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THE ADVENTURES OF MR. TWINKLE

By Sheelgah Le Cocq

Mr. Twinkle (pedigree name Merlin early Mist) died five years ago of kidney failure at the early age of 14, but in his prime he was one of the greatest characters that you could hope to meet

When we lived in the country, he had a territory, which extended for at least two miles, and he would patrol the whole area every day, visiting the farm, the riding stables, and always making sure to arrive at the p at lunchtime.

When we had builders working nearby, he would sneak into their hut in the morning and pinch either a bag of sandwiches or sausage rolls. For weeks they blamed the apprentice for getting only part of their orders from the baker's, until they spotted Twinkle with a bag between his teeth carrying off his trophy. They followed him home and requested (none too politely) that we keep him in every morning until after they had finished their tea break.

Later, when we moved into town he saw a drunk, who had sat on our garden wall to eat his fish and chips shortly after closing time. Twinkle crept closer through the bushes until he was directly behind the man, though still hidden by the undergrowth.

Suddenly he opened his mouth and let forth is normal blood curdling Siamese cry, which he always gave when he wanted food. The poor man must have thought it was a banshee as he leapt into the air, throwing his fish and chips behind him and ran down the road as though all the devils in hell were after him. Twinkle captured the fish and chips, which were still in their paper and proudly brought them home. We had no idea where he had got them from until the next day, when our neighbor, who had witnessed what happened from her window, gave us all the details.

One Sunday lunchtime he came racing into the kitchen with something in his mouth. He was growling and swearing at the top of his voice and disappeared under the kitchen table refusing to let the other cats near. As I had not seen what he had got, I crawled under the table to investigate, and found that he had acquired a whole, hot, roast chicken! He had got in through my neighbors open kitchen window and stolen it as soon as she had taken it out of the oven. I could not return it as it was rather dirty, where he had dropped it because it was so hot, so I kept very quiet about it, but I felt very guilty at the thought of her husband coming home from the pub to a plate of vegetables and potatoes. I found it very difficult the net day to keep a straight face, when she told me about it. Fortunately she had no idea, who the guilty party was, and never suspected my cats. To reach home they had to leap a 6foot wall. No mean feat with a 3 Lb. hot chicken in your mouth!

There are countless other stories of him, mostly involving theft I'm afraid...neighbor's gold fish, budgies and canaries, or his anti-social habit of spraying...in the video, the fish tank, on a neighbor's cake, which was cooling by the window (I never did tell her), the toaster, the dishwasher, on a neighbors leg, when she was hanging out her washing, in the phone socket (frequently, and i felt so embarrassed each time I called the repair man out), and once in the electric socket, which blew the main fuse!

At the time he drove me to distraction. Though, I loved him dearly. I was ashamed to admit to anyone that he was mine. He would rip open plastic rubbish sacks with on claw, scattering all the contents everywhere in search of bones, which he would crunch up like a dog. He would fight like an alley cat to defend his territory, and would never, ever back down to any other animal. One abiding memory I have of him is seeing him coming down from the riding school at the top of the hill for his breakfast each morning. As he walked through the field chattering to himself, tail straight as a ramrod, there would be up to half a dozen horses following solomanly behind him in single file. He was never overawed by these huge creatures, who would blow down their noses at him as he leapt on the bank and looked back at them before coming into the kitchen for his 2nd breakfast of the morning.

You could take him anywhere on a collar and lead. He loved going for a walk in the woods or on the beach. He was not afraid of trips in the car, or visits to the vet, and as soon as I put his collar and lead on , he would proudly walk out to the car and jump in, excited to be going somewhere. Cats like Mr. Twinkle are once in a lifetime. They don't seem to make them like that very often.