The hairy panic has moved in again. With all the rain we've had this summer it's a bumper crop. I have great visions of convincing florists that the wispy little seed heads are the next big thing in floral arrangements. Once they catch on to this cutting edge idea they'll be beating a path to my door (through the shoulder high piles of hairy panic) and I'll make a fortune!! We've been told on the local news, by a very disapproving agronomist, yes the weed infestation has made the local news, that it's really called witch grass and the habit Riverina folk have of calling it hairy panic is incorrect. We continue to call it hairy panic (panic for short) around here and will always do so. I think the name hairy panic suits it much better and doesn't go offending innocent witches. The house is nearly buried in it. We have to wade through it when we go outside and any attempts to move it away from the house and garden are lost causes. The first light wind that comes up will bring it all back along with a lot more of its friends. Tristan, the red headed cat, hates it.
Hairy panic is a lot taller than Tristan so, when he wishes to come inside for breakfast or morning tea or whatever, he stands outside the lounge room window, buried deep in the panic and meows pathetically to let us know he's ready to pay us a visit. Graeme doesn't appear to be able to hear these pathetic pleas. Maybe Tristan's meow is pitched at too high a frequency for Graeme's ears, but I doubt it. Anyway, it always ends with me having to go out there, wade through the panic and pick Tristan up, brush off the excess panic from his fur, and bring him inside. This wouldn't be so bad, but as I believe I've mentioned before, Tristan hates being on the wrong side of a door, and whatever side of the door he is on is the wrong side. Once in, he catches up on all the inside cats' news - Ambrosia and Nefertiti always greet him like a long lost love, even if he's been gone for only a few minutes. He then has a snack and a drink of water and stays inside for all of ten minutes before he wants to go out again.
His strategy for letting me know his visit has come to an end is to jump on me if I'm sitting down, jump down again, walk a little way away from me while looking over his shoulder at me in a significant way, then returning to jump on me again. Tristan is no lightweight cat. When you've been jumped on by Tristan you are left in no doubt that you've been jumped on. His landings are often accompanied by an "Ooof!" from me as his paws hit my stomach (I tend to lay back on the lounge with my feet up you see). If I'm standing up he winds his way around my legs, doing his best to trip me up so he can jump on me I'm sure. Then heads off door-wards while throwing me that significant look once again and returns to wind himself around me again.
I eventually get the hint and open the back door for him, after all I can't be sure after the snack and drink that nature isn't calling. Tristan then walks out the door, tail held high, and stops - horrified to see that the hairy panic is still there. I think he expects me to race out there and clear it all off while he's eating breakfast. I can't think of any other reason he's surprised to see the panic is still in residence all over the back porch and path. Tristan then turns his head and gives me a look mingled with supreme disappointment and hope. The hope is that I'll feel so guilty that the panic is still there, threatening an innocent ca,t that I'll pick him up and carry him to a panic free location on the farm (wherever that may be). I disappoint him every time and refuse to carry him back through, so he sits on the back porch surveying the expanse of panic and works up his courage until he can finally bring himself to work his way through it. This he does as slowly as possible expecting the panic to attack at any moment I'm sure, or maybe hoping that I'm watching and I'll take pity on a poor beleaguered cat and lift him up and out of the weedy torture.
Then of course, a few minutes later the pathetic meowing starts again because Tristan is once again on the wrong side of a door. I have hardened my heart to this second plea to be allowed in. I've spent too much of my time acting as doorman to Tristan and have a lot better things to do with my day. Besides, how many doormen do you know who actually carry people through the doors? I don't go get him the second time - well, not until I get fed up with the meowing, not that that takes very long I must admit. Once he's inside this time I refuse to let him out when he says he's visited for long enough once more. So Tristan is kept prisoner for a while. His subtle hints that he'd like to go outside now that I've had time to clear away the panic are ignored while I try my best to go about my day without getting tripped up by a red headed battering ram.
Tristan does manage to execute an escape though. He simply waits until Graeme or I go outside, then he slips through the door, sits once again in disbelief that the panic is yet again present and accounted for while ignoring with supreme indifference all my invitations and threats to come back inside. If I try to grab him, he dashes through the panic like it's not there.
Cats! Who'd have them?