Tag Archives: Moriarty

Empty House, Full Heart

He’s crying upstairs. I can hear the quiet snuffles between the echoing thuds of his footsteps on the bare boards – newly stripped of their carpet.

I could go to him, try to comfort him, but there’s been a lot of tears and a lot of hugs this weekend and, I guess, now that we are at the end of things he might need this moment alone. Besides, down in the hallway I’m furiously blinking back my own tears as I look into the stripped kitchen.

‘Must not cry, must stay strong. For him.’

It’s a daft idea, not only because I’m utterly failing to stay dry-eyed but also, because he knows I’m sad, that this is hard for me too.

Clump, clump, clump on the naked stairs, he’s coming down. The only items left to remove are Rufus and Moriarty. They have been his constant companions these past few days – more than St F and I – but now they too must leave.

‘Shall I take the cats outside and give you a minute?’ I ask. He raises his gaze to mine, his brown eyes soft with unembarrassed grief.

‘No, I’m good,’ he whispers. ‘Let’s go.’

Stooping, we grab a cat each and step outside. Rufus under one arm, he fumbles the keys from his pocket to lock the door behind us. Uncertain of how to be at this momentously awful moment I say, ‘I bet that’s the wrong key.’ I’m right, it is.

‘That’s the backdoor key he,’ smiles, holding it up for me to inspect. Unfortunately it’s near-enough identical to the other key on the ring and I know, from experience it’s always that one that comes to hand first. shifting Rufus’ weight slightly, he turns back, inserts the second key in the lock. And turns it. He is now locked out of his childhood home, the place where his mother raised him and his sister.

‘You’ll be here when I get back?’ he asks, placing Rufus on the ground before turning for the gate. I nod. He strides to his car, head up, shoulders squared and gets in and drives away. Rufus immediately takes up station on the doorstep. He wants to go back into the house but he can’t. The keys are on their way back to the council offices. Rufus, Moriarty and I are technically trespassers now.

I try to persuade the old cat to come home to St F’s, next door, but he won’t, he won’t leave the doorstep of the house that he’s visited almost every day for the last fourteen years. Moriarty won’t leave Rufus so I am forced to leave alone.

Keys returned, he comes back and I make coffee. Strong, black, with an entire plantation’s worth of sugar in it. We swap stories – he talks about the RAF and I tell salty sea stories. We laugh and joke until St F comes home from work. There’s a pause after we hear her car pull up, turns out she’s spotted Rufus on next-door’s step and gone to get him. Rufus isn’t happy about this but he deigns to be enfolded into the arms of our guest and spreads ginger fur across the man’s trousers, shirt, chin … Moriarty sits on the windowsill outside, occasionally glancing in at us but, mostly, he’s casing the garden for mischief, for some furry or feathered creature to come within range. Thankfully the local wildlife has got wise to him and he remains on the windowsill.

Back in next-door’s garden – Betty’s garden – humans and cats take a last tour, a last look at view across the valley.

‘Goodbye, old friend,’ he murmurs into Rufus’ ear after hugging St F and I and thanking us for our help and then he’s gone. His family’s last link with this village, broken. His car stuffed to the roof with salvaged belongings. He’s gone. His sister has gone. Their childhood is cast adrift from its moorings and now exists only in their memories. ST F and I stay in the garden a little longer and face up to the fact that Betty too has finally left us. Completely and irrevocably. Only Rufus is not convinced. He sits on the steps and miaows.

Rufus and Moriarty at Betty's


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Posted by on April 30, 2014 in Family Life


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A Story of Infidelity, Going on the Run and the Unkindest Cut of All

I didn’t intend to be unfaithful, I kind of resented it at first but, after that, it was easy. Zack’s intelligent, brown eyes favoured me with a questioning gaze and I melted like a chocolate fire guard. It didn’t take long for him to get from my kitchen to my bed. Black and sleek, he wasn’t as tall as my true love but by crikey he was beautiful. And we’d only met that afternoon. I’m not ashamed, I’d do it again, especially for Zack.

My sister, St Francis, and I only went to his home to meet him but ended up coming back with him and all his kit in the car.

‘How the hell are we going to explain to Eric, Ernie and Floyd that we’ve brought home another Doberman?’ I asked St Francis.

‘Very carefully,’ she replied. ‘And anyway, never mind them, what about Moriarty?’

Ah yes, Moriarty the villainous feline, arch-enemy of small scampering creatures and nemesis of Floyd, was chased up the stairs once too often by Eric and Ernie and had left home some days earlier. St Francis fretted, Medusa wept and Floyd enjoyed unimpeded passage through the cat-flap (see Moriarty’s Rap Sheet for explanation). Then, the night before Zack came into our lives, Medusa spotted Moriarty in the field in front of the house. With haste she brought him in and offered him Rufus’ bowl of food. Strangely, after so many days on the run, Moriarty wasn’t particularly hungry. No doubt there’s a trail of feathers, bones and small scraps of fur  leading back to wherever he was hiding out. Clearly able to feed himself, the cat would be unlikely to stay home when he discovered another fruit-loop dog hanging around. Tact, diplomacy and keeping Moriarty and Zack apart were definitely high on our list of priorities.

Zack comes from a loving family and is well cared for but he needed a new home due to circumstances beyond his family’s control. Parting was such agony for them all that they pleaded with St Francis and I to take him straight away and get it over. So, we drove away with the sad, quiet dog. He met and made friends with the other dogs, one at a time, was ignored by Rufus and, mercifully, never clapped eyes on Moriarty. he had a long walk with Eric, down by the river, and enjoyed his dinner but … he couldn’t settle. He howled when left alone for a bit. He refused to go sleep even though his head was nodding. He whimpered and couldn’t be comforted. Zack was very sad. St Francis was sad for him. I was sad for him but there was another problem that occupied us as well. Unbeknown to Ernie, he was going to the vets in the morning and we had to keep him away from food (and the cats’ bowls, the left-overs, the bin) after 8 p.m. He was going to have a general anaesthetic and when he awoke, he would discover a long line of stitches where those two little round things used to hang between his back legs. St Francis felt guilty. She needed to spend time with him.

‘Why don’t I take Zack to my house?’ I offered.

St Francis thought for a moment. ‘OK,’ she said. Eric can stay here. He can sleep in the kitchen.’

Leave my Eric? Spend a night without him hogging the bed? That’s where the resentment came in but it ebbed away as soon as Zack laid down beside me on my hearth-rug and fell asleep. The quiet of my little house, the lack of all other life-forms apart from me (and a couple of small spiders) meant he could relax at last but, when I moved away, he snapped awake and came to follow me. He didn’t want solitude and who can blame him? He’d had a tough day and was probably very confused so I took him upstairs.

Smaller and more polite than Eric, he took up a lot less of the bed but just like Eric, he snored like a chainsaw and farted non-stop. I’m so glad I left the bedroom windows open. In the morning, while Ernie went to meet his destiny, Zack and I charged around the house playing. Then the phone rang. Zack’s family couldn’t live without him. Would we bring him back?

St Francis and I were sorry to let him go but the sight of that dog belting up the garden path of his rightful home and throwing himself back into the bosom of his family made everything better. He is back where he belongs and, best of all, he was safe from Moriarty.

As I write this post, Ernie is recovering well from his operation, though he is keen to get the healing over and chase sticks again, Moriarty is still at home purring like a small generator and Eric, after sniffing around the house for Zack’s scent, has forgiven my infidelity and spread himself across the bed with his head on my knee.

All is right with the world.

Who are you, then?

Who are you, then?


Zack left, Eric right.

Zack left, Eric right.
Asleep at last

Asleep at last

'You'll have to catch me first!' says Ernie

‘You’ll have to catch me first!’ says Ernie


Posted by on June 15, 2013 in Family Life, Uncategorized


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And Then It Was 2013

Hello Blogosphere.

I have been absent for far too long. My apologies. I came home from my ship and Christmas preparations and school nativity plays swallowed me whole. It is only now that I can emerge, blinking, into the pale dawn of a new year to take up the reins of my life again.

Well, I say reins. Actually I’m mostly found clutching the end of a dog lead or two. One is standard, long enough to reach the ground from my hand and has the small but perfectly formed Floyd on the other end. The other is long, double thickness, double strength and has the enormous, muscular and somewhat dim Doberman, Eric attached to it. Forgive me if you dislike my calling him dim but Eric is our second Doberman and, like his predecessor, Alfie,  he isn’t blessed with a high I.Q. My sister is certain that as a breed they are closely related to Goldfish.

An example of this is;

‘Eric get in your bed.’

Clickety-clickety-clickety (sound of dog claws on floor boards), ‘Hummmmmmmph.’ (Sound of grumpy dog lying down.)

15 seconds later, clickety-clickety-clickety.

‘Eric! Get back in your bed. Go on!’

Blank stare from dog as if to say, ‘Who me? Me? You want me to lie in my bed? Oh.’ Clickety-clickety-clickety, ‘hummmmmph.’

15 second later, clickety-clickety-clickety.

‘Eric! For God’s sake!!’

And so on. This can go on all day. Floyd, meanwhile, nicks Eric’s dog chew, throws the pillows from my bed and sneaks under the duvet with it. Eric is ten times Floyd’s size but Floyd wears the trousers in this house – so to speak. We have even been greeted by the ridiculous sight of Eric trying to curl up in the tiny round bed that Floyd used to love and live in whilst Floyd spread-eagles himself across the vast expanse of Eric’s fleecy single-bed sized mattress. Catch him at it and Floyd will wag his tail and look meekly harmless.

‘Please don’t tell me off,’ his big brown eyes seem to say. ‘I’m sure I don’t know how I came to be on Eric’s bed, honest I don’t.’ His little tail pat-pats against the mattress and between his paws will be whichever toy Eric is currently fond of. Yes, there’s no doubting who’s boss in this house.

Luckily though, both dogs have a sense of humour which is just as well or they’d both have left home fairly quickly once they’d got to know us.

Let me prove with pictures from Christmas Day;

You ain't seen me, right?

You ain’t seen me, right?


Please can I go back to the kennels? Please?

Please can I go back to the kennels? Please?

Needless to say, our indestructible cat, Rufus, took a great deal of interest in the dogs’ plight …

Mr Indestructible

But hey, we are just soooo glad that Rufus made it through another Christmas. And another New Year! He needn’t be awake, we can hear him snoring from all over the house and that’s good enough for us. (If you are a stranger to Rufus and why we are glad he’s still here, might I humbly suggest you check out, He’s Too Sexy where all will be revealed.)

Meanwhile, out in my bedroom, Moriarty the Master Criminal is hiding. He doesn’t like Eric. Eric thinks he can chase Moriarty across the back garden but worry not for Moriarty is biding his time. Small, fast and merciless, this black cat will wait in the shadows as he did when he was a feral kitten, and he will strike without warning. Eric will get his comeuppance. Christmas has been a time of truce. Eric and Moriarty didn’t exactly climb out of their trenches to play football but they did avoid inflicting damage on each other – now that the festive period is over, I fear that hostilities will resume quickly. Look out Eric, you big daftie, Moriarty is stalking you from the shadows.

Don't scratch me, I'm lovely

Don’t scratch me, I’m lovely


Posted by on January 3, 2013 in Family Life


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