Crumble’s life is very simple. She sleeps, she eats, she scratches anyone idiotic enough to stroke her in That Certain Way (this has never accurately been gauged), she sleeps again. Most of the above is done in a manner best described as baleful.
Now picture Crumble, her malevolence towards humankind miraculously suspended. This evening she has found a rubber band, and hell of a different kind has broken loose.
KILL. KILL the rubber band. MASSACRE the rubber band. The rubber band is MY ENEMY and I shall MURDER—crikey, my bum stinks. I must stop a while and give it a seeing-to. My tongue is somewhat prickly tonight. Now. Where was I. AHA! That EVIL RUBBER BAND has returned to TAUNT me. Resist! Resist! Whoo, that was one hot funky salsa move, back legs going like Ola Jordan on a good day, the rubber band is DYING, it cannot possibly survive the onslaught! I have conquered! *evil cat laugh*
I shall now stare timelessly into space. The rubber band will assume that I have forgotten it. How wrong it is. How very– Any food in this place? What kind of a hotel is this anyway? What are you staring at? My life is littered with the carcasses of fools.
Run the gauntlet, To. To be attacked on all sides, to be severely criticised. The word came into English at the time of the Thirty Years’ War (1618-48) as ‘gantlope’, meaning the passage between two files of soldiers. It is from Swedish gatlopp, literally ‘passageway’, from gata, ‘way’, and lop, ‘course’. The reference is to a former punishment among soldiers and sailors. The company or crew, provided with rope ends, were drawn up in two rows facing each other, and the delinquent had to run between them, while every man dealt him as severe a blow as he could. The spelling ‘gauntlet’ is due to confusion with gauntlet, ‘glove’ (Old French gantelet, a diminutive of gant, ‘glove’).
This cat should get out more
I ran the gauntlet today. The rope-end swingers were my fitness and my ankles. POW! from one as I heaved for breath up the hill, on the first run I have attempted in twenty years. BIFF! from the ankles as they creaked along the road in embarrassingly elderly trainers. I was the same colour as Father Christmas’s bottom by the time I had finished. It wasn’t even very far. I’m proud that I made it all the way to the top of the hill before collapsing in the nearest hedge. This was an unexpected bonus.
What is this madness? A promise made to my running husband. The light of joy is in his eyes that I might be accompanying him on a regular basis. I shall go into conference with my muscles tomorrow morning on the subject. Assuming I can get out of bed.
I changed my bedroom layout a great deal when I was young. My room wasn’t very big – 10ft square at most – but I tried every possible angle with varying success. Bed by left wall, check. Bed by back wall, check. Bed by window, head to window, toes to window, head to bookshelves, plumb in the middle of the room: check. The only one I didn’t manage was diagonal, for the simple and rather irritating reason that the head of my bed wasn’t diamond-shaped. This may have been a reaction to not being able to change dormitory layouts in term-time, or simply because I was bored.
I have changed the name of my blog for similar reasons. Today’s inspiration lies with a fantastic book called BREWER’S DICTIONARY OF PHRASE AND FABLE, first published by Dr Brewer in 1870 and containing such linguistic gems as:
Before the cat can lick its ear. Never. No cat can lick its ear. (It licks its paw and uses that to wash its ear.) See also NEVER.
Pictures and tales of Crumblechops will still doubtless feature along the way, provided she doesn’t eat any long-tailed tits anytime soon.
So. Off I go to do a thousand press-ups before the cat can lick its ear.
[Heads for the kettle and the biscuit tin]
If this blog is to be named after her, I feel I should introduce Crumble before I do anything else. Crumble, or Crumblechops as she is known when I am feeling affectionate, is my cat. She is known by different names when I am feeling less keen, such as when she hides in the folds of my children’s duvets so I can’t find her at night and shut her in the kitchen, or when she eats blue tits.
She is an inscrutable cat, as cats so often are. ‘Inscrutable’ is a fine word. If you don’t know what it means, picture a cat. Here’s one I made earlier.
Crumble in a good mood. Crumble in a bad mood. Crumble in a filthy mood.
So now you know who she is, I’ll introduce myself as well. I’m the one who feeds her, persists in stroking her even when she’s in the filthy mood pictured above with such clarity, and regularly defends her from threats of cat eviction, scientific experiments and drowning in Frensham Great Pond from certain other members of my family who don’t appreciate being jumped on with claws on full or having to wipe cat sick from the window sills in the morning.
I’m also a writer. Of children’s books. Which often, but not always, feature cats.
Just so you know.