Love from heckerty

Fall – in Merrie Olde England

We landed the broomstick in a large field.

Zanzibar looked cross.

“Where are we?” he whined. “I don’t see my sardines on toast, or fish and chips.”

There are days when even a witch, a kind witch, a long-suffering witch, a loving witch like me, wishes she had a spell to turn an irritable old cat into a sweet, fluffy kitten. Not a cat who is battle-weary and travel-hardened. But a tiny, new kitten for whom the whole wide world is one huge adventure just waiting to be discovered. Like finding the recipe for sole delice in a cream sauce pinned to your pillowcase one night.

“Well?” moaned Zanzibar again. “Where are we?”

“I don’t have a clue,” I said. Because I didn’t.

All I knew was that it was fall, autumn, the twilight of the year. And that I was somewhere where it smelled perfect – mud, squishy leaves and something else – something not so perfect. Something animal. Something smelly. Something — yuch! “Cows” – I yelled. And Zanzibar proved his incredible agility performing a superb imitation of a harrier jet’s vertical take off ability and narrowly avoiding a large, warm, moist patch of cow poop.

“Poooo,” he sniffed. “Disgusting!”

“Well it answers part of your question,” I said trying hard not to laugh.”We’re at least in the country and not in a city. The only question is where?”

“Nooooooooo.” said a strange voice. “The only question is Whoooooo.”

“Whoooooo?” Zanzibar and I chorused, straining to see where the voice came from.

“Whooooo?” said the voice. “To whit, to whooooooooo.”

I shifted my gaze and looked up into a nearby tree.


Image courtesy of khunaspix /

I jumped. Looking down from his perch in an old tree, the red-eyed owl stared at us.

“Whooooo,” he said again. “Whooooooooooooooo?”

I got the message. “I’m Heckerty,” I said, bowing slightly just in case that’s what you’re supposed to do with red-eyed owls.

“And I’m Zanzibar, her cat,” said Zanzibar looking more than a little awestruck at the sight of the huge red eyes in the tree way above him. This was one bird he had no intention of chasing.

“Whoooooooo?” said the owl.

“Heckerty and Zanzibar,” I explained. “From Spellbound. We’re on our way to England so Zanzibar can have sardines on toast.”

I thought the owl was about to say “Whooooo” again, but instead he blinked at us several times and then said “Hooooo”.

Now I grant you, there’s very little difference between “Whoooooo” and “Hooooo”. Go on, try it yourself and see. Can you tell the difference? I can’t. And neither can Zanzibar. So we sat there, completely puzzled. The owl looked at us sadly. “Whoooo, Hoooo,” he said several times. I looked at Zanzibar and then had a beautiful idea. If I came up with a spell, maybe I’d learn the difference between Whoooo and Hoooo.  I was just about to get my cauldron and all the things I need to make a spell, when Zanzibar stopped me. “What?, I asked him. “Hoo,” he said. “Don’t you start,” I said. “It’s bad enough one person can only say Whoooo and Hoooo.”

“Hoo,” said Zanzibar, “hoo, hoo, HOO!!” His paw pointed to the map I seldom use when flying. but should consult more often. And there – in all its glory I saw where we were.



“Hoo,” I shouted. “Hoo, hoo” said Zanzibar delighted that I’d finally understood. “Hooooo,  hoooooo” said the owl as he slowly flew away across the moon.

And there we were.

In the ancient village of Hoo.

Hoo knew?

I Want My Teddy!

I wasn’t happy.

The cave was just as I like it, a complete mess. Frogs and toads hopped around the room, the wriggly worms were wriggling in and out of their jar, and Zanzibar was lying on his hammock snoring. But I wasn’t happy. I’d lost my teddy. I thought I’d seen him deep in the back of the cave but when I looked, throwing the half eaten pizza, a broken garden rake, and several broken potion bottles over my shoulder as I burrowed into the black depths, I could’t find him.

I wanted to cry. You know that feeling, don’t you? When you want something to hug and Teddy isn’t there? Even witches need a hug every now and then, and I wanted my teddy.

Yes, I know I’m 409 – and that 409 year old witches aren’t supposed to cry when they can’t find their teddy bear, but that’s the other ones. Not me. I wanted my Teddy and I wanted him NOW.

I stamped my foot in frustration. Then I kicked the cauldron. It replied with a heavy DONG…. it sounded so good that I kicked it again.

Zanzibar jumped out of his hammock, blinking awake and staring at me as though he thought I was a crazy witch. “What’s wrong Heckerty?”, he asked. “I’ve lost my Teddy,” I wailed realizing just how foolish I sounded.

Zanzibar stared as though he’d never seen me before. “Your what?” he asked.

“Teddy,” I said realizing just how idiotic it sounded for a 409 year old witch to be weeping over a lost teddy bear.

“Hmmm,” said Zanzibar thoughtfully and then asked “Why do you suddenly want your teddy?”

“Because I’m feeling lonely and sad, and I want my teddy,” I wailed again and two large tears ran down my face and a third dripped off the end of my nose before it plopped on the floor with a splash.

Zanzibar rolled his eyes and was about to say something snarky, when he looked at me again and saw I was really upset.

“Heckerty,” he said. “Won’t I do? I mean if you want someone to hug, why don’t you hug me? I’m your cat after all. And the latest reports from the Miao Clinic say that if you have a pet, it reduces your blood pressure, lowers your stress and makes you happy.”

“You’re right Zanzibar,” I said and with one final sniff I wiped my eyes with my sleeve and my nose with the back of my hand. “You are my cat, and hugging you is exactly what I should do. We can find Teddy later.”

So I hugged Zanzibar and stroked his fur.

He purred. Loudly.

I smiled.

And everything was alright again.