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Sunday, 15 January 2012

We aquire a cat: Vietnam memories 1965 1975

We aquire a cat. Tan Dinh, Saigon.

One day the record player stopped working. I told KC that a mouse had probably been eating the wires. I was not surprised on opening it up to see a mouse jump out.

On lighting the oven with my son in one arm the maid set off a minor explosion. No one hurt luckily. I discovered that a rat had eaten through the pipe connecting the gas bottle to the stove. I found it was covered in grease; probably appetizing to rats.

Another day I was in the living room, my son quietly playing in his play pen when this enormous battle scarred rat charged through the front door, across the living room, through the playpen and out the other side, out the far door and then presumably out the back door. He was followed moments later by this large white cat which must have chased him in our front door, crossed the living room, through the play pen and out the back door as well. A real Tom and Jerry show except that both were enormous and a real menace. We had these two cats in the neighbourhood, one white and one ginger. I doubt they belonged to anybody. Big mean nasty rat hunters. Doubtless necessary.

I thought it was time we had our own cat. I asked a Chinese pupil of mine, Anna, to find me one.
A few days later she brought a very pretty tabby kitten to our house. Very sweet. I think the poor thing was petrified of the rats to start with but was nice to have around. Unfortunately all our wall lizards started to disappear. I had always been fascinated by them and felt they kept the insects down. Anna was a very kind girl. As she was a member of the Cirque Sportif her family probably had money. Another face lost after the fall of Saigon. I often wonder what happened to these people.

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