“HAVE you lost a couple of cows?” the voice on the phone asked, throwing me into a moment of confusion before I recognised who was calling me. “We sold our herd over a year ago,” I answered, “so no we haven’t lost any. Why?”

Turned out that a neighbour in the village had suddenly found herself with some cattle in her back garden. I had a good idea whose they were, but as I was sat on a river bank watching John trying to catch a salmon, I was not really much practical help.

But I could offer her a phone number as John had spent two hours on the previous evening trying to catch these self same cows with another neighbour, and now I knew where they had disappeared to when he was looking for them.

Several calls later I had matched owner and finder. And also arranged that, as the cows were secure and settled, they could be left well alone until we returned home and loaded them into a trailer to take back to their proper field.

Our first days of the fishing season has taken some time to achieve. The water bailiff reports have not been promising, and although the season has been open on this river for over a month, John has not thought it worthwhile to come here until some heavy rain justified a trip.

But, as is often the case, by the time we arrived, the water levels had dropped and the sun shining, which, although picturesque, is rubbish for fishing. Still I am getting my first bit of sunbathing of the year in, despite several curious tups who have an eye on our pack up.

The cattle are not the only livestock to check up on on our return. I attended a local farm sale as I had heard there would be some ducklings for sale. As my last hatch of duck eggs had been disastrous, I wanted a few more in the field.

As John was busy with his bees I was given strict instructions not to go mad and keep my bidding in check. Which, as I didn’t, is why I am now the proud owner of a lot more ducklings than I was sent to buy.

Now I was convinced, not being an expert on duck psyche, my sole duckling would be thrilled to have company. But he is already a very large duckling and they are a flock of very tiny ducklings.

And he has taken total umbrage at sharing his heat lamp, water bowl and starter crumbs with these upstarts. Before I knew it he had killed one of them. He is now in solitary confinement and they have his run. Not fair is it?