Reader, trouble has entered the chat here at Twisted Towers.
Meet Jack and Hunter, named by the twinnage and estimated by their foster carer to be 14 weeks old on adoption day. (They were abandoned in a cardboard box in a lay-by, so nobody knows their exact age.) There’s a big shortage of cats to adopt around here, so we’re very lucky to have met these chaps.
I have to say, it’s exactly the same as when we brought the human twinnage home from hospital, in that we have no idea which baby is which, everything is chaos, there are lots of naps, and I’m preoccupied with who has or hasn’t done a poo.
But so far, so good. The tiny terrorists are taking ownership of their new territory (good), sniffing the Stoic Spouse’s feet (brave), and manipulating us into indulging their every whim (predictable). Boys and cats adore each other already, and it’s heartwarming to watch the love and loyalty evolving on both sides.
Whenever possible, the cats snooze with a paw on some part of a twin’s anatomy, just to reassure themselves that their favourite humans aren’t far away.
On the minus side, the please-don’t-eat-my-knitting issue remains a work in progress. And as a perimenopausal insomniac, I’ve had several nocturnal conversations with what I thought in the 3am near-dark was a cat but which turned out to be an abandoned bag or toy. (The cats were parked in a different corner of the room, laughing their little whiskers off at my stupidity.)
But something else occurred shortly before Christmas. It happened high up in an ancient oak tree, as all the best shenanigans tend to do.
As a gift for my recent 50th birthday (50TH?!!!! I DEMAND A RECOUNT – IT CANNOT POSSIBLY BE MORE THAN 36) the Stoic Spouse booked two nights in what might just be the world’s most luxurious treehouse. I found this place online years ago and have been blithering on about it ever since to anyone foolish enough to stand still in my presence.
So on a Saturday morning, we loaded the car up with twinnage, luggage, and snackage, before setting out on the long (for UK/European readers) aka short (for North American/Australian readers) journey down to Devon.
There was snow on the rolling hills as we approached our destination – it was beautifully crisp in the setting sun, if a little slippy-slidey under-tyre. We haven’t had any snow at home in Oxfordshire for a couple of years, so I’m desperately craving the white stuff. Then suddenly there was hardly any snow, but we had reached our magnificent destination.
The treehouse was even better than its publicity had promised. The twinnage’s excitement as they discovered each new room and shouted a running commentary down the stairs made me grin. They’d been wary of this trip, presumably anticipating a flimsy, freezing, plywood, box with no wifi. (Actually there wasn’t any wifi, which was fair enough given that we were staying in an actual tree.)
But this treehouse had a log-burner for warmth, under-floor heating, a splendid copper bath with up-in-the-branches views, a vast balcony, large beds, and a kitchen which even boasted a dishwasher.
Looking out of almost every window yielded views of ancient branches laden with ferns.
Plants-growing-on-other-plants is close to the definition of a rainforest. (I’m reading a book about British rainforests right now, having visited one such forest a few years ago.)
I sat up in this tree with my family, reading a fascinating book about the secret life of fungi whilst a log fire roared. It’s the sort of book where you pause to say GUYS, LISTEN TO THIS! on a regular basis.
It was honestly heaven.
But (my life is full of ‘buts’) there was a problem. The preceding week had been exceptionally cold, and the water pipes in the treehouse froze.
We couldn’t run a tap or flush the loo or do anything watery. The treehouse was located in the (large) grounds of a hotel, and so we awkwardly tiptoed up to management and explained our predicament. Hotel staff/management couldn’t have been kinder or more solicitous. They offered us a room in the main hotel to which we could retreat for use of the loo/kettle/shower/etc. They fed us delicious food. They knocked on the door to check on us. Seriously, they were kindness personified. We didn’t deserve such generosity.
The Stoic Spouse and Twin One slept in the treehouse. Twin Two and perimenopausally-needing-the-midnight-loo I overwintered in the hotel. All was – against the odds – well. I can’t complain.