The Won­der­ful World Wide Web

A cat causes con­ster­na­tion in Linda Lewis’s hu­mor­ous com­plete story.

The People's Friend Special - - COOKERY -

THE mo­ment I opened the front door to four-year-old Jake and f ive-year-old Lucy, my cat fled through the cat flap. Thomas hasn’t got used to the grand­chil­dren yet. San­dra fol­lowed us into the house. “Thanks for offering to look af­ter them, Mum. If I get this job, it will make a huge dif­fer­ence.”

Now I was nearby and happy to look af­ter Jake and Lucy, San­dra had ap­plied for a part-time job at the lo­cal su­per­mar­ket. She put down two bags crammed with snacks, drinks and toys.

“I hope you haven’t been glued to the in­ter­net all morn­ing, Mum. You know how I feel about Face­book.” “Ac­tu­ally, I’ve been on Twit­ter.” San­dra sighed. “You came to York­shire for a fresh start. You won’t make new friends if you stay in­doors mes­sag­ing the peo­ple you left be­hind!”

She had a point. I’m fine once I know peo­ple; it’s tak­ing that f irst step I f ind diff icult. “Did you try the group at the church?” “Yes, but all they talked about were soap op­eras.”

San­dra, a huge “EastEn­ders” fan, laughed. “It can’t have been that bad, Mum.” “No, but ev­ery­one was in their own groups. I f ind it hard to butt in.”

“I know.” She gave me a hug. “Prom­ise me you’ll give it an­other go.” “I will.” “Good. I won’t be long,” she said, as she headed for the door.

Be­ing with the grand­chil­dren was so much fun, I was shocked at the time when San­dra re­turned. I knew from her face that the in­ter­view had gone well. “You got it!” “Yes! I start a week on Mon­day. Thanks, Mum. I wouldn’t be able to do this if it wasn’t for you.”

As they got ready to go San­dra re­minded me about the craft fair.

“Satur­day morn­ing. I’d come but I need to catch up with chores.” “I could help you,” I of­fered. She smiled. “No. You need to meet peo­ple, Mum.” Some­times I wasn’t sure which of us was the daugh­ter.

Once they’d left, I put the TV on, then opened a tin of cat food for Thomas. I went on Face­book and up­loaded some of the pho­tos I’d taken.

An hour went by, then I re­alised there was no sign of Thomas. It wasn’t like him to be late for din­ner. What if some­thing had hap­pened? This was a new place for him, too.

I put on my jacket and went out­side to look for him. When I reached the end of the gar­den, I heard a piti­ful miaow. I looked up, and there was Thomas, stuck half­way up the oak tree that, though ac­tu­ally in the park, shaded the bot­tom of my gar­den.

I called his name, but all he did was miaow more piti­fully. I had no idea what to do. My son-in-law wouldn’t be home for a couple of hours and I didn’t want to ask San­dra for help. She’d be busy with the chil­dren. I stared at Thomas. “Stay there,” I said un­nec­es­sar­ily, “while I call the Fire Bri­gade.”

The call didn’t go well. Cats stuck up trees aren’t emer­gen­cies, of course. They said they might be able to help if Thomas was still there the next day. They sug­gested call­ing the vet.

I did, but they were closed on Thurs­day af­ter­noons. There was an emer­gency num­ber but I didn’t want to take the vet away from a real emer­gency.

It was up to me. I went to the garage, pulled out the steplad­der and leaned it up against the fence that sep­a­rated my gar­den from the park.

One step, fine. Two steps, OK. Three steps proved too much. One leg dug into the mud, making the lad­der wob­ble. I didn’t dare risk a fall.

I fetched some of Thomas’s toys and waved them at him, but he re­fused to move. It would be get­ting dark soon.

My friend, Janet, would have known what to do, but she wasn’t next door any more – she was back in Devon.

That was when a light­bulb came on. Thanks to the won­ders of the in­ter­net, I could still ask my friends for ad­vice!

I ran in­doors, logged on to Face­book and de­scribed what had hap­pened, then I went on to Twit­ter.

My cat’s stuck in a tree. Any ad­vice?

MOST replies sug­gested the Fire Bri­gade, then a friend sent a mes­sage say­ing she’d read about a man whose dog got stuck in a rab­bit hole.

What’s that got to do with my cat? He’s up a tree! I re­sponded.

She asked for help on Twit­ter and peo­ple turned up and helped dig it out, came the re­ply. If it worked for a trapped dog, it might work for a cat up a tree.

Hav­ing no bet­ter ideas, I posted a plea for help, ask­ing peo­ple to retweet it to their friends.

My cat’s stuck in the big oak tree in the west cor­ner of Manston Park. Can any­body help?

I added the post­code and pressed Send, then I set off to the park. It took me a minute or two to walk round to the en­trance. By the time I reached the tree, two teenage boys were strid­ing to­wards me, car­ry­ing a lad­der. “Are you the lady with the stuck cat?” “Yes! Thanks for com­ing to help.” I pointed to where Thomas was cow­er­ing.

One boy held the lad­der while the other clam­bered up, but as he reached for Thomas, the cat edged fur­ther along the

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