A Letter to my Grandchildren
Mrs. Thelma Jenkins

Dear Emma and Charles,

Did I ever tell you the funny story about Tosca getting stuck up a tree? Of course, this was a while ago, when he was a kitten. Now he is a full-grown cat.

While I was at the Cottage I had a telephone call from Aunty Val saying, in a rather gloomy voice, "Whose idea was it to have a cat?" I replied, "Well, I suppose it was mine, but you were quite glad for us to have one. Why, what is the matter?"

She then told me this amusing story, only I donít think she thought it was very *hilarious. Tosca suddenly decided it was time for him to try climbing a tree, so he ran up the Cypressus near the front door. Having climbed halfway up, he found it was very difficult to climb down, so he went further up and still further and further. Aunty Val kept calling him to come down, but he didnít know how to turn round. So there he was, stuck nearly at the top of the tree.

It was beginning to get dark, so Aunty Val and a friend who was with her fetched the ladder and she tried to climb up but of course the branches stuck out so far that she could not get anywhere near Tosca, who was *mewing *pitifully by this time. She decided she had better Ďphone the Fire Brigade, but they said they did not come out to rescue cats now, unless they received a request from the *R.S.P.C.A. That meant several Ďphone calls to the R.S.P.C.A (because the line was continually engaged) who said they could not call the Fire Brigade unless the cat had been up the tree for 48 hours! "But I canít just leave it there all night" Aunty Val said. "Itís only a kitten and if it comes down in the night all the doors will be locked; it wonít know where to go and weíve got foxes!"

All they could suggest was that she should dangle a sardine near the kitten to *entice him down. So up went Aunty Val, as far as possible up the ladder, which was leaning very *precariously against the branches. She was still "miles" away from Tosca, so she had to fetch the *long-arm which we use for cutting down high branches, dip it in a sardine tin and wave it about near the kitten. He was attracted by the smell (he was probably hungry by now) and he gradually crawled or fell down toward the top of the ladder. He couldnít grip it because it was *aluminium but he somehow slithered down until Aunty Val could grab hold of his fur. It was quite dark by now, so I think they were both glad when the adventure had ended and they were safely indoors.

How about drawing a picture of this amusing "Aunty Val and Tosca" *episode?

Now that Tosca is older, he is beginning to bring tiny *voles into the house. He is not really cruel with them, he just likes to play. Once, he lost the vole, and we eventually found that he was lying with it under his shoulder? I think even he was wondering where it was. On another dreadful occasion, he brought in a young rat and then lost it in the dining room. Aunty Val and I had a terrible time catching it in an ice-cream carton. Then we had to take it in the car, with the rat in the carton on my lap, and let it go free in the woods. Tosca was not very popular that evening, I can tell you. In fact, we closed his window, so that he could only come in at the front door, and this gave us a chance to see if he was bringing in another offering. He just canít seem to understand that we donít actually want voles and rats running about the house.

Well, I hope your cats, Thomas and Oscar are behaving better than their cousin Tosca.

With very much love to you both,