This morning Marius and I landed back in Exile (also known as the sandbox, the litterbox and by other more or less affectionate names). A fourteen hour flight and an eight hour time change do not make for bright sparky people, even if they travelled in comparative luxury and were able to 'sleep' for some of the duration.
Our flight was half an hour late landing because the pilot had to make a 500 kilometre detour around a storm. Even so, we had plenty of turbulence and lightning, with the seatbelt sign on for at least half the journey.
I am not unpacked - except the frozen food including b*con and party pies for the upcoming festivities. We brought back two jars of Commemorative Vegemite, 2 kg of coffee from Timor, four packets of Twisties (oh we are sophisticated!), a packet of Freddo Frogs, three water pumps, six ocky straps, a new tarp for the swing and a barbecue cover (the last one was too big), a pair of secateurs, two flags, a cap with an Australian flag on it, and a pile of books and magazines. Sorry, I am delaying.
We hoped to find our four-and-a-half cats safe and well. We have found three-and-a-half (LG of the doorstep being the half cat). LG was on the doorstep, as expected. Macc was howling inside the front door as we lumped our cases up the steps. Wolfe was lurking by the backdoor, avoiding Macc. Ming maowed from upstairs (she is always frosty when we first return). Who is missing? Ratty.
I have heard nothing from the three guardians who were watching him for me. I haven't been able to raise ANY of them. I don't know if Ratty has just been AWOL since this morning or if he has been missing for longer ... I've been out twice, stumbling in my jet-fog along the golf course fence calling him. No answer, or not from the one cat I am looking for. Plenty of peacocks.
Far too many peacocks in fact.
This chap has been on our doorstep, probably stealing LG's breakfast. He was waiting again when I came out this afternoon on my Ratty hunt:
If you look at his neck, you can see missing feathers, which I suspect is the result of competing with other youngish males.
It is warmer than when we left - 20 when we landed where it should be below 10. The peacocks must think it is springtime, mating time, because here is my best effort (under difficulties this afternoon) recording a fan:
He was displaying to another cock, who also had his fan up (no photos of the second chap).
The sequence runs from full display, to hind view, and then the gradual drooping of tail feathers. There was no characteristic rattle and dance, nor any mesmerised females. I think they are practising competitive tail-wagging.
I have just managed to contact one of the guardians. Ratty was here yesterday for breakfast but has not been home since. I hope this means he is not far away. I will let you know when we find him.