Now this I must share. Yesterday my husband flew to Abu Dhabi, and had a car booked to take him to Heathrow at 5.30am. At 5.35am the car still hadn’t showed, but the phone rang. It was the driver, who had got as far as a village a mile away but couldn’t believe that anybody lived up our narrow, muddy lane. We tried to convince him that they did, and we did, but he wasn’t having it. So, wearing dressing gown and slippers, I leaped in my car and set off to find him. Indie the whippet came too, as he does if anything exciting or unusual is happening. Or even if it’s boring, actually. Indie comes too on general principles.
Anyway, it was a hard frost and it was like driving an ice cube. I drove down to the village and there was our driver, parked in the only modern housing estate underneath a reassuring street light. I got out and convinced him that my husband was standing surrounded by suitcases up the narrow muddy lane, and he disappeared off into the blackness driving very slowly, still unconvinced.
As I re-entered my car, I held the door an inch too wide and Indie jumped out. And as he landed his piratical alter ego asserted itself and he became the Black Moth: Spirit of the Night, wild and free. And with no intention of passing up an excellent opportunity to explore new and unspoilt territories. So he danced off into the housing estate, skipping along all black and shiny and just a couple of paces in front of me (still wearing dressing gown and slippers).
Can you imagine it? I was informally dressed, to put it mildly, on an inky black and freezing cold night, longing to get home and wave off my husband but instead chasing after the Black Moth as he scampered about inspecting people’s doorsteps and making merry comments to any cat that happened to be on night patrol. I was praying that nobody woke up and looked out of their windows, and trying to call him in a sort of hissing whisper, but pirates don’t take any notice of stuff like that.
The cats were his undoing in the end. He bounced at a striking marmalade version in a spirit of friendliness, but it misunderstood and bolted through a cat flap. Indie tried to join it indoors for a pyjama party but got his head wedged in the cat flap and I grabbed him and escorted him back to my car.
We got back just in time to say goodbye, but it was a very close thing. Moral: if you set off into the night to find a lost car, leave all pirates behind.