Regular readers will be familiar with the family members that support me in my endeavours; the wife and the dogs all, in a very important way, support me in everything I do. However, to date I am yet to mention another key player. When the wife and I first moved to the Parish, we did so with another member of our family. A sporadically loyal, a consistently hungry, predominantly sleeping, cat.
Before the dogs arrived, the cat provided an early connection with the neighbours. Introducing himself to gardens and kitchens alike, he quickly grew his network of human slaves. When work or leisure require us to be away from the house for extended periods, there are a raft of willing volunteers to check in on the old boy. Knowing him only around feeding time, a number of neighbours have been thoroughly charmed by the cat. If only they knew.
As well as keeping us all in check, the cat provides an important support function to the delivery of this blog. More often than not, he sits quietly observing me as I type. Could he be pondering the subject of the latest post, or does he just resent the disturbance caused by my key tapping? Either way, he stares me down, keeps me focussed, and ensures that my writing does not delay his dinner.
In recent weeks the cat has also provided me with a conceptual sounding board for Parish matters. In many ways he is the ideal proxy for the average Parishioner. He has needs that need to be served and he provides minimal feedback until such time that he has a complaint to make; at which point he becomes very vocal indeed. We invest in infrastructure to make him more comfortable, and toys to make life more enjoyable. But rather than use the luxurious bed or multi-sensory activity station, he would rather sleep on the arm of the chair or play with a discarded sock.
I do not wish to stretch the metaphor too much but through the cat I may have inadvertently been preparing for my role as a Parish councillor for nearly 10 years.