• Cats!


    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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  • Comments

    Helene Pavey
    Sunday 20th April 2014 at 14:12

    What is the metal thing on Grandma's left-hand side on the grass? A soap dish or a toast rack?


    Sunday 20th April 2014 at 16:59

    I always thought it was the toast-rack which was in the kitchen, and which she must have taken outside to make you play with!

    Sunday 11st May 2014 at 17:04

    I can't be sure if the people at no.11 with the cats, were the same people I moved in with after I moved back to England. I can't even remember how long I rented the front room for but  the other tenant had owned 5 cats and still had a couple. Her name was Carla.

    Sunday 11st May 2014 at 19:06

    Jan you had rented at n°11 DR? And was Carla the name of the cat, or the tenant?? Also, when did you 'move back' to England? Where from?

    Sunday 11st May 2014 at 19:16
    Carla Edwards was the other tenant in the downstairs flat and it was not a nice place to live, sadly. I was 19, so it was around winter 1983 and yes it was a few months before I came to bonnesbosq. I lived there maybe two months before moving to the top house on the corner with fox lane. So I may have know Penny and Pirates owner?
    Sunday 11st May 2014 at 19:37

    Whew, well all this had totally escaped me. I hardly recall your having stayed at Bonnebosq at all! Was it for linguistic purposes?

    Sunday 11st May 2014 at 19:49
    Really? Well you were there..... visiting. I came at the end of december up until June and I had helenes room. Did you get those pictures I sent you of paco and noel and your mum. I took them when we once played Scrabble i think.
    I was staying in Cathy's school and getting the interned up in the morning and turning lights off at night so I stayed there in the week.
    I think I was probably very snobby and irritating and I was terrified of speaking any french especially to your dad! But I loved being there. I have lovely memories. I remember you were helping Frederique with her degree by reading the book for her. And jean used to draw every night on his whiteboard about the days events. I remember noel caught the biggest hornet you've ever seen in a really long glass tube! Ask noel. ;)
    Sunday 11st May 2014 at 19:51
    The internes.... the ones that stayed the week in school. I did learn french really well. X
    Sunday 11st May 2014 at 20:31

    Wow, I suppose I was too taken up with degrees and budding love to recall all of this! Or perhaps it's because I'm getting very old!! But if Frédérique was around, it must have been either 1984 or early 1985, because we met in April 84 and got married in Oct 85.

    Yes I got the photos, thanks A LOT!!

    Sunday 11st May 2014 at 21:49
    Yes. That's about it. I was 19 and I'm 49 now. Cricket. That long ago. I remember it well and will fill you in with all the details whenever you're ready. Xx
    carol phillips
    Monday 19th May 2014 at 13:52

    There was another cat with penny and pirate . It was called sammy I think it was a tabby with white in it too. Auntie Maud used to take these cat's in turn to auntie gammon's front room, put them on her table with the green chenille table cloth and brush them for ages every evening. The cat's loved it

    Monday 19th May 2014 at 14:10
    Yes.... I do remember the green chenille table cloth. It also had a leather writing mat on it. I think Sammy might have belonged to no 11, now I think about it. Carla did have an idea her cats were being look after.
    Monday 19th May 2014 at 15:21
    And I often remember grandma's front room smelt biannually (that right?) of hyacynths.
    Monday 19th May 2014 at 21:28

    Yes! How could I have forgotten "Sammy sammy sammy!!!" Maud used to call him in like that, much to our sarcastic delight! He was a tabby, indeed, and from what I recollect, used to stay at n°7 with Penny, while Pirate stayed at n°9... Yes Janet, Grandma loved Hyacinths, you're right. I wonder if perhaps people knew it and bought them for her, or maybe she got them for herself when it was the right moment of the year.

    Monday 19th May 2014 at 22:06
    I do remember the 'Penny penny penny' really well. And ' just look at it'. That was funny.... can't quite remember the 'Sammy' call though. I still by my own self a hyacinth twice a year
    Monday 19th May 2014 at 22:12
    carol phillips
    Saturday 24th May 2014 at 00:20

    Vivi you posted a pic of auntie Olive and auntie gammon holding penny and pirate in 1982 but I think that's Sammy because Penny was black and white.

    Saturday 24th May 2014 at 11:17

    This photo? You know I think you're right!! Hurray now we have a photo of "Sammy"! But perhaps we don't have any of Penny now!

    Thursday 26th June 2014 at 20:58

    Wasn't Nipper the one who would sit on your lap and thus allow the girl who would have it on her knees not to do the washing up?

    Thursday 26th June 2014 at 23:12

    Nipper maybe, but anyway I'd say the one behind Jan (on the new photo above) was Sammysammysammy. But which cat had his arm on her chair??

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