BACK into sheep clipping action for John again. Usually he puts his clippers away by the middle of June as it is all completed by then. But a friend has a small flock of lambs that are ready for slaughter and before they went to the butcher, his wife requested that John took any wool they had off as she had a use for it.

Wool as an insulating material has a long history. The Mongolians, not a lot of them round here but you get the idea, use felted wool for insulating their yurts and it is increasingly being used in industry as a component of eco insulating materials.

Australia is one of the world leaders promoting wool as an insulating material as it can both absorb and release moisture.

So it this by product our friend is interested in to insulate some outside dog kennels. I am very taken by the idea and only annoyed that all our wool has been collected by the cooperative we use to buy our fleeces. Just think how cosy I could make the dogs kennels this winter. Next year maybe.

But thinking about the luxury some people surround their dogs in and the devotion paid to them reminded me of a recent “emergency” call out my GP daughter had to make. She is a very caring person. Just like her mother I flatter myself.

So when her best friend, in a state of total hysteria, rang to tell her that Spot was dead, she, of course, felt obliged, medically, as well as in her capacity as a friend, to go to her house to check all was well.

Spot and Patch are her friend’s two Dalmatians. Her friend, who lives alone apart from the dogs and some pet chickens, is devoted to her canine companions, even though they have a nasty habit of shredding their bedding all over the floor.

Sobbing, my daughter’s friend opened the door. “I’ve left him in there,” she said wafting a hand towards the kitchen, “but I’m going to ask at the vets if I can have him cremated so I can keep his ashes. Could you put him in a bag so I don’t have to look at him again.”

Puzzled my daughter pushed the kitchen door open, using some force as what she thought was one eager Dalmatian trying to jump up and welcome company to share his grief at losing his companion. But two dogs greeted her, and the rather tatty remains of Spot the cockerel.

A clear lack of imagination in pet naming and the cause of all the confusion. Turns out the remaining cockerel is called Patch. There could be trouble ahead.