I’ve mentioned my first cat, Bill, and I’ve mentioned my current furry friend, Derek, but I think I have completely overlooked Angus, the gorgeous ginger manx who came to live with us when I was seventeen years old.
Angus came to us via Vesna, a girl at school who lived on a farm out near Ludenham. She spread the word at school that she was giving away kittens, and I thought my sister, who had just moved in with her boyfriend, was in desperate need of a little kitty kat.
It took some time for Angus to be handed over – he was the last of the litter, and the runt to boot. His mother kept taking him off and hiding him in the paddock because she didn’t want to lose her last baby. Never the less, Vesna arrived at school one day with Angus in a box. He hadn’t been weaned yet, so I had to take him to Mrs Knoffs, an art teacher and a well known animal lover, who helped me show Angus how to drink milk from a saucer.
He was a sweet little ginger and white angel who attended French class (he was held up before us all and declared “le chat”), slept through history class, and finally made it after school into the arms of my sister. She invested so much love in Angus, he grew to be big, bold and intelligent – undoubtedly the best cat that ever lived. His eyes were like gold jewel facets, and when I looked into them, I was positive there was a person in there, staring back at me through his feline form.
I went to live in Hong Kong in the early nineties, and my greatest fear while I was away was that Angus would forget me. But when I came home after eighteen months for a holiday, Angus came strutting down the footpath, meowing and carrying on. Not only did he recognise me, I felt like he was demanding to know exactly where I’d been. That night at the dinner table, Angus sat on a stool next to me, his right front paw poised on my left forearm arm, not (I don’t believe!) in demand for food, but simply to be close, to acknowledge, “You’re here. I’ve missed you.”
My mother had grown some amazing pumpkins that summer – they’d sprung up from some jap pumpkin seeds she’d thrown in the compost. Every time it rained they expanded ten fold, it seemed. When she finally picked one, I decided a photo session was in order – the cat and the pumpkin! I laid out a sheet on the back verandah and positioned the pumpkin in the middle of it, then coaxed Angus to sit next to the giant vegetable. He was not pleased. Not really that interested. But he was patient. He let me get the shots. They are great shots, I think.
When Angus passed away it was awful. He had pink skin and had sported a cancerous growth on the end of his nose for some time. We had to let him go. It was the decent thing to do. But I expect, when my time comes, Angus will greet me on the other side. And I’m sure he’ll say “You’re here. I’ve missed you.”
1 cup steamed butternut pumpkin
3 tblsp low fat natural yghurt
3 tblsp tahini (sesame paste)
2 tblsp lemon juice
1 clove of garlic (raw, although roasted would be good too!)
1 tblsp water
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tblsp ground cumin
1. Place all the ingredients in a blender.
2. Blend on high speed until all ingredients are combined and mixture is smooth.
3. Serve in a gorgeous presentation bowl with white corn chips, lavosh crackers, or raw vegetable crudites. Garnish with lots of parsley to neutralise the garlic!