Pad Life: Clean Moggie, Yellow Moggie
Both the cats have turned yellow.
This, combined with their natural white, and their tortoiseshell brown and black splodges, gives them a pleasing, psychedically Eastery look that reminds me of my youth and seems entirely appropriate for a bright, bright, bright sunshiney day. I’m quite content with it, but some people are never pleased and they’re both trying to lick it off.
Somewhere in my soporific Good Friday mind it occurs to me this has probably come from contact with a plant, and that some plants are toxic to cats. Lilies, I know, are potentially fatal. Typical lily, never happy unless it’s at a funeral. Perhaps I ought to give them a bath.
These days I live in a neat flat with a kitchen which has its own remotely controlled disco lights built in. No, me neither, but my daughter the Princess loves them.
‘Look! You can have purple and red and green and blue, you can flash them fast and slow, you can fade them and brighten them.’
She looks at me as if I have totally missed the point of life.
I also have a main bathroom and an ensuite. I’ve never had an ensuite before. I’ve always associated them with grown-ups who have sherry before dinner and live in houses with double garages and conservatories. What do you do? Do you buy two lots of Harpic and Dettol Bathroom, or get one of those cleaning-lady caddies to carry between each? Do you buy twice the loo roll or run out twice as fast? Do the loo brushes have to match? When I’m here on my own, which is most of the time, do I alternate between the two, so one doesn’t feel neglected? The Princess is delighted to have her own bathroom when she comes home for Uni vacations, and I am delighted to have my own bathroom when she comes home for Uni vacations, because now I don’t open the cabinet and find that my razor, my deodorant, my Miracle Nail Strengthener and my athlete’s foot cream have dematerialised.
My other offspring, the Scion, calls the flat ‘Your Pad’. I think this is a sarky reference to my age and my origins in the same decade as Austin Powers.
The cats have decided that the best way in and out of the Pad is via one of the sitting room windows. On the way back, one leaps nimbly from window to sill to floor, leaving nothing in her wake. The other defies the laws of physics and walks down the vertical glass, leaving a trail of footprints. Unless, of course, the very friendly German Shepherd in the house opposite is lolling over the railings round its courtyard, woofing an invitation to come and play. In that case both defy the laws of physics and come hurtling through the same gap at the same velocity. It’s like those quantum particles which can occupy the same space as other quantum particles and arrive at their destination before they leave. Schrodinger’s Flying Circus.
The area around the Pad has communal bushes and shrubs. I’ve never known the difference between a bush and a shrub. When I lived in Castle Pillock I had my own garden and be they bushes or shrubs, they grew at the rate of knots and laughed in the face of secateurs. But I could tell by the colouring and configuration of fur debris which particular bit of horticulture the mogs had been under, playing at lions and being intimidated by squirrels. I have no idea how to identify any of the communal bushes and shrubs here.
The yellow could be pure nicotine. No-one is allowed to smoke in the building, so everyone lurks just outside the main door. I’m not a smoker but I feel this particular form of self-harming is a personal choice and I have no objection as long as it doesn’t affect me. It has its own fascination because my other sitting room window (Ensuites! Two sitting room windows! I must have done something fabulous in a former life.) is right by the door, and the odd waft of smoke is a small price to pay for the chance to earwig the conversations. Some malicious person obviously once told the smokers that cigarette emissions deaden sound. Thus it is perfectly safe to have intimate conversations about your family, your sex life, your work, and pretty much anything else, as long as you have a ciggie in your hand. The dark seems to help. Voices go up in the dark, as though the inhibition to sight also covers hearing. I sit with my window open and my light on and sometimes my blinds up, so they’re perfectly aware I’m there, and I’m absolved of guilt. It’s fabulous. For a writer, it’s a bloody goldmine.
The only problem is, there’s no little pot or anything to put the fag ends in, so the buggers just drop them among the bushes. There’s heaps of them there, and they stink. Tony from How Green Is Your Garden, who has just been awarded the contract again, doesn’t feel it’s his job to clear away fag ends, and I don’t blame him. The road is maintained by the council, but the building and ‘environs’ are private, hence the politely worded warnings of a lingering death if you park without a permit. So no street cleaning beyond the kerb.
I’ve wondered about putting a notice on the board in the communal hallway, like one of those passive aggressive ones you get in offices about the labelled milk and tea bags. Would they read it? No they wouldn’t. If they read it, would they do it? No. These are people who think cigarettes provide invisible sound proofing. Would they think, ‘Miserable old bag, who does she think she is, she’s only been here five minutes’, and not hold the communal rubbish bin open for me when I trot out with my bags? ‘Here you are, love. I know – this lid’s a bit heavy.’ It’s one to ponder. Perhaps a letter to Nigel, the site manager. An anonymous one. ‘I am the unidentifiable resident who can smell the fag ends by the door from her window.’
I Google plants which can poison cats. Most of them, apparently. Including marijuana. I have a quick sniff of the nearest cat. No, not marijuana. Little Cat, who is actually the same size as Cat but a year younger, has managed to lick some of the yellow off her shoulder and is still breathing, so I decide it’s not worth putting on the chain mail and attempting to give them a bath. In either bathroom.