Sylvester, St Mary’s resident black cat (when he is not at home in the Rectory just across the road), was displeased to read that the church would be throwing open its doors to dogs (on leads) as well as other animals in a special pet blessing service on October 3 at 3pm. However, on further reflection, he would like to extend a warm welcome to birds and rodents.
[Editor’s note : Attitudes to black cats vary from country to country, and some international visitors to the church seem perturbed at seeing him. In Japan and Egypt black cats are generally welcome, but in Germany they can bring bad luck. Black cats are popular with sailors too, but less so with pirates. Much seems to depend on whether the cat is walking towards you, or away from you, as it brings luck – but can take it away as well.
Church visitors with concerns about Sylvester have been assured by one of the volunteers letting them into the tower that he is regularly exorcised – and now he can be blessed as well. Tourists with dogs on leads are welcome to visit the church, but they tend to be UK visitors only. Cats have been associated with witches in the past, but witches have not been burnt in Market Street for hundreds of years, and Sylvester is not that old].
Photo: Seana Lanigan