SORTING through a pile of John’s clothes in our bedroom, I noticed a similarity between all his work trousers. Multiple rips around the area of the back pockets, occasioned by his habit of climbing over barbed wire fences.

Now if I were a dedicated, conscientious wife, all of these rips would have been mended. Every now and then I take them to my friend Rose, a proper seamstress, and she inserts various patches of fabric to strengthen and preserve the propriety of the trousers.

This frequently means that by the end of the garments working life they closely resemble the clown Harlequins’ cast offs, as it is not only the back that gets ripped, but the knees as well.

Time it seems for another sort out before John incurs any puritanical wrath of a passer-by, shocked by the glimpse of his, frequently equally ripped, underwear.

What is more concerning, however, is the potential rips to clothing, and only clothing hopefully, our sheepdog Fizz can inflict on visitors who are not known to her.

Family friends are welcomed with joy. Once she knows a visitor presents no harm, she will overwhelm them with wags, licks and a procession of much chewed and loved raggedy toys.

Trying to get through the gated entrance off the lane by the farm house frontage to the middle of our village can be a different story if she does not know or like you.

Luckily she is now friends with the postman and the drivers who bring most of my eBay impulse purchases.

But a few days ago, a tractor driver, who had got out off his cab to come into our yard, failed to acknowledge her growls, barks, raised hackles and bared teeth were a warning sign, and has a pair of ripped jeans to show for it.

He had come to tip up grain in the shed for pheasant feed and although I shouted at him to wait till I had put Fizz in her kennel before he opened the gate, he did not listen.

He will next time, although once Fizz had established that he did not represent a threat and he had been in the house for a coffee, they became best mates. So now we have a warning sign on the gate.

Yet another eBay purchase. And luckily from a driver Fizz likes. It is more of a request than a warning, but emphasises that if the dogs are loose, don’t open the gate, as the sheepdog can nip.

To alert me further to visitors I have bought an old-fashioned school bell. Now, to misquote John Donne; Therefore, send not to know, for whom the bell tolls. It tolls for me.