Well, thank goodness for the Streatham Guardian. This public-spirited paper has taken it upon itself to ensure that the good folk of Herne Hill can sleep easy in their beds at night, with no risk of waking up with ginormous teeth-marks in their ankles, or indeed in any footballs, bikes or scooters left in their gardens.
I have told the whole story of the Beast of Burbage Road to an intrepid reporter, who blanched at the thought of the horrors we had been through. Well, actually, we were talking on the phone but I could tell from his voice that he was blanching. It’s a gift I have.
When I had run through the catalogue of gnawed Croc shoes, slashed gardening gloves and balls bitten to shreds, we both agreed that there was no way it could be a fox. ‘What do you think it could be, then?’ I asked tremulously. ‘Sounds like ……a puma,’ said Intrepid. A puma! The Puma of Peckham! Of course it is…..oh my God, I’ve been so brave!
A photographer shot round immediately to document the evidence. Unfortunately, I have thrown away the gardening glove, mangled Croc, Ikea cat tent and two of the balls. Well, you can’t have OCPD and a well-preserved collection of artefacts chewed by unsanitary beasts, it just isn’t possible. But I had kept the disembowelled Moomintroll softball, bought in Sweden, to show to True Love, who was there when I bought it. Luckily, I had resisted the temptation to bleach it a bit and sew up the gouge marks, so it was in authentically mangled condition and the snapper was perfectly happy. He then took several shots of the delightful Jiffy, brought out of her cage to scamper on the lawn, looking suitably terrified at the idea of the Puma of Peckham and carefully showing her best profile at all times, like the superstar she is.
It should all be in the paper soon, probably with quotes from various wildlife experts praising us for extreme sang froid in the face of peril, and a picture of our softball. If that doesn’t scare off the Puma of Peckham, I just don’t know what will. But I think I will put a couple of extra padlocks on Jiffy’s cage just in case…..