Wednesday, June 10, 2009


...I've been taken severely to task for that last post, by Maurice at No.1.

Maurice is a very large, grey cat who is heavy on his paws, suffers from arthritis and can't move much. He asks how I could possibly have neglected to notice that the 'unrealistic' grey cat in Act II of Falstaff is him?! He looks up and about and purrs when necessary; it's a real star turn and not so different from mine, except that he doesn't bite anybody. He is deeply offended by my comment on his acting ability, and I am obliged to offer him a full and open apology right here, right now, because he is twice my size.

One thing makes all of this even spookier than I'd thought: in one scene, Falstaff is wearing Tom's slippers. Big leather flipflips, and quite unmistakable. I don't take them with me, that's for sure, so I can only assume Maurice pops round to get them before his helicopter arrives half an hour after mine (he's on stage later).

My COS is very uncomfortable and is asking how come director Richard Jones came snooping down our cul-de-sac to research his production when we don't even live in Windsor?!?

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Pawstaff at Glyndebourne...

Questions are being asked. So, after much consideration, I have decided to come clean and tell you about my new starring role in Falstaff at Glyndebourne.

If you attend, you will see a ginger and white cat curled up on the bar in The Garter (well, where else would you expect me to be?), responding happily to Falstaff's expert ear-tickling, biting Pistol and somehow restraining itself from helping itself to toad-in-the-hole pub grub. It is not electronic. It is not a glove puppet. It is not "animatronic" (whatever that means). No, no. It is ME. You can just glimpse me in this photo, behind Pistol's shoulder on the extreme left.

And in act III, I am in the window, watching the antics from a position of perspective that only a cat can take. We don't count the large grey windowseat cat in act II, of course - that one just isn't realistic...

The question I am being asked, mainly by my chief-of-staff, is: how do you do it? "How can it be that when we set off for Sussex, you, dear Solti, are on the bed in the land of nod, and when we return many hours later, you're waiting at the door, meowing as if you've never seen a bowl of Iams before? If that is truly you, how come you get home before us?"

Ah, CoS, what you haven't yet seen is my private helicopter. If you ever bother to look up from your computer screen, you might have a little surprise.

The minute you and Sir Tom are out the door, I spring into action. I clean my fur and whiskers, brush up my tail-suit and prepare to pounce into the 'copter awaiting overhead (and there was you thinking that the noise came merely from living under the flight path! teeheeheee). We whizz to the South Downs in a trice, landing safely on the Glyndebourne estate beside the alpacas and the dromedary where Gus greets me in person and the beautiful Danni presents me with a bowl of the finest organic double cream. Darling Richard gives me my notes from the previous show and makes sure I am happy with all my moves, and Vladimir never fails to offer his congratulations and words of zen-like wisdom.

I am then escorted to my dressing room, in which my contract stipulates that I require the following:

1. A platter of fish;
2. A sheepskin cushion on the couch;
3. A fresh rose for me to take home to my lady cat pal, Scarlett the long-haired tabby (a gorgeous girl, you hear me?)

Do I suffer from nerves, you ask? My dears, one must suffer for one's art. Sometimes I let off a little steam by offering to go on mouse patrol in the house and kitchens.

And sometimes one must do without thanks. There's no curtain call for me, although Christopher Purves, Dina Kuznetsova and Adriana Kucerova are pelted with cheers, whistles and stamping. Ah, er, no, said the powers that be: we have to pretend that you are a mechanical cat, otherwise we might be accused of politically incorrect cat-training! I pretend very well: only one critic bothered to mention - specifically and pointedly - that I am ginger. I think she guessed the truth. See line #5 of her review.

The upside is that I can leave early. While my dear colleagues are singing their socks off in that mad fugue, I am being flown home in luxury; there is plenty of time to give my beloved Scarlett her rose and have a goodnight nose-nudge before I slink in through the catflap and go back to being...well, Solti. Who else?

Monday, May 11, 2009

Felix Miaowndelssohn

Anyone with a mild case of Mendelssohnfunk after R3's intensive weekend is encouraged to visit a certain kitty food site where a competition is taking place to find the cutest kitten. At a princely 9.5 years I am too old to enter, rather to my annoyance. Solti and Mendelssohn were a good mix, once upon a time.

Stand by for the Felix Kitten Factor contest...

Saturday, April 25, 2009


The Guardian runs a gallery today of ten championship-winning cats, seven or eight of whom are the ugliest creatures I ever saw in my life. Left, one of the more presentable specimens, a Maine Coon job with serious fuzz. There's also one who looks like a leopard, with whom I could reasonably envisage sharing my garden.

As for the others - honestly. I spend hours keeping my moggie fur in good nick, eating sensibly (perforce...) to keep trim and being told I'm the most wonderful, beautiful, adorable and generally best cat on the planet, and then they give prizes for these? And call it 'lifestyle'?! No wonder the human world is going to the dogs.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Springtime for Solti

Saturday, March 28, 2009

The elephant in the back yard

This amazing story appeared in The Independent yesterday. My CoS is still chortling over it and wondering if anybody has yet optioned it for a film. There might be issues about getting heffalumps that can act, surely? ...oh...CoS says they are very intelligent, "more trainable than cats". I am not sure how to take this. Anyway, here we go: Mystery Solved Of Elephant In Belfast Back Yard.

A mystery Belfast woman who cared for a baby elephant in her back garden during the war years has finally been identified.

The ‘elephant angel’ was Denise Weston Austin, who was one of the first female zoo keepers in Belfast Zoo.

Along with her mother Irene, Denise took baby elephant Sheila in to her north Belfast home after it escaped an order to euthanize some of the more dangerous animals at the zoo.

Nine lions, two tigers and a number of bears and wolves were killed on the orders of the Ministry of Public Security because of fears that they would escape and threaten the public if the zoo was damaged in a German bombing raid.

Earlier this week the zoo - which is celebrating its 75th anniversary - launched a campaign to find the mystery owner and, through a surviving relative, have found more information on her identity...

Read the rest here.

Monday, February 02, 2009

What the...

I can't get through my catflap because there's a load of white stuff outside it. What DO they think they're doing?! What IS this? And why won't my CoS kindly make it all go away? I tell you, it won't do. It is icy on the paw-pads, it's wet and horrible when it melts and I can't see any plain earth to, um. Apart from anything else it's b****y cold.

Unimpressed Feline with Strong Views, East Sheen