Saturday, December 4
The cat and the hailstorm
I promised yesterday the story of the cat and the herb garden and of the hailstorm, so here they are.
We have the the most beautiful cat, Monty, ( I say we, but the cat's fixated on Martin, the little suckup; my role is merely feeder and cleaner and person to be woken at 3am) who's possibly a Russian blue or a reasonable facsimile thereof.
He was previously a stray and had been hanging around Martin's parents' garden for several months and was in a bit of a state. Missing teeth, all bones, infected ears and lots of scars, and no voice due to sustained crying. He'd obviously been a well-loved cat at some point, but from his poor state it looked as though he had been a stray for a couple of winters at least. But he's such an affectionate little dear, and Martin's Mum is such a softie, it wasn't long before he was being fed and bedded down in the old rabbit hutch. (She couldn't take him inside because her own cat would've have got a snit on.)
Every time we visited he would come running up to us and be incredibly affectionate, which is always gratifying, and as winter was coming on we knew he couldn't take another harsh season outside, so we brought him home. We cleaned him and fed him, and took him to the vet, who deflea'd and wormed him, cleaned his ears and scars and took out several badly infected teeth. He's now a happy and healthy cat with shining, sleek velvet grey fur, and drapes himself around Martin's neck when he's at the PC, like an ambulatory fur tippet.
My problem with him is that he keeps digging up my herb garden and shitting in it. As he has no teeth he can only eat soft canned food (not crazy about the environmental/factory farming implications, but there's little I can do), it means that his productions are rather, umm... meaty. (Not only that, he can only eat by sticking his whole face in the food and sucking, which tends to splat chopped chicken innards all over the kitchen floor. Guess who gets to clean it.) On Tuesday he went out to the back yard as usual but this time, rather than just the usual little scratch in the dirt he decided to dig up his whole toilet area: so that when I went out I found he had managed spread at least a kilo, several months worth, of aged catshit all over the path. The smell was unbelievably rancid. I had to get gloves and a trowel and pick it all up, which I eventually managed to do with frequent vomit breaks. Why ever did I fall for his Puss in Boots bigeyes expression?
The hailstorm incident I'm still recovering from: I still have a truly impressive set of bruises and scrapes and the muscles behind my knees still ache every time I stand up. I had been to the grocery store at Banne Buiksloot on my bike, and my panniers were weighed down with at least 25 kilos of groceries, as I'd been doing the heavy stuff, potatoes, and onions, and detergent and the like. That journey involves crossing 2 main roads at traffic light junctions on the way there, and again on the way back. The weather had been very threatening all day, but I thought could probably make it back before it really hit. I was maybe 2 minutes from home, just coming up to the last junction: the lights were green, but it had got very dark and lightning had just started to flash.
As I began to cross the junction the light turned red and the heavens opened, with huge hailstones hammering down at an incredible pace: my front wheel slipped on the ice, and the guy who had, illegally, jumped the lights to make a left turn into the junction hit my back wheel at about 30mph. I, of course, went over with the weight of the bike and the laden panniers and hit the ice-covered road pretty hard with the bike on top of me. That hurt enough. However, rather than stopping, the driver drove on, over my bike and over me. Didn't stop, didn't ask if I was OK, just drove on. I'm in the middle of a busy road, can't get up quickly because of the weight of the bike and panniers, and the shock, in the middle of a violent thunderstorm with rush-hour traffic weaving around me. I was really scared: I'm not a wimp by any stretch but i was trapped withcars speeding towards me. I was lucky. A young lad of about 17 who was passing stopped the cars, helped me up and rescued my bike and panniers. I wish I'd got his name, he was great. Whowever you were, thank you. Thank you also Gazelle, who make the best bikes. If it hadn't been for the strength of the frame and wheels I'd've been seriously hurt. I love that bike - all the damge done was a snapped brake cable.
I wish also I had been able to get the name of the bastard that ran me over, and of those drivers who drove around me while I was lying in the road hurt. What kind of person does that? I'm not an untrained rider, I've done all the road safety courses and I've been rising a bike since I was 8. I'm extra careful also, because riding on the right is not what I was brought up to. Everyone rides a bike here and knows the rules. There was no excuse for this.
11/28/2004 - 12/05/2004