... We had spent a few days in London with mates and when I eventually
checked my phone for messages there was one from my next door neighbour
saying he thought he should warn me that two kids had been up my house
asking about their cat. To say that that was unwelcome news is the
understatement of the year. I had a dreadful journey home in heavy
traffic with my eldest giving me the 'I told you something like this
would happen' line over and again, and the other two fussing away at me
about what was I going to do now? Like I knew???!!!! It seemed I had
two options and both involved causing huge distress to a child and ruining
one child's belief in Father Christmas into the bargain.
On arrival back in our village my first stop was the village shop for
some milk. Where my sign asking for a good home for a young ginger cat
had been there was now a sign saying 'Lost, one young ginger cat.'
Bizarrely next to that sign was another sign saying 'Lost, one young
The explanation for the two signs as I found out later was as follows.
Marmalades owner had placed the sign in the shop window but as she was
by now living elsewhere - Cornwall - she had asked her friend in the
village to be the contact person should anyone find Marmalade. This
friend, Caroline lived two doors away from Linda (hope you can keep up
with all this). Some children saw the sign and then saw a young ginger
cat, picked it up and took it along to Caroline. Caroline took in the
cat. Meanwhile, a couple who lived near the shop realised their young
ginger cat was missing and therefore placed a sign to that effect in
the by now somewhat crowded shop window.
Later that same day Caroline put Ginger Cat 2 outside to do what cats
must do. Shortly afterwards Linda arrived home from work and was
surprised to see 'Chivers' outside her front door as she had thought
she had left him inside and took him in. Come feeding time she was doubly
surprised to find not one but two young ginger cats at her feet.
Mystery solved when Caroline came to her door asking if she had by any chance
seen a young ginger cat.
Returning to my role in this cat fiasco, I asked Sue at the shop about
the two signs and so when Linda told me about the two ginger cats I was
at least able to sort out the return of Ginger Cat 2 to its rightful
owner. I warned Linda about the search for Marmalade.
Caroline told me where Marmalades owner was staying so that was my next
stop. This is where I am ashamed to say I told a tale of half truths
about how Marmalade just couldn't settle and how he had disappeared,
but how I felt really quite sure (for 'quite sure' read 'certain') someone
must have taken him in and feed him because we had had no reports of
'road incidents involving young ginger cats'. She was pretty cool about
it and said 'To tell you the truth, I am not too bothered as he always
was a bit of a pain in the arse, and I have promised the kids a dog.'
This made me feel slightly better.
The story finally concluded with one further episode. There was a knock
at Linda's door and she opened it to see the older of the two kids who
had brought Marmalade to my house in the first place. He wanted to play
with her son. As Linda is calling her lad Chivers picks that moment to
stroll down the stairs in full view of the boy at the door. 'Oh' he
says, 'We had a cat looked just like him but he got lost.' 'Oh dear'
said Linda who by now has decided that although as a general rule she
doesn't like cats she does in fact like this cat very much indeed,
'What a shame'.
And I saw Chivers this morning. The sight of him brought me out in a
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