Larry and Fergus. Famous British Cats

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Tudtátok, hogy Nagy-Britanniában egy macskának is járhat hivatalos cím? Larry a Downing Street 10 főegerésze. Még több érdekesség róla az olvasmányban. 

Larry was appointed to the post of Chief Mouser after being adopted from the streets of south London via Battersea Dogs and Cats Home.  The Chief Mouser to the Cabinet Office is the title of the official resident cat of the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom at 10 Downing Street. Only three cats, Humphrey, Sybil and Larry, have been given the title officially other cats were given this title affectionately, usually by the British press. There has been a resident Treasury or Downing Street cat employed as a mouser and pet since the reign of Henry VIII when Cardinal Wolsey placed his cat by his side while acting as Lord Chancellor.

Larry is the latest in a long line of official mousers at Downing Street, including stalwart ratter Humphrey, who served under Margaret Thatcher and John Major but was retired in 1997, shortly after Tony Blair’s arrival. Humphrey was succeeded for a short period in 2007 by Sybil, the pet of then chancellor Alistair Darling, but the renowned mouser failed to settle and returned to Scotland.

Larry was brought in to keep down the local rat population after a rodent was seen scuttling past the door of Number 10 Downing Street.

He has been described by Downing Street sources as a “good ratter” and as having “a high chase-drive and hunting instinct“. Soon after he was taken in at Downing Street, a story ran in the press claiming that Larry was a lost cat and that the original owner had started a campaign to retrieve him. However, the story was later revealed to be a hoax, and no such owner nor campaign existed.

In his first few days at No 10 he took a vicious swipe at a television reporter but he has shown a gentler side with other visitors, reportedly getting on well with United States President Barack Obama.

In June 2011 David Cameron announced that Larry had killed his first mouse after arriving in Downing Street. On 9 September 2011, Larry was spotted swiping at a mouse, referred to as “Mandy”, which then escaped under a bush. In November 2011, Larry’s position came under pressure, as it emerged that he was spending more time sleeping, and spending time in the company of a female cat, Maisie than actually hunting for mice. The cat’s position was said to be “unassailable“, even though it emerged that the Prime Minister had resorted to throwing a piece of cutlery at a mouse during a Cabinet dinner, in an ineffectual attempt to kill it. The Prime Minister’s spokesman rejected calls for Larry’s resignation, stating that “Larry brings a lot of pleasure to a lot of people”.

Larry’s exploits and observations on life at Number 10 became the subject of a weekly cartoon in The Sunday Express drawn by cartoonist Ted Harrison.

A book, written in character as Larry, Larry Diaries: Downing Street – the First 100 Days by former Guardian journalist James Robinson was published in 2011. A picture gallery to celebrate Larry’s first two years in office was produced by The Daily Telegraph.

In 2012, Larry was visible on the Google Street View of Number 10, asleep next to the door.

The new British Ambassador in Hungary, Iain Lindsay, also owns a cat. His name is Fergus. Fergus is 11 years old and has lived in Romania, the UK, Hong Kong and Bahrain. He moved to Budapest with the Ambassador and his wife in March. He was adopted as a kitten in Romania. He was born in the Lindsay house to a three-legged cat that was found in their garden suffering from horrible injuries.

source: The Telegraph, Wikipedia

Here are a few definitions for you. Can you find the words in the text?

1. newspapers or journalists viewed collectively

2. to  take over a throne, office, or other position from somebody

3. stepping down from a job

4. a remarkable deed

5. a small rodent that has a pointed snout, relatively large ears and eyes, and a long tail

Key

1. the press

2. to succeed

3. resignation

4. exploit

5. mouse

Vocabulary

Chief Mouser

főegerész

to adopt

örökbe fogadni, befogadni

resident cat

bennlakó macska

stalwart

rátermett

renowned

híres, ismert

rat

patkány

rodent

rágcsáló

to scuttle

elfutni

hunting instinct

vadászösztön

to retrieve

visszaszerezni

to escape

megszökni

unassailable

megtámadhatatlan

cutlery

evőeszköz

resignation

lemondás

exploit

hőstett

ambassador

nagykövet

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