Meet Basil

I mentioned in April the book “All Cats Have Asperger Syndrome”. Well, I think I now know a cat with ADHD. Forget the statistic stating that cats spend 3/4 of their lives asleep. Everyone in my house has, at some point, worn themselves out after trying to use up this cat’s energy by running around with a simple fishing rod cat toy. If you don’t understand the effort behind these attempts to tire him, then you clearly haven’t been kept awake at night by him hurling himself at the door of the room he is in. When he sleeps, he REALLY sleeps. Otherwise he spends his waking hours leaping through life and laying waste to my ornaments, like an interesting combination of a furry ballet dancer and a bull in a china shop. Friends and fellow bloggers alike…meet Basil.

As previously mentioned, Basil was Grannie’s cat. Having had at least four homes in as many years, Basil found himself with us when Mum offered to take him off Grandad’s hands to make things easier. He is what my stepdad calls a “bonsai cat”, as he is no more than half the size of the whoppers we already had. The saying “big things come in small packages” definitely springs to mind here. He is also the only cat I have met who opens doors by clinging to the door handles. We realised this when we tried to confine him to one room to begin with, all the time and then only at night. Not a good idea.

They say a new cat should remain under house arrest for at least a fortnight. Within a week, Basil was beside himself with desperation to break down the doors and get out, or else yowl his frustration to the world. At one point, I found him yowling at the bathroom mirror. Clearly he was experiencing a deeply troubling crisis and wanted to lament about it to his reflection. Minutes later, Mum, probably wondering why he’d suddenly gone quiet, went to look for him, only to find him happily frolicking around in the garden. Instructions such as “do not open windows” really should be more heavily reinforced. I honestly can’t remember if that had been me, but I’m sure Basil is deeply thankful to whoever it was.

Meeting the other three cats proved to be an interesting experience for all involved. Basil is a Burmese, a breed known for not getting on with other cats. So far, this fact has proved to have varying levels of truth. Tango, the laziest of the group has had few encounters with him, so no problems there. Thomas, our elderly ginger cat, has to be the most outgoing, openly emotional cat on the face of the earth. What he lacks is subtlety, which meant that staring in wide-eyed astonishment at Basil before trotting right up to him mewing was just asking to be whacked round the face.

Since then, Basil has taken great pleasure in chasing Thomas just for the fun of it, with no respect for the elderly whatsoever. Attempting to do the same with Bouncer had a less entertaining effect. Never one to lose his composure, Bouncer simply sat up straight and tall while staring down at Basil. Basil, meanwhile, was beginning to look less sure of himself and remained with one paw stretched out in mid air for a few moments, before deciding he had better things to do anyway and heading off. Since then, I have seen the two of them curled up asleep together more than once. So clearly Bouncer has managed to win his respect.

As I was drafting this post, I had a disconcerting feeling of wanting to tell Grannie of all the hilarious antics we have seen so far, as she loved Basil and was so worried about him during her last days. He was a constant companion/hot water bottle for her while she was ill, and genuinely pined for her after she died. I just hope that the internet connection in heaven is good enough for her to be able to read this. If I know my grandmother, she will find a way.

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So far this summer…

It has been an interesting summer. I have spent it braving the mountains of Switzerland, losing sleep over an assignment I was convinced I could finish in four days, boozing (having one glass of wine) and partying. Now we have recently adopted our latest feline resident Basil (more about him later), so it looks as if the excitement isn’t over yet. But back to where I started…

Within days of returning from the wedding, my family and I were off out again, this time slightly further afield. In my sister’s case, this meant going over to Seattle to stay with our aunt, uncle and two little cousins. In my case, this meant spending ten days with my parents in Switzerland. I briefly mentioned “braving the mountains”; by that, I meant stumbling along even the easiest walking trails at snail’s pace while my parents walked/skipped miles ahead, singing and making terrible jokes.

Walking holidays really aren’t a walk in the park (mountains!) for those with dyspraxic tendencies. Mercifully, we agreed to alternate between days where we’d all do a “Grace friendly” walk and days where I’d relax at the hotel and let them go out and do their own thing. It wasn’t all bad, however, due to good weather, beautiful scenery and the rule that I have to have ice cream on holiday. Ironically it was my mother, health and fitness expert extraordinaire, who came up with this rule years ago. ‘Tis a very good rule, in my opinion, and one that I took great care in sticking to.

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On arriving back from Switzerland, I was forcibly reminded of the Writers Bureau Assignment I had promised I would finish by the end of the month. Why I thought I could easily finish it within four days of returning from abroad I shall never know, and how I succeeded I know not either. Why my tutor thought I’d done a good job when I thought it was one of the lamest things I’d ever written? Again, no clue. However, shortly afterwards, I was informed that my readers letter to “Your Cat” about Lionel (see May 2) is going to be published. So clearly my writing skills are getting somewhere in life.

Since finishing the dreaded assignment, things have continued to look up this summer. For a start, I ended up going to the pub twice in the same weekend and, being the rebel that I am, having a small amount of alcohol. And Nachos. The first time I went was for a catch up with a friend from cell group, the second was with him and assorted other cell group members. We spent the latter evening playing card games and I have to say, I’d had no idea that doing Welsh pirate impressions was compulsory for this. But hey, you learn something new every day.

More recently, I was very kindly invited to a 21st birthday party of a girl I have known through various church based settings. I was glad I went – I got a chance to catch up with many people, stuffed my face, and hardly put my foot in my mouth socially at all. I also participated in balloon wars, mock sword fights and a lengthy discussion about how the English, Greek and Chinese alphabets work. So it was a successful evening.

And now the excitement continues, as we welcome to our household Basil, the Burmese cat. Watch this space…