There are some people one loves or admires despite their often forthright views. (Sir) Patrick Moore, who sadly died in 2012, was one of these persons. Famed as an amateur astronomer who popularised the science of star gazing to a very wide public in what remains television’s longest running programme, “The Sky at Night”, he held some views I would violently disagree with as being utterly prehistoric. For example, he thought that women were ruining the BBC, that “the Garden of Eden is home of Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve” and that the principality of Lichtenstein had the best political system on earth. But, as he said, “I may be accused of being a dinosaur, but I would remind you that dinosaurs ruled the Earth for a very long time.”
One Patrick Mooreian view I completely agree with, however, is what he has to say about felines: “a catless house is a soulless house”.
Returning to local stables from an extensive (and somewhat hair-raising because if you fell from the horse you could also fall into a ravine) trek in summer 2006 we noticed a small feline putting its paw through the hole in the centre of a millstone in the yard. It was peek-a-booing with us and also was quite au fait with the riding stable dogs.
“Who does it belong to” we asked the owner. “No-one” was the reply. “You can have it if you like.” “Does it have a name?” “We call him Napoleone”, he answered.
We returned home and pondered. Should we have Napoleon? The following morning I arrived with a box and Napoleon entered into it and came home with me on the back of my scooter. (We didn’t get our car here until 2008).
Here is the first morning we spent with Napoleone.
We and he have never looked back and all agree a house without a cat is a house without a soul, although in Napoleon’s case it might be modified into “a house without a cat-lover is a soulless house.”
Indeed, every one of my posts is written with Napoleon on my desk. I couldn’t start one without him. If these posts stop it’s either because I or Napoleon has gone…
PS I think Patrick Moore would have appreciated Longoio for its lack of what he called the intrusion of “Aurora Bognor Regis” (where he lived) in the night sky. I’ve never seen so many stars as I’ve seen them here. Light pollution is down to a minimum. Trouble is I find it very difficult to photograph the night sky with my present equipment. Fortunately, there is an observatory above nearby Borgo a Mozzano on Monte Agliano (web site at http://www.oama.it/). It’s open every Friday night (weather permitting) and I must make it a New Year’s resolution to visit it.