Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Le bilingual blogging French cat

Bonjour everybody encore une fois. It's Haricot Blanc, le blogging French cat.

I've been asked why I blog in English.

Well to be honest, it's the language that comes most easily to me.

It's the one in which HMDT and Toowfu choose to address me.

The fact of the matter is that I'm bilingual. One of the pair (HMDT) is a native English speaker, the other one (Toowfu) is French.

Whatever the case might be, and whichever tongue they might choose, I feel more than free to ignore them at will, according to my mood.

That said, I thought now might be a good chance to share with you some of the diminutives I have to put up with from the pair of them, and some of the expressions or words I've learned in my short time here. Treat it as a feline dictionary if you will.

The most obvious terms of endearment for French cats is "minet" (silent "t") for puss and "minou" for pussy or kitty. I quite like those.

I get called "Ari" (short for Haricot Blanc, which is let's face it, a bit of a mouthful. And yes as you've probably noticed the "H" isn't pronounced.

That's often the case with many words in French, so Hiro, the "supposedly friendly little madam who still seems like a giant compared to me" I mentioned in my last blog becomes "Iro".

"Strike a pose" - Hiro

As for cat, well that's "le chat" (silent "t") for all of us in general, which is a bit sexist I find as it's a masculine noun. Still, there is a she-cat equivalent used for we gals - "la chatte".

Oh yes, by the way as I'm not yet three months old, I'm clearly still a "chaton" or kitten.

Time for din dins (yes HMDT really does use those words) becomes "l'heure de mon repas" or "miam miam" (yummy) and it's always served to me in my "gamelle" (bowl or dish). At the moment I'm gobbling up meals whenever I like as there are always biscuits or "croquettes" on hand and I have the feeling that's pretty much going to be my standard diet in the future, and they're washed down of course with "l'eau" or water.

When I'm purring (which I do an awful lot of the time) Toowfu tells me that I "ronronne", and if I'm feeling sleepy "j'ai envie de faire dodo" or I want to go beddy-byes, I head off to my "panier" or basket.

Admittedly it's not the most glamourous of beds and has certainly seen better days, but it's apparently a bit of a family heirloom and therefore much loved.

And that has to be a good sign doesn't it?

So there you go, a look at some of the words that might come in handy for fellow cats should they make a trip to France.

If you would like to learn some more, just get in touch and ask me.

For the moment though j'ai envie de faire dodo so I'm going to make myself comfy in my panier.

A bientôt.

Haricot B.

Some more photos of me in my "panier"

Friday, June 26, 2009

Have passport, can travel.

Bonjour again everybody. It's me, Haricot Blanc, le blogging French cat.

Have passport, can travel

They're out - remember HMDT and Toowfu? So once again I've grabbed a little bit of computer time.

I've been installed chez moi for a week now, and you know it isn't half bad.

Admittedly I don't have full run of the place yet, just the master bedroom (of course) and the massive en suite where I can tender to my needs.

It's something about "being introduced gently to the others", and "not having had all my shots yet".

Ah yes regarding the former. My suspicions have been confirmed. I'm not alone (with my adopted humans) in this adventure.

There are more four-legged friends around. I actually made the acquaintance of one of them the other day; Hiro, a supposedly friendly little madam who still seems like a giant compared to me and as far as I can tell is prone to mood swings.

Actually HMDT was quite surprised when he first introduced us to each other, assuring me that Hiro was "the gentlest, best-natured kitty around."

That wasn't exactly how it came across though as after some initial snuffling and delicate head rubbing she became more than a little hissy for my liking. It probably has something to to with being really peeved that I'm around. That and the fact that as far as I can tell, she seems to have been given a boy's name.

C'est la vie, I suppose.

Oh yes, and that brings me to my other news for this week. The "shots" I mentioned earlier.

HMDT chauffered me to the vet the other day for my vaccinations.

Shots against cat ‘flu. (coryza) and feline infectious enteritis (typhus), are pretty much standard here in France, even for cats who are never going to venture outdoors. And for those who'll be allowed beyond the front door at some point, an injection against feline leukaemia (leucose feline) is also recommended.

I got the lot with a needle jabbed into my backside. How undignified! And I let them know my complete displeasure at being treated in such a manner by letting out the biggest of yowls.

That'll teach 'em.

There's worse to come though, because if I understood correctly once I turn three months it'll be time for another jab; this time against what they call "rage" here in France, or rabies in English.

Plus it's an experience I'll have the pleasure of being subjected to annually. Huh.

While all that was going on, do you know what I overheard the vet say?

"She's already quite a sassy little one and I think she (me) is likely to grow up to be 'full of temperament'."

Would you credit it! Talking about me like that, and immediately after having shoved a needle into me. The cheek of the woman.

I mean, how dare she. I'm just too adorable. "Full of temperament," indeed.

After more prodding and poking me gently, she also mentioned another couple of things that I found quite interesting.

Apparently a fair number of pure white cats are deaf. I'm not though as she discovered by testing out my hearing.

Another thing is that in summer I should have sun block applied to my delicate little (pinkish) ears as they're susceptible to sun burn.

Anyway she confirmed I was fighting fit and in perfect health and issued me with a brand new passport which contains my vaccination history, the personalised number of the electronic chip I had implanted when I was just a couple of weeks old and other personal info (such as who I "own" and my address).

So there you go, I'm a fully-registered French cat now, ready for much more mischief and looking forward to making my presence felt.

Right, I think that has pretty much brought you up-to-date for the moment.

I feel a nap coming on, so I'll sign off of for the moment.

A bientôt.

Haricot B.


Friday, June 19, 2009

A new arrival

Bonjour everybody. Let me introduce myself.
I'm Haricot Blanc - a French cat. Well a kitten at the moment. And this is my blog.

I've just found a new home with His Master's Dulcet Tones and The Other One Who Feeds Us (henceforth to be referred to as HMDT - heavily capitalised because there's always one isn't there? And Toowfu) which kind of gives the game away about what is probably awaiting me down the line.

I have the feeling I'm not alone here in this adventure, but I've not yet happened upon any other creatures great or small, so I can't really tell you much about what is, after all, just an inkling at the moment.


Anyhow I only moved in two days ago and am quickly getting the lie of the land.

So while they're both out I've slipped into the study to investigate. While the cat's away...no that's not quite right is it?

Not only have I adopted a couple of humans, but as you can see I've also discovered the joys of this computer thing.

So whenever they're not around I intend to make full use of it to tell anyone out there reading what life's like here in France....for a cat that is.

Oh yes. In case you were wondering about the name, it's French for "White Bean". Original huh?

I didn't choose it of course. They did. HMDT and Toowfu.

You would be right in asking what they were thinking of at the time. Yes I'm white, and definitely very cute, but I don't look anything like a bean. Do I?

Apparently they wanted a name that began with "H" because it's a kind of a family thing. I'm not sure that I understand entirely, but I guess it'll become clearer with time.

So it looks as though I'm stuck with it. Little do they know though that I actually already have a name. Proof I suppose that neither of them has read T. S. Eliot's "Old Possum's book of practical cats".

Had they done so they would have known that while we cats require THREE names, the most important is the one known only to us. I'm sure you all know what I'm talking about.

In a sense though the pair are rather bucking the trend here in France because tradition has it that when choosing a name for cats and dogs a specific letter should be used depending on the year.

It's really only strictly applied to those with pedigrees, but it's also common practice when naming those of less - how shall I put it - "reliable lineage" - and that includes me.

This year's letter is "E", which might come in quite handy when I'm a little older as it means that should I feel the need to lop a few years off my age at some point in the future I can quite easily turn around and say, "Hey, my name begins with 'H' so of course I'm not quite that old yet."

Hang on a moment, I can hear the key in the front door. I think it's them. So I'll have to rush back to my basket to pretend I've been sleeping while they were out.

After all I don't want HMDT and Toowfu discovering my hidden talents.

This blogging thing looks as though it could be fun. When I get the chance I'll be back to tell you a little more about life here.

For now though, as we cats say in France "miaule".

A bientôt.

Haricot B.