One thing which I have neglected to report is that the pond complex is proving very successful in attracting wildlife. We have two pairs of mallards successfully (so far) rearing families, and also a family of moorhens: the chicks, said the Gamekeeper, in an uncharacteristic moment of sentiment, look like black bumble-bees. They are eating pond algae like billy-oh which prejudices us in their favour; we were getting a bit of a bayou look earlier in the year which was frankly unappealing. Otters visit, says the AG, herons certainly do since I have seen them myself. The waterlilies are growing, and one way and another it is all looking very creditable. Something which is looking highly reprehensible, on the other hand, is dear old Miss Best Friend, who is developing a rather strong tendency to want out, insistently, stay out for quite some time, and come back licking her lips and uninterested in Balanced Diet for the Older Dog. The Northern Gentleman, intellectually curious as always, paused to consider the question of what dogs would actually want to eat as opposed to what we feed them, and came up with a dogfood brand which would be perfect but for the tiny problemette that it is humans not dogs who actually buy the stuff (as with children’s fiction): ‘Carrion Call: It’s Jackalicious’. Miss BF is undoubtedly getting in touch with her inner jackal at the moment, and show me the dog that wouldn’t, given half a chance.