So frazzled from lack of sleep, jammed in the dreaded middle bank of seats with the person infront reclined, we finally landed in Manchester a week ago today. Switched on phone to grab the airport free wifi and was greeted with the news that Tilly had had just had her babies. The thought of giving birth to 6 babies kind of puts an uncomfortable flight into perspective.
It’s a little cliched I know, but despite all the beauty of China, the Snake Pass under blue sky and sunshine with heather in full bloom ……….. wow! However the focus was on getting home to my precious Sooty. I don’t have favourites amongst the residents, however my old deaf lad is the most clingy and present of them, so it seems natural that his presence is missed the most whilst I’m away. Pulled onto the drive to be greeted by Bosca (the usual lookout), and then Honey, Jango, and shy Amber. Rushed into the house to find Sooty but no sign of him. Dashed round the house again, and again, and then more slowly looking more carefully but still no Sooty. You know that awful heart sinking dread and anxiety? Yup, that’s the one.
It was 1pm. I unpacked, with half an eye hopefully on the cat flap. No sign. I made a drink, settled shattered in the chair, snuggled Honey and Jango. It was 2pm. Still no sign. I trawled round the garden, up the road, down the road, and back round the garden. Still no sign. Back round the garden and under the bushes and checked over the fences into neighbouring gardens. This is the cat who is never out more than 15 minutes at a time. Calling for him (ok I know he’s deaf, but I challenge you to search and not call) produced Flipper from the allotments but no Sooty. It was 3pm. Damn! … I’m shattered and desperate to sleep but no hope of it with missing cat. Get allotment key and trawl the allotments. No sign. It’s 4pm. Surely if I just try and chill and go and have a bath he’ll be back before I’m finished. It’s 5pm … I’m clean but utterly frantic. I text Moggy Maid : She’s taken brilliant care of them whilst I’ve been away – just as she did last year – I’m certain of this. She tells me that Sooty has been present for every meal whilst I’ve been away, but was absent this morning. However as she turned into the next road on her way home, Soots was there sunbathing in the middle of the road! I die a thousand deaths, despite her telling me she stopped the car and moved him to the the kerb. It’s 6pm, I’m using a stick and torch to search through overgrown verges in case he’s been hit by a car and knocked into the side of the road – in between sobbing hysterically and vowing never to go on holiday again. It’s getting on towards 7pm and Moggy Maid phones me, despite my assurances that I’m not holding her responsible for his disappearance, and my warning that I’m not fit to be seen, she tells me that she’s coming over to help me search for him. It’s going dark but I go off again with torch in search of him, armed with dish of sardines hoping the smell will be heard where my frantic cries won’t.
Moggy Maid and partner arrive, usher me into the house (hysterical menopausal cat woman), take up the torch and sardines and set off in search of him. I cling to poor Jango and sob some more. Five minutes later partner knocks on door “we think we’ve found him”. Frantic mind pictures him lying in a gutter somewhere, but scene reveals my hero Moggy Maid walking up the road with my Sootkin in her arms.
Hugely grateful to Moggy Maid ….. I paid her to look after them whilst I was away and she did a very good job of it. Her continuing care when I arrived home and was desperate that I’d lost my baby was unpaid, but so badly needed and sooooo very welcome.