1979, Anon.

It was sometime about 1942 when my father, who was travelling daily to an airfield some fifty miles away to work, came home one Saturday lunchtime, fished about in his blue melten topcoat and plonked a handful of tabby fur on the kitchen table, and somewhat hesitantly announced ‘It’s a cat’.

Over his meal, in bits and pieces, the whole story came cut. The kitten was an orphan he and the rest of the litter had been found in an air raid shelter by a Collie bitch which had lest its pups and, overcoming any inborn prejudice, had fed the kittens. My father finished the tale by saying that he never thought that he would see the day when he, a prize pigeon breeder would turn cat fancier.

At that time it was still thought to he popular to emulate our Russian allies and in view of toe kitten’s warlike spirit, he was named Timoshenko after the Russian hero. The given name was very apt and, in short order, he became cock of the walk, not tolerating either cat or dog in our garden. He followed my mother to the shops daily, and his supreme act was to bask on the lintel over the front door, from which vantage point he could lean down and knock off the hat of any male caller (rent catchers and the ilk).

Life was sweet for this very large tabby cat, undisputed lord of all he surveyed and frightened of nothing. That is, until that Autumn Saturday afternoon. The house which backed onto the bottom of the garden had been repaired following bomb damage, and new tenants were expected. And so it was, this Saturday afternoon, a moving van pulled up and, the disclosure of the Fuller family’s intimate secrets began aspidistras, wind-up gramophone, all the usual stuff, and then a tea chest with a chicken wire front containing IT! The tea chest was put down in the back garden and the ferocious marauder unleashed … a Khaki Campbell duck.

In the event, the cat was badly served by its instinct. Whether or not the duck had ever had any dealings with cats before is not known, but Timmo had certainly had none with ducks - and yet here it was, waddling on into his territory. All the standard tactics were employed by the cat; stretched out, tail wagging violently, the hard stare, and still the duck came on. Violent agitation of the cats hindquarters and tail, and still the duck came on. Confrontation was inevitable, for the cat's retreat was unthinkable and here was the duck. With a well practised movement, the duck brought his beak smartly down on poor old Timoshenko’s head and, in his bewilderment, the cat ran away from the only opponent who had ever bested him.

Things were never quite the same again. Oh yes, the cat was still cock of the walk, but it was noticeable that he seldom went through the Fuller’s garden as if he owned it and, if he did, he came through it like a thief. Timoshenko lived to a good old age - to when his name was not so popular and was shortened to Timmy. He finally died aged about twelve, battle scarred, but a rare battler.