Moss is a sad spaniel. Nursing a broken heart. Spurned by the man she adores.

Why? Because each morning this week John has been taking friend Taffy who helps him on the shoot, with him to feed round the ducks and pheasants. And Taffy takes his spaniel along for the ride. And there is no room in the Gator for two spaniels.

Moss is crushed. Anguished. Despondent. She sits by the gate whining and crying as the Gator chugs off without her. Meanwhile the usurper, Sage, sits bolt upright between John and Taffy, smug as smug can be, never deigning to glance at the desperately disappointed spaniel he has turfed out. “Why can’t you take Moss as well?” I asked. “ It’s only for a few days,” John replied. “Until Taff’s Gator’s repaired.” Which seems to be taking an inordinately long time.

But there is fun to be had in our paddock for a bored spaniel. Splashing around after the domestic ducks and geese and generally stirring things up. And there is a lot of water to splash, indeed, to misquote my father’s favourite poem. “Water, water everywhere. Nor any drop to drink.” Well not quite the quandary of the sailors who were the companions of the ancient mariner, but all around the feeders and the huts for the geese, ducks and hens are muddy, gloopy pools filled with muddy, gloopy water. So I still fill the drinkers every day as all the poultry seem wise enough to want to drink there rather than sieving through the muck and blather (of their own making) for liquid refreshment.

What the poultry have been enjoying though this week are the trimmings and grapes from the vine in our porch. It is absolutely laden with fruit and even though I press bunches of grapes onto anyone who calls, I decided it was time to get cooking and make use of the bounty. Last year I made a chutney out of grapes, apples and the chillies I had grown in the greenhouse. Lovely. But I had remembered to de-seed the grapes. An intensely boring, lengthy and squelchy carry on. This year I forgot and decided at the end of the process that no one was going to want to eat a preserve that constantly required you to keep spitting out pips. The hens ate it all the mush instead.

But then I found a grape jelly recipe that required you to just cook down grapes, squash them in a pan, pile into a jelly bag (or in my case a colander lined with a muslin) and let the juice drip through. Perfect. After boiling up the juice with sugar and lemons, I now have 12 little jars of jewel like jelly. So smug.