The day the nest finally got torn down I was working flat-out on a comic strip, but the sheer volume of bird-noise got me out of the door. The nest was in ruins and at the back of the garden, looking nervous and guilty, was not the regular old black-and-white tom whose prowl I'm on (he'd been chased off by the birds) but a skinny, twitchy-looking youngster, too old to call a kitten but not really adult yet, his pedigree-even smoky grey fur hinting at a privileged background.
He gave me an insolent stare with tea-coloured eyes, and I chased him off, furious. There was just one nestling, well-fed and healthy, apart from being dead. He'd eaten the head and left me the rest.
It was an odd-place, where I lived on Hawkins Street; an old Printer's yard [Edit: apparently it was actually a huge industrial laundry, with a yard out back for the vans.] had been covered with tiny modern houses that felt like tents, a percentage luxury-ownered, a percentage private-rented and a percentage council-house. Mine was a rental next to a council house that specialised in couples/parents with one or two toddlers. Just before we left, a new family had moved in; although there were always baby clothes on the line outside (in all weathers) we neither heard nor saw the child or mother (usually a problem with the paper-thin walls) after their initial visit; just four or five adult men, coming and going, coming and going.
I wasn't sorry to leave.
Thanks for all your fabulous responses to the Cup of Sperm Poll. With 56 responses, it already has a bigger sample than the study which inspired it, and I'm confident we can make it even more scientific if we try. In the mean-time, I'm pleased to report that the percentage of people who like their men-friends to look good on a sofa has gone up to over 55%, and new additions to features that make a man attractive include dressing like a pirate, buying star wars lego and letting you play with it, and "the ability to make up amusing stories about a stout cross cat's secret life".
I've probably said it before, but I love you guys!