There had been a bit more excitement this evening than seemed quite necessary. In order to explain the course of events, I must first say that for the last few days, Miss Cat has not been quite her splendid self. She has a bad knee which tends to give way under her; at the moment it’s not quite clear to anyone if this is simply the result of a bite, bang, or sprain, or in itself, a symptom of a much more deep-lying problem springing ultimately from the fact that she was hit by a car and broke her hip when she was little more than a kitten. She’s on a course of anti-inflammatories and we are waiting to see what that does for her before getting x rays for which she is booked in next week. She has at the moment, a rolling, sailor-like gait and is prone to sitting down suddenly; and rather pathetically, she can’t jump — this being a cat who scales eight-foot walls. There’s already a perceptible muscle wastage in her hind quarters, and I have been encouraging her to take a little exercise: one of her endearing traits is that she can almost always be persuaded to take a walk with me. So, I was walking with Miss Cat in the garden, uttering cries of encouragement as she wobbled along, when my Gamekeeper appeared — the best part of an hour previously, he had kindly taken Miss Dog off for a walk with her Best Friend. And there, maximally inopportune, was Best Friend, bulleting towards me saying ‘Hello! Hello! Hello!’ — seldom has mindless canine affection been less welcome. Poor Miss Cat of course, seeing this onrushing dog and conscious that she is badly handicapped, vanished. It took me some time for the A.G. and myself to get rid of the curvetting dogs, prone as they are to rushing in figures of eight through the house, after which I tried to find Miss Cat, who was not to be had. I thought she might have come in another door, and be hiding in the attic, but this seemed not to be the case. After about three hours in which I had shouted for her at intervals, it seemed to be time to mount a scientific search. Doubtless you will not be surprised to hear that she was up a tree.Her favourite tree, which from a cat point of view is practically a stepladder, only not at the moment; adrenalin, presumably, had caused her to ignore her lameness, but of course once up there, it wore off. She was well and truly stuck. — And the Apparitional Gamekeeper was, to my certain knowledge, gallivanting in town with his girl, this being Friday night. After a period of experiment which made it clear to me that with the best will in the world, I couldn’t get a roofing ladder up a pine tree by myself (the top end gets stuck on things) I went up the road, and found the Gamekeeper’s Dad, who I will now introduce to the blog under the name of the Engineer, for such he is. Wholly unperturbed, he came back down with me — and indeed, the Gamekeeper’s Mum — and to my total admiration, simply swarmed up the tree, and handed Miss Cat down to me where I was standing on a stepladder. Between us, we put everything away, the Engineer and his missus beetled off amid cheery cries of ‘No problem’, and I staggered off, cat securely clutched in arms, in search of GIN. I have since had some Gin, Miss Cat is sleeping the sleep of the utterly exhausted in the attic, and all seems to be well.