'He sure likes tuna.'
Because the rain and shine is so delightfully nourishing to plants, and because my garden is crammed/teeming/ festooned with mature plants, every morning I get up and peer out though my windows is like stepping further and further into the Amazon rain forest, or back to the Jurassic period, or...well other leafy green places.
With a heavy heart I realised I'm supposed to 'do' something about the ever creeping sneaky foliage.
Being short of a scythe-I need that for umbrella users and folk with tramp stamps and spitters and chewing gum eaters- there's nothing for it but to dig out the secateurs once again.
I made a heady start on the front, snipping back the holly and other pinchy stingy stuff by the front gate, swearing gently as it refused to be bagged or spider free.
I had worked up a good head of steam and pink cheekedness by 9 AM when my neighbour, a beardless Santa sort of chap from Donegal, happened along the road.
As is natural 'round these part he stopped to take stock of my efforts-such as they were. I was at that time tangled and held fast in a sweep of goose grass which had done a sterling job of wrapping its tentacles about both my wrists and was busily greedily sucking the life out of me, not doubt waiting for the right moment to suck me into its gaping maw (I've seen the Little shop of Horrors, plants don't fool me).
Anyhoo- after watching me struggle on for a while, he leaned his delightful self on the gate and said 'That big fellow you have is quite a character.'
I tugged with all my might and finally got one wrist free-which I used to slap a tentacle that was heading for my throat off.
'Naw naw, the cat.'
'Oh, the bigger of the cats, Yes, he's a one all right. Why? What's he done?' I immediately thought of the time he broke into my neighbour's home in Spain so that he could sit gazing at her budgie.
'Ah he's just funny, the missus was asleep there in the bed the other afternoon and she thought she heard something. And sure there's yer man and he popping around the door at her.'
I digested this piece of news as a nettle scuttled closer. I stamped on that. Nettles are stingy but stupid.
'He was upstairs in your house?'
'Aw shure he'd often be in the house. Sure doesn't he come in and eat the food we leave out for our two.'
'He eats your cats' food?'
'Begob an he does. He he. Comes slinking up the garden to check the bowls every afternoon, you could set your watch by 'im. He nearly let the missus pet him the other day. Gas fellow all together.'
The pyracantha fired a rose hip bomb at me which missed. I threatened it silently. You could have somebody's eye out you prickly hedge faced bastid! I say, but in plant language.
It gives me the thorn and reloads.
'I'm sorry if he's been bothering you, just throw water at him next time he does that, he hates water.'
'Ah sure he's not doing any harm.' Beardless Donegal Santa smiled cheerfully. 'Doesn't like the lamb though.'
'No, but he sure likes tuna.'
'Yes, he does that.' I said keeping a wary eye on the gathering ivy infantry.
'Ours don't like tuna and the missus buys it in them six packs, you see? Sure he might as well have them.'
'I see. If you keep feeding him he will keep popping by.'
'Ah sure I don't mind, and the missus thinks he's gas. Very talkative. Even though he won't let you pet him.' He smiled again. 'Well sure I'd better let you get on with it. You night be better off using a strimmer for that job.'
''Probably.' I said. 'Good luck.'
As soon as he wandered down the road. I dropped the secateurs into a pile of mourning nettles and stomped off into the house. I took the stairs two at a time and turned left into my bedroom.
'You!' I said, pointing a finger at the upturned sprawled cat whom I had fed not one hour before.
'Purnap.' he said sleepily, yawning and extending and retracting his claws.
'Purnap yourself.' I lifted him up and marched him in the bathroom. I plopped him on the scales.
For fuck's sake. No wonder the one eyed one's been doing the bulk of the hunting. The bigger of the cats is almost two kilos heavier than he was at his last vet appointment and that was less than six months ago.
I carried him downstairs and plonked him straight out the back. He stared at me in astonishment.
'OUT! ' I said, 'go on, go and play, go run, go do something.' I shut the door on him and stomped back to the front of the house where the dandelions where trying to disguise the secateurs and the holly bristled ominously.
I'm annoyed. I don't want that woman petting him.
He's MY cat.
Yes I'm that petty.