Last week, 8 a.m., T-shirt and flip-flops. This week, long-sleeved T-shirt, fleece, waterproof jacket and walking boots. A typical English spring.
It's been a sad weekend. My father's cat, Henry Kitten (he never grew very big) went AWOL during the week. He was of feral stock, and was rounded up along with his mother by the Cats Protection League at a local feed mill, as part of a trap-neuter-release programme. When he didn't come back home on Sunday, we all feared he'd heard the call of the wild and answered it. Yesterday, coming back from an outing with the dogs, I spotted a black body on the verge, a couple of hundred yards from my father's house. I went to fetch Dad, and it looks very much like Henry. Unfortunately he looks to have hit a car head-on.
Then (big mistake) I read the last chapters of Merle's Door, by Ted Kerasote. It's a wonderful book, about a man who tries to put himself in his dog's shoes, and let his dog have some choices about the way he lives. The two of them lived in a national park, and spent their days out in the wilderness - but the ending is a three-hanky job.
As a result, I've spent today fussing over Herbie. First, I thought I'd found a new tumour in his stomach - I'd actually found the end of one of his ribs. They're all knobbly at the end, and so are Holly's - it's nothing new. Then I went to clean his ears out, and found that they were black inside. Not just dark brown wax, but deep charcoal black. I wondered if this was one of those symptoms of cancer that no one talks about, because it's too much of a bad sign. Maybe his brain was starting to rot and leaking out through his ears.
Then I remembered I'd repotted a few plants yesterday, and put the spent compost on one of the flowerbeds. Herbie had had a really good dig, and redistributed it all. When greyhounds fold their ears back, the ear canal is wide open. He didn't have a brain tumour, he had compost in his ears. Only person with a leaking brain round here is me. Very glad I didn't call the vet.