April 9, 2015 by Whispering Smith
Whispering Smith Column published in the Littlehampton Gazette April 2nd 2015
I HAVE a little cat, a calico tortoiseshell cat, her name is Cleo but I sometimes change that if the mood suits me and she appears not to mind. She isn’t much of a cat as cats go but she is good company when awake but sleeps most of the daylight hours and, I assume, the moonlit hours as well. That is she did until recently. Now there is a new cat on the block, a huge tabby cat with a very large head. It wails at my door and stations itself by the cat flap keeping my cat either in or out. I chase it often but it has little effect and returns soon after I have closed the door. I remember someone telling me that cats do not like water sprayed in their general direction so I visit the local toy shop and choose their most powerful water pistol a ‘Super Soaker’ pump action. The saleswoman asks me if it was for my grandchildren, obviously my age is beginning to show, and I lied that, yes it was. I felt that the real reason might not prove popular as there was a large black and white cat nestled asleep by the cash register. How old, she asks me? Eight and ten I lie. Next the sex. Boys, I lie again. She tells me that in that case I really needed two ‘Super Soakers’, so I say ok, I would take two. She selects one from the shelf and returns carrying the second ‘Super soaker’ and an additional plastic bag containing six coloured foam balls which, she explains, when soaked in water proved great fun and were harmless when thrown. I say ok. The whole deal comes to twenty pounds and I had only taken a ten pound note with me so I have to pay by card. Now I sit patiently by the open window, fully loaded. I do this on and off for three days but the tabby cat with the big head is a no-show. Perhaps his owners have moved away, it is a transient area. I wonder if the ‘Super soaker’ gambit would actually have worked anyway and I see Cleo in the undergrowth beneath the plum tree, stalking birds at the bottom of the garden and ponder some more, trigger finger itching….
I WILL not be persuaded, no matter what the politicians say, that cutting millions of pounds from our policing budget and reducing the number of officers in West Sussex is not going to have a marked effect on frontline policing in our district.