Vans and Royces


Some time in the early sixties we acquired a pair of young Van cats. Beautiful, handsome creatures. She - lithe, flirtatious and silken - we called İnci. He - massive and long-haired, a powder-puff of a fellow - was to be Pamuk. They arrived at our Sussex cottage one sunny weekend afternoon, cosseted in a Rolls Royce - Silver Cloud or Phantom I forget - piloting its way down a muddy track between coarse grass and June yarrow, the old beech tree at the end of the lane sending shadows. These swimming and fishing felines, their origins going back to the Armenian, Kurdish, Turkish highlands and waters of Eastern Anatolian antiquity, belonged to Conrad Goulden, whose London Jewish family had acquired the publishers W H Allen & Co off the Strand - where my mother was editor. Quick to settle, they stayed, discovering a new life among hens, field mice and summertime strawberry beds, the smell of autumn bonfires, fresh rain, and snow on the wind, the bellow of Herefords, the call of foxes and owls, sharpening their senses, nostrils quivering. Home at night to curl up by my father reading a book or planning a new one.




26 March 2022