OUR foldyard which once housed more than100 cows and calves over winter, no longer echoes to the moos of cattle.

Instead it now resounds to chat and laughter from the young family who have converted the buildings into a welcoming home. Pets complete their household. An amiable sheepdog and an elderly cat.

Fifi the cat is 18 years old. How he has survived to that age is one of life’s miracles, given he is almost blind and totally devoid of road sense.

A favourite place to lounge and sun himself is the lane running through the village, which mercifully has very little traffic.

Latterly, though, he has picked the marginally busier main road as a convenient lounging spot and seems oblivious to bicycles swerving round him, and tractors, lorries and cars braking hard to avoid flattening his supine form.

His owner Emma sends frequent WhatsApp messages, requesting news of sightings so she can bring Fifi home. Once a period of recuperation has elapsed, however, Fifi is off once more.

A saunter along the top of wall separating our properties drives our dogs, Moss, Fizz and Millie, bonkers. He is dicing with death.

Millie, of course, has honed her execution skills on mice and rats. When the play area now in front of the barn conversion was a huge shed stacked to the beams with straw and hay, it was her killing ground.

Now Millie guards the back garden from her bean bag in what was the dining room, but has now transformed into a lockdown chill-out venue, complete with books, easy chairs and a large wall-mounted television.

We haven’t sat in our other family rooms for months. From her bean bag Millie can also spot any chickens, ducks or pigeons that stray into her territory, and chase them out to a chorus of demented yaps.

And, of course, soon the public enemy number one as far as she is concerned will be in her sights.

Last week I gathered a bucket full of green walnuts from the huge tree in our paddock and I am soaking them in brine as a precursor of making my favourite delicacy. Pickled walnuts.

As soon as the walnuts on the tree harden and turn brown, the squirrels will start to raid. And then it will be game on. A summer of squirrel hunting for Millie beckons. She is thrilled.