I would describe this as a fairly perilous position in which to take a nap – but then, I don’t have claws. You can’t see from this angle, but the middle right-hand claw was firmly anchored to the leaf; otherwise, everything was neatly tucked away while zeds were stacked. As ever when I spot a wild creature having a snooze, I was charmed.

There was great excitement at R&J Towers all day today, as we prepared for a visit from L and G, who arrived in The Shire this afternoon for a long weekend in a rented property near Upton on Severn. They’re due to come to us for a barbecue tomorrow (weather permitting), but decided to pop over for a socially-distanced cup of tea this evening as well – the first time we’d seen them since Christmas, and the first entertaining of any kind we’ve done since March. Even for us, unsociable as we are, this has been an extraordinary period of isolation, and getting back into hospitality gear took a bit of doing (especially with the added layer of anti-Covid measures we felt we should take to be sure of keeping them safe) – but it was a delight to spend the evening with them.

It’s pretty stormy here at the moment, and over the course of the day the weather threw pretty much everything at us other than snow, so we weren’t sure right up to them arriving whether we’d be drinking our tea indoors or outside; luckily our dining table is about two and a half metres long, so we’d still have been able to distance in the house by sitting at opposite ends of it, but in the event it stayed dry this evening so we chose to sit out on the patio. It was freezing. Everyone started out dressed in quite summery clothes, but over the course of the couple of hours they were with us we all added more and more layers, so by the time they left we looked as though we were about to set off on an Arctic expedition.

I’m still vibrating from the number of mugs of coffee I drank, and I think I’m getting a biscuit hangover. But I’ll happily do it all again tomorrow, and consider myself blessed.