Small sparrow rescued from clutches of next door’s unbelled cat. It lay for what seemed a long time inside a dark shoebox, on its side but heaving with fright. Then finally I heard a flutter. I took the box outside and opened it on its side, like a cardboard theatre. The bird remained frozen on the stage. But the instant I moved my giant head out of sight, it flew with a clockwork whirr, low and straight, for the nearest bushes.