Don’t all laugh at once, dyed-in-the-asbestos townie that I am, but I’m spending more time in the country these days. Blame the job. Most of it is not too much of a shock to the system. Once I cottoned on that saying hello to people you’ve never met before, while on a walk, was not a sign of certifiable lunacy, I relaxed. But there has been one fundamental change: I have discovered that it is impossible to live in the country without killing things. To be perfectly clear: I eat meat, I have stood behind a gentleman at a shoot and followed the hounds at a hunt.

As befits my position, I am an ‘anti’ when it comes to the hunting ban. But I was, as most townies are, pathetically weedy about killing anything myself from mosquitoes to chickens. Yet no matter how clever one thinks ants are, or pretty the spiders’ webs, the killing spree must go on. I sentenced a wasps’ nest to death on the grounds that it was too near my favourite picnic spot. Snails are crushed underfoot, and, unless the spiders are hoovered up quickly, I fear the house will disappear beneath the webs. Just call me The Executioner.