What a horrible weekend! I thought summer had arrived but I was wrong.
You had to be an enthusiast to be out and about. After an unbearably hot Thursday the temperature plummeted and it rained most of Friday, Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday afternoon it even snowed!
Unfortunately it was the weekend for one of the biggest horse events of the year in Cluny, the four day Open de Bourgogne featuring the regional pony clubs. 1500 riders had enrolled, including 700 children for the pony games. There was the usual jumping and dressage events but also carriage racing, voltige, horse carrousel, Western riding, endurance and horseball.
We watched some of the pony games to pick up some tips. We occasionally play pony games as an end of term treat at Laizé. It’s best to check that the girth is tight and don’t get the pony so excited that it gallops off when you are trying to get back on board. Some of the girls could just swing up into the saddle no matter how fast the horse was going. Would that I could but I think I’m a bit too old for that!
Calling our cat Benedict was like calling a tall chap Shorty. Would he have grown more angelic if we had called him Lucifer?
Benedict as a kitten
The kittens were born in the pitch black in our neighbours’ tackroom. Soon afterwards I went in with a torch and the first thing I saw was a white cross, luminous in the dark. As I am not of a religious disposition Varanges did not become a shrine for pilgrimage, but we did call the kitten with the cross Benedict, after the Pope.
It seemed a suitable name as Benedict was always the leader of the gang. But he was also the naughtiest, the only one to try and scavenge leftovers if we were slow to clear away after a meal.
His name caused no end of confusion as he is male and Bendict becomes Benoît in French. Bénédicte is a girls name. Our lovely lady vet Bénédicte says he is called after her. (We did manage to get reduced rates once but only because all five were there at the same time!).
Since Pope Benedict resigned last week I have realised just how unpopular a name it is. Apparently the most infamous traitor in the US was called Benedict Arnold. He swopped sides during the War of Independence and his name is synonymous with betrayal, like Judas. But, as Benjamin Franklin commented, “Judas sold one man, Arnold three millions”.
Benedict at breakfast this morning
So besides the Pope there are no glamourous role models for our Benedict. He continues to be the troublemaker in our normally peaceful existence. Shouting his usual name Oy!Benedict! has no effect; the only deterrent from his errant ways is the occasional spray of water. But he is probably our most interesting cat.
I haven’t knitted since I made a horrible emerald green scarf at primary school. But recently we were lent a handicrafts book and saw the most lovely patchwork blanket. The patterns for all the different squares looked quite simple so we begged bits of leftover wool from a knitter friend and set to. Of course Chris proved himself up to the task immediately, making up his own patterns and getting inches done before I even got up in the morning. My laborious squares turned out all shapes and sizes, some not even square.
As with all geniuses Chris turned his mind to bigger things like this –
Ponies with pullovers (Scottish Tourist Board)
But on reflection he thought we didn’t have enough wool so what about this?
Cat with pullover
A bit tricky needing four needles. So inspired by his brother who made this dalek in the back garden
Brother Paul as Dr Who and his snowman
he settled for making egg cosies.
Dalek egg cosies
I’ve been looking at patterns to make cats. Now perhaps we could replace our three with these…….
I’ve told the story before, of how one winter I started to feed a starving kitten who went on to have kittens of her own which we adopted. www.cormatin.eu/blog/?tag=kittens&paged=2
White Cat was a wonderful mother
The kittens grew into lovely cats, all different in appearance and behaviour. Smudge lives up to her name as she is usually oilstained. Blanche was a pretty cat who teamed up with Benedict on hunting expeditions.
Benedict and Blanche
Claude was a special cat. He must have had Siamese ancestry because he would have singsong conversations and could howl like a Banshee. He often brought his prey unharmed into the house so we were forever rescuing mice. Giant grasshoppers would take refuge in the curtains.
Claude had fur like silk and was long and lanky. He is the only cat I’ve seen lie on his back with his head face up between his back legs.
We thought we would have our family of cats forever but on the morning of 1st November, the Toussaint holiday, Blanche and Claude didn’t come home. We searched the village and even walked around in the dead of night to see if we could hear Claude. One morning Chris took all the manhole covers up to search the drains.
A couple of days later a neighbour said he had passed a white cat dead by the road. We suppose this was Blanche although there are other white cats around. But there has been no sign of Claude.
Meanwhile Benedict still looks for the others. We have nothing much to show they were ever here. Except the prints of Blanche’s nose where she used to look out of the window. And empty chairs.