The summer solstice. The longest day of the year. After tonight autumn beckons. Still, we have a few more weeks of long light evenings to enjoy before the Christmas merchandise appears in the shops. Tonight we celebrated with Celia and Charlie in their garden. In fact they are probably still celebrating, with various neighbours and friends dropping by, enjoying a glass or several, plunge into the nibbles and relax in good company and chat. A friendly neighbourhood is a wonderful, wondrous thing. Like a good woman, or indeed a good man, it is above rubies.
I’d put a good cat above rubies too. MasterB is out in the garden. I left him rolling luxuriously on the paving stones. He has at last decided that my neighbour Simon is not the devil incarnate, but a perfectly nice human being, and has stopped shrinking to the floor or running away when they meet and instead approaches Simon with his tail held high. It’s good to see the boys bond. What MasterB has not understood is that Simon’s heart belongs to Hartley. I understand it’s the first time he has ever really got to know a cat, and it’s love. ❤️💕💖💕❤️. I was the same with Cat when he marched into my life. Taken by surprise, amazed, enchanted and fascinated, completely enthralled, smitten. Animals, when they choose to interact with you, to befriend you, have an extraordinary effect. They can unsettle you; tip you over, change the way you view the world. Four paws and a tail is all it takes.
Simon will take his coffee outside to be with Hartley, watch him, learn his ways, think about what Hartley is doing and why. Another neighbour was sitting with Hartley when I came home. She too is a paid up fan. Hartley would be the perfect cat in a care home. He’s gentle, affectionate, he loves people. When a group of us sits outside he makes sure we each get a share of his beneficent attention. He is a very special cat. we have a toddler in the block. Hartley will roll over and allow the toddler to rub his tummy. He is patient, often he keeps close but slightly out of reach. I was surprised to see Romeo also behaving with forbearance when the toddler advanced on him.
The humans in our government unfortunately show no such intelligence or empathy. Grant Schapps is on the front bench, yet I would be reluctant to give him a job stacking shelves. There are shelf stackers in my local Iceland of obvious intelligence, they have people skills, are helpful, friendly; people I respect. If I try to imagine Schapps doing the same job I can only see him being bossy, making an arse of himself, thinking himself above this necessary task. Try imagining Johnson or Rees-Mogg being employed at the sea task and Iceland would probably have to close. Total disaster. Not unlike the job they doing of running the country. It would be nice to have a government who remembered that its first and most important duty is to the country, and that the country is made up of all the people who live in it, not just an entitled section of the population. We can dream.
Raise your glass to the solstice, to shelf stackers and cats. Cheers!