Friday 18 December 2009

Back in shackles

My brother has seen 'The Great Escape' so many times over the years that he can recite the lines as he watches. So he would know exactly what was most fitting to quote today. James/Steve McQueen has been recaptured, and is now doing punishment time in the sitting room, with only the consolation of a hot water bottle in his thickly padded bed, and a jailer who comes in regularly to say "Pssss-wssss-wssss" to him and offer him a dish of prison gruel. It's a harsh regime here in the Stalag, you know.

In the small hours, I had crept downstairs in the dark, and a flying form had whooshed past me, claws scrabbling on the kitchen floor, so I knew he hadn't been trapped in the underworld beneath the house. Litter trays, food, water and a cosy bed were all available to him. I went back to my own cosy bed without further investigation, cats grouped dozily about my feet, the dog tucked up in her bedroom basket. Snow fell, and hailstones rattled, and all was hushed in the house.

This morning, we all processed down the stairs; I love this part of the day, coming down from the attic with a retinue of small dog and three cats swirling about my feet, but never quite tripping me up in the possibly-fatal way that I predict will be my most likely end. In the gloom, I could see a small shape flitting back into the sitting room. So I shut the door smartly, and carried on with letting the dog out, doing the breakfasts, putting the kettle on, and replacing the plinth and blocking that little gap very securely. Millie has tried several times since to shift the can of olive oil, the small bag of sand (don't ask) and the full bottle of water that now act as an alternative to proper fixing, and I have no doubt that at some point, being Millie, she'll succeed.

Then I went into the sitting room, and was greeted with small cries - greeting? relief? calls for freedom? breakfast? Who knows. He scuttles under the chair when I approach, and I suspect that somewhere in a little feral mind, I am not to be trusted yet. End of first attempt to flee this terrible prison.

And then, as today is the Stalag Commandant's sixty-oneth birthday, I made a cup of tea and opened some delightful presents, observing from my son's and my sister's parcels that a tendency towards hugely-extravagant use of sellotape and parcel tape may have some genetic component. The cats enjoyed the paper and I enjoyed breaking through it to the treats inside.

And now for some breakfast for me.

I'm listening out for sounds of tunnelling.


Anonymous said...

James was saying 'Happy Birthday', silly! Our previous cat (black, half Burmese and very chatty) was a rescue kitten and spent three months living in a wardrobe when we moved from town to country, even though he'd been with us for eight years. It's all mind games, isn't it?

Hope you have a good birthday! Stay warm - winter wonderland in East Anglia!


Anonymous said...

Happy birthday! May there always be tea and scones to comfort you, and a retinue of dog and cats to keep you on your toes. Have a lovely day!

Sweet Virginia Breeze said...

Have a wonderful birthday!

BumbleVee said...

Sometimes I play at singing...but, I won't put you through that.... I can't carry a tune in a bucket...

So...I'll just say it instead... a big happy birthday to you "Rachel" !!I hope you all have a lovely day.
Commandant indeed! ... you're just an old softie..

_lethe_ said...

Happy birthday!

Karen said...

And a Happy Birthday from North Carolina where we are in the midst of a very rare late fall snowstorm (they are predicting up to ten inches here so everyone has gone into super panic crises mode).

I love the fact that even though we share a common language, we have different names for the same things. I'm thinking kick-plates (we call them toe jambs) and ginger cats where we would call them an orange marmelade tabby. Along with zed (z), car boot (car trunk) and lounge (living room)- among many others!

Pam said...

Oh, Happy sixty-oneth (somewhat belatedly). Rattle them keys!

Marcheline said...

Happy Birthday!

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