Panic is not an emotion we would choose to experience too often and I have had more than my fair share in the last couple of weeks.
The first time my pulse started racing was in the early hours of a Friday morning a couple of weeks ago. Fortunately my phone was on my bedside table as I was settling down for sleep at around one in the morning when I noticed the screen light up. I took a closer look and saw I had received a text from my daughter. She had lost her voice so couldn’t speak to me. She was extremely poorly and needed help in caring for her two young children and I was able to find a Ryanair flight back to the UK within a few minutes and texted back to say I would be with her before twelve noon that same day. I was due to visit anyway the following week, so I just had an extra week with my gorgeous grandchildren who accepted and welcomed me taking over their daily routine without so much as a second glance.
I arrived back in Spain last night, fifteen days on, and was just enjoying a lunchtime welcome back drink in the sunshine with some very good friends when we received a phone call from our neighbour. That is, our neighbour who has eight (or possibly more) dogs, some of which ripped our beloved black cat Tibber to pieces almost exactly four years ago. It actually seems much longer ago than this, but I was reminded of the exact date just last week when good old facebook prompted me with an anniversary alert of the photo of poor Tibber that I posted in the still deluded hope that he was just missing and not presumed dead. To give her her due, our neighbour did return Tibber to us (in a sack) having found him in her garden. In her shoes I may well have been tempted to dispose of him without admitting what had happened.
So today’s phone call stating that our remaining cat Sheba had been attacked by her dogs stirred great panic for David and me. We made an instant exit from the bar, leaving our friends to settle the bill, and I urged David to drive the five minute journey at greater speed, whereas I normally demand he drives more slowly. The car raced up our steep drive, straight past our house to the top of the hill where we were met by our neighbour to show us where the poor cat had crawled after the attack, which she and her daughter had managed to break up. It was in a stone built structure, I presume a dog kennel, far back in the corner and it was hissing and spitting, obviously terrified. I took one look and said instantly ‘that’s not my cat’, but the more I looked at it, the more I wasn’t sure. David took my place and peered into the hole and also couldn’t be sure that it wasn’t our beautiful Sheba in the shadows.
At this point I had the brainwave of rushing down to our house to see if Sheba was in fact there. I peered through the glass door and was hugely relieved to see her lying resplendent in her normal position on a sheepskin rug on the sofa. Relief was immense and I puffed and panted back up the hill to tell David the good news.
Of course there is still an injured cat terrified and needing attention, but not my beauty. We offered help in dealing with the situation and returned home to give Sheba a lot of fuss.
To help calm my nerves I took a stroll around my garden accompanied by Sheba to see what had been going on in my absence. Quite a lot apparently – including blossom on the apricot tree…