A DISEMBODIED voice speaks mechanically from the bathroom. “Your weight is 223 point six pounds” it intones. A groan of disappointment follows. No weight lost again, it seems. I am afraid that John’s healthy breakfast of a grapefruit is usually followed, several hours later, by a sackful of potatoes with his lunch and then sneaky snacks of crisps and a can or two of cider after supper.

I bought the talking scales as I never seem to be able to see the "read out" clearly on our ancient bathroom set. Years of talcum powder must have bunged them up. So whether the scales were actually capable of giving an accurate reading was extremely doubtful.

John’s theft of the bathroom scales was because he needed them to weigh out corn for one of his shoots. Those birds need fattening up so that when they eventually arrive on my kitchen table, they will be succulent and delicious.

Dates on our calendar seem to be increasingly crossed out to indicate another day out on a shoot for John. Sundays seem to be the only dates on the horizon when I shall actually see him all day.

But the disembodied voice from the bathroom does reflect a struggle John is having to try to lose a bit of weight to take the pressure of his knee. Fifteen years ago a surgeon recommended that John needed a new one. Knee that is. But, unable to take the time away from the farm to recuperate, John refused, and instead persisted with exercises recommended by his physiotherapist.

Now that he can actually give himself some time to recover after surgery, the same consultant surgeon that he saw 15 years ago, has said he thinks that as John is not on painkillers for all of the day and night, he does not need an operation yet.

John hates taking tablets, although I can see how much he suffers. Personally, I think that the NHS is driving people who they think can afford surgical intervention into paying for an operation, rather than offering them the treatment they need.

So, in an effort to take some of his treatment into his own hands, John has decided to make a serious effort to lose a few pounds. I don’t think he needs to. He has hardly varied in weight in all the years we have been married.

No more evening ciders. Well just one perhaps. The crisps have been banned. The biscuit tin lid sealed. He will soon be floating along. Light as a feather. Can’t wait for the speaking scales to gasp in astonishment.