Tag Archives: demon cat

A-Z lodger survival guide: D is for Demon Cat

Oh, Demon Cat. No other member of the Chiswick tribe will get their own alphabetical entry in the survival guide bar Demon Cat. But Demon Cat is the only ‘person’ (yes, I know he’s a cat) to be identified – that cat photo on my homepage really is him (although admittedly, he doesn’t look very demonic there.)  Plus, Breakfast Girl requested that I wrote about Demon Cat when she commented on an earlier blog post so here we are.

If there were three things you should know about my relationship with Demon Cat, this is it:

1) I most certainly did not agree with Slish and Wonder Boy that using the hoover behind Demon Cat was a good idea when it clearly scared the bejesus out of him. I trust that it still does.

2) The family did the annual summer pilgrimage to the States twice while I lived there, which meant I had full-reign (yes, I know) of the house while they were away. OK, well, not quite. Of course Demon Cat also stayed. I kept him alive with water and food (although he only eats solid cat grub. Crazy Yank told me the vet said: “That’s all he needs.” Demon Cat would eat outside my room and sound particularly demonic doing so. Crunch, crunch, crunch, was thankfully the sound of fish flavoured food and not the sound of human bones cracking.) Still, it was during these times when we were on our own that we bonded most. But not when each morning before work, I had to toss him out of the house all day until I came back (there are no cat flaps at the house.) He’d sleep in Wonder Boy’s top bunk bed and would not budge. I’d get some cuddly toy and nudge him. When that wouldn’t work, I’d have  to make my own demonic sounds and clap to move him. These actions, combined with said nudging with a one foot tall dinosaur, usually did the trick.

3) Demon Cat was the last one to say goodbye to me when I left the house. The others were in the States and I moved out the day before Crazy Yank arrived back. I remember sitting with him on the doormat and talking to him. Telling him I was going and that I’ll miss him. He was in one of his rare moods where he seemed to enjoy human contact. He began to purr. And then I shed a tear or two as I opened the door and he darted out into the August sunshine.

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A-Z lodger survival guide: C is for Confidence

I (think I) know what you’re all thinking. You can’t have C without Crazy Yank. Right? Wrong. Such is Crazy Yank’s all encompassing character that he can’t be restrained to a single alphabetical entry. His omnipotence and omniscience means that he’s always here. On this blog. Not that he’s God or a ghost that’s haunting me (I hope not, anyway.) But he could be Big Brother. (I jest or once again, I hope I’m joking.)

No, instead, I’m going to talk about confidence. In terms of having confidence and being told things in confidence. To be honest, it’s more about the latter. And because of that, I could simply say no more because that would prove my lesson here that what a lodger is told must be always kept in confidence as, and when, it requires such discretion. As much as I found myself being consulted as rarely, or in fact as equally, as Demon Cat (sorry, Demon Cat but it’s true) about a lot of household choices, something I still feel most honoured, and also a little amused, about is that on more than one occasion, I was in the fortunate position of being a confidant for Crazy Yank, Wonder Boy and Slish. Sometimes this would happen simultaneously either about the same subject or something completely unrelated. What I found truly fascinating about this is that this often meant that, in terms of knowledge and what makes each individual tick, I was able to understand each person and the particular situations from a number of different angles and with a far greater understanding than any of the others did. I felt lucky being in such a position if not a little overloaded from time to time.

And having confidence? Well, when you’re lodging, confidence is of course important for integrating and building a rapport with the rest of the family to the best of your ability. It’s having the confidence to realise that you still have a life and that you’re not living with your friends because of bad timing, different budgets and contrasting preferences in terms of location. And finally, it’s quite frankly having the confidence to resist rising to the tiresome bait and/or forcing out a laugh when your twenty-something friends insinuate that you have a boyfriend nearly the same age as your father and have adopted two children (and not forgetting a demonic cat) for the umpteenth time.

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A Portrait of the Artist as a Yank Man

If you thought I was stretching the truth on Crazy Yank or any other part of my earlier ‘Ahoy Deck Season…’ tale, you would be wrong. To prove this, I have decided to paste the edited version of the ‘Ahoy Deck Season…’ post I recently wrote as edited by Crazy Yank himself. I e-mailed him the post to make sure he was OK about me writing this blog. Thankfully, he (and everyone else) was – bar a few of the changes he made below, of course…


Ahoy deck season . . . .
‘If you come on my deck, those Mickey Mouse socks will have to go!! You will have to be naked,’ are among the first words Crazy Yank say to me when I go upstairs today.

I live in the basement. In a room that was a garage before it became a converted cinema before it became a bedroom. It’s a great space even though it has no windows and I’m showing signs of rickets. This afternoon, I could see the sun shining through the glass panel above the front door so I went back into my room and put on a mini denim skirt, a tankini top, cardigan and Mickey Mouse socks.

‘Everything down to there is sexy until you get to those Mickey Mouse socks!!hip Crazy Yank begins.

I tell him I don’t care because my feet are cold and no-one’s going to see but I know I will have to negotiate to gain access to the deck this season.

‘It’s my sanctuary. I don’t let the kids go up there… Where are you going?’

‘I’m going to go up to the deck,’ I say, clutching my socks.

He follows me up the first stair case and then the next: a private stair case that leads to the master bedroom with en-suite bathroom, MTV Cribs-style walk-in wardrobe and the deck. We step outside among the Buddha heads and plant pots. Two loungers are next to each other. One is barely in the sun and the other is entirely in the shade.

‘It’s too early for the sun,’ he says.

‘Who’s going to sit there?’ I ask, pointing to the sun-lit lounger.

‘Me,’ he says, lying down, grinning.

OK baby,I say as I untie my little nothin’ and let it fall to the deck.

I go down the two flights of stairs and put my socks back on. My friend rings to say she’s five minutes away in the car. She arrives and we set up camp in the back garden. Then Crazy Yank appears.

‘I’m renaming the cat Govinder. I’m in my transcendent zone,’ he says balancing on one leg as demon cat rushes into the house. Govinder, Govinder, come on. Come here, he says, wandering back inside.

‘That’s groovy, lover,’ I say.


I think the blog needs to be a tad more flattering to Crazy Yank.
He’s a cool guy whose springtime has hit him somewhere between his Dharma and south of his navel.
So what if he wants to keep his dojo a sanctuary ?
He deserves it and it’s all he has to call his own.
. . . . Hey, you think chicks are going to read this blog ?
. . . . . . OK, that was a little sad.
Take another look at Crazy Yank
but this time look a little deeper.

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Ahoy deck season…

‘If you come on my deck, those Mickey Mouse socks will have to go. You will have to be naked,’ are among the first words Crazy Yank say to me when I go upstairs on a particularly warm day last April.

That morning I had stepped out of my bedroom to see the sun shining brightly through the glass panel above the front door. I felt warm in its reflected rays. So with a reinforced optimism, I went back into my room to dress accordingly: a mini denim skirt, a tankini top, cardigan and Mickey Mouse socks.

‘Everything down to here is sexy until you get to those Mickey Mouse socks,’ Crazy Yank begins.

I tell him I don’t care because my feet are cold and no one’s going to see but I know I will have to negotiate to gain access to the deck this season.

‘It’s my sanctuary. I don’t let the kids go up there… Where are you going?’

‘I’m going to go up to the deck,’ I say, clutching my socks.

He follows me up the first stair case and then the next: a private stair case that leads to the master bedroom with en-suite bathroom, MTV Cribs-style walk-in wardrobe and the deck. We step outside among the replenished Buddha heads and plant pots after his recent trip to Homebase and TK Maxx. Two loungers are next to each other. One is barely in the sun and the other is entirely in the shade.

‘It’s too early for the sun,’ he says.

‘Who’s going to sit there?’ I ask, pointing to the sun-lit lounger.

‘Me,’ he says, lying down, grinning.

‘I’ll come back later,’ I say.

I go down the two flights of stairs and put my socks back on. Lily rings to say she’s five minutes away in the car. She arrives and we set up camp in the back garden. Crazy Yank appears.

‘I’m renaming the cat Govinder. I’m in my transcendent zone,’ he says balancing on one leg as Demon Cat rushes into the house. Govinder, Govinder, come on. Come here,’ he says, wandering back inside. Continue reading

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A-Z lodger survival guide: A is for Acceptance

Listen closely lodgers and non-lodgers alike. It may sound melodramatic but acceptance – your first lesson in lodging – is fittingly one of the most important in terms of staying sane and, ultimately, surviving.

For a long time, I didn’t accept my situation as a lodger. I would let being at the bottom of the ‘caste system’ within the house get to me. For example, trying to negotiate with a then 15-year-old boy and 12-year-old girl to watch something we all like on the television would, for a long time, frustrate me enormously. My requests to be fair would usually be ignored or refused. And when we rarely negotiated away from MTV Dance or the Disney Channel, it would inevitably be E4 and Friends or Comedy Central and Scrubs. Often episodes that I’d already seen and quite often they’d already seen. But at least it was a compromise. And that soothed me. Although any equality I had was non-existent when South Park was on.

And when Crazy Yank was in control of the remote, I initially expected negotiation to be greeted with the maturity of another adult. Instead, my meek ‘Why don’t we put on something we all want to watch?’ would inevitably translate into Extreme Sports, some obscure documentary about a molecule that nobody wanted to watch and him commenting ‘How fascinating’ and ‘Wow, get a load of this’ before telling us facts and figures about something completely unrelated… or Nigerian Movies. Whatever his choice, we would watch the television at an average 50 volume (10 was loud enough for the average person). Once I watched, as I sat two metres away from the dolby surround system, as the volume crept to 72. I was screaming inside.

But it is that these sorts of times that I learnt to walk away, down the stairs, close the door and regain some control. Yes, I could still hear the television in my bedroom. I’m sure the neighbours could hear it. I’m sure that’s what made the cat transform into Demon Cat because he apparently never suffered from severe mood swings or a stare that said: ‘Just as you’re dropping off, I’m going to jump up on to your pillow, sit on your face until my furry backside suffocates you and you die’ as a kitten. And no, I couldn’t change the TV channel in my room because all the television channels linked up to whatever was being watched in the lounge. But I could put on a DVD. Read a book or a magazine. And stop myself from screaming inside my head. For a while at least.

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