About Me

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London, United Kingdom
Holly Searle is a writer who was born in Westminster in the middle of London. She shares her birthday with Jarvis Cocker and David Seaman and like Jarvis Cocker she wears glasses but has nothing whatsoever in common with David Seaman. She is fascinated by words, people and their stories, and regularly spends hours fantasising about being offered a weekly column. She has a degree in Film and Television which she gained from Brunel University in 1997. She has been blessed with two quite remarkable children whom she adores. She enjoys the company of her friends and the circus that is life. Long Walk to Forever by Kurt Vonnegut is her favourite short story. She is the author of the published children's tale The Story of Balan Singh, and is currently working on her first book.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Pet Sounds By Holly Searle





I miss my cat Jones.

He was the most majestic and glorious of creatures, that came to live with us for seventeen years, until he became quite poorly and sadly left.

He was one of a pair, as initially we were lucky enough to be able to home him and his sister Reece

But she, unfortunately met with a dreadful untimely end, and as such, I always felt so guilty about having taken her as well.

And here is why.

On the day that Child One and I went to visit our friend's house to decide which one of the litter we would like, Jones, chose me. He made a bee line for my lap and that was it. We were engaged from that moment on, and later married.

She, on the other hand, did not chose me. She was a timid little thing right from the start, and in retrospect, I should really have let her make her own choice as too whom she wanted to spend her life with, instead of rather greedily taking her home with us as well.

She was an exquisite silver tabby, and just like him, she had the Mark of Mohamed above her eyes.

For as long as I can remember we always had a cat or two that made up the make-up of my family.

Our Islington cats were Cromwell and Midgy, followed thereafter by Jiggle Bells whom lived with us in Holloway Road.

In Fulham our cat in residence was Sam. He used to come on holiday with us and he later moved with us to Chiswick. And then we had so many various cats, that at one point we had nine.

Emma was a tortoiseshell, with a purr as loud as a black taxi. Arthur was a ginger and white cat and one of Emma's kittens who had been born on my bed, who often thought I was his mother. Charlie Parker, also one of Emma's kittens, was a charming black and white cat who was very, very chatty. Alas, he never played a saxophone, but nevertheless was too cool for school. And then there was Fluff, a high maintenance grey cat, who was a picky eater. They were the last of the Mohican cats, in an end of days of my family's historical feline frenzy.

When I left home however, I promptly carried on this tradition by finding a ginger cat called Clarence. He was a bit snooty to be honest, and we didn't get on so well.

But then, much much later, after Child One was born, and whilst we were of no fixed abode, we couldn't even entertain the idea of having a cat. It was a feline famine of the worst kind.

Once we had finally put down some roots, and had room to house a couple of moggies, we did just that, and that was when we when Jones and Reece arrived.

Jones was the most beautiful ginger marmalade tabby. Fact.

He was a big ball of ginger sunshine. Fact.

And, he was his own cat, and you couldn't argue with either him or that. If he didn't want to do something, he wouldn't, and that was all. No room for discussion or debate on the matter.

He lived his life as and how he wanted too.

He had his own agenda, and timetable and could always be found positioned on the other pillow next to mine, on my bed in the early morning, trying wake me up with a gentle tap of his paw on my cheek, followed by a mipping sound.

He could be most insistent. And if I didn't get up to feed him straight away, he would simply apply more strength to his action, and the occasionally claw or two if I failed to respond.

And on days when I wasn't feeling well, and would take to my bed, he would always follow me up the stairs and climb into bed with me and curl up into a comforting little ball next to me.

He adored Child One, and allowed her to get away with all sorts of mischief at his expense. One morning she declared that she had cut his whiskers off. To be fair it was more of a trim, but he had sat there in his trusting way, and had allowed her to do it.

Once I had got over the horror of my child having found the scissors and her attempt to give him a short, back and sides.

I explain to her that without his whiskers, and until they grew back, he would be unable to gage his ability to access gaps and spaces, as they dictated his height and width.

Safe to say, she learnt a lesson that day, as did he. Eventually his whiskers grew back and he survived the ordeal with great aplomb, and I, of course hid the scissors in a safer place.

When he felt like it, he did a few tricks as well. You could throw a ball of paper for him, and he would fetch it and bring it back to you. This was a good game, until he grew tired of its repetition, and would simple stop and stare at you as if to say "I am bored with this now, so I am not playing any more."

Fair enough.

When Child Two was born, he was very upset and demonstrated this by leaving a suitable gift in his Moses basket one evening.

His nose was well and truly out of joint, as he felt that his ranking within the family had changed.

He used to come and sit on the edge of the bath with me while I was bathing to keep me company. I made sure we had a few extra us moments like these, and he seemed to default to his factory settings and re-established in his own mind, his rightful place.

He liked to lay in pools of sunlight and snooze for a hour or two.

And he loved a cuddle.

But his greatest love was to chase a feather or two.

He liked that very much.

I would often catch him vocalisation a warning Rahhing sound to the birds as they attempted to land on the balcony of our little home. And just like in one of those Warner Brother's cartoon, there would often been a pile of discarded feathers floating above his head when I went to see what he was up to.

On catching him in this post terrorist mode, he would just look very guiltily in my direction, and then smile at me and blink his eyes to placate my angry tone.

It always work.

It is seven years since he died.

It was the most God awful decision I have ever had to make, calling that. I am not God, but he wasn't well, and the choices were nil.

I can't recall crying as much about anything else in my entire life with such fervent emotion as I did that day.

It was just horrible.

After he was gone, I could still feel his paws on my lap, and I could hear his footsteps padding around the place when the house was still.

I miss him dreadfully.

I haven't replaced him, because I can't.

But one day, when I am ready, and when I have a garden, another cat will come to stay.


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