Cats have a way of settling scores. In the case of our old boy, the usual technique for meting out vengeance for a vet visit is to blow a serious hole in my credit card balance.
However, this emergency consultation involved said animal medic inserting a digit into a place a cat does not like a digit inserted. This indignity called for stronger sanctions.
The day after the vet-bound grab-and-go, I had one of those meetings where I had to look like someone who is able to shop at Waitrose without security following me about.
So I set off booted, suited and plastered with slap in a desperate attempt to pass as Someone Who Knew What They Were Talking about. In a last-minute style decision, a rather lovely sequined black and white scarf caught my eye. Why not, thought I, swinging it around my neck? A dash of the piratical. The very thing.
Off into our old but reliable Rover. She sounds like a Soviet tank when she fires up, but like the mighty T-34, she will grind on, even if it’s only to Grangemouth, which, let’s be honest, could be Leningrad’s stunt double.
Engine sound aside, Soviet tanks and old Rovers have several points of similarity. The heating is one. She usually doesn’t get toasty for a good few miles, so I blast the heat up when it gets going.
We were clipping along towards South Queensferry when I became aware of it.
You see, in the course of the vet visit the day before, the cat had come over all Houdini and escaped briefly from his travelling box. Long enough, it would seem, to leave some small payback for his ignominious treatment.
Somewhere in the car there was a tiny pool of cat widdle, and as any cat owner will tell you, that is all the cat widdle you need. It can bring tears to any eye, even George Osborne’s.
Two things hit me at once. One was obviously the smell. The other was a rising panic as I realised that I had developed a sort of unwelcome mutant superpower. I could have cleared a crowded lift in seconds.
Opening the windows was a mission no-go. The rain was coming in sideways. This would mean not only would I would I carry the whiff of a clapped out Peterheid trawler, I’d also look like I’d been sleeping rough under a hedge.
This meeting was about to be addressed by a bag lady. All I needed to complete my homage to some of Leith’s more pungent sisters was to accessorise my look with a plastic bag full of Special Brew, some hand-rolled fags and a hat that says “Ben Nevis Christmas 2005”.
The windows had to be closed. Fortunately, I had squirted some nice perfume on the last-minute black and white scarf. I pulled it up over my nose. Half my face was now covered by a black and white scarf.
Not even the sequins could detract from my now sinister appearance.
I mention this twice, because I think it’s important to know that this is what I looked like as I barrelled straight into a Police Scotland road check.
They waved me over. In an effort to calm the situation, I sort of fluttered both hands at the officers on duty. It didn’t work.