For my sins I have a dog and three cats. Three gorgeous cats each one full of its own personality and foibles. Bossy Bessy loves to sit one one's knee and yowls until you stroke her, Pickle is a scavenger always looking for an extra morsel of food, and Poppy? Well Poppy is quite honestly mad. She was feral when I adopted her and half siamese, she is extremely vocal when stroked and picked up yowling until she is put down again.
Pickle, being male, is quite happy to hang out in front or even on top of the television but the two girl cats, Bessie and Poppy are hunters. Wild, great hunters who have woken me up before with the agonised screeching of a half dead bird brought into my bedroom. A bird in extreme fear that jumps from corner to corner desperately fighting for its life and scattering feathers all over in a last cling to the cliff edge before oblivion.
For that reason, I have bought cat collars. Black cat collars with a wide reflective strip and yes, a large, loud bell on each of them. I love cats, but I do also love birds and whilst not wishing to curb the desire of my cats to wander outside, I do have a problem with them hunting animals that, in the noise and bustle of a large city, are therefore defenceless.
So Christmas has come early to my house as the two jingled cats peal up and down the stairs. When I close my eyes, here downstairs with my daughter sleeping away in her room, I fancy that I can possibly catch the scrape of reindeer hooves on the slates above, the flash of red through the window and the echo of an old man still bringing his magic to me on the wind.