Thanks to everyone who sent commiserations and best wishes after my last post - and to those who e-mailed, texted and remembered the Bug at knitting night. Much appreciated.
I think it'll be a while before I have another cat (and sorry, yes, dog people, it will be a cat - I know some lovely dogs now, but I've just never even imagined myself owning a dog...). The Bug and I had got used to each other for 6 years before I started the new job with the insane hours, which mean feeding happens at Unacceptable Times; introducing a new cat to an owner who's out of the house for 12-15 hours a day during the week would just be unfair (to both of us if the cat resorts to the usual retaliation of shredding-stuff or peeing-on-stuff...). If someone were moving continent and needing to rehome a cat, that might work, but it'd have to come with the equivalent of a current MOT and a full service history, after the insurance travails this year and the realisation of what even a basic set of tests costs... Dealing with vets is a salutary introduction into the world of private medicine. I will comment no further.
Meanwhile; I've discovered my nephew is keen on monkeys these days (up to now his favourite animal has been "spiders" which is somewhat difficult in toy-shops... yes, I have a pattern...). He has the very nice chimp and gorilla I had as a child. My mam was after* a toy orang-utan and I found just the thing on Thursday. Having checked cuteness and price-points are correct, I need to go back and pick him up tomorrow and post him North.
I won't tell you where he is. I need him still to be there tomorrow morning!
*I used this construction, then changed it, then reinstated it. To be "after" something in the North East of England means you're looking fairly seriously for something.