Memory revived - my big Big Cat moment....
BIG cats. Been there, done that. As a six-year-old I was walking the half mile to school at about 8am one beautiful day when I saw a big cat slowly padding towards me in the distance.
BIG cats. Been there, done that.
As a six-year-old I was walking the half mile to school at about 8am one beautiful day when I saw a big cat slowly padding towards me in the distance.
A primeval instinct made me stand perfectly still. The sand-coloured cat, about the size of a large Labrador, kept on coming, at the same measured pace, through the heat haze.
It stopped about 25 yards from me, sat down and we contemplated each other for several minutes. Then it rose, and walked on by.
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I turned and watched as it paused outside our neighbour's house. It climbed the three or four steps to their open front door, and walked inside.
I slowly followed and rang the doorbell. Our neighbour came to the door, eating toast. 'Hello Mrs Ford. I've just seen a sort of lion thing walk into your house,' I said.
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I now know that she was humouring me when she thanked me profusely and shut the door.
Duty done, I skipped off to school and forgot the whole incident.
I was woken at about 10pm that night by an almighty kerfuffle outside. There was a large van, floodlights, nets and armed men milling in the street.
The Fords' daughter had gone to get something from the under-stair cupboard that evening and there was my 'sort of lion thing', fast asleep.
I'm pleased to say they trapped it without anyone or the animal itself getting hurt. Of course that perfectly-true story has become part of family legend and a life-long joke between me and Mrs Ford.
One detail I forgot to mention: it all happened in Singapore.
Pumas in north Norfolk? Maybe - but maybe not.