My wife is a shrewd operator, a level-headed individual, someone who you can rely on in the face of a crisis.
However, every now and again, she succumbs to what can only be described as an inexplicable moment of madness.
One of those out-of-character displays manifested itself last week with the arrival of a medium-sized cardboard box via Amazon.
When asked what it was she was a bit coy. After some cajoling, which stopped just short of me giving her a Chinese burn, she revealed she’d bought a cat scarer.
A cat scarer is an item which pulls no punches. Its sole purpose is to scare cats.
The reason Karen felt it necessary to scare cats is fairly straightforward. A few months ago our fence blew down a bit, then it blew down a bit more, then I attacked it with a hammer.
The demolition of the fence, while temporarily pleasurable, opened up a new can of worms in the shape of a cat, a cat with a penchant for scat which now had easy access to our garden and which was depositing little presents on a daily basis.
Karen sprang into action, covering the garden with orange peel and placing a plastic bottle, half-filled with water, in the centre of the grass. Within five minutes of finding the first coiled cat poo, our garden resembled the aftermath of the tamest party in history.
I can understand Karen’s logic in utilising old wives’ remedies to repel the cat and prevent our kids from getting caked in cat poo.
I was fine with the orange peel, agreeable to the plastic bottle, but I couldn’t help but roll around the floor laughing when she produced the cat scarer.
Put simply, it is a waste of four double A batteries.
The scarer takes the form of a dark green box, roughly the size and shape of a standard plug socket. It has a built-in speaker with two knobs that change the pitch and frequency of its hideous, high pitched signal.
The only time I’ve heard a noise remotely similar was when our photographer was asked to go out and take a picture after he’d just sat down with a cup of coffee.
When plunged into the grass via a steel spike, this clunky, futuristic device took on the look of debris from a crash involving the Starship Enterprise.
When it was fitted in the garden Lucy immediately began twiddling with the knobs and I could have sworn amid the shrill tone I could make out Captain Kirk heralding his log. Speaking of which, not a single deposit has been made by the troublesome cat since Karen took the preventative steps.
The problem is, the arrival of the cat scarer coincided with us getting a new fence up, so it’s impossible to say which of the two is discouraging the animal.
In the end the cat scarer was removed from the garden by Karen herself after the amount of jibes I made about it. As my wife trudged back into the house with the device in hand, giving off an ear-splitting whine (the cat scarer, not Karen), she said to me, “Go on, say it, I’m sure you’re dying to make another joke at my expense.”
I said nothing.
“Just say something and get it out of the way,” she urged.
I said nothing.
“Would you for goodness sake say something,” she said.
“I can’t,” I said. “The cat’s got my tongue.”