Peering aimlessly outdoors from my mother’s dining room, I’ve just witnessed a black cat saunter arrogantly past the French doors towards wood fencing panels bordering the garden of castle Strachan senior. Strutting with a vain-glorious surety akin to how the late Queen singer Freddie Mercury owned the stage in his pomp, Sadly, unlike Frederick, the moggy wasn’t inclined to accompany this strut with a memorable pop anthem.

This castle which has been my parents long term abode, bereft of moat***, drawbridge or keep, perches among a cluster of thirty year old residential constructions in East Ardsley. This West Yorkshire dormitory village referenced in the 1086 Domesday Book as Erdeslau, a location Wikipedia states as being 140 metres above sea level. Although, after the amount of rain we’ve experienced in the UK of late, I venture it’s distance above the ocean may’ve diminished markedly

*** – That being said, if I’d had the inclination to dig a trench around the old lady’s place a few weeks ago, the recent torrential showers (alluded to above) would’ve remedied the lack of a moat.

Unable to recall which end of the serendipity scale folklore attaches to witnessing a passing black cat, I strove to unearth whether superstition deemed the act to be lucky or unlucky. With online research sources on the subject seemingly contradictory, I’m still at a loss as to whether to be concerned by the sighting, or go provisionally book a cruise.


The arrogance in which this cat flounced past the home irritated me. Concluding I should’ve dug a water filled moat, not only to strengthen Mrs S senior’s residential fortifications, but try dint the dark moggy’s cocksure attitude. His peacock feathers ruffled on witnessing gallons of water blocking formerly unrestricted access to the neighbourhood fencing.

Unless, of course, the feline had access to a pair of water wings. However, with inflatable buoyancy aids and sharp cat claws ‘enjoying’ an unpredictable co-existence, I’d proffer chances of that scenario actually materialising as unlikely.

As much as I’d love to see a cat wearing speedos, swimming goggles and inflatable high-vis water wings as it swam across a moat, it’s just not gonna happen. Witnessing a moggy trying to inflate buoyancy aids with it’s mouth also on my eccentric bucket list; but equally improbable.

To be honest, I’ve no idea if cat’s can swim. I’m basing the above non-swimming theory on the fact domestic cats don’t appear to like water. An assumption formed from witnessing the fact they’d rather clean their genitals with their own tongue than utilise bath water and soap.

Anyhow, in a nutshell, I’ve no idea what superstition claims now lays in store my immediate, medium or long term future following today’s brush with Sooty the black cat. Will fate damn me with further misfortune to heap on top of living with an incurably ill wife, along with my recent suffering from heart attack and gastric haemorrhage.

Or, on the flip side, will I be blessed with unrelenting serendipity, such as Sooty turning up at my mother’s French Doors with two tickets for the production of Les Miserables at the Bradford Alhambra in his mouth. Or will my dream of a theme park named Marmiteland opening it’s come to fruition. This a Vegemite utopia where dropped toast always lands marmite side up, and every frown gets turned upside down.

Actually, as I conclude this inanity, Sooty has just arrived at mater’s doors bearing both good and bad fortune. The fortuitous news being he came bearing two tickets for Les Miserables; the bad is they’re both for restricted view seats….. It appears fate’s as confused as I am!!

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