SUCCESS. John has, after just seven weeks, been able to throw his crutches away, and take part in a full day’s shoot. True, he has had a good deal of support in getting around the shoot. He was driven to each stand and took his shooting stick seat to perch on while waiting for the drives to commence.

All the exercises and physio have clearly paid off since his knee replacement. Although last night his knee was as swollen as it was immediately post op, John’s head was far more swollen with pride at having been able to last a full day out in the field.

His surgeon was only cautiously optimistic for the success of the operation, as he said he had never seen a knee in such a bad state. A lifetime of being used as target practice by disgruntled cows had taken its toll. John’s recovery from the operation has been hindered too by the fact that not only had his knee been shattered, but also when the cattle had aimed even higher, John’s thigh had been sliced into several times. He has, of course, benefitted from the superior in-house nursing care that I have administered.

The dogs have not perhaps had quite so many long walks as they would have had normally, but they have enjoyed being in the house more and I swear they have all put on weight, not through lack of exercise, but because of greater proximity to the kitchen. But the relaxation of my nursing duties has meant there is a little more “me” time available. So when my friend Jackie asked me to come over for a coffee and see her birthday present, I went. I was welcomed in to the sitting room to be proudly shown a small object by the door.

“Alexis, Alexis,” my friend commanded, “switch on the kettle.” I glanced round for an unseen au pair, but as no one suddenly appeared from out of the kitchen, I was slightly baffled. “Alexon, Alexon” she again commanded “switch the kettle on”. Again I wondered who she was talking to, especially as her instructions seemed to be directed at the little black object Jackie had pointed out to me when we came in.

“Alex, Alex” Jackie virtually shrieked at this little thing she seem fixated on. Again nothing. By this stage I was totally baffled as to what she was trying to achieve, but the matter was suddenly resolved when her husband came through the door and shouted, “Alexa, switch the kettle on.” And the kettle hummed into life.