The gift

I found the head. And the spleen. And a speck of blood under my dressing-table this morning. It was my first task, after luxuriating in a very hot bath (thank you solar).

Just around dawn she’d come in through the cat-flap in the front door, up one and a half flights of stairs and into our room. She was making that ‘notice me’ yowl. It meant one thing and one thing only. The arrival of a gift. A live one, which she then chased around our bedroom.

In a half-awake state, it is hard to find a mouse. We couldn’t see where it was, and had no idea whether it had survived or not. So we decided to catch the cat, remove her and bolt the door. There are several reasons for the bolt. I’ll return to them another time.

Cruelly expelled, Miss Baxter scratched at the carpet outside. So my second task this morning, after disposal of rodent remains, was to re-post the carpet edge under the brass strip, and to collect a small fistful of carpet fluff which had been shredded by an angry cat.

This cat is our fourth ginger and the first female. The other three went to the big feline hunting grounds far too early. Her immediate predecessor, Cooper, is buried under a juvenile walnut tree in the veggie garden. Miss Baxter is the only cat who has arrived in stages and by stealth. She was found sleeping rough in one of the barns, and she has infiltrated. Despite her appearance, she is basically just a ruffian.

It seems hard to believe that, less than two months ago, I was out of the house and into the farm office by nine every morning!

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