HAVE you ever bumped into someone who is clearly familiar but for a second or two, because they are in an unfamiliar setting, you can’t quite place them?

That is what happened to me last week, when I came across Sam tortoise trundling across the kitchen floor.

She looked much bigger indoors, as opposed to outside in her normal garden habitat, but this just goes to prove that within that tiny, reptilian head she has the ability not only to think on her feet, but also to seize the moment of opportunity.

When the sun shines, Sam eats like there is no tomorrow. Grasses, weeds, leafy greens, flowers, and the occasional piece of fruit are devoured voraciously.

I have even seen her partake of the odd mouthful of cat meat, left out for the visiting hedgehog.

I already know that she recognises me as the bringer of food, by the way that she follows me down the drive when I come home laden with shopping bags, but this is the first time that she has ever ventured indoors.

However, this is also the first summer that our new, low level step has been in situ, in front of the conservatory door, to facilitate ease of access for my mother.

Eagle eyed as ever, Sam has put the new step to good use and if her breakfast is a little late, she now has the wherewithal to offer a timely reminder.

Meanwhile, at the farm, as the days begin to grow warmer, not only have the swallows returned but we have had two new foals arrive, both born to RSPCA rescue ponies, and a bit like Sam popping up in the kitchen, the first baby took everyone by surprise when she popped into the world last month.

The mare’s pregnancy had been confirmed on her arrival, even though she still had last year’s foal at foot, but the new baby wasn’t expected to make an appearance quite so soon.

Last year’s foal had only been fully weaned a few weeks earlier, when one sunny Friday afternoon, someone looked over the stable door to see a tiny filly foal in the straw.

The foal was obviously very new, as she was still wearing her ‘golden hooves’ or ‘fairy slippers’ as they are sometimes called.

This is the soft cushion of deciduous (transient) hoof capsule that develops during late pregnancy and is believed to protect the mare’s uterus from damage during late-term pregnancy and foaling.

Once the foal is born and begins walking around, this tissue wears off very quickly on the ground.

Now all baby animals are cute but this little lady takes cuteness to a whole new level. Her colour and markings maybe a little unconventional, but as someone recently reminded me, a good horse is never a bad colour.

This little one is still waiting for a name, but a ‘name the foal’ competition is now in place with proceeds going to the RSPCA who did, after all, facilitate her rescue.

The second baby, a colt foal, arrived last Friday. Equally adorable, he is called Will and is also black and white. Happily, both these babies will now have secure futures, but for so many ponies like them this is not always the case.

The British Horse Society (BHS) have been campaigning for several years to reduce the levels of indiscriminate breeding, as we are now reaching a stage in this country where the supply of horses exceeds demand.

Low-value foals are changing hands at sales for next to nothing and an increasing number of horses and ponies need help.

While many welfare charities are doing their best, the sad truth is that there are simply not enough suitable homes to provide for them all.

But for now, in the sunshine, our two babies graze happily in their paddock without a care in the world and this, hopefully, is how their lives should remain forever.