Friday, 30 July 2010

Curiosity and the Cat!

I’m a bit annoyed today. “You mean you are not your normal cheery self?” Far from it, in fact I’m downright fed up, but thank you for your concern. What has caused this distressing state of affairs I hear you ask. Well, we’ve had visitors. As regular readers will know, I hate visitors – without fail they cause problems, and this lot were no exception.

The tell tale signs were there from early this morning. The housekeeping staff were rushing around arguing with each other as they tidied the place up. My breakfast prawns were an afterthought. The one I don’t trust hardly bothered to thaw them out for me. What!!! I hear you cry, Bert has to make do with frozen prawns rather than freshly caught ones? Yes, I’m afraid standards are slipping. What is this world coming to? Apparently the pretty one is having a few friends round for coffee. Anyway, after I had crunched through the prawns, the vacuum cleaner came out. Dreadful thing, gets on my nerves. It really sucks! "You must be in a bad mood Bert, that’s a rotten joke even for you!" What, who said that, how rude!I took this as my cue to depart. I went for a nice snooze under the rhubarb tree, with the aim of keeping a low profile until after the visitors had cleared off. I bumped into Tabby and Ginger Tail, and told them what was going on. Ginger Tail was most put out. “I spent ages putting hair all over the settee last night” she said, “I just get the place just how I like it, and then they go and clean it up.

Some time later, I was awakened from my slumber by the sound of chatting and laughing coming from the house. “They’ve arrived” said Tabby who had been sleeping next to me. “Sounds like it, think I’ll stay out here,” I replied. “Very wise” said Tabby. After a while, curiosity got the better of me. You know what curiosity did to the cat don’t you! “I am very curious” I said to Tabby. He agreed, “you are without doubt a very curious cat” he replied. We decided to go and investigate. We silently crept in through the cat flap and took up station out of sight under the table in the lounge. Us cats are renowned for our stealth and agility. Not a sound was made, apart that is from the crashing of a vase full of flowers as it fell to the floor after I brushed against the table leg. “I bet it was that Bert” said the pretty one as she rushed to clear up the mess she had caused by precariously balancing said vase on the very edge of the table. Fancy blaming me.By this time Tabby and me had retreated back to the rhubarb tree. A little while later, after the fuss had died down, using all of our guile, we crept back in again. “They won’t notice us this time” I said confidently to Tabby as we squeezed behind the bookcase. “Oh look” said one of the visitors, “there is a big black and white cat behind the bookcase.” Tabby must have given the game away! I recognised one of the visitors – it was the woman from next door, who owns the nasty snappy little Jack Russell. Fortunately she had not brought the offending mutt with her. “That black and white one comes into our garden” she said “and my little dog goes mad, he gets quite stressed.” Good, I thought. The other visitor who had spotted me first said, “he is very big isn’t he?” “Do you think so” said the pretty one. “We did try to put him on a diet once, the lite version of his favourite biscuits, but he ate twice as many – I prefer to think of him as nice and cuddly.” Quite right too I thought, we can usually rely on her to stand up for us.

Then something dawned on me, the other visitor who keeps referring to me as “big”, is not exactly sylph like herself. I had a good look at her, and I can tell you, she has certainly shifted a few pies in her time. What a cheek, talk about the pot calling the kettle black, and people in glass houses not lobbing bricks! If Captain Ahab was here, I reckon he would be sharpening his harpoon. She’s got more chins than a Chinese phone book. We had heard enough, so me and Tabby wandered off, stopping only for a few biscuits on the way out.Well, that’s my lot for today. “Fancy knocking the vase over” said Tabby. “I’m just unlucky” I replied. “Black cats are supposed to bring good luck” he said, “but then again, you are only half black, perhaps the other half of you brings bad luck.” What a load of superstitious nonsense I thought. “I don’t believe in superstitions” I said, as I crossed my fingers and touched wood. What a Life! AlbertThe(lucky)Cat.

Monday, 26 July 2010

Writer's Block......

Hello again. I'm not really sure why you've all turned up here today. I've got nothing much to say. I think I must be suffering from writer's block, whatever that is. "Thank goodness for that!" What, how rude! We can do without that sort of comment thank you very much! Perhaps I'll just start rambling away, and see where it leads us. "Same as normal then!" I don't believe it, we can do without him as well - it's Tabby, my poncy brother. I thought he was asleep in the vegetable patch - amongst his intellectual equals! Ho Ho Ho... Bear with me while I get rid of him.............................. That's better, now where were we?

Did you all have a nice weekend? I had a very quiet one, nothing much happened. I spent some time thinking, must have been all of five minutes. It does us all good to reflect now and again I pondered as I sat in front of the mirror. What's that awful grating noise I hear you ask - I'm afraid it's the sound of a barrel being scraped. I've no sympathy for you, it's your own fault for still being here -I did warn you that this might be a rather thin offering. I'm surprised you've got this far.I suppose, there was one thing of note that happened. Ginger Tail, my stupid sister had been scratching a lot recently, and it hadn't gone unnoticed. "I think we need to flea her" said the pretty one. "We should probably do the lot of them" added the one I don't trust in a somewhat menacing manner. I was off like a robber's dog, if you'll pardon the expression, followed closely by Tabby. We sat outside the back door to watch the forthcoming entertainment. Ginger Tail was too daft to realise what was happening and continued to sleep soundly on the settee. The one I don't trust, crept up and grabbed her by the scruff of the neck, and despite much hissing and scratching - mainly from him, he soon had her in a headlock. The pretty one squeezed some evil smelling potion on to the back of her neck. Ginger Tail's neck that is, not her own neck you understand - I hope that's clear! When he released her, she spat at him, Ginger Tail that is, and then bolted out through the cat flap and hid in the Chrysanthemumumums, Chrysanthemumumums, damn and blast, I'll try again, Chrysanthemumumums....., stupid name! "Chrysanthemums, I think you mean" said Tabby in a condescending voice. "That's easy for you to say" I replied. I hate him, I really do! Anyway, she hid in the yellow flowers before taking up residence behind the watering can.Meanwhile back in the house, the one I don't trust couldn't understand why me and Tabby had shot off before he could do us as well. He really has got no idea, I mean I understand everything he says - does he think I'm thick? There's no need for you to answer that one! He was making idle threats about catching me and Tabby the next morning. Well, let me tell you this, you've got to be up pretty early in the morning to catch Bert!! "About eleven 'o' clock should do it" said Tabby. What a cheek!Well, that's my lot for today. I told you there wasn't much to talk about. Oh, one minor event I should mention in passing - it's the pretty one's birthday today, so I suppose I should wish her many happy returns. No idea how old she is, let's just say twenty nine, that should keep me in her good books, and ensure extra prawns. Mind you, don't they reckon that one cat year is the equivalent of seven of their years? Or is it the other way round? No, I think I'm right, so that would make her 29 x 7, which equals, err...... nine times seven, err...... three down carry six, err..... well, lets just say very old in cat years. Mind you though, it's not all bad - statistically speaking, those who have the most birthdays live longest! What a life! AlbertThe(thinking)Cat.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Albert The Great........

Welcome back. I'm still glowing in the success of my award earlier in the week, when I was voted the greatest cat of all time in the entire universe, or something like that. Firstly today, I'd like to thank all those who have sent notes congratulating me on my success. However, words are cheap, and the lack of prawns has been duly noted! Anyway, in my current benevolent mood, I am prepared to forgive this oversight.

My new found celebrity status set me thinking. "I wouldn't do that if I were you, there's no telling where it will end!" Who said that, how rude. Perhaps I am the greatest cat that has ever lived! Only one thing for it, I will go and have a word with wise Old Black Tom. I found him in his usual place, asleep on the back wall. He is a very clever cat, the fount of all knowledge in fact - there is nothing he does not know. "Who are you?" he asked. That's a good start I thought. "It's me Bert" I said. "Correct!" he replied. See, I told you, not much gets past him. "I would like to know, if I am the most famous Albert of all time" I asked. "A very good question" he said as he dozed off. I gave him a nudge and repeated the question. He sat up and sucked on a thoughtful tooth for what seemed like ages. "No" he said and dozed off again.When he woke up, he looked around and said "are you still here?" He mumbled something to himself about there being no peas for the wicked. I can only assume he had been dreaming, because I know full well that us cats are not very partial to peas. "I will tell you about other famous Alberts" he said, somewhat reluctantly. What stories he had to tell. I listened intently. Eventually he finished and said that his invoice for half a dozen prawns for the consultancy would be with me shortly, via the good offices of Mad Marry and Slasher Sid. Apparently, they now list accountancy amongst the many other useful services they offer.

Now, if you lot out there pay attention, I will tell you a little of what Old Black Tom said. You will have to bear with me a bit, because it got a bit complicated, and I can't remember some of the details, but I will do my best to fill in the gaps. First of all, there was Albert Einstein. Not quite sure what he did, but he did have lots of relatives, I think Tom said relatives. Yes, it must have been relatives, because I know for a fact he had a very famous bother called Frank who was rather a mixed up character.

Next, there was an Albert in the 12th century who made a living from cleaning out medieval fireplaces, he was known as Albert The Great. What do you mean, you saw that one coming! He also went by the name of St Albertus Magnus, one of the most universal thinkers of the middle ages, often referred to as "teacher of everything there is to know." Most appropriate don't you think. A bit like Old Tom.A bit closer to home, there was a German chap called Albert Hall who married Queen Victoria. He was so famous, they even named a big round building in London after him. The name of the building escapes me for the moment. Herr Hall is not a very German sounding name is it? Reminds me of another German chap who opened a barbers shop - Herr Dryer was his name! "Boo, Boo, rotten joke." What, who said that? Oh no it's Tabby, my poncy brother, what does he want. "Clear off." He's just jealous I mean, you can't imagine there being any famous Tabbys can you! "What about Garfield and Puss in Boots then?" That's the final straw, "go on clear off, I won't tell you again." What a cheek, now where were we? Oh yes, the name Albert originates from Germany, and means noble bright and famous - I'm not making this up you know.

Well, that's my lot for today. All this thinking is making my brain hurt. I don't know if we're any the wiser after all that. I didn't realise there were so many famous Berts. One other I've just remembered, Albert the astronaut was the first monkey in space - 1948 apparently, just before ten to eight in the evening. No idea how he got there! Must have climbed a very tall tree I suppose. What a Life! AlbertThe(not so famous)Cat.

Monday, 19 July 2010

The Award Winning Bert.........

Good day to you all, and what a momentous day it is too. You are all very fortunate to be joining me on such an occasion. You'll never guess what has happened. I've won a gong. The highly respected Anipal Academy have seen fit to bestow upon my good self, the award for "Favourite Blog" and best looking cat (they forgot to mention this bit - presumably there was insufficient room for the inscription) 2010. One can only admire the sound judgement and good taste of such an august body. You can see further details on their website, along with a list of winners of the lesser prizes - CLICK HERE.

Now, before I continue, you have all probably noticed the error with the trophy. It purports to show a cats paw, but as we all know, pure bred feral cats like what I am, have six toes. Still, just this once, I think we can overlook the slight.

Unfortunately I could not attend the international award ceremony in person due to a minor visa problem. I need a rabies jab to get back into the country and I can assure you that's not happening for anybody! I was there in spirit if not body. I will tell you how all this came about. Well, I received a communication from the awards committee telling me of their decision, and that the trophy was en route. I instructed the one I don't trust to keep a look out for the postman.

Being absolutely useless, he wasn't at home when it arrived. You can see why I don't trust him. Those faceless sons of fun from the Royal Mail put a little card through the door. Apparently the trophy was so big it would not fit through the letterbox. Anyway, when the one I don't trust returned home, I immediately sent him to collect it. Three days later he decided to make the effort - he really is a hopeless case. Eventually, he returned with a rather modest box addressed to me. It had come all the way from a small place called Canada - no idea where that is. The one I don't trust reckons it is a frozen wasteland inhabited by polar bears and Eskimos. That reminds me, did I tell you about the Eskimo who came face to face with a polar bear? Scared stiff of being eaten, he went down on his knees and started to pray. To his amazement, the polar bear knelt down beside him and started praying too. "It's a miracle!" shouted the Eskimo. The polar bear opened one eye and said "Don't talk while I'm saying grace." Ho Ho Ho..... I digress, sorry about that.I carefully opened the box, and I reckon the one I don't trust was right, Canada must be a cold place - the box was full of bits of white stuff that I can only assume was snow! Perhaps they've included some frozen prawns I thought.When we finished unwrapping it I searched frantically for the prawns, but to no avail. Despite the anticlimax, I decided that I should have my picture taken for posterity. We adjourned to the garden for the photo shoot and that poncy brother of mine turned up. You should have seen the look on his face. His eyes were green with envy. "My eyes are always green" said Tabby. "That's beside the point." I replied. "Surely you've not won this for that awful drivel you write" he said jealously. "Indeed I have" I said proudly, "and let me tell you this, that drivel I write is highly articulate and witty I'll have you know." That shut him up and he wandered off shaking his head - he finds it hard to argue with a cat with the intellect of like what I've got.Anyway, we finally got round to the official photograph which you can see above. Limited edition signed copies are available for a very reasonable consideration of half a dozen prawns.I suppose it is beholden upon me on this auspicious occasion to say a few words. Regular readers will know that one of the greatest acceptance speeches of recent times was delivered at the Oscars at the end of last year - CLICK HERE for a full transcript. So, I won't bother with all the usual rubbish. No onions round the neck and floods of tears, etc....... So, here goes:-

"My Lords, Ladies, Gentlemen, Cats, and I suppose I have to include dogs, apart from that nasty little Jack Russell that lives next door, unaccustomed as I am to public speaking, let me say that the award is a well deserved recognition for the pearls of wisdom that I regularly bestow upon you lot.

"To keep in their good books, I must thank the Academy for recognizing great literary talent like what I've got. At this stage, I should also offer thanks to others who have helped make this moment possible, but I can't think of any. A passing mention is in order to the one I don't trust for the occasional prawn, and for the pretty one for keeping him in order. As for my poncy brother and stupid sister, I just hope they realise how lucky they are to have me looking after them.

"Finally, a big thank you to my readers for their loyal support - all three of you. To finish, I accept this belated and thoroughly merited award with all the modesty you would expect from a superstar like what I am. You make me feel very humble - whatever that means. Good night and God bless"

"Blimey, it's really gone to his head." Who said that - it's that Tabby again. Jealousy is a terrible thing - just ignore him. "Not surprised it's gone to his head, there's plenty of room in there for it!" I don't believe it, that stupid sister of mine has turned up now - ignore her as well! The things I have to put up with.Well, that's your lot for today. I'm off for a well earned rest - I need to recharge the batteries so I can return later in the week to offer more subtle insights from the feline world. Do you know, sometimes, I just don't know where I get them from - often I can't wait to wake up in the morning just to find out what I am going to say next. What a Life! AlbertThe(modest and humble)Cat.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

The Answer is Blowing in the Wind.............

Hey man - what day is it? What's happened? Where am I? Where have I been? I've lost a couple of days. I feel terrible. My head feels like it's full of cotton wool. "No change there then." Who said that? Oh no, it's only Tabby, that poncy brother of mine. He's the last thing I need today. I'll ignore him.

Ah now, wait a minute, things are starting to become clearer. The last thing I remember is dozing in the evening sun. The one I don't trust was sitting talking to the pretty one. He had a little pot in his hand which he had brought back from the garden centre. "They'll like that" she said, "it says on the label that it attracts cats." He seemed less than enthused. "Attracts cats! We've already got three of the damn things" he said, "how many more do you want?" She gave him one of her looks! He is very ungrateful at times, after all he doesn't have to live in my house if he doesn't want to.He looked around the garden wondering where he should plant it. After a long and thoughtful deliberation, he came up with three or four well reasoned proposals and they discussed the merits of each in great detail. It was then decided by a show of hands, well her hand anyway, that it should be planted somewhere completely different. The pretty one went indoors, and muttering under his breath, he fetched the trowel, dug a little hole and planted it. He watered it, and then followed her indoors.

I decided to investigate. The label from the pot was lying on the path - "Catmint" it read. Catmint, Catmint - that's the same as Catnip! Surely not I thought, my very own supply of Catnip. I usually have to pay Mad Harry and Slasher Sid half a dozen prawns for just a few leaves. They control the local supply you see, and that's the going rate in these parts. I sniffed the plant, and gradually things started to get a bit hazy. I felt light headed. Way out man! I chewed on the leaves, and before I knew it I was humming old Grateful Dead songs. No idea who they are? Well, after that it's all a bit of a blur.I vaguely recall sitting on the back wall wearing a flower behind my ear, with two pink elephants and a unicorn, discussing the meaning of life - don't know where they came from, I've not seen them round here before. I also tried to fly - I was very good at the going down bit, but I think the going up needs more practice. I remember nothing else until I woke up a little while ago. I must have had a psychedelic experience - whatever one of those is. Let this sorry little tale be a warning to you other cats out there. Lay off the catnip - no good will come of it. Remember, just say no!
Well, that's my lot for today. Think I'll get rid of temptation, and dig that plant up. Dig it man. Ho Ho Ho... Must be careful not to trip. Ho Ho Ho... It looks like a weed anyway. Ho Ho Ho... "That's enough rotten puns." What? It's that Tabby again! Just ignore him. I still don't feel too good you know - probably cold turkey, cold turkey, mmmmmmmmm.... I'm really hungry. Do you know how many hippies it take to change a light bulb? Six, one to change the bulb, and five to share the experience man!!!! Peace and love to all, except Tabby. What a Life! AlbertThe(zonked out)Cat.

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Once Upon a Time, There was this Frog.............

Well, where were we? oh yes - you will no doubt all be relieved to know that I managed to get down from that tree where I was marooned. The nasty, snappy little Jack Russell eventually tired itself out what with all that yapping. It was sitting at the bottom panting away, when my pal Riley wandered past. Now regular readers will know that Riley is a somewhat large ginger cat, with the physique of a baby elephant. His previous encounter with the Jack Russell ended with the miserable mutt belly-up in the middle of a rose bush. Fearing a repeat performance the nasty little thing scampered off rather sharpish with it's tail between it's legs.

"Hello old boy" said Riley, "I think it's safe for you to come down now." With some difficulty, me and my poncy brother climbed down the tree. "I'm most deeply obliged" I said to Riley as I arrived at the bottom in a crumpled heap. "Think nothing off it old boy" he replied, "how did you get yourself into such a predicament in the first place?" I recounted the whole sorry tale to Riley, who despite his best efforts found it hard not to laugh. Do you know, us cats find it a lot easier to climb up trees rather than down - that's why sometimes we get stuck up them. It's our claws you see - we dig them in and pull ourselves up. A bit like mountaineers with crampons on their boots. Try the same trick on the way down and see what happens - let's just say you get down a lot quicker than you get up!

Riley seemed impressed with my knowledge of mountaineering. "I wonder why the housekeeping staff have the urge to climb mountains" he said, "no self respecting cat would do such a daft thing." I told him of a telly programme I saw recently about Mount Everest. Years go it was almost impossible to get up the thing, but nowadays all and sundry stroll up. There are concerns about litter strewn all over the place. I reckon they must have installed escalators, and built a Starbucks at base camp. Apparently you can get a Big Mac at the summit. "He does ramble on doesn't he" said Tabby. "All very interesting" said Riley, "but I must be off, I think I hear the can opener. Good day to the pair of you," and with that he was gone.When we got back to my garden, a delightful little story was unfolding. Ginger Tail, my stupid sister, was excitedly ferreting about in a bush. She'd only managed to catch a frog - I didn't know she had it in her. "Where did you get it from?" I asked in amazement. "I caught it in the long grass by that new pond just along the road" she said proudly. We had all gathered round to admire her catch when the back door opened and the one I don't trust came marching down the path. He seemed less than impressed when he saw what we had got. "I don't want any of you lot eating it" he said, "it'll only be coughed up in the lounge." Eating it!! Eating it!! He must think we're French? He obviously thought the thing had croaked, ho ho ho...... just one of my little froggy jokes, as he went and got a trowel to bury it.

He was just about to commit the body to the ground - quite moving really, ashes to ashes, dust to dust and all that stuff, when the corpse did actually croak, not once but twice. All four of us jumped back in amazement, and the frog jumped up in the air, clearly annoyed at the prospect of imminent interment. "Blimey, it's alive!" he perceptively observed. The pretty one appeared on the scene, and was soon issuing instructions. The frog was put into a little plastic pot with some wet grass, and left to convalesce. After about an hour, recovery was deemed to be sufficient, and it was decided to take said frog along the road and rehouse him near a little stream called The Thames, that runs nearby. Off they went, clearly savouring one of their few victories over us cats. Oh well, I thought as I dozed off on the settee, you can't win them all - although I usually do.A little while later my peaceful slumber was rudely interrupted as the door burst open, and the creature from the black lagoon stormed in. I dived under the stairs, well, you can't be too careful can you. Upon closer inspection, it was the one I don't trust. Something wonderful had happened - he had fallen down the river bank into the mud. If only the tide had been up, he might have been washed away for good. It turns out, the pretty one had made him clamber along the bank to a spot she deemed appropriate for the relaunch of Mr Frog, and he lost his footing. Oh how I laughed. The aroma was foul, as was his mood. The pretty one arrived, and blamed him for the fiasco, he in turn blamed us cats for catching the frog in the first place, and the frog croaked away quite happily in it's new home.

Well, that's my lot for today. I think you will all agree, a charming little tale. I love a happy ending. Did you here about the chap who went into a French restaurant, looked at the menu and said "waiter, have you got frog's legs?" "Oh yes sir" the waiter replied. "Well hop over here and take the order!" the chap said. What do you mean you've heard it before! There's no pleasing some people. What a Life! AlbertThe(corny)Cat.

Monday, 5 July 2010

Trivial Pursuits.......

I don't know where the time goes. "You spend most of it sleeping!" Who said that? It's Tabby, that poncy brother of mine again. As I was saying before being so rudely interrupted, time seems to fly past. Do you know it is seven days since I was last here - that is very nearly a week I think.

You'll be pleased to know, that I have not wasted the time, despite what Tabby thinks. I have discovered a new hobby. As regular readers will know, I have many varied intellectual interests, such as ornithology, horticulture, gastronomy, and of course late night ratting amongst the garbage bins in the back alley. Well over the last few days, I have taken up lepidoptery - "is there no end to your talents Bert" I hear you cry. "There most certainly are!" Heaven forbid, it's that pesky Tabby again. Bear with me a minute while I chase him off....................................................... That's better, we can continue without his unnecessary contribution.

Now, I realise that most of you are not as well educated as like what I am - "they must all be thick as planks to keep turning up here to read this rubbish." What! He's crept back in again already. Don't go away............................................................... Right, that will be the last we hear from him, I've chased him into next doors garden and the nasty little Jack Russell that lives there has him trapped up a tree. He could be there for hours if we are lucky.
Where was I - Oh yes, lepidoptery for the uninitiated is the study and collection of flutterbies, well I think that's what they are called. I was laying in the vegetable patch, alert as always, on top of my carrot plants that the one I don't trust kindly planted for me - they are most comfortable, when I spotted a flutterby land on one of the cauliflower plants. See, I told you I was a horticulturist, I know the names of all the plants. Anyway, I crept up behind it and admired it's beauty, the delicate lace-like wings, fragile thin legs and tiny body - one of natures triumphs. A cabbage white if I am not mistaken I thought. As it flew off, I leapt at least six feet into the air, and grabbed it with both paws. They don't taste of much, but they don't half tickle when you swallow them. Unfortunately, in the process, I plunged head first into the middle of the cauliflowers, flattening about half a dozen of them.

The one I don't trust saw all this, and came towards me shaking his fist. Thinking he must have a handful of prawns as a mark of his gratitude for me protecting his crops from the ravages of the cabbage white, I approached him expectantly. How wrong can you be! Anyway, as he seemed to have taken umbrage at some apparent slight, I decided to make a rapid exit, and hopped over the wall into next door. I completely forgot about the nasty little Jack Russell, and had to take swift evasive action. "Fancy seeing you here" said Tabby as I scrambled up the apple tree and sat next to him on the top branch. Oh how he laughed! I hate him I really do.Well that's your lot for today. I may be back later in the week, if I ever get out of this tree. How did it come to this - the indignity of it. Stuck up here with my poncy brother. Even the birds are laughing at me. "Don't worry" said Tabby, "someone is bound to call the fire brigade to rescue us if the dog doesn't clear off." Just what we need I thought, someone aiming a hosepipe at us! I never have liked trees - it's the bark you see! What do you mean it's a rotten joke. Under these somewhat trying circumstances it's the best I can do. What a Life! AlbertThe(arboreal)Cat.