Hildegard of Carlisle

Something lighter for the holiday weekend, after so depressing a previous post, the implications of which will need to be long considered. Not so this, but it has been fairly long considered anyway, because it was in October 2018 that I posted some general news and Dame Eleanor Hull, one of the blog’s most enduring followers (thankyou madam) observed that I had, deep in the post after recounting all my academic activities, said:

“The thing that is obviously missing from this, of course, is much sign that I was doing research of my own, and in truth, I was struggling with that. Some of this was just life, changing the boiler in the new house (which, of course, broke down less than a week after we’d moved in), settling in two new cats, learning a new commute—pretty much every journey in Leeds needs you to start down one hill and climb another, or else the reverse—and generally working out the new routines of life.”

Whereupon, Dame Eleanor accused me of burying the lede and demanded, I quote:

“Settling in two new cats”–moar cat pix pls kthxbai.”

And I provided one link and promised I would otherwise make amends, and then didn’t. Till now.

Now, given that I have before now removed people from my blogroll for having too many pictures of their pets, I’m conscious there’s a slippery slope before me at this point, but equally I can’t refuse Dame Eleanor, even if I can apparently fail to answer for three-and-a-half years. So this will be a gallery post and not fur up the front page, but for those that care about such things, I can provide both an update on the photographic state of Miro, already featured but now rather more grown up, at least in body…

Miro the kitten at full growth

Miro the kitten at full growth

and also introduce to the blog the elder feline citizen of my home working environment, Hildy, who has so far escaped mention here by name.

Hildy the cat in a previous dwelling

Hildy ruling our previous dwelling

Hildy was a rescue cat, whom we searched out to be company for a new kitten we’d then been promised, who was unfortunately the one whose death on the roads I mentioned in 2016. But by then we had Hildy, and we wound up getting Miro to keep her company. Hildy came to us from Carlisle, where she had been living under a car and was then taken in by the Blue Cross, and she was so named when we got her. But Hildy is a name that a household of two medievalists can work with, obviously. She is somewhere between 12 and 16, probably, and has taken well to the home life again, for the most part…

Miro and Hildy, cats in repose

Mostly they do not get on as well as this, but this day it was sunny

But she does have clear and eloquently expressed views on the complete and obvious irrelevance of whatever I might be doing that looks like work.

Hildy the cat atop a book and a scanner

No scanning allowed

Hildy the cat declaring her critical opinion of some academic reading

A critical opinion on my reading matter, literally on it I mean

And really, there are days I feel the same way. Now, when I realised this post was coming up in the drafts folder, I was very afraid that I’d left it too late and it would have to be posted in memoriam, because she had at that point just undergone surgery for a still-mostly-unexplained swelling that might have been, but probably wasn’t, cancerous. She was not doing at all well in recovery and we were very afraid of losing her. Obviously that day will some time come, but I’m glad to say that she has rallied and is now pretty much her cunning, podgy entitled self once more and has even escaped the cone of shame that was needed to stop her trying to wash out her own stitches.

Hildy the cat in her preferred sleeping box

It’s not what IKEA designed these baskets for, but what did they know?

Therefore, ladies and gentlemen, and Dame Eleanor in particular: my cats. I promise this will not become a regular feature…

12 responses to “Hildegard of Carlisle

  1. Cats? Cats! We’ve just acquired our first one, and have another stray coming around regularly for feeds + one possibly two others.
    IE More than we know what to do with.
    Careful with those cat, Eugene.

  2. I hope Hildy is with you a while. We all need critics…

  3. Thank you! I’m glad Hildy pulled through and is still with you. Our Shakespearean Heroine was an elderly cat when we got her, and we were able to give her several good years, with good vet treatment. Kittens have their points, but can be quite exhausting, whereas older cats are usually easier to live with.

  4. Joseph Brown

    Thank you so much for showing us your feline furrever friends – they’re so gorgeous. And I love the names – I presume Miro is named after Miro Bonfill of Cerdanya. I have a cat myself – a grey burmese-tabby mix called Grubby. She’s 17 years old now in human years, which makes her over 84 in cat years, and I love her to bits.

    • I have always chosen not to decide which Miro our one is named for. I think I was thinking of Miró II el Jove of Cerdanya at the time, but we’ve found that the sculptor is usually an easier explanation to give, and since frankly the cat behaves like neither, who knows?

  5. I was very ill at one point and could do little more than lie on cushions on the sitting room floor watching cricket from the Caribbean. One of our cats would join me for hours at a time. Occasionally he’d walk over to the TV screen, raise a paw, and touch it. I think he was trying to adjust the field.

  6. At the risk of sounding rude, I think that ‘Dame Eleanor’ would make a splendid cat name.

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