Our house may need repainting inside and out, but the chickens have got a very smart new chicken run. By rough calculation, if they keep laying four eggs a day, it will have paid for itself sometime in 2015. Don’t ask.

Adrian has done a fantastic job, the posts are concreted in and the wire, taut as a drum, is of tennis-court quality, rather than chicken wire that rots in five years. The chickens looked pretty pleased, too, after being corralled in a mini run during the building.

Filled with enthusiasm, I lit a bonfire to get rid of the odds and ends of fencing and the hedge trimmings. Then, I added an old chest of drawers and various cardboard boxes that had cluttered the garage. The flames got bigger. And bigger. Soon, I had an inferno on my hands.

I haven’t run so fast since I was eight, when our labrador cocked its leg on a tattooed sunbather on Filey beach. The new fence was alight and the apple trees were wilting under the heat. Grabbing a bucket, I ran to and fro, hurling water.

Fortunately, the children got the hose and calmly saved the day. However, the poor chickens are now in shock and, worse, they’ve stopped laying altogether.