Some of our neighbours are having extensive work done on their house. Or, at least, their yard. A couple of weeks ago there was the most horrendous noise, which turned out to be someone using an electric saw to cut away part of the concrete wall in front of their house. When finished, we could see an unfinished passageway at the side. Good idea, we thought. They're going to pave it, and put in a gate at the front.
But they must be doing more than that. In the past week, there have been two humongous piles of (we assume) sand dumped in front of another neighbour's house. Then various men have moved this sand with wheelbarrows to the back of the house. Perhaps there's a patio being built. We've also seen a small cement-mixer, and several pipes of different shapes and sizes.
Today, one of those huge vehicles arrived - the ones with the crane-like attachment that unfolds and can lift or drop things over the top of a house:
It's a bit noisy, but not unbearable and I thought nothing of it until Sophia suddenly pelted into the study, her ears flat against her head, her body as low as she could get it. She then hid under my desk and refused to come out:
She was obviously terrified. Eventually we persuaded her to leave her hiding place, but she wouldn't settle anywhere. She wasn't even interested in her usual cheese at lunch-time, and she kept nuzzling against the stairs, or the wall. Then returned to the safety of my desk for at least half an hour.
If it had been Sophia's mother Cleo, I wouldn't have been surprised. Cleo has always been a nervous cat, and sure enough she was on the alert all morning, keeping half an eye on the machine from the windows.
But she didn't hide anywhere. She was just her normal, anxious self, aware of something unusual but not terrified.
Jemima, Sophia's twin was obviously a bit puzzled by the machine and the noise, but realised it couldn't hurt her. She spent most of her time by my study window, looking out.
At least, she did until I tried to take a photo of her. Then she looked at me!
As for Tessie, our fourth cat (unrelated to the other three) - as usual, she was relaxed and confident. Or, at least, fast asleep. She opened her eyes a couple of times, but didn't seem at all worried by the intruder in our neighbourhood:
Sophia has just emerged from my desk (the machine noise has stopped at last) but she still looks worried.
We wonder if she was peacefully dozing on our upstairs balcony, only to find the arm of the machine opening up and apparently coming to eat her...