MUCH as I love my wife, I can’t help worrying about how fickle she can be.

The large tabby cat that belongs to one of our neighbours is a case in point. Up until the past week or so, the cat (we’ve never known its name) has been something of a hate figure. It trots around the garden like it owns the place and is the chief suspect for having snaffled one of the goldfish from our garden pond.

My wife has always done her best to make it feel unwelcome: shooing it away, hissing at it, and banging on the window whenever it has dared to venture over our fence.

Overnight, however, the cat has gone from being public enemy number one to a valued ally that needs to be encouraged to hang around.

And it’s all because of my wife’s ongoing battle with a squirrel, who keeps pinching the nuts and fat-balls from the bird-feeders she so lovingly maintains. Mister Squirrel was making his escape after embarking on his latest daring nut raid the other day but didn’t see the cat hiding behind the garden gnome. The tabby launched itself at the squirrel in a terrifying blur of teeth, fur and claws – missing it by inches – but giving it the fright of its life.

“Good boy – excellent work,” my wife shouted in the direction of her former feline nemesis.

It was the turning point in the relationship. She now sees Mister Cat as her General Montgomery in the war against Mister Squirrel. If “Monty” trots by now, instead of getting chased, she says things like: “You keep an eye out for that squirrel.” She’ll probably be feeding it next.

Anyway, in the midst of this capricious behavior, I decided to take advantage of my wife’s obsession with Mister Squirrel by setting an April Fool’s trap. I penned a letter from the RSPCA, stating that they had been contacted by a concerned resident of our village…

“Squirrels are very sensitive creatures and suffer from stress easily. We are informed that you regularly abuse a squirrel in your garden by running at it, shouting at it, and generally trying to frighten it. This kind of treatment can easily raise a squirrel’s blood pressure to a dangerously high level,” it read.

Our eldest son, Christopher, set the letter on headed paper and had it delivered on April 1 in an official-looking envelope bearing an RSPCA stamp.

Sadly, she was only fooled for a few seconds. She had begun to angrily speculate on which neighbour had shopped her, and was about to stomp upstairs to my office to show me how the RSPCA was wasting its time and money on frivolous complaints.

The truth only dawned when she examined the signature of RSPCA director Ms Flora Diloposay (an anagram of April Fool’s Day) and realised it bore an uncanny resemblance to Christopher’s distinctive handwriting.

“I suppose you think you’re very funny!” she shouted up the stairs.

It may yet prove to have been very foolish to have messed with the emotions of someone so fickle.


FORMER Mum At Large Ruth Campbell has been in touch with another little anecdote…

She was catching up with a friend whose 17-year-old son had just taken his second driving test. Ruth’s friend texted him to ask how it had gone and the reply was a little bit alarming: “Good thanks - just need to work on my stopping. Otherwise, great!”

IT was my 57th birthday last week and my best present of all was a visit from two-year-old grand-daughter Chloe.

“Is it Grandad’s birthday?” her dad asked.

“Yes!” replied Chloe.

“And do you know how old Grandad is today?”

“He’s 25!” she declared.

I love that little girl more and more with every day that passes.