MOSS, our spaniel, races into the barn ahead of me the moment the doors are slid back. Her intention? To rout out anything, anybody or anyone that could be hidden in the stack of straw, heap of corn, general agricultural jumble or “stuff” littered round the place.

Currently, I am trying to empty the 45ft container parked up in the barn, which is leading to more piles of boxes and crates. All with no defined place to put in the farmhouse or cottage, with the result that they end up instead being stacked up in the barn and give Moss yet another place to investigate.

Yesterday, some particularly insistent nosing behind a bale of hay led to an indignant cacophony of squawks. With a flustered flapping of wings a black hen emerged. Moss was thrilled.

Crouched down she uttered a yelp of triumph then set to nosing into the hay to see what she could find whilst the hen cackled off through the barn doors.

I identified the hen immediately as a rogue character that seems incapable of following rules I have laid down for my poultry to adhere to. She wiggles through the hedge into the garden. Forbidden. Flies over the fence into the yard. Forbidden. Makes a nest anywhere but in the approved egg-laying sites in the hen hut. Again, forbidden. And now, somehow, she has bypassed security checks and made herself a nest in the barn. In which lay six brown eggs. Mine, all mine. Not what Moss was thinking but tough luck Moss, these eggs were destined for the kitchen.

Jubilantly recounting Moss’s detection skills to John as we sat outside the back door enjoying an afternoon cuppa, I was stopped, mid-sentence by an imperious hand demanding my attention. “Look over there,” John whispered, “I think there are some hummingbird hawk-moths on the geraniums.”

We have seen these exotic visitors occasionally, but rarely, before in the yard in summer. This warm autumn and the profusion of flowers in pots, mainly geraniums, around the yard must have encouraged them to visit. They are natives of North Africa and Southern Europe, but as strong fliers, they do chance their luck and cross the border into France and Southern England if the weather favours them. Even Yorkshire now it seems.

We were entranced and the moths’ feeding style, so close to that of its namesake the hummingbird, fascinating. Hovering close to a chosen flower, the moth’s proboscis, just over an inch long, enters the tube of the geraniums calyx (I’ve looked it up), to sup the nectar. As we were so close by now to the moths, I swear I heard them hum too.

By now I was a fully registered hummingbird hawk moth expert after Googling all the details of their life cycle off the internet. I could bore you for hours (and I did John) with every bit of trivia going.

Clicking away on my phone I captured every greedy drop they sipped from our flowers. And then. Fed up no doubt by our surveillance they were gone.

Passports please to North Africa maybe.