Last week was not a good week for a number of reasons so I went up to Wiltshire for a bit of R & R. Things don’t change much in Wiltshire. For a start, they’ve had the same cat for 24 years. Not being a big feline fan, I look at it and surmise there’s every probability that it died in 2003 but no-one’s yet noticed. Despite being surrounded by a wall of protective cushions, the deaf zombie cat silently lunges at me on the sofa and everyone (except me) laughs.
It’s a daytime elective mute. In the night, it tries out its voice-box to see if it’s still working. All night long mew, screech, cry, wail with the sole intention of denying anyone sleep regardless of how much alcohol has been downed in the Black Horse. And all night long, instead of ignoring it, Man of the House is up and down like a fiddler’s elbow. He lets the cat in; he lets the cat out. Bang and crash go the rain-sodden doors. He feeds the cat with the expensive contents of tiny pouches of mashed smoked salmon or pureed venison. He gives it cream; not the leftover cream for there was no accompanying dessert for us mere mortals, but the double cream that has been especially purchased for ‘the old lady’. He hangs out of the adjacent bedroom window and says with irrational surprise ‘oh, there you are’. And all the time he talks to it. I don’t live there and I know it’s deaf. Why would you talk to a deaf cat?
I talked to the cat when, opening the bedroom door at 3am to go to the loo, the bloody thing rushed into my sanctuary. At 6am, when the entire household had regrouped in the sitting room with cups of tea, and when the cat was nowhere to be seen or heard, Man of the House said ‘I heard you telling my cat to F*** Off’. And? Lady of the House, known for her envious ability to sleep through Armageddon, was not a happy bunny having had to arise from her Rip Van Winkle repose, don furry Matalan-style dressing gown, and remove ancient feline from underneath guest bed with a handy stick. I got the distinct impression that the guest was the nuisance and not the cat.
and some snippets from the rest of my week…
… A student complained to me: ‘I was thinking of chucking it all in and going on a Buddhist retreat to find intellectual stimulation. Then I went to the finance office and they told me it would cost three thousand pounds to leave. I can’t afford intellectual stimulation at that price.’
I mentioned I couldn’t sleep because I can hear a strange noise at night. I asked my neighbour if he could hear it too. He said he only hears bells. He’s got tinnitus. The other neighbour says she can’t sleep because she can hear a high pitched whining noise. Is tinnitus infectious?
Freshly showered and wrapped in towels in the changing room, we gather together to admire the photos of her wedding outfit. Then we rebuild ourselves for another day in paradise.
Having had our facials, courtesy of the ubiquitous Poles, my friend is told her skin is good. I am advised I need a prolonged treatment of something that is 40% acid. After that, she politely says, we could start on the wrinkles.
Having once spent a year in France, it’s inferred that I’ve let the quiz team down because I don’t know which are the highest scoring letters in French Scrabble. Having once spent a year in France, and several other sojourns in said country, I have yet to see a French person playing Scrabble.