So we've been exploring the theory of Quantum Mechanics this week. Muffin went missing, last seen on Saturday evening. By Sunday teatime we were getting worried, since he's the cat who normally goes out for an hour at a time, and always seems to be within earshot. Had he been run over? Was he trapped? In a coma? Lost in time, wearing flared trousers and a dodgy leather jacket? (apologies if you're not a 'Life on Mars' fan...) By Monday we were all very gloomy, and kept flipping between thinking 'he has to be alive; this is the scaredy-cat who never goes anywhere far, let alone across a road', and 'that's it: he's a gonner. He's trapped somewhere, in a shed or a cellar with a jar of poison and a pot of decaying atoms' (I've always been a bit hazy on this bit of Schrodinger's feline experiment). It felt like a quantum, 50:50 kind of a thing.
So we talked to the neighbours, put up posters, posted leaflets, and some of us cried. It was a search almost Biblical in its scope. A real low point was reached when I found myself wandering through our nice residential area randomly calling 'Muffin! Muffin!', as if in desperate need of a sweet pastry product. Some people were very kind, and seemed genuinely distressed that they couldn't be of more help. Several told us tales of their cat's miraculous return, days or weeks or months later. Some started phoning for the men in white coats.
And then...(yes, you knew this had to have a happy ending...)
At 06:22 on Wednesday the phone rang. We knew the news was either very very good or very very bad...
John, a man on the road leading off ours, had just opened his cellar and a cat fitting Muffin's description had shot out (like a cat out of hell). By the time he had said this, we could hear Muffin meowing 2 gardens away.
By 06:24, he was home.
Later I spoke to Judith, the wife of John. Apparently he had woken her up at 6:30 with the joyous news, 'I think I've found Muffin'!
We don't know this man. He and his wife seem quite normal. I think I may have found a new catalyst for community living.