I thought back when I saw him last, and the moment I remember seeing him was early on Tuesday morning, when he was seen skipping up the garden path with a mouse stuck firmly head first in his mouth.
I checked his usual haunts. The Window seat in the bedroom, Chris' office bed, the sunny patch on the lounge carpet and nothing!
His food bowl in the kitchen, I suddenly realised was still full of food and I felt that awful prickly cold,, we all have experienced when a little loved one has disappeared.
Albert last went missing after breaking his back leg. The injury was mismanaged by the vets who tried to plaster the fracture rather than to pin it. Subsequently Albert was left with a painful and stiff back leg that I know causes him some discomfort in the colder months of the year.
When he was injured, he just went to ground in the garden for a few days, and it was in the garden where I found him , weak and bloody and cowed under a hypericum bush.
I searched the garden, then the field and asked the neighbours if they had seen him, All said that they had but none could pin point when it was. Albert is a constant visitor to all of the neighbours' gardens. He is the only cat on the street.
I called and called Albert's name and clapped my hands at the back door, and nothing!...and as I tottered to and fro anxious in my quest the find the little fella, I hardly noticed William standing by the door to our outside toilet,a place where we now store literally a ton of rubbish.
I searched the garden again and William stood looking at the toilet door
I searched the shed, and William didn't move
Then I took the dogs for their walk around the Gop and on our return William ambled back to his position at the toilet door as I clapped and called for Albert to return
When I walked back into the house, the penny started to drop ( yes I do have a lightening fast intellect) and when I looked down at William, I saw a slightly exasperated "for fuck's sake" look on his face....
He sniffed at the toilet door, then looked back at me with another expression that said quite clearly
"He's in the bloody toilet, you stupid sod!"
Sheepishly I opened the door, and from under a pile of old plastic boxes,paint cans and the old sofa out popped Albert. The cat rubbed faces with a grinning William, who almost could have been pursing his lips, like a lemon faced vicar's wife, at my inability to "read the signals"