Because I dislike cooking for one, as a general rule when I am home at the weekend, then I will cook something to last me through the week. So, a chicken might be sacrificed or, this weekend, a succulent ham. I had bought this on Saturday and cooked it that night with a view to a week of ham sandwiches for lunch (mmmm, delicious).
I wasn't actually particularly hungry on Saturday night so rather than cooking said ham for my supper, it simmered away whilst I was watching a film and I left it out on the side to cool overnight when I went to bed.
The next morning I stumbled downstairs, bleary eyed and in need of caffeine. My eyes travelled across the kitchen counter in search of the coffee. Something registered as being 'off'. The brain cells were moving slowly (lack of caffeine remember?) so it took a couple of seconds to realise that my succulent ham, left in all its burnished glory on the side, was a shadow of it's former self. Where there had been ham for a week, there was now a small nugget of ham about the size of a scotch egg.
I blinked, blinked again. Did I sleep eat? I looked at the Loyal Hound. He gazed innocently back. He had an alibi - it was me. Plus, he couldn't reach it and in all fairness he wouldn't have left a scotch egg sized hunk of evidence on the side to condemn him. Bewildered, I looked closer. The ham was no longer on its plate so I ruled out mice, unless I have some uber strong 'Dangermouse' style rodents at home. The whole thing had been gnawed on all four sides, eroding it away to the small piece left before me. This took some evil genius with a big stomach and sharp teeth. Eeergh. Could I have rats? God, please no.
Fearing the worst, I took the loyal hound for his morning walk through the mist. My stomach was revolting at the thought of rats in the house. Surely they wouldn't venture into the territory of the fearsome loyal hound, and wouldn't there be other evidence? I had left the top window open in the kitchen, as I usually do so they could have got in through that but I have never ever seen a single rat here. Ferrets, stoats, owls, crows - endless other predators. But not rats.
On the way back to the house I saw a leisurely movement on one of the tumbledown walls next to the house. There, licking its lips and stretching luxuriously in the sun, was a vast and very full cat. I had been robbed by a genuine, bona fide cat burglar. It showed no shame. In fact it smirked. It would have run away faster when the loyal hound spotted it but it was too full to manage more than squeezing through the fence and mocking him from the other side before sauntering off the mile down to the village, no doubt to rob some other poor sucker.
I wonder what else it got up to while it was in my kitchen? Had a snooze on my sofa? curled up by the embers of the fire, flicked through my magazines? copied down my pin number and card details? Cats. They aren't to be trusted. And now I have no ham for my lunch today. I wonder what cat tastes like?
The price of health
12 hours ago