A little late - again. And I can't really blame Lloyd and
Hill 13, because I seem to have been working on everything
but that. I have, however, been playing catch-up ever since
the virus (which is still e-mailing me now and then), so
that's my excuse.
There's new stuff on the site - short excerpts from each
of the books, and a new-style competition. And if you've
got time, please have a look at the research section of
Writing Advice, on which I have placed a request for information.
I'd really like to know what you would like to see on the
site - is there anything you look for that isn't here? I'm
entirely open to suggestions. And on the subject of suggestions
- there is currently a front-runner for Judy's mother's
name, but keep them coming!
So what's been happening with me during August? Not a lot,
after the heady excitement of July. So I thought I'd tell
you about Greta instead.
If you live in Britain, you might remember the Pete and
Dud sketch where Pete is complaining bitterly that he can't
get a moment's peace from that Greta Garbo - she's at his
bedroom window every night, asking if she can come in.
That's how Greta got her name - at least the name she's
goes under when she's here. I'm sure she has a real name,
but I don't know it. Greta is part-sealpoint Siamese; she
has greyish brown markings, and blue eyes. And a very nice
blue collar, so she belongs to someone, but whoever it is
can't see much of her, because her one aim and object is
to get into this house.
She started calling before we recently carried out extensive
renovations, but far from putting her off, the fact that
the house now has a conservatory running the entire width
of the back has simply provided her with more opportunity.
She gets on to the conservatory roof, and we've found her
in bedrooms, the bathroom - even the loo. We can only have
the windows open about an inch, or she's in. When she discovers
that she can't get in that way, she jumps down from the
bedroom windowsill on to the roof, and light-footed she
ain't. We have to warn visitors so they don't think the
chimney's come down.
And when she gets in - which she does, often, especially
during this weather when the tendency is to open windows
and doors - she eats poor Frankie's cat food and his Go-Cat.
Frankie has always been good at teaching us simple tricks,
and one of these is to give him a supply of both tinned
and dry food before he goes out. That way he knows it'll
be there when he gets back. And when he eats it, he eats
it in stages. Half now, half later.
Not any more. If Frank's out, Greta's in, and the food
is gone. She leaves him his water, though. Just as well
he's not a milk fancier, because I suspect that's Greta's
drink of choice. Anyway, if I come downstairs to find all
Frank's food gone, I know that Greta's been. And it was
by sheer chance I witnessed something that would have puzzled
me greatly: Greta and the Locked Room Mystery.
I came in to find Greta polishing off Frankie's Go-Cat
(she starts with the tinned food and moves on to the dry
stuff). She shot past me, towards the front window, the
way she had come in. The window has two large panes that
open from the side, and a little one between these two that
opens from the bottom. It's on a cantilevered hinge, so
when you open it, there is a space above and below it. Greta
jumped, landed on top of it (on the side of the glass that
is outside when the window's closed), squeezed through the
gap, and took off, kicking it with her back feet as she
launched herself into the air, which action neatly closed
the window behind her. If I had come down a moment later,
I would have found the house catless, the cat food gone,
and the windows all securely shut. Edgar Allen Poe couldn't
have done it better.
I don't know who Greta belongs to, but I'm sure if they
buy her collars they feed her - assuming they ever see her
for long enough, that is. Even when she can't get in, she's
there, sitting on the windowsill, sometimes miaowing silently,
in the hope that we'll think she lives here, and absent-mindedly
open the window for her. Frankie can't quite make up his
mind how he feels about her; sometimes he'll sit and snarl
and hiss at her through the glass, and at other times he
ignores her. The other day they were both lying stretched
out and sound asleep in the front garden. I think stealing
the cat food is just an excuse - Greta is stalking Frankie.
And she isn't the first.
One day I'll tell you about the pink cat
See you next month.