On Monday, Tim left the house at about 8.15, so he could get to the church hall in time to set up the PA gear for 'Going Bananas!'. I left about half an hour later, as there was a group preparation time at 9am before the club started at 9.30.
Apparently, when Richard got up to go to work around 10am, Sophia was very annoyed with him. She was probably confused: the only day that Tim and I go out that early is Sunday, but we'd only just had a Sunday. When we all got home at lunchtime (Richard collected us, for which I was very thankful) she greeted us very noisily. Where, she asked, was the roast lunch that's her reward for allowing us all to be out for the morning?
On Tuesday, she didn't make so much fuss. But when we got back at lunch-time, this is what we saw:
Moreover, although the other three cats were there to meet us, there was no sign of Sophia. We assumed she was the one who had pulled so many books out of the book-cases. One of the others might have pulled a couple of books out, but no other cat would be quite so wholesale about it.
We did get worried for a few minutes. Surely, after all this time (we've been here over six weeks now) she wouldn't have set off to find us at the other house? We assumed she was very angry with us for being out yet again, and not really surprised at making this clear through pulling out books. So we were greatly relieved when she appeared at one of the doors. She must have gone out via the upstairs bathroom window (which we leave open), and jumped down from the balcony.
However, her behaviour on coming into the dining room suggested that we had judged her harshly. She went into her 'hunting' pose, and peered underneath all the bookcases. Then she jumped on the shelves of the rattan one, and tried to get behind it. When I put the books away again, she started patting at them to pull them out.
Evidently there was (or had been) something under or behind the bookcases. Something she had tried to catch. Perhaps it crawled behind some of the books, or maybe she hoped that by pulling books out she could get access to the back of the bookcase.
We wondered for a moment if it could be a snake, but we haven't seen any of those since moving. I don't think they could get in at this level, anyway. A giant spider, perhaps? A cockroach? Either was a possibility, and yet she doesn't seem to make much fuss about them when she sees them. Besides, with all the book-moving, I would have expected one of those to crawl out to see what was going on.
So our best guess is that it might be a gecko - if those are the small, almost translucent lizard-like creatures that I've seen once or twice in the house. They seem to hide in odd places for lengthy periods, only to appear a few days later somewhere else. I don't know how they get in, but they dont'seem to do any harm. And, given Sophia's love of lizards (she used to catch and eat several each week at the other house) she could well have expended a lot of energy if she thought a snack was crawling around the walls.
It didn't appear, however. Today she sniffed around the bookcases again, and tried to get underneath one of them, but to no avail. Either it - whatever it is - has vanished, or it's still hiding.