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Posts Tagged ‘crabby cats’

Five cats at the trough this morning.

Head cat, Pippa– (no messing!)

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Beau (always first in)…

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Ben (politely patient, knowing his place in the pecking order (low), tip-toes round the bowls.)

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and Lucien, who stomps around like a grumpy member of a fusty old London Men’s club finding his favourite chair is occupied by someone he’s never seen before and worse–a female.

On a dark night he does a good impression of “Bill Sykes“.

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Bill Sykes was never so cosy!

The “newcomer” is Blackie, who is gradually becoming an in-door cat after years of nervous coming and going pit stops–mostly out-doors.

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Blackie’s a cat with no tail but a lot of oomph.

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She has survived six or seven years in the relative wild–too nervous to put her head down indoors for longer than an hour or two.

Something is changing though–perhaps with age, sleeping rough every night through the seasons is losing its charm.

In summer she’d arrive for a quick snack with insect bites all round her eyes.

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It has been slow progress, but close encounters in the tomato patch have helped.

There’s a small bench there, perfect for an early morning cogitation/rumination, after a bit of weeding and watering.

This summer Blackie and I have spent some serious time together.

She appears from nowhere, entwines me in elaborate leg embraces, chatting away anxiously about something.

These early morning approaches have gradually calmed into more of a companiable, “Hi, how’s it going?” greeting, as she jumps lightly onto the bench beside me and nudges my arm.

This morning she “knocks” on the back door and enters at a pace, ate a little, jumps into her chair of choice and watches, unconcerned, as the others arrive.

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An indoor cat with rights like theirs.

We’ll see. The arrival of winter may settle it.

Later in the morning, I open the backdoor for Pippa; she’s off for her post-breakfast constitutional.

There below the step is Blackie, tucking into elevensies.

“Whoops!”

Pippa looks at Blackie for a long beat. She decides to lean forward and give her a nudging nose kiss. She then steps aside and down and saunters away.

Blackie enters and hops onto her favored chair and hunkers down again.

“Wow!” No Pippy hissy-fitting–things are changing round here.

A five cat household–oh my!

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We rolled up from London last night heaving sighs of relief to be back.

The cats were a bit crabby and there was no heat or  hot water–but there’s no place like home, Toto!

Nephew Dominic had kindly laid two fires and we were soon hunkered down in the kitchen, eating plates of rather too al-dente penne in tomato sauce!–a glass or two of Italian red softened us up at least.

Sitting in the larder was a butternut squash– looking a little hurt at being neglected for two weeks.

Well–this evening it will help keep our bodies warm and our  spirits up, transformed into:

Simple Butternut Squash Soup

for 4

1 onion–chopped

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1 butternut squash–peeled and medium diced

leaves from 3/4 sprigs of fresh thyme–chopped

1 small dry red chili

1.5 pints/just over a litre of stock

salt and pepper

a good grating of nutmeg

dry roasted pumpkin seeds–lightly crushed

  • Heat the oil in a large saucepan.
  • Add the onion and sweat on a low heat for 5 minutes until soft.
  • Add the squash, the chili, the thyme and turn the whole mix over.
  • Season with salt and pepper–remembering that the stock will have salt in it.
  • Add the stock, bring it slowly up to the boil and let it simmer until the squash is tender.
  • Remove the chili and let the soup cool a little before liquidising it.
  • Check the seasoning–mine needed more salt.
  • Serve hot with the pumpkin seeds sprinkled on top.

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