The Cat Lady of
I passed her table with the
notice 'Tarot readings' on my way inside the
Baraka Cafe, Orgiva situated by the local
Thursday market. She looked at me knowingly and
gave me a lovely beguiling smile. I smiled back
but did not stop as I was unsure if it was a ruse
to get me to sit down and have my future read.
That I was going to travel and meet a tall dark
stranger! I had, however, noticed her huge New
Age adornment around her throat, that of the
goddess Isis. I could have been in Glastonbury
and imagined her there with Pinky and Romany who
I had met and photographed in Jaipur. She was
wearing a deep royal purple flowing low cut gown
showing her ample bosom. I felt compelled to
return to talk, photograph her and hear her story.
Inside, the Baraka cafe was dark and cluttered
with New Age inhabitants discussing the week,
looking at the overflowing notice board with
local services and coming events. The ambience
and the name was distinctly Moroccan. Well I was
in what had been Al-Andalus when Córdoba and Fez
had been united by the Jews and the Moors. when
Muslim Spain was medieval territory between 711
It was 11.30 am and I had one hour to kill
before being picked up to go back to my beautiful
safe haven, Cortijo Romero, 5 minutes by car in
the heat of the day. I was wilting, however I
decided to approach this blonde beckoning
apparition. I did and entered the world of Simba
meaning lion. But then I am a lion too coming
from the female line of Lyons originally Loeb
from Poland two centuries ago. After I had spend
one hour with the delightful Simba she told me
that she felt she had always known me! We had
clicked. I took photos of her and selfies of us.
But what a story! What had brought Simba to
Orgiva 5 years ago I asked?
Simba grew up in Cyprus and England moving around
as her father was with the RAF so she had no real
home. No roots. The wandering Jew like my oldest
best friend Helga before she found Israel 40
Simba mainly lived near
Paphos in the countryside but still searched and
searched. She kept meeting travellers who
told her about Andalucia and so she listened
researching the mountainous area and the Berber
white villages south of Granada on the net. Then
she put in the words 'rustic Andalucia' and up
came a Cortijo called Los Pieados just outside
Orgiva including its guardians - a photo of its
two resident large ginger cats.
Being a cat lover she
desperately wanted to find those cats. They had 'spoken'
to her. They had miaowed to her across the seas
from Catlandia. They had catapulted her a message
to come to Orgiva. She heard their cry and was
compelled to leave on a quest with her then
partner. They had one week to make a decision. He
left. She stayed. She found the Cortijo and moved
in. The Indian lady owner left and did not want
the cats after her well known architect husband
had died. One was called Katmandu and the other
Cielo. Did she want them? You bet! They were hers
to have and to hold.
As she related this story,
her ex landlady came by. It was obvious they had
lost touch completely. After she had gone, Simba
told me her sad story. It was her husband's dying
wish to have two ginger kittens so his wife got
them as a surprise. Sliding doors. Split second
timing. She came. She left.
That was 5 years ago. Simba changed her name
legally from Catherine to Simbaisisphoenix and is
staying forever with Cielo as Katmandu was killed
by a jealous neighbour. She met them in the
casita in 2011/12 when both the cats became her
family. Today in 2016, Cielo is her only family.
Her entire world and her only true love. She
wrote to me to tell me it is exactly 5 years
since the cats came into her life. A
synchronistic anniversary you might say. I am
sure Katmandu is with her and Cielo in the
heavens above in unison spiritually miaowing.
Her partner of two years is
Romanian but the cat is the main love of her life
and her bed companion. The one she cuddles up to,
strokes at night and says Miao to in the morning.
Romanians may come and go but cats stay for their
As I predicted, she and her
partner have just split. No doubt he could not
compete with her love. The love of her life -
in Patio 19, Malaga, Spain and updated near
Salamanca in September 2016.