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The collected opinions of an august and aristocratic personage who, despite her body having succumbed to the ravages of time, yet retains the keen intellect, mordant wit and utter want of tact for which she was so universally lauded in her younger days. Being of a generation unequal to the mysterious demands of the computing device, Lady Bracknell relies on the good offices of her Editor for assistance with the technological aspects of her journal.

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Location: Bracknell Towers

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

A poetic(ish) tribute

Last night I went out with my good friend Pop Larkin (right), who was staying in Liverpool overnight to deliver some disability equality training this morning. This had been arranged some time ago at a point when, obviously, I couldn't have known that Fishbone would decide she'd had enough just the day before.

I warned Pop that I was unlikely to be sparkling company, and that there was every chance I would spend the evening sobbing inconsolably on his shoulder. Being a decent soul (and having first met me, in any case, under similarly damp circumstances), he professed to be not at all put off by the prospect of having to mop me up.

So, after a visit to the osteopath, I caught the train back into town and met Pop in the bar of his hotel, where he immediately furnished me with a (purely medicinal, you understand) gin and tonic.

Going out for the evening with a charming gentleman might seem to some like a rather heartless and disrespectful thing to do so soon after Fishbone's death, but it really was exactly what I needed.

At my suggestion, we decamped from the city centre to Keith's Wine Bar on Lark Lane for something to eat, and to watch the world go by. (It's a long time since I've been fit enough to patronise Keith's regularly, but it's still as bohemian and idiosyncratic - and the food is still just as good - as it was when I moved here twelve years ago.) It's always a joy to watch Londoners' faces when they realise they've just bought an enormous meal for less than £5.

Once we'd eaten, we walked over the road to the Albert for more medicinal alcohol. (I feel like death this morning: diabetes and alcohol really don't mix at all well. But desperate times call for desperate measures. Sometimes doubles.)

I did feel I'd be rather letting the side down if I failed to poke fun at Pop for

a) having a coat with him at all; and

b) putting it on to cross the road.

He's convinced that, Oop North, it could start to snow at any moment. Yes, even in September. Bless.

Anyway, just as we were about to leave, we were stopped in our tracks by a rather odd young man who was spending his evening offering to write people a poem about anything they wanted, and explaining that we would only have to give him something for his services if we liked the results. Well, he was wearing a lapel pin with "Poet" written on it, so he was clearly kosher. And, really, how can you turn down an offer like that?

In the cold light of day, the poem he composed lacks a certain something. I suspect that a lot of its impact was in his delivery. Or the fact that we were very drunk when he delivered it. Or possibly both. But I'm going to reproduce it here in any case because I was moved by it at the time, and because it was such an unusual - and unexpected - way to say goodbye to an old, old friend.


Now has flown
Having had 17 of cats' 9 lives
Your fine feline arrives
Upon all fours
Paws and claws
Still one adores
However timid
Once you knew
A bond of love grew
Like her whiskers and fur
For kindness and mercy ensured
This Fishbone
Didn't become unstuck

So, er, that's that.

A thousand thanks to Pop for his unerring ability to combine just the right amount of sympathy and hand-holding with a talent for making me laugh. And for plying me with alcohol until I could barely stand up. In retrospect, I reckon that constitutes a wake. And a remarkably fine one, at that. In which case, I refuse to feel guilty for having enjoyed myself.

The Editor


Blogger belledame222 said...

Awww. RIP, Fishbone. so sorry you lost your lovely friend.

2:23 pm  
Blogger Mary said...

Sorry to hear this.

5:34 pm  
Blogger Wilf said...

I say, well done Pop. Cheers, Fishbone.

8:48 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was very saddened to see yesterday's post, having as I do a general fondness for kitties everywhere, and having noted that Fishbone in particular had what I like to call a tantalizingly beepable nose. (You might well imagine the soppy indignities my own cats are regularly subjected to.) So I'm glad to hear that The Editor did enjoy herself, though I am very sorry, also, for her loss.

A POET lapel badge! Dear Lord, so that's what I've been doing wrong all this time! I've got one which says "writer" in very prominent white letters, but I've never bothered to wear it. Well! I'm putting it on right now. Six-book contract, here I come! Hot damn.

9:38 pm  
Blogger Buttongrrrl said...

Sorry to hear you lost your furry friend.
Kindest Regards, Buttongrrrl

10:59 pm  
Blogger Marcelle Proust said...

Mes condolences les plus sinceres.

4:04 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is remembered, lives. Undoubtedly, in the meadows of Eternity, Fishbone is romping with my equally beloved sable prince of cats, Merlin. They are all so special and unique, and there is nothing at all like having a black cat in one's life. You have my deepest condolences.

5:28 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dame Honoria Glossop offers her deepest condolences to Her Ladyship.

Dame Honoria lost her own beloved 22 year old feline companion to kidney failure earlier this year. Kleenex and Gordon's Gin production had to be trebled to cope with demand.

I love the idea of official Pub Poets, where can I find one?

8:05 am  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...

Thank you, to everyone, for the comments. And to Charles Dawson for the poem.

"What is remembered lives": that, although not quite so succinctly put, is what Pop said to me on Tuesday night. And I think it's the realisation of that fact which has made the most difference. She is not gone as long as I remember her.

Dame Honoria, ma'am, if you are ever in Liverpool, I will take you to the Albert in search of the peripatetic poet.

1:18 pm  
Blogger BloggingMone said...

Losing a beloved furry companion is absolutely devastating. So certainly meeting someone like Pop was the the right thing to do. Glad to read he has managed to cheer you up.
I had a look at Keith's Wine bar and decided I will have to go there, should I ever be in Liverpool again. I have never heard of pub poets before, but getting a poem written is definitly a priority on my to-do-list.

1:18 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lady B, I'm so sorry. I lost one this week, too, my last of five. To put it less elegantly than you would, it sucks.

Fishbone was lovely. Thank you for introducing her to us, however briefly.

2:22 pm  
Blogger Agent Fang said...

Dear Lady B, I'm so sorry to hear about Fishbone. Pets are part of our families, and are loved just as much (if not more...). You never forget how much you love them and may it be a small comfort to know that for Fishbone you were the centre of the universe and so very much loved back. I bet she's in Cat Heaven telling everyone you are the best. I wonder if there's a cat poet up there writing poems about owners? Hang in there.

2:27 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Lady Bracknell,
I am so sorry to hear of your loss. We humans may love and outlive many cats who share our lives, but each one is unique and unforgettable. Fishbone will surely be waiting for you at the Rainbow Bridge (q.v.)

Mary in LA
also remembering my dear black-and-white moggie Audrey, 1993 - 2001

1:15 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry to read about the loss of your pretty kitty. I had a cat of similar black beauty for many years before we lost him to cancer. Thanks for posting pictures and letting us all get a glimpse of your feline friend.

4:24 pm  

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