Peter Pan and the Pirates 

Whenever we were cooking roast chicken for dinner another cat would turn up on the doorstep. A tabby we named Tabitha - she didn't get roast chicken but we gave her a meal. Sometime later Phil told me that there was a funny-looking black and white kitten lurking by the back door. I went to look and saw a black and white kitten, but didn't think it funny looking.

When we both looked carefully we found that we'd been seeing different cats. There were in fact five kittens lurking, plus their mother - Tabitha. We fed them and they took to living in the log store awaiting their next meal. After a few days Tabitha decided that we could be trusted to look after them and departed. We contacted Cats Protection, lured them into the house, took them to the Vet and agreed with C.P. that we would care for them. They were four black and whites and a tabby - all males.

Tabitha jumped over the front gate some weeks later - enormous - Phil described her as a multitude. Quite accurate because, while her other five were living at the back of the house, she produced another thirteen on the front doorstep. We took them in, raised them until they were old enough to be re-homed, lovely house-trained kitties and C.P. got them all settled in good homes over one weekend. Tabitha went voluntarily into a basket and down to the Vet. She was then found a home a few miles away in Northmuir and never appeared at Redhall again, even on Chicken nights, so must have been happy in her new home.

As regards her other kittens, when they were living in the log store and glaring at me whenever I passed by, I told them that instead of them being frightened of me I should be frightened of them - they looked a fearsome crew - became named Peter Pan (the Tabby) and the Pirates. One (Captain Hook) had a black pencil-line moustache and looked particularly vicious. They became extremely affectionate and gentle cats although it took some time to gain their trust. When they all came into the kitchen together the whole room seemed to vibrate with their purring. While we stroked some the rest would rub cheeks with each other - my brother Frank called it a purr-in.

Phil made a cat-flap and shelves/steps up to a cat house above the hot water tank in the laundry room where they slept at night but were very active during the day.

Peter Pan produced one of the greatest put-downs Phil has ever experienced! We had a hard winter with several feet of snow and, at it's worst, he, (Peter Pan, not Phil), was at the rear of the house watching me fill the bird feeders hung on a rotary washing line. When I'd finished, he crouched down in one of my welly prints to wait for a bird, much to Phil's amusement.

The smile was wiped off some half an hour later when, now completely covered, Peter erupted from the snow and caught a bird on the feeder. The bird escaped but we've never been able to understand how he could see it through several inches of snow.