16 September 2016
Photograph by Jon Pickup

Chapter 38 – Mildred and the litter tray

I can’t sleep in Mildred’s daughters freaky doll-infested room. I toss and turn, convinced the dolls are turning their freaky little heads as soon as I shut my eyes. I’ve been trying to ignore it, but I desperately need the loo so I gather my courage and venture out to find the bathroom. I open the bedroom door and step out onto a furry rug, except it’s not a furry rug, it’s a fat cat. Fat cat squeals and I shove my fist into my mouth to stop myself screaming out, as Mildred (the lady who runs this so-called B&B for those that haven’t been following) scares me more than the freaky dolls. Fat cat and I stare each other down, then he looks past me into our room and I know he’s planning to make a bee-line for Andy, who is cat-allergic. “Sod off you little git!” I hiss through gritted teeth, whilst waving my arm wildly. Finally fat cat slopes off, unfazed if not a bit bruised from taking my weight, and I’m able to return to my wee-mission. I can hear Mildred snoring loudly through the wall. Thankfully fat cat’s squeal didn’t wake her. I tiptoe past her door and open what I think is the bathroom door. But it’s not, it’s a cupboard full of stuff that comes tumbling out onto my face “Oh for **** sake!” I attempt to shove things back in but Mildred’s room goes quiet so I freeze … the snoring starts again. I exhale, and shove I-don’t-know-what back in at lightning speed and lean against the door. I feel like I’m in a National Lampoon film. I want to go home, I want my bed, I want a wee, I want my mum, and I want a cigarette.

I continue to the next door. It’s the bathroom. I walk in and am immediately hit by the unmistakable stench of cat shit. The bathroom is tiny. There is a toilet (facing the door) the sink is next to it, and in the corner is a shower cubicle. Then directly in front of the shower cubicle is a large litter tray, a litter tray big enough to house three cats, which is piled high with cat turds.

“Shiiiiiiit ” I retch into the toilet. When I’m over the initial shock of the smell I wee as fast as I can, whilst keeping one hand fixed firmly over my mouth and nose and I rush back to my room. As soon as I get back in, Andy wakes from a peaceful sleep and decides he needs a wee. Now I could prepare him for the carnage that awaits him outside of that door, but I don’t. I don’t think it would be fair to rob him of the experience, so instead I sit and listen to him retrace my footsteps … I even hear a “oh for ***** sake!” …. yea it was mean, but it was worth it. The dolls made me do it.

The next morning I wake early. I can hear Mildred moving about. Good – surely she will have moved the litter tray by now. I poke my head around the door. She must be in the kitchen. I grab my towel and head to the shower and recoil in horror, again. Not only is the little tray still there, it also contains two new fresh turds. So while there’s nothing more refreshing than showering in the scent of fresh cat-turds, I decide to make this the quickest shower in history, but of course it was never going to be that easy. I strip and stand looking at the shower. I don’t know how to get in it. There is a step, then there’s the litter tray (which is BIG) and placed directly in front of the shower door so I have to step over it all of it to get into the shower. I’d like to say I look as graceful as Ms Zeta-Jones weaving through lasers in Entrapment, but that would be a lie. It was a horrible palava and I dry heaved throughout the whole ordeal. When I go back to the bedroom Andy asks if she’s moved the litter tray. “Yea … it’s a really nice shower!” I just can’t help myself. He pads off.

Once we were en route to our next songwriting session I call Emily again and tell her about the litter tray, I also say I’d be happy to use my own money to fund accommodation elsewhere. “Ok leave it with me, go to your session and it will all be sorted later, I promise. I’ll call you after the session.”

Andy and I breathe a sign of relief as we head to our second day of songwriting with David Eriksen. David is such a lovely guy. He has a great studio and has worked with a spectrum of artists including Clay Aiken and Sheryl Crow. We write a great pop song – and while it isn’t necessarily me, it would be a great song for another artist. We have a few drinks with Eric after the session and make our way back in good spirits, which were to be short-lived, because when we arrive back at the poo-filled cat house, Mildred is waiting at the door for us … and she has a face like thunder.

Cat photograph by Jon Pickup