The return of Scraggles or Bombur or Frank E. Cat
Today’s original blip was vetoed by Mrs. Ottawacker, who for some reason felt that the early morning shot of her taking the recycling to the shed was inappropriate for her brand. I pointed out that her smile was as beautiful was it was the first day I met her, that she had not aged a day over the past 20 years, that her eyes were the same limpid pools of almond as on the day of our wedding – but to no avail. She felt, for some reason, that her taking out of the recycling in pink fluffy dressing gown, with hair freshly washed and conditioner still setting under her blue woolen Benny hat, in slippers and knee socks of uncertain composition was not the sort of image she wished to promote in any sort of public sphere. In vain did I point out that nobody reads the shit I write, and even if they did they would be asleep by the end of the first paragraph – she was as adamant as Adam Ant singing Desperate Not Serious on Top of the Pops in 1982 in front of a crowd of adamant Adam Ant impersonators. When she gets like this, I know not to mess with her. (By the way, when I was looking up when the adamant Adam Ant sang Desperate Not Serious, I happened to notice that he had recently turned 65 and was actually called Stuart Leslie Goddard. My first girlfriend (when I was 14) was a huge Adam and the Ants fan. I was slightly jealous of her affections for him then – he was a frigging pirate for God’s sake!, how can you compete with that? – if I’d known then that he was called Stuart Leslie, my whole life might have been different.) Anyway, on this insanely busy day, I acquiesced and promised that I would not post the picture. So you are stuck with Scraggles or Frank E. The Cat or Bombur, who made a Lazarus-like return from the dead this morning.
We’d started feeding this feral tomcat shortly after my return from Spain, and Ottawacker Jr. is responsible for the names. We were quite assiduous in our feeding of him, until we noticed that the next three houses down to us also had dishes of food out for him, and at least one other neighbour had told us via semaphore that he too was providing him with food. He must have had his own personal Über driver taking his left overs to his fluffy cushioned pad or something. Not a speck of food was ever left in his bowl, and he would sit at the end of the drive waiting for the moment when I would go to read Ottawacker Jr. his latest installment of Lord of the Rings, look out of the window, see him and say in an excited voice, “Ottawacker Jr., Scraggles is back.”
Anyway, after a couple of weeks, Scraggles had evolved into Bombur (from LOTR) and Frank E. The Cat and probably other names I can no longer remember (my mind having been seared by the memory of Mrs. Ottawacker in her pink fluffy number), and then he disappeared. I, in my slightly neurotic if not psychotic way, immediately thought he had been killed (cats after all can contract Covid19, and if not that way then there are fishers and wolves in the ravine at the back of our house – bears too, for all I know), myriad killing machines all waiting for a tomcat that had been fed too much food and whose reactions were no longer what they were. Yes, this is who I am, and don’t judge me too harshly.
The weeks passed and every time I would walk up the stairs from the basement to the kitchen I would open the blinds and peek out to see if Scraggles were there. He never was. And I had almost given up looking when Ottawacker Jr. ran up the stairs this morning to tell me he was there and we should feed him. I got up from my seat, followed him down and saw him, bold as brass, in the middle of our lawn, lying there, paws crossed in the leonine manner, waiting for food.
Well, what else could I do? I filled the nearest bowl with a mixture of wet food and kibble, and put it out for him by the steps. Off he ran, returning when the coast was clear, to scoff the lot. He was back at dinner time, much to the chagrin of our two female cats Tui and Charlie, who were forced to stand and watch as a cocky vagabond prince wolfed down another bowl of their precious food. I knew how they felt, I had felt the same when I was 14. Stand and Deliver girls, the dandy highwayman is back.