Abseiling down the curtains; watching telly; trying to sleep in a space the size of a pencil - miss this chapter at your peril! 

I woke early evening feeling empty. Wondering what to eat I made my way to the kitchen. Garfield sprang to attention. He ran in front of me to open all the doors, skidding to a halt in front of his dish. He finished the remnants quickly, moving on to the leftovers in Biggles' and Charlie's dishes. Smiling weakly, I put some more food in his bowl, and added some of his favourite sweeties to thank him for his medical treatment and left him to enjoy it.

I made some scrambled egg on toast which I took back into the front room to eat in front of the fire. There is always something very comforting about scrambled eggs on toast. I drank another mug of hot lemon and decided to go up to bed. Biggles, Charlie and Garfield joined me after having their supper and we all settled down. Biggles slept at the back of my knees, Charlie slept at the foot of the bed and Garfield slept under the duvet against my stomach, purring loudly.

Gradually he made his way up to the pillows and lay stretched out across the top of my pillow. It was a bit like wearing a Davy Crockett hat. At some point during the night he lay on top of the duvet against my stomach so I was sandwiched in between him and Biggles, both of them stretched out full length down each side of me.

I woke in the early hours and carefully eased myself out of the tiny space I'd been allocated. They didn't stir. When I came back to bed, the gap seemed even smaller as I tried to push myself into an opening not much larger than a pencil. My nightie rode up to my armpits as I tried to slide down into the bed without disturbing them. I lay in a funny z-shape, cat either side, nightie in a roll under my chin and freezing cold because the duvet stopped short at my shoulders.

I tried to manoeuvre the pillows to meet the duvet and at the same time, with one arm, I tried to unravel my nightie. With a loud huffy miaow, Garfield woke up, a question on his face. I apologized and patted the space that he had vacated. He decided my pillow was more comfortable and with his bum in my face, he settled down once more. I was able to spread out a bit, retrieve my nightie and sleep once more, with my head twisted at an angle to avoid Garfield's anal arias.

I woke with a stiff neck and dead legs. I thought I had had a stroke while I slept but was relieved to discover the paralysis in my legs was caused by Biggles sleeping on top of me from mid-thigh to ankles. Garfield's face had swapped places with his rear and he was busy reshaping my eyebrows yet again. Charlie was still asleep at the foot of the bed.

We all went downstairs to have breakfast. Once again, I lit the fire in the front room and prepared the duvet and pillows. It was quite a bright sunny morning so the cats went out after breakfast to check on the various bits of the garden they take an interest in. Only Charlie stayed in, and after using his litter tray, collected Spud from his overnight resting place and transported him to the front room where he settled down with him between his paws and gave him a thorough wash.

I slept on, oblivious of the sudden change in the weather, and woke to find a very startled, sodden Biggles standing over my head miaowing plaintively. I have an arrangement with them that if they get wet, they come and find me and I dry them off with an old towel. Biggles stood and waited patiently for his rub down.

I went to get the towel, a big blue one that had seen better days, and he threw himself into it disappearing into the blue void, loving the brisk action. He came out the other end, several inches higher as his fur fluffed itself up, and purring with delight he sat in front of the fire for a thorough wash and brush up which took quite a while.

Meanwhile, I had just got myself comfortable again, when Garfield hurled himself through the cat flap followed by a very loud thunderclap. He looked most put out as his fur lay plastered to his body. I held out the towel and he came to it. I wrapped it round him and rubbed him as I dry as I could. He lifted his paws so that I could dry them as well and then he sat on my pillow for the completion of his toilette.

Another clap of thunder shook the house and all three cats looked at me as if I was in some way responsible. We all peered out of the window watching the rain form a river in the street, retreating when lightening lit up a prematurely dark sky. Despite the noise, we all stretched out to sleep, Biggles at my feet, Charlie and Spud on an adjacent chair and Garfield at my head, keeping an eye on things. The storm continued for a couple of hours but we slept on oblivious to the havoc and destruction that was being wreaked across the country. 

I fancied a cup of cappuccino in the afternoon and sat watching some snooker with the saucer perched on my knees. Charlie decided that some light entertainment was necessary and climbed up the curtains, Biggles and Garfield looking on in horror. He walked precariously along the Harrison Drape. He peered down at us, with a slight line of dust just under his nose, making him look like a feline Errol Flynn or David Niven. He grinned, leaning out with one paw off the rail as if he was waving. Then he abseiled down the curtains and landed in the saucer which was still on my knees setting off toboggan-like down my legs before veering off at my feet and landing on the floor, still in the saucer, with a wicked grin all over his face.

It was so funny that I couldn't have choreographed that if I had tried and I thought to myself, 'where is the BBC with their cameras when you want them?' Charlie got out of the saucer to collect Spud and ask his opinion on his comic routine before settling down with Biggles and Garfield to watch the snooker on tv.

It was a particularly tense moment as the world champion was struggling to retain his title. He potted a red, then the pink which came charging towards the bottom left hand corner of the screen. Biggles rushed behind the tv to retrieve it. He came back after a few moments, a look of bewilderment and disbelief on his face. He looked suspiciously at Garfield for an explanation, but the tension of watching the champion trying to win back the frame from his worthy opponent had bored Garfield almost rigid and he had gone back to sleep.

Biggles looked at Charlie who shrugged. He had no idea of this game as he only liked animal programmes and cartoons. Biggles looked at me. I didn't feel up to giving him an explanation of the wonders of television and that the pink ball hadn't really dropped out the back of our telly. He sighed. I gave him a cuddle and he settled back down to watch the game. 'Some game,' he thought after a while, 'they keep losing their balls!' I ignored this remark and switched channels to watch a repeat of a wild life programme on the habits of the house mouse.

'Garfield! Charlie!' Biggles shouted. 'Wake up! Look - lunch!" Garfield's ears pricked up. He slowly opened one eye. There was a mouse on the screen getting into a bowl of sugar in a cupboard. He sat on the floor next to Biggles. Charlie moved Spud in closer so that he could see too and the three of them sat mesmerized, their heads moving from side to side as they watched a procession of mice scamper across the shelves. Biggles ran round to the back of the television again expecting the mice to land on the carpet. Garfield looked on hopefully, hovering with intent, but Biggles returned empty-pawed.

'?' Garfield asked. 'Don't ask me,' Biggles retorted crossly, 'they're probably playing with that pink ball in the corner of the telly somewhere!'

Click here for Chapter 4


In the Middle of a World...

"In the middle of a world that has always been a bit mad, the cat walks with confidence."

Roseanne Anderson

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