SLIPPING on wet paving stones to crash land on my bottom has not done my dodgy spine much good at all.

I was only trying to hustle the dogs out of the garden so they could have their breakfast, and an agonisingly painful back was all the reward got.

It is gradually improving and I have been the recipient of many helpful hints to takeaway the pain, but as yet to no avail. Although I have found a large slug of whisky at bedtime is a wonderful nightcap even though it doesn’t rock me off to bye byes.

The issues I am having, though, are nothing when compared to the problem one of our geese is suffering from.

We noticed several weeks ago that she was very unsteady on their legs. Her feathers were gradually becoming mud encrusted and she became more and more susceptible to tottering over.

At first the other ducks and geese gathered round her, but gradually she has become a lone figure in the field. Usually on her back.

So concerned was our three-year-old neighbour Albert at her condition, that I received regular texts asking how she was. I will point out that Albert deputises his Mum to text. He is bright but not up to sending texts yet. Wont be long though.

Now this presents a small problem. Usually John does not suffer sleepless nights worrying over the ethics of dispatching livestock to that great farm in the sky, or roasting tin if applicable. And the most obvious answer to John when the goose did not respond to treatment was a merciful exit strategy. But not with Albert keeping track.

I was reminded of the classic Monty Python sketch about the Norwegian blue parrot. Substituting our domestic Embden goose, however, for the sake of accuracy.

Although the goose might be no more, bereft of life, ceased to be, resting in peace, pining for the pond and an ex-goose at that; how long could I fool Albert for? Maybe I could borrow the shopkeepers trick of nailing the parrot in the sketch onto its perch.

Albert is a bright child and will soon realise that the bag of bread crumbs he brings for the poultry are not being consumed with any degree of relish by a strangely stiff goose.

There has been a reprieve, however. In a moment of inspiration John picked up Mrs Goosey and squirted a dose of wormer down her neck. Miraculous. Well, much better anyway. She is grooming herself, looks steadier on her feet and has joined the other poultry at the corn feeder.

Albert will be happy and, shush don’t tell him though, a Christmas lunch may be saved.