Assos cats

I am in Assos. It’s a little bay town. Stony beaches and tavernas spilling their customers out into the summer streets. As with much of this island, Assos was largely destroyed by a catastrophic seismic event that pushed the whole damn island 60cm higher up out of the sea and in so doing shook the earth at 6.8 on the Richter Scale.

It’s not uncommon for big quakes to strike here. The ground flows and breathes. Caves open. Caves close. But pretty much every one of the older taller houses on the island are rubble. The few that have lived on – as often as not they sit derelict. And plots might be for sale, but the cost would be huge if you were thinking of refreshing these few survivors – and the cultural onus huge as well. This likely discourages the potential landlords – the usual types who are buying to make holiday homes here – like the flat we are sleeping in tonight. It’s gorgeous but it’s largely without character. For want of something catchy to call it, they’ve called it “Fantastic View”. It’s a little flat. It’s a little flat. There’s an aspect though which is interesting. Plus it’s carefully maintained and clean. There was a picture on the wall in a clip frame when we arrived. It had fallen off the wall by lunchtime. I don’t think many people have lived in this building since it was carved into the side of a hill with a bulldozer. But it’s stepped and low. When the next quake hits it should hold well and nothing of interest or value could be lost or stolen. But for character? Well…. That’s where the cats come in.

Wild-ish cats abound. They are welcome here, and likely fed and treated with medicine by the landlord – I think there’s a reasonably active society spaying them so they don’t get too inbred. They know this is their home and they haunt it in large numbers. There seems to be no squabbling for territory though. These are harmonious cats and kittens, not as wild as they once were, sharing this home with the paying guests. Down in the restaurant the same is happening. A huge pride of cats, but they’ve organised. It’s as if there’s one stationed at every table. Should something interesting be dropped, the specimen is pulled out first, then inspected and shared.

I have not fed these kittens that live near where we sleep, but even as I write I feel them watching me, just the other side of the screen that is the only thing between me and the outside world. Seven or eight very varied little creatures live mostly on our terrace. They find us interesting because we move and we might yield food if studied hard enough. We very nearly got some cat food in the Mini Mart for them. The only two things that stopped us: lack of cat food and lack of cash. They don’t sell cat food in the mini mart. Perhaps they are frightened that the cats are growing too strong and drawing their plans against us.

Their regard this evening seemed benign. They seem like playful harmless cute little blighters. If I could I would take them all home in my suitcase. I’m a sucker for kittens.

Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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