As many good ideas do, this one of all three of us getting our tattoos done together proved a trifle more challenging than we’d expected, due in part to the fact that we needed first to go up to Lal Hardy’s in Muswell Hill during the week for our consultations. With Elaine out of the country a lot for work and Claire about to launch a big project, this proved too challenging, in part because of the studio’s relaxed attitude to the consultation; we didn’t end up with an appointment so much as a suggestion that we drop in for a chat. Nevertheless, eventually Claire and I had a plan to go up to Muswell Hill one Friday afternoon in October to talk to them about our tats.

This then raised the next question; what to have? I was by this time three tattoos behind, so I needed three separate ideas, symbolic of things which have happened in my life over the last fifteen years. Fortunately, I did have some ideas hatched over the preceding decade and a half.

The first one was easy. Fourteen years ago, just after I got my dolphin tattoo, I decided to get a couple of cats. Our family had never owned animals other than guinea pigs and gerbils, and I had always viewed cats as domestic animals which just hung around. I didn’t particularly like or dislike them. They were just there, tracking through the garden or getting fur on your clothes at friends’ houses. Then my sister got a kitten from a friend of hers, christened Mog by my niece after Judith Kerr’s famous cat, although their Mog was a black furry boy.

Mog was a lovely cat. He was big, he was furry, he was friendly, he was a “talker”, one of those cats which like to chat with their humans in expressive little meops and mrrows. He was later joined by a younger semi-relation, a ginger boy called Henry, who was extremely tall, slim and elegant, until he opened his mouth, at which point the daftest little “Meeeeooo” used to issue. He was a very gentle cat, with lovely manners except where roast turkey was concerned, when he had no scruples at all about hooking his claws firmly into your hand in order to bring the desired morsel close enough to his mouth for him to grab it.

I fell in love with Mog and Henry, and with Mog’s successors, Tilly, aka Princess Tillarella, and Merlin, aka “The Rogue”, so much so that I decided I needed a cat of my own. More tomorrow.