“To our left, is the house of Holly the Hamster. You can see her in her wheel at that window,” said Sid, pointing his wing towards an upper window, where Holly was looking out while exercising. Holly stopped and waved her paw at Sid.
“On the other side of Holly’s house, is a 4-lane road that you must never even think of crossing Freddie, because you will get squashed by the humans and their large vehicles. Not even Rufus risks running across roads as wide as that one.”
“I won’t,” I replied, “and who’s Rufus?”
“Rufus is the clever squirrel who lives in the tree straight in front of us.” Sid nodded his head towards a Scots Pine, “Rufus crosses the road straight ahead, which is only 2-lane, every morning at 10 o’clock and returns at noon. He visits his friends in the park. If you want to cross the road to visit the park, I would advise you to go with Rufus, as he is an expert at crossing this road.”
“Good for Rufus,” I replied, “I will accompany him tomorrow morning, how will I recognise him?”
“He descends from his tree at 9:55am on the dot and then assesses the traffic before heading over to the other side. Some days the traffic is heavier than others, young Freddie, so make sure you’re there on time and don’t ever go on your own. Promise me.”
“I promise,” I said, “I don’t want to get squashed by a car.”
“And now I am sure this will thrill a learned cat like yourself, there’s a library on the other side of your house. The entrance is on the far side from here and there’s a car park on the far side too. If you want to enter the library, I would suggest using the window you can see up there. You should be able to climb up the vine and then make an entrance that way as the assistant librarian always opens the window at 8:55am and closes it at 4:55pm, just before she leaves for the evening. Her name is Angela and she has blue hair. She has two dogs, which she doesn’t bring to work, so she goes home at lunch time to walk them for 30 minutes. That would be a good time to read some books if you wish, or to find the dictionary which Angela normally leaves open on her desk, as she wants to make sure she spells words correctly and is using them in the correct context.”
“Wow, you’re an encyclopedia of local knowledge, Sid,” I said, “how do you know so much?”
“We crows share knowledge for the common good, there’s always a sentinel crow at the highest point in the area, we take that job in turns, who monitors what’s happening and reports to everyone else in the crow family. Our squawks may sound a bit mindless, but they’re not, they’re providing updates on what’s happening – gardeners, lawn-mowers, dogs, other potential enemies, some cats I’m sorry to say, all are reported by the sentinel crow. Your master, bless his heart, feeds the birds in the park before going for his morning run, so that’s always squawked about as you can imagine. It’s usually peanuts, no complaints from me, but they do contain lectins that aren’t supposed to be good for you.”
“Lectins? I will have to remember that, lectins.”
“Yes, they’re a protein found in most foods, as you can imagine we eat everything raw, so we digest quite a lot of lectins. They give us gas and bloating, but we’re not fussy eaters at all and we don’t want to starve.”
“What’s on that side?” I asked, pointing my back paw behind me in rather a balletic way.
“There’s a back-alley, Freddie, which should be safe. There are people’s garages and the back entrances to their houses. The alley is a dead-end to your left, just the other side of Holly’s House. In other words, if you are in a car, you can’t turn out of the alley into the major road, it’s too dangerous.”
“Well, that’s an excellent introduction to the area, Sid, thank you so much and if you need any help, let me know.”
“I will do, young Freddie, and look after yourself, we don’t want to be pecking your entrails off the road at any time, don’t forget that. Take care.” With that Sid flew to the kitchen window where he tapped on the glass. I saw a movement in the window and moved four feet to my left to get a better view. Sid was tormenting Gemma, who was swiping her paw against the glass, but Sid knew he was safe. Gemma may refer to the humans as jackboot fascists, but she certainly knows how to eat their fascist feline food in large quantities. Being a svelte feline, I had squeezed through the gap without a problem, but Gemma was too fat and would get stuck in the gap, if she even tried to exit the kitchen by that route. She’s what I believe is called a Champagne Socialist and would undoubtedly smoke cigars if she could strike a match or operate a lighter. I laughed to myself as I think Gemma fancies herself as a feline Lenin, who was one of The Beatles if my memory serves me correctly. With that thought, I determined to make my acquaintance with the vine leading up to the library window. There was a thick branch leading up the wall, which I should be able to use to effect an entrance through the window. I pinned my ears back and remembered my mum’s words to always try and do my best on all occasions.