17 November 2011

Introducing Calypso

Introducing Calypso, our newest furry (trainee) Shop Manager.  Her picture has joined the gallery of Shop Managers, and you can see she’s a very beautiful little Bengal.  She is 11 weeks old and already weighs well over a kilo, so I think she’ll be at least as big as Klaatu when she grows up.  She’s already well ahead of him, weight-wise, at the same age and he’s now a great big five kilo boy at three years old. 

Looking through various internet sites, I see that in the UK you need a license under the Dangerous Wild Animals Act to own a Bengal.  What sooks the Brits are.  In Australia there is no problem if your animal is at least six generations from their wild ancestor (Asian Leopard Cat).  Calypso must be at least nine generations from her wild origin, so she’s a properly domesticated little miss.  Doug has visions of waking up one morning when she’s fully grown to find he’s being dragged downstairs by his neck, but he’s being a bit of a drama queen.  That will only happen if he doesn’t feed her on time.

I’ve always wanted a Bengal but couldn’t afford one.  Now I can, so bugger it I bought one.  I’ve promised Doug to stop at four cats, although I did have my fingers crossed at the time (because I do still fancy a nice little cinnamon Abyssinian one day).  But for now four is absolutely plenty.  I promise.  We picked her up on Sunday and she immediately caused mayhem among the Gang.  And yet by Wednesday Artemis was totally accepting of her and giving her thorough face washes, with Calypso getting all squirmy the way littl’uns get who don’t want their faces washed, but then Artemis just holds her down.  She is the cleanest kitten in town by the time Artemis finishes with her.  Mischka alternates between wanting to play and wanting to growl and grumble about not being the only princess on the block any more, but more and more she’s playing.  Klaatu is scared of her, and yet he is such a good natured little boy that already he is relaxing and last night there was a four-way mad game of chasey throughout the house, which ended up on the verandah with everyone laying around together, exhausted.

Yesterday was market day and Calypso’s first day as Trainee Shop Manager.  Heaps of people came to meet her, and even though the poor little chook was in a brand new environment she was relaxed and confident, and really sweet and engaging with everyone.  She even tried to engage with the weird people who entirely ignored her (a beautiful little kitten trying to be friendly towards them) - and who therefore have no place in my shop, so they could get out now.  She is a real credit to Kim from Catwalk Bengals, who was her breeder, and who clearly cares so much for all her charges and brings them up to be happy and well-adjusted moggies.  Everyone was enchanted with her and she was photographed many times.  She might even overtake Klaatu as Eumundi’s Most Photographed Cat if this keeps up.  

Calypso does have one downside at the moment – and it’s the same with all small kittens – boy oh boy can she stink after she’s had a bit of dinner!  Atomic Kitten we’re calling her.  As her gut settles down that will stop, but for the time-being she is one toxic moggy if you meet her at the wrong moment.  Mischka was the same when she was a baby – she cleared the shop one day after she’d let rip.  Feline elegance doesn’t feature largely when they’re babies.

But apart from being totally distracted by my lovely new gel, OMG could a day get more boring???  Apart from Calypso’s new fan club it was little but Old People in the shop reminiscing about their Old Things and getting all excited about the prices they can expect for their stuff at their next garage sale. Hey, why didn't I think of that? Why am I bothering with a shop when I could get exactly the same prices just by holding garage sales? Brilliant! I shall shut the shop immediately and sweep out the garage forthwith.  Or I could start charging for patting the moggies.  I’d surely make my fortune if I charged 50 cents per pat, and a dollar per photo. 

In other news, we still have no idea where our latest consignment of stock is.  So in other news, there is no news.  Hopefully it’s somewhere around Singapore right now, which would put it on track for an early December arrival.  But when it gets here it has to clear Customs and Quarantine, and Quarantine in particular often dithers, in the way that only bureaucrats who couldn’t care less about business imperatives can do – and I’ve been a bureaucrat myself in another life, so I’m fully entitled to criticize.  Except I like to congratulate myself for never having been a ditherer.  But many are, and we were told last year how lucky we were that they released our stock “in time for Christmas” – that being we took delivery on 22 December!  So yeah, technically in time for Christmas. 

Fortunately for us, there are always plenty of people who don’t start their Christmas shopping until very late in the piece.  Every year we save the bacon of mostly men who have left their buying until the last possible moment.  We had a guy one year run into the shop three minutes before we closed on Christmas Eve, and he said what have you got that’s red?  So I gave him a tour of the shop, looking at a range of things from glass to jewellery to pictures that had a lot of red in them.  In the end he selected a very old Chinese lantern with its original red paper, and his wife had no idea what a good last minute save he’d made. 

And even though it was last minute, at least he made an effort to find his wife something lovely that she might like.  People can always tell when you’ve thought about them and what they like and that you’ve made an effort with their gift.  The opposite of the Last Minute Men are the Romantic Men.  Yes, such men do exist and every year we enter into Christmas Conspiracies with men who have actually listened to their wives and come into the shop to buy something she’s mentioned that she likes, and then we are sworn to secrecy about the purchase.  Often times we agree to hide the items in our layby cabinet until they can be picked up just before Christmas, so there can be no chance of them being discovered. 

Last year a guy came in and said my wife was looking at a vase in here – which one was it?  I didn’t know him or his wife, so it was a challenge to figure out which one it was, but in the end we did and he came back after Christmas to tell us of the major brownie points he had scored as a result of his efforts.  Then another guy came in to tell me that his gift had been very well received.  Did you score lots of brownie points as well? I asked.  Nah, he said, but I did score lots of sex.  Which is just as good, really.

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