Posting days: Sunday and Wednesday and, sometimes, maybe, extra ‘news flashes
Sunday June 18th 2017
Once, years ago, I was good at handling chaos. This was a daily requirement at the comprehensive schools in which I worked. Then, I coped well. If someone threw up in the wastepaper bin while I was reading to the class, at the same time as keeping a preemptive eye on what the potential disruptives might be about to do, I could respond to a messenger sent from the head without losing my place in the book.
Alas, I no longer have this expertise.
It’s Thursday and I’m still tired from my Welsh exertions: I demolished my friend’s fence and emptied her under stairs cupboard.
It’s the Kindle’s fault; I can’t seem to switch it off at night.
I’m coming round from a quick snooze when the phone rings. It’s N., the butcher opposite my house. A small cat has followed a customer over the very busy road, causing two cars to pull up very smartly. N. informs me that he has advised the customer to bring the cat over to me. (He can’t allow an animal to stay in his shop because of hygiene regulations.)
The door bell rings as I stumble downstairs. On the doorstep is a smartly dressed, elderly man clutching a small, ginger, Persian cat. Since Isis is loose in the house, I step outside.
“I only went over to buy a pork pie”, explains Smartly Dressed man. “I came on the bus. I don’t know what to do with the cat.”
“Nor do I”, I answer unhelpfully, eying Isis. Fast asleep only a minute ago, now she is very much awake, and her spotty pink nose is zig-zagging energetically against the inside glass of the porch door like a slug on speed.
She will, I fear, eat the cat if she has the opportunity.
I pick up the very purrful kitty. Isis, who is now even more interested in what is going on outside, begins to spin gleefully in the porch.
I have no crate, cat food, or cat tray. But small kitty cannot, of course, be left to wander across the road.
Handing kitty back to Smartly Dressed Man, I coax Isis into the back room and shut her in. Unimpressed, she begins leaping up and down, clattering at the door.
Just as I pick up purring kitty again, A. arrives to collect the old lawn mower I had offered him via our local Freegle (the recycling by gifting organisation).
Now, the lawnmower, the smartly dressed man, the Freegler, kitty and I are all squashed into the little porch. I feel like one of those characters in a t.v. cartoon whose eyes spin round when they’re very confused.
At this point, Smartly Dressed man, who is looking a little wan, asks if he may sit down as he feels weak.
I invite him in, place kitty in the kitchen with a drink of water, and close the door very firmly.
Isis is beside herself with excitement. I check her door, too, before returning to the mêlée.
A., who works as a volunteer for a children’s charity, relates the interesting story of why he became a volunteer while Smartly Dressed Man rests in the front room, Isis leaps up and down in the back room, and kitty rolls joyfully around on the kitchen floor.
When A. has departed with the mower, I locate paper and pen for Smartly Dressed Man who wants to leave his telephone number so that he can hear the fate of the lost cat.
As I wave him off, the school crossing patrol man T., who knows N. the butcher, comes over to discuss the little cat.
Just then a young couple with a labrador come along the pavement towards us.
“Ah,” says T., “Here’s a young man who will help.” And he introduces Tb., who, apparently, is very nifty with I.T. and will be happy to take photos of ginger cat and put them out over all of his networks.
Tb. and I repair to the kitchen. It is only when we reach the kitchen door that I realise I’ve left the door knob on the inside of the door.
Since I’m an expert procrastinator, none of the doors downstairs have both of their knobs, so every room has a pair of pliers in it. Retrieving a pair, I manage to open the kitchen door. As Tb. squats to take a photo, kitty dashes out of the kitchen to greet him. Kitty, whom I have by now identified as female and quite advanced in years, rolls on the floor, purring loudly.
In a couple of minutes, images of her are zooming all over the West Midlands.
Then the pace hots up. Tb. very kindly offers to take lost cat down to the vet at the bottom of the road to have her chip read. T. offers to fetch a cat carrier from home and rides off speedily on his tricycle.
In the end, T. takes kitty to the vet on the back of his tricycle, Tb. and his partner and the patient labrador set off for home, and N. prepares to lock up his shop for the day.
When released from the back room, Isis, delirious with delight, shoots into the kitchen on the trail of our departed feline visitor. She investigates every millimeter the cat has walked, sniffing her way from the kitchen, along the hall, into the porch, down to the gate and out onto the pavement.
What an exciting afternoon!
P.S. The next day N. tells me that as kitty’s scan was being read, her owners saw her on line and rushed to collect her. Apparently, kitty is fifteen.
Isis came from the Aeza cat and dog rescue and adoption centre in Aljezur, Portugal. For information about adopting an animal from the centre, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or www.dogwatchuk.co.uk