I haven't taken my suitcase out of the cupboard, nor have I made little piles of things I mustn't forget. I haven't packed my sunblock and hat -- I haven't even wrapped the presents, but THEY know, and they are grumbling.
Ratty won't leave my side. Usually he doesn't venture up the stairs as Mr Macc and Miss Ming have ruled the bedrooms out of bounds to interloper cats. This morning Ratty came up and joined me while I was having my bath. I was wallowing in luxury - my last bath for three weeks as timed showers are the order of the day in Australia. Ratty came bouncing in yeowlling. 'There you are! I've been looking for you! Why did you leave me by myself?' And so on. If he crept in quietly and sat beside the bath like Ming does, nobody would have noticed except me. No, Ratty has a fanfare everywhere he goes and the 'parent cats' were not amused.
After I got dressed and I began to tidy the bedroom - you know putting away shoes that have been lying about for a week, and jackets that won't be worn for another six weeks - Ratty was everywhere. In the cupboards, helping me with my knapsack, spooking himself in the mirror and finally leaping onto the bed (first time since the meltdown). Then he followed me into my study which is Ming Central while I found another Christmas card to write, and he jumped up on Macc's chair, while Ming peered around the edge of the curtain at him, disapproval screaming across her whiskers.
I haven't begun to pack. That mountain is looming before me.
They know I will begin soon. Tonight we leave for Australia and family Christmas. I hate packing. I hate travelling. I shudder to think what size my carbon footprint is. We will eat far too much and spend far too much and we will come back from our 'holiday' exhausted.
Rest assured the cats will be well cared for in my absence. As well as my domestic assistant who will be in charge of day to day care, I have a roster of friends organised to cope with emergencies.
I hope you all have happy and peaceful Christmases (or appropriate festivities if you don't partake of Christmas). I've enjoyed your company while in exile and hope to see you all (virtually at least) in the new year.
Best wishes, Isabel x