Nice weather and “the bells!”

author-Avatar  Summer has  managed to  arrive in the Black Forest.  After taking of what appeared to be  an eternity, the sun has at long last, now managed to penetrate even the sleepiest parts  of this  world. Don´t get me wrong, habitants of the Black Forest are no more sleepier than people  in any other part of the world,  but that´s what seems to be the problem –  because of this sudden, unexpected heat-wave, many of us are so overwhelmed (and sticky!) that we are unable to sleep properly at night.  Most of us tend to  slugglishly trudge through the day with eyes half-closed (nothing new there then!)  🙂  visibly struggling with the strains of wanting to find a shady place with which to rest.

It´s terribly difficult trying to keep one´s home cool  (we´re just not used to so much heat)  and the temperature in my sleeping quarters is akin to living in a tent having had the sun beat down on it all day.  That´s why I (try to) sleep with the window wide open – and that´s the second problem!    I´m just not used to all those noises outside! (sensitive me).

At approximately 4 in the morning (I know because when I can´t sleep, I tend to keep looking at my alarm clock!) the birds  living  in my neighbourhood just love to burst into song.  That´s all very nice but would they appreciate me playing a CD  from  Mr Midnight´s favourite group, Depeche Mode,  full blast at 2 in the morning?  I hardly think so.

And then there´s the bells.  Living in a sleepy village  (it´s no wonder  we´re all sleepy!) does have its setbacks because  noises  outside appear to be that much louder. I often wonder why we still have to keep ringing church bells  all through the night.  Every 15 minutes a gong!  Every hour a full melody of chimes.  Fantastic stuff – if you DON`T wish  to sleep!

Now that I´m fully awake, I may now listen to the early morning traffic. I live near the main road which runs through the centre of my village so it´s probably not surprising that I should also get to know at what time the first commuters speed through my village on their way to work.

My solution: Deal with it, sweat and close the window!

MM-Avatar What are those frequent, strange, disturbing noises Sir Winston?   I hear them when it´s light and when it´s dark.  Continual, deep clanging  noises all day long.  It´s enough to drive a cat round the bend!

Is it those humans again?  They are always up to something.

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The “lads” had had a strenuous night “on the town” (or “on the village” as the case may be!) and were both cat-napping  in the cellar.      It was just after 4.30 a.m.  and Mr Midnight was becoming restless and slightly aggitated.

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SW-Avatar I try to ignore  interference as best I can  but the disturbance  does seem to be another man-made sound.

MM-Avatar You can bet that it´s ANOTHER man-made sound!  Most disturbing noises are man-made sounds!

SW-Avatar I heard it through the grapevine  (from Mr Squirrel I believe) that the noise you refer to  is called “a bell”.

MM-Avatar I didn´t realise that  you  crawled through grapevines Sir Winston. I´m not too fond of grapes myself. They play havoc with my stomach;  but those “bell-things”  should be abolished – they play havoc with my well-being.

Some of my mates down the road wear dinky, little bells around their necks but I´m just not into “bells” at the moment. They´re annoying things. Why do humans need to keep making noises with bells? Are they still in the kindergarten?

SW-Avatar . . . . . nice word Mr Midnight.   Kindergarten.    You must have picked that one up from round here somewhere.

MM-Avatar I did. Most humans around here do not speak like daddy. They are what one calls, “German”.  I like German words. They can be very, very long! But why the obsession for  metal sounding  objects?

Must be one of the reasons why early German electronic (analogue) 🙂  music originated; you know,    Kraftwerk etc.

SW-Avatar I´m not quite sure why humans seem to have a  passion for  noisy things  Mr Midnight,  but there must be some reason to it all. Humans are not really logical beings but the “bell craze” must have it´s origins somewhere.

A long time ago, I heard that most  humans couldn´t read and write (whatever that means) so some clever devil invented the bell with which to inform everybody what time it was.

MM-Avatar Well it´s either dark or light,  or sleeping time or eating time. 🙂   It still doesn´t explain why humans have to keep banging their bells.

SW-Avatar When  people knew what time it was then they knew when they  could go to Church.  You see, a bell could also be a “call to God”.

MM-Avatar . . . . and this God fellow loves bells?  Sounds rather goofy to me. Does he need waking up then?                                                                                                    I don´t know how he manages to sleep through all that din. I hope he´s in a good mood afterwards.

Is this Church thingymajig an important place Sir Winston?  It seems to show no mercy, especially  towards cats. I mean, hitting pieces of metal at all times of the day – it´s just not on is it.

SW-Avatar A lot of humans  who live in our part of the world seem to like the Church and it´s bells and things.  Humans go there with which to seek advice and to talk with their God.

MM-Avatar They don´t need to go to Church to get some advice.  Here´s my advice. Please stop making noises with your “bells”. The flying things  which english-speaking humans call birds,  are not too keen either!

And what is this God thing anyway?  Can´t humans talk to him in the solitude and comfort  of their  own homes?

SW-Avatar I don´t know Mr Midnight. They seem to believe that one can only, properly get hold of God  when hitting a bell and visiting a Church.

MM-Avatar And is there really a God? We cats and animals seem to get by without having to make such a racket.

SW-Avatar Humans seem to think so. It´s called “a tradition” and because every human who  walked the earth before the present human  generation  believed in a God,  humans of today also want to  believe in God. It´s their belief.

MM-Avatar Well fancy that.  Everybody believing in something which nobody has seen. Don´t humans believe in themselves and what is in the core of their bodies.

We cats, all other animals and humans, all have the same life-force – what humans call “souls”. Cats and animals are  instinctively, constantly in-touch with their souls.  Humans obviously need to have a God as well.

If it helps I suppose it´s fine,  but please humans – please consider turning your “bells” off for a while.  Your God can hear you without you having to wake him all the time.  🙂

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Too much information

The sun had at long last, decided to show its face,  and after having excitedly  chased one another around the garden  for twenty minutes or so, Mr Midnight and Sir Winston both  then retired to “higher ground” with which to relax and watch the passers-by.

MM-Avatar I can´t believe that it´s warmed up a bit Sir Winston.  All that wet stuff blocking my breathing apparatus and making me make strange noises was becoming irritating. I don´t like being irritated!  It´s  certainly a hard life  being a Black Forest cat.

SW-Avatar Just enjoy the warm rays and how they  penetrate your fur Mr Midnight. Honestly, you´re getting just like daddy.  He´s from a place they call “England” and he´s always going on about what humans call “the weather”.  Apparently, people who come from that part of the world just love talking about the weather. Just relax,  feel the warmth and enjoy the moment.

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They  sat on the top of the hill  and observed what was going on beneath them.

There was quite a lot of noise and movement below.  People of all ages rushing by,  a bus collecting children from  school and parked cars attempting to leave their parking spaces at what seemed,  to be all at the same time.     It was as though the sun  had brought everyone out of their “hiding place”.

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MM-Avatar Look at all that hassle down there Sir Winston.  They live very chaotic lives.  That warm, bright thing in the sky seems to  make humans scatter-brained, especially after such a long period of wetness and darkness.

SW-Avatar Well it´s hardly surprising after having been “cooped-up” in their homes for over half a year!

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While half-listening to Sir Winston,  Mr Midnight noticed that  many humans had devices glued to their ears and absent-mindedly  wondered what those things could be.

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MM-Avatar  I´ve often noticed growths  growing out of the side of human heads.  Do you think that humans also have sensitive hearing just  as we do Sir Winston?

SW-Avatar I very much doubt it Mr Midnight.  I don´t think humans hear  well at all.  Just listen to all that racket they´re making down there. They´re not even aware of how loud they are.   If they were sensitive to noise they wouldn´t make such a terrific din. They seem to love loud things.

I must confess,  I´m not sure  what those strange devices  are  glued to their ears. All that I know is that they are not always attached to their heads so they must be some kind of hearing aid or something with which to keep the cold out of their ears.

Look, there´s daddy emptying the rubbish in the garden. Let´s run over the road and ask him. He should know.

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They both raised their bodies, yawned,  made themselves as long as possible by stretching,  and then ran down the hill, over the road and into the garden to ask their question.

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MM-Avatar Hi Daddy, Sir Winston and myself would like to know what those lumps are which occasionally grow on the side of human heads. Even Sir Winston is at a loss for words.

author-Avatar I´m not quite sure what you mean. I haven´t noticed any “lumps” growing anywhere.

SW-Avatar Human beings  seem to have it attached to their ears most of the time and then they wander uncontrollably around the place gibbering what appears to be   garbage.

MM-Avatar Could the device be some kind of hallucinating drug?  If so, it seems to be very dangerous. They  don´t seem to watch where they are walking and their  speech  exceeds  normal levels of loudness.

It´s really weird.

author-Avatar Ah yes, I know what you mean. Those things  are called  mobile phones  and I suppose in a certain way, you could call them a drug because they are very addictive.

SW-Avatar And why do you need mobile phones?

author-Avatar In which to speak with one another and with which to share tidbits of information.

MM-Avatar Have humans got so much to talk about?  Humans must be very important beings  because they have them tuned in most of the time. You obviously, all have very much to say.

author-Avatar Yes, we appear to have a lot to say,  but most of the time our conversations  tend to hold  little substance or border on banality.  The main thing seems to be that we are available at all times, virtually 24/7. It possibly makes us all feel that much  safer.

MM-Avatar Are humans so insecure?   It all seems to be a bit of a waste of time if you don´t really have anything to say,  and it does appear to be rather stressful.  It´s no wonder that humans appear to be unable to cope with life´s burdens. You make your life a living hell.

SW-Avatar But there is nothing wrong with such technology if the quality of the conversation or information  is of a high calibre.   Humans are  free to do what they so wish with their spare time  but they should also,  possibly  try to  understand the dangers of technological addictions. The natural surroundings in which we live also have so much to offer.

MM-Avatar Many of you seem to have become “slaves to your  machines”.

author-Avatar I guess that these days,  it´s  rather difficult  to decipher what is to be termed as “quality” information. We are surrounded by so much input that the human body does tend to get bombarded with so much useless information.  It´s virtually impossible  deciding  what´s “quality information” and what is not.

SW-Avatar Through evolutionary development, human beings have advanced at a great pace but the human brain,  as oppose to recent  technological advancements, hasn´t really sufficiently kept up with the new “state-of-the-art” technology.  For  normal, human beings, ………

MM-Avatar . . . . . . . are there any “normal” human beings?

SW-Avatar . . . . technology seems to have over-taken everybody.  Technology and the “information-flood” overloads your bodily systems which frequently seems to result in grave  stress patterns. There is too much information to digest and not enough  time to sort it all out.

author-Avatar And if being truthful Sir Winston, we should also ask ourselves; who is going to read our blog if humans suddenly  start digesting only “useful” , “quality” information?

MM-Avatar SW-Avatar  Oh yes. Sorry, we didn´t think about that.  Perhaps humans should leave things  just as they are.

Carry on with your addictions folks !    🙂

MM-Avatar Sir Winston would like  to have the last word (as usual,  but I´ll allow  him this time because he´s more diplomatic than myself and much better at explaining things).

Sir Winston 1  Enjoy your time on this planet. If  you do things that give you pleasure (and do not harm another) then you should do it. If playing about with telephones is your hobby,   then do it. Life is to be enjoyed!

If you like reading our blog and it gives you pleasure, then  please continue to do so. If you don´t enjoy our  little discussions, you are free to go your way. We obviously, want you to stay tuned and hope that we do not over-burden you with “our information”.

MM-Avatar I hope you managed to save the day Sir Winston. Our information is NOT addictive and may be used at all times! 🙂

Are YOU sleeping well ?

It was nearly  7 a.m. and Mr Midnight lay curled up  on the comfortable chair in the living room.  He was suddenly aware of  warm pressure being exerted to his back.

MM-Avatar  ……what is he doing to me now?   I appreciate his fondness, and it´s all very nice him stroking me like that,  but doesn´t he realise that I still need some more sleep?

We cats lead quite a tiring life. I need more sleep!

author-Avatar Good morning Mr Midnight.  Did you sleep well?

I had a rotton night. I kept tossing and turning and just couldn´t get off to sleep. There are obviously  too many things floating around my head.

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Mr Midnight pretended not to hear and kept his eyes closed – cat napping if you like.  He thought……….

MM-Avatar  Just because you didn´t sleep so well doesn´t mean that you should also  keep me awake!

author-Avatar . . . . . . . .but it looks like you´ve slept well.

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Mr Midnight carried on thinking . . . .

MM-Avatar  there´s little chance of that!

Oh no, now he´s woken Sir Winston with his mutterings.  Now I´ll never get any piece and quiet. Sir Winston purs like one of those machines which daddy drives to work with!

What a great way to start  the day.

SW-Avatar Morning Mr Midnight. Morning Daddy.  Can you stroke me a little bit before breakfast please?

author-Avatar Sure thing Sir Winston. How did you sleep?  Mr Midnight seems to be ignoring me.

SW-Avatar I went out like a light,  as you humans say.  After having enjoyed yesterday´s rare sunshine experience and having ran around the garden all day chasing Mr Midnight and Mr Squirrel, it was  wonderful  when I  eventually climbed into my basket last night. All four of my paws had simply stopped working. They needed recharging.

author-Avatar I think I know the feeling.  Sleep is something wonderful isn´t it.

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Mr Midnight was now wide awake and joined in the conversation.

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MM-Avatar It would be if one could get to sleep!  How am I suppossed to get to sleep with all this racket going on?

SW-Avatar I believe that Mr Midnight is in a bit of a bad mood. We better be careful today. You know what he´s like when he hasn´t had enough shut-eye.

MM-Avatar Humans are exactly the same Sir Winston.  If they don´t get enough sleep they have difficulties getting through the day. Tensions are high and tolerance levels low.  In fact, most of the time, humans don´t seem to  realise the importance of sleep.

SW-Avatar That´s quite true Mr Midnight.  Cats are very much aware of  how much sleep they need but humans would obviously,  sooner want to  jeopardise their health by over-concentrating on all other areas of activity,  than to understand the complications of not sleeping enough.

MM-Avatar That sounds very silly. I thought humans were intelligent creatures.

author-Avatar Nobody (or being) is perfect Mr Midnight. We´re still working on it.

MM-Avatar But cats instinctively know how much sleep they require. In your funny human way of measuring time, cats require 13 to 18 hours of sleep a day,  depending upon a cats age and personality.

author-Avatar The amount of hours a human beings needs to sleep is  individual with sleep needs varying  across populations.

SW-Avatar Your researchers have worked out that there are two factors involved as regards  sleeping  hours. The basal sleep need – the amount of sleep our bodies need on a regular basis for optimal performance – and sleep debt, the accumulated sleep that is lost to poor sleep habits, sickness, awakenings due to environmental factors or other causes.

Studies suggest that a healthy human requires seven to eight hours of sleep a night but that things get complicated with the interaction between basal sleep and sleep debt.

MM-Avatar Don´t start waffling on Sir Winston. Let´s try and keep things straight forward please.

SW-Avatar OK, sorry!     Basically, a human may meet his basal sleep need on any single night (or repeatedly) but may still have an unresolved  sleep debt which makes humans feel even more sleepy or less alert than they should be.

Sleep research  has shown that if humans sleep  too little, they  not only inhibit productivity and the ability to remember and consolidate information, but their lack of sleep  also leads to serious health consequences and jeopardises  safety and the safety of individuals.

MM-Avatar . . . and possibly the safety of cats!

SW-Avatar It´s no wonder that “modern” humans are always complaining about “Burn out”, stress and being overwhelmed about  life´s strains.   They hardly ever let their bodies recuperate.

author-Avatar Some of us do have our methods  with which to try and sleep more easily. For example, rituals such as opening the window for 5 to 10 minutes before sleeping, going for a short walk around the block or drinking warm milk before retiring.

MM-Avatar I like milk, but not too warm.

author-Avatar  Some of us take warm baths, listen to light music,  adjust the  bedroom temperature so as not to be too warm  and read with a soft light.

MM-Avatar …….and most of you fall to sleep in front of that annoying box with flimmering pictures.

SW-Avatar Yes, there is too much emphasis upon television. Cats don´t like television sets. I´m glad that daddy´s television is hardly ever switched on.

author-Avatar I must agree with you on that one Sir Winston.  Sometimes I think to myself what people would would do in the evenings if they didn´t have a computer or a television set – sleep a lot better most likely!

Sleep is so important and yet many of us deny ourselves the possibility to recharge our bodies.

MM-Avatar  Humans have probably forgotten how to sleep properly.

Look!   I´ll show you all how its done.

Here´s a picture of Sir Winston sleeping.

SW2

MM-Avatar He looks nice and relaxed  doesn´t he.

He knows how to look after himself properly.

Now it´s your turn.

 

Individual style sense

         A new day had just begun  and the first rays  of light started to peer through  the skylight  and pierce the  solitude and darkness of  the sleeping quarters of  Mr Midnight and Sir Winston.  The birds  started to sing their early morning song.

Mr Midnight lay opposite Sir Winston who still appeared to be sleeping, as  he thought to himself; …..why do the flying things always have to make such a din in the morning?

MM-Avatar Sir Winston, are you awake?

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Sir Winston stirred ever so slightly and replied

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SW-Avatar I am now Mr Midnight!  A bit of a silly question at this time of the morning don´t you think.  Can´t you keep quiet for a bit longer. It´s bad enough having to listen to the songs of the birds at all hours.

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Mr Midnight had just finished washing  himself and the  fur on the top of his head was sticking up at an unusual angle.

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MM-Avatar  I´ve already had a wash and  daddy won´t be getting up for a while with which to give me my breakfast so I thought I´d talk to you.

SW3 Oh very well. But let me carry on dozing.

MM-Avatar Can you remember?   Last night daddy came home very late and he told me while giving me my late-night (early morning!) milk that he had just got back from a  concert at a place called Stuttgart. He informed me that he had been to see my favourite band . . . . Depeche Mode.  Apparently, he always goes to see them when they are visiting but then again, he does have good taste 😉

As you know, we cats are not fond of crowds, so I prefer to listen to Depeche Mode  on  those shiny metal things in the living room. As readers may already be aware  from previous blog postings, I especially like the analogue keyboard sounds of the last three albums, especially the  “Playing the Angel” album and the latest album, “Delta Machine”.

SW-Avatar The shiny things are called Compact Discs Mr Midnight. Daddy seems to have a lot of those, but thank goodness, he also has other artists such as Ryuichi Sakamoto and classical works.

MM-Avatar He said that the concert was great and that it was in Stuttgart football stadium. It all sounds a bit too much for my ears.

Because of daddy earning his keep by playing about with human fur….

SW-Avatar ….. he is a hairdresser  Mr Midnight. Humans don´t have fur, they have hair.

MM-Avatar OK, sorry, a hairdresser,…..he also commented about how refreshing it was in his opinion,  to notice that a small number of spectators actually had stylish hairstyles. He has often commented in the past about the lack of human individual style sense,  so I suppose the concert was also appealing to him from a style point of view.

SW-Avatar But it is the inner values  what count in life Mr Midnight and  not the appearance  of a living being.

MM-Avatar That is very true Sir Winston but I believe  the appearance of a character also says a lot about the inner values.

SW-Avatar You´re probably right. I`ll have to ponder over it for a while.

MM-Avatar  When I´m sitting on the porch, observing  the humans who pass past our kingdom,  I often think how boring most of their fur . . . . . ooooops, sorry, hairstyles,  and methods of clothing seem to be. I mean, everybody should dress and style their hair as they  wish to do so but why do most people seem to want to copy one another? It´s not only in areas of what humans call “fashion”, but also in most other areas of everyday life.

Haven´t  humans a mind of their own?

Why do the majority want to copy one another?

I can understand why  daddy found some of those people at the concert to be interesting . Because of them being  individuals,  they obviously stuck out like a sore claw (thumb).

SW-Avatar Humans are obviously not as individual as they wish to make themselves believe. Afterall, they are not cats. We are very individual.  They probably  feel safer when the clothe and act the same as one another.

By the way, what´s that strange thing you´ve done to your fur on the top of your head?

MM-Avatar It´s my new “look-for-today” Sir Winston. Don´t you like it?

It´s called the funky spacecat look. All the cool cats are doing it.

SW-Avatar Well so much for my patter about cats being individuals.  There are obviously some cats  who occasionally, wish to act like humans and do the same thing as every other cat.  It must be something to do with the pressures of living with human beings.

…….Your style looks very nice Mr Midnight. I hope you can keep it spikey on top all day.

MM-Avatar Mr Dog next door  also has  a new look. It´s called the “shaggy look” . He loves listening to his masters so called “heavy-metal” music (music? . . . . it´s worse than the early morning din of the birds) so I suppose the “shaggy” look is good for him. It wouldn´t   suit me though. I like smooth, cool, punky short styles.

SW-Avatar It´s all a matter of taste.

Come on Mr Midnight. All this talk about styles has given me an appetite. Let´s go upstairs and find daddy to get some “stroking”  and eat  some breakfast.      I´m famished.

MM-Avatar What a very good idea Sir Winston. The best words you´ve said all morning!  🙂