It’s happened

again. A big cat sighting, reported in the local paper, and only about a mile

away. A local man, his mother and girlfriend spotted it sunning itself on the common. ‘There was no doubt what it was,’ said Ian

Giles of the black creature with a long sleek body, about 4ft from nose

to tail. It is a subject that continues to

fascinate and confound country people.

If Mr Giles wants to take it

further, he could contact one of the 113,000,000 websites dedicated to the

subject. Some promise that the event will be ‘investigated in a unique way’ and

that ‘confidentiality is assured’, as if these groups are tracking down errant

husbands.

Whenever something like this is reported, the journalist lists all

the other sightings that have occurred in

recent years, and mentions our property by name, which always sends a

frisson through the household. I imagine the feline giant to be

lying up in the woods somewhere,

eyeing us warily by day, and creeping

out at night.

The fact that the younger members of the family were

keeping a beady eye out for witches with cats on their brooms cranked up the tension. But I have never seen it, and the

chickens and lambs have been remarkably

unmolested in recent years. Perhaps our mysterious friend is living off

foxes?