Flora

Flora

Flora

Flora the cat. She is my world. She is my muse.

That is how I came to choose her name all those years ago. I had paid a visit to the National Gallery of Victoria to see the work of Spanish great, Picasso. It was there that I saw a paining of Ms Dora Mar, one of the artists muses. I liked the idea of having a muse in life, a source of artistic inspiration which is a guiding force.

And to muse over something, to ponder and reflect, is a process that takes a great deal of time. You cannot muse over something in a couple of seconds. rather a number of years, decades even.

I borrowed from Dora, replacing the D with the letters F and L, and so came to be the black cat with anxiety levels to rival mine.

Flora the cat I have mused over her for 10 years and counting.

When I think back to the summer months of January 2007, when I dared to think that maybe this renter could own a cat, I thank my lucky stars that this little bundle of black fur chose me.

For Flora, had you known what was the next 10 years entailed, would you have stuck by me? Would you have bothered to scale the fence of my Leichhardt property and projectile meow into my bedroom window till I begrudgingly let you inside? Why did you single me out and not bother my flatmates? What was it that drew you to me?

Whatever the reason, I needed you more than you could have ever known. Back then I did not know myself.

You willingly comforted me every step of the way along the long road to acceptance. You cushioned the seemingly endless brutal blows with your soft fur and calming purr, you absorbed my tears and provided endless opportunities for cuddles.

Family and friends have been instrumental in supporting me too, but you my little fluffy muse, you have been by my side each and every day, more so than my nearest and dearest. You have seen the good, bad and the truly ugly.

To muse over something takes a good number of years, decades even, That is how long I will think of you Flora, for all you have done for me and for guiding and delivering me safely to a point in life with which I can honestly say I am truly at peace.

Thanks you for finding me.

Today is a GREAT day

Today is going to be a good day.

Why?

I was escorted to work by Ms Moonie of Abermarle Street, Newtown.

Winter months have meant that sightings have been few and far between.

Today is a good day.

Moonie greeted me with her perfect pout, grumpy cat pink collar and ‘that’ glorious ‘ meow’  – only possible from the petite Siamese princess of 91 years old ( or 13 years in human)

Miss Moon – you have stolen my heart.

I have resided in Newtown for close to a year, and within days of arriving in the hood our paths crossed.

It was when I was in between jobs, and I caught a glimpse of you with your brother Coco, sprawled over a white Toyota bonnet in the sun.

Instantly I knew we would be firm friends – you helped to cement my desire in the afterlife (if there is such a thing) to come back as a cat – your species has indeed perfected the art of relaxing.

Ms Moon you act as if there is not a care in the world, love nothing more than to be petted and patted, whilst basking in the glorious sunlight.

When I leave Newtown next month, I will miss our morning catch ups.

I suspect that I will return to the neighbourhood every now and then – you are a my second best feline friend (Flora being number one) and I want to keep it that way.

Actually, today is a great day.

Why?

I was escorted to work by Ms Moonie of Abermarle Street, Newtown.

Moonie and Coco

Adam and Eve, Romeo and Juliet,Tarzan and Jane.

True lovers; friends, sparring partners, enemies, life companions.

To this legendary roll call must be added two aging cats of Abermarle Street, Newtown

Moonie and Coco

Though age has wearied them, mattered fur,withered limbs, missing teath….love in it’s purest form radiates round this majestic pair.

I LOVE bumping into them in the street, it makes my day, my week….for in their company everything in the world is just as is should be. Purrfect.

Moonie and Coco – Long may you love

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20151024-154618.jpgViewer Notes –  Moonie ( left) Coco ( right ) in photo 1 & 2. Coco appears solo in photo 3. Moonie solo in photo 4

Cementing Love…the second time round

As I prepare my great escape from the East, a few posts from my 5 years in this exclusive neighborhood come to mind…and I just have to bring them to the forefront once more……original post June 2013

Cementing Love

A few weeks back my street was treated to a new foot path / pavement.

Initially I was hesitant to engage in some street art…but when my neighbours started to get creative…I rallied to the cause.

The sun had gone down , so I shone my i-phone screen in the direction of the footpath with careful precision I lovingly carved my name, Flora the cat’s name, to cement.

And I got in just in time.. the footpath had nearly set….It was after all 7.33pm, and the cement had been laid at 9.07am.

I am ever so proud of my street art….Friends say I have changed, that the previous Kate Boyle would NEVER have engaged in modern-day street graffiti

But change is good…and everyday when I close the front door of my tiny flat and take to the streets, I am greeted with a constant reminder that change is good…the big, the small, the seemingly insignificant..

The Art of Relaxation by Flora Boyle

Flora....relaxing

Flora….relaxing

A picture can speak a thousand words………

And other time Jet lag prevents proper sentences and encourages poor spelling.

My one month European vacation is over, all that remains is the jet lag and the wonderful, wonderful memories that will sustain me till I board another plane, train, ferry, bus or scooter to somewhere exotic.

But in the meantime, real life is here and now……and I have been re-united with my friend and flatmate. Flora the cat. Flora is a constant study in the art of relaxation…she takes it to another level….from her I must learn!!

It is good to be home, to be stationary, to stop and smell the roses, look up at the blue sky, admire the lush greenery that dresses the trees that line my street…Spring has sprung whilst I have been away….

The art of relaxation, taking things just that little bit slower, really listening to a friend, savouring a sweet treat, a home cooked meal….

And if I fail at that, I can just look to Flora….who does it so well this relaxation thing….every single moment….of every…single…day!!

Pet Parenting

This morning I was a bad pet parent.

Having been out every night this week, grocery shopping and general household chores had taken a back seat big time.

That also extended to pet care, and Flora the cat had officially run out of cat food after her 9pm feeding session last night.

Fat cat

 

I was awoken at 5.47am by Flora, meowing at a considerable decibel….and I knew what I had to do.

I grabbed whatever clothes lay on the floor, grabbed my wallet and headed up the road to the corner store to by her breakfast.

Never assume anything…Corner stores do not open at 6am for small sales such as 1 tin of cat food.

I returned home empty-handed to a cat who’s cry had increased in volume.

I took to the internet, to research open hours of supermarkets in the area….The first results where not promising. ‘ Our store opens for your convenience at 7am’

One look in Flora’s direction and I knew that was not convenient at all.

The next store search revealed a much more promising outcome ‘ Our store opens for your convenience at 6am’

I grabbed my car keys and raced out the door.

I was in the cat food aisle in under 10 minutes, stocking in up on not one, not two, but THREE boxes of the stuff ( it was on special after all)

By 6.33am Flora was fed and watered, happy and content.

By 6.47am Flora was asleep on my bed.

As for me, by 6.52am I could start to piece my morning back together…the price of pet parenting!!

Breakast with Kevin Bacon

This time last week I was on a breakfast date with Kevin Bacon at the wonderful cafe, The Grounds of Alexandria, Sydney

But just like the game ‘ Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon‘  wherein movie buffs challenge each other to find the shortest path between an arbitrary actor and Hollywood  actor Kevin Bacon…there was no separating me from the man last Wednesday!!

Kevin Bacon

Kevin Bacon

There can be no words when a picture so cute can say it all.

Kevin Bacon you stole my heart….Had I been introduced to you before I ate my breakfast I might have throught twice about ordering the Ham Hock on toast with smashed peas, parmesan and preserved lemon ( no doubt I ate one of your close relations….six degrees of separation and all)

Eating breakfast each morning with my black cat Flora just does not cut it anymore…my heart belongs to you.

Till we meet again Kevin Bacon….may the Ham Hock on the breakfast menu be removed, replaced by corn fritters or something of that nature…I want to see you on my return!

Kevin Bacon- The Happiest Pig in Sydney

Kevin Bacon- The Happiest Pig in Sydney

Cementing Love

Cementing Love

Cementing Love

A few weeks back my street was treated to a new foot path / pavement.

Initially I was hesitant to engage in some street art…but when my neighbours started to get creative…I rallied to the cause.

The sun had gone down , so I shone my i-phone screen in the direction of the footpath with careful precision I lovingly carved my name, Flora the cat’s name, to cement.

And I got in just in time.. the footpath had nearly set….It was after all 7.33pm, and the cement had been laid at 9.07am.

I am ever so proud of my street art….Friends say I have changed, that the previous Kate Boyle would NEVER have engaged in modern-day street graffiti

But change is good…and everyday when I close the front door of my tiny flat and take to the streets, I am greeted with a constant reminder that change is good…the big, the small, the seemingly insignificant….

 

 

 

 

One Purr-fect Life

There are some days where I would give my life to be a cat.

Any cat in particular I hear you ask?

Specifically, my cat Flora.

Flora

Flora

This morning as I went about my morning routine which would enable me to embarked on a day’s work in an office block, a fate worse than death, Flora slept.

The cat was deep in slumber mode….this feline was snoring nestled in between the blankets of my unmade bed.

It was enough to make my blood boil…what I would have given to crawl up under the covers, and drift off to the land of nod…to where it was all sunny and warm, a place where computers and data entry did not exist, where chocolate cake was available on demand and Johnny Depp was my husband.

With military style precision I ate breakfast, showered, prepared my lunch and did a few house hold chores.

All the while Flora slept and snored….a noise which filled my tiny best-sit…a joyous soft purr with a nasal twang!

My heart softened…I could not be jealous of my furry four legged life companion…. My time would come for rest and relaxation…it was a mere 3 days off….72 hours till Friday to be precise!

So I further indulged her…I made my bed, pulling the doona towards the bedhead, encasing Flora in a mound of blankets.

Then just to make sure she did no suffocate, I placed a tissue box on one of my pillows, allowing a little light into my man-made cat cave, should she over heat during the day and need to escape for air…..

Undercover agent

Undercover agent

Yes, there are some days that I would give ANYTHING to be a cat!!

CUWAM: Postmarked for Heaven

It is with a heavy heart that I write this post…an ode to Alice Boo Boyle, the family cat who cashed in her one-way ticket to heaven last Thursday. Alice Boo Boyle, you managed to seduce so many during your 18 year and 9 months on planet earth…even humans who professed to dislike cats.

You charmed many, especially me, and so I sit and write this epitaph to you, my sweet bundle of black fur…thank you for so many wonderful, funny memories…A senior family member said of your passing…’ You were the cement in our family’….Of this I am certain, and your parting legacy and gift to us all is that as family unit, we are stronger for it. Thank you

Alice Boo Boyle, I will attempt to do your life story justice with a few words…18 memories, one for each year of your extraordinary life….detailing the story of a cat who definitely made the most of her nine lives and then some.

For none pet lovers it is OK to check out now….all you need to know is the following- Alice Boo Boyle, the family cat, lived a great life.

Alice Boo Boyle

Alice Boo Boyle

1- Alice, we first meet you at the RSPCA. As a family we were heartbroken, our beloved Siamese cat Albert had recently succumbed to kidney failure. It was wintry July day, cold and windy…as at the assistant at the RSPCA informed us ‘ It was NOT cat breeding season’. And so our choice of feline that day was YOU…just YOU.

I was not happy about this. As a teenager still mourning the death of Albert,  I thought it was too soon to collect a new pet, that you weren’t interesting enough, too plain looking and ‘not cool’ to have no choice in the matter…On that day it was simply YOU Alice…. OR wait till breeding season started in a couple of months.

Against my better judgement, and after leaving the shelter to ‘think about it’, we went back 60 minutes later and signed the adoption papers. It was there and then that you became Alice Boo Boyle.

2-  Alice you were super cute. You fit in the palm on my teenage hand. Your fur was plain black, with a tuft of white fur near your nether region….You had a big personality, huge….and we loved you for it.

You had been with us for a couple of weeks, school holidays had ended. Still grieving Albert’s passing, I came home from school one day, to find the basement were you spend your days empty…you were GONE.

I was home alone, I searched EVERYWHERE….I then resorted to walking around the garden, tears streaming down my face, crying out your name ( which I was not certain you even new was yours!!)

My neighbour saw me…’ What is wrong?’….’ It’s Alice, she has run away’ I sobbed whilst looking at my neighbours scratched legs, claw marks from her ankles to the top of her calves…

Instantly I knew…Alice was with her.

Like a parrot resting on a pirates shoulder, our Alice too insisted  this lofty resting perch. For many summer months I wore jeans to prevent leg damage and she clawed skyward!! But my poor neighbour has been in a  knee length dress that day, and had suffered.

‘ Alice is safe with me’ my neighbour said, hugging me tightly and handing over the tiny escapee…

Alice Boo Boyle…it was the first of many great escapes!!

3- An extensive appetite for food, there was nothing  you would not try…and I loved you for it…

Corn of the cob, spaghetti, tim tams, pumpkin soup, fruit cake, puffed wheat….You were a modern day Dyson vacuum cleaner for food waste…Yet nothing induced a more rousing display of cat like behaviour than when a plate of freshly cooked broccoli was placed before you….It appeared your would KILL for a piece of this green plant….

As one of your admirers remarked at your passing ‘ Keep eating those veggies in heaven’ xxx

4- Alice, you possessed a kind and loving nature…You were our only family Pet who did not kill another ‘family’ member!

Albert managed to do away with Bruce ( Number One) the bird, Marmalade the mouse and her litter of nine…Bruce ( Number Two) committed suicide, taking his own life, drowning himself in the washing up water….

But Alice Boo Boyle, you let ‘family’ members not only live, but  thrive!!

Milo and Elle the budgies lived happy long lives…Bart the fist enjoyed 5 long years in a fish tank, before he too saw it fit to take his own life….

The animal world loved you….no more so that a blind, overweight poodle.

5- Alice and Claude the Poodle. An unlikely love match ( no doubt Claude greeted you with a big smooch at the pearly gates of  heaven last week!!)

There is truth in the saying love is blind….I have seen it with my own eyes….Alice was a cat, Claude a dog. Alice was black, Claude ,white. Alice had use of her vision, Claude was blind. …and the rest as they say is history.

Alice and Claude sitting in a tree

K.I.S.S.I.N.G

First comes love, then comes marriage

Then comes a baby sitting in a carriage

Heaven is richer now for you both call it home

Paw entwined in paw, forever you shall roam

6- Alice you inspired to Arts. I dabbled with the idea of capturing your beauty in my Year 12 major assessment piece….But the  medium of paint, charcoal or pastel could not do you justice…You personality was too BIG…So I abandoned this idea and did something  mediocre…

You often posed for Christmas portraits, and when my brother took up photography classes you became his ‘muse’ …You where a beautiful subject to photograph…Striking, making the camera work for you, with the flick of a whisker or a strategic yawn to indicate the trivial nature of the industry you loved to hate.

Such was your influence in the Arts world, that for your 10th birthday, a song was written and performed live in your honour at your family home…Can any other cat claim such an accolade??

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7- Alice, while BOO was your official middle name, destruction might have been more appropriate….

You used the family lounge as a scratching post, such was your desire to obtain three meals a day, that you shredded the seal on the family fridge, you destroyed fly screen doors and window screens on not one, but two family homes….but despite the mounting cost to repair your trail of destruction….it only made us love you more….

8– Alice Boo Boyle…..you thought you could fly…..you where not meant for this world! In 2001, you tested this theory and came of second best…Falling some 5 metres from a cedar tree, and winding up with a broken leg that would be placed in a plaster cast.

I lived in the UK at this stage….and thought this all sounded hilarious ( distance is a funny thing) I demanded photo evidence, and it promptly arrived by post addressed to  Willesden Green, London Town.  The story of Alice the flying cat went international….a priceless story to be shared over pints of beer and packets of crisps!!

9. Alice you always made Christmas FUN….You seemed to enjoy opening gifts more than anyone sitting round the Christmas tree…The games you played with wrapping paper…If only it gave me the same joy.

And you were always so cheap to buy for and always happy with your gift….

One Christmas, when the summer heat got the better of us early, Dad and I  sat in the backyard and threw flower buds in your direction…you were our target…It was the simple things Alice, you were always obliging….Did you do it because the  petals smelled  sweet?…

Christmas Cheer, could have almost been your middle name , along with Boo and Destruction.

10- Your 10th Birthday party in 2003…Wow wee….A night of nights, one I over catered for and overcommitted too…But it was so worth it…You lapped up the attention, sitting in front of the fireplace all night, party goers paying there respects and showering you with gifts….a pink diamonte collar, an array of gourmet treats…

In you honour, we all wore black and our musician friend Denise, wrote you a birthday song…

That night will always be legendary ….I have it from good authority that that YOUR party lead to a surge in party plans for felines…You were a pioneer Alice, paving the way for the animal kingdom.

11. Eight years may have passed, but there was much hype and speculation ( Would you make it??) to your Eighteenth birthday. You did…and in style.

Carried around in a washing basket ( you were almost beyond walking) so that people could pay there respects. A testament to you Alice, those you where there at your 10th b’day, reappeared at your 18th.

You where even gracious in allowing Carlos, the fox terrier, to steal the limelight that night…You were after all ‘ Over it” in a big way….2011, the year Alice turned 18 or 112 in cat years.…Finally of legal drinking age

12- Alice Boo Boyle, you taught me about love….supplying  me with endless amounts….So much so that I welcomed Flora the cat into my home in 2007.

Alice, I am certain that had the experience of living with you not been such a fun filled ride, Flora may not have the life she leads today…Nothing Flora does surprises me Alice…You set the bar too high!!

 13- Alice you confused people. Not everyone understood the effect you had on my family….then again, not everyone turns to the animal kingdom like we did for companionship and understanding .

Birthday parties for cat,  Santa presents at Christmas time…lenghty discussions about your level of intelligence and wit….Many outside our family merely tolerated our adoration of you.

But the movie ‘ Red Dog’ released last year in Australia, has done wonders for deepening the understand of our bond. As I cried down the phone to my friend Jess, expressing the sadness I felt as your passing, she gave you the ultimate compliment-

‘ I can’t relate, but I think of Red Dog, and it helps me to understand how you feel’

14- Alice Boo Boyle, born in an era before face book and email, skype and video conferencing…despite this your friendship circle was expansive, inclusive and well maintained. Doctors,  poodles, lawyers, artists, school children and teachers alike sang your praises…and often…

15. Which lead me to the outpouring of grief that has been expressed since you cashed in your one way ticket to heaven…text messages, face book posts, calls from interstate, messages from overseas…

Despite the fact that you never uttered one word in English  ( or any language for that matter)…you spoke an international language of love and friendship…and your disciples are untied in grief.

16- Alice Boo Boyle , the was a secret hope of mine that you would live until my little brother ( aged 29!) walked down the aisle in June of this year…but alas, that wish cannot be.

I understand, that your time was up, your number called, you one way ticket to heaven in need of validation….

17- Alice Boo Boyle, I thank you for choosing my family to be your carers, heaven knows we needed you !! I said it before and I will say it again…’ You were the cement in our family’….Of this I am certain, and your parting legacy and gift to us all is that as family unit, we are stronger for it.

18- RIP Alice Boo Boyle

Enjoying her life

Enjoying her life

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