Over the last few months The Cat, who is to be named in the next entry, has brought a small number of still-living small birds into the house. These are usually chaffinches, which are common enough around here, or at least still are so. The first time that I found one alive, I took it around to Eddie who has occasionally raised to health birds with broken wings. Having examined the wreck in question, Eddie broke its neck with a practised gesture and advised me that it was in pain and would not live. A lesson learned, and one which I practised myself on the next casual casualty of The Cat. This morning Her Maj brought me another small chaffinch as I was coming in from releasing the birds from their pens and informed me that it had a broken wing and a broken leg. This time, my technique was faulty and I broke its neck too low and it continued to live. There was no recourse except to crush it in my hand until its heart had ceased to try to leap from its body and the light had faded from its eyes. I know this sounds cruel and hard, but it is more brutal and uncaring to leave the poor thing to suffer and die of its wounds otherwise.