“That’s a chain link fence, and you will find it difficult. Have a go now and see how you get on.”
“I will,” I said and stood on my back paws before gripping the wire with my front ones. I attempted to climb but only gained about two feet in height before I had to let go and fall back onto the grass.
“My muscles are aching,” I said, “I can’t get up any further.”
“Well, memo to self, young Freddie, physical exercise is just as important as mental exercise. I want to see you using this fence as your gym routine every three days, until you can climb to the top and reach the window. Will you do that for yourself?”
“I will,” I said, “but until that point, how do I get back into the house today?”
“You will jump on to the shallow roof covering the entrance door from the handrail, you will climb on to the apex of that roof, from where you can jump onto the roof of the house, you will then mosey over to just above the window, where you can hang by your front paws as you place your back paws onto the ledge. You can then sinuously insert yourself into the house through the gap you created in the window by use of your chin.”
“That sounds straightforward,” I replied, “anyway what is that chain link fence for?”
“They train roses up it,” said Sid, “they like gardening which suits us because they disturb lots of grubs and insects and worms and we eat them.”
“Train roses?” I said, “I didn’t know roses went to the gym. Do they get to the top?”
“They do, eventually,” said Sid, “and very nice they look too, very aesthetically pleasing, even if I do say so myself. It takes time but they make it – they show the value of persistence, young Freddie, they know there’s something to be done and they do it.”
“Yes, persistence, you have to keep going, but you also have to know where you’re going. At the moment, I don’t know anywhere else in the vicinity, so where are all these places?”
“Good attitude,” said Sid, “I like that, let’s head towards the front of our garden and show you.”
Sid walked with a rolling gait like a sailor on a storm-tossed ship and it was unnerving for me to walk beside him. I found myself rolling my gait too – not easy when you have four paws – so that we didn’t bump into each other.
There was a squawking from a tree ahead and Sid stopped to listen.
“Apparently, your cat companion is observing us from the window to your right.”
I looked up and was dismayed to see Gemma looking at me with what appeared to be a Sneer Level 6. It was a kind of Death Stare and meant she thought I was being an Enemy to Cat Kind. I smiled my nicest smile and then ignored her. There appeared to be voices in my head for a few seconds, emitting yowls and hisses, but I blocked them out with some considerable effort by thinking happy thoughts about my mum, about Archimedes and his levers, and about a fridge with its door propped open by a cleverly placed spoon.
After a minute of peaceful meandering whilst heading in a straight line, Sid stopped near the front door and said “This is a good place for your tour of the area.”
“Right,” I said, “this is a perfect spot.” Any place where I couldn’t make eye contact with Gemma was a good place right now, although she was somehow in my thoughts even though I didn’t want her to be.