The other Biggles, more correctly known by the GCCF as Denilanne Bigglesworth, was a neutered (sorry old chap) Russian Blue bred by Denise Whitehair, who now lives in the South of Spain. He was initially looked after by Mandy Ecclestone – no relation to Bernie as far as we are aware – in Kent before engaging us as his staff at the tender age of 12 weeks. We remained his faithful servants until he decided it was time to retire to the great cat’s home in the sky just before his 16th birthday.
We’re not really into showing cats, but to keep the numbers up and support the breeders, we did show him at the annual Russian Blue Breeders Association show on a number of occasions, and he always did very well, winning his Open Class on a couple of occasions. If we’d persevered he could probably have been promoted to Premier or Grand High Pooh-Bah or something-or-other, but we never bothered.
Never one to stay still over his 16 years, he’d become quite well-traveled, having spent two years wandering the UK and France in his motor-home before deciding to indulge in a water-borne lifestyle during the months of clement weather.
As befitted his gentle transition from young man about town into cantankerous old gentleman, his favourite occupations had become dozing, sleeping, jumping on clean sheets with muddy paws, hiding in the impenetrable hedgerows for hours or even days on end, and scaring birds. Sometimes he sat and watched the world go by from the boat hatch. Sometimes he just sat…
More recently he had decided to take up swimming as his hobby, but after several attempts decided it wasn’t really for him. His last hobbies were whippet-baiting, and trying infeasibly high jumps onto the side of a lock while the boat was descending. Either of these may have occasioned a sudden return to swimming…
He was a loving, much-loved and pretty much imperturbable prize-winning show cat, motorhome traveller and mechanic, whippet baiter, narrowboat captain, mole catcher, yoghurt thief and all round good sport.
Judging by the thunderstorms banging and crashing the night he left us, if there’s a cat heaven he’s already got his new staff rearranging the furniture to his satisfaction. Biggles, our Brave Companion of The Road – and the waterways – we won’t half miss you.