5th January 2010 A Cold Christmas for Captain Kit Crewbucket

2010-01-05 @ 13:52:18 by ashtonboatman

A Cold Christmas for Captain Kit Crewbucket.

Captain Kit Crewbucket is a lucky black tomcat. In February 2003 he appeared under a tarpaulin in the hold of "Forget me Not". He was lost, terrified and wouldn't come near anyone. We estimated his age as about 6 months. Gradually as we put food out he learned to trust us. When I brought his food at dusk I would look under the tarpaulin and just see his two eyes shining in the dark. I thought it looked a bit ghostly, so I named him Kit Crewbucket after a spirit that is said to haunt Harecastle canal tunnel. One of the museum staff took a particular interest in our new arrival, but he called the cat Captain. As all readers of T.S. Eliot will know, a cat has three names, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TXkLgtusza4 so he became Captain Kit Crewbucket.

Soon Captain Kit realised that he was on to a good thing on the boats with plenty of admirers to give him titbits and make fuss of him. He has become something of a celebrity at Portland Basin, with a regular column in the WCBS newsletter and occasional appearances in the local paper. Fans would visit from foreign places (like Yorkshire) in the hope of a glimpse of our celebrity pussycat.

It must be said that Captain Kit has always enjoyed the summer more than the winter. Basking in the sun has always been more his style than sheltering from the dreich drizzle and, his particular bette noir, snow.

When it began to snow, just before the Solstice, the Captain began to show a marked reluctance to come outside. When he did he would carefully hop between my footprints to avoid his paws sinking into the white stuff. After New Year the temperature dropped more and everywhere became covered in an 8 inch freezing white duvet. Kit had made himself a nest aboard "Hazel" and refused to leave it even for his favourite cat treats. It seemed like the time had come for the Captain to be given a holiday from the boats.

My partner, Emuna, loves cats. She used to have a wonderful black and white cat called Oedipuss who lived to be a grand old lady of 20. After Oedi died, Emuna decided not to have another cat. For several years, As Oedipuss got older, she had been reluctant to go away because she would not trust anyone else with the precious puss. She felt that having a cat was too much of a tie.

Emuna enthusiastically offered to look after Captain Kit for a while at her little house in Ashton, so we drove through the deep snow to park the van as near the basin as we dared, then trudged down to collect him. Cats generally don't like leaving their territories, and Kit was no exception. He struggled and yowled as I carried him through the deep snow to the van (which by then looked like a mobile ice cream).

Soon we were at Emuna's house and, after spending about an hour hiding under the bed, Captain Kit realised that lying on top of the bed was much more comfortable, and he's hardly moved from there since. He seems to be taking quite nicely to being a house cat. Now my concern is whether I'll be able to prise Emuna and Captain Kit apart when the time comes for him to resume command of the boats.