Love from heckerty

Spring Cleaning – with apologies to Tennessee Williams

I was woken by a massive CRASH.

“DRATTED TADPOLES” I shouted, “What’s going on? Zanzibar, Zanzibar!” But I couldn’t see my cat anywhere. There was another crash – smaller this time, and a hole appeared in the roof of my cave – where the chimney had been over the cauldron. The fire under the cauldron was crackling merrily and otherwise everything looked normal.
“Zanzibar?” I called –  as though his name was a question. “Is that you? And where’s my chimney?” 

Zanzibar’s face appeared through the hole in the roof. He was covered in dust, and his normally white face was almost completely black. He coughed. And spluttered. And coughed again. Then he disappeared, there was a scrabbling sort of sound and there he was, standing in the open doorway of the cave, completely black and with dust and ash falling off him.

“Whatever happened?” I asked him.

Zanzibar looked at me – and even though he was now covered in soot I could see he was squirming and looking awfully embarrassed.

“I thought I’d get the cauldron ready for you,” he said. “But the fire didn’t light properly and the cave was starting to get smokey. So I thought I’d get up on the roof of the cave to see if the chimney was blocked. It was. It was thick with sticky soot from the experiment with the eels, molasses and tires that we tried last week. So I tried to clean it. It is spring you know. And I thought it needed spring cleaning….”

Zanzibar looked miserable. “What sort of a witch’s cat am I if I can’t stay up on the roof of the cave to clean out the chimney?” he whined. “And while I was up there, and the chimney was getting cleaner and cleaner, the fire was working better and better, and the roof was getting hotter and hotter until….I dropped the chimney, and broke it.”

He handed me the pieces of still warm chimney.

“Don’t worry, Zanz,” I said. “I’ll magic us a new one.”

I put the pieces of the chimney into the cauldron and tried to think of a spell to fix it.

“Mend my chimney, fix my flue

Do it all with witch’s glue,

Flunkadee – a spell on cue!

And now my flue’s as good as new!”

There was a flash, a bang and a strange crooked chimney rose out of the cauldron, spun around three times before flying up to the hole on the roof and wedging itself in place.

“Brilliant,” Zanzibar squealed.

“Oh Heckerty you ARE clever.”

“Oh Zanz,” I said. “It was all done for you. After all, what witch would allow her cat to go up on a hot, tin roof.”

Camping, Hiking and other Misadventures

I’m not an outdoorsy sort of witch. In fact other than being on my broomstick, upside down above the ground and zooming along with Zanzibar hanging on for dear life, I’m not an outside witch at all. My idea of heaven, a concept not many witches enjoy, is writing down spells and recipes for my Cauldron Cook Book, and curling up among the remains of last month’s food on my sofa and reading a great spellbinding book. Not a mystery or crime thriller. Spellbinding is exactly that – ways to bind spells together and see if the results work better than when spells are on their own.

So not being outdoorsy at all, so I was very surprised when a few years ago Zanzibar my cat decided we should go on a camping trip. He’d got it into his head that mice and fish are better eaten fresh, and that camping and hiking were the way to do it.

Much against my better judgement I agreed.

We loaded up my spare broomstick with all sorts of vital camping gear and equipment we simply couldn’t leave behind in the cave. We took a cauldron because witch and cat gotta eat. Right? We also took along an ancient, dusty tome called “Spells and Recipes for the Outdoor Witch” – a book I’d never even opened. I suppose looking back on it, I should have realized that Zanz had wanted to make this trip for years. The book was a present from him on one of my earlier 409th birthdays, so perhaps it was very dense of me not to have put 2 and 2 together and made 408.

Off we went – I had no idea where we were going. Zanzibar was jiggling up and down, his travelling hat pulled down over his eyes, trying to look like “Mr. Kewl Cat.” It didn’t work.

The broomsticks knew where we were going – Zanz must have told them. He was being very secretive and I wasn’t too happy about that either.

After what seemed like an age – we landed in the dark of night on the shore of a lake surrounded by very tall trees. There were few stars and no moon so there was very little light. We stumbled around in the dark, until I finally decided to try to remember the spell for creating a sort of a tent to cover us.

“We need to light a fire under the cauldron so we can make the spell” I told Zanz who was helping me set things up. “See if you can find some twigs and branches.” Zanzibar scurried off and soon came back with a nice big pile of sticks which he organized under the cauldron. Then, spinning around very fast – he literally made sparks fly – and one of them caught on the kindling under the cauldron setting it quickly alight.

Two things happened in quick succession: the flames caught and began crackling merrily followed immediately by a loud sob and the sound of someone crying loudly in the night.

To be continued……..