Plans A, B and C
Be prepared for travel well in advance. Have the house looking spotless for the cat-sitter and all admin jobs completed, leaving a wonderful sense of freedom for the holiday. Pack a week ahead, leaving no room for last minute panics. Be up to date with washing and ironing. Spend the last evening before travel sitting serenely with a glass of wine, browsing a travel book to be well prepared for the trip ahead.
What actually happens when Annie travels.
Leave everything until the night before. If packing were to be done a week ahead then you would need something from the case then forget to replace it - much better to leave it until you're sure you need nothing.
Discover that unless you do some handwashing you won't have any underwear to take. Put the very wet washing on the tank in the hope that some may be dry enough to wear in the morning.
Get obsessed about the house being tidy. The house isn't usually tidy, so why should us not being in it make a difference?
Spend until midnight printing boarding passes and itineraries.
What actually happened last night.
Progress to schedule with Plan B, when at about quarter to midnight you hear a loud squeaking and yelping from outside. Assume your cat is being attacked and rush outside, with visions of vet bed-side vigils of frail cat instead of holiday.
Spot a small slinky thing chasing your cat at high speed. Believe now it's a fox and continue with vet panics.
Notice the fox has a collar which is tinkling. Odd. Get closer. Spend the next 10 minutes crawling around your neighbour's bushes making gentle coaxing noises to what turns out to be a long-haired daschund. Eventually get the shaking, nervous dog to sniff your hand, and stroke its head.
After more friend-making strokes, pick the dog up. Have visions of Chris at a hospital bed-side vigil watching Annie fight off Rabies from a dog bite instead of holiday.
Bring the dog inside and separate cat to another part of the house. Watch the cat's face portray utter disgust and betrayal as you carry the dog into his living room. Scout round the neighbourhood for people having lost a dog. Phone the number on the collar and leave a message (having noted it's from an address a good 300 miles away). Google the number and match it to an email address with the same name as the surname on the collar - email them. Finally call the local dog warden.
Play with the sweetest dog imaginable for 2 hours, waiting for the dog warden. Give it water and a nibble to keep it going.
At 2:45am, hand the sweetest dog imaginable to the dog warden, feeling incredibly guilty as the dog now clings to the friendly cuddly person it has trusted for the past 3 hours. Consider putting a bid in for adoption then and there and then remember the cat.
Go to let the cat out of the kitchen. Find him on the table with a fully fluffed tail. Cat takes one sniff of Annie smelling of dog and refuses to speak to her.
Fall into bed at 3:15, knowing an early start is needed to complete Plan B.
This picture was snatched on the iPad whilst attempting to calm the dog. She's looking through the doors to the kitchen door, behind which she knows is the cat.
Apologies for lack of commenting over the last week: it's been a busy one (some planned, some not!). We're off on holiday for a week and may not blip until our return. Promise to catch up then. :)
Update: we got a phone call whilst at the airport to say a very relieved mother-in-law, visiting a localish resident from Whitby, had picked the dog up. So relieved.