Thursday, 16 August 2007

Didactofeline strikes again

I was wakened this morning by a scratching sound. Then the cat landed on me. Tramp tramp tramp tramp. Purr purr purr purr. So I went downstairs with her and opened the front door. She sat in the doorway for a while and I could see through the glass of the door in the front porch that she had begun to jump about. I assumed that she was trying to catch an insect. Then I saw that she was picking something up with her front paws and throwing it into the air. I don't know how she had caught the mouse so quickly.

At one point the mouse landed outside. I opened the porch door to try and shut the front door behind her. At this, the cat bolted back in past me with the mouse in her mouth. She then proceeded to throw it around the living room as I watched in horror.

Many years ago, I saw another cat eat a mouse. She started with its head and worked her way down. It was all quite neat and simple. Didactofeline, however, began below the neck and systematically stripped all the skin from it then the flesh, leaving just its head, spine and tail. This all happened at an incredible speed. I grabbed the dustpan and brush from the kitchen, scooped up the remains of the mouse and threw it outdoors. Didactofeline followed. I locked the door behind her.

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

Didactofeline is a monster

For the second time, I shall devote a posting just to her. Why?

We had a catsitter while we were away. Didactofeline normally never uses her litter tray, because she goes outside for the toilet. However, whenever we are away, she uses it constantly. Our catsitter had also not cleaned it out: that was left to yours truly. Not to mention cleaning up a furball from behind the television in the living room.

To her credit, she was pleased to see us home. She seems to know when we are on our way and when the car turned into the driveway she was sitting there waiting for us. Then she began the plaintive wailing "Miaow! Miaow! Miiiiaaaaooowww! I haven't been fed since you went away!" OK, she doesn't actually articulate the last part but that is what she is saying.

That evening, the cat was up to her old tricks. The front door was ajar and she was scratching at something in the corner. Mrs Didactophobe shouted me through. When I opened the door, I discovered a very small mouse in the groove at the bottom of the door frame. Maybe I am giving her too much credit, but I am absolutely certain that Didactofeline had hidden the damn thing there. She picked up the mouse and trotted outside, where she began to chase the poor thing around the driveway. I managed to distract her and the mouse escaped. Twice. I think because I did not physically stop her Didactofeline did not hold it against me this time.

Back after a short break

Mrs Didactophobe and I have returned from a few days visiting Salisbury and Bath. I have a theory about Stonehenge, you know. I suspect that it was the neolithic equivalent of the Millennium Dome. 4000 years ago, people would have been saying "What a waste of money. All that work for a pile of stones sitting in the middle of nowhere. I bet that in 4000 years' time they still won't have put a roof on it."

Salisbury Cathedral is quite spectacular. One interesting point I noticed was the number of descendants of the brother of the bishop (Richard Poore) who founded the 'new' cathedral back in 1220 who have memorials there. The family seems to have remained eminent in the area for nearly 800 years. Another name was instantly familiary: Ted Heath's ashes were interred there.

If you are looking for an Indian restaurant in Salisbury, you could do worse than 'The Asia' in Fisherton Street. A good meal; friendly but unobtrusive service and about £30 for two fat people including drinks.

Longleat Safari Park was a fine place to visit, too. The monkeys are just too much like chavs, though. Seriously. You look at those creatures and you can just picture them in a white tracksuit and cap cheerfully ripping your car apart: well, the monkeys are just as bad.

The pussy cats were brilliant, of course. We saw three tigers and two prides of lions. One pride of lions were particularly funny. A group of lionesses were lounging around as Mr Leo approached. One of them rolled over on her back playfully, but he walked past her and kissed one of the others. Mr Leo then turned back to the one who had rolled over for him, but this time she was having none of it. She cuffed him with her paw and walked away from the pride to sit on her own under a tree. What was I saying about chavs?

Bath was terrific, too. A beautiful town where apparently a lot of famous stars such as Elton John and Hugh Grant own property. Out of interest, we glanced in the window of two estate agents. In the first, there were several fairly ordinary properties costing £1 million plus: in the second, we spotted a one-bedroomed flat that would have cost us (assuming we were to move there) about as much as we could expect to make on our 3 bedroomed suburban house. We'll stay put.

On the second evening of our trip, we ate at the Curry Garden Tandoori in Andover. Another restaurant I would recommend. About the same price as the other; an excellent meal and a 660ml botte of chilled Cobra beer (OK, I had two) for about the same price as a pint of lager. Anyway, after all of that we need to slim!