Biggles adds 'nose whistling' to his list of skills! Will we ever get another good night's sleep again? Read on to find out ... 

Generally speaking what a person does with their nose is their business. But when it affects my sleep, then it becomes my business. But what if the nose in question doesn’t belong to a person? What if it belongs to a cat? What can you say?

‘Excuse me, but could you please stop whistling with your nose so that I can get some sleep?’

The blank look in reply is enough to make you wonder if you should check yourself into one of those holistic places where nose whistling is not considered a nuisance and is positively encouraged as a line of simple expression and creativity and practiced daily by tree dwelling natives in the Rain Forest.

However, I digress. The perpetrator of the nose whistling crime was none other than sweet little Biggles. This was in the days before Charlie or Billy, Timmy and Joey had come to live at Marmalade Mansions. It was just us three – Garfield, Biggles and me.

Each evening we began the ‘going to bed’ routine. As they watched me lock doors and turn out lights that was their cue to race upstairs to bag the biggest bit of bed for themselves. I was left to squeeze into a space the size of a ballpoint pen.

Once I was in bed they would then wrestle for a while. I was tossed about like a cork at sea and wondered if I should start taking seasick tablets before I went to bed each night. Once they had finished their paw locks and half nelsons they would each have a leisurely wash.

Usually I would read until they had finished all their routines and in turning off the bedside lamp, they knew it was time to go to sleep. Silence would prevail, interrupted only by intermittent purrs. As they usually lay either side of me it was in stereo but this rhythmic sound became my background music which lulled me to sleep and dreams.

Garfield: ‘Purrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr’

Me: ‘sigh’

Biggles: ‘Purrrrrrrrrrr thweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeh’

Silence. Then ……………………….

Garfield: ‘Purrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr’

Me: ‘sigh’

Biggles: ‘Purrrrrrrrrrr thweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeh’

Garfield and I each opened one eye to look at Biggles.

‘Purrrrrrrrrrr thweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeh’ He slept on oblivious to this new sound introduced into our lullaby.

‘Purrrrrrrrrrr thweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeh’

I gently stroked Biggles in the hope he would turn over and lose the whistle. He did oblige by turning over and all was quiet once again. I stroked Garfield and we both closed our eyes to get back to our dreams.

’Purrrrrrrrrrr thweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeh’

I decided to try and ignore the whistle. There was no point in getting agitated because then sleep would elude me so I practiced an old trick where I concentrate on something nice and gradually I fall asleep. As I usually concentrate on the funny things that Garfield and Biggles do throughout the day I had to think of something else. Finally, I remembered something, which had made me laugh when I went to a fun fair with a friend many years ago when I was still at secondary school.

We had been on a ride which was called ‘Waltzers’ which had spun us round and round. At the time we thought it was great fun. You wouldn’t catch me going on anything like now, mind you. But, at the time, we were shrieking and screaming our heads off. This drew a crowd and suddenly the Waltzers were full of other people enjoying the sensation of being spun round and round.

My friend and I screamed our lungs out. The owner of the ride let us ride for free as we had attracted business for him. After each ride was over, we would try to get off but he would beckon for us to stay on and scream louder. Which we did, because it was free!

There are only so many times you can spin round without there being a reaction from the nether regions. Suddenly I had to get off very quickly and I flew away from the Waltzers as fast as I could. My friend followed me as we drunkenly ran in a zigzag fashion to the nearest open space.

Without further ado my stomach launched its entire contents and probably some remainder from the previous week – the whole lot was cast without thought or ceremony onto the landing mat of the helter-skelter.

Just as my stomach was parting company with my breakfast, lunch and dinner, so a father and small son came swirling round and round the helter-skelter. There was no way to warn them. There was no way to stop them. And they landed in the contents of my stomach.

My friend and I were both horrified and a fit of nervous giggles overtook us so we had to run away to hide. We ran, holding our stomachs (or what was left of mine) killing ourselves laughing. Looking back now from the benefit of age and having seen stomach contents both human and feline it was a disgusting thing to have experienced and to witness. But when you are young and callow, you don’t stop and think about dry cleaning bills, or having to explain to the small son’s mother where the diced carrots came from.

While I am musing on this scene I start laughing so much in bed that both Garfield and Biggles woke up.

Garfield: ‘Huh?

Biggles: ‘Thweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeh – uh?’

I’m now laughing fit to burst and need to go to the toilet so I take myself downstairs to the bathroom. Garfield and Biggles follow me down in the hope of a midnight snack.

As they are both in the dining room when I emerge from the bathroom a few moments later, I decide to take the opportunity to let them sleep there for the night and maybe I’ll be able to sleep better by myself.

To compensate for not sleeping on my bed, I put down a few treats for them. They polished these off heartily and I closed the door behind me having kissed them both goodnight. Slowly and guiltily I walked back up the stairs, pulled my duvet back into some semblance of shape and got into bed. It was very late and I was so tired and within a few short minutes I was asleep.

I woke up a few hours later feeling cold, despite having the benefit of the warmest tog-rating duvet in the world and decided to go down and see if Garfield and Biggles were ok. I quietly went down the stairs and opened the dining room door a smidgen. Lying side by side on the little sofa they lay, looking like butter wouldn’t melt in their mouths.

I listened for the whistle – but there were only contented purrs. The whistle had blown!

I went over to them and they both woke up simultaneously. Garfield got up and made his way to the door. ‘Yes,’ I said, ‘go on up Garfield.’ I picked Biggles up and cuddled him. ‘Do you want to come too?’ I asked him. ‘Yes please,’ he nuzzled into my neck.

So up we all went. We all took our places and Biggles and Garfield had a quick wrestle before having a wash. I turned the light off and we all settled down to sleep.

Garfield: ‘Purrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr’

Me: ‘Sigh’

Biggles: ‘Purrrrrrrrrrr thweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeh’

Me ‘SIGH!!!!!’

© Pauline Dewberry 2004


A Cats Prayer

Lead me down all the right paths,
Keep me from fleas, bees, and baths.
Let me in should it storm,
Keep me safe, fed, and warm.


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