I put down the cat’s food and she nudges me just to butter me up so the food keeps coming. Next, she looks out her cat door window, tail lashing, to make sure any predatory cat food stealers are intimidated before returning to her dish of food and looking at it with high suspicion. “Is today the day they finally poison me?” Another look out the cat door window and she settles to eat as though if she doesn’t get it all down in a hurry it might get up and run away like the creatures she catches outside.

I am now free to concentrate on writing my second book. It is a redemption tale because I cannot help but write redemption stories.

After two hours of writing it is time to plant out some broccoli and fennel (Florence Nightingale!) seedlings, feed them worm tea, protect them from birds (wire netting) wind (wind cloth attached to the wire netting with clothes pegs) slugs and snails (pellets placed around the perimeter of the garden). I hate using slug pellets, but with a farm next door and a huge array of ground covers and grasses around our own garden, it is pointless even trying to raise plants of the edible kind without resorting to the pellets.

Outside our house we have a huge kowhai tree, the yellow clusters of deep throated flowers of which are the all time favourite food of the native tui. I have been looking forward to its flowering this year and having the delight of the tui, who’s song is the sound version of the nectar he/she drinks, right outside the kitchen window, but alas, I think it has finally succumbed to the challenges of wet feet and old age. Kowhai don’t often live to be terribly old and this one was something of a champion. Fortunately we do have two others in sight of the house and more in the bush, but it will be very sad to have to say goodbye to this previously magnificent specimen. It did bless us with lots of seeds in the autumn so I shall make sure to honour it’s heritage by planting them and raising more babies to eventually plant out for the tui to bless with their song.