Every year we do the 'rounds' just before Christmas. I don't know what other people call it or if it's an official word and meaning, our kids have always known the 'rounds' and they love it and me too if I'm honest.
This happened just over a year ago and December 2013 will be two years since it happened.
Usually I notify all of my family and friends, none of them live near me, I inform them what day I'll bring coming to their house to drop off their Christmas gifts, it's all done on one day and plenty of notice is given, its usually about 5 or so days before Christmas. I always ask them what time is best for them and I then zig zag all over the town to various houses and if they wont be in I leave their gift with a another family member, so they can collect it from them when it's convenient.
This year was different, my car needed repairing and I didn't have any money to fix it so I decided to go on the longish journey by bus. Here you pay one fare of £4 and with that you can travel on a certain bus all day within a 50 miles radius! These buses are regular and often, which is good really. Only one problem with that is what do I do with the gifts that people give me, if I too have gifts to give out? I'm sure it would work it self out, as I'd started out early so if needs be I could go back home, if I had too many gifts to carry, and then go back to where my family and friends live.
It was a cold Saturday morning, I'd got my book for the bus journey and something to eat and drink, I was wrapped up well. I went first to my cousins house and then to my Brothers. Dean said to me, “Where are you going next?” well with the amount he'd given given me I told him “home!” For now I had too many things to carry, the gifts I still had with me and all that he'd just given me. He said, “You can't carry all that on the bus, I'll drop you off home.” I told him, “OK.” That would save me a lot of time, and less load to carry, as I felt I would be vulnerable on the bus.
It's so much easier in the car. In no time I was back home, I put Deans gifts in the front room and said morning to the kids, only Daniel was awaking and having breakfast, Amy was still asleep.
Dean took me to where I wanted to go next, so I didn't have to wait at various bus stops, and each time I went to another house, he would then say, “Where would you like to go next”? Finally he took me to Sain's house. I thanked Dean very much, and off he went to the gym. I only see Sain once or twice a year, and when I arrived she said “Now you have arrived, we'll all have fish & chips,” so her Daughter went off to the chippy it was good to see them, the day had worked out even better than I could have hoped, thanks to Dean I got the 'rounds' done in no time at all.
They were the best fish & chips I'd tasted in a long time, every chip was perfect and the cod was SO fresh! I always treat myself to SALT and vinegar it just wouldn't be the same without it, in any other meal I can do without salt, I just add ground pepper instead, but this rule does not apply to fish & chips.
I was happy, relaxed and full. I had just ate the last bit of my meal when my mobile rang, I could see it was my Husband before I answered it, he'd gone to our local butchers to collect the turkey he'd ordered, weeks before. I said “Hi Paul,” he blurted out, “When I arrived home the back door was wide open, (I expected him to say next, that we have been burgled) and Sidney is dead!!” I was numb! Stunned! Frightened!
Sidney and Ellie our two lovely cats, we had bought them as very tiny kittens. They hadn't been well looked after considering they were so small. Paul hand reared them, for they had been given just dried cat food that hadn't even been soaked first. They were brother and sister. With good food and lots of tender loving care they made good progress and fitted in well into our family, they brought us lots of laughter and joy. We also have two dogs and our cats got on great with them. Chocolate, the younger of the two dogs was Sidneys best friend in the world.
I informed Sain and her family what had happened and told them I needed to go now. Sain knew I didn't have my car, so she asked her Son to drop me off home. All the way home I talked of Sidney and his lovely laid back ways. He was a chilled cat, but what could have caused his sudden unexpected death? For he was only a year old, healthy and fat.
I eventually arrived home, and Paul explained to me what he knew, he'd arrived back from the butchers and there in the living room, was Sidney dead on the floor! Both dogs were standing over him and barking, the Christmas tree that had been on the table was now on the floor it was a bit like a CSI crime scene, for he could see where Sidney tried to hide behind the table and the dogs followed, knocking the tree over in the process. The poor little things was SO frightened he did a poo and the little cat paw prints were all over the settee and floor where he'd ran and ran for his life!
By the time I'd arrived home, Sidney had been buried in the garden. He said he couldn't get out of Amy what had happened. Paul had asked her what had happened, she hadn't heard anything for she was upstairs the whole time listening to her music. Daniel and let the dogs out. They had been left in their cages by Paul, inside the house. We hadn't asked Daniel to do this, nothing wrong with it BUT he had forgotten to bolt the back door to keep the dogs outside!
The older bigger dog knows how to open the door with her paw, and the most laid back cat in the world was slain that day. Cut down in his prime. We knew it wasn't the older dog, that had done this but his best friend Chocolate! There wasn't a mark on Sidney he must have just had an heart attack. Paul was in bits. He is more of an animal lover than me and had spent many hours with Sidney in his arms as he read his books, with Sidney snuggled up and sleeping, purring and loving his life.
I went upstairs to cry there, I always sit on the edge of the bed, looking out the window, the bitter tears just poured down my face, I literally felt I couldn’t cope with the grief! And at the moment I felt a burden lift! It WAS real! I was able to cope. After about ten minutes I came and poor Paul said, “I feel like one of the kids have died” I knew what he meant. We were both at a loss at what to do. We couldn't even explain it to his sister Ellie, what had happened to her brother. Thank goodness she was out at the time, or she would have been killed too. What a sad day it was. It was human error, we have all forgotten to bolt the back door.
The next morning, Amy came downstairs she had made a line of thin paper three yards long and on it she had coloured and written these words, 'police line do not cross' she had put it around where Sidney had been found. I took a picture of it.
Three days later, Chocolate had a scratch appear across his face four inches long! Where poor Sidney had fought in vain. We have Sidney on video and have watched him in happier times, he had a good and happy life. I was going to put Sidney & Chocolate on You Tube, but I don't have the heart to now.
He was one year old. Rest In Peace, Sidney. xx