You’ll Have Had Your Tea

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This is Dougie. He had two great missions in life; food and the guarding of shoes. If you wore the shoes, he sometimes attacked your feet for invading them.

He began, when we’d only met him long-distance, as Dougal, because of the ginger in his fur and that old sketch on I’m Sorry, I Haven’t a Clue called Sound Charades, in which two comedians perpetually began their half of the play with cries of:

‘Hamish!’

‘Dougal!’

‘You’ll have had your tea.

‘Oh, no…’

No one had ever had their tea, to hear ‘Hamish’ and ‘Dougal.’ Neither had Dougie, if you believed everything he had to say on the subject of food.

But Dougal was too Scotch a name for the Canadians he lived with, and anyway, don’t cats always have half a dozen names? So he became Dougie, more Canadian for a Canadian cat, but his origin story was apt, because he was perpetually wanting his tea. And shoes to guard. And people to sit on. But no one does comedic sketches about those things. You’ll Have Had Your Tea it was.

Now I’m having my tea, in quite a different sense, and it goes by the dubious name of ‘Chocolate Macaroon.’ I won’t reiterate the spiel about chocolate in tea. But coconut…to anyone else I suspect it’s inoffensive enough. It tastes of suncream to me, probably because that’s what suncream smells of. Also, curiously, it evokes Nice Biscuits, a culinary misnomer if ever there was one. So all told it’s not won me over yet, which is okay. We’re on day two of this Advent calendar and there’s always a couple of dodgy selections. (Coffee tea of last year comes readily to mind.)

Maybe I just feel guilty about the fact that I’m having tea when Mr Dougie can no longer join me and attack my shoes while I sip it. Pancreatic cancer in cats is like that -not the sort of thing you can reverse.

But objectively, if you aren’t averse to coconut, and if you’re not in converse with departed cats, this isn’t a bad tea. Decadent, and not what you’d want to take with your toast at breakfast, but rich and desert-esque. The sort of thing you’d foist on Tommy and Tuppence at one of there Ritz-staying ventures.

In the meantime, here’s a poem, Dougie. Other cats I’ve been known to sing to. Mr Keys got Hansel and Gretel, specifically the ditty about the mouse in the straw, and Her Nibs is partial to Vilja Lied, but you and I weren’t quite on singing terms. I had the temerity to wear my shoes, after all, and you preferred we sit together instead. And who was I to argue with you, world’s most placid cat? So no music for you, but here’s Tennessee Williams, who had he never written a play, would, we feel confident be remembered for his verse.

We Have Not Long to Love

Tennessee Williams

We have not long to love.
Light does not stay.
The tender things are those
we fold away.
Coarse fabrics are the ones
for common wear.
In silence I have watched you
comb your hair.
Intimate the silence,
dim and warm.
I could but did not, reach
to touch your arm.
I could, but do not, break
that which is still.
(Almost the faintest whisper
would be shrill.)
So moments pass as though
they wished to stay.
We have not long to love.
A night. A day….
We didn’t have you nearly long enough to love, Dougie. You were supposed to live on the spoils of the land (or at least veterinary selected cat-food) for years to come. There would have been shoes to wrestle and tea to be had, and maybe we’d have eventually got to singing terms. Apparently celestial shoes had greater need of your defence. Do them proud. And until we catch up again, it seems a safe bet to think that as no cat-friendly patch of hereafter would starve you, we can fairly suppose you’ll have had your tea, then.
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