Some years ago a group of us at work had a fun project going involving our team mascot, a small toy cat called Shirley de Cat. (The Shirley bit was because our work was carried out in the Shirley/Papanui community – and somehow the name Papanui for a cat just wasn’t a goer – and I seem to remember that we thought ‘de Cat’ sounded a bit more poncy than just plain old Cat, ie a little bit more aristocratic and not quite so ‘New Zild’ …)
Here’s Shirley on my desk chewing the fat with her calendar cat-friend, who was a great listener but not much of a talker …
Anyway, it turned into a bit of a competition between us all to see what Shirley could get up to, and how far she could travel with various members of the team as we headed off to far or not-so-far-flung destinations overseas, such as Wellington… 😉
We had to take photos of Shirley, to prove that she had actually been there and done that, and pretty soon our intrepid feline had an impressive dossier of activity and travel photos, including a trip to China, where she got to visit the Great Wall (unfortunately, her minder on that trip has since left our team and taken all his photos with him …).
At last, in June 2008, it was my turn to invite Shirley to join me for a trip to the UK and Italy, where I had a week’s family reunion planned in Tuscany, along with visits to other family and friends in the UK. Shirley was quite taken with the idea of a week in sunny Italy – words such as bon giorno! bella! and porca miseria! were soon tripping off her tongue like a native – so, off we went.
… then across to Canterbury in Kent, to stay with some old friends from Zimabwe days, and pay a visit to Canterbury Cathedral for a moment’s reflection overlooking the Cloisters garden, and a spot of climbing … Shirley! Get down off that windowsill!
… before eventually making our way back home to Christchurch.
We all had an absolute ball in Tuscany – 42 of us altogether, aged from 9 months to just shy of 70 years, and from places as far afield as Iceland, Canada, New Zealand, Scotland, Australia, England, Wales, France, USA and Italy. Fabulous food, fabulous accommodation, fabulous scenery: I can thoroughly recommend it as a reunion destination! 🙂 🙂 (PS Shirley enjoyed it too.)
Shirley’s slowed down a bit since then: age is catching up with her, and nowadays she seems to spend most of her time sleeping (typical cat) or mooching around looking for someone to reminisce with … maybe it’s time for another holiday jaunt, hey, Shirley – what do you reckon?