You’ll have gathered by now that we had company on the 1400-mile trek from our old home in Somerset, south-west England, to our new home in Ascigno, a hamlet about 4 miles from the old hill-top town of Casoli in the Abruzzo region of Italy, where we’ll be setting up a small-scale villa rental business providing vacations for two.

Little Plum, Aurora and Edwin. Slightly eccentric names for kids; marginally less so for cats. LP and Rori are blue-point Birman girls; Eddie’s a chocolate-point Siamese boy. If you’re a cat-lover – and let’s face it, the world’s divided into cat lovers or non-cat lovers. Nobody’s indifferent to cats – you’ll now be nodding your head sagely at the mention of Birmans and Siamese and thinking it utterly normal to refer to ‘girls’ and ‘boys’ instead of ‘females’ and ‘males’; if you’re in the non-cat lover camp, here’s a diversionary link… 

Little Plum Little Plum
LP’s the senior cat; the alpha female, born by caesarean at Rosemount Veterinary Hospital in West Byfleet, Surrey, on 11 June 1994. Was she named after the ‘Little Plum’ cartoon strip in the famous British kids’ comic ‘The Beano’ ? Alas no. More prosaically, LP’s great-grandmother was called Plumpton. Plum for short. LP’s a bit of a chip off great-grandma’s old block in terms of appearance and temperament (sweet, but with a sharp-clawed edge) – hence Little Plum. LP’s favourite food is fish. There’s a mutual antipathy between her and Edwin, but she’s Aurora’s surrogate mum. LP likes being warm, sleeping and going for walks in the garden with David.

Rori is the junior Birman. She was born in the village of Garnant outside Swansea in south Wales on 1 August 2003. Rori came to live with us on the same day as Eddie and they’ve been inseparable ever since. Rori likes eating and her favourite food is anything edible. Rori can be rather naughty at times and thinks she can get away with this by stopping being naughty and looking cute. This usually works. Actually, it always works. Our fondest wish is that Rori produces a litter of kittens. Rori’s fondest wish seems to be that she doesn’t. She just likes going away for dirty weekends with handsome stud cats.

Eddie is a Siamese. Consequently he’s highly intelligent. He’s also highly demanding, opinionated, self-centred, loud, apprehensive, contradictory, impulsive, endlessly curious and greedy. He was born in Frome, Somerset, on 6 August 2003 and his favourite pastime is wrapping himself in a duvet and going to sleep. If we happen to be under the duvet too – tough. Edwin is a fine guard-cat and growls whenever anyone comes up to the front door. He then runs away and hides. His favourite food is whatever he can steal or whatever happens to be in the bowl that Rori or LP are eating from. Even if it’s exactly the same as what he’s got. Edwin likes playing with his toys; playing chase games with Rori; and going to sleep under a bush and hoping that a bird lands in front of him and dies, so he can pretend he caught it.