With special thanks to Tesco Musselburgh, who have now begun their kind food donations to the ‘Cook-Inn’ food project and to Piersfield Morrisons Supermarket for their continued support.
Janine sat at the big computer, seeking inspiration for a blog to illustrate this week’s ‘Cook-Inn’ adventures. On her lap, on a cushion, sat a now-very-thin Sherlock Romes who felt a little the worse for his seventeen years but enjoying the warmth of the nearby hard drive. Janine stroked him every now and then, trying to ignore how his little rib cage was so palpable underneath its scant covering of skin and fur. Here was a cat in a million. Romes looked up at her and purred curiously. To Janine, it seemed like the right time to tell the fans about the little detective’s earlier life.
Janine had first met Sherlock a decade ago, when his owner at the time had been taken into hospital. For several months Romy had lived with her family – and put up with the antics of a huge, insane kitten called Reiver – before going home to his first owner. This had been a nice old man called John. But the very next year it had happened again. This time there was no going home. Sherlock was now here to stay. He used to play little tricks on his new carers, like letting them see him jump up onto the handle and open the back door, so that Reiver could thunder out – hopefully never to return! Of course, the humans always rushed out to save the rotund, monochrome pest. Romes could often be heard afterwards murmuring quietly, ‘Curses – foiled again’!
Romy quickly deduced that showing Reive he was a better fighter did not mean a quiet life. The big, black & white clodhopper had a resetting memory, courtesy of a historic head injury. This meant that he forgot that he’d been bested after only a short while, and continued to take pole position whenever goodies were handed out. Janine and Duncan often resorted to feeding the cats in different rooms so that each one got their dinner without dispute.
After about six months, even Sherlock started to become somewhat fond of his huge ‘little’ brother. Reive, who would run straight at any other animals, found himself face to face with the local ‘King’ tomcat, Ginger, when on a flexi-lead in the big garden. Both animals looked each other up and down a bit, wondering what should happen next. In a fair fight, it was obvious Reiver didn’t stand a chance. Then, tiny Romes was seen to philosophically mooch in between the two cats and turn to face the interloper. It is thought that he might’ve said, “I know he’s horrible – but he’s my brother,” with a wee shrug. In any case, the massive orange bruiser looked down at the diminutive detective, as if to say “On your head be it…” and he loped off quite peaceably.
After several years, a move out of town did wonders for both cats. Reiver got to thunder freely up and down the new enclosed garden, safe from traffic because he could never work out how to leave. Romy, who could (and occasionally did) leave at any time, was careful never to show his ‘little’ brother the trick to it. This house was a ‘fixer’, which meant that it was forever being rebuilt. This meant that even the Great Detective could be surprised every now and then by a new exit appearing, or in finding an egress suddenly blocked off. Oh well, at least it wasn’t boring!
Janine’s job, as an advocacy worker with an Edinburgh charity, continually reminded her that an ever-increasing number of people were living below the breadline. Often being the sole worker in the family, she felt the pinch occasionally herself. But, thank God, there was always enough to buy the cat food. The vet one day announced that Romy needed a dental operation, and everyone held their breath. He didn’t do well on anaesthetic, or strong medicines of any kind. He was in intensive care for two whole days while his poor little kidneys recovered from the shock. Aware now that the detective was becoming a delicate older animal, his carers took lots of time with him. Duncan began to feed him little and often; no mean feat when Reiver is in the same household. In this way, he survived longer than everyone thought possible. Even in his dotage, his adventures are recorded for posterity. Who could forget the time he helped Janine find her keys at the bottom of the garden? Without the timely interventions (and the cuddles) of Sherlock Romes, life would have been much more difficult.
Duncan rang to say that thirty-two households were due a bag today, and that Janine should be prepared to arrive on the next bus to begin delivering the runs. Romes, unable to read English but good at body language, sidled diplomatically off in the direction of his heat pad for a snooze. All this excitement was wearing him out. He was just happy to have helped.
God bless, all; and love to your pets!