Friday, 18 January 2013

Of catten, drugget, Asterix and other rambles

 A cat, drugget and Asterix - you can't get much more rambly than that...

 I've got the packaging - just say if you want her!

 Ivy the catten
This piece about the Ivy the catten started off as part of an e-mail to Friend-über-special but I decided it was blogworthy as well. (Only this time I’ve corrected all the spelling errors – sorry F-ü-S, I hadn’t realised how many there were in the e-mail.)

I have spent a fair deal of my time fixing things destroyed by a certain catten kit.  Our walls seem to have a layer of plaster 49mm (I know it’s that from trying, unsuccessfully, to drill a 50mm hole that will hold a TV bracket).  49mm is 1.929 133 858 3 inches in real money.  Who would put a layer of plaster that thick on a wall???  It means that anything you try to fix onto the wall, like a curtain rail, is being fixed into plaster.  That means that when you put any pressure on it it just crumbles away.  That further means that if you have heavy curtains and tug too hard the rail comes off.  It also means that if you have any sort of curtains and add the weight (1.5 kilos or 3 lbs 5 oz in real money) of a catten you get  curtains and rail on the floor with bits of plaster and odd screws and fittings miles away having provided ideal play material for said catten.  Having gathered all said fittings together, drilled new holes, strained neck trying to refit rail at the ridiculous angle the fittings require one to work at, the rail is eventually back in place.  It is then time to realise how dirty the curtains are and put a wash on (having first checked that said catten is not in the washing machine).  
I have just discovered that my Word blog has 72 followers – I am sure it was nothing like that number last time I looked.  I know that the vast majority of them won’t actually visit it but I do get the occasional comment from someone I hadn’t heard from before.  For example, four years ago I wrote about the word drugget.  

 This - and other examples of drugget I have 
found since writing the following - 
are not plain but patterned.

In the 19th century, drugget was a sort of cheap stuff, very thin and narrow, usually made of wool, or half wool and half linen (or even, occasionally, half silk); it may have been corded or plain in texture, and was usually plain in pattern. It was often used as a rug over a finer carpet or as a cheap form of floor covering. It is also defined in the dictionary as being used as a dress material but I have never read of it being so used in a novel or diary of that era.
Arresi has just added a comment  that it is ‘mentioned as a dress material in L.M. Montgomery's Mistress Pat: "Even Judy, who, as a rule, didn't care what any man thought of her clothes, was thanking her stars that she had on her new drugget dress and a white apron." (Mistress Pat, The First Year, part 3)'
Thank you Arresi - it's always great to have new examples of where these words are used.

I have also found out that Partner-who-loves-tea had never heard of Asterix before he appeared as the answer on a recent quiz show.  Gosh, what a hole in her education.  To explain to Partner-who-loves-tea and any other reader who hasn't has the good fortune to follow the adventures of Asterix I include the following, courtesy of the Goddess Wiki -

This article is about the comic book series. For the character, see Asterix (character). For other uses, see Asterix (disambiguation).
Not to be confused with asterisk.
Asterix or The Adventures of Asterix (French: Astérix or Astérix le Gaulois) is a series of French comic books written by René Goscinny and illustrated by Albert Uderzo (Uderzo also took over the job of writing the series after the death of Goscinny in 1977). The series first appeared in French in the magazine Pilote on 29 October 1959. As of 2012, 34 comic books in the series have been released.
The series follows the exploits of a village of indomitable Gauls as they resist Roman occupation. They do so by means of a magic potion, brewed by their druid, which gives the recipient superhuman strength. The protagonist, the titular character Asterix, along with his friend Obelix have various adventures. The "ix" suffix of both names echoes the names of real Gaulish chieftains such as Vercingetorix. Many of the stories have them travel to foreign countries, though others are set in and around their village.
The Asterix series is one of the most popular Franco-Belgian comics in the world, with the series being translated into over 100 languages, and it is popular in most European countries.
The success of the series has led to the adaptation of several books into 14 films: ten animated, and four with live actors. There have also been a number of games based on the characters, and a theme park near Paris, Parc Astérix, is themed around the series. To date, 325 million copies of 34 Asterix books have been sold worldwide, making co-creators René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo France's bestselling authors abroad." 

I might add that Asterix also has his own website which is more than the punctuation asterisk does (the name having been acquired by some motocross equipment dealer)!

 Asterix and Obelix

But now, after seven decades of drawing, Asterix’s 84-year-old creator is finally putting down his pens and passing on the role that has made him a living legend in France. Uderzo says, “I’ve found two young men who are going to continue the adventure.”   These ‘young men’ -  Jean-Yves Ferri, who will take over the scripts, and Frederic Mebarki, who will do the drawings - are both well past forty.

Many great minds have dedicated many hours to trying to understand the popularity of this cartoon figure but Uderzo’s view is simple. He argues that his warriors enshrine a desire shared by all of us to fight back against the powers that be – against the state apparatus, the corporation, the modern equivalent of Julius Caesar. 

“We are all confronted,” he says, “by a superior force that we’d like to do something about but cannot. We’d all like to take the tax inspector and shake him. But only Asterix can actually do it. He allows us to take revenge on reality.”


  1. So Ms. Ivy is throwing her weight around so to speak....she's just being herself. She will soon outgrow this mischievous juvenile behaviour.
    I grew up on Asterix and Obelix, and also Tintin (have the entire series), how could these adventurous souls not cross Jo's eyes before? At least she can have a read now, and enjoy their exploits.

  2. I read quite a few Asterix in my youth. I gave away most of my comic books some years ago but I kept three Asterix that I bought in Germany.

  3. Cats and curtains do not mix well.

  4. I absolutely love Asterix. My parents own the complete series and I've read them all again and again. I have an Asterix quote for almost any situation. But I really wish they had stopped when Goschinny died. There are a couple of good ones where Goschinny had still worked on the script, but the ones that Uderzo did alone are just not the same.

  5. I never much cared for comics but make an exception for Asterix. If there is ever a comic about the adventures of Ivyx the Gallix Kattix I will have to read it (how is your drawing?).

    1. What a great idea. The humour would be easy to find - she provides it every day. Sadly my drawing isn't up to matching it, Branwen.

  6. I have never heard of Asterix either. I learn something new everyday in the blogosphere.

  7. Love this post and love both your little catten and Asterix. I think one of the best parts of Asterix is the humour -- or perhaps irony would be a better word. Great fun, anyway. I hope the two new fellows will be able to carry on in the same vein as the old. xoxox

  8. I'm amazed that Jo has never heard of Asterix. We had the entire hardback series to date when the children were young and I still had (perhaps have) some in the loft until recently. My favourite name was Vercingetorix because if you use the Latin W for V you can make the name sound like Work and get rich.

  9. These comics are foreign in our part of the world. I may just get to read some if I'm lucky at googling it later! Nicely John!


  10. The interest of cats in curtains is inversely proportionate to the material out of which said curtains are made. Lace curtains = MUST CLIMB. Wool tartan curtains = ZZZZZZZ. I have two cats. And wool tartan curtains.

  11. Ivy just needs a friend...someone from America..from Ohio..someone gray and white..someone named Squeak..she loves to sit in boxes too but has never hung on any drapery so she could teach Ivy some lessons on what not to do...not that I'm trying to get rid of her. If Asterix isn't busy I know a Surgeon who needs some shaking...

  12. I should visit your word blog before I play Scrabble!


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