EMERGENCY feed was required for John’s pheasants. They are growing well but still not venturing far from their pen in the wood to forage for themselves and pick up some food independently. Plus, with most of the fields now ploughed up around the wood, there are just not the stubbles to pick over.

Fortunately John now seems on top of the outbreak of gape in the birds. The first dosage of medication did not prove immediately effective, but a change in the product seems to have done the trick.

As I drove back with the extra feed, I came up behind a behemoth of a lorry parked up close to a narrow 18th century bridge I intended to cross.

The driver, stood at the side of the road, waved to me to stop. “I think my sat nav is taking me the wrong way,” he said. “I’m worried about damaging the bridge if I go over it as I think it won’t take the weight.”

What a sensible driver. The bridge itself has two basket arches over a canal and a smaller arch over a beck running immediately to the north west.

A towpath runs beneath the canal arch on the north side and there are regular buttresses to either side of each arch with a brick parapet bordering the road. It was primarily the parapet that the driver was concerned about demolishing.

With the aid of my car’s sat-nav, and ignoring the postcode and just entering the address of the farm the lorry was heading for, we realised he was about 20 miles out of his way. And that if he had negotiated this bridge, he still had another bridge to cross, a 13th century one this time.

That bridge had been closed 10 years ago when an unknown lorry had demolished part of the stone work and driven off into the night.

Instantly I sprang into traffic policeman mode. I do love a spot of bogus authority.

With me stopping the traffic that was coming up behind us (the traffic coming the other way over the bridge could see what was happening and just had to look after themselves), the lorry backed up and was able to reverse into a lane running parallel to the canal.

Only then did I spot his cargo under the flaps covering the sides of the lorry. Crates and crates of chickens. It turned out they were point of lay chickens all set for a new life as barn hens. I hope he was telling me the truth. Would not like to think I had speeded the birds onto their destination as roast chicken lunches.