A sad story...

 With too many toes.
Tiddles the Tabby

Life is a bit sad without Tiddles the Tabby (with too many toes). My beautiful polydactyl cat has now been missing for six days. Each day the dogs and I wander around the orchard - her favourite hunting ground. But I'm calling to nothing. I don't sense her being anywhere close.

I miss Tiddles in the mornings. She'd often come over to the cottage, and disdainfully show her tummy to my growling cottage cat Minimus. Now a speckled thrush has started visiting - bounce-hopping along the cottage path each morning. I'm having my first cup of tea on the cottage verandah, looking for that spotty cat-tummy tease, and in its place a foolishly tame spotty bird hops right up to my feet and stares. So garden life goes on. Foolish bird, be careful! I growl quietly at Minimus - don't you even dare to think of a thrush-attack.

I have my first house coffee of the morning at the computer keyboard. Histeria (my old tabby cat) decides she loves me, and wishes to sit on my lap and my hands. Then Buster the black cat stomps over the keyboard, leaving secret coded messages in my garden journal. This morning's is '5544444444444'.

 Lolling on the patio table.
Black Buster

And does greedy Tiger the tortoiseshell miss her 'bowl-mate'? In memory of Tiddles, I solemnly promise Tiger I will never, ever call her a 'fattie' again. I sneak her some fresh pet meat, to enjoy sans competition. So house cat life goes on.

 What a cat!
Tiger the Cat

And dog life, of course. The dogs are so very constant. Yesterday I cried a bit, sobbing sad sentences out loud to the garden trees - as one does. Winnie the collie rushed to my aid, tried to lick the tears, knocked me over onto my bottom. Oops! Dear young dog. Rusty the old dog, puzzled, pushed his nose into my hands. 'Sorry, dogs' I wailed. 'I can't find Tiddles and there's nothing I can do'.


Winnie and her Pink Tummy

Friday 24th February

Now today I plan to have a proper, non-snivelly gardening day. No wailing, no sniffing, no tears. I will weed and lay path mulch by the washing line. Since the trees were removed, sunshine and the irrigation can reach the dry soil. And so the weeds have blossomed! Maybe not quite the word. There's a carpet of lush ankle-high greenery.

Lunchtime...

So much for empathetic, constant dogs! Humph! Winnie went missing for ten minutes right at the end of my first, productive gardening session. I called and called, dear Rusty plodding after me. Finally she turned up out of nowhere, panting, looking very sheepish (if a dog can look thus). You can imagine my thoughts - a neighbourhood conspiracy to trap and destroy my animals, and so on. Phew! I am soooooo cross with her. She is under house arrest.

Later...

Well, I've made a good start mulching the path, I've trimmed the dead wood out of the Hydrangeas, the weeds are out, and the hose is on. It's actually a bit too hot out there to be gardening happily. And I'm not happy. I miss my tabby cat dreadfully. Think I'll stop now, have a shower, wash my hair, get a drink of water...

Sorry for this sad post. But it makes me smile how garden life just quietly potters on, looking forwards, regardless of how I'm feeling. The days get a little shorter, the leaves get a little more restless, that silly thrush gets bolder and braver. And there's always the tiny hope that Tiddles will come home. Yes, there's always that. Tiny. Hope.