Britta's Letters from (and sometimes about) Berlin

Monday, 1 July 2013

Siamese Cats, Symmetry and Disappearances

In a comment to my last post John Gray remarked attentively: 
                                                 That is ONE. Art Deco cat  
"Potzblitz!", as people around Frederic the Great would have said - or, also charmingly old-fashioned: "Ei der Daus!" (Nowadays even Google says only "Oops!", not even "sorry" - but what can one expect of an institution that - at last in Germany - also doesn't know the word "please"? "Sign in!" they bellow). 
            So: only ONE cat. How could I overlook that? Do I become professionally blinkered? I mean, being deeply involved in Crime TV, of course I know "Silver Blaze" by Sherlock Holmes, the famous short story 

Gregory (Scotland Yard detective): "Is there any other point to which you would wish to draw my attention?"
Holmes: "To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time."
Gregory: "The dog did nothing in the night-time."
Holmes: "That was the curious incident."[

(Yes, from this short story Mark Haddon got the title "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time"). 
So: There is only ONE cat, says John. Where is the other? 
In Germany we have a saying - "He said he just left the house to buy some cigarettes"  wails little wifee - meaning: he will never return - up and away he is, the rogue. Trying to Catch a Carven A?  
Had the cat sneaked away? Applying for  a major part in "A Lady  Cat Vanishes"? 
Our German poet Matthias Claudius has written a beautiful song, "Abendlied" - (see my translation on my blog Britta's Happiness of the Day:
There is more moon, says Claudius, as you sometimes see. 
Or as Shakespeare said:
"There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy."
I love Zen. As you know there is a general absence of symmetry in Japanese art. Okakuro notes that true beauty "could be discovered only by one who mentally completed the incomplete."  
But for the lovers of Western harmony I added the second cat above, symbol of the Egyptian god Bastet
Is it perfect now, John? 


  1. My dear,
    in Italy we have the same saying "He said he just left the house to buy some cigarettes" with the same meaning. I'm not a bif fans of cats, I like but I prefer dogs. I'm sorry I'm not so confidential with Zen and Japanese art in general but I know all about Egyptian, I love that period and I think I was egyptian in one of my past life.
    Have a great week.
    Bisou, Babi

    1. Dear Babi,
      thank you for your lovely words! They came - as Suze's - just in time. In our big flat we neither have a cat nor a dog - it would be too complicated to keep them when we are often away - but I see their charm - your dog looks so cute! To feel related to another country, the feeling that one has been there in another life: I know that. Mysterious.
      I wish you a wonderful week too!
      Bisou, Britta

  2. Yes, dear Britta -- whom I see with this post as blossoming into something different, more vibrant, playful and sparky than ever -- it is now quite perfect.

    (Thank you, very much, for the Shakespearean quote.)

    1. Dear Suze,
      thank you for your words - as I wrote Babi: they came just in time. I was so undecided whether to delete the text or not - getting no reactions (but I must not fret about that: so many of the followers you know too are giving themselves a break (Sapphire, and I think Penny, and the Hattats, and Pondside has so much to do, others are on holidays (or just bored stiff by adventures from the white undiscvered spot on the world's map - a city called - let me think - Londinium) - no wonder my blogland has become a bit silent. But as you see: I still can giggle.

  3. I used to have a Spanish girlfriend who called me, "BASTET!"

    1. This explains a mysterious linguistical hint: "... the architects' original drawings reveal that it was to be named Bast House (the name was dropped due to unfortunate similarities to derogatory words in English)" - couldn't find that word in a dictionary.

  4. "Silver Blaze" is possibly my favorite story in the Holmes canon. It is my duty to thank you for using that koanish quote from it --and for correctly attributing it to an exchange with Gregory instead of Gregson, as I am often guilty of doing.

    1. "Koanish" is delightful! And Gregson reminds me of Peter Rabbit, but no - the gardener's name was McGregor, I think. By the way: how do you like the new TV-series 'Sherlock' with Benedict Cumberbatch? I'm really interested in your opinion!

  5. Perfect indeed! There should always be two cats in the yard, or so we are led to believe by certain songs from the past (Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young).

    1. Two cats will be happier than one, I think - especially when they have to live in a flat (what I always see as a bit difficult - they are wild, they need to hunt!). As to Crosby, Stills &Nash: they come to Berlin these days, giving a concert!