Who is Chuck and why does he like to travel?

I was born to be a writer and when I wrote my novel Wild Point Island, Chuck, my orange and white recently rescued feral tabby, got it in his head that he wanted to travel to the island and see the place for himself. Well, of course, Wild Point Island, can only be seen by revenants (you'll have to read the book to find out who they are) and Chuck is no revenant so instead, I concocted a plan to take Chuck with me when I travel around the world, which I do frequently. Not an easy task. First, I have to deflate the poor kid of all air, stuff him in my carry-on bag, remember to bring my portable pump, and when I arrive, I pump him back up. Ouch. But he's used to it by now and given the choice to either stay home in his comfy cat bed or get deflated, he pulls out his passport, ready to travel, every time.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

"Cool Cat" Chuck Longs To Meet Eric Clapton

Eric Clapton in Barcelona in 1974 courtesy of Wikipedia


           Ever since we adopted Chuck, we’d called him the “rascal cat,” the “chuckster,” and even at times, the “bad boy,” because this orange and white tabby we took in as an “almost feral cat” seemed to have a knack for getting into trouble.  
Nothing serious, mind you, but when Molly is hiding under the bed afraid to come out or Stanley is in the hallway growling, we know that Chuck has been there and done something to rile them up.
Yeah, he’s cute and yeah he’s smart, but he’ll also go to the limit at times to be an “all play and no work” cat. 
As we continued to tour around Antigua, Chuck had the attitude that we were on vacation.  He appreciated the beautiful beaches and the delicious food.  He was on the “lookout” for other cats.  
And this is where things got ugly.  
Chuck, for the first time in a long time, had done his homework.  He’d researched Antigua and discovered that his idol lived and worked here.  Chuck, otherwise known as “the cool cat” --at least in his mind AND as my husband was fond of saying -- Chuck was a legend in his own mind -- had discovered that Eric Clapton had a home on Antigua. He owned a mansion in the most beautiful and wild part of Antigua.  And Chuck wanted to see the house and possibly meet the man.  
Now, talk about an impossible dream.
Meet Eric Clapton?
Are you kidding me?
      And why, you may ask?
Well, “cool cat” Chuck is into rock ‘n roll.  Some of his favorite music harkened back to the tunes that Clapton played way back when.  We’re talking about the beautiful “Layla.”  We’re talking about Cream.  And the Yardbirds.  And Derek and the Dominoes.  
The kid just loves Clapton's music. 
My plan, on the other hand, was to enlighten Chuck with historical information.  We were on Antigua, and I wanted him to know something about the island’s history. 


The port, known as Nelson's Dockyard, is now an historic site.
       For example, I knew that during the 18th Century, Antigua was used as the headquarters by the British Royal Navy’s Caribbean fleet.  Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson commanded the fleet.  The port the English used was a sheltered and well-protected deep water port.   


This port is still a popular port for boats, even today.
  Today it’s an historical landmark, and that’s what I wanted Chuck to see.
Almond, the owner and operator of Pelican Safari -- www.pelicansafair.com  -- took us first to the port itself so that we could see up close and personal the historic buildings that surrounded the U shaped inlet where the ships were kept.

        Now, of course, those buildings are museums or restaurants, but still we listened and tried to imagine people living there over two hundred years ago.  Chuck, on the other hand, looked at the beautiful boats and yachts in the water.  
We then left the port and traveled the road that journeyed up the mountain, way up the mountain.  Our final destination were the cliffs that peered down on the port. Back in the eighteenth century, this is where the English Navy placed their canyon, aimed down at the entranceway of the port.  
Any ship naive enough to sail into the port without permission would face the wrath of the British canyon.  


Juet one of the many canon that used to line the cliff, overlooking the port.

It was a perfect set up.  The inlet protected the British Navy not only from foreign ships but also from harsh weather.  


The U shape of the port gave it protection from both the weather and invading ships.
But Chuck wasn’t interested in the history nor in the magnificent views. He didn’t want to hear any stories of battles.
He had eyes for only one thing.  
Eric Clapton’s mansion.
If you stand on the very edge of the cliffs, with the wind howling behind you, and squint as you gaze down, you might be able to make out his house, which looked to me to be all boarded up.  
But Chuck didn’t care.  He was gazing on the house of his hero. 


The buildings you see in the distance comprise the home of famed guitarist Eric Clapton

He listened intently as Almond explained that Clapton not only lived on Antigua but he’d also started a rehab facility in 1998 on the island called Crossroads Centre.  Chuck had that look of longing in his eyes.
I knew what he wanted.
“Is there any chance of meeting him?” I finally asked Almond. “I’m a big fan,” I said.
Almond smiled.  “Well.  Actually he’s not on the island at the moment.”
Chuck’s dreams were dashed.  
The only thing he could take solace in was that he’d seen his house -- from a distance.

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