This weekend we have been overtaken by ladybirds. Loads of them everywhere. I’ve spent god knows how long trying to coax them away from the door jambs so they don’t get squished when they close. It’s all to do with the warm temperatures, they’re hanging around enjoying the balmy climate. They’re completely harmless to you and your pets. And apparently if you have them in the house, just leave them. They’ll hibernate somewhere quiet and then bugger off in spring to find food and mate. Sounds like an ideal existence. Imagine skipping all the Christmas shopping queues.

Talking of Christmas, I went down to London this week for a meeting and had a bit of time to kill so I had a poke in Fortnum and Mason in St Pank. There to my joy I found the most wonderful combo of two of my favourite things – pickled Brussels sprouts. They were so pretty in the jar, though about four times as expensive as my favourite pickled onions, and I had my dad in my ear exclaiming ‘How much?’ so I didn’t buy them and am now regretting it.

I’m going down again in a couple of weeks and think I’ll have to get some. But I know I’m lining myself up for disappointment because I’ve been here before. After seeing, for many years, the giant jars of pickled eggs perched on the counters of many fish and chip shops, a couple of years ago I thought I’m actually going to try one of them for the first time. I don’t know what I was expecting, but it was more than a hard-boiled egg that tasted of vinegar.

I wanted my taste buds to alight and they didn’t. And I know the experience is going to be a repeat of that. But one can only hope that somehow during the pickling process, the sprout acquires a taste that far transcends the mere ‘veg in vinegar’ and my purring tastebuds make the price also palatable.

Another week, another dog attacking baby story. This time a ten month old baby in Hoyland needing surgery after an attack by the family Cane Corso X. The family believe that the dog’s behaviour altered due to fireworks being set off (low noise fireworks presently being sold in local supermarkets – by the way). This, of course, brings up the same old arguments: is it that the breed of the dog is to blame? Is it the owner’s fault? Can you ever really trust your dog however – as in the case of this dog – it had never shown any aggression before.

At the time of having my first baby, I had a lovely Rough Collie who was soft as anything. But I know dogs, and they have a different rule book to human beings. One day the dog, who I never left alone with my child, for no reason, bared her teeth at him. She didn’t do anything other than that, but when I saw her lip draw back, I knew I had been right to not presume she had accepted my son ‘as her little brother’ as some think happens (give me strength!).

There was never an incident, because I never let there be the chance of an incident. All breeds can be vicious of course. But it’s a damned sight easier to shake off a Chihuahua than it is a ten stone lump of teeth and muscle.