Dear Reader the following is a true story which happened a few months ago. The name of the cat has been changed to hide its true identity, it did have a pudding name. While Mrs Mass Hysteria has moved out of the village.

Coming home late one night via the heaving metropolis of North Molton I spotted eyes in the dark. I slowed down and realised it was a cat, I stopped and got out to find a dead cat in the lane. Before I could pick it up to put on the side a window from one of the cottages flew open and a manic woman yelled “what are you doing, what are you doing, what are you doing?”

Thinking it could be her dead cat I approached with caution and diplomacy to try to inform her there was a dead cat. Before I could finish she started screaming “oh God it’s Trifle it’s Trifle it’s Trifle”. I asked if it was her cat she replied it wasn’t but she knew who it belonged to. I asked if she had a bag in which I could put the dead cat and without answering she slammed the window shut, locked it and disappeared into the gloom. Standing there in the middle of the lane, in the pitch black, I was just wondering what to do when the window was re-opened and she threw a towel at me. Before I could ask anything she said “they are not answering, they are not answering, they are not answering, oh Trifle oh Trifle oh Trifle “. “Who is not answering and why do you say everything three times?” I asked. “The neighbours, the neighbours, the neighbours” came the reply before slamming the window shut, locking it and disappearing once again. I picked up the cat, wrapped it in the towel – there wasn’t a mark on it or any blood so I don’t think it had been hit by a car. Once again I was standing in the middle of a lane, in the pitch black, this time with dead cat in my arms. I decided to take matters into my own hands and walked down the lane towards the next cottage. There were lights on but no one came to the door when I knocked. Before I could think what to do next. Mrs Mass Hysteria flung open the window, spotted I wasn’t there, slammed it shut, locked it and dashed out of her front door running down the lane towards me yelling “oh God oh God, oh God she’s coming she’s coming, she’s coming out to see Trifle, Trifle, Trifle”. While I yelled back “oh for God’s sake shut up, pull yourself together, haven’t you ever had to deal with a dead animal before?”

Before she could reply a lady appeared from the cottage. Bracing myself once again to break the news that someone’s pet was sadly no more, Mrs Mass Hysteria yelled to her “It’s Trifle, it’s Trifle, it’s Trifle”. As the lady approached me I quietly said “I am so sorry I found Trifle dead in the lane”. The lady looked at me and lifted the towel to see the cat’s face and said “that’s not Trifle”. WHAT? For a split second Mrs Mass Hysteria shut up, before going off in triplicate again, while the other lady gave me a knowing look of “sorry about my neighbour” and said “I know who’s cat it is I’ll take it for you”. With that I thanked her and bolted for the safety of Larry Landrover. As I drove off I looked back to see Mrs Mass Hysteria still ranting while the other lady was standing in the middle of the lane, in the pitch back, with a dead cat in her arms.