I asked the Senior Cat.
"No, I just put it down somewhere," he told me, "Or it's gone to look for the sheets."
Oh. Right. Well he does have multiple small watering cans because he is no longer allowed to lift anything heavy. I knew any brilliant lime-green item would turn up pretty quickly unless it had accidentally been tossed into the "green" bin.
It did turn up a bit later in the day - in a perfectly obvious place.
But I wonder about this "losing" of things.
Someone I know only "virtually" is bemoaning the loss of her i-pad. It has not actually been lost. It has been misplaced. I have no doubt that, at some point, it will turn up - or will it. If her i-pad is anything like the one belonging to the Senior Cat then it would be hard to throw it out in the rubbish. She says that nobody has been in the house so human "villainy" - as she puts it - seems unlikely. So, where is it.
A couple of years ago I put a plastic box of buttons away out of reach of small children. The box itself was one of those with compartments. It is designed for storing things like beads or other small objects and I had the buttons - all for specific projects - stored in the individual compartments. I did not want very small children swallowing the buttons or even just mixing them up again. So, away it went.
And I couldn't find it. It was not where I had put it - even the Senior Cat agreed I had put it where I thought it was. We had discussed where to put it and he had watched me do it. Months went by, more than a year. I came to the conclusion the box was lost. I had bought more buttons for several projects. Other projects had gone button- less. I mourned the loss of my pewter buttons with the thistles on them and the buttons the Senior Cat had made for his cardigan. (He made more but....)
And then, one morning, I was shifting a pile of cookery books belonging to my mother intending to take them to the charity shop and... yes, the button box. How it got there is still a mystery. The cookery books had not been touched for years - or so I thought. I did not put the buttons there. The Senior Cat did not do it. Someone must have shifted the box when they were prowling through the shelves. I don't suppose we will ever find out.
And there is one mystery we have never solved. Not long after my parents moved into this house my mother bought two sets of sheets. They were delivered along with another item. I remember seeing them. Middle Cat remembers seeing them. And they disappeared. We have never found them. I pulled everything out of the linen press. We had several boxes stored in the ceiling at that time. The Senior Cat was young enough and agile enough to go and look. He brought everything down and we looked. We pulled boxes out of his workshop and the garden shed. We emptied all the cupboards and drawers. We never found the sheets.
I do have my own theory about the sheets - that my mother passed them over to Junior Cat who was desperately short of household goods at the time - but she always denied it. She may genuinely have forgotten in her worry about Junior Cat at the time. It is the only possible explanation. They were too big to be accidentally thrown into the rubbish - and nobody except family had been there when they disappeared.
But now, when we can't find something, we say, "It's gone to look for the sheets."