Picture the scene.
Hell for leather I’m going, chasing a squirrel down the garden with the water pistol. As you do.
Normally in such circumstances it dives under the rhododendrons. Anticipating the move, I can usually score a direct hit.
But squirrels, as we know, are far from stupid.
Suddenly he veers right, instead of left, and leaps up on to the handrail of the steps going down towards the river.
My quarry is not going to get away that easily. Especially with a large chunk of wood from the corner of the nut feeder still clamped between its jaws.
He scampers off down the rail and I make to follow. But halfway down the steps it’s clear that something has changed. The squirrel disappears into a mass of tangled branches. My way forward is blocked.
We hadn’t been down to the river since last autumn. It was overgrown then, certainly, but not impenetrable like this.
I have to climb down the hill further along the riverbank and circle back to this spot.
One large tree and several smaller conifers collapsed in front of it like dominos.
Oh dear. The chain saw will be out again.