MY hens don’t like late autumn weather. Their egg production has slipped to virtually zilch.

A few months ago I was thrusting eggs at any visitor, the dogs had one each mixed in with their biscuits and I scoured recipe books for different ways to cook surplus eggs.

Now the dogs gaze at me reproachfully when their meat and biscuits are not enriched with a glorious yellow yolk and it has been over a week since I baked a cake.

But if I lit up the hen hut early every morning with an electric bulb, egg production would soon commence again. The pituitary gland behind a hens eyes is stimulated by light. This produces a hormone that is carried via the bloodstream to the ovary which sets egg production in motion.

It is therefore possible to give some artificial light to laying birds to "trick" their bodies into continuing to lay in the darker months. The reason the lights need to go on before dawn is apparently otherwise you would totally confuse birds when the lights switched off and it was still dark outside.

My frugal husband, however, will not countenance this extravagant use of electricity purely to produce some extra eggs. As long as there are enough being laid to provide him with Yorkshire puddings, he can live without them.

For the moment I am not disputing this, or planning to circumvent this draconian decision to thwart my plans for increased production because he has earned many Brownie points by helping me carry out a redecorating task in daughter Jo’s bedroom.

When I unrolled the wallpaper, though, it was the wrong shade and pattern. Near enough, but not in any way precise.

The pastoral scene was of other gatherings and, to add to my woes, I had not ordered enough paper anyway.

My stoical husband consoled me. There are worse things in life than badly matched paper.

But while we were on with rejuvenating Jo’s room, I decided to tidy up her wardrobes.

Built into deep alcoves, they have been far too handy to stash stuff away in. Box after box of old shoes and discarded handbags emerged. All headed for a charity shop I decided. Then a lumpy misshapen bag of papers was dragged out into the light. Full of offcuts and a spare roll of the wallpaper. Spooky.

The right paper had been there all along.