As every pet owner knows (and I’m using the word ‘owner’, here, in the loosest possible sense because we all know who really owns who), now and again, when you are not thinking too much about it, you fall quite naturally into speaking each other’s language.
And so it happened the other afternoon. It was bitterly cold outside so we were all together in the Makery. I was sitting, knitting in the blue floral armchair, Poppy was snoozing in front of the fire, Fiona was in her box on the desk and Mrs Hare was busy sewing.
“I really should make something else to go in my shop,” I said, more to myself than to anyone in particular.
“Why don’t you make some cats?” asked Fiona.
“Cats…”, I pondered.
“Yes! You make hares and birds and dolls and dogs…”
“Only sausage dogs!” interrupted Poppy (we have discussed before the difficulty of making a spaniel).
“And sheep!”, added Mrs Hare, without looking up from her work.
“But cats would be better,” said Fiona decidedly. “I’m sure you’ll find there’s quite a market for them.”
I wasn’t entirely persuaded but, by now, Fiona was in full flow. “What you need is some black cats – perhaps other colours later – and I’d start with nine.”
“Oh, for the nine lives of course”.
Mrs Hare and I looked up from our sewing and knitting and even Poppy looked a bit a surprised.
And Fiona laughed. “People always think a cat’s nine lives are nine narrow escapes from death! That’s not it all – and no one wants to buy a cat falling off a roof”.
And she turned around and started cleaning her paws and we all waited for her to tell us what a cat’s nine lives really are. And we waited and waited, all of us knowing quite well that she is not an animal to be pressed for information, but, so far as she was concerned, it seemed that the conversation was over. In the end it was Poppy, who is not usually known for her respect and diplomacy, who broke the silence.
“So, dear Fiona, beautifulest of cats,” she asked in her most polite voice, “What are these nine lives then?”
“Oh, it’s just what we do,” replied Fiona casually. “Humans and dogs and hares have one life at a time and we have nine different lives and live them all at once”.
“But how can you?” asked Poppy. “We see you having your one life, here in the Makery with us”.
“No. You see me having one of my lives here in the Makery with you. That is my life as a Makery cat. And sometimes you see something of the other eight”.
“Like a lady detective?” asked Poppy, getting the idea at once – we all call her ‘Fiona the spy’. But Fiona wouldn’t be drawn into details. “Seven are based on the seven skills of cat, which you can easily observe, and two are personal choice,” she said. Then she sprang effortlessly from the box and was out in the garden before anyone could ask her anymore.
So we just had to guess the seven skills of cat. So far we have come up with these:
- Sewing/Knitting/Crochet Assistant.
- Teacher (Poppy insists that she learnt everything she knows about hunting from Fiona).
Who knows whether those are right or not. You may have some suggestions of your own and we’d love to hear them.
From a sewing point of view, it certainly gave me something to be getting along with and so began the Trial and Error Cats.
So far, there are miscellaneous body parts + four whole large cats without faces + two small cats. And all are without clothes…
So, at the moment, they are rummaging in the vintage scraps and playing dressing up and suggesting all sorts of outlandish attire that it may or may not be possible to construct from from some odd lengths of lace, old table cloths and vintage hankies…
I suspect they will be back soon.
I wish you a warm and happy week!
Janine @ Rainbow Hare