New Year’s Eve, and all is quiet chez Isobel and Cat. The party goers are either in a different neighbourhood, or haven’t got started yet. I’m not sorry to miss them. It’s been a few years now since I have seen the New Year in. Friends have given up inviting me to join them watching fireworks. I used to like small supper parties that ended shortly after we drained the obligatory glasses of champagne as Big Ben tolled the end of the old year. But even that palled. Maybe one of these years I shall be seized with a longing to be in the midst of a crowd of revellers singing Auld Langs Syne, but not tonight. It’s questionable whether I shall still be awake at midnight, let alone revelling. No, I’m perfectly happy sitting here with the boy, writing a post, and with the promise of the new Kate Atkinson novel to read later.
I was out working today and tonight made a mean bowl of fresh tomato soup, then settled down to catch up with episode one of Les Misérables as adapted by Andrew Davies, the man who put Darcy into a pond and turned Colin Firth into an unlikely sex symbol. Tonight I got a view of Dominic West’s buttocks. Others will have enjoyed that view last night, but I was watching on catch up. I’d read a review in the Guardian online over breakfast. You can read it too if you like, just click here for the link.
The opening shot featured no buttocks at all, but instead Adeel Akthar cheerfully robbing the dead bodies on the battlefield the day after Waterloo.I felt a vicarious thrill of fame, Akthar’s parents-in-law are in our book group. One of the bodies wasn’t dead, he introduced himself as Colonel Pontmercy before once more losing consciousness, and although I have never read Les Mis, seen the film or the musical, I’m willing to bet a fairly hefty sum that the two will meet up again.
The reason I didn’t watch it last night wasn’t because I was enjoying a Sunday evening meal with Octavia, though that is likely to be the reason I shall probably watch the whole series on catch up. Octavia is away in Yorkshire, Celia and Charlie, having made the briefest of returns to London, are now in Wales. But I think I have mentioned before that this is a friendly neighbourhood, so last night I was enjoying the company of as many of those friendly neighbours as my sitting room could comfortably accommodate. I loved it. Why don’t I ask people round more often? The conversations flowed, the food was eaten, the wine was drunk. But marvel of marvels, MasterB joined in.
When Michèle arrived he left the bed where he had been sleeping on top of my jumper and came to say hello. That wasn’t terribly surprising as he made friends with her some time ago. I expected him to vanish into a drawer under the bed when more people came. But he didn’t. He did retreat to the bedroom, then sat in the hall watching us like a child watching through the banisters as their parents and friends party. This was already big stuff, but when he came into the sitting room and sat under Michèle’s chair I was astonished. I’m not sure everyone realised he was there, so he was able to observe us at close quarters almost clandestinely, and presumably came to the conclusion that the company was non-threatening, because he then made sorties into the room, checking out those nearest Michèle first, returning to his safe spot to watch some more, but eventually going up to everyone there and remaining with us.
Is this the new MasterB? Do I now expect a cat comfortable in all social situations? Will he be passing round the olives, and filling the glasses the next time I have guests here? Could this new confidence translate into a polite assertiveness outside and result in him reclaiming his garden from Hartley, Romeo and Mr Manx? That would be wonderful indeed.
But I think I am going too far too fast. The fact that MasterB has mysteriously become a party animal is an unexpected delight. I’ll probably never know the reason why, maybe it was just claiming his right to be in his sitting room, but I am as proud as can be of him, this is a major development, better than any firework display. Well done that cat.
Happy New Year.