Je suis un chat

OllieI have been learning French, accidentally, you understand. There was a free CD with Mum’s Saturday newspaper and she has a rather novel approach to learning things. She put it in the CD player and then lay on the sofa with her eyes closed. I came in from my ‘after breakfast’ stroll and joined her. When I woke up, I could speak French – amazing, really! 

One of Garfield’s many sage sayings was that it was better to broaden the mind than to broaden the hips. Garfield loved watching various programmes on television and learnt a lot from them. He passed on as much knowledge as he could to the rest of us Mewsers so that we would be equipped to deal with the ‘real’ world.

But I wish he had taught me how to deal with magpies. I just can’t get my ‘tète’ round them.

Humans are very superstitious about magpies and I’ve heard some of them call out when they see one, ‘Good morning Mr Magpie! And how is Mrs Magpie?’ or something like that. Mum doesn’t do that though as she doesn’t ‘do’ superstitions.

There is a song about them, apparently, which goes something like this: ‘One for sorrow, two for joy, three for a girl and four for a boy.’ So when I was sitting on the gatepost one bright and sunny Saturday morning, minding my own business as I watched the world scurry by, I was a little perturbed that only one was sitting along from me at the far corner of the gate. ‘Uh-oh!’ I thought to myself, thinking of the words, ‘One for sorrow.’ Was this to be my nemesis? My undoing?

I tried to smile at the Magpie but he started to squawk at me – it was very loud and made a lot of people come out of their houses to look at what was making all the noise. ‘Oh, it’s only Ollie,’ they said, ’showing that Magpie who’s boss.’

Actually, I think I should own up and say it was the other way around. The Magpie was telling me, in no uncertain terms, with the worst command of the English language that I’ve ever heard, that I had to leave the gatepost while he was in residence as it was HIS for the time that he decided to sit on it! I was furious – it was MY gate and post and all part of MY territory and he was just a visitor that I had allowed to pass the time of day sitting there viewing MY kingdom. The nerve of the fellow!

As if that wasn’t bad enough, ANOTHER Magpie suddenly joined in the squawking and added her five pence worth. TWO Magpies screaming and yelling at me was too much to bear and by now neighbours up and down the street were in their gardens geeing me on to get the Magpies. I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to do with one if I did ‘get’ one but as they were a zillion times bigger than me, I decided to leave it for a while.

Unknown to me, Mum had been looking out of the back bedroom window and could see me. Thinking it would be a perfect photo moment, she rushed downstairs, collecting her camera on the way. She had it all ready to use and carefully opened the back door so as not to scare the Magpies away.

Out of the corner of my eye I could see her, carefully inching her way down the garden and I was never more pleased to see her than at that moment. The Magpies were still giving me grief in stereo and I just crouched low in the hope that they wouldn’t peck me with their huge beaks. Man! They are fearsome looking birds!

Just as Mum lined up the camera Mrs Magpie said to her husband, ‘Come on Malcolm! I’m bored with this low-life! I want to go shopping.’ And with that she flew off, leaving poor Malcolm with a conundrum – should he continue yelling obscenities at me, or should he go shopping with his wife. With an amazing array of uncoordinated words of shocking meaning, in a final burst, Malcolm flew off squawking ‘Coming, Margaret!’ as he did so.

Mum was upset that she had arrived too late and didn’t get the photo of the century, but I was just so grateful to see her. Meowing my head off, I jumped down from the gatepost onto the wheelie bin, down to the dust bin and finally down to the ground and rushed up to Mum. She scooped me up and we had the biggest cuddle we could muster.  ‘Oh Ollie,’ she said, with a look of concern in her eyes, ‘you could have been very badly hurt if that Magpie had a mind to peck you. Promise me you won’t try and speak to him again.’

‘No fear of that,’ I answered her, ‘I’ll just stick to field mice for the time being.’

Then Mum went all airy-fairy and said that she could ‘see’ a message in that scenario for her. She often ‘sees’ things and I could feel a long dissertation coming on. I made my excuses and jumped down, wanting to find Garfield to tell him all about this latest adventure, but then I remembered that Garfield doesn’t live with us anymore. He went somewhere else and we were all sad for a while, so I told Timmy instead and he said that Garfield would have been proud of me. I like to think so, ‘mon ami.

Je suis un chat (zhe swee un shat). I am a cat
tète’  (tet) head
mon ami (mon amee) my friend

One Cat is Company

"One cat is company.
Two cats are a conspiracy. 
Three cats is an attempted takeover.
Four or more cats is a complete coup!"

Shona Steele (Australia)

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