My favourite cat, Oscar, is the cat housed and maintained by GodDaughter2’s family, down in the south of France. Search for Oscar on the left there, and you’ll encounter several other postings featuring Oscar, as well as postings that refer to such persons as Oscar Wilde.
Here, from GD2’s Dad, is the latest Oscar photo. This is him, yawning:
I like that. The lighting has gone a bit wrong at the top, but I don’t care about that and nor should you.
As I told GD2D earlier in the week, I meant to post this yesterday, Friday being my day for such postings, but yesterday was a bit fraught, what with life and everything happening, and I forgot.
Rules are important. Without rules, society descends into chaos and civilisation itself collapses. And we’d none of us want that, would we? So I do realise that putting a cat photo up on a Saturday is not good. But it’s Oscar, and if I were to wait until next Friday I might forget again, and I don’t want that. Best to get this done. That way, it’s done.
The government will try to say that the continuing absence of Armageddon, which is what will be the next chapter in this story, proves that Lockdown has worked and is working. They’ve been marching down the High Street in weird robes and banging big drums to keep the elephant away, and look, no elephant! It’s working! It worked! No. There never was an elephant. A mouse, yes, maybe even a big old rat. But no elephant.
However, I must correct this. They have not, as it turns out, been marching down the High Street in weird robes and banging big drums, to keep the elephant away. I now learn that what they have been doing is blowing a tiger horn, to keep the tigers away.
In London, and I suspect elsewhere, interesting new murals now seem to be more numerous than interesting new buildings. And more interesting, I’d say. To put this another way, murals are now the latest architectural thing.
GodDaughter2’s Dad recently sent another photo of their cat Oscar, displaying his lack of any fear of heights:
And also, in this case, his desire to keep an eye on other cats in the neighbourhood.
Photo taken by GD2D from a nearby balcony. On the left, the original photo that incame. On the right, a crop showing the other three cats down below, just in case you missed them, as I did when I first looked at the photo.
I don’t fully understand Oscar’s relationships with other cats nearby. My first impression: It’s complicated. Whenever I witness Oscar “socialising”, there seems like a lot of exchanging of territorial proclamations going on, in among other stuff, but what do I know? And note that the three cats below are also, in a quieter and smaller way, keeping their distance from each other.
When you observe cats with each other, you get to realise how nice and polite most of them are to us, by comparison.
It’s a common experience. I’m making absolutely no claim to originality here. We humans regularly see faces where we know, even as we see these faces, that there are no real faces to be seen. Yet, we see them:
Closely related to seeing faces where there are none, is the way that humans see human-like expressions in the faces of animals, and react accordingly. An animal may be just standing there, looking cute. But what that animal may well be thinking is: Could I beat this creature in front of me if we had a fight? And if I could, what would his flesh taste like? We all know this. Yet, our brains overrule our minds.
I hesitated quite a while before showing my latest clutch of Oscar photos, this morning. My reason being that by showing such photos I am proclaiming myself to be rather soft in the head, in the sort of way I have just described. I don’t think that Oscar was contemplating attacking me and trying to eat me. If we had a straight up fight, I’d win, and both he and I know this. But Oscar may well have been thinking: When is this idiot going to feed me? Yet still, I find myself liking Oscar. All because he has evolved to behave in such a way as to make my brain think him a combination of a nice, warm-hearted, generous person and a comfort blanket. I can’t help myself.
Am I becoming a cat lady in my old age? Probably. Although it may be more that, as I get older, I become less bothered about pretending not to be a cat lady, having always been one.
That’s Oscar, and a wooden cat, photoed just as I was about to leave GodDaughter2’s family in the South of France last January, and head for Carcassonne airport and back to London. I was all packed up and read to go, and waiting. So I filled the time photoing the two cats in question.
The reason I show so many photos of this photo-session is that if I merely showed you one of the last two, of Oscar next to Woodcat, you’d be assuming that Oscar was there, and I put Woodcat next to him. But, the above chronologically displayed photos show that I was photoing Woodcat, who remained immobile throughout, and then Oscar joined in. Rather obligingly, I think.
My go-to guy for creature postings, which I like to do on Friday, is Steve Stewart-Williams, and he has recently tweeted about plenty of impressive creaturely behaviour. There’s this shark, jumping out of the sea. There’s this butterfly pretending to be leaves. There are fishes doing social distancing. There are lions and hyenas having a dust up, although the interesting thing to me about this is how little actual damage they seem to be doing to each other. There are donkeys, one of them a bit cleverer. And much else besides of a creature-related sort.
If that graph, or another like it, is not entirely familiar to you, then it damn well should be. It pinpoints the moment when our own species started seriously looking after its own creature comforts. This was, you might say, the moment when most of us stopped being treated little better than farm animals, and we began turning ourselves into each others’ pets.
Patrick Crozier and I will be speaking about this amazing moment in the history of the human animal in our next recorded conversation. That will, if the conversation happens as we hope and the recording works as we hope, find its way to here.
At the end of last month, I did a posting in which I grumbled about the boringness of my immediate neighbourhood. To my surprise, the effect on my state of mind of getting these grumbles off my chest and onto this blog caused me immediately to start looking at my immediate neighbourhood with fresh eyes. In the posting linked to in the previous sentence, I displayed photos of things I am mostly pretty familiar with, like those big lumpy buildings on the other side of Victoria Street. But I have also found myself searching out oddities in my locality that I had not properly noticed before.
Oddities like these two statues:
I photoed the above photos just moments after photoing these photos.
This deer, with its big twiddly antlers, and this lion, chasing the deer, are to be seen in the north easterly of two triangles of vegetation in the vicinity of, or which together add up to, Grosvenor Gardens.
So, what on earth are they doing there? Who thought that such statues would make sense? Secret London explains:
In 1993, Jonathan Kenworthy, famed for his animal sculptures, was asked by the Duke and Duchess of Westminster to create this piece for a lake at Eaton Hall in Cheshire. A second casting was placed here in 2000 to mark the opening of the gardens to the people of Westminster.
So there we are. A Duke thought it would be a shame to confine two decent and probably quite expensive bits of animal sculpture to Cheshire, and had further copies of them put in London. There was no logical connection between the bit of London he put them in and the sculptures, but he was a Duke and he owned the place, and he thought it a good notion to put these sculptures there, in Upper Grosvenor Gardens, so that was what happened. I mean, who was going to object?
A tweet about what someone joining in the tweeting called a beautiful bird, which means I can include it in this list. What it really is is a huge nuclear bomber airplane called the Convair B-36, which had both propellers and jets to drive it along. It reminds me of those big old sailing ships that also had coal-powered engines:
Anyone know where that photo was taken? It should be recognisable, if you recognise it I mean.
Are you bored with all these creatures tweets? Well then, here, especially for you, is a tweet about a snake yawning.