Apologies to those of you who visit this blog for the latest thinking on string theory, tensor calculus, evolutionary psychology or agent theory. I fear we must return again to the cat.
Last night I decided that Shadow must once again be put out for the night. I want you to picture the situation: the front door with its cat flap, the three-foot vestibule with its harsh lined carpet, then the inner glass door opening out to our hall. The cat is in the vestibule, tucked away in its basket abutting the glass door which is firmly closed. There is a plate of cat food next to the front door to the left of the cat flap for his midnight snack.
We retire to bed.
At 1.30 a.m. last night I am awakened by a violent storm. Rain is lashing the windows, the wind is buffeting the house and making that low moaning sound which betokens serious weather. My drowsy thoughts naturally turned to the sleepy moppet so harshly condemned to these atrocious conditions. I made my way downstairs in the dark and turned on the hall light. There he was, curled up in his basket (aaah!) as the wind swirled through the cat flap. I opened the glass door and retired to bed: shortly afterwards the cat scampered upstairs and settled on our bed.
Cue forwards to 4.30 a.m. and we are woken by the whooping sounds of cat triumph. The repetitive cries start quiet then get steadily louder as the cat climbs the stairs. I poke Clare "Get up, he's got a vole!". Barely alive, she replies "And what am I going to do about it?"
Events overtake us as he dances into the bedroom. We both leap from the bed - our apparel will be lightly passed over - and one of us turns the light on. Yes, the cat is back to vole-juggling!
Swift as a vole herself, Clare grabs the cat and glares at me: "Sort it!".
I chase the vole, trying to prevent it escaping under the bed. I corner it and it runs up the wall - astonishing! It makes two feet, three feet, four feet without falling off. I make a cage of my hands and scoop it off, its tail flicking my wrist.
I make my way downstairs holding the wriggling rodent in front of me like a water diviner as Clare turns on lights and opens the front door. The vole is cast into the outer darkness in the general direction of the bushes. They can fly, can't they?
Now wash your hands! We retire to bed and the glass door is closed again: this time with the cat on the inside. "He won't want to go to the toilet now," Clare says confidently.