Jones, John Paul

Jones, John Paul

(1747–92)


Scottish‐born American naval officer. In 1775 he joined the American Continental Navy and carried out a daring series of attacks on shipping in British waters, his best‐known exploit being his engagement and sinking of the naval frigate Serapis while in command of the Bonhomme Richard (1779).  In 1788 he joined the Russian navy as a rear‐admiral.

Isabella of France

Isabella of France

(1292–1358)


Daughter of Philip IV of France. She was queen consort of Edward II of England from 1308, but returned to France in 1325. She and her lover Rogerde Mortimer organized an invasion of England in 1326, forcing Edward to abdicate in favour of his son, who was crowned Edward III after his father’s murder in 1327. Isabella and Mortimer acted as regents for Edward III until 1330, after which Edward took control of the kingdom and Isabella was forced into retirement.

Battle of Halidon Hill

Battle of Halidon Hill

(19 July 1333)
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A battle fought near Berwick-on-Tweed, on the border between England and Scotland, which saw a major victory for Edward Balliol over the nationalist Scots. Balliol had been crowned King of Scotland in 1332 but subsequently driven out of the kingdom: his victory at Halidon Hill, which was achieved with the help of English archers supplied to him by Edward III, regained him his kingdom – at the price of doing homage for it to the English crown.

Chapter 7 – Dumb Animals?

Chapter 7 – Dumb Animals?

Jemima helping me to quality check a garden bench

It was Anna Sewell in her wonderful novel Black Beauty who wrote:

“We call them dumb animals, and so they are, for they cannot tell us how they feel, but they do not suffer less because they have no words.”

She was only half right when she made this claim. Whilst they “do not suffer less because they have no words” they can tell us how they feel. Clare has read that cats are capable of making 100 vocal sounds which they tend to reserve for communication with their owners. And we can certainly testify to the validity of this assertion. In the relatively short space of time that Jemima has been with us we have heard her make a wide variety of sounds and there is a pattern to them.  We have so far learnt the sounds for:

  •  “I am hungry. Where’s my lunch?”
  • “Play with me dad (or mum).”
  • “Let me in” when she wanders out through the front door and can’t be bothered to go round to the back door
  • “Where is everybody?” usually made when she wakes up in a separate room to anybody else in the house
  • “Hello. Did you miss me?” made on her return from her wanders

And the other day she started making sounds that I had never heard before.  I eventually realised that her litter tray was full and once I had cleaned it out she used it shortly afterwards. We try to keep her tray clean so we don’t hear her complain about a dirty toilet very often which will make it harder to learn this particular miaoww.  But there is no doubt that she is more than capable of communicating her feelings and needs to us; we just have to listen and learn her langauge and I am looking forwarding to that in the years ahead.

I am also sure that animals understand us and it appears that Jemima is also learning our language in her own little way. The best example of this was a few days ago when I was dressing one morning.  I had laid out my clothes on the bed and while I was washing, Jemima took up her usual spot on the bed which just happened to be where I had placed my jeans and belt. My belt was in a loop on top of my jeans and Jemima was lying inside the belt. As I had a second pair of trousers to wear and I didn’t have the heart to move her I only needed the belt so I leaned in quietly and whispered in her ear:

“I know you’re comfortable Jemima but I am going to need my belt.”

To my amazement Jemima sat up and allowed me to slide the belt up her body and over her head without moving from the spot. She then lay down again before going back to sleep. It was obvious to me that Jemima knew what I was saying and assisted me in my endeavours. Evolutionists would struggle to find reasons for this apparent latent ability to communicate with animals but as a creationist it makes perfect sense to me. When Adam and Eve were first created man was given dominion over the whole animal kingdom. It was Adam who named the different kinds of animals and Noah spent a year on the Ark in confined quarters with every kind of creature. If, as Genesis tells us,  it is our responsibility to look after the animal kingdom then surely an ability to communicate with and understand the needs of the animals for whom we are caring would be an asset. I believe that what we and other pet owners are experiencing with their cats and dogs on a daily basis is just a small element of that lost ability.

Gaul

Gaul

An ancient region of Europe, corresponding to modern France, Belgium, the south Netherlands, south-west Germany, and northern Italy. The area was settled by groups of Celts, who had begun migration across the Rhine in 900bc, spreading further south beyond the Alps from 400bc onwards and ousting the Etruscans. The area south of the Alps was conquered in 222bc by the Romans, who called it Cisalpine Gaul. The area north of the Alps, known to the Romans as Transalpine Gaul, was taken by Julius Caesar between 58 and 51bc, remaining under Roman rule until the 5th century ad. Within Transalpine Gaul the southern province, parts of which had fallen to the Romans in the previous century, became known as Gallia Narbonensis.

Fabius, Quintus, Maximus

Fabius, Quintus, Maximus: Verrucosus Cunctator (known as ‘the Delayer’)

(Died 203BC)

Roman general and consul five times between 233 and 209. He was appointed dictator in 221 and again for a second time in 217 after the Battle of Trasimene, during the Second Punic war. Appreciating that the Carthaginian forces were superior to his own, he declined to engage in pitched battles. His unspectacular tactics of slow harassment against Hannibal’s army in Italy at first won little popular support, and the nickname Cunctator was intended as an insult. After the defeat at Cannae (216) the feeling against his strategy waned and the insult became a title of approval. He opposed Scipio Africanus’s aggressive war against Carthage on the African mainland.

Chapter 6 – A Tisket, A Tasket, A Little Wire Basket

Chapter 6 – A Tisket, A Tasket, A Little Wire Basket

Once again it was time for Jemima to visit the vets; the purpose being her final vaccinations and God willing, this would be the last visit for a year. We decided against using the plastic carrier that had failed to meet her approval the last time around. We felt that it would be less stressful for her if, as before, I carried her in my arms and it seemed like a good idea until we were actually in the car. For the first half of the journey she mewed loudly and wriggled wildly, informing us that she was not at all happy. At first, we thought that she was remembering the last journey and didn’t want to go to the vets again. She was able to see the route through the window and about half-way to our destination she stopped crying and relaxed into my arms. We arrived at the vets and I carried Jemima into the building. She was still relaxed and quiet as we were greeted by the receptionist:

“Do you have a basket to put her in?”

She was not impressed with our response that Jemima was happy enough in my arms and that we couldn’t get her into a basket at home. This did not satisfy her and she insisted that we must use a basket because it was policy and the vet wouldn’t like it! The receptionist kindly offered to fetch one for us, to which we replied:

Great, if you can get her in it!”

After a brief interlude the receptionist returned with a basket identical to the one pictured above and I gently placed Jemima in it. Much to our amazement she plopped right in and lay down quietly. I continued talking to her and she looked up at me occasionally but showed no signs of distress. Even when we lifted the lid after we entered the consulting room she wasn’t bothered about climbing out. In fact the vet carried out the whole examination while she was in the basket. When it came time for us to return the carrier I had to lift her out.

This whole episode has taught us two lessons about both Jemima and pet carriers. Firstly, that if you need to use a pet carrier your cat is going to be far happier in the nice, light airy version with a big lid than the dark enclosed edition with one small door. Common sense should tell us this. After all, which would we prefer? These are the kind of things we are half aware of but if you are like us you probably didn’t even realise that the wire baskets were available to buy. We have now ordered one from the vet and will happily use it in future if it helps to reassure Jemima that she is just going on a short trip to the vets. Secondly, and sadly, Jemima’s behaviour on the journey to the vet coupled with her relaxed trip home led to us the conclusion that she had been dumped and associated the car with being abandoned! She has settled in wonderfully and her character is developing all the time but she still has little ways about her that appear to be down to insecurity and this would explain why. And for non-pet owners this might sound daft but I keep telling Jemima that she will never be abandoned again and that she has a home for life. I don’t know how much she understands but it seems to help us bond.

Next week I will reveal more about Jemima understanding us and how clever she is becoming.

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