Last Friday's sighting of a panther or black leopard has taken on a more sinister significance since we learnt that an elderly West Highland terrier belonging to friends in a nearby hamlet was found mysteriously and fatally mauled on Monday evening. I chaperoned our own, also elderly, terrier out for her late run last night, and found myself wanting to hum a jolly tune and stomp about more noisily than usual, as one does when walking through thick bracken to drive away dozing adders.
Big cats mark their territory with urine, and the markings allegedly smell much like fox pee, which means that round here you can't now walk anywhere without wondering if you are about to be summarily dismembered.
Apropos similar smells, someone once told my parents that dope smelt like BO. It was an unkind piece of misinformation, because every time we had a party and the dancing grew heated, there would be my folks sniffing the air suspiciously and suggesting coffee and coats.