Dear Madam Pico
Help! I'm stuck up a tree. I'll tell you quickly what happened. I was with some friends, tree climbing, when one of them spotted this gigantic elm. "We'd better not risk going up that one," he said. "Some of the branches are a bit rotten - and it must be at least 200 feet high." Not being one to be outdone by a 'wood-plant', I said my goodbyes as my chums went home for tea and then started my lone assault. Things went well. It took about an hour, but I reached the top. Trouble is that I'm now in such a position that I can't look down and therefore can't find my footing for the descent. I've scribbled this (with the trusty Bic ballpoint I always carry) on a piece of bark and I'm going to drop it to the ground. I hope someone finds it and sends it to you as you're the only person who might be able to help. Please hurry, the branch I'm holding just made a creaking noise!
You are in a fix aren't you dear? I'm trying to think back to my 'tree-climbing' days to see if there are any hints or tips which will serve to illuminate you on how to extricate yourself from your present predicament. Lummee, the old memory isn't what it used to be, you know. Um. Oh, I know. Break off the nearest longish branch (about 6 feet should do) and swish it about underneath you. Eventually it'll make contact with some protuberance or other, which you should menatlly 'map' . Discard your stick and then leapfor where you think the protuberance is. If you're lucky, you'll either land on it or it will snag on your jumper (you are wearing a jumper, I hope - it's an essential piece of tree climbing 'kit' after all). This will be the first leg of your journey terra firma - just repeat the process 30 or 40 times and you'll have made it. Good Luck.