It’s our anniversary: ten years since I brought MasterB, then called Facebook, home. He was young, less than a year at a guess, infested with fleas. He didn’t want to be removed from the students who had rescued him from the mean streets of Brighton, and I didn’t want a timid cat who hid behind the curtain. It wasn’t the most promising start. But against the odds it has been a success. We are a team, cat and human. An already close team which has become closer in lockdown. Not that MasterB knows about the pandemic. But he has become very used to having me around most of the time, has realised that I generally have three meals each day, not the two he was formerly acquainted with, and he now wants three meals a day too. He has given me an emotional support of which he is quite unaware in this time. Watching him has brought me pleasure.
Ten years ago I didn’t really want him. Now I think he’s the best cat in the world.
But for our anniversary we were mainly apart. Gorgeous weather, with blue skies, sunshine and warmth. We have been getting used to blue skies, sunshine and cold cold winds. Celia and I set off to Stratford to walk The Line, a sculpture trail that starts north of the river then ends in Greenwich. The map on the app was rubbish. But the sun shone, we saw two herons in flight, and before we even started our walk Celia got a new strap for her Swatch in the Westfield Shopping Centre. There were serious shoppers. The queue outside Primark was lengthy. Shorter queues, but still impressive, outside shoe shops and mobile phone shops. If I were a shop owner I would be heaving a huge sigh of relief.
Presumably the shoppers were those who have been paid throughout the last year and have money to burn. The pandemic has divided us in many ways, and those who have made shedloads of money and those who have become destitute are two extremes. I am in the middle. I haven’t made money, my income has floored, but I have savings, so I have survived. So far no one has stepped forward to offer me the £120k that David Cameron is paid to make speeches, but without flattering myself I’d say I am more entertaining. And deserving. One speech would be enough to keep me for some years. Leave your details in the comments box if you are interested in discussing terms.
Prince Philip’s funeral was less full of pomp than the usual royal send off, but you couldn’t call it low key. Or you could, but only if you had no concept of what a low key funeral actually is. I lent Celia one of my guide books to Windsor afterwards so she could get a better understanding of the relation between castle and St George’s. I was desperate to see Princess Anne’s shoes. I wasn’t paying attention to this detail when she followed her father’s coffin to the chapel, but when I saw the younger female royals tottering up the castle after the event in stilettos, I wanted reassurance Anne hadn’t risked a broken or sprained ankle which might have derailed proceedings in a less than dignified way. However, as Giles of Gogglebox might well have said, Philip would probably have been amused if the plans had taken a sudden unexpected twist.
The funeral took place on the thirtieth anniversary of my father’s death. His funeral took place some weeks later in the local church. Then there was a drive out to the crematorium. On the way the second official car broke down. How my father would have loved that. At the crematorium we raised this with the undertaker, a man to whom my mother, my sister and I had not warmed. He had been travelling in the hearse with my father’s coffin. Yes, he said, he had realised the second car was no longer following, but he had felt he could not turn the hearse round to see what the problem was. If only he had, the spirit of my father chuckling would have brought smiles to all of us. As it was my godfather, travelling in his Jag, who rescued the passengers of the second car and brought them to the crematorium. Meanwhile my mother organised a discount. This was so utterly out of character it can only be ascribed to the shock she was still in following my father’s sudden death and the effects of grief.
If we are truly emerging from the pandemic I may have to think up new titles for these posts. It’s been remarkably easy these last twelve months. I am still being cautious though. Maybe I could just knock a letter off from post to post. The first would be ‘coronaviru’ , then ‘coronavir’ and so on. There’d be the risk I’d be adding them back if we have a new surge, or bump as we have been warned to expect, until the title just says The Diaries. And Then on down until finally T. Not sure. suggestions welcome.
Stay safe. Keep well. Love the cat you’re with.