I owe to Ma Ramotswe, the no.1 lady detective of the No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, one of the loveliest ways of thinking about today’s cat. Today’s cat, you see, died recently, so as Ma Ramotswe would say, she is late.
I don’t like euphemisms – particularly about death. It’s not that I’m one of those annoying people who call a spade a spade (like Gwendolen in The Importance of Being Ernest, “I am glad to say that I have never seen a spade. It is obvious that our social spheres have been widely different”), it’s just that I’d rather sit amongst tombstones, and read some decent 16th or 17th Century poems on the subject of Death, than shyly tiptoe through ‘passings away’ and ‘losing battles’.
And yet, and yet … being late, is the exception I’ll allow. Especially when applied to a cat who is now late. There is something so perfectly poised about the expression – so very catlike, in its indifference to our human, worldly timekeeping. We may choose to get up, have breakfast, go out and come back according to our habitual patterns, but cats reserve to right to come and go to their own timetables. We call this being late, but a cat, one presumes, might call it being a cat.
Perhaps a cat who is late (in the Ma Ramotswe sense), is just a cat who can’t be bothered to be on our time, a cat who might pop back in at any moment. And doesn’t that reflect the very essence of cats: the uncanny sense they give off, of doing things their own way. ‘Just one life?’ a cat may ask us. ‘I have eight more, to be getting on with. I’ll see you sometime.’
Beauty that she was.
As you can see, there were a lot of stunning shots to choose from, but, lovely as they all were, it was this tiny domestic shot that won the day: a cat doing its washing.
So, so lovely. And so it went on:
I love the ghostly image the appeared on the back at this stage.
We chose a lively print for the background. The photos don’t altogether do it justice – too much direct sunlight – but the colours played off each other beautifully.[That said – she looked perfect on a number of prints, and the problem was choosing amongst them. Perhaps the other prints matched her other 8 lives. Now, there’s a thought for another day.]