The Curious Cat

Three weeks ago a Facebook group was set up about my book, Village Witch for anyone who’s interested in the stories behind the story so to speak.  Here’s the description and link:

‘This group is for discussion about the book Village Witch, the life and work of Wisewomen. Feel free to ask any questions relating to the book and Village Witchcraft, Folk Magic and work within a village Community.
The emphasis will be on down to earth practical application of Cunning Craft.’

It’s been going well and we now have 70 members.  I haven’t been quite sure of what the members would enjoy but certainly for me, some of the comments have triggered off quite a few memories of events and anecdotes that failed to make it to the book – so I’ll talk about a few here and on the group.  🙂

So…about the curious cat.  I need to give a bit of background first.  Back in the late nineties I was approached by a woman called Carolynn Townsend who ran a group described as: ‘Nature’s Way is a monthly series of talks and events to stimulate the mind, body and spirit.’  It was my pleasure to give talks for this organisation three times whilst it was based in Buckinghamshire.  Carolynn and her husband Edward were very warm hosts during my visits and I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed myself at these functions.  Sometimes though I must have appeared a bit like a country bumpkin to some folks I met because there was a great difference in lifestyle/income; but I was never aware of any condescending attitudes from them, just an avid interest in old country ways.

In 2003 Carolynn & Edward relocated to a small but very lively old village in Somerset called Roadwater and she started Nature’s Way again.  In 2004 she contacted me again for another talk that October in the village hall…
Roadwater Village Hall

I was walking around outside watching folks arrive, some of them standing around chatting before they took their places for the talk.  Out of the night appeared a beautiful grey cat who approached various people in a friendly way and got lots of attention as a result.  I could hear folks asking each other whose cat it was as it hadn’t been seen before – this became the subject of some discussion as they all seemed to know everyone and their cat in the community.  Soon it was time to start my talk and I waited at the back of the hall to be introduced.

Once in front of my audience I realised that unbeknownst to me, the grey cat had entered the hall and was sitting alert on a chair in the front row!  Apparently no-one had the heart to remove the cat and it appeared to be well-behaved, so there it stayed.  It watched me walk up and down the space delivering my talk and then came up to me,  pawed my leg and meowed.  I responded by saying that Question Time was after the break and that it should sit quietly until then.  Much to the merriment of the audience, it did just that.  During the interval it curled up on its seat until we restarted when it sat up again constantly watching me as I answered queries from the floor.  During this time when my attention was elsewhere it must have left the building as I never saw it go.   It  disappeared into the night just as mysteriously as it had appeared, and to my knowledge has never been seen again.

It was an extraordinary experience and very poignant for me as I had lost my beloved familiar, Mab just 6 months previously who was also a highly intelligent and crafty, grey cat…now I wonder what that cat was all about?

In a moving footnote I learnt that Carolynn sadly died four years later and the village still continue with Nature’s Way in her memory.

Carolynn Townsend
Carolynn Townsend

R.I.P. Carolynn – you had a very kind heart and I raise my glass to you.  I hope you are having a jolly good time in the Afterlife/Summerlands!


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