24 February, 2013. The Misses Kotte – soon to be the Dehiwala Damsels – have found a new home with Mr. P, a widower from Dehiwala, who needs their company now his daughter has gone to University in India. I’ll visit a couple of times before I leave and will post pictures of them in their new home.
* * *
To have a home with a cat and a couple of dogs living in loving harmony has been a dream since 1956, when I found myself bereft after my beloved friend Ruggles was poisoned. Always, there was some impediment to turning dream to reality. Right from the start was my mother’s blunt refusal ever to have another dog, then it was boarding school, living the giddy life of a twenty-something in the city, and then travelling, travelling … I did have a couple of adored cats along the way (more about them later), but it wasn’t until I decided to move here to Sri Lanka that circumstances at last seemed favourable. On top of which, even though I would no longer be abandoning the animals to work each day, here, no matter where I am, there is always a surrogate human around.
I signed the lease on my new house, took delivery of my worldly goods, unpacked then bought myself a car and went to collect my Girls: Podi, Mischief and Maggie, The Misses Kotte, I call them, for that’s where we lived.
Introducing The Three Misses Kotte
Like her namesake (the Australian ex-model turned fashion designer), Maggie is beautiful, bold, and in your face. Full of energy and a huge, vibrant personality, she’s very loving, very demanding and very greedy, but above all, she needs to be the centre of attention. Luckily, her siblings are happy to cede the stage to her.
Little Miss (whose real name is Mischief)
Miss smiles less often than her buxom sister, she’s more cautious, more wary, but she’s brave as a lion, and is endowed with all the fine faculties of hearing and smell that are her genetic inheritance. She’s the more doggie of the two, and no longer the naughty one. Little Miss has turned into quite the lady, except when she’s had enough of her big sister …
… and (Princess) Podi
Podi is Sinhala for small, and our Princess is a very small cat.
A stray, we brought Podi home for fear she would become a meal for roving pole cats or the like. Now it is she who is the huntress: keeping the wee beasties from invading our home. Podi is as independent as all cats, but she does like to hang around with her sisters, when we’re all together during the day. At night, she’d rather have the keys to the front door, thank you very much, so she can do her cat thing. But don’t be fooled, she’s the reigning Princess – has been from the night they all arrived. If Podi says so, there’s never any argument.
I’ll pass over their growing up (you can imagine: cute, adorable, destructive … ), and set the scene of our dream-come-true domesticity.
No matter where I am during the daytime – at my desk, for instance, or having tea of a morning – there’s the four of us.
In keeping with her status, Podi usually opts for a high place, on the railing of the veranda, just by my shoulder perhaps, or the cushioned chairs in the courtyard, or, if it’s too hot, or drizzly, atop a stack of paper lanterns I can’t bear to throw away, in the store-room just behind me as I write. That’s of course after she’s given up trying to insinuate herself between me and my book, or the keyboard, and knocked over the hear no evil monkey beside the dictionaries on my desk.
The Girls, of course, vie with each other for the dubious honour of sprawling across my feet (an agony in this heat – and a bit smelly, I’d have thought, for them), the looser finding a bit of wall to lean against, like a surrogate back.
It’s the loser who assumes the role of gate-guardian, a true demonstration of the Beagle’s faculties, since we can’t see the gate from upstairs. But no matter what ventures down the lane – cow, crow or courier – the cry goes up and eight little feet road runner on the spot as they try to gain traction on the polished concrete floors in their rush to fly down the stairs to investigate.
I am About to Tear Our Idyll Asunder (September 2012)
As I begin to resign myself to the move back to Australia, the welfare of my beloved Girls becomes my major concern. A very kind friend has asked for pictures, so he can show them off to of his animal-loving friends in the hope one of them might immediately be smitten by the urge to adopt one, or both, or all of The Misses Kotte. Please wish him luck – and if you live here in Sri Lanka, and feel the urge, please leave a note so I can get in touch with you. You know they’re well brought up, and well-behaved, have had all their shots, and their little operation. I can guarantee they will bring you nothing but joy if they were to become your wards.
Let me introduce you again:
… and Maggie
A doting human’s photo album:
Pass it on …