Friday, 10 January 2014
That Darn Cat
There was a growing damp patch in the upper corner of the bathroom. A leaky roof. We'd ignored it for ages; denial - it was condensation. The bathroom gets cold and all that steam from a bubbly bath. After a while we had to own up that it was something else.
It was the missus who suggested I speak to a neighbour since the leak was on the party wall. Sure enough he had a similar wet patch in the room abutting our bathroom. He'd noticed it about six months ago and re plastered, then patched up his roof and thought he'd solved it.
I called in a roofer: recommended and he's doing work locally as well as living less than a mile from us. A lovely guy who addressed me as "Mate". "It's the coping over your two roofs that's gone." So we made a date for him to fix it. I mentioned to my neighbour that I'd got someone in to repair the roof. The roofer came with his helper - his partner who I mistook for a young boy. She was forty and a grandmother..life in Walthamstow.
Anyway the roof was repaired, although my roof man pointed out that my neighbour's slate roof looked passed its best. When I spoke to my neighbour he mentioned that his state roof was over 30 years old and the poor unfortunate tiler he employed died on the job. The work wasn't satisfactorily completed by his mate. My neighbour acknowledged that his roof was in a bit of a state and he'd asked my roofer to quote for new slate roof. Around £6k for Spanish slate - don't bother asking about Welsh slates.
That's how we left it... until the damp patch re-appeared. Up came the roofer. No leak in our roof, the felt was dry. He came back the next day with a mastic gun and zapped my neighbour's roof. "That's fixed it" and he provided my neighbour with a very reasonable quote for a new roof. I haven't yet received my introduction fee.
On the day the roofer came to plug the gap our cat went missing. If you are a cat owner you will know what that means - panic, despair, the end of life as we know it. This was GinjatheNinja (aka Billy Bongo) - the most doted over pussy in Christendom. A cat that has wormed his way into our hearts, whose every move, every gesture is drooled over, whose very presence lighted this dreary valley of despond.
He had been gone 10 hours. He'd been kidnapped, he'd been killed, run over, snared, brutally skinned a victim of some Oriental meat trade in pets. He was lying in a pool of his own blood, savaged by that bloody unknackered tom up the road...We were beside ourselves. I tweeted, I e-mailed, I Facebooked. It's true the internet is festooned with furry felines. The response, the sympathy was overwhelming. There were people all over Walthamstow out in their gardens with flashlights calling out "Ginji". Garden sheds, unopened in the last 10 years, were rediscovered, along with that long lost work bench and jigsaw. We thought of posting hourly bulletins on the garden gate, but the flood of earnest texts, e-mails and calls meant that was unnecessary.
Reluctantly at midnight we headed for bed. Knowing that sleep would be absent, fearful of the morning light and no Billy Bongo. From 12 to 2 pm we'd get up every half hour hoping that that little face would be stuck to the back window. Nothing...and then in the depths of that night I heard the missus call, "He's back".
There on his chair under the veranda was this lump wrapped in his bedclothes. He was in a bad way. But he was back! We left him to sleep through the night.
The next morning he was still there. He was not a well pussy. He'd done some damage to his back and his front paw. A call to the vet who was able to fit us in. No broken bones, a ricked back and a swollen paw but otherwise he was fine.
He spent the next two days on our bed, lapping up the attention. Special food, special drinks, hours of baby talk and his own litter tray - he'd never been house trained. Just when we thought we'd have to take him back to the vet for an enema he bounced all over the bed, rushed up and down the stairs and stared at the missus eye ball to eye ball. He'd recovered. A rapid scoot down the stairs, an impatient wait at the back door and he was off to do whatever cats do.
A worried hour or so later he was back on his bed under the veranda. At the moment he's stretched out on my side of the bed, which means I will be sleeping in a modified lotus position.
I wouldn't have it any other way.