I'm feeling a bit more human, and had a pleasant evening yesterday working on Archie's sleeve. I'll switch back to Pocket Squares today.
Alexander wonders if human villainy mightn't be involved in the loss of my iPad. But that's impossible – no one has been in the house. He also says that if Archie couldn't find it, it's gone.
So today I will tell you our stories of loss.
Once long ago James and I were driving from Birmingham to Kirkmichael in a cold, cold winter. Helen was there ahead of us. I can't remember where the others were. We kept stopping to telephone someone to find out the success or otherwise of James' university application. Who? Why? I can't remember.
We stopped in Blairgowrie. A drunk woman was sitting on a bench by the telephone booth. She wanted us to take her to a&e at the cottage hospital, so we did. She was clearly a regular visitor there. And when we got back in the car, we realised that we no longer had the cat. Much kittykittykitty, but we finally had to go on to Kirkmichael without her, and I had to ring up my husband, wherever he was, and tell him we had lost the cat.
He said to get up early in the morning and go back to Blairgowrie. So we did, Helen and I. James stayed in bed. I can still hear, ringing in my ears, the cry of joy which filled that dark, quiet town. She had found the cat in the Bank of Scotland car park, not far from the fatal telephone, while I was doing kittykittykitty on the other side of the High Street. We put an ad in the Blairgowrie Advertiser the next week, thanking St Anthony for a favour received.
That night it snowed and snowed and snowed. We couldn't have driven to Blairgowrie the following morning.
The other story concerns my husband's guns. They are properly licensed and certificated. We used to store the rifle by breaking it apart and keeping the stock in one place, and barrel in another, and the magazine somewhere else, under separate lock and key, so that a Bad Man, even if he found one part, wouldn't have a usable gun. The police praised our system. But then the rules changed and now we have a galvanised gun case bolted to the wall, so that a Bad Man will know at once where the guns are.
Be that as it may, we realised one year that we couldn't remember where we had put the magazine. That's a little metal bit into which you insert the bullets of a rifle. The gun was an American one, bought when we were there in 1960-61. Alexander was in America at the time– was that when he was working as a consultant in NYC, getting to know Ketki? He found a new magazine for us, not without difficulty.
And he gave it to us one day as we were all standing in the sitting room in Kirkmichael, and I said, Now, where shall we put it where we won't forget? You can see how this story is going to end. I took down a funny little French mustard pot from the top of the bookcase, something I had bought in a junk/antique shop in Blairgowrie. And there was the original magazine.