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Monday, December 16, 2013

As William Shakespeare wrote in his famous nativity play, "some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have Christmas thrust upon them"...

I think that's definitely a case of the latter. Although she might appear slightly less startled if she didn't have markings that look like raised eyebrows.

Fortunately, the Santa Cat above was bred to be man-handled by maniacs. That's Rozi, one of Shimmy's three kittens, who grew up in these capable hands...

She's developed quite a tan in the last eighteen months. I think Andrew must be grooming her with Fake Bake.

Anyhoo, festive felines notwithstanding, our entire weekend has revolved around cats. This was the scene in St Leonards on Saturday afternoon...

... which is enough to break your heart. Amelie seems to have coped remarkably well with the death of Chloe (she was sadder at the end of Charlotte's Web), but the sight of her laying flowers on our little cat's grave is enough to reduce me to tears. And not just because that bouquet cost me a fortune.

We actually had two reasons to visit my parents on Saturday. Paying our last respects to Chloe was the first, but the second was equally important...

Frankly we'll go anywhere for cake. And I think that's Shimmy on the coasters.

The fact that I know a 37-year-old called Sylvia might come as a surprise to some people. Particularly my Mum, who generally feels about twice that age (even if she doesn't look it). But that's what happens when you ask Amelie to put the candles on your birthday cake. She's succeeded where L'Oreal has failed, and taken years off her grandmother.

It's not actually my Mum's birthday until tomorrow, but as the old saying goes, when life hands you lemons, make lemon drizzle cake. So having been dealt a week of cat death, heavy colds and black eyes by the fruit machine of fate, we spent the weekend stuffing ourselves with baked goods. We've eaten so much lemon drizzle cake, we've had about ten of our five-a-day.

Saturday's effort came from Waitrose, via my Mum, who's gone a bit more upmarket since she read about our dealings with Asda, and having polished that off with a rendition of 'Happy Birthday', we followed it up with a trip to Stefan & Andrew's yesterday afternoon, where we were presented with some gorgeous home-made brioche and... another lemon drizzle cake. And I have to say, Waitrose might know a thing or two about food, but they can't compete with Stefan's master baking and Andrew's packet mix. If I was Paul Hollywood (and I could be if I wanted), I'd put them straight through to the next round, and force them to bake for me every week.

Luckily, the Gardners are excellent house guests. I've got a highly contagious head cold, Lisa looks like a mugging victim, and we have children who'll smear food all over your new leather sofa. It's a miracle we don't get invited out more. The one positive for our hosts is that we're always late, which cuts down on the amount of time we spend ruining your flat.

As usual, Stefan & Andrew put up with us with good grace, and even gave the kids gifts (possibly in the hope that they'd go home and play with them), so Toby's now the proud owner of a tractor and trailer, while Amelie's making her own farmyard and reading the book on the left. She's taking it as written confirmation that she's on Santa's route this year.

Toby was quite taken with Zita & Rozi, but sadly failed to get his hands on them, while Amelie realised that the best way to hunt big game is with a camera. So as Toby's bottle of water leaked out of Lisa's bag and onto the leather sofa, where it soaked nicely into the chunks of brioche he'd stuffed between the cushions, Amelie snapped the Santa Cat photo above. Yes, that's one of hers. So if it goes viral, she'll get all the royalties. She can use them to pay for a new cat-flap. I've heard of Santa getting stuck in the chimney, but Rozi snapped off the old one trying to get out.


Phil's Mum said...

Poor Rozi! Not only dressed as Santa but faced with the papparazzi in the shape of Amelie. No wonder she broke the cat flap!