It's been a day of the usual miseries of having an unpleasantly wet cold, with occasional episodes of feeling almost human, during which I do normal things like shower, dress, take dog out, eat an unfeasibly large lunch - why don't I go off my food when I'm unwell? - and read my encouraging messages of sympathy (thank you! I'm feeling rather ashamed of myself for being such a pathetic attention-seeking wimp).
I thought I would summarise the complex relationships that are forming amongst my little band of beloved beasts. I am prompted by a lovely email from Ollie, who had wondered if the gentle-natured Lottie was affected by the new arrivals.
Well, no, not at all. Lottie is the Queen - in fact, she's Lottie as Helen Mirren as the Queen. Triple formidableness. She is also the street bully - gentle-naturedness applies only to her dealings with me - and keeps the others in check by the regular application of clips round the ear or a nasty little hiss. She is greatly respected as a result. Most of the time, she is sitting on the chair next to mine, gazing lovingly at me and purring if I just glance at her, but she also has her regular patrols and administration of discipline to attend to.
The rest is rather straightforward. Hamish and Scooter are friends. Their hobby is wrecking the furniture. And eating.
The dog is placidly resigned to the mayhem around her. If there were no cats around, I suspect that she would die of loneliness, boredom, and the absence of little cat treats.
Millie is rather left out. She needs, and is getting, a lot of extra attention, and is slowly coming round, her expressive face telling me when she is in need of a cuddle or a game, including a scamper in the snow.
They all follow me about, dog included. They all sleep on my bed (Hamish too, as of last night; I suspect it's the magnetic force of an electric blanket more than anything else) excluding the dog, who has her basket nearby. They all watch my every move, particularly in the direction of the fridge, and they shamelessly scrounge my meals. They are in no doubt at all that they are a constant source of interest to me, and that I am their slave. I hope they know in their cool, catty little hearts that I simply adore them all.
And as an Added Extra, you might like to see the cat that I covet, but who has never set paw in my home. She lives in London, is a creature of enormous character and comic potential, and belongs to the Lovely Son:
And that's enough about cats for today. I need to get out more.