Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Landmarks and Boundaries

Another year has dawned here in Northumbria. It's strange how humans demarcate time by these numerical and psychological landmarks. Life goes on in its pedestrian pace here in the lovely settlement of Streonaeshalch in the land of Northumbria. A year has changed its number, but has it made any appreciable difference to human society? - I don't think so.

When I think about it, I'm all the more intrigued by the various invisible fences and walls that human beings construct. We live in a kingdom called Northumbria, but that is but one of several divisions within the landmass of this huge island upon which we live. There are the Mercian, Anglian and various Saxon kingdoms as well - as well as the areas where the Welsh and Scottish savages live. They too live within certain invisible boundaries. The humans here refer to them as 'chavs' - but I really wonder why. They have their fair share of wasters and ne'er-do-wells within their own camps.

As I understand it, there are certain physical features used to demarcate territory, such as hills, rivers and valleys. The previous occupants of this land - the Romans - built a huge wall to delineate the limits of their empire (and also to prevent their citizens from escaping over the line to the more Elysian Scottish side of the fence). But there are also lines of separation between one kingdom and another which are invisible to human, feline, canine and bovine eye. How would I possibly know if I'd strayed into another territory? Would the ground be of a different colour - or the grass a different shade of green? Apart from the differences in human speech, I doubt if there would be any appreciable distinction between one zone and another.

We cats have our territorial patches, too, but we lack the physical or mental ability to put up fences to keep other moggies out. We resort to scratching trees and wooden fences, rubbing our cheeks on physical objects - and of course the dump-and-spray techniques as a last resort to drive the message home to our contemporaries. But these boundaries aren't ever static; they're subject to constant re-negotiation through tooth and claw, usually when occupying cats either die off or up sticks and move elsewhere. I must however emphasise that these means are only reserved for those other cats who want - like some johnny-come-lately gangster - to push their luck. They get exactly what they deserve - which is usually a torn ear and a damaged ego. But our territories are constantly violated by humans, and we have to resign ourselves to this. My big pal Leo and his kind would probably stake their claim more aggressively, since they have more weight to throw about. Now that would be interesting..! My imagination runs riot.

Human landmarks and boundaries revolve around some cultural and tribal allegiance - or so I'm told - but I suspect that for the most part they exist for the sake of the wealthy noblemen as a means to corral and control humans. Very subtle they are, too; the ordinary men are prepared to fight and die in order to defend their patch. All because some numpty in a finely-woven tunic and cloak with a golden sword handle has told them to. Idiots!

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