For the second time within a month, I was asked to do house sitting duty at our eldest daughter's home. No problem. She lives in a secure townhouse complex in the Johannesburg region where she presides as chairlady. Her second in command, (I shall call her Kay) would look in on me on a regular basis to see if everything was okay. Again, no problem.
On our first meeting, I had discovered that Kay held similar beliefs to me on the subject of the supernatural. We could chat easily about our 'visits' and experiences, with no indication of disbelief from either of us - it was reassuring to say the least. On my last stint of house sitting in March, Kay had lent me two books on the subject of Angels and Guardians, which I read with interest. ("Spirit Guides & Angel Guardians" by Richard Webster and "Angels and Companions In Spirit" by Laeh Maggie Garfield & Jack Grant). In the second book there is a chapter on Spirit Messengers which includes birds, feathers and smells, all of which I was familiar with. It also listed butterflies, which was new to me - I had never taken notice of them before, but now I did.
I spent most of my days outdoors, sitting at a table on the patio, soaking up the Autumn sunshine while reading. I was amazed to observe that I had a lone butterfly visit the garden every day, but never the same butterfly twice. Was this coincidence, or was I just being more observant?
On the Monday afternoon I had fetched myself a soda from the kitchen and decided I needed ice in it. I pulled the ice drawer all the way out and grabbed a handful of ice. When I tried to put the drawer back in the fridge it just wouldn't fit. What now? The fridge was just too iced up - it needed defrosting. Later in the day, a kind neighbour moved the fridge for me so that I could switch it off at the wall plug. The cleaning lady did all the mopping up the next morning. Problem sorted.
Wednesday was not a good day for me. I had been reading voraciously; I was in danger of running out of reading matter. The thought of not having a book to read in bed at night was intolerable. I went in search of something else to fill the hours. Laundry came to mind. Nicky, our daughter, had left a large basket full of dirty laundry - wouldn't she be surprised if I did it all for her. After the third load I opened the washer to a nasty surprise. Something had become unravelled and tangled up the whole load with miles of thread. As I painstakingly unravelled the mess, I saw that it was her expensive (?) heel-guards that was causing the problem. Oh gosh! I was in for the high jump. I would have to replace them.
That night, as I opened the fridge to get something out, one of the door shelves crashed to the floor. Why Now? I had opened the fridge numerous times since it had been defrosted and cleaned. There was an explosion of glass on the ceramic tiled floor and shards flew in every direction. Luckily the two dogs were on the patio - I raced to close the glass sliding door, shutting them out. If something happened to Them, I would be in deep, deep sh*t.
With dismay, I saw that it was a jar of imported ginger jam that had smashed. Something more to replace. By now, I was feeling extremely upset; first the laundry muddle, now this. I carefully collected the larger pieces of glass, depositing them in a plastic bag for disposal. The smaller shards I vacuumed up. As I was vacuuming the last traces of the mess, a butterfly alighted on the floor, inches from the nozzle. What the heck? Where would a butterfly come from at that time of night, and, in an enclosed house? Admittedly, the patio door had been open all day, but I hadn't seen a butterfly in the house. I hastily switched off the vacuum - I didn't want to accidently suck up my beautiful, jewel coloured messenger (vivid reds and oranges surrounded by jet black). I managed to capture it with cupped hands, then looked around anxiously to see how I could set it free. With cupped hands, I wouldn't be able to open the patio door - I didn't want to risk squishing my delicate captive. I looked towards the high (for me) kitchen window. If I stood on tip-toe maybe I could lift up the handle/latch with the back of my hand, push the window open and let it escape into the night. After a few nerve-wracking mistrials, I did just that. Now that was one for the books!
The next day, as Kay sat adjacent to me at the patio table, listening with glee to my tale, a sudden movement above our heads caught our attention. We watched a Cape Robin fly from under the eaves, across the postage-stamp sized garden, to settle just inside the high surrounding brick wall, where it was joined by its mate. The same species of shy bird that came so close to me shortly before our youngest daughter was taken from us. Kay enthused that it was another sign.
Kay mentioned to me that on a previous visit, some time back, she had observed someone descending the stairs. Nicky had been in the kitchen, Kay had been sitting opposite the glass door on the patio, looking in. When she told Nicky about it, Nicky said that she knows about it. 'They' always come down, never go up. Hmm... I don't recall Nicky ever mentioning that to me.
Nicky has the habit of switching on the front and back outside lights at night, then switching them off in the morning. I continued with this regime; didn't want everyone to know she was away. One morning I switched off the back light as I was waiting for the kettle to boil. The front light was switched off as I passed, on my way to have coffee on the patio. Later, maybe about 10 or thereabouts, I glanced up to find the front light burning. Um, maybe a memory lapse. Next morning I made a point of switching off the front light when I opened the security gate to let the dogs out. After I made my mug of coffee I went to switch the back light off - it was off already. Did I have a helper or am I going batty?
On Friday, or was it Saturday evening... Can't remember for sure, I prepared the dogs food. I preferred to feed them before I had supper. (Less chance of them begging for mine, lol.) I hadn't switched on lights inside the house yet; there was enough back-lighting coming from the kitchen window. I put the two bowls down in front of the closed kitchen door and called the mutts in to eat. They both came running. I turned back to the kitchen island/counter or whatever you call it, to prepare something for myself. I was facing the front glass sliding door when movement caught my attention. I glanced up to see the shape of a dog casually walking towards me. I thought it was Ash, the slightly larger male. That's strange, I thought. I swear I just saw him eating his food. I snapped around to look behind me. Sure enough, there he was with Muffin, both with their muzzles in their bowls. Naturally, I looked back to where I saw the 'shadow' dog - of course there was nothing there. On reflection, I never heard the sound of claws on the floor. Could it have been Toffee, the beautiful soul Nicky had to put down a few years back?
Nothing strange happened the rest of my days there. Hope you enjoyed my non-scary but eventful days of house sitting.