NOTIFICATION of how much the lambs, or hoggs as last year’s lambs are called, have fetched at market, comes through to me first via email. John did not want to wait to see them sell so I can hoard the information until such time as I think he deserves to hear. Such as when he has made me a cup of tea.

But suddenly, just as I was tapping out a fond farewell to the lambs, an ashen-faced John called to me to go with him on a search for a runaway spaniel. Moss had taken off after a pheasant when he was checking on his bee hives.

This crisis was the climax of an increasingly disobedient response to her master when an exciting event, such as a pheasant exploding out of cover when out for a walk, occurs. John has been taking her out on shoots for a time this season, but she has nearly always been on a lead and only released to go and pick up a bird.

Together we set off to the wood where John had last seen Moss. Both of us shouted ourselves hoarse calling her name. Nothing.

We did a lap of the roads in the area in case she had left the wood and gone across fields into unknown territory for her. It was difficult to imagine the pheasant leaving the safety of the trees, but Moss has shown herself to be a persistent hunter.

After nearly two hours of searching I decided to inform the dog warden and police in case Moss had been picked up and was now under arrest in the dog pound. The person taking all the information was extremely patient, especially when I couldn’t remember the name of our farmhouse, phone number or village. I just went to pieces.

Authorities informed, John and I split up on our search. Me phoning local farmers who could keep an eye out for Moss. John going back to the wood and surrounding area.

Nothing. We returned home for a rethink and a drink, although I could only manage a sip of my cup of tea. By now as it was getting dark so we decided on one more trip to the wood and lanes around. We had only gone half a mile out of the village when out of the gloom, for by now it was almost dusk, a bedraggled, muddy spaniel appeared.

She flew into my arms, leapt into the back of the Discovery, and kept a very low profile all the way home. John towelled her down, I filled her bowl with biscuits and milk and we collapsed with relief. Pheasant aversion therapy could start tomorrow.