I first met Madam in a pet shop in Old Isleworth, Middlesex in the year 2000. She was very cross at being stuck in a cage with her siblings and refused to be dislodged from my coat when I picked her up. She gave me a good talking to, and, hypnotised by her wonderful aquamarine eyes and her powers of persuasion, I was persuaded to purchase her for more money than I could afford. I lived just round the corner in what had once been a Georgian sweet shop. We were home in moments, never to be parted until a life of hedonism and the joys of Fortnum and Mason beckoned her.
We had many adventures together, including a holiday on our narrowboat. She didn’t like the sound of the engine much, which is probably why we broke down on day one of the trip. She had mysterious powers when it came to getting her own way. Without any forward momentum and noise, she settled into life on the waterways with remarkable ease. She made friends with the swans and passers-by, sunbathed on the roof and never once fell into the river, which is more than can be said for me.
Our greatest adventure was moving to Gozo in 2014. We were accompanied by Whistler and my husband Ian. I was in tears as I left her in a huge freight terminal at Gatwick, convinced that I would never see her again. A couple of hours later, there she was on the tarmac waiting to board alongside Whistler, giving him a good talking to. I waved at her and blew her a kiss. We all arrived safely, and she got to see the sea, something I’d always promised her. The vet who checked her in when we arrived in Malta said: “She’s very talkative”. I had to agree.
She loved life in Gozo, soaking up the sun, surrounded by love and new and interesting things to watch and sniff.
I miss Madam every day and hope to have conveyed something of her magic and humour in my stories. I still find her lucky fur clinging to the clothes I haven’t worn for a while. I hope she’s having fun wherever she is and I’m looking forward to catching up with her one day.