I don't know how long or how many cats there have been at 9 & 7 DR over the years. The picture above shows a 1960 pic with one: does somebody know its name and master/mistress?? Cats seemed to have been important if one judges by this picture:
Look well: Grandma's holding this:
I think this little earthen cat must have been on the kitchen dresser, or perhaps in the Front Room. But to the main subject: I don't recall any cats at any of the two houses until later in their lives, when probably they had less visits and obligations and would have welcomed their presence. I'll come to them shortly, but before, a few of Auntie Olive's letters, where she speaks about them, but unfortunately I don't know when they were written. In this first extract she mentions unnamed pets:
Here's another letter in which she alludes to a certain "Big fellow" which must have been the first appellation of the "Biggy" in the following letter:
Here's the one telling about "Biggy", and introducing "Pussy" (inventive names, as you'll notice):
In this other letter she mentions they came over from n°11. I like the way she finishes, philosophically, when she says "they keep us amused"...
and finally here's a letter about the well-known Pirate and Penny, who hated Pirate for having broken his...jaw:
The latter two are seen in this picture, and there's a portrait of Pirate done by Jean which you will have remembered for an earlier post! Now what was really funny about the cats (and by cats I mean the two above) at Derwent road, and why we in the French family fondly remember them is the beloved attention they had succeded in creating among the Aunties, and, dare I say, Aunty Maud especially! First the way they called them in for the night (I suppose, because during the day they would be free to roam around): Maud would allow her voice to go up a pitch and call out out: "Penny, penny, penny!" with such tenderness that it was quite touching - and a little ridiculous also - to hear her."Pirate" would be called to, by Grandma, again in higher pitched voice, very funny!
They would also regularly let themselves be charmed by whatever the cats were doing, and would refer to them with the the expression: "Just look at it!" and this phrase became a cult-phrase at Bonnebosq whenever we caught ourselves doing the same thing, filling an empty space in the conversation with an allusion to the cats. "Faire du just look at it" became a common ironic comment for somebody who couldn't find anything better to say than mention the cats, or let himself fall so low as to paraphrase what the cats were doing without realizing that whoever was looking could SEE what they were doing without needing somebody to comment!! Rather nastily too, we would imitate Auntie Maud saying "He purrs" as she did when she had one of the cats on her knees and couldn't think of what else to say - well, she never was very talkative, as we all know.
Have some of you other memories connected to "our furry friends" of 9DR?
24/04: a Facebook comment from Auntie Mary: "We had a black and white cat called Nipper. He had originally belonged to a neighbour, but spent so much time with us that she said we could keep him."
Now what about this one ? Which cat was it ? Pirate?
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