THOSE readers who have been brave enough - or forced by circumstance (hi, Mum) - to have stuck with this blog for a few years, will be aware that one individual has held my heart for an extremely long time.
‘Mmmm‘ I hear all three of you say knowingly, ‘it’s the Man Who Vaguely Resembles David Tennant. Ah, a love story for the ages there.’
Well, yes... and then again, no.
Much as the Man and I are lucky enough to realise we’re so weird, life is infinitely more interesting and exciting together than apart, I’m actually referring to a slightly furrier companion, who unfortunately did decide he’d had enough of my company, and rudely took himself off to a higher plane earlier this year.
Yes, it’s that infamous guest writer, the International Cat of Mystery, Osky the Spy, whom I grudgingly concede has provided some of the best posts on this very platform.
At 16 years old, my beloved keyboard companion made the permanent move to the Home for Retired Secret Agents in the sky, where it is my firm belief he feasts daily on the wrath of his enemies, and more prosaically, as much mince as he can stuff into his little face. He is missed by both myself and the Man so much, and always will be; a cat of such personality that his purr and squawk still seem to be close by.
‘I’ll never get a-n-nuh-nother cat ever’, I believe was the partially wine-fuelled sobbing dirge from me, at the time of his demise. ‘He was one of a kind... no other cat could ever hold a place in my heart’.
Part of the latter statement still holds true. He was one of a kind. Losing him less than twelve months after my Dad died was another layer of grief. But a cat person is a cat person is a cat person. Thus it was that the RSPCA received a visit on a truly rough mental health day ‘just to hug a few cats’ - famous last words, if ever there were some. Lo and behold, (to the Man’s total lack of surprise) the purrmonster known as Jellypants joined me in her brand new, purchased on the spot cat carrier, and moved in; bringing along her own unique style of catosity to again make our house a home.
Unlike Osk, who seemed to establish his own tactical task force wherever we lived, scooping up neighbourhood feline troublemakers as sidekicks (including the memorable ginger behemoth Watson, with whom he used to scope the street from the safety of the shed roof), Jelly has the intelligence gathering skills of a sponge cake. She is a cat firmly attached to the sofa, but only when she’s not attached to the bed. The world of cat counter-espionage holds no attractions for her; unless by counter-espionage one means getting on the kitchen bench and consistently attempting to open her own food/any food at all. She is content in her world - mainly because her world consists of pats, ear rubs, and massive amounts of affection.
And she definitely, definitively, has a style of her own. It may not be quite as literate as Osky’s efforts to take down Satan Claws via blogworld, but it’s all hers.
So without further ado, I present to you the Lady Jellypants Guide to Grace and Poise. It may not be something you see as a road-map to live your life by; but then again, if your desire is to rule a household effortlessly, she’s got it nailed.
1. Maintain your dignity in the face of publicity.
2. Don’t settle for less; you deserve the best.
3. Insist on quality bedding.
4. Recognise the need for under the doona time.
5. Always, always be ready for your closeup.
6. Know the healing power of naps.
7. Smile at least once a day.
8. Stop to smell the flowers.
9. Accept love with kindness.
So she may not be the most profound of thinkers - if she had been, I suppose her name would be Jung, not Jelly. But her tips for living a poised and gracious life have one advantage over any Proustian angst…
She’s damn happy. And she makes us damn happy, too.
And that’s a furry tale ending.