This afternoon I made Ted (the Polish flatmate) leave his dark room and join me for a walk through Edinburgh's lovely Royal Botanic Garden. It's a brisk 10-minute walk from our flat. Well, it was a lovely sunny afternoon and we were joined by squirrels aplenty and busied ourselves reading all the plant names and trying to guess where they were from. China, mostly. But Ted did see a few trees that also live in Poland.
Just as we were leaving the RBG we saw a group of people gathered around the base of a large tree. The attraction? A cat who was perched in the tree comically swiping at all the birds that passed, and scaring the bejeesus out of a treed squirrel. The sideshow was a frantic lady who was of the opinion that house cats should not be allowed in the RBG. Why not? "That cat's scaring the squirrel and he's trying to chase it and I don't want him to hurt it and why is that cat in the Garden?? Who does he belong to?" she asked, looking at me, as if I'm the guardian of all Edinburgh cats. Let me just check my Edinburgh cat rota. "Where does he live?" Again looking at me, and Ted. "I don't want him to hurt that squirrel," she said to Ted whose saving grace was that he only understood the word "I". Now addressing the cat directly, she said: "Go home and eat your Whiskas and leave that poor squirrel alone." Now me addressing the lady as if I were the cat: "Look lady, I'm just following my instincts." It was clearly time to leave the RBG.