31 August 2012

Are We Ready? No We're Not!

Starting an afternoon snooze ....

Can you believe it’s September?  What happened there?  It’s absolutely not that I’m getting older and time flies when you’re running out of it.  It also flies when you’re not looking, and I have been entirely distracted by I’m not sure what lately.  So oh dear, I haven’t finished all the planning for the trip.  The trip that is happening in a little over two weeks.  But it’s hardly rocket surgery or brain science, so I shall apply myself over the next few days and get it sorted.  Unless I get distracted by that odd shaped cloud, or that pretty butterfly, or some ratbag cats, or whatever.
But can't get quite comfy enough ....
  So okay, not a lot of shop news this week.  That’s why you’re being subjected to yet more moggie photos.  Caleb is increasingly inveigling his way into Klaatu’s good books, and just loves it when Klaatu lets him snuggle up.  Caleb goes into Turbo Purr mode when Klaatu is nice to him, but he can’t help himself from wriggling and wriggling and driving everyone a bit nuts.  And then he wakes up and bites everyone within reach in the neck so it all ends in tears.  But he’s well behaved when he’s unconscious.  Sort of.  This series of photos was taken within a 15 minute period.  You can see the problem.

On the shop front, our shop sitters always complain that we have not left enough jewellery for them, which I can do nothing about because I have none spare to leave them.  But they also complain that we have not left enough French pictures for them, and that I can see to so we went into a framing frenzy this week and totally changed the wall.  There are some nice images, some of which I’ve also put on the website this week.  They look much nicer in real life, but I think my photography is gradually getting a bit better for the website.
Aw, got me while I was asleep!

I have now sold all the potato baskets, grape buckets and sundry other French wire work, so I’m going to be on the look out for more on this coming buying trip.  Except I have just remembered a couple of quite cool and very heavy wire baskets that I’ve meant to bring into the shop for a few weeks but kept forgetting – part of the dozing off and relaxing too much regime I’ve been indulging in.  So hopefully they will be presented tomorrow.  I’ll really try this time.

It’s been going very well this week, from a sales perspective, and that means we’re looking good for some extra spending money for the trip.  I want to book the ferry from the Cherbourg Peninsula, which I think is the western most part of France, to Portsmouth in the UK.  This is significantly more expensive than traipsing up to Calais to catch the ferry or train to Dover but we don’t want to traipse up to Calais this time, and a good week in the shop helps me justify the more expensive route back to the UK.  And by rejigging the itinerary a little bit I have also been able to fit in a trip from Portsmouth up to London to view the Leonardo da Vinci anatomical drawings exhibition that is currently on at Buckingham Palace. 
Settling back down ....

I read recently that if these drawings had been published before da Vinci died they would have revolutionized European understanding of anatomy, but he died before they could be published and they were bundled up with his private papers and remained undiscovered for 400 years.  Now people realize what they are, and this exhibition is considered the jewel of the Royal Art Collection so I’m very glad we’ll have the chance to go and see something so wonderful.  What a good Play Day that will be.  It will also be nice to have a look around the Palace, if we can, while we’re there. 

Just can't find the right spot ....
But not quite ....
I have wandered unattended through the back corridors of the Palace once before, in a former life, to get to the back door to attend a Royal Garden Party.  If you go in through the Diplomatic Entrance, rather than the Hoi-Polloi Entrance, you get to look at all the Queen’s stuff along the way.  And very nice stuff she has, too.  And that’s just her nowhere-else-to-put-it-so-pop-it-into-the corridor stuff.  The hoi-polloi have to get to the back garden by going through the main gates, skirt the palace itself and enter the garden via a side gate.  But I was having none of that.  I only had lowly consular status so I was not supposed to go in via the Diplomatic Entrance, but all my friends had diplomatic status so I just brazened my way in with the rest of them.  If you look and act like you’re supposed to be somewhere, people often assume that it’s true.  It was a good lesson to remember.

Maybe this side ....

Once you’re in the Palace’s back garden for the Party you find there is the Royal Enclosure, where only Ambassadors and High Commissioners can go along with the Queen herself, and also a special Diplomatic Enclosure so diplomats don’t have to queue with the commoners to get their cucumber sandwiches (with the crust already cut off for you) and nice little canapés and cups of tea.  Again, with my consular status I was not entitled to enter the Diplomatic Enclosure, which was guarded by men with spears (Beefeaters).  Nonetheless, I plonked myself on the chairs just outside the Diplomatic Enclosure, while we waited for it to open.  A Beefeater approached me and said Excuse me, Madam, but these chairs are only for the Diplomatic Corps.  Yes, I know I replied, arching my eyebrow at him.  And he apologized and went away.  So the lesson was reinforced.

Anyway, having now publicly admitted to behaving a tad inappropriately last time I visited, I swear if you’re reading this, Your Majesty, I will totally behave myself when I next come by your place. 

Nup, try again ....

On the moggie front, Calypso turned one year old this week.  Yes, she had to come to work on her birthday, but she received many birthday pats and yet again had a huge number of photos taken.  I learned that someone at the Eumundi Markets now has a snake for which they charge a dollar for a photo and another dollar for a touch.  I could make a fortune with Calypso, if I was more mercantile-minded.  But then I would have to train her to wear dark sunglasses and put her paw over her face to thwart those who hadn’t paid the appropriate fee for her exclusive image.  She already pulls the Ugly Passport Photo Face when she’s sick of having cameras aimed at her.  A lady this week said Make her stand up because Calypso wasn’t cooperating for a photo, but there is no posing the cat I’m afraid.  She does what she does and that’s what you get a photo of – and just be grateful that your photo isn’t of her washing her nether regions.

Perhaps a little closer to Klaatu ....

On her work days Calypso has taken to lolling about in the sunshine on top of one of my jewellery cabinets near the front of the shop.  Doesn’t do wonders for jewellery sales having a big fluffy bum covering everything up, but she enjoys it and only stays until the sun has moved off the window.  So anyway, this week there was a couple looking through the window and they spotted her rolling around on her back, soaking up the sun on her belly and looking like one content pussycat.  Do you want to go and look at the cat? said the woman.  Nah, it’s not real, said the man.  Isn’t it amazing what people think can be done with robotics these days?  If they reckoned that was a toy, it was a dang impressive toy I’d say and worth a look just on that basis alone.
Coz we're good together ....

24 August 2012

Pussy(cat) Riot

When Calypso is not available Artemis makes a
fine cushion as well ....
It was Artemis and Caleb as the Manager and Trainee Manager in the shop on Sunday, and the results were as you might expect – they both immediately seized the Manager’s chair and I got to stand.  It’s easy to evict one moggie back to their spot on the desk, but two just don’t comfortably fit on the spot so I relented.  Again.  I know, I’m a sucker.  And they know it too.  And I know they know.  And now we all know.

.... she really is quite comfortable ....
Mischka was Thursday Manager, as usual, and she was much admired, as usual.  She expects everyone will want to meet her, and naturally will love her, and she is always right.  She does make photographing stock for the website a challenge, though, because when she’s awake she insists on being in the middle of everything.  So the trick is to run around while she’s asleep and move things quietly so she doesn’t wake up and come to ‘help’.
I love Artemis.
It’s Calypso and Caleb in the shop today, which is a big deal because on Fridays it’s somewhat more than a two hour shift so I needed to have them both in a cooperative mood.  Kim from Catwalk Bengals (where they were both born) came by to give Caleb his next lot of vaccinations, and I want her to see Calypso too.  Surely you can rely on a couple of ratbags who are 11 months and 3 months old respectively to cooperate and behave, right?  No wrestling in the shop.  No playing chasey in the shop.  No ambushing each other in the shop.  And no wriggling about for optimum bodging position while on my lap in the shop.  Yeah, right.  So that’s gone about as well as you would expect, and I’m hanging out for closing time and madly writing this while they are both momentarily asleep.  If only I could type more quietly, because I really don’t want to wake them up.
Mischka inserting herself into a photo
shoot for stock on the website

It's hard work causing mayhem,
so time for a snooze ....

 Still snoozing ....

A young woman came up to my desk and looked at Calypso (snoozing) and said Ha, that doesn’t even look real.  She was dissing my stuffed toy cat.  But then my stuffed toy cat moved, which made her jump backwards and go bright red, because Ha, it is real, lady.  I said I think you need to reconsider your concept of reality, to which she said Wot?  Your idea of what’s real and not real, I said.  She frowned and said nothing, though of course by then we were getting way too existential when all she wanted to do was insult my stuffed toy cat.  Include a bit of intellect with your insults when you visit me, everyone!  Dazzle me with your biting wit!  Bring it on!  I promise you I’ll fight back and what fun we’ll have.

We had a scare with Calypso this week.  I knew she was off-colour and not improving so we took her to the vet.  You know how you just know when there’s something wrong with your pets, even when it’s not apparent what it is?  It turned out that she had a high temperature for no observable reason, so he admitted her because he wanted to take blood to run every conceivable test plus check her throat and mouth.  I didn’t expect her to be admitted – I thought she’d get some antibiotics and then I’d have the fun of giving her tablets for a few days - so I was very anxious and upset to be leaving her behind.

And then, fancy this - the vet rang later in the day and said Do you want the good news or the bad news?  I immediately felt ill and my stomach dropped – it was a real physical reaction. The good news was that she is in excellent condition and he could find nothing wrong with her, except we knew something was wrong due to her spike in temperature. The bad news was that he had nothing to report because he could find nothing wrong with her.  Ha, ha, I was not amused at his little joke.  So she had an antibiotics injection – so much better than the Hold the Big and Objecting Bengal Down to Shove a Tablet Down Her Throat fun and games I was expecting – and the vet thinks it’s a low level virus that she will get over soon.  And already she seems better than she was, so I expect this was the correct diagnosis.
.... ahh, waking up refreshed
and ready to start again.
When she came home Calypso was still wobbly on her feet and smelt bad – like a vet’s hospital.  Everyone hissed at her and ran away, and she hissed right back at them and didn’t want to know anyone.  I quarantined her in the bathroom with lots of bedding and food and water, and left her to recover for a few hours. 

But she wasn’t quarantined enough, as far as Mischka was concerned, and she had a total hissy-fit-melt-down over Calypso’s new smell - her reaction was really was quite ridiculous.  Mischka hates, hates, HATES all change, and not only did Calypso smell different and horrible (change 1) she then had a good wash and went back to smelling like herself again (change 2).  Change and change-back was just too much to deal with for Mischka.  A great deal of growling and snarling and grumbling went on, and that was just her talking to herself as she walked through the lounge-room without another cat in sight!  She really went ballistic when she spotted another cat, so everyone kept clear of her and even Caleb had enough sense to get swiped at only once.  She’s a funny thing, and is going to make a magnificent grumpy old lady one day.  But then she got over herself and went back to schmoozy and purry and happy to cuddle with everyone again, so we’re back to being a happy family again.
Token picture of stock I, seeing how
this is meant to be a blog
about antiques
So yes, I’ve been fixated on the antics of the moggies this week – our very own apolitical, unRussian and non-prosecutable Pussy Riot - but I have still been doing a bit of work for the shop.  Kind of.  It’s three and a half weeks until we head off on the next buying trip, and I don’t think I’ve ever been so disorganized before a trip.  But I have the Play Days in Bangkok, France and England sorted, so that’s a good start.  And I know where we’ll be on most shopping days, even if I haven’t got the accommodation organized yet.  And money – what money?  I don’t think we’ve ever been this broke before a trip, either.  September is our biggest month as far as bills are concerned, but hopefully after paying the GST and yet another rent payment we’ll be back on top and able find something left over to go shopping with.

Doug reminds me that as I am (supposed to be) a professional shopper, I should be able to find plenty of good things on a shoestring budget.  And I always do, but I just don’t like the pressure of having no choice but to find utter bargains.  Lucky I have so much practice by now it shouldn’t be a problem so I’m not sweating it.  Yet.
Token picture of stock II - some rare and very beautiful extra large cobalt blue poison bottles


16 August 2012

What Passes For Normal Around Here

At last the dry season has arrived - the skies are deep cornflower blue by day and a glittering mass by night, so it’s warm days and cold nights, which is just the way we like it.  We have little light pollution at the mountain stronghold, so we can lay in bed and watch shooting stars and satellites passing over head, which is nice.  The moon often sets behind the mountain in the early hours, and a full moon gives a particularly primordial feel to the forest as it sinks behind the trees.  The night sky is amazingly busy when you see it clearly. 

French magazine cover
by Rene Vincent

The dry weather means we’ve been able to start on some land care – sadly neglected when everything has been so wet, and I’m also re-motivated to get a bit of work done for the shop.  I haven’t done any framing for a little while because it’s not a good idea to handle old paper in damp conditions, but now I’m inclined to drag out some French images and change the look on the picture wall in the shop.  We need to replenish the French images in the shop anyway, so when we’re away the shop sitters have something to sell.  They always complain that we haven’t left enough jewellery or pictures for them, but I don’t have a limitless supply and by the time a buying trip rolls around we’re usually in pretty desperate need for more stock. 
It’s been back to normal programming on the Duty Moggie front this week.  Calypso resumed duties on Wednesday, and it was clear that she was happy to be back.  She was in a very chipper mood, with her tail straight in the air, lots of visits to look out the front window, and she even deigned to pose nicely for all photographers and only retreated to my lap a few times after she had enough of being stroked by her admirers.  I think she also quite enjoyed having a break from Caleb, who follows her around endlessly, jumping on her, rolling over her, biting her on the neck and then hogging all her bed space.  So she was very schmoozy and purring a lot and offering her belly to be tickled by all and sundry, which all and sundry found to be charming.  I brought Calypso and Caleb into the shop together again last Sunday, but really it’s not going to work because this time they both headed straight for the manager’s chair and immediately commandeered it, and I didn’t even get a look-in when it came to sitting down. 

Caleb enjoying his leopard skin cushion
at work on Sunday
Mischka is back on duty today, and again it’s clear she’s glad to be back, with lots of investigating the window but repeated returns to me for snuggles.  Klaatu will be back in his spot on Saturday, and he has a little fan club which always lays in wait for him on the way to work and they will no doubt be glad to see him back too.  Artemis is the least known of the moggies as she pulls the Sunday shift, but I’m thinking of maybe trying her with Caleb next week and see if we have a better result than the Calypso/Caleb combination.

This week we’ve gone semi-industrial in the window, with the first of the piano trolleys turned into a coffee table being presented, along with an excellent large metal English Georgian trivet, the French metal grape basket, a variety of enamelware and a very large Thai wooden bowl, which looks particularly good now that it’s raised off the floor so all the lovely gnarly old wood can be better seen.  It’s a very different look from the Pretty in Pink window of last week, but it’s good to change things around and show the stock in a whole new light.  The semi-industrial look is hugely popular, so we’ll see how the trolleys go.  We value-add by getting the glass cut for pieces like these, so people can just take them home and use them straight away without any effort on their part.  It’s always easier when someone else has done the work for you.

Not the best shot of the piano trolley in
the window,  but you get the idea
In Breaking News – Ridge is leaving The Bold & The Beautiful!!! Oh no!! How can this be? I always try to catch an episode while in France, because the dialogue sounds so much more sexy in French. I saw it in Portugal once but didn’t understand a single thing that was happening, and when what’s happening is usually so bleedin’ obvious it was saying a lot that I was clueless in Portuguese. We now have our own Bold & Beautiful, being Caleb and Calypso. Caleb is Hebrew for Bold (and yes, all Hebrew speakers, I know it also means Dog and it’s kind of weird to call your cat Dog, but we’re going with the other translation here, which is Bold, and anyway I don’t mind a bit of weird in my life). And guess what? Both Caleb and Calypso are left-pawed - or south-paws, as a visitor pointed out. Who knew that cats were left or right pawed? Not me, but now I’ve checked and all the others are right-pawed.
French Metal Grape Basket with
blue hydrangeas - it's amazing
how many people have wanted
to buy the flowers

Apropos of nothing, has anyone ever heard of the word Infinitude? I heard an Olympics commentator using it, and I don’t think it’s a real word but I quite fancy it and shall use it when I can. Which is now - I’m about to go shopping in Europe and face an infinitude of choices. How nice will that be? Infinitudily nice is the answer.

And I also really like the word Boobylicious. There is a TV show about to start in Australia which has a café called Boobylicious, and I swear it’s such a funnily tacky word that I must steal it – I just can’t think of a relevant antiques context, right now. I know it’s a steal from Bootylicious, but I like that word too. I know, small things. Anyway, could someone cleverer with words than me please let me know if you can think of something vintage-related that I can use Boobylicious in, and I shall consider it for the name of my next antiques business. Droopylicious will not be considered. Doug maintains his support for the name Dead Peoples’ Stuff for our next business, but I’m not using that either.

But talking of favourite words and phrases, I have two favourite lines of television dialogue at the moment.  The first is:  I reject your reality and substitute my own, which is from Mythbusters.  Not only is this a good motto in life, it’s a line I have actually been able to use on a strange woman in the shop, who repeatedly and forcefully informed me that my shop is not open on Thursdays.  Goodness knows where I’ve been sitting every Thursday, then.  So I did use this line on her, and regret to report that it was entirely lost on her.  How annoyment when your pithy witticisms aren’t understood by your victim.

My second favourite line of dialogue is from the only episode I’ve ever seen of an English show called Emmerdale.  But it’s such a good line that I really should try to catch a few more episodes next time we’re there.  It’s:   Get a jog on, you sour-faced slag, ‘fore I slap you silly.  This is Essex-girl-talk for:  I say, you should depart my vicinity right now, you unpleasant and really quite common person, or I shall be obliged to strike you rather firmly.  I’m so dying to use this line in the shop – the Essex-girl version, naturally - but I haven’t found anyone awful enough to say it to yet.  I might have to just spring it on a perfectly nice visitor who I just don’t like the look of.  So big smiles when you visit me, people, or I shall unexpectedly accost you in gibberish.

Mischka must insert herself into the middle of everything at all times. 
A photo without me in it?  You can't be serious!

10 August 2012

The Buying Habits of Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs

After last week’s mega sales, this week turned out to be pretty ordinary.  It was not helped at all by the Saturday Market Day coinciding with a bike and car show organized just outside of town by the Black Uhlans, a local bikie group.  Outlaw motorcycle gangs tend not to be our demographic, it has to be said.  But what do these boys buy?  Obviously they favour black clothes (so chic if a little grubby).  There wasn’t a cheery red motorcycle helmet among the lot – so yep it was all black again, and clearly no shiny helmets were allowed - had to be mean matt black helmets.  Very worn jeans that were probably blue to begin with and had many designer holes and frays were de rigueur.  You can buy pre-grunged jeans just like that from Diesel, so even beginner bikies can have instant bikie chic if they want. 

Caleb asleep despite the best efforts of the Black Uhlans
But it’s clear they don’t spend any money on mufflers.  So the day was spent with really REALLY loud motorbikes madly driving up and down the main street – Look at me, Mum! Look at me, Mum! – which everyone found totally annoying.  Even Caleb, who can sleep the sleep of the dead once we find his Off Button, was waking up and getting all grumpy at the noise.  We all were. 

Things the Black Uhlans
Don't Like Part I - French
UFO Lamp

There were plenty of Police about, a number wearing their body armour, and every single car coming into Eumundi from the north (our direction) was stopped for a breath test.  A few cars were also selected by the Police to be thoroughly searched, I suppose in search of guns or drugs, but conservative little us were waved through the Police lines so we got to work more-or-less on time.  So anyway, that’s over for another year and hopefully next week we can go back to a more civilized approach to Market Day.

Things the Black Uhlans
Don't Like Part II -
English Art Deco Jug

And now we can tick off another group that is not part of our sales demographic:

Grey Nomads who have downsized and want to sell you hideous things they say they’ve never liked and their family certainly doesn’t want – No

Old Ladies who had what you’ve got but better and fancy how much it’s now worth but they threw theirs out years ago – No

Westies who haven’t got the faintest idea what they’re looking at but want to loudly tell you how they could buy cheaper at K-Mart - No

Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs – No

Things the Black Uhlans Don't Like
Part III - Harry the Dog Door Stop
How fortunate that most people don’t fit into these demographics.  Hurrah for normal people!

My trusty stylists were back in action yesterday, so this week we’ve gone Pretty in Pink in the window.  We have plenty of French Art Deco glass in various shades from peach to pink, not to mention some English cranberry glass and a couple of Italian end-of-day glass fishes in ox-blood, and we’ve teamed that with a bit of white kitchenalia (scales and pestle & mortar) the last of my giant chinoiserie tea tins, which has a lot of red in it, and some brass-faced Salters hanging scales.  Plus we’ve thrown some white hydrangeas into an old French watering can (similar to the one Caleb can be seen in later in this bulletin) and some purpley-blue hydrangeas in the last of the French grapes buckets, and the overall effect is completely different to last week and really quite pretty.  And this is not the window any passing Black Uhlan would have seen, by-the-way, so it’s not like Pink is to Uhlan as Cross is to Vampire that put them off.

Part of this week's Pink Window
Planning for the September buying trip is now well advanced, with the accommodation in Bangkok each way booked (don’t you love it when 5 Star hotels have half price sales?  Yay!), the van booked, the train to France booked, the itinerary for the UK and France now finalized and accommodation being investigated.  There’s a fair bit of planning that goes into each buying trip, but a detailed itinerary allows you to be very productive when you have to be, and also allows time for play days.  We’ve got to have play days, because there is a limit to how much Retail Therapy you can take at one go.  No, really, it’s true.

Caleb has well and truly settled into the household, and he is fast friends with Calypso in particular.  They sleep cuddled up every night – and not on the bed, which is even better – and play endlessly.  He is one Ninja Kamikaze Kitten, and often times I will look up from my cup-of-tea-in-bed in the mornings to see him flying towards me like a squirrel glider, all four legs akimbo and claws fully flexed.  He doesn’t care where he lands, and I’ve almost worn my cup-of-tea-in-bed several times. 
Calypso & Caleb at work together

We brought both Caleb and Calypso into the shop on Sunday, which was fun for the couple of hours we open on Sundays but I wouldn’t do it for any longer at this point.  Eventually they stopped playing and settled down on the tray on my desk, but there wasn’t room for them to both recline comfortably so as soon as I had to deal with a customer they both seized my chair and I didn’t have the heart to evict them.  But standing for the entire shift isn’t going to work for me, so we’ll have to reconsider our approach if we’re going to bring more than one moggie at a time into the shop.



Caleb is into absolutely everything, so you really have to watch where he is at any time.  He totally failed his first test with a toilet roll – what is it about Bengals that they have to totally annihilate every single toilet roll or roll of kitchen paper left unguarded?  We’ve never had another cat that showed the slightest interest in turning paper into confetti, but Calypso and Caleb seem to be genetically programmed to hunt down and kill all toilet rolls.  Caleb is also discovering the joys of effective ambushing, and had tremendous fun hiding in a French watering can while making enough noise to lure passing moggies to investigate.  He’d then leap up and make a wild grab at his intended victim, and while he was extremely clumsy and entirely unsuccessful, he did have a lot of fun.  And the intended victims kept coming back for more, so clearly they were enjoying the game too. 

Laying in wait for the next victim
Even Klaatu, who Caleb is a bit wary off after Klaatu gave him some serious Evil Eye glares early in the piece, got into the spirit of letting himself be “surprised”.  Caleb never tries to jump on Klaatu, as he does constantly with the girls, and entirely behaves himself around his big brother, as he never does with the girls.  But having established the ground rules with the new boy, Klaatu is now relaxing and starting to play with him and give him a bit of face washing.  Only Artemis is prepared to wash Caleb in the unsavoury parts that you could normally only expect your mother to tackle, but Klaatu is happy to do a bit of face washing.  So the integration has gone very well, and we are entirely a happy household again, not withstanding that most of us are still getting unexpectedly leapt on by a Ninja Kamikaze Kitten most days.

Calypso fleeing the Mad Attacker

02 August 2012

Caleb the Kitten is Causing Kaos

Caleb at 9 weeks old - not sure what colour his eyes will be yet
The new little man has arrived!  And what an absolute schmoozy, cuddly, sweetie he is.  And a big bossy boots as well – he makes it perfectly clear when he wants to be picked up, have his belly rubbed, fed, let in the bed (big mistake giving in to that one), belly rubbed again, perhaps a little bit more food, and then let’s settle down for some serious cuddling.

His first day at work was yesterday and I expected that he would spend the day snoozing, as you could reasonably expect from a nine week old kitten.  Wrong!  Fat chance of him cooperating and snoozing while I dealt with customers, when there was so much to see and do and explore, new people to meet, photos to be posed for, and squeaky opinions to be given at the top of his lungs on pretty well everything.  By the afternoon he finally flaked out and then nothing was going to wake him, so the afternoon’s tourists had to settle for photos of a very firmly asleep little pussycat.  He had a ball, but is clearly going to be more of a handful than even Calypso, and that’s saying something.

Flaked out after his first day at work
The very first thing Caleb did when he saw Calypso was trundle straight up to her, and we reckon it was because he recognized a “proper cat” when he saw one.  With the others he arched his little back and fluffed himself up and did some very highly pitched growling at them.  At his size, the overall effect was cute rather than menacing but nonetheless everyone, including Calypso, was entirely unnerved and dashed off.  It was funny to see this tiny little nine week old kitten scaring the bejesus out of monster moggies and causing conniptions all round. 

Totally distracting me from photographing
jewellery for the website this week
Naturally, the Gang was in uproar for the first few days, but that’s now passed.  Artemis is letting him snuggle up with her for a little while each night – but he wriggles too much and wants to hit her in the face too much for it to be an all-night snuggle for now.  Calypso is having tremendous fun playing chasey with him, and they both dash about the house doing the scampering gallop that cats do when they’re playing.  When she catches him she totally flattens him, but he bounces straight up and comes back for more.  It took until this morning for him to realise that then it’s his turn to chase her, and she lets him catch her but it will be a little while before he’s knocking her down.  But it will come.  As predicted, at first Mischka made it clear that she hated him to her core, and yet she still couldn’t help following him about and even she is settling down and starting to sort-of play with him.  Klaatu is reserving judgement and keeping well clear for now, and he totally shunned me for the first 24 hours – we weren’t friends any more.  And yet he’s such a cuddle puss he couldn’t stay away for long, so we’re back to being friends.  Mostly he’s ignoring Caleb but when he can’t avoid him, after a tiny little blur of fur comes to a screeching halt in front of him, Klaatu is telling him to bugger off less and less.  So it’s all good and will get better.
Flaked out after his first walk Outside
On his second day with us Caleb was allowed to join in the short walks we take everyone on most days.  They all usually object to having the walks finished, and Caleb was the biggest objector of all at the end of his first walk, but trying to throw your weight around when you’re a touch under 2kg doesn’t get you too far.  By the time he’s a monster Bengal and big enough to cause an issue with his objections he will already have learned that My Word Is Law.  That’s the plan.  But for now he’s a little tyke with a big personality and who knows what he wants and expects to get it.  Yes he is one delusional little moggie, who will need to get over this disappointment in his life.  And after the huge excitement of Being Outside he again flaked out - his life at the moment consists of being a whirling dervish or unconscious.

 In other news, it was a huge week in the shop – the best since the new shipment arrived, and that’s excellent because we’ve had airfares for the next buying trip to pay for, and however strong the Australian dollar gets it seems to have no bearing on the enormous cost of airfares.  This time we’re going via Bangkok, which we haven’t been to for some years, so now I have to do some research to find us somewhere decent but inexpensive to stay. 

The arrival of Caleb means that the window hasn’t changed on schedule, but I’ll see what I can manage without the assistance of my trusty window stylists tomorrow.  At the moment I’m occupied with a furry little bundle who insists that all snoozing must take place on my lap.  He just throws himself backwards and expects that I will catch him.  And I do.  And I always will.

I read this week that a new campaign has been launched in Paris to discourage Parisiennes from being rude.  Bon chance avec that, I say.  But having said that, we’ve found that for the most part Parisiennes are perfectly friendly and helpful and charming.  Not to mention extremely patient with our dodgy French.  Except when you want to buy vintage jewellery in the Paris Markets, and then all bets are off and it’s every girl for herself.  They’re not exactly rude, but definitely assertive in their quest to get the bit of jewellery that I actually had dibs on by virtue of seeing it first.  I’m not sure what French for dibs is, and I’m not sure that they even have such a concept.  But even if they do, I seriously doubt it would be honoured at the jewellery stands among the scrum of gels (and sometimes middle-aged men) who are after the same things I want.  September will soon be here, and France is first stop for this trip, so I shall be girding my loins for battle quite soon and I hope the Politez Vous campaign has kicked in by then.

Caleb hanging with Artemis as she helps me unpack some more boxes