Saturday, January 12, 2013

Princess (slightly hairy) of Greek castle seeks new throne

Her Royal Highness Jorja Specklestockings

May it be known that I hereby bestow my greetings upon you, dear subjects!

I, Jorja Specklestockings, am your princess. I qualify as well as anyone—do I not?—because for a period of months I presided over the castle of Agios Giorgos, St. George, a magnificent 16th-century edifice topping a precipitous hill on the fabled Greek island of Kefalonia. 

Princess Jorja and her cat courtiers, in shadow of castle ramparts
As it so happens, my family took me there one day on an excursion but somehow forgot to take me with them when they left. I waited for them to remember and come back, but they did not. 

Villagers in the homes near the castle kindly provided me with meals. Naturally they should, me being visiting royalty. 

I drank green goopy rainwater that collected in the hole of an old stone artifact near the castle.

Drinking murky water from old stone artifact
There was no warm place to sleep during this soggy, bitter winter. Abandoned houses crumbled by the infamous earthquake of 1953 offered only a modicum of shelter. The most warmth I could garner was from the street pavement on an occasional sunny day. Not very suitable for a noble young lady such as moi.

Trying to find warmth by lying in the middle of the street
But a few nights ago... suddenly... everything changed. Under the walls of the castle, lit up all golden by a fiery sunset, a handsome prince named Agapi appeared out of nowhere and swept me off my prettily speckled paws. 

Swept off the royal paws by Prince Agapi
I fell for him immediately (you know how impulsive we redheads can be, even we well-bred princess redheads) and I think he felt quite taken with me too. It was all so storybook.

Prince meets princess

And further introductions

Awkward moment
First kiss... on the cheek...proper and chaste, of course
After a romantic promenade together...

Romantic royal promenade through the castle village
Church of the Evangelistria, circa 1580, with misty Mt. Aenos beyond

View of fiery sunset over the Ionian sea

Quaint village streetlamps
... and after I introduced him to my feline courtiers...

Kitty courtiers
... his chauffeur opened the door of his carriage, and Agapi jumped in. 

It seemed so warm and comfy in there, with blankets on the soft seats, that I tried to take my place next to the prince, as is my due. But the chauffeur shut the door in my face.

Astonishing! Ghastly! To slam a door on a princess!

After the chauffeur got in, I daintily placed my paws upon her window and kissed it ever so sweetly, convinced she'd relent. She didn't. How rude, to further refuse a princess! Then I put my paws on Agapi's window and kissed him goodbye through the glass. He kissed me back from the other side. My heart pounded in my beautifully speckled chest with a mixture of longing and sadness.

No room for a princess?
As they started to drive off, I became indignant. I sat right next to the departing carriage staring pointedly at the chauffeur, insisting with my commanding gaze that she stop and open the door. Just as pointedly, the chauffeur turned away.

A commanding gaze
That’s when my royal reserve crumbled. I confess that I whimpered openly. How could I help it? It’s simply wrong when people drive away and leave important personages such as myself behind. A fate completely unfit for a royal.

Left behind... again
So I decided to follow them. If I were to just trot along behind the car, maybe I'd discover where Agapi lived, so at least I could pay him courtly visits.

I think this really bothered that cretin of a chauffeur. I could hear Agapi whining, ordering her to stop. After a couple of minutes she obeyed and pulled over.

The chauffeur got out and stood there frowning at me dourly. Then, after a nerve-racking eternity, during which I stooped to wagging my tail, grinning, and performing utterly charming play-bows (a shameful display into which no princess should be forced), the chauffeur shook her head and muttered, "I can't believe I'm going to do this.”

Finally, she opened the car door. 

I waited. It was important to demonstrate that I wasn’t really all that desperate. After an appropriate moment or two, I gracefully entered the vehicle. (All right, well, the truth is I hopped in lickety-split before she could change her outlandishly useless mind.)

Decisive moment
The chauffeur drove us to Agapi’s palace down near the sea. I rode in the front seat—proper for nobility—and Agapi politely stayed in the back. Which was very gentlemanly, because you know how some fellows, even royal ones, just want to get you in the back seat and paw at you. 

(For example I’m sure you’ve heard those fur-raising tales about a certain young British prince, who happens to be a fellow redhead.)

I was afraid to go inside the palace, because, well... you know... a girl can’t be too careful these days. So the chauffeur picked me up and carried me. The whole thing made me rather nervous, I have to admit.

But soon I found myself resting on a pile of blankets, warm for the first time in months. With a full tummy and plenty of clean water too.

Snug and warm in Prince Agapi's palace
The not-so-pleasant news is that just as I was falling asleep, the chauffeur explained to me that soon she and Agapi will leave the island, and thus we must find somewhere else for me to live. 

She said that if I issued a proclamation describing my predicament (the document you are currently reading), maybe someone could help find me suitable lodging. Perhaps there’s even a family who would like for their home to be furever graced by the presence of a lovely young princess?

This is all quite absurd. A brilliant and beautiful girl of noble blood having to beg?  Ach, the vagaries of fate.

Nevertheless, the chauffeur said to make sure to inform my subjects that I weigh 17 kilos (37 pounds), am somewhere between 12 months to 16 months of age (we ladies prefer not to reveal our exact dates of birth), possess "very nice manners," am “clever,” could probably "fit into almost any home," and that I am “uncommonly beautiful."  (I don't mean to brag—blush blush—that's just what she said. And of course every word is precisely true.)

'Uncommonly beautiful'
Also she said that she and Agapi would escort me to the doctor’s office so that I could receive all the tests and vaccinations and so forth that one requires for relocation. I’ll have an operation so that I won’t have to make puppies anymore. (I delivered some not long ago. They all passed away. It was sad and I don’t wish to discuss it further. Nor do I wish to produce any more, thank you.)

In any case, Agapi, prince that he is, has instructed his Court Treasurer to finance my future journey to a qualified palace that befits a young lady of my station.

Prince Agapi looks out for Princess Jorja's future
His chauffeur opined that as soon as you, my loyal subjects, hear about what a “sweet, pretty, perky, and smart little redhead” I am, it won’t be long before somebody realizes they can’t live without me.  (Yes it’s terribly gauche for a chauffeur to describe a princess as “perky” or “little,” but we must make allowances for our servants.)  

I do appreciate your prompt attention to this matter.

Interested parties may contact the chauffeur via the following methods:
  • Email: youradopteddogATyahooDOTcom
  • Facebook message: The Dozen Dog Diaries or Katerina Lorenzatos Makris
HRH Jorja Specklestockings
Princess of St. George’s Castle (currently in exile)
Island of Kefalonia

More on Agapi: 

Read Melissa Beamish's excellent blog about her round-the-world trip volunteering in animal shelters, including a month at Kefalonia's ARK.

To donate or to volunteer on behalf of animals in Kefalonia, contact Animal Rescue Kefalonia (ARK) and Kefalonia Animal Trust (KATs).

The Dozen Dog Diaries (DDD) would be delighted if you'd spread the links to these articles. Please just keep in mind that reprint or re-post of more than a paragraph or two of the text or of any of the photos is allowable only by explicit permission from DDD, who may be contacted at youradopteddogATyahooDOTcom. Thanks for visiting!

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