TWENTY five years ago John built a small conservatory/porch on the side of the farm house.

Soon after, I knocked out a brick or two at ground level and planted a vine, a Black Hamburg, that fed into the conservatory and has over the years almost completely taken over.

It has provided shade in the summer and, over the years provided me with grapes to make jelly and some rather iffy wine.

But the vine has also over wintered swarms of flies, clusters of spiders and hearings of earwigs.

That is what my mum called lots of wiggies; don’t know if that is also a correct collective noun, but it sounds good.

Bunches of dead leaves from previous years growth have gradually outnumbered the fresh ones.

Throughout the year we wade through cracklings (I am now heavily into collective nouns, although probably making this one up) of leaves to get to the back door.

The dogs, who both have their night time cages in the conservatory, wake each day, covered in sloughs (I really am getting creative now) of leaves; plus an earwig or two for company.

As John did not build in wiring for a central light, I have over the years threaded solar powered fairy lights through the vine. These did not really provide any coherent illumination.

A mixture of colours and different bulbs, some even flashed on and off, which as John said, looked more like a set of emergency beacons warning friends that they were entering a danger zone. And attracted passing aircraft probably to think there was a landing strip in our village.

On a visit to Ikea, however, a few years ago, I found strings of artificial ivy leaf lights. Perfect to thread through the vine leaves and keep those earwigs, spiders and flies wide awake all night long.

Yanking out the old fairy lights and almost choking under the dust and debris of 20 year old dead leaves.

This spring, though, I decided the dead leaves had to go. I ripped and tore at the vine, chopped, tugged, hacked and cut away. Spiders and earwigs scuttled for cover. The floor disappeared under dead leaves and dust. The dogs quietly choked.

But what I had not appreciated was that a lot of the new growth was springing from the old, “dead” branches.

And not only had I massacred any potential bunches of grapes, but my lovely Ikea lights as well. Ah well. Greengrocers for grapes this year. New lights required too. Wonder if Ikea still do them.