Mandy Mcdonald: The Serviced Holiday Apartment

There will always be
a dodgy front-door key,
a single parfait spoon,
an ice-cream scoop,
a very small saucepan,
a very large wok,
and a complete fondue set.

There will never be
quite enough wineglasses,
quite enough sharp knives,
or quite enough time to read the six-page guide
left by the owner. There are missing data.
How, for instance, does the television really work?
Why are there five remotes? Would that red one detonate
a bomb in Kazakhstan, say?
And what is the bloody wi-fi code?

Occasionally there will be a cat
whom you may be asked to feed and entertain:
‘He’s really sweet, no bother at all, just put him outdoors
when you go to bed.’ Remember this
as you hoist a nerveless, tunelessly protesting
jet-black Burmese onto your shoulder, and pour him,
murmuring apologies, out of the front door,
only for him to spring to life and whisk back inside in a flash.
There is a cat door,
But it leads into the other apartment, to which you have no access.
The cat will go into that apartment and sleep on the bed all day.
When she discovers this, the owner will look reproachful,
As though you had any control over it.

Accept from the outset
that you will never completely master
the central heating. Just buy extra clothes.