Years ago, I was on a camping holiday in France with my family. I must have been twelve, thirteen at the most and my sister was an annoying five years younger than me. We had hired a Eurocamp tent which was a pre-erected tent, set up with a communal area at the front with a camp-stove kitchen & plastic dining tables & chairs. It also had three bedrooms at the back, each with a camp-bed in, a double for the parents in one and two singles, one each for me & my sister in the other two. Up until this point, we were used to our cramped caravan holidays, where she slept above me in a hammock, so to have our own compartment was pure luxury. In the caravan, in true nasty older sister style, I used to poke her in the back every time she snored to make her shut up!
One particular morning, our parents were up and fixing breakfast and I awoke to the sound of clattering about, gas stove being lit, plates readied, that sort of thing. I stumbled out of my bed, dressed hastily & made my way over to the loos. On my return, my sister still had not surfaced and breakfast was almost ready so Mum asked me to wake my sister. ‘Nicely’ she called out after me. As if I’d be mean!
I unzipped my sister’s compartment, wondering what I might shout as I leapt on her, and to my amazement, she wasn’t there. In the place where she should have been, a small dark tabby cat lay curled up, fast asleep. ‘Excellent,’ I thought, ‘Steph has become a cat!’ I love cats so this was the best thing ever. ‘Mum’ I called out ‘My sister’s turned into a cat, can we keep her?’ Naturally my Mum didn’t believe me and came to see for herself. When she did, panic set in, ‘Where is she, was she in the toilets when you went there?’ Mum was frantically asking, knowing Steph could not really have turned into a cat (unfortunately for me). I started to wonder if the cat could have eaten her. As we were standing around the bed, making a lot of fuss, we must have disturbed the cat for it awoke, stretched, miaowed then jumped down, and with a farewell rub against our legs, disappeared out of the compartment and out of the tent. We heard a stirring at that point, coming from the bed area, and Mum looked puzzled. The side of the cloth compartment was moving. Mum lifted up the mattress and peered underneath it. There was my sister, bleary eyed, & bird-nest haired, fully wrapped up in bright orange sleeping bag, cosy as anything on the floor of the tent under her bed!
We made many jokes after that and teased her endlessly about being pushed out of bed by a cat, and yet remaining fast asleep not noticing a thing!