All sorts of thoughts came into my head – maybe something had happened to Melchett, maybe something had happened to one of our parents who are all at the sort of age where you start to brace yourself for the inevitable bad news.
Maybe she had had problems with her car or the heating had stopped working. The one thing I never thought of and was totally unprepared for – "Edmund's dead". Two short words that carried so much weight. He had been hit by a car which never stopped on a road that has only a handful of vehicles each day. He must have run out at just the wrong time.
I drove home in a daze, stuck behind a tractor at ten miles-per-hour and convinced myself that it must all be a misunderstanding. It wasn't of course although it seemed impossible to accept.
Edmund was so full of life and such a force of nature it didn't seem possible that he could be taken from us so suddenly. We have always allowed our cats to go outdoors if they want to and accept that one day we may pay the price for allowing them this freedom, but in twenty-two years we had never lost a cat this way before and this was the quietest place we have lived.
Since we lost Edmund, Melchett has done his best to keep the spirit of Edmund alive. He has been playing with toys that he hasn't looked at for years, running up and down the stairs, and sitting halfway up the stairs at the spot where Edmund used to sit and watch us in the living room.
But at heart Melchett realises that he is destined to be the unappreciated sidekick, like Alfred with Batman, Penny with Inspector Gadget, Teller with Penn, Wise with Morecambe or Crosby with Hope. He doesn't really seek to be in the limelight, and in time we will probably be adopted by another cat or two.
They won't replace Edmund, just as Edmund didn't replace Baldrick, but hopefully they will get to experience some of the joy that Edmund found in his short life, and maybe set an example for the rest of us."
RIP Edmund, the Jumping Cat