The Coronavirus Diaries, 20th March 2022

Octavia has got Covid. Triple vaccinated, she started feeling unwell on Friday, tested positive yesterday morning. We spoke last night and she was croaky. Today in a text message she says she’s feeling awful. Cases are rising again, yet all around precautionary measures are being cast aside. Fewer people are wearing masks on public transport. At the theatre last week the audience was asked to wear face coverings, but many people did not comply with the request. At the interval the foyer the jammed with people jostling for space. The safest place was undoubtedly behind the bar where perspex screens protected staff from contact with customers.

I sent Octavia a link to this piece by David Baddiel about cats. Cats are on my mind today. Not all cats, but MasterB who is currently outside in the garden, Hartley and Romeo the two garden cats, and the new cat on the block, named Treacle by Helena, who has joined the feeding regime, and has so far not been claimed by any neighbour. Also Freddy, aka Cat.

It’s eleven years ago tonight since he died. Reading David Baddiel’s piece moved me. Unlike Baddiel I came late to being owned by a cat. Freddy, a cat of Opinions, marched into my life, took over my home, ambushed my affections, stole Mother’s heart, and had Aunt wrapped round his paw. He was a joy, a tie, a distraction, a comfort, a worry. How I had lived so long without him became a mystery. He was macho, affectionate, demanding, imperious and a great companion. He loved eating or sniffing my cut flowers – carnations were his favourite – adored broccoli and would beg for noodles. He changed my life.

When I took him with me when I visited Mother she loved it. He knew the way from the car to the cat flap in her front door. He would announce our arrival by walking in and rolling on his back beside her. As her dementia increased he could calm her and bring her peace. She remembered his name when she forgot mine, though she often called him a little dog. She loved the way he knew her and showed her he loved her. He didn’t ask her awkward, difficult questions. He was beautiful. She loved watching him, admiring him. When others admired him she basked in reflected pride. So many of my good memories of Mother from that very difficult time are of her interactions with Freddy.

When I got das Boot, it was Freddy who came with me and gave me an unknowing support as I grappled with the practicalities of staying at the marina in all weathers in all seasons, and despairing at the inadequacies of Mother’s care at the very sheltered housing scheme. I say unknowing support, but he was sensitive to mood, so he probably knew I felt fragile and helpless. It always felt that he was on my team.

So tonight I am drinking to his memory, lighting a candle to him. He was incomparable. MasterB is equally incomparable and is Freddy’s legacy, for without Freddy I might never have woken up to the miracle of feline companionship. I bless the day he decided to invade my life. If there is a heaven, I am sure he is there with Mother and Aunt, while my father, not a cat lover, may have taken some time to come round. He has probably invaded the dogs ‘ beds, made them share or even supplanted them. One thing I know for sure, he’ll be the one in charge.


17 thoughts on “The Coronavirus Diaries, 20th March 2022

  1. As beautiful tribute to Freddy, Isobel. Do hope Octavia will be OK. I read that the very best thing to do is rest, rest, rest.

  2. Isobel, I am sorry about your friend. I hope she recovers quickly.
    Know that in fifteen minutes, wine time, Jerry and I will be drinking to Cat/Freddy also. We have a candle out on the lanai so it will be lit tonight in his memory. Love your words about Freddy and the photos are special too. I still miss our Z Cat who left us 13 years ago on January 17, 2009.
    Hugs to you♥

    • Thanks Pix. when MasterB comes in I shall light a candle too. and give my boy a big cuddle. Eleven years since Freddy died means it’s almost eleven years since MasterB came home with me. He is a complete sweetheart, and I love him to bits as I did Freddy. The idea that he is in his late middle years shocks me. I miss the dogs of my childhood, and if there is a heaven, which I doubt, the idea that I might see them again is wonderful. Everyone we have loved, human or non human, remains in our hearts.

  3. Lovely photos of Freddie – I’m sorry not to have known him, but glad to have Bosun as a cat in my life. Lots of good memories of cats of mine over the years, starting with Sooty in childhood.

  4. Please send our best wishes to Octavia for a full recovery. And we raise the virtual glass in honor of your memories of Cat. I’ve met a calico kitty recently who does a “high five”.

  5. What a lovely post, Isobel.

    Many thanks for the messages wishing me well. I’m feeling a bit better this morning. Here’s hoping it’s not a false dawn!

    The grey ninja is showing considerable patience with me.

  6. I love cats! And some people think cats don’t love people back, because they’re not like dogs, loving a bunch of people all at once. But it depends on if they’re socialized. But they totally love people and show affection.

    I’m glad Octavia is feeling a bit better. And yes, I’ll add my hopes to hers that it’s not false hope.

    • My cat definitely has favourite humans who he’s very pleased to see. I am fascinated in how he behaves differently with each of them. Waiting to hear how Octavia is this evening.

  7. gorgeous eulogy for Freddy – I wish I’d known him. But I’m very happy to have the incomparable MasterB in my life – & in my kitchen every day as the Ginger Ninja!! And, of course, love our own fluffy gingers & tortie down here..

    • Thanks Judy. I wrote a lot about him, especially after he died. Thinking of him still makes me smile. He was larger than life. Bo’sun is more malleable!

  8. Glad you are feeling a bit better Octavia. I had it the Christmas before last so I know how it feels. I love your description of Freddie, Isobel. They really do win your heart don’t they?

    • I had no intention of having a cat. Freddy took me by complete surprise, decided I had a vacancy I knew nothing about, and that he was going to fill it. I loved him to bits. Without him, I would not have Bo’sun, and my life would be immeasurably poorer.

  9. I wish Octavia is well and recovered by now. 🍀🤞🏼🍀
    And I pay tribute to your beloved first companion cat. 😺

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