SPRING is definitely in the air, with the first lambs arriving at the farm last Friday. They were three days earlier than expected, one black and one white, but both bright, beautiful and exceedingly cute.

I think we all knew that the weather at the end of February was too good to last, but the daffodils in our garden and Sam tortoise thought otherwise.

February 25 is the earliest that Sam has ever woken up from hibernation, but needless to say the snow showers at the weekend, not to mention the bitingly cold winds, have facilitated a temporary move indoors into the conservatory, remembering, of course, to take extra care on a night, when the ferrets come inside to play for an hour.

We have just two ferrets now, both of which are polecat jills. Flora the ferret has been with us for four years, but Poppy the polecat, Flora’s new best friend, only arrived a few weeks ago. She came to keep Flora company following the death of our last home-bred ferret and the two are now inseparable.

As I say, during the day, the girls live outside in a comfortable, spacious two storey home, but on an evening they come inside for exercise, where they like to play with a variety of toys.

Things like boxes and tunnels are always appreciated, along with an old shopping bag and a small, ferret-sized ball pool. Play time in the conservatory is always great fun, but the girls know the routine and by the time their supper is ready, both are usually ready and waiting by the door.

It was, therefore, most unusual to find Flora waiting on her own, one night last week. Scooping her up, I shouted Poppy, fully expecting her to appear from inside one of the tunnels, but she didn’t. I couldn’t hear the tap tap tap of tiny ferret feet either, in fact all was far too quiet for my liking.

After popping Flora back in the hutch, I returned to investigate further. As I pulled the chair out from the corner of the room, there was still no sign of Poppy but I could hear a muffled, scratching sound which seemed to be coming from the chair itself, now in the middle of the floor.

I removed all the cushions and all looked to be in order, but it definitely sounded as though something was scampering around within.

On closer investigation, and by pulling the bottom of the upholstery away from the side, a small hole was just about visible, but a hole big enough for me to slide my hand down and yes, this was definitely the way into the inner sanctum of the chair, as confirmed by the sinking of very sharp teeth into the middle finger of my left hand.

Now I was in a pickle. The gap wasn’t big enough to accommodate a second hand, and other than the Cavaliers, who were busy snoozing in front of the TV, I was home alone.

Eventually, Poppy did release her grip enough for me to extricate my finger from her mouth which, considering the amount of pain inflicted, was not even bleeding all that much.

The ferret on the other hand, was still trapped deep within the chair.

I could hear her frantic little footsteps running back and forth and so ultimately, there was nothing else that I could do, other than to cut a hole in the bottom where thankfully, a little ferrety head soon appeared.

I would like to think that she has learned her lesson, but knowing ferrets, I very much doubt it.