Christmas Crackers for Cats was a hat trick that we pulled in 1999 having by then exhausted all the songs, verse and rhymes we could think of that were not subject to copyright and which we could freely parody. Julie and I were at that time living with our four cats in extortionately expensive rented accomodation in the Berkshire village of Fifield. Both of us worked in the Maidenhead area, Julie as a kitchen designer and myself as an engineer in the broadcast industry.
We made up the limericks during a cold winter during which I nevertheless barbecued T-bone steaks, as it had always been my custom and pleasure as a South African to ‘make braais’ in December. On one particular day I remember we enjoyed watching the landlord reaping the rewards of his healthy rent by toiling outside in the freezing sleet and rain trying to unblock our sewer. As we sat drinking hot coffee and writing limericks in the warm house, I began to express sympathy for the man, but the Pote Lorry-it scoffed at my concerns and said it was natural justice and ‘what goes around comes around’.
By the time the book was published in 2000, The Pote and I were living with our four cats in our own house in Oxfordshire and unblocking our own sewers. After Christmas Crackers it was clear that it was time to change the recipe, preferably to one in which Julie’s illustrations could be used.