Last days in Hastings
Updated: Nov 16, 2022
This last week, the truck was at last M.o.T.’d. I was free to get back on the road! I advertised all the Eucalyptus logs as they were far too many and more weight than I could load onto the truck. They went in an afternoon. A couple of people gave me some money for what they took and one bloke offered to barter with hash cookies. I of course, accepted! The rest went free of charge at a maximum of five bags per person. The cookies duly arrived the following day. They were amazing! The taste of the hash was not overpowering, as is often the case. They were delicious and of course, did the job! Craig (https://youtube.com/c/Craigscabin) popped by and kindly removed all the scrap wood, most of which was usable. The dustmen took the last of the rubbish and thanked me for keeping the pitch so tidy.
On the Sunday, I went to Daniel’s home where I had a shower and a huge roast.
The next morning, all was still. It was quieter than Christmas Day. I was tacked down in no time. I pulled the caravan forward and swept the road. The amount of silt that had built up over the near on three years that I had been stuck there was surprising. It took me probably half an hour to clear. I had intended to get fuel and a little emergency supplies shopping on the way out. However, as Queen Elizabeth II was being laid to rest that day, the entire country shut down. Michael told me of a fuel station that was always open, no matter what. I unhitched the caravan, left the cats eating their breakfast and headed out. I popped in to see Daniel briefly as I was going to grab some books to read. Zoë, my eldest granddaughter, made me some garlic bread to take with me. After a cup of tea, we said farewell, then I went to the fuel station. It was closed! After some internet research, it was discovered that supermarkets would be opening at 5pm. I headed home.
The cats were out and I had at least five hours to kill. So, I put the radio on, skinned up a fat one and set about polishing all the woodwork while listening to some tunes. I also got the metal polish out and gave all the copper a once over. I was happy. We were about to leave. Things couldn’t be better!
At exactly 5 o’clock by the read-out on my mobile. I headed round to the nearest supermarket. The shop was shut! Internet info was wrong. However, the fuel station there had a pump open, card only. At least I could get fuel and get outta Dodge. Home again, I rehitched the caravan. When I opened the caravan door, I was hit by the lovely fresh smell of bees wax. No sign of cats, though. Oh well, I’ll just have to wait for them. So, I waited.
I became concerned when darkness fell and there was still no sign of the cats. In the end, I gave up the intention of leaving that day. Eventually, Rowan came in. I took it that Arian was out for the night and would be back in the morning to demand breakfast. However, come morning, no Arian. I was now seriously beside myself with worry. I couldn’t seem to connect with her in my mind. Usually, if she was out when I needed her home, I called her in my mind and she would appear shortly thereafter.
Rowan was also acting strangely. She kept on going over the road. She was backwards and forwards all day. I went searching all over. I asked all that passed by. I asked at the factory across the road where the cats went ratting. I even discovered another hunting ground where Arian was frequently seen. Nothing! Something’s happened! This is not something that has ever happened before.
I posted all over Facebook, on every local site I could find. I sent messages to everyone I could think of to put energy out calling her home. I was frantic.
That evening I received a copy the following, posted by a local veterinary surgery:-
We are sorry to report we have had a deceased adult female cat handed into us today. She is all black fur and has no microchip.
She was found on Napier Road.
If you think she may be yours please call us on 01424 ……’
We were living on Napier Road.
The next morning, after having telephoned, I went to the veterinary surgery. Inside, I was soon shown to a small room where Arian was laid in a blanket. The moment the blanket was pulled back from her head, I broke down, totally devastated. I had not felt so much pain since the death of my baby son and his mother 36 years ago!
A lovely friend, Rae, met me back at the caravan. With the knowledgeable help of Craig (https://youtube.com/c/Craigscabin), we buried Arian in the local woods near a brook. A little black and white cat appeared and came over. It was a lovely moment.
Rae found a stone into which I carved ‘Arian’ and placed at the head of Arian’s grave.
The spot is quiet and off the main dog-walking trail, so unlikely to be disturbed. Rae has a Rowan sapling that she may plant, if it will survive. She has an Oak sapling too, which will definitely be fine. We would prefer the Rowan as it’s the name of Arian’s sister. The problem is the amount of Beech around, therefore lack of sunlight. I’m told that the area will be covered in Wild Garlic come Spring.
Arian had been mauled to death by a well-known local cat-killing dog. Arian died en route to the only emergency vet open that day. The wonderful Angel who witnessed the attack and tried to save Arian, had been traumatised and broke down as the vet confirmed the worse. The dog owners couldn’t care less! The RSPCA were informed. They collected statements, etc. and passed the details on to the police to investigate and hopefully prosecute.
A couple of days later, I couldn’t bear the pain of being where I was any longer and we were supposed to be leaving anyway. I was beating myself up and stewing with seething anger. I felt incredibly violent towards both the dog and it’s owners. It really was time to leave!
Just before leaving, a lovely, thoughtful gift was presented to me. A lady called Kimberley had painted the stone the previous evening. A gift I will treasure.
*photos of me courtesy of Starlina Rae