If you are conscientious about studying this blog, which I doubt, you might remember that we have two farm cats which, as the taxman knows, control our vermin. One works, he’s called Midnight, sleek and black, he catches the mice, voles, rats and the odd mole, while the other, Guinness, the fat cat, manages; he is the manager; an agent if you like, he takes a cut of the quarry, and a percentage of the pay — 60%, I think. He’s never gone out much but he coordinates from his office by the fire while Midnight is out in all weathers … That is until recently.
A little while ago I came down in the morning and stepped over Guinness, sprawled in front of the fire, basking in the heat. But, hang on a minute, the fire was out.
“Is that cat dead?” said Alan and I’m afraid he was — it was all rather unnerving and sudden, though he had climbed a 15 ft pollarded tree the previous week-end which was so out of character that Alan had wondered if he might have a bucket-list.
Perhaps he did.
The amazing thing is the change in Midnight, the worker. He didn’t go out for three weeks.
“He must be grieving!”
“No he’s not — he’s inherited the territory, the house, the staff, you and me.” Always a cat of very few words, within weeks he is waking us up, caterwauling at the bedroom door, demanding food, chatting, complaining about the weather, knocking my handbag off the kitchen table if I put it where he now likes to sit — I don’t know what will happen when the spring comes and all the vermin start to reappear. Perhaps he’ll advertise for an assistant.