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On Missing Mr Pussy In Summer

June 18, 2018
by the gentle author

With your help, I am collecting the stories of my old cat Mr Pussy who died last year into a book entitled THE LIFE & TIMES OF MR PUSSY, A Memoir Of A Favourite Cat to be published by Spitalfields Life Books on 20th September.

There are two ways you can help publish the book.

1. I am seeking readers who are willing to invest £1000 in THE LIFE & TIMES OF MR PUSSY. In return, we will publish your name in the book and invite you to a celebratory dinner hosted by yours truly. If you would like to know more, please drop me an email spitalfieldslife@gmail.com

2. Preorder a copy of THE LIFE & TIMES OF MR PUSSY and you will receive a signed and inscribed copy in September when the book is published. Click here to preorder your copy

Below you can read an excerpt and in coming days I will publishing more of these stories.

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Extract from THE LIFE & TIMES OF MR PUSSY, A Memoir Of A Favourite Cat

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While Londoners luxuriate in the warmth of summer, I miss Mr Pussy who endured the hindrance of a fur coat, spending his languorous days stretched out upon the floor in a heat-induced stupor. As the sun reached its zenith, his activity declined and he sought the deep shadow, the cooling breeze and the bare wooden floor to stretch out and fall into a deep trance that could transport him far away to the loss of his physical being. Mr Pussy’s refined nature was such that even these testing conditions provided an opportunity for him to show grace, transcending dreamy resignation to explore an area of meditation of which he was the supreme proponent.

In the early morning and late afternoon, you would see him on the first floor window sill here in Spitalfields, taking advantage of the draught of air through the house. With his aristocratic attitude, Mr Pussy took amusement in watching the passersby from his high vantage point on the street frontage and enjoyed lapping water from his dish on the kitchen window sill at the back of the house, where in the evenings he also liked to look down upon the foxes gambolling in the yard.

Whereas in winter it was Mr Pussy’s custom to curl up in a ball to exclude drafts, in these balmy days he preferred to stretch out to maximize the air flow around his body. There was a familiar sequence to his actions, as particular as stages in yoga. Finding a sympathetic location with the advantage of cross currents and shade from direct light, at first Mr Pussy sat to consider the suitability of the circumstance before rolling onto his side and releasing the muscles in his limbs, revealing that he was irrevocably set upon the path of total relaxation.

Delighting in the sensuous moment, Mr Pussy stretched out to his maximum length of over three feet long, curling his spine and splaying his legs at angles, creating an impression of the frozen moment of a leap, just like those wooden horses on fairground rides. Extending every muscle and toe, his glinting claws unsheathed and his eyes widened gleaming gold, until the stretch reached it full extent and subsided in the manner of a wave upon the ocean, as Mr Pussy slackened his limbs to lie peacefully with heavy lids descending.

In this position that resembled a carcass on the floor, Mr Pussy could undertake his journey into dreams, apparent by his twitching eyelids and limbs as he ran through the dark forest of his feline unconscious where prey were to be found in abundance. Vulnerable as an infant, sometimes Mr Pussy cried to himself in his dream, an internal murmur of indeterminate emotion, evoking a mysterious fantasy that I could never be party to. It was somewhere beyond thought or language. I could only wonder if his arcadia was like that in Paolo Uccello’s “Hunt in the Forest” or whether Mr Pussy’s dreamscape resembled the watermeadows of the River Exe, the location of his youthful safaris.

There was another stage, beyond dreams, signalled when Mr Pussy rolled onto his back with his front paws distended like a child in the womb, almost in prayer. His back legs splayed to either side, his head tilted back, his jaw loosened and his mouth opened a little, just sufficient to release his shallow breath – and Mr Pussy was gone. Silent and inanimate, he looked like a baby and yet very old at the same time. The heat relaxed Mr Pussy’s connection to the world and he fell, he let himself go far away on a spiritual odyssey. It was somewhere deep and somewhere cool, he was out of his body, released from the fur coat at last.

Startled upon awakening from his trance, like a deep-sea diver ascending too quickly, Mr Pussy squinted at me as he recovered recognition, giving his brains a good shake, once the heat of the day had subsided. Lolloping down the stairs, still loose-limbed, he strolled out of the house into the garden and took a dust bath under a tree, spending the next hour washing it out and thereby cleansing the sticky perspiration from his fur.

Regrettably the climatic conditions that subdued Mr Pussy by day, also enlivened him by night. At first light, when the dawn chorus commenced, he stood on the floor at my bedside, scratched a little and called to me. I woke to discover two golden eyes filling my field of vision. I rolled over at my peril, because this provoked Mr Pussy to walk to the end of the bed and scratch my toes sticking out under the sheet, causing me to wake again with a cry of pain. I miss having no choice but to rise, accepting his forceful invitation to appreciate the manifold joys of early morning in summer in Spitalfields, because it was not an entirely unwelcome obligation.

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CLICK HERE TO PREORDER A COPY OF THE LIFE & TIMES OF MR PUSSY

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6 Responses leave one →
  1. June 18, 2018

    Dear GA ..I was at the Spitalfields Open Gardens on Saturday. Your blog was mentioned of course and twice complete strangers mentioned to me that your finest hour came in your tribute to Mr Pussy. Rest assured that I will buy the book.

  2. Jacqueline Mulligan permalink
    June 18, 2018

    Beautiful,

  3. Nicola J permalink
    June 18, 2018

    Our Arnie was a dead-ringer for your Mr Pussy. Arnie went on one adventure too many, I guess, when he was about 14; he thought nothing of two month or even four month trips away, returning as if it was all perfectly normal to put us through the mill and heading straight for the cat bowl. This time, though, he went for good. His mother died last year – at 21 – so you never know – he may still be travelling.
    Your writing brings it all alive so well. I will enjoy your book.

  4. Allison permalink
    June 18, 2018

    I’ve also got a dead-ringer for Mr Pussy. His name is Jasper and we adopted him from a property on Dean St, Soho where he never went outside. How he absolutely loves being in the garden. He has the most beautiful kind spirit and seems to know when I’m sad and he is so kind to my other cats who can be quite cheeky with him.

    I’m very much looking forward to reading your book.

  5. June 18, 2018

    A fine idea to publish such a book! — In my own neighbourhood there appeared a little cat called “Chico”, a real tiger with a wonderful and pretty physionomy. He is always after the birds which I feed all year round on the balcony. When I come home, even in the late evening, my tiger welcomes me with a loving purr. I take him in my arms, cuddle him and bring him into my living room — where he examines everything closely. And then heb goes “hunting” for the birds on the balcony! (Lucky for the birds: Chico is always too slow to get them! :-)

    I am so in love with this small tiger!! And all my thoughts are with the G.A. …

    Love & Peace
    ACHIM

  6. Margaret McDermott permalink
    June 25, 2018

    For me good art is based on meticulous observation.How well you observed Mr Pussy and how much I am looking forward to the book.

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