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Now and again I will be raised from my slumber by a gentle elbow in the ribs, and a plaintive cry of "I can't sleep."

Sometimes we'd sit and play cards or some such, but often, my wife would ask me to tell her a story.

Thus was George created.  The stories of this particular ginger cat were usually enough to induce sleep - probably more down to my droning voice than anything else.  Over the years there have been dozens of 'George stories' and I finally got round to writing a couple of them down.  As a narrative they would inevitably involve some embellishment, not always suitable for the ears of minors, but in written form they are family friendly. 

The Cat that got the cream... 


The wailing noise came from George. 

George was a ginger cat. He was a ginger cat who liked to have three square meals a day and a few snacks in between if he could, so he was quite a round ginger cat...  George wasn't feeling at all well.  He had stomach-ache.  He'd been in the kitchen earlier and accidentally, all-by-itself, an open pot of cream had tipped over on the work top.  It couldn't have been anything to do with George as he'd been looking the other way at the time...
He obviously didn't want it to go to waste, and Mr Smith would only have to clear it up, so George was very helpful and licked up the cream.

All of it.

It was quite a big pot of cream.

And now George had an aching tummy.  He went through the cat flap in the kitchen door, through the porch and out into the garden where he sat in the middle of the lawn and wailed a bit more.

'What's all that noise?' said a voice from the other side of the fence, and a pretty tortoiseshell cat jumped up onto the fence post.  It was Amelia, who lived next door. 

'What have you done now?’ she said, in a despairing voice.

'I've got tummy-ache,' said George.  'It really hurts.'

Amelia had known George long enough to know that it probably wasn't that bad really.  Nevertheless she jumped down and came over.

'Did it just start all by itself?' she asked, knowing full well that tummy-ache's don't just start by themselves.

'Yes,' said George weakly.

'Really?  You haven't eaten anything that might have caused it?'

'Well.  I might have... maybe... possibly had a little bit of cream earlier.' said George in a small voice.

'How much?' asked Amelia.

'About a tub.  Although it was already open, so it couldn't have been full.'

Amelia shook her head.  'Wait there.' she said and jumped back onto the fence.  'I'll go and see what it says in the manual.'


When kittens are born they are given a copy of 'The Cat Manual' by their parents.  It's a special book that tells a cat all the practical things they need to know like 'How to always land on your feet', and  'Which is the best part of the sofa to sharpen your claws on'.  They keep it all the way through their lives.  They learn from it when they are very small and run about a lot, and they still use it when they are old and spend all day lying on sunny windowsills watching the world go by.

George had lost his after a week.


Fortunately Amelia was rather more practical.  She jumped back over the fence after a few minutes.

'You need to eat some grass,' she said. 'That's what it says in the manual.' 


George looked at her.  'I don't want to eat anything at all, let alone grass.' he said.

'Well that's what it says in the manual so it must be right.  Now go on.'  


Amelia could be a bit bossy sometimes, thought George, but did as he was told.  He went and found a fresh clump of lush green grass and sniffed.  It wasn't a patch on, say, a nice plate of fish but he munched some anyway.

'And a bit more.' called Amelia.


George ate a few more mouthfuls.


'Now if I were you I'd go and sit quietly and let that work.'  said Amelia, and with that, she disappeared over the fence.  George walked slowly to the bottom of garden.  There was a big mulberry bush that he liked to sit under.  In the summer it was shady and kept him cool, and when it was wet, he'd lie underneath it and listen to the pitter-patter of the raindrops on the leaves.  Today he went and lay down and made himself as comfortable as he could.
As his eyes closed, he thought to himself, 'I am never, ever eating cream again. 

Well.  Not for a few days at least...'

And with that, he fell fast asleep.


George and the Clock


The sounds of crashing and bashing from upstairs woke George from his mid-morning nap.  He slowly stepped out of his basket, leaned down with his front paws out and had a long stretch which started at his ears and worked all the way down to the end of his ginger tail.  He padded up the stairs to see what was going on.  He found Mr Smith emerging from the spare room with a big cardboard box full of things.

'Careful, George, or I'll fall over you.' said Mr Smith peering round a corner of the box.  He carefully walked down the stairs and put the box by the front door. 

'I'm having a clear out of old stuff,' he said, as George trotted back down the stairs and stood on his hind paws to look in the box.  There were all sorts of things in there - old clothes, jigsaws, books, two slippers that didn't match.  And on the top was a clock.

George liked clocks.  He's sometimes sit in the middle of the kitchen floor and stare at the clock on the wall, watching the second hand go round and round. Once he sat there staring at it so long he'd got dizzy and fallen over.  He'd also got a plastic digital watch that he'd found under the sofa.  It was now tucked away under the blanket in George's basket where he kept all his special things.

It didn't bother George that he wasn't actually able to tell the time.  He just liked the way that the hands moved or the numbers changed.  He looked at the clock that was sitting in the box.  It was smaller than the kitchen clock - about the size of George's water bowl - and it had two round things on the top with a tiny hammer between them.  But best of all, it ticked.

All the other clocks in the house were silent, but this one made a lovely quiet tick-tock sound as the hand moved.  Clambering up onto the box and balancing on an old Monopoly set, George managed to nudge the clock so that it fell out onto the carpet.  The clock was shiny and slid across the carpet easily as George pushed and pulled it to the little cubby hole under the stairs where his basket was.  He couldn't lift it so he pushed it round to the back up against the skirting board.

He settled back into his basket and watched the second hand as it ticked round and round.  After a few minutes, settled on his comfy blanket, the gentle tick-tock of the clock made George drift off to sleep.  Soon he was in the middle of a lovely dream about summer.  He could feel the sun on his fur and he watched the clouds as they rolled across a beautiful blue sky.

Suddenly, without warning there was a terrible noise that make George leap out of his basket.  His fur stood on end and his tail looked like a bottle brush as he dashed up and down the hall in a fright.  He came to a stop halfway up the stairs and poked his head through the bannisters to see what on earth was making the awful clanging noise.  Strangely, it appeared to be coming from George's basket.

At that moment Mr Smith came in from the garden.

'What on earth is that doing there?' he said to George, who was still peering through the bannisters.

He reached down and picked up the alarm clock, fiddled with the back and the noise stopped and it went back to making it's gentle tick-tock.  He laughed at George. His eyes were like saucers and his fur looked like it had been in a tumble dryer.  'It's just an alarm clock, George.  I think we'll put it back with these other things shall we?'

George agreed.  He still liked clocks, just not that one in particular.  It took a whole bowl of milk and several biscuits before he felt well enough to have a little nap...

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