The cats have arrived safely in Outpost. I locked them in a room together the night before they flew. That way, by dawn, when I had to load them, they’d said all they needed to loudly say to one another: had hurled so much abuse, thrown so many punches that they were spent and complained only softly and briefly, peering in worried confusion out of the bars of the cage in which they were incarcerated to travel. Husband assures me they are now locked up in new house, with bowls of food, saucers of milk and buttered paws (cleaning themselves prompt necessary surge of happy hormones so that they begin to settle. And stop them skidding gracelessly across cement floors).
Relating cat dispatching experience to fellow mother in school car park and describing what I planned to do with geese (since you ask: a friend will baby sit them until I am sufficiently well organized with lawn and pond of which there is neither yet, just dust and an expectant hole) and dogs (drive to Outpost with me when I go in a week), she told me I sounded Sad. I told her she needed to understand more about Outpost before she dismissed me as Sad; in Outpost you’d be wise to welcome all the company you can get whether it’s a cat rubbing up against your foot as your sit writing, a goose bossing a Hadada ibis outside or a Labrador pleading to be taken for a walk. With the cats gone I was free to load the last lorry. Not a removals van or a sealed truck. No, a shaky sided, open-to-the-elements, affair which was packed in haphazard fashion with – amongst other things – half a dozen trees which I have carefully uprooted, including mango trees (if there was ever a case of coals to Newcastle, this was it: where I am going is Mango Tree capital of the world).
Are you sure my trees are going to be OK? I asked the driver, Ali, anxiously. Of course, he said, wearing what I suppose he must have imagined was an expression of kindly reassurance but was in fact an impatient smirk that said, ‘listen lady, I generally have far more important things to transport than half an orchard and several pots of lemon grass, so wind your silly white neck in’.
His cargo also included my desk, a double bed in bits and the fireplace from the verandah, wrought of aluminum and protruding from the rear end of his truck like a short, fat tail. The house is now even more cavernously bare than ever. But my Sally Worm indicates I only have to endure 6 more sleeps here.