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Wordless Wednesday With A Weary Gesso


Budgie Smugglers

budgie‘You might have to explain to your international readers what budgie smugglers are’ says Dad upon me entering the house.

Oh. Oops. Didn’t even think of that.

Then again, I know that my international friends seem exceptionally well read and would probably know what they are anyway. I on the other hand am still occasionally stumped. I had to write to Isobel (of Isobel and Cat fame) recently to ask whether ‘cream crackered’ was a term familiar to her, or whether it was well known. Cockney rhyming slang it turns out. Last week, I learnt about ‘Pinkertons’ on the back of watching Ripper Street. (There are times when wikipedia is really indispensable).

So, back to the budgie smugglers. In case anyone isn’t familiar, it’s a slang term of men’s speedos / swimming costumes and seems to be used often in reference to our now current Prime Minister given his fondness of sport. It takes a man with a good body (think well built surf life guide), to be able to get away with wearing budgie smugglers without looking pathetic. It’s something about the way they droop with water… the swimming costume that is. I refuse to even contemplate Tony’s actual anatomy. Ew. Sick. Now.

So dad reckons I need a glossary of terms for my blog. Really, there’s only a few you need to know to follow the plot. Here they are:

The Scroobious Pip.

That’s me.

Sometimes people ask me what exactly a Scroobious Pip is, I just reply – ah, that is the question! The story was a childhood favourite, written by one of the two great masters of nonsense – Edward Lear, an epileptic depressive who had a great love of his cat Foss.


My unconventional partner / boyfriend (depending on your preferred terminology). (Andrew associates partner with gay cowboy movies, I associate boyfriend with sounding 14 and temporary). Unconventional? Well, we don’t exactly fit the traditional model. We live separately. I work full time. He doesn’t. He’s domestically competent. I’m domestically challenged (except for light bulbs, I do those). I think the only thing traditional about us is he takes out his own garbage. My mum always taught me that men should do tyres and garbage.

Definition of Andrew? mischievous, Naughty. A 4 year old trapped in a 40-something year old body. An extremely talented artist (if only we could convince him of this) combined with a largely gentle soul. I say largely. He isn’t known for being a placid calm driver – especially if you take a disabled parking spot and you have no disabled parking permit.

Pickle sleeping as only Pickle can.

Pickle sleeping as only Pickle can.


The oldest of Andrew’s two cats and the most like him in personality – bloody naughty!

Andrew always said that if he couldn’t have a dog he didn’t want anything. Then after a while he decided a cat would be ok. As long as it was a girl cat. And black, or tabby.

So he adopted a ginger boy who certainly lives up to the tag Ginger Ninja. Andrew wanted a dog… well he’s doing his best to mould Pickle into a dog. Surprisingly, Pickle is mostly complying.

Recently, an ambulance officer referred to Pickle as a ‘caramel cat’. This has earnt him the title of ‘o Caramelle’ (said with a ridiculously corny French accent!)

Andrew and Gesso

Andrew and Gesso


Named after the white primer used in painting, Gesso has developed his own fondness for paint. While every other cat has stood in the paint just once, Gesso has done it at least three times… if not more.

Gesso is medium haired and deaf.

He makes you work for his affection but strangely we just seem to love him even more for it. When he actually lets me cuddle him for a little while, I feel that I’ve won a great battle / been included among a privileged few.

Gesso is frequently also called ‘the white cat’ (with the emphasis on THE), or squirrel.

And that’s half the fur family…

Licorice and Saffron

I don’t think it’s quite right for me to write about the two separately, for they really don’t separate you see.

Suitcase? What suitcase.

Suitcase? What suitcase.

That’s Saffron (8) on the top and Licorice (11) on the bottom. Two undeniably fat couch potatoes of cats with an everlasting number of hugs and smooches to give.

Licorice hates the vacuum cleaner. Licorice hasn’t figured out that each morning when I go to the fridge to get the food, she doesn’t need to follow me as I am just coming back with it. (Saff waits patiently in the bathroom). On the whole, Licorice is the gentle giant; except when at the mothership and it’s time to go back in the cat cage.

Saffron on the other hand, is reasonably ok with the vacuum cleaner but scared of all things new. Strangers / Visitors – check under the bed and you’ll find her.

PS: Mothership = home of my mum and dad a.k.a Cat Hotel.

So there you go dad. A glossary. Complete with pictures. Have I forgotten anything?


I couldn’t resist including one more picture of Pickle. Cheeky Pickle.

My boys

Gesso and Andrew in bed

Andrew and Gesso – being more than a bit cute!

Yes, I want my nose Licorice

Licorice does winter

Licorice – 11 year old Tortie from Cat Protection Society

Licorice’s habit of ‘poking me awake’ appears to be getting worse. I have tried very hard not to ‘reward’ her, by not getting up until the alarm goes off. Yet it seems like she is getting more persistent. So this morning I consulted Dr Google (as many people do). Hmm… I thought I was ignoring her, but I have sometimes ‘pushed her away’ and that seems like in cat terms that’s a response. As is any talking – even if it’s no. (This morning I’m pretty sure there was a loud ‘no’ when Licorice decided to ‘stroke’ my nose. I’ve checked and there isn’t a big scratch down it but it feels like it!)

Oh dear, I shall have to reaffirm to throw the covers over my head and do absolutely nothing to encourage her.


Saffron – 8 year old tortie from Cat Protection Society

Meanwhile Saffron was doing her morning routine – paper chewing again! Stupid me had left at piece of paper out in the bedroom.

While it may sound like I’m grumbling, I am still very happy to have them around today. Our family cat Pippy is quite sick at the moment and it’s meant the girls – and boys – have been getting extra cuddles.

Pippy has come down with a mystery illness. The vets are baffled. She is negative for FIV and ‘Feline Leukaemia‘ and it’s not cat flu either – certainly a relief; although FIV seemed very unlikely as Pippy doesn’t get into cat fights. Yet she is still a sick cat, although hopefully has turned the corner. Her temperature is slowly coming down and she is starting to eat again – if she is handfed by the vet nurse mind you! Mum, dad and I went to the vets on Friday afternoon to see her. She is sporting a new haircut – completely shaved underbelly and some off the sides too (I presume that was so they could do the ultrasound). Her eyes are still weeping, she is still snuffly and has developed a bit of a waddle when she walks, but there was a bit of spark. I put her down on the floor and she made a beeline for mum. It was very cute. Since Friday apparently her temperature has dropped a bit. She’s been sick for a week. Clearly a fighter though and I’m more optimistic now that she will pull through this. It was looking a bit grim on Wednesday / Thursday.


Pippy as a kitten in 2003 – RSPCA cat.

Since I’ve already put pics in of 3, I might as well feature the entire fur family. I never know how to answer the question, how many cats do you have? Especially while Chilli was alive. I tend to say 2, or 4, depending on the context.

If you are new to my blog, then here’s the quick version of why that’s a confusing question – I adopted Chilli in 2000. When I moved out of my family home (where Pippy and Poirot also live), I took Chilli with me. However, Chill was a bit of a special needs cat and for her well being went back to live with mum and dad. So I was catless. So in 2009, I adopted Licorice and Saffron (above). My fur family was complete. Then in 2010, I met Andrew (a man, not a cat!). Andrew didn’t have any pets. After swearing that he didn’t want one, he started to warm to my girls. So, with time, we adopted Pickle the ginger ninja and Gesso a deaf white cat. They live with Andrew but if they need to go to the vet etc, then I’m responsible. I guess you could say, it’s a shared custody arrangement! So you see, that’s why it’s hard to answer how many cats I have!


Pickle, age 2 1/2 and Gesso, about 1 1/2 – both from Cat Protection Society

Poirot June 2008

Poirot – aged almost 16 – RSPCA cat.


It’s been a week of coming home to just start work again. I’m preparing a 2 hour workshop for a conference – hence the lack of blogging.

In the furry circles it’s business as usual. I think Andrew is needing to negotiate his place in the bed. As I write this, Licorice and Saffron have placed themselves on my overcoat. No wonder when I was at the quilt show last week, one of the stall owners asked me if I had a cat! I looked down at my dress to find evidence of the awesome foursome.


A cat’s prerogative

I want to know why it is that a cat attempting to sit in your lap – especially when you don’t want it to – almost always manages to put it’s paw right where your bladder is? (For anyone interested I haven’t had children, my pelvic floor muscles are good so there has been no cat induced accident in this house)

Secondly, I want to know why when you sit on the couch doing nothing, the cat sleeps on the floor. As soon as you pick up a laptop, it’s anti-sharing instinct kicks in and the cat is determined to displace said laptop.

This is what Licorice is doing at this very moment. Now consider this: I am attempting to type this post with an 8 kilo weight on my left hand wrist. I’ll show you. (My right hand is free to use the iphone camera and it’s within my reach).

IMG_3462Those are my fingers emerging from heavy cat. Do you notice the two empty cat beds on the right hand side of the photo. Those would be the beds they are NOT sleeping in, even though I have turned the heater on. If I want them to actually sleep in the beds, then I need to turn the heater off and then they will go close to those beds and look pitifully at me and meow their request for the heater to be turned on.)

Ah relief. Licorice has decided to get off my hand. My wrist thanks her.

Of course, this cat displacement technique is not just unique to the laptop. Any computer is fair game as illustrated by Gesso here, relegating Andrew to one hand typing, unless Andrew wants to risk Gesso slipping off and falling down his legs. Not really a good risk on careful consideration really. We all know how cats use their claws to climb trees.

Andrew and Gesso

Andrew and Gesso

And while I’m asking questions about my cat’s interpretation of her rights in this household, I have a few more to add.

Why does Saffron so confidently claim ownership of any ‘green’ shopping bag? Is there some title deed written into such bags via cat scent that upon returning home with one, your cat as the right to take immediate possession of it and not return it for 3 days? (Excuse any typos from here, Licorice is back on wrist…. and part of touchpad). The royal cat prerogative exempts her from having to give the bag back for it’s original use. It is as if Green Bags are subject to squatters rights.

And why is it that cats are never interested in fitting themselves into a suitable size box, green bag, cat bed etc. Perhaps the things I have heard about a cat using her whiskers to judge whether it will fit through a space is just bunk. I can assure you that my cats either have ridiculously long whiskers, or when their whiskers sent the alert signal to their brain, they just ignore it. When I bought the cheap cat bed recently (a $5 purchase in a two-dollar shop), I deliberately chose the smallest one I could find because I am so used to my girls turning their noses up at anything which is of reasonable size. And regular readers of my blog will know, what happened then.

Can't we share?

Can’t we share?

I’m not finished yet. I have a few more questions about my cat’s prerogative. I want to know why when it’s really cold and you want the cat to sit in your lap and act as a pseudo-hot water bottle, she just isn’t interested. Crank up the temperature to a Sydney hot day of 30 something degrees and my lap is the most desirable location in the house.

And why is it that I can buy a ‘covered’ litter tray so in theory when the cat kicks the litter around it will hit the ‘roof’ and land in the box, that I still seem to have a trail of kitty litter across my bathroom floor. Kitty litter is the cat equivalent of Hansel and Gretel breadcrumbs, though I really don’t get why they need them. I would expect if the cat wanted to re-trace her steps she would only need to follow the smell back to the bathroom. Unless of course, I’ve been the obedient cat servant that I’m supposed to be and cleaned the tray within 5 minutes of usage.

And why is it that anytime I want to photograph something, a cat must help by inspecting it at the same time I’m trying to take the photo.

Pickle inspecting the subject of my photography

Pickle inspecting the subject of my photography

They have an inbuilt instinct which must say ‘quick walk on it now!’ And lastly, why is it that given all the trouble they cause with flea management and cat hair and little nail shards at the floor of the scratching post, that we still love them as much as we do? I’m sure many servants dislike their masters but I will not include cat servants among them. In fact, we humble servants seem to enjoy having a laugh at how much privilege our cats bestow upon themselves. Here’s one example of that that I saw via Facebook recently – it’s had a few million views so I’m sure that it’s done the rounds and you may have seen it. For those who haven’t, I’ve included the sad cat diary below.

Of particular note for me is one of the opening diary entries about cats and keyboards – I think Licorice must have heard that when I played it the first time and she is now just demonstrating the point. With that, I think it is time for me to stop blogging and give her a proper cuddle.

Gesso the deaf white cat does Jumpin’ Jack Flash

I awoke this morning to text message from Andrew – ‘I’ve made a video of Gesso!’

The link is below. Unfortunately the words at the front are too quick to read, so here they are:

“One year ago… on a day just like today… I went shopping with my girlfriend… Neither of us were to know that our lives would never be the same… we came home with a deaf white kitten… and although it was cute… we didn’t know that it was absolutely mental… but we love it dearly… especially that crazy fluffy tail… we have nicknamed it… the arctic  squirrel. Here is some footage. I hope you like it.”

There is a guest appearance by Pickle, the ginger ninja.

If the link doesn’t appear below, you can go directly to Andrew’s youtube page.

Postscript: The stickler in me wants to clarify we did go shopping for a cat – it wasn’t some spur of the moment adoption. I take my cat responsibilities very seriously!

Merry Christmas Everyone

A very quick post as I’ve still got to wrap presents for my brother’s family!

I felt like a photograph today and here’s one of my favourites. It is from late October 2011 of Andrew and Gesso.

An old photo from when we first adopted Gesso

An old photo from when we first adopted Gesso

Andrew’s facebook status says it all

Andrew's facebook status says it all

The best toy for a deaf cat

It seems hard to predict which toys Gesso will enjoy. His deafness seems to mean that some items are of no interest to him. I’m not sure whether it’s because once they move out of sight a rod and stick toy loses it’s interest as he can’t hear it. Strangely, the red dots from the laser can also disappear but Gesso keeps looking for them.

Andrew shot this piece of footage of his antics.

If the embedded link above is not working please go to the youtube link.

PS: If anyone in Sydney is looking for one of these laser toys – it changes shape at random – I got it from Cat Protection Society in Enmore.