We have finally bowed to Miss Best Friend’s sense of the fitness of things, and replaced her increasingly scruffy blue nylon collar with a plain brown leather one, the Labrodoric equivalent of ‘the little black dress’. She is delighted with the thing; there’s a strong atmosphere of ‘that’s more like it’. The late Miss Dog, once she had left puppyhood, was given a leather collar, about which she was thoroughly naughty. She scratched the thing off and lost it on several occasions, which is why replaced it with one of the nylon sort which are much lighter and, we thought, more tolerable. For all we know, her problem may have been that she was hankering after Swarovski crystals (perhaps we should have asked Margaret McCallum to design something special), but she put up with red nylon, and we had no further trouble. Accordingly, Miss BF got a blue nylon one to match, but we never felt that she liked it much. A bit ’so-called “Modern”‘. A bit ‘young’, she indicated. ‘In Ormskirk’ (always a bad start, we have come to find) ‘we never thought there was anything wrong with PLAIN OLD-FASHIONED LEATHER’. So now she has plain old-fashioned leather. And two stuffed pheasants, and a very reprehensible squeaky orange, introduced into the household by the Real World Consultant, and a bone, the gift of the Professor of French, and a yellow rubber ball. She puts these riches all in a row along the edge of her comfy dog bed, and contemplates them, perfectly happy.