SO summer has come to an end and the time for Marmite and crumpets is upon us. Sam tortoise has gone into hibernation, and at the farm the horses are in for winter.

Since the first lockdown in March, and for the first time in her life with me, Diamond has lived out in the field 24/7, and I must say, that apart from gaining a few extra pounds, being a feral pony appears to suit her.

This photograph, taken on one of the last days of summer, has to be one of my favourites.

In our yard all liveries are brought in before November 5, although thankfully none of them seem to be unduly bothered by fireworks.

Sadly this is not the case for many animals and for that reason, and for the distress that it causes them, I would very much like to see the sale of fireworks to the public made illegal.

Going back to the late 1980s when my children were small and when almost every household had a newspaper delivered, I remember one November 6, in particular, when our newspaper boy knocked at the door with a large black rabbit in his arms.

Apparently he had found the rabbit under a hedge, while delivering his newspapers the night before. After speaking to lots of people he had been unable to find the rabbit’s owner, his mother wouldn’t let him keep it and then someone had pointed him in our direction.

After making further enquiries, which included placing a postcard in the newsagent’s window and warning my children not to get too attached, it was decided the rabbit could stay with us and he was named Elliot.

He was a huge rabbit and when left to his own devices he dug huge, Elliot-sized holes in the garden, but he had the sweetest nature and settled very well in the large, custom-built guinea pig enclosure, where he was adored by several generations of small fluffy companions.

Elliot lived happily with us for many years, during which time he enjoyed rides in a doll’s pram and being taken for frequent hops around the garden on a harness and lead.

Sadly, one Saturday morning, it became apparent that Elliot was far from well. He was holding his head to one side and hopping round and round in wobbly circles.

I thought that he was dying and prepared the children for a sad outcome. A bleed on the brain was diagnosed, but our vet, who said that as we had sought advice so promptly, there was a chance that he might just pull through.

So Elliot had an injection every day (including Sunday), for three consecutive days and thankfully he made an almost, full recovery. I say almost as, although he continued to live life to the full, thereafter he did carry his head slightly tilted to one side which gave him an almost quizzical appearance, and at times he did adopt some very peculiar sleeping positions.

It was about a year later that my daughter came in to the kitchen one morning and tearfully announced that Elliot had died during the night, but that his head was in the guinea pig’s feed bowl and as there seemed to be a guinea pig trapped behind him, please could I move him, as she had never liked touching dead things.

At that time I was dressed in my suit and ready to leave for work. It had also been raining all night and there were puddles surrounding the guinea pig house. Crouching down, while trying to keep clean, I stretched forward to lift up what I thought was a dead rabbit, and then he moved.

This, so it seemed, was just another of his preferred sleeping positions. Vicky, who was crouching by my shoulder at the time, jumped backwards. Elliot jumped, at being so rudely awakened and I also jumped, toppled over backwards and sat down in a puddle.

Elliot continued to live happily, if a little lop-sided, for several more years and my only regret is that in all that time, we never took his photograph, so you will just have to take my word for the fact that he was, in spite of a slight head-tilt, a very handsome rabbit.