Boxing Day is of course so named because it was the day upon which the wealthy used to give presents or “Christmas boxes” to their servants. Of course Christmas itself would have been too busy because it really was all hands to the pumps to prepare a goose so large one would have thought it’s mother had been rogered by the Clapham omnibus. Cue cheeky street arabs, fat beadles, snow, good cheer and drinking gin out of cracked tea-pots and all that Dickensian jazz.
So I amble downstairs on Boxing day and discover a gift. A dead blue-tit. Now there were four of us in the house and it is unlikely that my father since moving to Northumberland has become an ambush predator and I’m fairly sure I didn’t put it there and it seems unlikely that my wife (a vegetarian BTW) done it. I am no Hercule Poirot but the finger of accusation points directly at Timothy the cat. He had the means and the opportunity. I guess I had the means but after a heroic intake of roast beef and Claret I think the opportunity can be discounted. We shall get to the motive in a moment. And be thankful I am nor recounting this in Poirot’s trademark “literal translation of schoolboy French”*
Anyway. Any of you who have “owned” a cat will know that the cat owns you. Timmy is what’s called a “tuxedo cat” because he is outfitted in black with a white bib and spats. His general demeanour is also of a fin-de-siecle rake and I am his valet and my wife is his house-keeper. And that bird was our Christmas box. I think we have now covered the motive as well.
*That’s Chandler who “wrote like a slumming angel”. It’s from his essay, “The Simple Art of Murder” which is highly recommended. As is all of Chandler. “She was a blonde. The sort of blonde to make a bishop kick a hole in a stained glass window.” He was brilliant.