First Family Cats

From the Cancer Memory Diary.

I called Uncle Alan and Auntie Eila Nunc-nunc and Nauntie, and the names stuck their entire lives long, signing their pet names in my birthday cards for decades. My parents and Grandma Bing were close with them too and we would often wander down the lane to their house for tea and a chuckle. The Goon Show was popular and I would be entertained by my Dad and my Uncle doing the silly voices.

When the talk turned serious I would climb down off my Mother’s lap and try and talk to my Aunty’s cats. They had strange names, Finnish names that my aunt pronounced as if she was singing to the cats. Grandma Bing had a black cat (she was a witch and this was proof) who had a perfectly ordinary English name.

Our current crop, Mr Cornflakes and Nutkin

Rodney the cat was so callled because, ‘that was his name before I turned him into a cat,’ said Grandma.

‘Who?’ I asked.

‘The boy I caught stealing from the coal store,’ she said, ‘and that’s why he’s black all over too.’

Rodney didn’t seem to mind being a cat. I would lie next to him in the sunshine and listen to his purr.

Once, in the depths of Winter, the snow covered the three steps up to our front door and Grandma came in the house from her caravan and shared my bedroom. There was ice on the inside of the windows where condensation had frozen on the glass.

Wrapped up against the cold, I went to the front door with Grandma and Rodney. The black cat sprang out into the white snow and disappeared at once. He hopped and jumped and when he landed all we could see was his black tail, tall above the snow.

We laughed, and laughed, and laughed.

About 14thcenturypoet

Author of The Legend of Zonza, an historical fantasy based on traditional Italian folk tales...
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