food for thought

I went into the local agricultural supplies store to buy cat food and the guy looked up and said “¿pienso?”.

I’ll admit I was sorely tempted to reply, “lo dudo” as he’s not the brightest crayon in the box: he’s more the sort who “just sits” without much in the way of thinking going on.

tabby cat
(That was meant as a reference to “sometimes I sits and thinks, and then again I just sits.”, but now I’ve added a photo, I find that “I have a Gumbie Cat in mind”. Hmm. Tangents are fun things.)

Anyway, he really meant pienso as a noun – alimento para el ganado. Well, I’d never thought of our semi-ferals as livestock, but there’s certainly a small herd of them. (And, as the guy in the EDS advert says, “Herding cats? don’t let anybody tell you it’s easy.”)
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la penúltima

Grey mother cat & 3 black kittens suckling
One for the road

The Spanish don’t have “one last drink” – for them, it’s always “la penúltima”.

But the gatitos in the picture appear to have sucked all the colour from their mother and are now almost as large as she is. I’ve just seen her reject one of them despite his plaintive mewling, so maybe she’s finally decided to call last orders.

(No, it’s not a very good photo, but you wouldn’t have wanted me to disturb them, would you?)

being superstitious is lucky

Stevie Wonder may have been wrong when he sang “When you believe in things that you don’t understand, then you suffer.” According to an article on, German researchers have demonstrated that being superstitious can actually improve performance: if you have your lucky charm with you, you feel more confident and perform better. There again, it probably works the other way, too, and losing your amulet will make you perform worse.

Of course superstitions vary between cultures. I imagine that an English speaker who takes a test on Friday 13th will underperform, whereas a Spaniard would do worse if it was martes 13.

black kitten
lucky for some

Which gives me an excuse for posting this photo.

Where English readers will see it as a good omen, Spaniards will think it augurs ill.

Either way, it seems a big responsibility for such a small cat.

not my own words

I had a dream a while back where I was telling someone that I earned my living from writing – “But not my own words.”

No, it wasn’t an admission of plagiarism. I think it was a subconscious recognition of the fact that I am too busy translating to do very much original writing.
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mardi garden

The cats are twitterpated: lords and ladies
of misrule, they squeal like St Martin’s pigs
in their carnal carnival. Birds’ nests burgeon
in the hedges and, on the early apricot,
a choir of ruby buds swells, ready to burst
into scented song.

More “notes for a poem” than a finished poem, I think. And they were notes taken several years ago.
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