I know what, though………..:
A few days ago, I mentioned these odd waspy hooped caterpillars that had appeared in the garden. Well, yesterday evening I found  one of the Moths on a tomato plant. Very pretty, though the piccy is – as my usual – not too useful. In flight it looked great – but I failed miserably when I tried to capture that image!:
Cinnebar Moth:
Damn….seem to have missed those colours…

About yractual

A former lawyer and national daily journalist, now a freelance music journalist, with moves bewteen Spain, Sweden, France and who knows where next! A Scot by birth and inclination. Lover of acoustic ragtime-blues guitar and ukulele. Work with music titles across three continents.
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