Oh no, the Upstarts are coming!

Neil HaversonIt's almost time for the annual invasion. In a week or so Brat Major's cats will arrive for their summer vacation at Fortress H while their mistress is on holiday.Neil Haverson

It's almost time for the annual invasion. In a week or so Brat Major's cats will arrive for their summer vacation at Fortress H while their mistress is on holiday. I refer to these boisterous young cats as the Young Upstarts because they cause such grief to the resident Mog.

He changes personality when they arrive. He becomes bad tempered and irritable. As an act of revenge he lashes out at our legs as we walk past him, and he disappears for hours on end to make the point that it is a gross injustice that we have allowed his space to be invaded.

Even attempts to make a fuss of him are greeted with a growl.

It does highlight how age has caused the Mog to slow down. The Upstarts are around the equivalent human age of clubbers without the binge drinking. Open a door and all you see is two blurs as they whizz in and go off in search of food.

Open the door for the Mog and you'll be greeted by a black lump of fur curled up on the step. Slowly he will unfold himself and indulge in a leisurely stretch. He looks at the open door and you can see his brain churning over the options.

'If I go in, there may be food. Mind you, if that grot they put down at breakfast is still there it's not worth it.'

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Eventually he will decide there's a chance something more expensive has been added to his bowl so, he persuades his arthritic joints to haul him over the threshold.

Also, he has become vociferous just lately. I think this is another sign of him growing old and becoming cantankerous. Mrs H doesn't like 'The poor little chap' being out at night. But these recent warm evenings, when Fortress H has closed down for the evening and Mrs H has carried out her final security sweep of the house, he has taken to wailing non-stop to be let out. It's as if he is on a loop. We have tried to face it out but he just won't stop. And on occasion we hear that sound that sends me in to meltdown; the carpet being scrapped.

Mrs H is first to crack and makes her muttering way downstairs to let him out.

Fortunately for him, he does not carry out the process n reverse and wail to come back in again. If he did, I can promise him, any of his nine lives that remain are in serious jeopardy.

Mrs H has begun preparing for the Upstarts as if Royalty are coming - and that's had a knock-on effect on me.

The Upstarts have their mistress's old bedroom when they come to stay. But since she left home we have commandeered it for storage. So a mass rearrangement of clutter is taking place. To facilitate this I have been detailed to make space in the garage.

Now, hands up all those who have a garage that hasn't seen a car for years but is now used as a warehouse.

Well, you will know that to 'make space' is virtually impossible. The best you can do is pile stuff on stuff even more precariously.

Brat Minor was summoned to take some of his bits and pieces which have been in storage. He and Katherine have a garage at their bungalow; already this is becoming a store room so he can find space for his own rubbish now.

I can't help wondering if this is another example of things going full cycle. He tells us regularly that when we are old he and his sister will be shunting us into a home. When that time comes and we move out of Fortress H, they will have to store our rubbish - and I'm going to make sure there's loads.

Mind you, they'll probably put it on eBay.