In someone else's house
I stop in front of the black and white cat. It is curled up on a mustard yellow cushion that is too small for it, and which tilts off the edge of a table and is being held up by the radiator nearby. We haven't met before so I hold my hand above the cat's sleeping head. It stirs, gives my fingers a sniff and then a barely perceptible nod. I stroke his head, the fur slightly rough, and am rewarded with three slow deep purrs before he tells me he's had enough.
From my seat near the bay window, I see the curve of a red chilli pepper over the TV set. The pepper is next to a spiky leafed plant on the windowsill outside. For a moment I marvel that it is thriving in this cold weather before realising it is the top of a gnome's hat.